No promises

No promises, no manifesto, no wild claims. Just an update.

I’ve been quietly assessing my online life recently. The recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica farrago that has been chuntering quietly in the background for over a year made me consider what I share and what I click on. Also, MostlyFilm has gone into a permanent hiatus. The reason for that? Lots of things.

Maintaining a blog is hard

Maintaining a group blog is even harder. I spent three months in the summer in the editor’s seat, hustling for previews, nagging writers, writing filler stuff when everybody was too busy to contribute, coming up with something original to say about yet another cartoon blockbuster or sensitive portrayal of rich English folks having a crisis in a gite. Screenings were always on at the wrong time, or in the wrong place, or I just didn’t fancy watching a hagiographic treatment of the life of Dennis Skinner. No really, I love the man, but the thought of watching a load of archive footage, followed by people telling you what you had just seen made me want to break out a copy of Triumph of the Will. In the end, I just gave up and handed the torch to someone else while I spent August whooping it up in New Zealand.

We had seven years as an completely unfunded online publication that relied solely on the goodwill and occasional brilliance of its contributors. A few of us are published writers and academics. We even had the odd director and producer write for us. And we got an interview with Kieran Evans just before the launch of his first feature film (which I watched again last night- Kelly+Victor– it’s really very good you know. And FYI, BAFTAs are surprisingly bulky little buggers). And Nitin Sawhney threatened us with legal action!

Writing and editing three articles a week was great, but it was also fucking hard work for very little reward.

We were all burned out after seven years and I think we were afraid of repeating ourselves, of becoming tired and cliched. After all, we don’t have to do this: we’ve got jobs and families and other stuff to do.

The landscape has changed

When we started, the idea of a bunch of online randoms writing about screen-based entertainment wasn’t exactly new, but the blogging universe was full of happy amateurs doing the same thing. Now there are hundreds and thousands of professional bloggers, marketising their clickbait content and optimising their search engines for fun and profit. I’ve nothing against them – we’ve all got livings to make – but our funny, thoughtful, sweary articles were drowning in a sea of cut-and-paste…blearh…and the only way out would have been to join them.

Trouble is, I’ve still got a transcript of a Q&A with Ben Wheatley (hosted by the brilliant Paul Duane in Dublin last year) with nowhere to go. We never got clearance from Mr Wheatley’s office to publish and, you know…it’s a fucking brilliant conversation between two wonderfully grumpy old gits about the mechanics of film production, and I have absolutely no idea what to do with it.


Amy Sings the Blues


Asif Kapadia’s documentary about the life and death of Amy Winehouse has been a fixture in the London top ten since its release. It has been praised for its sensitivity and dedication to a ‘true’ picture of Winehouse. But does it just follow a standard narrative for jazz musicians in the movies? Sarah and Martin Slade compare and contrast with the biopic of another jazz legend, Billie Holiday.


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Days like these?

I got invited to review “We Are Many” a documentary about the anti-war demos of 2003, though looking back to my blog posts at the time, I think I was more concerned about the death of my cat. Anyway, this is what I thought of the documentary…


Sarah Slade watches We Are Many – a new documentary about popular opposition to the Iraq war – and she can’t help noticing what gets left out.


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