Saturday, January 12, 2013


When I saw the trailer or preview for the 7th Harry Potter film, I was intrigued, let me tell you. I didn’t remember the early Harry Potter movies looking this good. I decided I was going to watch this one. I had one problem: I had not seen the first 6 movies. So I’ve been trying to find each one and watch it in turn. But I don’t understand all of what I’m seeing. Can anyone help with a few Harry Potter questions.

1.     Why is Harry Potter so sorry (not good)? He seems to survive each movie by luck or the support of others. I mean, isn’t Hermoine a better witch than Harry Potter is a wizard?

2.     Why is Hermoine’s name pronounced Hermoine?

3.     In the Prisoner of Azkaban, why does that guy Sirius Black, ask if they can kill Harry when Harry is first brought into the room? Then later why does Sirius become a friend? I’m probably misinterpreting Sirius’s statement.

4.     In the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry and Hermoine travel back in time, and J. K. Rowling correctly (to my mind) writes this bit of looping time interconnectedness so that the first “time” through the events (when Harry and Hermoine are at Hagrid’s) the other Harry and Hermoine are there throwing a rock to get them out of the house. My question is . . . well after thinking about it, I actually think J. K. Rowling has done it—written an example of time travel that makes sense. After all, Harry is saved by himself both “times” it happens—when he first goes through it being saved, and when he goes back in time and saves himself. My question was why would Hermoine and Harry go back in time if Sirius had been saved by their future selves [a few minutes in the future] who went back in time? (I think the answer is that they don’t know that he’s been saved, so they go back in time to save him. This completes the loop and it may make sense, I think?)

Whew, my head hurt. As a general rule, don’t write time travel into your novel because it almost never makes sense. It’s very hard to make it consistent from all time perspectives. Usually people treat the same moment in time as having sequential version, Version A happens first, then Version B, then Version C. I think the correct way to think about it is all versions happening in that instant. So if that is not possible, there is a problem in the writing. When I mentioned this confusing state of affairs to a friend, he suggested I watch Primer. He said it’s the best time-travel movie he’s seen and it will mess me up (cognitively trying to figure it out). So if you want to watch a small, confusing independent film with crazy time travel by physicists working on a project in their garage in their spare time, watch Primer.

On the music front, I went to the London Jazz Festival in 2012, and it’s not a normal festival where you pay an entrance fee and go around to all the different stages or tents. It’s a distributed festival—basically just 15-30 concerts around town each day of the festival. You pay for each as if it were a separate concert, which makes it very expensive for people. I was lucky enough to see Robert Glasper (from high school) perform on the opening night of the festival. If you have an opportunity to check out his latest album, Black Radio, he’s fusing hip-hop, R&B, soul, and jazz even more than his earlier 3 albums with his group the Robert Glasper Experiment. Check them out. They have a cover of Teen Spirit (Nirvana).

I think what is great about what Glasper is doing is that he’s rejoining the popular with the jazz, if that makes sense. This is how jazz used to be—popular music, music people danced to. Now if you go dancing, unless it’s a special swing hall, it’s not jazz. But he mixes jazz with serious grooves and is able to create music that is very intelligent (you have to think about what they are doing and creating) and at the same time enjoyable and fun (people groove to it). That’s hard to do but he’s doing it.

I also was able to check out an intimate (5,000 person hall) concert of Diana Krall’s new ragtime album, Glad Ragdoll. I think a lot of hardcore jazz people don’t like her because she may be too mainstream jazz or pop jazz but I think she’s done a good job of shaping this album. It’s a great way to reinvent yourself and do something new. She had a mostly Bossa Nova album called Quiet Nights (2009) and now she has this ragtime album. It was a pretty excellent mix of jazz and ragtime with country, blues, and some rock as well. She had a violinist, an accordion player, and a woodwind player. It worked really well. But many of my favourite moments with her are the solo piano and voice songs. 

Landfill Harmonic film teaser from Landfill Harmonic on Vimeo.

Lastly, I wanted to share my favourite orchestra. They’re based in Paraguay, and it’s my plan to go and hear them perform one day—Landfill Harmonic.

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