Around and about

March 6, 2011

While Antarctica Month was in full swing in February, there were a number of ‘blogging moments’ that I let pass so as not to interrupt the theme. Now that March has arrived, there is opportunity to revisit those topics, albeit briefly. Here is a collection of minor items that caught my attention.

*****

David Bentley Hart, who now seems to be writing for First Things with fair regularity, is a delight to read. Two recent cases in point: a hilarious and high-minded damnation of golf (a nice pendant to his earlier laudatory philosophical essay on baseball), and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, an instructive and thoughtful essay on the significance of Heidigger for modern philosophy. These essays are normally only available to subscribers, but a short-term policy change means that they are currently open to all comers. It would be a shame to miss the opportunity.

*****

A few months ago I noted that a conference at Oxford had been convened on the topic “The Holiness of G.K. Chesterton”. The proceedings of that conference have now appeared in print, with contributions from William Oddie (Chesterton biographer), Aidan Nichols, Ian Ker, John Saward, and others. It looks like a good book to have.

*****

The Grammy Awards were handed out in February, and, much to my surprise (and I think to their surprise too), Arcade Fire won the ‘Album of the Year’ accolades. I’ve taken notice of Arcade Fire a few times over the years, and it was gratifying — even amazing — to see them succeeding on such a big stage. I think their most recent record, The Suburbs, is not as strong as their previous records, but, on the other hand, I would still have picked it over the other ‘Album of the Year’ nominees, which ranged from bland to downright awful.

My biggest question about the Grammy awards this year: ‘Where in the world was Taylor Swift?’ So far I haven’t been given a good explanation.

On the day after the Grammys, can you guess which album topped the sales charts at both Amazon and iTunes? It was Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More, which was my choice, you may recall, for ‘Best Album of 2010′. The band had a short and cramped performance during the Grammy broadcast, and it seems they impressed. Amusingly, they didn’t actually win any awards that night.

*****

The folks at Image Journal have published a list of films they are calling the ‘Arts and Faith Top 100′. This is intended to be a guide to the finest films addressing themselves, in one way or another, to the intersection of art and faith. There are a wide range of films represented; the list is clearly the work of serious cinephiles. Of the 100 films, I have seen only 21, including just two of their top ten. Some of the films I have never heard of before. I was gratified to see several of my favourites on the list, including Magnolia and Ostrov. Unless I am mistaken they have not named a single comedy; that does seem to be an oversight.

*****

Another movie note: a film that I have been anticipating for some time has finally been released in North America. Of Gods and Men, about the lives and deaths of a group of Cistercian monks in Algeria in the 1990s, has been getting strong reviews. It is showing here in town, but sadly I don’t think I’ll have an opportunity to see it. I do want to support films like this, though, so I’ll do what I can: I encourage you to see it in the cinema. Yes, you.

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3 Responses to “Around and about”

  1. Mac Says:

    I recently bought Arcade Fire’s Funeral, out of curiosity and because it was only $4 or so at Amazon. I like it quite well though I don’t think it’s going to be one of my favorite albums. I’d like to hear more of Mumford and Sons–the one song I’ve heard was very good.

  2. cburrell Says:

    Yes, I prefer Mumford et al. to Arcade Fire. If you still have your eMusic subscription, the Mumfords are available that way.


  3. [...] film Des Hommes et Des Dieux (translated, and transposed, into English as Of Gods and Men). I noted this film a few weeks ago when it first appeared in theatres. It tells the true story of a small [...]


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