The Return of Hypnotic Crescendos

Sunday, 3 May 2020

The blog has been lying dormant for a few years now so I thought it was time to resurrect it and focus on blog writing once more. This will be somewhat of a challenge for a multitude of reasons so I'm going to muse over some of my thoughts in regards to what I've been up to, writing and the blog and social media. I accept this will be terribly boring for most so feel free to ignore this post and await actual film related content soon...

In the interim since I've abandoned the blog I have continued to work on various releases and have now worked with labels such as Arrow Video, 88 Films, Indicator, Vinegar Syndrome and *upcoming mystery label*. Alongside writing, I have appeared in a few documentaries and special features discussing the careers of the likes of Umberto Lenzi, Giannetto De Rossi and Jess Franco alongside discussing films such as A Black Veil for Lisa, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue and the Emmanuelle series. More recently, I've established the Fragments of Fear podcast with my good friend, Peter Jilmstad.

Fragments of Fear is a podcast dedicated to the discussion and appreciation of giallo cinema with a slant towards the genre’s lesser celebrated titles. I've wanted to do a podcast for a long time but felt I needed the right person to do it with. Peter and I had discussed a podcast previously but the timing never felt quite right until last year. It was originally supposed to be launched earlier than it was but my Grandma's death hit me incredibly hard and delayed proceedings. Luckily, I was able to get to a place where I felt I could manage embarking on a podcast and the demands it would entail. It's worked out incredibly well because we, I like to think, compliment each other exceedingly well offering different approaches and focuses to these films but for the most part, we're on the same page. I prefer writing to speaking so it's been a bit of a learning curve and it's taken me a while not to feel flustered 90% of the time. I worry I don't sound eloquent, talk too quickly, slur, have awful vocal ticks etc. I know I've been guilty of all of these things and hope that I'm improving and we do a hell of a lot of research and preparation so I hope that comes across. Peter is a champ as he undertakes all of the editing duties which can probably be quite tricky when we go off into some bizarre tangent. It has been amazing to see our audience and I'm still flabbergasted that we have so many lovely listeners who support us, both in terms of listens and via our Patreon. It feels like we're doing something right and it's all about the films so we are glad we are bringing some focus on lesser known titles - even if the quality of those films isn't as great as an Argento or Martino. Passionate about the genre, we felt that if we highlighted these lesser seen titles, it would bring a new audience to them placing a focus on films that are often barely mentioned in the discussion of the genre despite being a part of its fabric. We aren't averse to covering the more well known entries of the genre in the future but we feel, as of now, it's better to focus on films that are less likely to be discussed in a podcast format. I particularly enjoy being able to discuss one of my favourite aspects of cinema; production design but alas, a podcast can be limiting when you need visual examples. So I'd like to focus on this a little more by resurrecting this blog.

A while back I set up a Hypnotic Crescendos Instagram account with a view to sharing interesting examples of production design from gialli and other Italian genre fare. I found myself writing detailed descriptions but Instagram, as a predominately visual medium, seemed to be more about sharing pictures than saying something about them and Twitter was limiting in terms of its character limits. I guess that's why I've returned to the blog. It allows me to share images I have collated and information I have sourced alongside my own analysis in order to bring you my own bits and pieces about films in my own space. I like to think it won't get lost in the noise and will be a handy resource. I apply this statement to myself but the problem I sometimes find with social media is that it rewards instant gratification - a quick picture of a dvd you're about to watch could garner hundreds of likes whereas someone's essay that they've painstakingly put together yields little interaction or acknowledgement. For that reason, it's easy to become focussed on the likes from one tweet when one should put more effort into saying something of worth or insight. I found myself tempering my own voice because it was easier to share a picture with little commentary as I'd escape the inevitable rude replies. But even doing that, I've still found myself attracting the ire of some disgruntled individual or found someone trying to explain to me something basic about giallo or Argento etc uninvited - dinnae teach yer Granny tae suck eggs... 

I don't want to extensively go into my issues on here but I've touched on them in a post in the past. The gist of it is that I struggle greatly with self confidence and self worth. I know that's true for a lot of people - especially women of my age - but it's something that's become a real problem for me in the last couple of years. Writing about film is a source of great joy for me but also great anxiety. Fandoms of any kind can have toxic elements. I can honestly say that I just want to be able to write about film and offer my opinions - they aren't definitive. I can't tell you how many times I've deleted or abandoned a piece of writing I've been working on because I've got it into my head that I'll be mercilessly attacked online for it. It's probably quite an irrational fear but I've seen a lot of nastiness online and it just saddens me because all I've ever wanted to do is write whilst being nice and respectful to other people. Simplistic? Potentially. But I've got a lot going on in my life right now so why open myself up to hate and ridicule? Thus lies the reason why Hypnotic Crescendos was abandoned for so long. I need a thicker skin but sadly here we are.

Again, I won't go into my issues right now but one interesting thing that's come to light is that an element of my condition is somewhat of a heightened aesthetic awareness and it's most prevalent in those working within the creative industries. It's helpful but also a hindrance. Never the less, it's interesting that my passion and interest impedes me in other aspects of my life. But I have just started therapy after a long wait and I'm hoping to work through some of those issues. One of my goals for therapy, and a way of knowing I'm better, is writing for the blog so I'm tentatively opening the door to that just now. For anyone still reading, thank you for taking the time to listen. I'm sorry that the blog has languished for so long. It's of great sadness that so many pieces have never made it onto the site. Let's hope that changes.

Rachael

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