Robert Pimm

Happiness and small victories

When was the last time you punched the air and said “yesssssssssss!”?

If you want to understand me a bit, read on.

Air-punching is the stuff of small victories.  You disagree?  Please leave a comment below.  I would argue that with big victories (child born; illness overcome) you feel a powerful inner glow and no air-punching goes on.  But I digress.  My recent small victory involved the mileometer (an English word, the spell-check tells me – more usually odometer in the US and probably more appropriate here also as I actually choose to measure my cycling progress in small, rapidly-mounting kilometres rather than large, hard-to-accumulate miles, a fascinating subject in itself) on my bicycle.

I bought this bike on 16 July 1998 in Bonn, along with three other bicycles which have since perished.  One was out-grown.  Two were destroyed when a car I was in skidded on snowy tires in my garage in Kyiv and crushed the bikes, which were leaning against the wall and thus in the wrong place at the wrong time.  My own bike was leaning against a different wall and escaped.

The bike on the Rhine tow-path – before I uglified it with yellow tape for Berlin – Photo Robert Pimm

In Bonn, I cycled 14 km each day to and from work, mostly on a tow-path along the Rhine, (more…)

Review: fine Austrian movies: Toni Erdmann vs Wilde Maus

One wonderful feature of Austria is the survival of independent cinemas.

Austrians do not admit this.  They complain that independent cinemas are dead or dying and everything used to be much better.  This is kind of true: I remember in 1985 sitting through a showing of the movie Britannia Hospital in a Viennese cinema as the only viewer.

Trailer for Toni Erdmann (English subtitles)

But believe me, Austrians: you have it good (or, as they say in German, hör auf mit dem jammern auf hohem Niveau).  

It follows that in Austria, one has a feast of fine independent films, many off-beat and existential.  But are they any good? (more…)

Reviews: India: 10/10. Shantaram 3/10

I know.  You can’t really review a whole country.

Railway station in Chennai – all photos Robert Pimm

Especially not India: more than 13 times the size of the UK, massively diverse, and packed with history.

But I wanted to write for two reasons.   (more…)

Women in fiction: Atomic Blonde and Blood Summit

A review of the forthcoming thriller Atomic Blonde describes it as “the biggest action role for a woman on screen to date”.

Sounds good to me.

Atomic Blonde (2017) – trailer

A piece in the International New York Times by Jessica Manafi, which appeared in the Austrian Standard on 22 May, argues that Lorraine Broughton, the MI6 spy who is the heroine of the movie played by Charlize Theron, is getting closer to equality by (more…)

Things are getting worse, right? Wrong. Here’s why.

‘I saw this terrible news today.’  My friend, a sensible person, is distressed.  ‘A terrorist group is breeding babies to be brought up as fresh soldiers for their cause.  How can we resist such fanaticism?’

‘Don’t worry,’ I say.  ‘It’s probably a mix of propaganda and sensationalism.’

I’ve written before about how the Internet is filled with misleading nonsense (“a vortex of vacuity; a crisis of kaka; a whirlwind of piss-poor polarisation”) in one of my most popular blogs: The Internet.  7 reasons why it will destroy civilisation.

Lesotho: one of the most beautiful countries on earth has the lowest life expectancy – Photo RP

I’ve also written about the elegant Tuchman’s Law (hit the link for the full article), which says: “The fact of being reported multiplies the apparent extent of any deplorable development by five- to tenfold (more…)

Review: The Third Man. Movie magic – 10/10

A man stands halfway along a long, deserted alleyway.  Autumn leaves blow in the wind. A woman approaches, walking slowly.

Will she stop? Or will she carry on, and walk past him?

The original trailer for the Third Man is dated but – unlike later versions, and like this review – contains no spoilers

If you have seen the cult 1949 film The Third Man, you will know the answer to this question. If, like me, you worship the film, merely to think of this scene and its resolution will send a pleasurable frisson down your spine.

Is the fact that many of the “Top films of all times” named by film buffs tend to be black and white classics based on (more…)

Review: Get Out – an instant classic? 9/10

A young black man goes with his white girlfriend to see her parents at their remote woodland mansion.

Bad things happen.  See the trailer.

A top reviewer and 100% trusted person recommended Get Out to me in March, but I only managed to see it on a weekend visit to Istanbul in late April and it is only now appearing in Vienna (question: (more…)

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