Simian Substitute Site for September 2020: A Young Man Dressed As A Gorilla Dressed As An Old Man Sits Rocking In A Rocking Chair For Fifty-Six Minutes And Then Leaves 12
Spank's Not Quite Edinburgh Diary 2020

Spank Gold Volume 8: Spank's LFF Diaries 2010-2014

Cover photography by The Belated Birthday Girl, who's previously written about this lovely cinema here:, I guess I'm calling it The Furlough Trilogy.

Back in April, work gave me three days notice that I was about to be put on furlough - probably for six weeks, maybe more, maybe less, they weren't sure at the time. I considered the possibilities of what I could do with this newly-acquired free time, and felt pretty sure that I could get the long-overdue Edinburgh Diaries Volume Three assembled and ready, and possibly even make a start on the even-longer-overdue LFF Diaries Volume Four and the not-quite-as-long-overdue LFF Diaries Volume Five, depending on how long the furlough actually lasted.

It ended up being the advertised six weeks, and I managed to get all three books into a nearly-finished state. You already know about the first: now here's the second.

It is, of course, a rather odd time to be publishing a book about the London Film Festival. It's mid-September, and as is usually the case the programme's already been announced: but it's going to be a very different-looking festival from any of the ones that took place between 2010 and 2014, the period covered in the volume under discussion here. Mind you, back in May when I was converting 100,000 words of old blogposts into something more concrete, it wasn't entirely clear if there was going to be a festival at all. Happily, thanks to online events like We Are One and Sheffield Doc/Fest - not to mention the Edinburgh Festival, which you'll be hearing more about soon - I now believe that it can be done. If you're reading this post on the day of its publication, then tickets for LFF 2020 have just gone on public sale, and are worth looking at even - or perhaps especially - if you don't live in London.

But before that festival happens, you can expect two books worth of LFF reviews from the previous decade. The first one - Spank's LFF Diaries Volume Four: 2010-2014 - spans a period of upheaval for the festival, with a change of management and a series of government-mandated cutbacks to deal with. Some big movies showed there over those five years: Birdman and Silver Linings Playbook are probably the most familiar to the casual filmgoer, although it's worth noting that both of those were late additions via the Surprise Film slot. Dig into the scheduled programme, and you'll find all sorts of peculiar stuff, which is mostly where I tend to end up. Lots of documentaries, quite a bit of experimental cinema, possibly too many Hong Sang-soo movies, and a thing that unapologetically called itself The Poor Stockinger, The Luddite Cropper And The Deluded Followers Of Joanna Southcott. I saw them all, I reviewed them on this site, and now for eleven quid (plus shipping) you can have them on your bookshelf. Order your copy today! If it's not too much trouble.

Coming soon: Volume Five. But you probably guessed that.

Click here to buy


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