All posts by Sarah Slade

About Sarah Slade

Middle-aged, middle-sized and reluctantly middle-class Learning designer, based in London. Wife to Mr Perfect, Mother of Little Miss Perfect. I write a lot of technical bollocks for a living, and as a consequence am very lazy about writing for myself. I occasionally write my own blog about living in London and sometimes I’ll find something interesting to say about my professional life. I sew a bit, I sing very averagely with an excellent jazz choir, and play a terrible game of badminton.

“You See That Sign Flashing There? It Says…Applesauce.”

black-and-white-audience

There’s been a lot of talk recently of canned laughter.  Surely no-one denies that canned laughter exists – the wonderfully spooky phrase “the laughter of the dead” refers specifically to laughter captured so long ago that the audience is no longer even with us – but clearly the idea of laughs on cue is taboo in modern comedy. Mention the phrase on Twitter, for example, and you’re as likely as not to find the size twelves of the local comedy constabulary on your neck, requesting that you re-think the phrase and maybe buy a DVD in penance. We here at MostlyFilm, however, are not subject to the laws of Tweet-land and can more freely question the idea that every laugh at every joke on the soundtrack to every comedy was recorded right at the moment the punchline dropped.

After the jump, Sarah Slade shares her memories of being in an audience for a comedy show that didn’t quite get the laughing part of their job right. It’s certainly enough to pose the reasonable question – if not canned, then what? Ethically sourced and packaged in a protective atmosphere for later use?

Continue reading “You See That Sign Flashing There? It Says…Applesauce.”

His Words Have Impact

Beginning Extremists Week on Mostly Film, Sarah Slade looks at the musical output of the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard

What happens when you drink the Kool Aid
What happens when you drink the Kool Aid

Say what you like about Scientology, but L. Ron Hubbard’s sci-fi belief system has attracted some pretty talented musicians. Beck; the late, great Isaac Hayes; Chick Corea and…er…Leif Garrett have all taken the wisdom of L. Ron into their lives and, who knows…maybe even jammed with the great man. You see, Ron’s musical talent is an aspect of his life that I had never heard of before, but there it is, on his website – Ron, the Music Maker. I wish I had the time to read Ron’s words on Country Music, an analysis of Rock Music, Composing on The Road, or even Space Jazz, but I think we’d be better off cutting to the chase, and listening to the man’s music.

Thanks to some bloke off the Internet, you can download and experience the full majesty of the 80s classic Road to Freedom yourself, but, to spare your engrams, I’ve done it for you. Continue reading His Words Have Impact

Side by Side

by Sarah Slade

side_by_side_keanu_reeves

One of the interviewees in this thoughtful account of the rise of digital moviemaking called the film production process “sculpting with light”, and they have a point. Film-making captures light and shade, and creates something solid, permanent: a thing that can be carried between places, handled, edited and projected. Whether digital or celluloid, the end result is the same, isn’t it?

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Woman in a Dressing Gown

Sarah Slade on a rediscovered classic of British film.

In cinema, marriage is the happy ending. Hero and heroine are joined together after many adventures, kiss for the first time, and everything is as rosy as the sunset behind them. Marriage is the ultimate destination, and even an adulterous liaison ends up with the protagonists returning to the marital home, chastened and penitent; or maybe an inconvenient spouse dies so that the golden couple can…well…get married. Because it worked so well the first time, didn’t it?

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Slade in Flame

by Sarah Slade

Before the Beatles and Dick Lester, pop movies of the 1950s and 60s featured one of a stable of jobbing popstars, a “let’s do the show right here, fellas!” plot that would involve the clean-cut young folks keeping their youth club/coffee bar out of the hands of a besuited property developer using  the Power of Pop (or Trad Jazz, in the case of Helen Shapiro in It’s Trad, Dad!). The jobbing popstar would be required to sing one uptempo number, a ballad, and a jaunty final number about what fun it is to be young and listen to crazy beat music

The template was changed slightly with the release of “A Hard Day’s Night”: an mock documentary that featured the Beatles playing slightly exaggerated versions of themselves (Sardonic John, Cute Paul, Quiet George and Hapless Ringo) doing the publicity rounds when all they want to do is play and sing a whole album’s worth of catchy tunes. But still the basic premise was crazy kids at play, and hey, what are they doing on that staircase?

But then Altamont happened, and the Sixties stopped happening.

Continue reading Slade in Flame