Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Joan Capdevila scores a racist own goal.

say no to racism? Not according to Capdevila's twitter.

The Spanish left-back and Euro 2008 and World Cup winner Joan Capdevila of Villareal recently joined twitter. This in itself is nothing special; many, many footballers have taken to the 140-charactered-social network, from Jack Wilshere tweeting about his penchant for gossip girl, to Kaka wishing good vibes from god to his supporters and fans. Furthermore, footballers and free speech is an obvious accident waiting to happen, and already there have been controversies aplenty surrounding footballers and their tweets, whether it be Ryan Babel’s Howard Webb twitter picture suggesting the referee to be a Manchester United fan, or Arsenal’s talented-but-not-altogether-PR-savvy goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny tweeting his delight at Chelsea’s Ashley Cole’s penalty miss, a few days later incurring the ultimate hubris himself when he himself was involved in a mix-up with Koscielny that led to Arsenal losing the Carling Cup final. In the big bad world of the world wide web, a little diplomacy goes a long, long way. This point has been forgotten frequently by footballers in the past, but none more so than by Capdevila on Saturday. He tweeted this:

Which translates to “I love the jokes you send me! By the way, today I asked myself: If a Chinese woman has a 'clio', what does she have? A car or a child?"

(the joke is essentially a play on the age-old stereotype that Chinese people cannot differentiate between their “l”s and “r”s.)

I am horrified at this, not only as a Chinaman, but even more greatly, as a football fan. Footballers are role models. Capdevila should have known a lot, lot better than this. The tweet was discussed on a football community I frequent, ontd_football, and amongst the discussions, shit went down. For every excellent, intelligent point made was an equally stupid, bigoted comment trying to justify the joke, saying that it was “in the nature” of Spaniards to jest at ethnic minorities, it’s not “proper racism” and by reprimanding them for it, we were stifling their voices.

To which I say, mierda. Capdevila’s tweet, whilst not overtly calling Chinese people any racist names, was nonetheless, fundamentally racist. There’s several types of racism, explicit racism, which is easier to detect and call out the perpetrator for being a bigoted idiot, and there’s this sort – the more ~jokey type, which, if criticized for, many would just try to defend as being “banter~~~”. But it isn’t, not one bit. If anything, it's more harmful that explicit racism, because the former is obviously wrong, whereas casual racism like Capdevila's, with all its sinister undertones, can be tried to brush under the carpet with the guise of "oh, you too sensitive, he was just kidding! Sit down!"

I’m not trying to pin all of the world’s racism on Joan Capdevila’s tweet, far from it. In fact, I feel that that tweet – and the fact that he felt he could so casually publish it (it was then re-tweeted by over 100 people, more’s the pity) shows a sad fact; that for all the talking of a unified, globalized, more diverse community, racism is still hugely present in the world today. A few years ago, on Celebrity Big Brother, when Danielle Lloyd said of Shilpa Shetty “I think she should just fuck off home”, that was racist. As is the ~lad’s humour~ of Top Gear, with their persistent racial comments about Mexico like it's no big. These sort of things, some people might perceive as harmless and inoffensive, but they’re anything but, let me tell you.

Now, it is my opinion that Capdevila really needs to be called out for this tweet, and punished for it. It would set a precedent, and show that this kind of offensive humour is not ok, not one bit. Thankfully the majority of other footballers, for all their inanities, haven’t tweeted anything else like this, but even the fact that there’s still one football tweeting racist jokes and getting away with it, when such a big fuss is made out of obliterating racism out of football, well, FIFA, talk about mixed signals.

Racism, kick it out? If footballers continue to mindlessly tweet “jokes” like this, kicking and screaming its way back in, more like.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What are the musical references in Ernest Tomlinson's Fantasia on Auld Lang Syne?!

This is a beautiful, whimsical and very busy piece of music which apparently references 152 works. All I can spot are a few!

- Beethoven’s Ode to Joy
- Chopin's Marche fun├Ębre
- Schubert's Trout quintet
- Bach's Wohl mir, dass ich Jesum habe
- Adagio from Spartacus
- Haydn’s Surprise Symphony
- Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake
- "This Old Man" - nursery rhyme
- O Come All Ye Faithful
- The Can Can

Care to have a listen and see if you recognise any of the references?

Monday, March 07, 2011

My Favourite Performances of 2010.

Standard, a yearly tradition of mine! I must re-iterate that these are my *fave* performances of last year, by no means am I trying to claim they're the *best* ones. For example, I recognise that Colin Firth was pretty good in The King's Speech, but it didn't do anything for me. Hence, performances that I bladdy loved.

I recognised Sheen's face throughout the film, but couldn't quite put a name to it, before realising that it was "her off Fanny Hill", wherein she played a prim hotel owner. In Another Year, she and Jim Broadbent make for the stable, comfortable married couple who are the centrepiece for some more dysfunctional characters through the course of the year. Sheen plays a likeable woman with a touch of smugness to perfection and it is the painfully accurate performances in Another Year that made it the touching film it is.

Maaaan, when I was trawling the net for images of Bonham-Carter as Bellatrix in the seventh Harry Potter film, the image I wanted the most was of her - in my opinion - best scene in this film - when she was torturing Emma Watson. Her acting in that scene was perfection, it capture Bellatrix's sadistic evilness to a T. I've developed quite a penchant for rating performances in the HP movies (Tom Felton made the list last year), and it's no coincidence that so far the two performances I've rated have been portrayals of Slytherin characters. Nasty pieces of work they may be, but playing the bitch is so much more fun than playing the angel. HBC in Harry Potter >>>>>>>>> HBC in The King's Speech.

Mila Kunis is a flawless queen, and I am one of the few who actually believed her to be stronger than Natalie Portman in this film, who, despite being very good, I feel didn't quite merit her Oscar win over performances like Michelle Williams'. Anyway, Mila was the epitome of smouldering sexuality in Black Swan, a performance so sexy that I felt the need to devote an entire blog entry to it. Get it, goddess. (note, Mila's second time in being on this list in three years).

From a woman to performed cunnilingus to a man who performed cunnilingus, it's somewhat of a disgrace that Gosling was completely overlooked at the Oscars. His performance was so gut-wrenching, so moving, so raw, that I wanted it to work with Cindy. But, in films as sometimes in life, we can't always get our happy endings, but such is the emotional gravita of Gosling's turn that, when it didn't, I genuinely felt gutted for his character. :(

Right, quiet you! :p Chloe Moretz was hollering c-bombs in 2010, Justin Bieber had girls in a frenzy and Smith's lil sis Willow Smith was whipping her hair back and forth, but it's Jaden Smith's straightforward, gutsy performance as the boy who learns karate to fight off bullies was as engaging a child performance as you'll see all year. Much of his performance owed to the rapport he had with Jackie Chan, who actually gave a very moving performance indeed; his scene in the car during the anniversary of his wife & daughter's death moved me to tears. Much more than just karate, trust me.

As swaggerous, strong, and gritful a girl with plaits as I've ever seen in cinema.

Oh, Andy.

I am so, so, so glad Christian Bale won the Oscar this year for his amaze performance as Dicky Eklund, a fighter who has flaws from top to bottom, but remains a magnetic watch. His gentle chemistry with on-screen brothers Mark Wahlberg and mother Melissa Leo are completely riveting and convincing, his drug-related mistakes are as hilarious to watch as they are painful, and the scene wherein he sees his son on the TV screen from prison is absolutely heartbreaking.  The Fighter was a somewhat predictable - but still winning - film, but Christian Bale's energy as Eklund meant that I was captivated throughout.

Interesting tidbit that only interests me: he was born in Haverfordwest, where one of my best mates at Uni is from! \o/

Leonardo DiCaprio never fails to be fine, but after he starred in my second least favourite film of 2010, Inception, I found his shaggability slightly on the wane. Nonetheless, if I remember that he was in a much superior movie that was released earlier in 2010,  Shutter island, I can just about still love him. A big motif of Shutter Island is what is reality and what is imagination, and it is a testament to DiCaprio's performance that even at the end, we were never really sure.

I watched Another Year yetserday, and it's a shame I didn't do so before I'd compiled my favourite films of 2010 list, because it would have easily gotten fourth place (a phrase that I hope I can say of my team Chelsea football club, heh heh heh), thus knocking off Streetdance 3D and hence shielding the list from some of the snarking I got from my bezzo Luke. :p But yeah, delightful, honest, sweet movie, and Lesley Manville, to me, was even more of a centrepiece than Ruth  Sheen & Jim Broadbent's married couple. I thought that Imelda Staunton's devastatingly real cameo at the start of the film would hold the title for best performance in the film, but from the moment I came to watch Lesley Manville as a jittery, insecure, aging woman ala Blanche DuBois who just wants to love and be loved, I knew I was wrong. A bit of Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky, a bit of Vivien Leigh, this is an acting tour-de-force. I pitied her, I found her irksome, I cringed with her, but, above all, I felt for her. There's your amazing performance.