The First Monday in May

Watched on a CX flight to Singapore. March 2017.

What a triumph of a film! It’s so bizarre that I should be interested in fashion at the ripe old age of almost 40. I never was before – I suppose because my style uniform is and always has been t-shirt and jeans – but recently it’s just become more interesting.

The First Monday in May is about the exhibition and gala that takes place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art every year. The gala, hosted by Anna Wintour (a trustee of the Met), and featuring all the best dressed celebrities and designers you can think of, raises the multi-million annual budget for the Met’s Costume Institute. And while the film delves into what goes into making the gala successful, it is the exhibition, created by Andrew Bolton, the Head Curator of the Costume Institute, that is the most fascinating.

In the film, Bolton talks about his first critically-acclaimed exhibition, Savage Beauty, which featured clothes by Alexander McQueen, and took place the year after the late designer died. It was an incredibly popular show, and was later brought to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where it was so popular that the V+A actually had to extend opening hours in order to accommodate all the people who wanted to see it. The interesting thing about this, is that the bar was set so high, it was difficult for Bolton to subsequently match it – so this film is about the coming together of the 2015 exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass.

Anything that has to do with China (or even Asia) these days seems to be rather sensitive. In this case, the exhibition is created by a white man, and featuring the clothes of many Caucasian designers (for example Yves Saint Laurent and John Galliano) and therefore he was very keen for the exhibit to be seen as a whitewashed version. And then there was politics – there was a Mao section, and then there were costumes from the historical past (think The Last Emperor) – as well as a difference in vision (a common question was why is there no representation of modern China), and the need to balance the actual Asian exhibits within the museum, with the various costumes that would be placed those halls.

Perhaps it was because this particular exhibit was China-related (though I do think if the documentary had been about the Alexander McQueen exhibit, I would have loved it just the same), but I found the film so compelling and interesting and it totally drew me in. I think much of it had to do with Andrew Bolton, who is fascinating, smart, and so creative, and how he navigated the crazy that comes with putting together such a huge exhibit, and also Anna Wintour, who is a legend in herself, and how she and her team managed to pull the gala together.

I’m travelling back to HK on a flight in April – I’m hoping the documentary will still be in the CX library so I can re-watch it (yes, it’s so good I want to rewatch it already)… And one of these days, I’m really hoping that I can visit the Met, during one of the early summer months, so that I can see for myself one of the amazing exhibitions created and curated by the amazing Andrew Bolton.

The History of the Pit Stop: Gone in Two Seconds

Watched on a CX flight to Singapore. March 2017.

I love racing. I love the thrill, love the chase, love the tactics. But I didn’t know how recent it was that tactics came into play, that it was only in the early 80s that pit stops became the urgent, adrenalin-filled channel it is today.

Produced for Redbull TV (and therefore narrated by David Coulthard, and featuring a number of Redbull cars, mechanics, and drivers), this film shares the incredible history of the pitstop – from when it was an emergency-only stop (back when any car that had to make a pit stop had absolutely no chance of getting a podium spot), when it was just on the side of the road, and the racing cars just pulled in and mechanics jumped out to fix whatever that was wrong, to when refuelling was banned (because it was way too dangerous to have barrels of fuel right by these mega hot engines), to when refuelling was allowed again, to being banned again…

The film made me ooh and aah several times (much to the chagrin I’m sure, of the poor guy sitting next to me), and also made me gasp in horror (like when a car went up in flames while the driver was still sitting in it). A stunning story – even if it’s understandably Redbull skewed – about one of my favourite sports. LOVED IT <3

The Ivy.

Watched on a CX flight to Singapore. March 2017.

The Ivy is such an institution in London, and I hadn’t realised it recently closed for a few months to undergo a facelift. This little film talks about some of The Ivy’s history and legacy, while documenting the uncertainty that comes with closing down a much-loved establishment to try and update it.

Great stuff and really hoping I get to go back to London some day…!

Drills drills drills

It is said that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to master it. So if I practice an hour a day, it’ll take me just over 27 years to master this lettering thing. Bah.

On the other hand, I’m pretty easily distracted so maybe I won’t be doing this in another month.

Anyway. I’m almost done with four weeks of drills. I cheated – most days I do two days of drills, except for oval days, I do a shit tonne of ovals because ovals are so darned difficult – so it’s not actually been four weeks, but it also means I get to start actual letters this week :D So exciting.

In other news, I posted drills for the first time a few days ago (on instagram) and got more likes and comments than I ever expected. The lettering community, even amongst my own friends, is so damn supportive. Haha.

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Apex: The Story of the Hyper Car.

I’m very curious to know what it is about humans and speed. What is it about the rush of wind that makes us love it so much?

Apex brings us the story of the hypercar – from Porsche to McLaren to the granddaddy of them all Ferrari to Bugatti and Pagani and Koenigsegg, all vying to create the best of the best, which means of course, a price tag upwards of a million USD.

It’s so interesting to see the various philosophies which are embedded within each company – from the importance of the best and most current technology in Koenigsegg to artistry and elegance in the Italian carmakers, especially Pagani. To watch the underdogs – the smaller, less well-known companies – compete against the top dogs. And then interweave that with the designers of racing games, where much work is put in to simulate the driving of these hypercars for the masses who will never get the chance to actually drive the real thing.

Very interesting indeed.

And in other news, Sebastian Vettel won the first F1 race of the season…. I guess Ferrari are finally back this year…

Love Actually – the sequel.

Omgoodness this gave me ALL the feels :D

I managed to find a very bad quality version on dailymotion or dailyvideo or one of those sites via a link on social media. I really hope we get a better quality version somewhere that won’t be taken down as soon as it’s posted…

Okay. Before I go on. Know that there are spoilers ahead. Like. Major. I’m going to be talking about this. Properly. If you don’t want to know who came back for it so it’s a nice surprise (as it was for me) then don’t read on!!!

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[okay I guess that’s enough notice….]

First of all, I’m not sure Keira Knightley and Chiwetel Ejiofor have aged. At all. And then the doorbell goes and it’s Rick (from The Walking Dead) back in his original role as Peter, which made me laugh. And while the cards got a bit old, the end of the bit was a huge surprise as Kate Moss walked into frame :D And it made me happy that Peter got his happy ending… Ahhh.

And then Colin Firth and Portuguese wife and three kids! Three! So cute!

And Billy Mack, talking to the same radio DJ at Radio Watford bwahaha… but then the bombshell that his manager had died sent me into an immediate google search. Thank goodness Gregor Fisher is still with us…. I was actually shocked for a minute.

Then Rowan Atkinson, still the world’s slowest gift wrapper :D

And then the second cutest couple – Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon <3 still so darned awesome. I’m really impressed that they convinced Hugh Grant to dance again, considering he was apparently extremely reluctant the first time round… Haha.

Onto my favouritest couple – Sam and Joanna – also known as the incredible Thomas Sangster & Olivia Olson. I didn’t know Joanna would be back. I was THRILLED to see her. It gave me all the feels! And the cheeky teasing banter from Liam Neeson is still perfect, even though his son is all grown up!! Wish Claudia Schiffer had done another cameo, but I suppose it was so perfect the first time round, no point…

But. No Laura Linney… I really wanted to know how her life panned out. She was the one who really deserved a happy ending but didn’t get it in the movie. No Colin Frissell (the one who went to America) (I’m hoping he is still living the good life and bringing the chicks back for his good friend Tony!)… No Martin Freeman / Joanna Page (although I assume these two are living happily ever after) … And no Alan Rickman / Emma Thompson. This last couple, we all know why – the great Alan Rickman passed away early last year – but it would have been nice to see Emma Thompson and the kids, but yeah, it had been reported earlier that she would have been too sad to do it without him.

In a way, I kinda wish this was a proper sequel… Not just a 15 minute thing for charity. But you know what, I’m so glad that we got even a short little glimpse into all of their lives again.

Love. Love. Love.