You might’ve wondered what I’ve been up to the past couple months (I gave a hint something magical was on its way). It’s no secret I’m a fan of travel and the more I do it, the more I fall in love with the culture around it, the writing on display and the people creating the stories. So, I decided I wanted to become part of that community and when I decide something like that, it generally means creating a website.
Thus, I present, No Film Left.
That name might confuse you. It might make no sense. In reality, a website’s name isn’t really a concern for me. If anything, something non-stereotypical gets people clicking.
Anyway, for a bit of background, it’s good to read the About Page. Over the coming months you’ll see all sorts of content go up while this site remains a professional portfolio and Faces of London handles the photography.
It is only possible through your support I can do these things, so if you have the time, following on Twitter (@NoFilmLeft) and liking the Facebook page would be really appreciated. Comments and subscriptions via RSS are equally welcome.
Phew, a month since my last update (a review of On The Road). I’m busy with a personal project I’ll be sharing soon, but I did manage to find the time for a couple weeks in Europe. I didn’t take much photography, just some shots around Milan. The set’s available on Flickr here.
It works. Any film that adapts Jack Kerouac’s novel is always going to prove a difficult endeavour. It’s a winding tale of freedom, drink, drugs and blended sexuality which when put to film, risks losing the essence it commands. By packaging freedom on screen, you risk missing the book’s message, but as a factual realisation goes, it’s close to what it needs to be.
Full of strong performances and sweeping vistas, the film bounces around America with raw energy. Racing through the states, high on pot, life and promiscuous behaviour, its director has at least bottled some of the Beat spirit.
It was always going to be a troublesome film. Society is supposedly free from archaic traditionalism, but in some ways it’s as conservative as it’s ever been. The film isn’t for the faint hearted – sexuality is presented in its clearest form – a humanist love, male or female. Recreational drug use seems romantic, creative and right. Whether it’s bombing along at suicidal speeds in a stolen car or pilfering gas, breaking the law is merely a way to make it further down the road.
Amid the Proust, jazz, Benzedrine, orgies and sheer, unadulterated freedom, On The Road presents both sides of Post-War America – the era’s romanticism and also the Beat Generation’s destiny to fail as a cultural ethos.
Fans will be proud of the cinematography, scoring, acting and flittering narrative that cuts across America with exhaustive indifference. Travel and nomadic wandering is a way of life, not a six month break.
You either have it in your blood or you see a different film. Kerouac, Ginsberg and Neal Cassady (the true heroes) realised this before On The Road became the manifesto it was set to be.
On The Road is better reviewed not as a film, but more a way of life captured on screen. This is undeniably achieved in a clear, enthralling manner.
Infectious, wind-in-your-hair indifference to the world’s problems is the message here. When the road calls you it’s impossible to ignore. As Moriarty shows, boredom is the biggest devil here and while his end is lonesome sadness, like all those who pushed the counterculture existence, it’s more about the journey and the thrill that comes with it than the destination.
Dig it, from start to finish.
It’s safe to say the only bad thing ever to come out of Barcelona was Iniesta’s strike against Chelsea several years ago, (although who’s laughing now). Everything else about the Catalan city is perfect. Yes, Las Ramblas is known for pickpockets (word of advice, get some street smarts and you’ll be fine), and at the moment the whole of Spain is suffering from a horrific unemployment rate, but aside from that, the city chugs along offering sun, sea, fantastic food, beautiful women and good times.
Last week was the fifth time I’d visited. Thanks to a family connection in nearby Sant Cugat, I have an obvious reason to keep returning. Then again, even if I didn’t know anyone living there, the result would’ve been the same.
Unlike Madrid which parties as though the very activity is going out of fashion, Barcelona is a lot more laidback. In fact, so many books, articles, travelogues and TV shows have been written about the city that there’s not really much for me to say.
Arguably it has everything – very few things are missing from its repertoire. It’s rare for a city to live up to its hype. Often you’ll be unlucky with meals, hit a bad run of weather or just fail to click with the people. Barcelona seems to have a supernatural power to avoid all of these issues.
The only thing I’d not done before my latest visit was experience its nightlife. The first three times I came were for family reasons. We saw sights, but I was a lot younger so I wasn’t keen on taking in what I saw. When I came in January I managed to tick some of its impressive activities off my list.
The reason for not going out was because I was staying with family to keep costs down. This time, fresh from my success in Madrid, I went for a hostel (San Jordi Sagrada Familia) in an effort to meet people and to enjoy the city at night.
Friends’ recommendations are the best kind, and Phil’s hostel suggestion proved perfect. Much like the Madrid version, San Jordi runs club nights every evening. I say evening, but early mornings is a more accurate description (Barcelona is notorious for starting at around 12pm and that’s considered early).
Having now experienced a fair few sunrises, I can definitely say, like everything Barcelona-related, its nightlife lives up to the high standards the city sets itself. It might’ve been off season, but bars downtown were full of people and the main stretch of clubs, conveniently positioned on the beachfront, are a mix of super trendy and cheaper dancehalls.
What every club has in common is good atmosphere. In England I’ve really gone off nightclubs – the majority focus on getting people as drunk as possible, are filled with vile people and play commercial crap that must drive DJs insane.
People go out in Barcelona to have fun. Sure, there’s alcohol, especially when there are so many tourists involved, but overall it’s an experience that leaves you fulfilled, not questioning why you put yourself through a night like that.
I could go on, but I’d be veering into thoughts that don’t strengthen this argument. I think the best thing about Barcelona, even when I’m working, is that I feel totally relaxed. I’ve always waxed lyrical about the importance of the sun and how happy it makes people.
I’m a firm believer in the theory that if England was subject to the weather of the Mediterranean, its national traits wouldn’t be self-depreciative moaning and constantly talking about the weather. Instead we’d all just be happy and welcoming to everyone we see. There certainly wouldn’t be any page three Metro stories about whether we’ve got a week of good weather on the way.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated this. I went to London Zoo again and took some great photos last week. There’s not too much else to tell. I’ve just got back from Alton Towers which was fun. The above shot was taken there (with Instagram) on my phone. It’s a pretty decent photo. Say what you will about iPhone filter photography. It makes a great photo.