05 January 2017

MY BROMANCE THE SERIES - REVIEW OF EPISODES 01-04

I'm basically watching this BL lakorn almost entirely because of Cooper Patpasit (he plays the lead role Golf). He isn't classically handsome, in fact, there's something simian about his features, but what an extremely sexy young man! And the fact that he can act actually makes the four episodes watchable; His acting holds up large swathes of this somewhat plodding drama, and his presence and charm make him a budding star.
Cooper with his lovely long, lean torso
This 20 year old isn't pretty-pretty but he makes up for it with a 20 year old's nubile, athletic build, an asset that was quickly showcased in the diving scene way up in the debut episode - and then again and again - which makes My Bromance captivating and exciting to watch - and yes, a bit more adult (than let's say Make It Right), if only marginally so.
I think this series treads the middle ground between Grey Rainbow, which was thoughtful and thought-provoking, and the pure tooth-rotting fluff of Make It Right. My Bromance doesn't have the depth of the former, no philosophical or religious basis, nor is it entirely devoid of realistic detail like the latter. What it has is plenty of family drama that at times feels totally unnecessary, and diffuses the buildup of the love between its leads.
I think the makers have mistaken a convoluted family structure for depth - it's not profound or complex, merely tedious and confusing. For instance to have Golf's mother have a twin sister who lives with Golf. Why twin? Why not just a sister who could be played by some other actress, not the same actress that doubles up as Golf's mother? Then Golf's mother is a manic depressive, who commits suicide, after fighting with her husband over a non-existent mistress. The father is also sick - there are scenes of him being attended to in hospital - overall there's a heavy sense of illness hanging in the air that forebodes tragedy - so no fluff here.
Now, the aunt also has a rather shrill daughter who lives under the same roof as Golf and acts like a sister, but isn't, She doesn't have a father. There's drama over the house which has to be sold, etc and so forth and it goes on and on. It certainly doesn't help that even the flashbacks aren't told chronologically but flash back and forth, with repeats.
Does one need to watch a tapir fall in love?

The casting of Kaii is also hugely problematic for me - firstly, Kaii is physically not as attractive as he should be. I'm trying to reach for a polite way to say that he looks like a baby tapir but I can only go so far as to say Kaii is not slim. The face isn't even agreeable, and the beaky nose and sly eyes make him look devious and scheming when he needs to look vulnerable. I don't know what he has done to deserve this plum role - but it certainly isn't his acting ability. The role cries out for Oat or Min Thitipat of Love Sick, someone with a bit of fragility and innocence.
His looks and appeal are cruelly brought into focus by having his character be a magnet to no less than three suitors - the series opens with one American suitor proposing marriage to him; Jaguar plays the student council that courts him in school; then there's Golf. All three are very attractive alpha types, making it unlikely that any of them, not to mention all of them, falling for Kaii.
And all this could be overlooked if there was even one jot of chemistry between Cooper and Kaii - alas not a quiver of chemistry. Zero. Zilch.
Cooper might as well be making love to a particularly lumpen body pillow for the total lack of electricity.

30 December 2016

ABOUT AUSTEN

"The reason no one married her was it was just all too much. Something truly frightening rumbled there beneath the bubbling mirth: something capable of taking the world by its heels, and shaking it."
- Fay Weldon

"Edmund and Fanny are both morally detestable and the endorsement of their feelings and behaviour by the author makes Mansfield Park an immoral book."
- Kingsley Amis

"The art is so consummate that the secret is hidden; peer at them as hard as one may; shake them; take them apart; one cannot see how it is done."
- Thornton Wilder

"Austen reveals so frankly and with such sobriety the economic basis of society."
- W H Auden

"This old maid typifies 'personality' instead of character, the sharp knowing in apartness instead of knowing in togetherness, and she is, to my feeling, thoroughly unpleasant English in the bad, mean, snobbish sense of the word, just as Fielding is English in the good generous sense."
- D H Lawrence

"Here was a woman about the year 1800 writing without hate, without bitterness, without fear, without protest, without preaching. That was how Shakespeare wrote, I thought. And when people compare Shakespeare and Austen, they may mean that the minds of both had consumed all impediments; and for that reason we do not know Jane Austen and we do not know Shakespeare, and for that reason Jane Austen pervades every word that she wrote, and so does Shakespeare."
- Virginia Woolf

"She is mistress of derision rather than of wit or humour. Her irony is now and then exquisitely bitter. The lack of tenderness and of spirit is manifest in Miss Austen's indifference to children, and as children through whom a mother may receive flattery from her designing acquaintance on her sensible friends... in this coldness or dislike Miss Austen resembles Charlotte Bronte."
- Alice Meynell

    

12 June 2016

SPRING 2017 MENSWEAR: LONDON REVIEW

Three of the best at the on-going London shows:

J W Anderson
Whimsical, joyful and relevant in these rather depressed, cynical times - a jolt of inspiration.

Margaret Howell 
Elegant, thoughtful, desirable clothes with hidden wells of sensuality. Cuts out the social media noise instantly and suddenly you see, and think, clearly.


E Tautz
Rumpled academic meets Talking Heads - more deliciously desirable clothes that will stand the test of time.

Monday With Monet



                                                        Still Life with Meat, 1862

MAKE IT RIGHT THE SERIES - REVIEW

I hadn't planned on being hooked to Make It Right The Series (MIR), because its trailers had promised a formulaic follow-up to the hugely successful (and iconic) Love Sick The Series (LS) which ended last year (also by Thailand's Mcot Station). As predicted, MIR has hewed lazily to the boys' love genre conventions, casting a few extremely pretty boys to enact what is less of a plot than a trail of tropes: Confused Uke (Fuse) ensnaring Passionate Seme (Tee); Nerd (Book) falling for Younger Flirt (Frame); Out&Proud converting Straight-for-Now, and in these combos, throw in some third parties (in Thai, these are called "third wheels"); and then stir in a few disposable girls into a sweetly fluffy meringue of a story (MIR, like LS is adapted from a Thai online novel). 

After watching the first four episodes (subtitled in English by fans), I can assure you that the story is just as twig-thin as any of the cast's scrawny arms. It's hard not to compare MIR with LS, as the two are almost identical - I would go so far as to say that MIR is the production team's attempt at getting LS right, ironing out some of its wrinkles and creases and smoothing out the edges (for instance, they made MIR a lot more racy, with sex in Ep 1, and lots of skin - whereas LS muddled along and it wasn't till towards the end of Season 1 before Noh and Phun actually got down to business). However, because of its similar territory, MIR suffers in comparison, possibly because it comes later, and thus carries the weight of having few/no surprises/ novelties. It's obviously mining a formula (as many are doing - even the recent Chinese webseries Addiction was inspired by LS) that had proven successful - I hope that I will be proven wrong in due course with a compelling twist or two - but I'm not holding my breath.

Of course what's really working, and credit should be given where it's due, is the excellent casting as usual. The four main leads (plus quite a few more in the supporting cast) are spot-on heartbreakers (but then Thailand is like a factory that keeps churning impossibly cute boys out - I need to take out all my savings and move there pronto!) that give MIR its sparkle and life. Again, this is like LS - you don't really watch it for the plot, but for those coyly seductive moments and intense looks of longing that only the really young can carry off - that's the heavy lifting there. The rest is merely working out the various moments/situations where Peak, 16 (as Fuse), Boom, 15 (as Tee), Ohm 15 (as Frame) and Toey, 20 (as Book) these looks can dart those deadly stares into the camera or wrap their nubile limbs fetchingly around each other. For now, Tee has emerged the real star - he's like the new Captain isn't he? Tee represents a new type, very Chinese-looking with the most sculpted of noses and full juicy lips. 

I think fans are watching because MIR fills the void that LS left - it's a pale shadow of LS, but it's a familiar shadow. MIR has to make it on its own merits to matter, and to prevent any more comparisons to LS. 

11 June 2016

4 FASHION STYLES: GOOD CLOTHES, BAD CLOTHES, WELL OR BADLY WORN

Good Clothes, Bad Clothes, Well Worn, Badly Worn are four factors that can result in four possible variants of style. Who are you in this scheme of style?

1. Good Clothes Well Worn:
Attractive, well-fitted clothes worn with confidence and deliberation
eg Hillary Clinton
After a long career of failures of dress, Mrs Clinton are now well-tailored classics of simple design and strong colours. She will never look great, but she looks as good as she can possibly look.

2, Bad Clothes Well Worn:
Ill-fitting, or ugly clothes that nonetheless project the desired image. 
eg Justin Bieber
Often quite strange, borderline-trashy, badly fitting, clothes but warn with great charm and confidence, contributing rather than subtracting from, his effect. 
The President and the Strange Blue Dress/Belt

3. Good Clothes Badly Worn:
Attractive, good quality and fashionable clothes worn without sense or understanding.
eg Michelle Obama
Mysteriously acclaimed dresser, Mrs Obama has a dream wardrobe budget; Unfotunately, she's assembled some good clothes that sit uneasily on her person and her role. Her hair is increasingly desperate and she seems to harbour delusions about her actual size.

4. Bad Clothes Badly Worn:
Ill-fitting, ugly, poor quality clothes worn without care or taste.
eg Madonna. 
There is no shame in this category when you mean to be in it, but Madonna doesn't. 


20 January 2016

MIN THITIPAT POOKBOONCHERD (Part 2)

In which H shares a few choice TIDBITS ABOUT MIN
1. 
    Kimmon: Min unfollowed Kimmon on social media around May 2015, after their Sing For Nepal concert. There was a long text post on Twitter (I don’t understand Thai), which I’m guessing ended things, not in a pretty way.
I don’t know what happened between them, but after this “breakup”, Min never attended any event with Kim alone again. Just think how close they were back in those early Freshy Camp days.

2.   Min only agreed to go on the Lovesick On Tour gig to Udon (with Buff4) with Na’s company.
3.   Around November, Min also unfollowed Alone (on social media). Alone was this guy that took care of Min and Oat, and drove them to the set, took them home, basically a chaperone. I consider this surprising, since they pretty much went everywhere together for months.


4.   So after the MinOat fanmeet, after the end of Lovesick, the only person from that whole thing Min kept in touch with is Na. And Oat. Min still seemed OK with Oat, replying to each other’s Tweets, and they hung out together at Christmas eve. 

18 January 2016

THE STRANGENESS OF MIN THITIPAT POOKBOONCHERD

MinOat, the ship that sunk, isn't going anywhere
Notes on MinOat, Namin, and the strange ongoing discussion with H on this mysterious boy actor.

Born June 19, 2000, Min is quite a strange young man. 

Unlike his peers in the world of Thai lakorn, he keeps his distance on social media. There are very few clues as to what he’s really like in real life.
D: I first fell in love with Mick, the character Min plays in Lovesick The Series Season 2. Three of four episodes in, Mick came to supersede every other character in the series for me. It made me want to see him in real life – and so I went to the fanmeet in Bangkok, my first ever. This was the MinOat fanmeet, where they gave out the MinOat 2016 calendar. 
Oat is another teen actor from the series.
I was very disappointed at seeing Min. He seemed aloof, cold and distant, so much so that his personal beauty, unaided by the terrible styling, couldn’t hold me in the too-cold theatrette, and I made off halfway through the strained performance.
In December, I went back to Bangkok for the Lovesick final concert Lovesick Love Actually. This time round, I found Min to be much improved. But he seems nice and cheerful only with Nanoob Napian Permsombat (November 14 1995), who plays Mick’s sweetheart (for lack of a better word) Ohm in the series. They seemed close, in body language and verbally, with fans after the concert ended.
Min is rather special in many ways; Sometimes he seems troubled even.

H: From what I saw online, Min looked more vibrant than Oat at MinOat, and he took the lead and was proactive throughout the concert and fanmeet.  Oat seemed sheepish, less confident.
To be honest, I’m glad to hear that Min is only cheerful around Na. I didn’t really ship NaMin until their “secret” date in October. That was way after Lovesick ended its run and after the MinOat Fanmeet, which by the way was a huge discouragement to OhmMick shippers.
Min hung around with Na more and more, and he’s changed quite a bit since then. Min and Na didn’t start out this close, not even when the series was airing. I don’t know what happened, but something must have happened right then, around October.

17 January 2016

HE SAID SHE SAID: It would be mortifying...

MEN'S FALL/WINTER 2016 REVIEW: ELEGANCE AND PUNK

Vivienne Westwood: Brilliant and inspired
Burberry Prorsum has, like clockwork, been turning up efficiently brilliant collections for so long that it nettles when its latest showed unispired looks that looked terribly mehanical - just the usual outerwear cut a little roomier. Compare this with the amazingly inspired Vivienne Westwood collection and you will see what I mean instantly. "Androgynous" doesn't even begin to describe the teagown and cardi aesthetics - this collection had balls (literally in the phallic pendants) and ballgowns and yet looked juicily, boldy, swaggeringly sexy, and very very British, with the kind of haphazard, modern sexuality that is embodied by an episode of Cucumber. Every piece is irresistible. More unlikey beauty came from Calvin Klein Collection - not just from the gilded denim or the silken tailoring but from the exaggerated puffa blousons and coats with the hood/halo - whoever would have thought? But that's what we look at in fashion isn't it? This discovery of beauty in some new way - in this case hoodies with a Renaissance effect. 
Prada made me slow and stop for a good look at the collars, key danglies, straps and patched on plackets, pockets, cuffs and collars. Very beautiful motley stuff, poetic and practical - how does she do it year after year? There's some recall of the printed tunic silk shirts from Dolce&Gabbana but taken in a much less literal way and given subtle magic. Beautiful/dowdy (always done so well by Mrs Prada) plaid things.
The fabrics were singing at Ermenegildo Zegna Couture, some very elegant songs. Very elegant stuff that would seem revolutionary if you haven't seen a Dries Van Noten collection. And we do want a revolution from Stefano Pilati, not more subdued, extreme elegance. For these difficult times, a bolder, punkier attitude is called for, don't you think? Just look at Alexander Mcqueen if you can't decide - very beautiful everything, but only the punkish, slightly violent looks register - everything else looks coldly immaculate and harmless. Because we have Pilati/Zegna-ish elegance at E Tautz too, with that interesting 80s inflection. And then at Bottega Veneta, a rumpled version of this elegance, where the plaidy-tweedy ones stole the show - dowdy made so desirable and new it makes one giddy for a weekend in Balmoral with a thermos of good tea.
Checks and Plaids at Bottega Veneta