One of the things I’m going to be doing in this blog, over the next ten years (it never stops being silly, starting sentences with that defiant claim, but there you go), is trying to get the tiny little ‘virtual communty’ we’ve established here to work together on a variety of projects. There are already a couple, most noticeably the grand iPod mission, arising from the ten-year challenge. Now for something a bit different.
Because of my new fatherhood duties, my professional commitments, and the general slightly out-of-control-ness of my life, I’m conscious that I am constantly missing a load of TV series, films, books, experiences and so which everyone else is raving about. Or not even things which everyone’s raving about – just things which I might’ve enjoyed. Sometimes I catch up, but sometimes not. Quite honestly, the world is too stuffed full of music, art and books for anyone to have a chance of seeing/hearing/checking out even a quarter of it. This is why we have reviews, essentially: to distill this enormous mass of work into something comprehensible. Writing reviews is a bit like going to the toilet in the open air: liable to cause upset, but occasionally necessary. They are, though, only as reliable as the person writing them.
You’re a pretty reliable bunch of people. And some of you seemingly consume a hell of a lot of popular culture. And quite a few of you either are writers, or want to be, or want to be involved in the arts in some way.
So every week or so, I’m going to put up some things which I always intended to watch/read/etc, but never managed to. Anyone who’s seen, watched, etceteraed it, is then invited to write a little review and give it a mark out of 10. The review can be any length from a word to a minor dissertation, as long as it can be posted as a Comment. This way, we all get to chat about something fun; I get a quick summary of what some fairly trustworthy people thought of things I missed, and so I look more informed and can bluff at parties; I get recommendations of how to spend my scarce free time; and the numerous people out there who are amateur or indeed semi-pro critics get to flex their critical muscle. Everyone wins.
-Debate is good, so feel free to take issue with previous posts, but don’t slag anyone else’s opinion off, if you see what I mean.
-Try to confine yourself to the things I’ve nominated, rather than just dumping reviews of other stuff;
-Your tone can be deliberately upmarket like a real journalist, or you can say ‘it was amazing/shit’, it doesn’t matter at all; so don’t be deterred from joining in by worrying about your style;
-Rick (you know who you are), feel free to review the films with your full critical might;
-If you’ve not seen/heard etc any of the things, but want to have a go, feel free to guess, or say ‘I heard from my mate…’ etc, because this isn’t a real newspaper so we can afford a bit of unprofessionalism;
-Hmm, that’s it, I think. Not sure it was entirely worth beginning a ‘Rules’ section for that many. But there we go.
When a few days have passed for everyone to register their opinion, I will write a blog summing up what the Watson Blog-Reading Fraternity’s corporate verdict on each thing was, and its average mark out of 10 – that’s why I want you to score things, silly and reductionist as it may seem to the more serious-minded critic. Over the ten years we will build up a formidable body of unbiased writing on a wide range of cultural and other subjects. Hopefully.
Once again this is me pushing myself to be an optimist by convincing myself people will join in with something I’m keen on. Hope you will. I’ve done tiny versions of this experiment on Twitter and it was great. But this ain’t Twitter, Toto. Or something.
Right, here are this week’s items for your consideration:
A SERIOUS MAN (film)
A SINGLE MAN (film; I’m doing really badly seeing films with adjectives about men in the title)
GLEE (TV series)
SOPHIE DAHL (person; never quite understood who she is)
THE PREGNANT WIDOW by Martin Amis (novel)
ONE LIFE STAND by Hot Chip (album; I will get this anyway, but interested if anyone’s heard it)
CONTRA by Vampire Weekend (album; I already have this but want to see what others think)
WATER-SKIING (activity – I’ve never done it)
CRISPS (food; I have had these, in all honesty, but it’s just there in case someone feels left out by not being familiar with any of the others)
UPDATE 7pm, 23/03/10
A couple of things:
-‘A Simple Man’ should have been ‘A Single Man’. Thanks to those who were too polite to mention it, or too tired to notice it. I’ve now edited it, obviously.
-Don’t forget to give marks out of 10, if you want to be included in the Consensus. Obviously I can estimate a mark based on your comment, but still.
-Lastly, quite a few people haven’t come across any of the advertised things, so here are a couple more:
AN EDUCATION (film; I know I should have seen it by now. I know)
HOLLYOAKS (TV show. Never seen it ever, at all. Ever)
THE SEA by Corinne Bailey Rae (album. Assume she is quite dull, but that could be totally unfair).
Good luck. Mark x