The postie has been bringing me a right bag of treats lately. Here’s a selection.

Big thanks to Lara, Felix, Jesse, Annushka, and Philippa!

The top pic shows some absolutely delicious Oxford Kitchen Yarn’s sock yarn in the plum colourway. The colour (which is not quite true in the photo) has a precise and very evocative childhood association for me — of blackcurrant jam mixed into rice pudding (thanks so much, L!) You see here also lovely buttons, badges and ribbons, as well as the Fantastical Reality Radio Show activity booklet which has brought me untold joy over the past few days. It has also made me strangely — nay, not a little obsessively — aware of ordinary household sounds. Mr B was bemused to discover me with a dictaphone, recording the sounds of making a pot of tea. And you’ll see from the last photo that I’m already putting Philippa’s red grossgrain to good use. More of this later.

Meanwhile, miscellaneous weekend things.
A sunday lunch of bread and beer:

I made the bread (unusual, this, as I don’t bake much) but not the beer. It is a dark mild – much lighter and more refreshing than it looks in that picture – delicious.

Also, I made a keyring with a bee in it. Just because I could.

did you know you can get a bag of blank keyrings for around 3p each on ebay? well you can . . .

Finally, something to see and something to avoid from the past couple of days.

ONE TO SEE: The Writing in The Sand, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Amber Films (1991).
Having frequented the Side Gallery, cinema and cafe in Newcastle, and admiring the work of the Amber collective, I was looking forward to this DVD immensely, and it did not disappoint. Built out of of Konttinen’s fabulous photographs of the beaches and people of the North East, The Writing on the Sand is a miracle of editing: narrative-driven and highly cinematic. I am fond of British documentaries about leisure, and particularly seaside-associated leisure, but am often troubled by how treatments of this theme patronise their subjects. Lindsay Anderson’s O! Dreamland is a case in point (much as I love Lindsay Anderson). Written in the Sand, though, is a frank and affectionate, exuberant and celebratory portrait of people enjoying themselves outside. It’s really a great piece of work. And, as well as being a stunning document of the changeable and well-loved beaches and climate of the North East over the past 20 years; and providing an evocative, poetic critique of the effects of marine pollution, this short film also also conveys a very powerful message about the importance of public (and particularly recreational) space, and the threat to it from the wholescale privatisation of the British landscape — our beaches in particular. Eat that, Donald Trump (together with your plans for turning the dunes of Balmedie into golfing-hell)

I’m now very tempted to buy this book of Konttinen’s original photographs.

Why, when I read the blurb (Michael Jackson connects with Marilyn Monroe on a Scottish island retreat for celebrity impersonators) did I think it might be a good idea to go and see Mister Lonely? Why, having disliked with a passion every other film I’ve seen by Harmony Korine did I still go and see it? I suspect the presence of Samantha Morton swung it for me, but that was two hours of my life I will never get back again. If I start going on about just how bad a film this was I’ll never stop . . .but it was seriously vacuous twaddle, made all the worse the worse for thinking that it actually had something to say. I soon got bored of noticing James Fox and David Blaine, or wondering what on earth Werner Herzog was doing there &c &c, and had to divert myself for the last hour and a half of the film (groan) by thinking about the design and construction of the lacy cardigan worn by the Shirley Temple impersonator. One final thing, though: by anybody’s standards, Diego Luna makes a terrible Michael Jackson.