Tuesday, February 21, 2012

MediaWeek (V5, N8): Movies from Books, Digital Music, Coriolanus, Larsson & Journalists + More

From the Independent "Hollywood ate my Novel"
Novelists reveal what it’s like to have their book turned into a movie

Literary adaptations rule this year's Oscar nominations. But, for an author, having a book transformed by movie magic isn't always pleasant. Five writers tell Charlotte Philby what it's like to see your creation 'brought to life'.

Improving digital music but will we notice? (Economist):
Rock-and-roll, as usual, is leading the way. Bands such as Pearl Jam and Metallica have used FLAC to sell recordings of their concerts online. The rocker John Mellencamp issued a CD in 2008, which came with a lossless high-definition version on a DVD to demonstrate what the music should really sound like. In 2009, the Canadian singer/songwriter Neil Young ("the Godfather of Grunge") released the first of what is to be a ten-volume set of archives on Blu-ray Disc as well as CD and DVD. With its lossless codecs, Blu-ray can play high-resolution music way beyond a CD’s dynamic range.

Whether the listening public can actually hear the subtleties being conveyed is another matter. The perceived quality of a recording depends on what the listener’s ears have been trained on (as well as the quality of the audio equipment and the ambient noise). Jonathan Berger, a professor of music at Stanford University in California, gets his incoming students every year to listen to a variety of recordings compressed with different algorithms. Each year, their preference for music in MP3 format increases.
 Is Coriolanus relevant today? (Intelligent Life):
And yet a doubt persists: how “relevant” can this Shakespeare play be made to the present? Coriolanus’s tragedy begins after his return as a victorious general, when his mother (Vanessa Redgrave) and his mentor (Brian Cox) want to capitalise on his military success by turning him into a politician as consul to the Senate. Coriolanus succumbs to their idea, but won’t play the part that political success requires. He won’t flatter the rabble he despises, won’t woo them, refuses to dissemble. His political opponents—two consummate performances by James Nesbitt and Paul Jesson—will of course do all these things and more. They know how to play the crowd, when to make it angry and when to please it, and naturally they win. We’re familiar with this depiction of politics as a tactical game played out by self-seeking hypocrites; physically at least, Jesson’s Brutus reminded me of Tony Blair’s smooth legal chum, Lord (Charlie) Falconer. It’s Coriolanus who is the unfamiliar figure in the film, the protagonist who tests our understanding and forfeits our sympathy because there is so very little in him to like. 
From the Guardian: Radical alternatives to conventional publishing (Guardian):
A new breed of radical publisher has emerged in recent years, with writers responding very quickly to current events. Here, some of their authors explain what marks them out.

One of the most exciting radical presses at the moment is Zer0 books. A shoestring operation begun in 2009 by the novelist Tariq Goddard, its impressive backlist covers philosophy, political theory, music criticism, contemporary cinema and much more. Its highlights include: Ivor Southwood's mordant Non-Stop Inertia, about the culture of precariousness that defines the modern workplace; and Marcello Carlin's The Blue In The Air, gorgeously constructed essays about pop, written by a widower while waiting for his new wife to fly over from Toronto so that they can start their new life together.
Zer0 has been particularly good at identifying a nexus of young, savvy writers – such as Owen Hatherley, Laurie Penny, Nina Power and Mark Fisher (better known as K-Punk) – whose work had previously surfaced mainly on blogs and whose bylines now regularly appear but in mainstream newspapers and journals.

It's been forever since we read a Steig Larsson article but the Columbia Journalism Review has stated our appetite (CJR):
But what make the trilogy so valuable to the cause of journalism are the things it gets right. Over the course of more than 1,750 pages, its author captures a remarkable number of the challenges that doing honest journalism involves, as well as the reasons it matters whether people keep doing it. This is significant, given the profession’s apparent inability to make a compelling case for itself, at least in the eyes of the readers, viewers, and listeners who do not appear to be concerning themselves terribly much with its rapid disappearance. The journalists’ credo can be found in the instructions offered by Erika Berger, Blomkvist’s lover, best friend, and editor, to one of the young writers in her employ: “Your job description as a journalist is to question and scrutinize critically—never to repeat claims uncritically, no matter how highly placed the sources in the bureaucracy. Don’t ever forget that.” This could sound like the kind of pabulum that has entered into the speeches of all the gruff, quietly heroic newspaper editors once concocted by Hollywood, from Humphrey Bogart in Deadline, USA through Jason Robards in All the President’s Men. But in Larsson’s gothic and twisted murder mysteries, the attention to journalistic detail with which readers must identify to make it to the end can only endear them to the men and women sufficiently dedicated to Berger’s lofty mission statement to stick with it.

From Twitter:

How Companies Learn Your Secrets:

The publishing industry has gone mad for film-style trailers - Features - Books -

I made Sunday dinner this week - which Mrs PND couldn't quite believe:  Bo Ssam

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