Cultural experiences with my friend Wood

by Richard on April 30, 2009

Wood has been on a roll, offering some fine critical reviews of his recent cultural experiences.

He’s the one in the White Hat is an account of the concert Bob Dylan gave at the Cardiff International Arena the other night. Wood, it must be said, was distinctly underwhelmed

Mid-tempo and bluesy was the only pace the band did. No variation in style or speed, really. No really slow ones, no fast ones, a few guitar solos, but nothing surprising, nothing that made me go, “Wow, I should listen to Bob Dylan more”. There were some spotlights and things, but not what you’d call a massively impressive light show. No one said anything or moved from their positions until Dylan said “Thank you” and introduced the band, just before ending the encore with “Blowin’ in the Wind”, which was the only time he came out from behind the keyboard.

The rumours of an angry mob bearing pitchforks and torches demanding Wood’s burning for heresy are untrue. Probably.

A visit to the cinema produced a more positive piece. His review of Let the Right One In convinced me that I need a trip to the Pictures while it is still on. (I really need to see a good horror film, having paid out my hard-earned to see The Haunting in Connecticut)

I expected to enjoy it, but I was unprepared for how unsettling, how touching it would be. In short, I thought it was ace.

It’s 1982. Oskar is a skinny blonde kid who gets bullied at school. He lives in a hideously depressing utilitarian tower block just outside of Stockholm. He spends most of his time alone, collecting news stories about murders and acting out revenge fantasies directed towards the bullies who torment him. There’s something a little bit wrong with Oskar. He makes friends with the new girl who moves in next door. She’s a vampire. Oskar doesn’t care, because he needs a friend. But she needs blood, and the incompetent serial killer who provides for her isn’t very good at it. She starts to hunt. The friends of one of her victims, a bunch of down-at-heel middle-aged folks from the same block, realise that something is very wrong.

The story unfolds; blood and death and young love ensue.

That’s sort of it. Except you’ve got a story so plainly told, so solidly structured that it’s immensely unsettling and touching at the same time. I mean, it’s really crystal clear, not a moment wasted, no loose ends, no spare flesh.

I’ll be watching his blog tomorrow for the promised post about scary movies. I think you should, too.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }


Wood 04.30.09 at 10:43 am

Hurrah for blog publicising. The Scary Films post’s all done and finished. It will appear by magic tomorrow morning.

I felt really guilty about the Dylan review, actually. I felt like I was kicking a puppy or something.


Wood 04.30.09 at 11:35 am

Note, BTW: Dylan played the International Arena, not the Millennium Stadium.


Richard 04.30.09 at 12:06 pm

Thanks for pointing that out - I’ve made the correction.


Rick O. 05.02.09 at 8:34 pm

Wonderful post by Wood Re: seeing The Bob, live. I saw him perform once, back in about 1985, when he was in his ‘Dylan as a by-golly Christian’ phase. I was not impressed; although the band tried their best, and he sang fairly lustily—for Dylan—the whole concert seemed overly choreographed, and well, underwhelming. Dylan’s singing was mostly semi-intelligible at best.

His early recordings, Highway 61 Revisted and Blonde on Blonde for example, are great listening. Hearing the Bob in the flesh, considerably less so. But having seen him live, I can honestly say that it IS something memorable…maybe something akin to being a witness to a rather poignant tragedy.

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