Bohemian Rhapsody 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody

I wouldn’t call myself a Queen fan, but I have always loved their music. I don’t know exactly when I became familiar with them, but I know it’s a love I share with my father, so that most certainly had something to do with it. I was excited when the trailer was released and decided in that instant that I’m going to watch the movie no matter what. I believe that was maybe a year ago.

A few days ago I finally got to see it, and it was everything I hoped for and more. It was an incredible cinematic and musical experience. I don’t think I have felt anything like this after watching a movie. There  were so many emotions I could barely take it. The pain, the feeling of isolation, the awe and the scale of it all, trying to comprehend what it feels like to play in front of a stadium full of people knowing that the entire world is watching. The sound design and the cinematography was superb. The opening scene was clever and creative. Freddie wakes up and coughs. My heart sank. It was so sad that the movie had to show four cats in order to help the audience recover. All this time, we don’t see Freddie’s face. We see his back, walking. There is a spring in his step, full of energy. We don’t know where he is yet. He runs up a short staircase and we come face to face with tens of thousands of people. Complete surprise. The crowed screams, the camera zooms in as if sucked in by the excitement. End of scene. I knew exactly what was happening, but even if I wouldn’t have, it would have been intoxicating to watch.

 

Reviews and culture

After I got home I listened to a few songs, watched the concert and looked at some reviews, because I wanted to know what other people thought about the movie. I did not expect to see 100% positive reviews, but I was also surprised about some of the things I have read/heard. I know that negativity and ranting usually bring in more views, but it is really tiring at this point. I find it a little bit concerning that a movie could get someone so worked up that they are basically frothing from the mouth, while heavily gesticulating at the camera like some fugitive mental patient. Thankfully, this type of behavior is on the decline. I think it peaked about 2 years ago and we are going to see less and less content like that. People are tired of the drama; and I have to preserve my energy to read the news every day, so let’s move on.

 

Fair criticism

As I have mentioned before I browsed through some content (some in Hungarian, some in English) to see what’s up. The complaints ranged from shockingly dumb to “wow, I can’t believe we just watched the same movie”. If your main problem is that Rami Malek’s eye color was different and that the Live Aid crowd was too fake I have nothing to say to you. I don’t know when was the last time that I encountered so much unfair press to the point that it’s ridiculous. For example, let’s take a look at this:

So, Rubber is quite possibly one of the worst movies ever made. It’s unwatchable. I would dare you to watch it and prove me wrong , but the thought of other people’s suffering makes me shiver, so… yeah don’t do it? You can tell it’s a great movie, because it begins with a 5 minute monologue trying to justify why it exists in the first place. I know it’s supposed to be funny, (it’s not) and the two movies are completely different genre, but if I ask someone which of the two movies are more enjoyable, and the answer is Rubber, I’m going to question their sanity.

There is some fair criticism regarding Bohemian Rhapsody. Probably, the most important one is not defining what it was like being a homosexual when and where Freddie was growing up. In England sexual activity between men was illegal until 1967. I don’t think this was mentioned at all, but correct me if I’m wrong. If it wasn’t they should have at least mentioned it. Foreign audience, especially from a younger generation are probably not familiar with English laws. The other point that I hear a lot was that the movie was not very in-depth, which it wasn’t. Anyone going into this movie wanting to see all the juicy details of Freddie Mercury’s life is going to be disappointed. The movie is a celebration of his life as a musician and it doesn’t really focus on anything else. Some people argue about him being gay or bisexual and ultimately it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that despite not being straight and despite being an immigrant, he managed to capture the hearts of millions of people with his voice and personality.

 

Other things that should be obvious, but aren’t

The one thing that bothered me the most is trying to demonize the other members of Queen, presenting them as nothing more than greedy and evil men, because there can’t possibly be another motivation for doing or not doing something, other than money. It is really easy to forget that Freddie Mercury was an unreachable idol for most people, but for a select few he was a close friend and when he died he left a void behind. Not only did he die, but he died suffering. It was not quick, it was painful. The people who were with him at the time will carry that memory with them for the rest of their life. Once you realize this, it’s really not that hard to imagine why some of the decisions were made, while making the movie. People criticize how Freddie announced that he got aids and that they hugged it out at the end, and that it was unrealistic. Of course it was unrealistic. In reality, it probably caused lifelong trauma. Telling your family and friends that you have a terminal illness and then coping with it on both sides takes a little bit more than five minutes. Is there really a need to point this out? As far as how “clean” all the band members were depicted compared to Freddie, I only have to say that they also toned down Freddie a lot. I think they were uncomfortable showing him partying and only did it because it was something that people expected. There was really nothing there that was outrageous. There was some powdered sugar on the table and he was shown drinking. Try to compare this to his 39th birthday party, which made rock and roll history.

“I won’t be a rock star, I will be a legend.”

A few hours before I watched the movie I met a woman. She is a stranger to me, our only connection is that we are both Hungarian and that’s how we started talking in the first place. Anyway, I mentioned to her that I’m going to see the movie and how excited I’m, and then she told me that she watched it already and she loved it. She also told me that she didn’t want to see it at first, because she was afraid that the movie would show Freddie dying, and she didn’t want to see that. She only went to watch it after her friends told her “everything is okay, that part is not in the movie at all.” Overall, this is not a perfect movie, but it is the movie that most people wanted to see. It is nice that people decided to remember the artist, the musician, the voice, and not the drama. There is something positively uplifting about it.

Also, Rami Malek was awesome. Everybody else did a great job too, but he especially stood out. I honestly didn’t think anybody can pull this off, but he went beyond all expectations. I hope he wins an Oscar.

So yeah, go watch Bohemian Rhapsody if you haven’t seen it yet. I will probably watch it again, because it’s tons of fun. There are documentaries and interviews on YouTube, I will link a few interesting ones below, so you can sort through them if you want.

best,
Alice
alice@cozyloft.us

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Footnotes

Freddie Mercury’s final days. link

Brian May and Roger Taylor, 1 week after Freddie Mercury’s death. link

Brian May interview. The topics include God, science, the universe and death link

Behind the Scenes. link

Queen — The Final Tour. link

Rami Malek: On Becoming Freddie Mercury link

As part of the Magic Tour, Queen performed in Budapest, Hungary. The original footage has been remastered and you can watch it here in HD. The footage is from a DVD called “Hungarian Rhapsody – Queen Live in Budapest.” It was released in 2012, but you can still buy it here.

This is also from the DVD link

Rubber review by the Nostalgia Critic link

 

Nécropole Nationale de Sigolsheim, Kaysersberg, France

Hugues de BUYER-MIMEURE

Ask a Mortician – not your typical YouTube channel

the second diamond

Ask a Mortician is not your typical YouTube channel. I’m not actually sure what a typical YouTube channel is, but I know that this channel is the opposite of that. The host is Caitlin Doughty, mortician/funeral director and best selling author. As such, you would think her channel would be more widely known, but you would be wrong. This made me sad, so I decided to write about it.

The philosophy of Ask a Mortician could be summarized with this one sentence:

“I believe that the culture of silence around death should be broken through discussion, gatherings, art, innovation,
and scholarship.”

The Order of the Good Death

In a classic Ask a Mortician episode Caitlin takes questions from the comment section and—using her expertise as a funeral director—answers them. “What does it take to become a mortician? How do you dress a corpse? Do I really get my mother’s ashes in the urn, or is it just cement dust?” Do you have questions about cryogenics, mummies, or anything death related? You have come to the right place! This small corner of the internet is dedicated to discussion about death. 
A large number of Caitlin’s videos comment on the current state of the western funeral industry, our burial traditions and why innovation is necessary to combat our unsustainable practices. How long can we continue to waste resources trying to stop the inevitable decay of our dead bodies? What other alternatives are there?

Death and taxes

Most people are not ready to face death. Most people don’t even want to talk about it. It is a horrible thing to lose someone, and being unprepared for it makes it so much worse. If you had to call a funeral home right now, what would say? Do you know the right questions to ask? Are there any red flags you should pay attention to? Remember, you would be at the most vulnerable time of your life, relying on the help of a complete stranger, who could be the sweetest most honest person you have ever met, or he could be someone who would try to take advantage of your grief. If the questions above made you feel unprepared, consider watching this video, it will make you feel better. 

The second-half of Caitlin’s videos focus on culture and history. There are segments such as “Iconic Corpse”, which takes a look at dead bodies that became famous due to their extraordinarily well preserved state, or some sort of horrible mismanagement. “Morbid Minute” is… well… morbid. but these episodes are usually around 3 minutes long and focus on a single, strange tidbit in history, such as the consumption of lovely, green, arsenic candy, or the act of chilling inside a decomposing whale. You know, normal things. On that note, I would argue that all of her videos are morbid minutes, with such classic titles as:

Skulls, Willows, Cherubs & Other Gravestone Emojis!
The Trial of the Corpse Pope!
A Short History of Human Skulls and Drinking Cups!

You know. Normal things :’D <3

How did all this information change me?

I haven’t realized there were so many things about this subject I never knew before. I never wanted to be embalmed, even before I saw an actual embalmed body I thought it was strange. Now, I’m 100% sure that I don’t want to be embalmed, and I feel like most people wouldn’t if they would know what does it actually entail. The world “embalm”, is a nice word. It implies something nice and desirable, like putting lotion on your skin. It doesn’t invoke the image of a big ass needle stabbing you in the abdomen.
For the longest time I wanted to be cremated. It seemed cheaper, but most importantly it skipped the “maggots feasting on my eyes” phase of decomposition, which made me uneasy. I’ve never considered how much energy is wasted by cremating a single person, nor did I know that the end result is infertile dust that can’t nourish anything; a blow to everybody who thought they would become part of a tree after their ashes are scattered. Listening to Caitlin describe her own death plan with confidence made made me more comfortable with my own mortality.

“Looking mortality straight in the eye is no easy feat. To avoid the exercise, we choose to stay blindfolded, in the dark as to the realities of death and dying. But ignorance is not bliss, only a deeper kind of terror.” 

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, by Caitlin Doughty

Books? Books!

Caitlin Doughty has written two books so far.  Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory  is a memoir that describes her first job as a crematory operator with the help of gallows humor and corpses.  From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death  explores death rituals around the world, comparing our lack of interaction with the dead against the rich traditions of other cultures. The book introduces the reader to alternative forms of burial, some of which are not currently legal in the US, but one day could become the norm.
When I recommend people to see a movie or read a book, I’m usually specific. I never say “Yes, I recommend this to everybody.” There are not many things you could recommend to everybody, since people have a wide range of tastes and interests, however this is one of the rare cases when I can honestly say, I do recommend these books to everybody, because no matter how different we are, we will all experience death at some point in our lives. I will die. You will die. Everybody will die at some point. 

Greatest book trailer ever?

          

Death positive?

Death positive is a movement and a way of thinking. It promotes the ideas you have been reading about so far. If you would like to know more here is a better description of what it really means, 

…and because this is equally important, here is a description of what it is NOT.

If you decide that you want to do more, you can find a list of resources here.

If you are like “meh, I’m not really into all that reading”, there is this 30 minute documentary for you to enjoy.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, but more than that, I hope you learned something new. 

Seriously though, check out her videos, that channel needs more love.

 

best, Alice
alice@cozyloft.us

Previous  Rare Earth – A Follow up to the YouTube Nightmare

Other featured   The True Meaning of “Gloomy Sunday”

 

 

 

Caitlin Doughty

Mortician, Author

 

 

 

 

prologue

YouTube had it rough in the past couple of months. There was the now somewhat forgotten revelation from Emma Blackery who spoke out against the unfair treatment of featured creators during the filming of 2017 and previous YouTube Rewinds.

“The shoots made me unimportant and the treatment afterwards made me feel even worse.”

Logan Paul didn’t make things any better with his recent trip to Japan and came across widespread scrutiny. His actions and the fallout afterward proved once again that there can be a thousand people who make content that makes a difference in this world, but it takes only one person to cast a shadow on all of them. Feeding the flames of hatred, spite and contempt directed towards young people, feeding into these stereotypes is the true damage of Logan Paul’s action’s.

The Value of Content

As a result of all this, I started thinking about content and what I’m really looking for when watching a video. What is good content? Of course, this is relative, but to me it’s usually something thought provoking, or an idea expressed in a way that requires time and effort. I’m not fond of daily vlogs, or the non-stop grind to push out a video every single day. The physical and mental cost of this is well documented, unfortunately the YouTube algorithm champions this behavior and channels that follow this impossible schedule get the most promotion. Hard work should be cherished but so is ones well-being.

I found it difficult to accept that good content seems to have little to no value. There are creators out there who deserve more attention, who make memorable content but they don’t get the recognition they deserve. I decided to look for under appreciated channels. This is the first entry of Diamonds in the Rough.

Annie Spratt

The first diamond

Rare Earth is a documentary series executive produced by Col. Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut, bestselling author and proud owner of a glorious mustache. He flew over 70 experimental aircraft, installed Canadarm2 — a robotic system tasked with the assembly and maintenance of the International Space Station (ISS)— and became the first Canadian commander of the ISS. The Rare Earth channel has a number of videos showcasing his personality and proud Canadian spirit, however the Rare Earth video series does not feature him as a host. That honor goes to his son Evan Hadfield.

“Everywhere on Earth is unique and interesting, if you look at it through a perspective that shows what that place offers […]”

Rare Earth looks to find the stories that aren’t being told, but deserve to be seen.

Where They Buried the Soul of Japan is the first episode in a series of videos that explore the Japanese culture. The video begins with the story of the 47 Ronin, a group of outcast samurai who wanted to honor their lord even after he died. Through  their actions and self-sacrifice we get a deeper understanding of the underlying principles of Japanese identity. This video lays the foundation for our journey that will consist of a good mix of distant and recent history, featuring some strange locations. Strange to me anyway; the town of Cambodian edible spiders, the shrine of self-mummified monks and that Laotian meat market are definitely out of my comfort zone. They are either places I would never think about visiting  (spiders) or they are so far away that I will probably never have the chance to see them in person.

“Hey, look at that! That’s amazing! Everybody should see that, start thinking about it, try and notice the world around us.”

I haven’t seen all the episodes yet, but my favorite right now is The People Who Hate Us.  In this video, Evan talks about the relationship between the viewer, the content creator and the middle man, who is often left out. I appreciate the perspective and how self-aware it is. It asks the question “What is Rare Earth?”. If you haven’t started the series yet, I would recommend you to watch this episode first, and then going back to the original first episode, because the insight provided will be useful later on.

I’m looking forward to finishing this series and eagerly waiting the new episodes. Do you like what these guys are doing? Head over to Rare Earth and show them your support!
Which episode resonated with you the most? Do you know any other series/channels that more people need to see? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email!

love,
Alice
alice@cozyloft.us

Evan Hadfield

host

Francesco

Photo & video

Chris Hadfield

Executive producer

 

Screencap from Myths & Monsters, Netflix

“The tales have been told since man first gathered around the fires of prehistory.”

It was cold as shit outside as the US was going through a second ice-age. I shook my boots, brushed my coat and hair in a futile attempt to rid it from all the ice crystals, before they turned me into a cold, damp mess. As I put my gloves, hat, scarf and everything else on the radiator, I decided it was the perfect day to watch Netflix.
Myths & Monsters was the first item on my list of recommendations. Having to battle the elements outside made me adventurous and I decided to give it a try. After watching the first five seconds I already knew I was going to love this show. That is extremely rare, but what can I say? It really hit home.

The show

Myths & Monsters is a documentary series that explores the history of legends, what they were influenced by and how they turned out the way we know them today. The main subject is European mythology with a focus on Greek and Roman cultures. Each episode starts with a story, presented by the narrator and brought to life by talented artists who made wonderful paintings and animations for it. The music elevates the fantasy to a whole new dimension, wrapping it together with a nice little bow. Each story is unique in its purpose; not all of them are cautionary tales. They teach us about certain ideas, values, the structures of society and the restoration of social order. They challenge the listener with very serious social and ethical problems that allow us to peer into the minds of people that lived thousands of years ago.

What else?

In my humble opinion, it’s worth watching even if all you do is listen to the music and look at the artwork. The entire series is like a Pandora Journey video, but with an actual story being told.

The Power of Epic Music – Full Mix Vol. 3, Pandora Journey

It’s worth a watch even if all you do is look at the artwork and listen to the music. It’s informative and you can definitely learn something from it, although your experience may vary based on where you grew up. If you are from Europe or you are more versed in European mythology, you might find it frustrating that after a while they focus too much on Greek and Roman mythology. Having learned about some of these myths when I was younger, I found that they weren’t that interesting to me, because I already knew what was going to happen in them. For me, this marked the weakest point in the series. I would have loved to see a wider selection of cultures. On the other hand, I understand that most of the legends were necessary examples because of their importance regarding the history of story telling, especially if shown to people who might have zero exposure to any of these cultures.

Personal favorites?

I really liked the first two episodes, especially the second one, The Wild Unknown. It focused on the conflict between nature and men and it really gave me a sense of understanding about how terrifying, raw, untamed nature appeared to our ancestors. My least favorite episode is the last one, because I felt that it was lacking in some way. It wasn’t bad by any means but it was a bit anticlimactic. The main story that was read by the narrator wasn’t strong enough to carry the entire episode. It was kind of boring, even though there was plenty of action in there. I think there was just so much material regarding the subject that they couldn’t focus on it properly. Either that, or I was just really tired.

[…] every corner of the Earth has its legends to tell.

I hope you give it a watch and let me know what you think! I really hope there will be a second season; I can’t wait to watch it!

love, Alice

Special thanks for Miandelam for her continued support and sense of humor.