Hello. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? There I was with plans at the start of the year and proclamations of posting on a regular basis and I guess I got lazy. Sorry, but I’m a bad blogger. As one of my favourite ever people Mae West said, “Too much of a good thing can be taxing”. She also said “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful” so I am inclined to agree with her on both counts.
It’s been ‘a year’ hasn’t it? So, as December approaches, let’s strive for more of the wonderful part, ok?
(ps. If anyone has a spare £500K and wishes to buy Dali’s Mae West Sofa as my Christmas gift – and to prevent it from leaving the UK, but more for me – I am not going to stop you. It’s what Mae would have wanted. I’m only half joking).
2016 was the year events culminated and I decided to return to academia.
I had recently moved back to Birmingham (my hometown and the city where I completed both my MA and PhD) and needed to (re)establish my academic presence. I reconnected with old acquaintances – some I had kept in touch with, some who I had not seen for years – and made some new ones. I asked advice, made enquires, talked to people. The academic and moral support I have received is tremendous and I really could not have kept going without these wonderful, encouraging people.
Good things occurred and plans were set in motion:
I will be giving two lectures in March. The first will be part of Birmingham School of Jewellery’s ‘Talking Practice’ series (2 March) and is titled Intimate Jewels: Surrealism, Fetish and Fairytales. This will be a fun and informative exploration of the overlaps between Surrealist objects and fairytales. It will be dark, at times salacious, and I am very excited to work on the paper.
The second will be on 17 March and is to be held at the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI). In keeping with the building’s heritage, the talk is titled Emmy Bridgwater and the Birmingham Surrealists. In this lunchtime lecture I will give a brief overview of Surrealism’s Birmingham branch and explore Emmy’s artwork. Not enough has been written or said on Emmy, and I intend to give her a well deserved place in the spotlight.
It is a small, modest start but I am very grateful for these opportunities. More information will be available here – and on Twitter – closer to the time. (Unfortunately I’ll be missing the AAH Conference due to a pre-booked holiday, but have other papers, projects and plans cooking as I type). As an aside (but still connected) I would like to take more art trips (much neglected in 2016) and spend some time in Paris.
I approach everything with an open mind, excited for new possibilities, and keen to see what this year brings.
Thank you for reading!
It’s 30 November, the last day of November – and Noirvember – and it’s safe to say that I messed up. I overestimated this self-imposed task to post something everyday and follow Noirvember to the letter. I did not anticipate the sheer volume activity that would flood my way and make this month one of my busiest of the year.
It’s started slowly and surely, but a combination of minor health niggles and research activity soon put my intentions to rest. May it was this task – the incentive to become more active on here – that kickstarted my hunger for something that I’ve been missing and craving for a very long time. It got me back into a much-missed circle, asking questions of myself and critiquing my current situation and general career plan. It gave me a much-needed kick to use my site more and to post whatever I wanted to at that particular moment, be it a photo, quote, anecdote or whatever. I wanted to do more in-depth reviews, analysis and wittily constructed posts but there’s always time – maybe I’ll do a mini Noir celebration in the year?
Let’s just see where this site takes us, shall we? Out of the Noirvember darkness and into the light…
My first viewing of He Ran All The Way was at this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival. What follows is an extract of my original post:
He Ran All The Way was hardly a second choice and did not disappoint. A gritty, menacing Noir, we were soon being terrorised by a crooked John Garfield brandishing a gun, then a large piece of poultry, into the faces of Shelley Winter’s terrified family. Furthermore, I was in awe of Galdys George’s wardrobe and her superb, very minor, role as Garfield’s mother who smoked, drank and bitched her way through barely two scenes.
The sense of bleakness within He Ran All the Way is also palpable off screen. The Blacklist haunts the film – its screenplay was co-written by Dalton Trumbo and Garfield was blacklisted two months before the film’s release. It was also to be Garfield final film – he died one year later. Denis Berry, whose father John Berry (who was blacklisted after Edward Dmytruk named him as one of the Hollywood ten) directed the film, gave an affecting, personal introduction of life during this era. We can read about the time and see movies written, during and about this historical Hollywood period, but it is only when you hear it directly from someone who experienced and lived through it all that the reality truly hits home.