“Amy” 2015

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I recently went to see the documentary film about Amy Winehouse simply called “Amy”. I was curious to see it as I had always enjoyed her music and found her a sort of fascinating creature. The film depicts the life and death of the singer as well as her struggle with fame and addiction. It is directed by Asif Kapadia who also directed “Senna”. The movie has a slightly Shakespearean like quality to it from the get go because of course the audience already knows how it ends. This doesn’t stop us from willing her on or from hoping against hope that someone will ride in on a white horse and change her fate.

The film opens with a home movie featuring a 14 year old Winehouse singing Happy Birthday to her long time friend Lauren Gilbert. This footage serves as a quick reminder to the audience of the kind of talent that Winehouse possessed, a beautiful voice that was really beyond her years. From there on the film is a collection of mostly audio interviews with family members, friend, producers, managers etc, along side unseen video footage that is often accompanied by Amy’s own music in the background. Kapadia cleverly weaves together over a 100 interviews and video footage in a way that provides the audience with a rare insight into her life and career. From the outside it seems like the age old story of someone who was gripped by fame at an early age and died from addiction and access but in reality it’s not quite that simple. The old cliche doesn’t quite fit in this case. Continue reading

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Mina Loy

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Mina Loy is one of the writers on our Modernity’s course this year. I have to admit she is one that I was not familiar with before the seminar. I was very intrigued by her because she is not the typical writer you would expect to encounter on the syllabi’s. For starters she had no formal or classical training whatsoever. She is an ambiguous character. Her education seems to have come from her reading, traveling and indeed from her own writing. She is also considered to be a feminist poet. Many of her poems seem to speak to many of women’s issues of the time. These issues are very relevant and contribute to many of the feminist arguments that still exist today.  Although she is regarded as a feminist writer her work was highly regarded at the time but she seemed to fade away slightly as time went on.

In addition to the class on Loy and H.D. we also had the opportunity to attend a seminar on Loy given by Sarah Hayden. The title of this seminar was “No Cleanly Matter: The Artist as Degenerate/ The Degenerate Artist in Mina Loy’s Insel.” “Insel” is Mina Loy’s novel. This novel captures a moment in time between a poet and a painter. It takes place in Paris in the 1930’s and it is an examination of two artists and the development and creation of their work. Even though It takes place at an interesting time in history it seems to focus more on the interaction between these two artists and on their work. Hayden also presented an interesting dilemma in her work as she is working closely on about forty pieces of paper that have been discovered  in Loy’s earliest manuscript. These are all hand written by Loy and offer further insight into her as a writer and into her book. This is a wonderful discovery but Hayden is presented with the difficulty of choosing what pieces of this treasure to present to the outside world. Continue reading