The Betterment Society met yesterday to discuss the summer selection of book, film, album, poet and artist. The result were mixed, with some choices splitting opinions and others universally loved. I will attempt to sum up some of the views.
Remarkably, YL had never seen Psycho before, although was familiar with the visual imagery of the shower scene, and the Bernard Herrmann soundtrack of shrieking violins. T&B had seen it, but not for some time. Both enjoyed the film and noted the visual and aural tension that built throughout the film, and the clues about what was to come and the multitude of visual references. Beautifully shot with a plot that drew you in as a viewer, despite it’s screwed up nature.
T&B: 8 YL: 8 Total: 16
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A book that generated a discussion about what individual seek out in a good book, and how this can reflect personal circumstances and mood. YL managed to finish the book, but it was as much of a physical trudge as the story that is portrayed in the novel. T&B didn’t even get a third of the way through. Both recognised that portrayal of bleak oblivion was done exceptionally well. However, is this a book to take pleasure from? Definitely not. Is this a book to pack in order to enhance your summer holiday? Again definitely not.
T&B: 3 YL: 6 Total: 9
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
A reversal of past experience of Coleridge compared to Psycho. YL had studied some Coleridge at school, in particular Kubla Khan. T&B had never experience Coleridge, but had seen him as part of the romantic poets that may be worth exploring. Neither had much chance to fully explore Coleridge’s work (which will lead to a small change of approach to future poets) by both agreed that The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was not easy to grasp given it’s archaic language. YL still held a soft spot Kubla Khan, but had not had a chance to explore some of the other work. Noted the interest in the natural work, weather patterns and the like that perpetuate his poetry.
T&B: 5 YL: 6 Total: 11
With the help a compendium published by Taschen the works of Caravaggio were explored. This was an artist that T&B already loved and compared their use of light to that of Edward Hopper. The rebellious nature of Caravaggio was clear in many of his work, together with the often highly unconventional was in which subjects were portrayed. Favourite works? T&B: St Jerome Writing. YL: a choice between Martha and Mary Magdalene and the unusual Medusa painted on a shield.
T&B: 9 YL: 7 Total: 16
Elbow: The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
Hands down the favourite of this selection. Indeed for T&B it has been an ongoing soundtrack to car journeys. Less so for YL but by far some of the best music to be released so far this year. The deep rich sounds that Elbow develop, with clever use of wider orchestration, such as the brass on My Sad Captains. Each song is carefully crafted and distinct from each other at at time symphonic. T&B was going to give this a 10 out of 10, but knocked a point off because the opening track, This Blue World, was not quite up to scratch.
T&B: 9 YL: 9 Total: 18