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October 25, 2016:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, this week is flying by, like a gazelle doing an impression of Shirley Temple whilst riding a unicycle. It’s pretty amazing, actually, this gazelle doing an impression of Shirley Temple whilst riding a unicycle. In other news, has anyone noticed that we are now truly living in the time of the amateur? We are. We are truly living in the time of the amateur. My friend David Wechter is working on a new reality series – not for a network, mind you, no, this new reality series is for You Tube Red, and yet it has a very large budget, the same as if it was for a network. And the star? A You Tube person with millions of followers. That’s the world in which we now live. Forget training, forget craft, forget talent – anyone can go on You Tube and suddenly have millions of followers – how they find these millions of followers or how these millions of followers find them is anyone’s guess. I watch some of these amateurs and they’re embarrassing. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen in all my days. Networks, both regular and cable, are scrambling to hire these amateurs strictly based on their You Tube following or their Twitter following, thinking that will translate into an audience. We’ll have to wait a bit and see how that all works out, but in the end I don’t think it will work because people are fickle and will just move on to the next hip amateur thing they can laugh AT rather than with. That’s where this will all fail. Because these amateurs aren’t building a career or talent, they just do whatever comes into their little heads and people watch. There’s enough crap on cable and regular TV for a lifetime of watching – I honestly don’t understand how anyone has time to watch everything – Netflix and Amazon and Hulu and Vudu and every other service now doing original programming. It wouldn’t matter if was ALL brilliant, which it isn’t – who has TIME? But, it is what it is and there’s nothing to be done about it, other than hope it all ends at some point.

Yesterday was a pretty okay day – please keep all those most excellent vibes and xylophones for no irritants coming, please – we had none yesterday. I only got seven hours of sleep but it was a good sleep so that was okay. Once up, I answered e-mails, the helper came by and got some invoices, then I had a very quick and easy work session for the Kritzerland show, after which the piano tuner came and tuned the piano, which is better than him tuning the fork. He hasn’t been for three months and was surprised how well the last tuning held up. Then I finally had time to go get some food – a chopped Eyetalian salad with red wine vinegar for the dressing, a bagel, and a side of bacon, all good, and all pretty low-calorie and well under 1000 calories. Then I picked up a few packages, then came home.

I did some work on the computer whilst listening to a lot of William Alwyn music. Like the other composers I’ve been rediscovering, I never know how I’ll react to hearing music I haven’t heard in a decade or two, which is probably the last time I played all the Alwyn Lyrita CDs. Well, like Ikuma Dan, Mr. Alwyn just speaks to me. His music is, for me, breathtaking and brilliant and alive. I just love his musical language, his sense of musical design – just wonderful stuff. His five symphonies, all of which I listened to, are masterful and I’ll listen to them again at some point soon. His other pieces are also swell. I first discovered Mr. Alwyn’s music not as a classical composer but as a film composer, back when I was thirteen. I went to my beloved Stadium Theater to see what was Gary Cooper’s final film, The Naked Edge, a nifty little thriller I really enjoyed. Mr. Alwyn composed the score and I enjoyed it so much I took note of his name. Of course, not a note of the music from that film has ever been recorded, and the film hasn’t had a legitimate DVD release in this country. I do have a decent DVD from Spain I think.

Over the years, I saw many other Brit films and was surprised to see just how many classics he’s scored – Odd Man Out, Fallen Idol, A Night to Remember, The Winslow Boy, The Magic Box, The Rocking Horse Winner, Swiss Family Robinson and many others. Thankfully, there are three volumes of his film music on Chandos – the first of which is the best. The two subsequent volumes are conducted by someone who simply is not up to the task, a shame, as he now seems the go-to guy for all the Chandos film music recordings. And happily, Lyrita wasn’t the only label devoted to Alwyn – Chandos also recorded all the stuff on the Lyrita albums (not as good) but there’s additional material that is only on the Chandos CDs – two piano concertos, a violin concerto and more. Then I did a two-and-a-half mile jog. After that, I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on Blu and Ray, yet another wacky film by Larry Cohen, this one called Special Effects, starring Eric Bogosian and Zoe Tamerlis. It’s a weird film from start to finish, but like all Cohen’s films, there’s something oddly fun about watching. The acting is pretty horrible straight down the line, and the synth score is cheese personified. And yet, I watched it straight through. There’s never been anyone quite like Larry Cohen.

Then I moved onto another William, this one the amazing William Walton, another classical composer I first discovered from his film scores to the Olivier Shakespeare films, Hamlet, Henry V, and Richard III. He only had one Lyrita CD devoted to his music, and it includes lots of shorter pieces, all very good. I will get around to the symphonies in the coming days, plus his great violin concerto – those I have on RCA CDs. I am thoroughly enjoying my time with all this wonderful music.

Today, I have a production meeting at LACC followed by a meeting with our sound person. Then I’ll come back to the Valley, eat, hopefully pick up packages, jog, write, and I have no doubt listen to more music and most likely watch a motion picture of some sort.

The rest of the week is meetings and meals and going and doing as well as doing and going.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a production meeting, a sound meeting, I must eat, hopefully pick up packages, jog, write, listen, and watch. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Mr. Gary Cooper? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, after which I shall arise and live in the land of the professional rather than the time of the amateur.

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