Pluck : Track 2 - Cinema Haze
“Cinema Haze, haven’t been outside of it
In twenty two days, my brain is fried in it……”
It’s a tough job really, passing judgement on current, cultural output.
I remember a TV reviewer of a UK newspaper severely panning “The Office”, after the first couple of episodes in the late 90’s (for convenience, I’ll say I can’t remember the reviewer’s name….). I think most would agree that was wide of the mark. Another, more recent situation comedy from the BBC, “Mrs Brown’s Boys”, is one that divides opinion sharply – most critics dislike it whilst a large swathe of the public loves it (I’m not a fan!). This may or may not explain why it keeps getting re-commissioned.
In the world of film, there is a long list of movies which were derided on release, for one reason or another, many of which have undergone quite radical reassessment since then (The Beatles’ own “Magical Mystery Tour” springs to mind). There’s a site I found called Best Life – I didn’t search too extensively to be honest (https://bestlifeonline.com/bad-reviews-classic-movies/). They present such a list, which is moderately entertaining, but the subjective nature of what is “good” or “bad” often intervenes in these discussions. A bad review of a “great” Star Wars film wouldn’t get much sympathy from me, but those Star Wars fans out there…..well, I imagine they might be a trifle peeved to hear that.
Here’s a few examples from the Best Life list:
JAWS (Dir : Steven Spielberg, 1975) – “It's a measure of how the film operates that not once do we feel particular sympathy for any of the shark's victims… It puts good actors to the test. They have to work very hard just to appear alive.” Vincent Canby, The New York Times
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (Dir : Frank Darabont, 1994) – “I don't mean to be cynical, but isn't prison life supposed to be a little less nostalgic than this? Ed Gonzalez, Slant
VERTIGO (Dir : Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) – “The old master has turned out another Hitchcock-and-bull story in which the mystery is not so much who done it as who cares.” Time Magazine
In “Cinema Haze”, I wanted to write a song about a reviewer whose output is generally destructive, but whose personal history might explain why they’re so consistently nasty. Such details don’t tend to become public knowledge – and I think we should feel sorry for the arts hack who is carrying any bitter baggage like this (unless you’re the poor gink on the end of their vitriol, I suppose). If anyone reviews this song less than splendidly, we’ll all know why won’t we, folks?
I particularly like this song largely because it’s a little less frenetic than most of the others on the album and I quite like the guitar solo! This involved my Japanese Fender Strat, using a Zoom multi effects patch through my miked-up Fender Tweed Deluxe amp. Both effects and amp have long since been sold……..