Soft and Downey
January 2nd, 2010


What to do do on NYD (I assume people are abbreviating the day after, too)?

Pie, mash, peas and Clapton were on the menu for me. I was thumbing through a friend’s record collection as vegetarian pie smells wafted through the air when I came across a copy of Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel. For a serious record, it has a funny cover. It looks like Paul Simon’s hair is a giant handlebar moustache drooping from Art Garfunkel’s upper lip. I also pondered what it would be like to hear this record when it was released; to be part of a different time and to wonder how this now ubiquitous album fitted into its own socio-historical context. You can hear so much space on the key songs; such a gentle merger of voices and sounds. Imagine if it was coming out tomorrow (download only).



This was followed by a walk in the deep snow where my foot became submerged enough for the snow to cover my toes and look like it was wiggling about of its own accord, before crumbling in the silence.

Going to the big pictures was a snap decision, but when the main roads are slushy, the bright lights and shiny fittings are strangely appealing.

Robert Downey Junior’s Holmes was unusually tanned for Victorian London, but picking holes in a Guy Ritchie movie is not the done thing when brain candy’s on offer. I love the Conan Doyle stories, but the best way to approach the film is to ignore the source and hitch a ride on the blockbuster express, calling at stations known as ‘Fightscene’ and ‘Chase’ on the way to your destination. Nobody will match Jeremy Brett’s depiction of the detective in the TV series, so Downey sensibly goes for smart instead of brooding; cartoon instead of character.

From the top floor of The Gate complex you can look down on the club next door with its under-lit floor and curvy, futuristic barstools, but it seems permanently sealed off because of the layers of glass that separate the two spaces. It has a faint, indistinct allure.

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