All we are saying is give actors a chance

I’ve been watching True Detective like everyone else, and it’s good. I like it a lot. It reminds me of Zodiac a bit, which I really ought to get around to seeing again some time. Great movie. Also reminds me of Preacher in some ways, that whole Southern Gothic thing. Great comic, you should check it out.

Cayley James made a reference to the McConaissance tonight, and everyone’s using that term because who knew, right? Who knew a trained actor could make some good movies? I made some quip about how we’d never be using that term if people hadn’t lost faith in Matthew McConaughey, and then I figured I’d been looking at it wrong. Maybe it wasn’t just me; maybe other people also figured Reign of Fire was his masterpiece and were just waiting for him to get back to that.

Joking aside, while I’m glad Matthew McConaughey is taking the time to entertain us, the attention being paid to his career resurgence has reminded me of something that has consistently bothered me: why don’t people give entertainers more of a chance? I know Matthew McConaughey hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the art crowd with his decade-long string of romantic comedies, but had you told me in 2005 he’d be putting out some great performances in 5-8 years, I don’t think I would’ve been too surprised. He’s an actor. It’s not like he’s incapable of being in front of a camera, and it’s his job to fit into whatever movie he’s being paid to star in. Should we really be so surprised when actors who have made a series of genre choices decide to do something different and manage to pull it off? I’m sure no actor starts their career thinking “I’m gonna be in ALL the teen movies!”

It’s not the first time it’s happened. Remember when Daniel Craig was picked to be the next James Bond? There was a huge media campaign to discredit him. I knew he’d be great, because of Munich and Enduring Love. But hey, he’s got blond hair. Same thing happened to Heath Ledger. How dare the guy from 10 Things I Hate About You take the same role Jack Nicholson did 20 odd years ago? I was sure he’d be fine, because I thought he was likeable enough and I trusted Christopher Nolan wouldn’t hire an incapable actor. But no, let’s hate him because he’s a handsome young man playing a psychopath and Jack Nicholson being Jack Nicholson pre-emptively trumps that, apparently.

I think this attitude – guilty until proven innocent – bothers me because I believe it’s grounded in an assumption that people are inextricably tied to their work, and what’s more, that an artist’s worth is set in stone based on early success. People occasionally make average films, or terrible albums, or messy novels, even if they’re capable of a lot more. It’s not a big deal, they’re human after all, but there’s a belief that these people make GOOD things and these people make BAD things, and it’s too tied up in how people view themselves to make a great deal of sense to me.

All I am saying is give artists a chance. Can you imagine if everyone expected you to act the same way you did when you were younger, simply because that’s how they’re accustomed to thinking of you? Shit’s infuriating.

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RSC

About 5 years ago, a friend and I would make electronic dance music together in his bedroom, and no-one really heard it.  This is what it sounded like.  I’d strongly suggest listening on headphones, because it hasn’t been mixed properly for speakers and certain instruments are a wee bit overpowering.

There are few things I’d enjoy more than being able to perform these tracks live, but it’s pretty difficult to organise.  Neither of us have a particularly strong background in electronic music; we enjoy it, but it’s not a lifestyle.  I think I, in particular, still see music too strictly in terms of notes and chords, and that approach doesn’t lend itself to electronic music the way it does traditional music.  That being said, it’d be a little dishonest to sequence the whole thing and press play while we pretend to trigger samples and mess with filters.  We’d have to be playing the music, not just allowing it to be played, and it’s just not feasible to do that at the moment.

Maybe one day.  Who wouldn’t want to see a bunch of your drunk friends dancing instead of standing politely sipping a pint?


The Plane

I am a dreamer, and I don’t mean I’m prone to posing wacky what-ifs, like “what if a dinosaur and a spaceman had a baby” or something. I mean I dream every night and I dream hard, and they’re often disturbing.

Some people have mundane dreams about shopping or work. I have dreams about drowning in the bath, about hiding from strange men, and about a little cupboard that I was screaming too hard to open. It’s not always bad. Last night I dreamed I was introducing a bunch of people to each other and I kept getting Simonetta mixed up with Simonas, and Janic mixed up with Javik. Not pleasant, but not traumatic. Another time I dreamed I invented a card game called “Buffet” (pronounced “buff it”) and I can still remember some of the rules. Sometimes I dream I’m close friends with a celebrity, and for a few moments upon waking I consider sending them a text to tell them about this crazy dream I just had.

There are two recurring dreams. One is of outrunning a tornado and the other is of an aeroplane crashing. The tornado one is easy to explain. I saw Twister at the cinema and thought it was badass and also terrifying. I was 9, give me a break. I don’t get these so much any more, but they occasionally pop in to see how I’m doing, maybe once a year. Hey Ryan, you managed to get over the trauma inflicted by a shite film you saw 20 years ago? No? Cool, see you next time.

The aeroplane crashing, though? I don’t really understand that one, and I still get it every couple of months or so. I’m not scared of flying. Flying still makes me a little nervous because I’ve only been on a plane a handful of times, but it’s not something that keeps me up at night. What’s more, I’m not in the plane when it crashes. I see it happen from a distance. I’m out somewhere, I spot a plane in the sky, it starts wavering erratically, and it plunges into the ground. I run over to help, and I wake up before I get to the wreckage. The aircraft and location change. One time it was outside Prestwick Airport. Another it was in the south side of Glasgow, just past Silverburn, and it wasn’t a plane but a zeppelin.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a gif of a plane crashing, and it was stunningly similar to every one of these dreams. I’ve seen footage of planes crashing many times (they fascinate me, maybe because of my dream) but never in the exact same fashion as I’d imagined. This is the footage:

What interested me was that a few people had commented saying they’d had a dream just like this. I’m not the only one, and I think that’s fascinating. Sometimes you know where a dream came from. You remember having a conversation yesterday about fish, and you dreamed about fish. Maybe you watched Twister before going to bed and dreamed about tornadoes. My mum had a dream every Christmas Eve that she’d forgotten to buy her children any presents. Those all make sense in terms of how we see dreams, but there’s another kind of dream.

The other kind of dreams are the most private thoughts we have. They come unbidden, they can’t be controlled, and you absolutely cannot explain them to anyone. I might be able to relate to you how I feel about music, or what I think happiness is, and we might find some common ground, but I’ll be damned if I could ever explain what was so terrifying about that little cupboard that I couldn’t open.

In spite of this innermost form of consciousness, there are some dreams we all seem to share. There are some famous ones, like the one where you’re naked in public, or the one where you’re trying to get away from danger but you’re moving too slowly. There are others you find out are very common but only discover are common when you speak to others about your dreams, like the one where your teeth are falling out, or the one where you jump off a high place and wake up before you hit the ground.

And then there are some dreams that are extremely specific. Maybe like seeing an air crash happen in a certain way, in a way that you’ve never seen with your eyes. Dreams that are so specific that you assume they are a product of your mind and your mind only… and then one day you find out that a bunch of other people have had that exact same dream.

I don’t believe in dream interpretation of the prophetic sort. I can dig a series of unhappy dreams being a symptom of how you feel in waking life, or the crumbling teeth dream being indicative of stress, but not that a dream about a tree falling over means a birth in the family or shit like that.

Nevertheless, you’ve got to wonder why we’re all having the same dreams sometimes. Maybe being unable to escape from danger is some primal thing, some instinctual fear we’ve inherited from our ancestors. I can understand why we might all have that one. A relatively recent invention malfunctioning while we watch being a common dream, though? Well, that’s just a bit on the creepy side.