Friday, 28 March 2014

The Death of Girls

The season 3 finale of Girls aired this week and like its fellow HBO stablemate Looking, it went out with a bang after a midseason stunner (Beach House). While there was so much unpleasantness in the first 5 episodes, by the end, it was a reasonably interesting and entertaining season - not least because the finale provided interesting closure to the storylines this year.

Death, or at least the end of things, seemed to be hover over the characters this season. From the deaths of Hannah's editor and grandmother, Flo, and the near death of Bedelia, to the end of the Girl's relationships after the amazing Beach House episode, death and destruction was everywhere.

This was also a season where their hopes kept getting dashed. For all the characters, all of their personal and professional relationships that they were building throughout the season, fizzled by the end. But as always, when one door closes, another opens. Of the supporting characters, Ray had to get his heart broken before he could be more grown up. Flo had to be on her deathbed to bring her family together. And  Bedelia had to swallow the pills before she knew she didn't want to die.

And for our girls? Of course there's another season to go, so they can't learn all their lessons yet, but the show is putting them through pain to get there - Shoshanna realising that her plans of sex and study couldn't work out, Jessa getting kicked out of rehab and losing those around her, and Marnie going through humiliations after humiliation, constantly seeking validation from men. And Hannah - she had to lose her writing contract, lose her grandmother, lose her creative soul at GQ, and lose her relationship with Adam.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Social Change Film Festival: Money & Life

Sometimes, the right film comes to you when you least expect it. That happened a couple of Sundays ago when I took my partner to the Social Change Film Festival at the beautifully preserved Scala Theatre to see two documentaries: Money & Life and No Impact Man (which will be the subject of a later post).

Money & Life is a US documentary that documents the historic significance of money as a currency, and how it has grown exponentially since the Industrial Revolution to now dominate our way of life. Where once spirituality, community and physical resources would evenly shape people's everyday lives, money now dominates our world.

The documentary specifically outlines how debt, interest and speculative financial trading have created a market that is completely disconnected from tangible goods and services, and how the pursuit of wealth in this context means that people are striving for achievements disconnected from the physical resources of our world and the services that develop relationships within our communities. This renders people blind to other important facets of our world, for example, the connectedness of relationships within our communities, or the unsustainable depletion of resources in a finite world.

The answer, according to Money & Life, is to re-imagine the idea of currency. Money as we know it can stay where it is, but why not create another form of trade-able currency that values good will, community projects, and other endeavours to which the present money assigns little worth? Will this inspire people to look away from the wealth of intangible capitalism and focus more on the value of real products and services?

Of course, this is not a new idea, but the power of cinema provides an entertaining, empathetic medium to express this idea. It is invigorating and the perfect antidote to my feelings of worthlessness and failure that I was feeling on the weekend.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Hit me with your best shot: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I've been a long time reader and admirer of Nathanial's The Film Experience so I thought I would jump in on his Hit Me With Your Best Shot series, especially for one of my favourite films from the 00s. Nathaniel talks about how this exercise allows you to appreciate the film so much more, and he's right. So let's get on with it.

I saw this film for the first time at a cinema with my family. My sister had to duck out after 30 minutes because the imagery was so strong and the camera so kinetic that she was getting dizzy (she was feeling ill prior). Unfortunately for her, she not only missed out of one of the best movies of the 00s, but she was unable to enjoy the amazing wonder and energy of the set pieces on display.

And here's the dilemma. With a film where the majority of the sequences are so kinetic, so full of ingenious design and detail, that each shot is not only beautiful but bleeds into the other, how could I find the single best shot? I had this in mind as I rewatched the film, and within the first act I thought I found my answer.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Have we found what we are Looking for?

Looking finished this week and the response from those who stayed with it has been quite positive. And I agree. Since the 5th episode the show has really stepped up a notch, packing quite a punch in its season finale.

Yes, the first half of the season was less interesting than the second half, but that was just the show finding its feet. And the show's relaxed style might not be the perfect fit for the initial establishing episodes. Perhaps if an episode like episode 4 had happened earlier in the series, the audience could have developed greater interest.

For me though, even if the plot is more 'boring' than others, I find it rare to have a mainstream show dedicate its entire time to gay relationships, to see gay men interacting, dating and discovering someone new. Many of us have had those discussions about our first time with a boy, coming out, sexual positions, bottom shaming, open relationships, and whether we'd want to get married if we could. And let's not forget the love for Golden Girls! For me, there's something so wonderfully affirming to see characters living and discussing these issues on screen.

Thursday, 6 March 2014


This is a post I wrote for New Years, but due to last minute hassles with moving to Bangkok, I never got around to posting it. But I thought before I post my thoughts on Andrew Haigh's next project, Looking (which finishes its first season in next week), I might as well finish this off, and the start of the weekend seems like an appropriate time to finally post it:

One of my favourite recent films is Andrew Haigh’s Weekend. It’s a well written, tightly directed, and beautifully acted film about a late night hook-up between shy, semi-closeted lifeguard Russell and outspoken artist Glen that morphs into a weekend of discovery and perhaps something more.

It received quite positive reviews and was a bit of a sensation among the gay film bloggers. For me, the most interesting aspect of the film is its subtle exploration of space. Space in our lives manifests itself as distance and time, dreams and aspirations, and conflict and intimacy.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Hello world

Lam without a B. Lamingtons. Lamikins. Lammy. Laminator. Lambchops. Lambert. Lambhorgini. Beef. 
I’ve had many nicknames in the past and I’ve appropriated several of them for email addresses, usernames, WIFI hotspots and school jerseys.
My name seems to inspire people want to make fun of it, for example singing to you the Lambchops song that never ends or randomly bleating or over-pronouncing the non-existent b when introducing me. Then there are other instances that are so absurd that it becomes performance art. How else can you describe a classroom full of idiotic 7th graders bleating in unison during 5th period while waiting for the teacher to come to class (yes this did actually happen). If mass bleating is not the best form of social integration and cohesion, then I don’t know what is.
The nickname that gives its name to this blog is one my sister used as I was growing up. Part-threat, part-joke, she took great pleasure in yelling out Lamikin-Chop-Chop while making cleaver-on-chopping-board hand gestures. This came from the sister who literally kicked me out of her room and into the corridor wall, so I was never completely sure if I would wake up one day castrated or dismembered.
All kidding aside, I actually quite like this nickname not only because it’s a little bit more clever than the other nicknames, but also because I’m trying to get onto a ‘just do it, now’ mentality. I could be described as contemplative at best, and a procrastinator at worst. My boyfriend often uses this nickname to get me to get out of bed in the morning, and I’m using it now for this blog as an incentive to do things worthy of blogging about, (especially during the next 3 years while I’m living in Bangkok) and to actually write about it. I have some general interests (film and theatre, law, politics, travel, sports) as well as some more peculiar ones (Linux, Latin) so we’ll see what how this blogging thing pans out. I hope to pen some thoughts about films and tv shows past and present, stories about my travels and living in Bangkok, and general comments on things happening around me.
So welcome to Lammie Land - I mean, Lam Chop Chop.
'chop chop' apparently also means any sexual activity according to, as in ‘damn baby, I could really go for some chop chop right about now.’ Who wouldn’t want some chop chop?