Showing posts from September, 2013

Nearly: a confession

So, a kind of confession. The kind a person might make on reaching what used to be called the ‘middle age’, when you’ve reached a point in professional life, a foothold; more than that, when you’ve reached solid ground, something near to achievement. Nearly.
Antonio Salieri is the patron saint of mediocrity; or at least, Peter Shaffer’s Salieri, I mean. In Amadeus, Salieri is a composer at the court of the Emperor of Austria whose gifts of devotion and hard work are superseded by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s carelessly curated genius, a creative gift from God that Mozart knows not how to pursue properly. Mozart is excessive: scatological, childlike, wanton. Salieri is the consummate courtier.
There are two brilliant moments of appreciation of Mozart’s music in Milos Forman’s film adaptation of Amadeus (which now exists in theatrical release and ‘Director’s Cut’ forms; much of the tonal difference between them is in the depiction of Salieri, who is much more sympathetic in the original …

Star Wars / Star Trek

If it came down to a choice between Star Wars and Star Trek, for me, it’s not much of a contest: for all that I grew up watching Star Trek (TOS) re-runs on terrestrial tv, watched the entirety of the runs of TNG, DS9 and Voyager (Enterprise didn’t do much for me) in the 80s and 90s, and have a deep and abiding fondess for Shatner, I only own a couple of the movies on dvd, and only Star Trek: The Motion Picture is one that I re-watch for pleasure. By comparison, I own all the Star Wars films, have the Clone Wars dvds, Star Wars Lego, and even went to see The Phantom Menace at the cinema twice (the second time on its recent 3D re-release). (That’s dedication.)
However, I recently sat down to watch Star Trek Into Darkness, and while the post 9/11 analogies are a bit pat, the question that is poses about the Federation itself – Scotty says to Kirk at one point, when questioning the arrival of advanced missiles aboard the Enterprise, ‘I thought we were meant to be explorers’ – is a parti…