Beyond the Wings, February 2023
What I've been up to this month
As I was turning 39 on February 7th, I was reaching the longest sober stretch since I was old enough to drink. By the end of March I will be on day 100, and am thoroughly enjoying life after booze.
I think the healthiest relationship with alcohol is to enjoy the occasional drop, but I have never been one for moderation, so cold turkey it is.
On February 11th, I made the last ever recording of my Chinese-language songs. It has been a grand adventure, and the greatest combination of my three most adored activities, creative writing, making music, and learning languages:
This month’s miscellaneous cover was ‘My Proud Corazón’ from Coco.
The next The Kev album will be all-but finished by the end of next month. I have had two studio sessions and done plenty of recording and mixing at home. I also did an interview about The Kev with New York-based Z-Radio:
Much more importantly, my day job is still thriving, with an increasing number of both corporate and private clients.
It’s a cliché to tell creative people to ‘not give up your day job’ if their stuff is not very good. However, I draw as much if not more meaning and self-worth from my tutoring work as from anything creative.
When the Oscar-winning actor Lee Marvin died of cancer in 1987, he wanted to be remembered for his military work more than for his glittering Hollywood career. Day jobs rule.
An adaptation of one of the most important books of the twentieth century has been showered with some of the most prestigious awards available. ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ won BAFTAS for best film, best director, best score, best adapted screenplay and more, which augurs well for its performance at the Oscars.
The film has won critical acclaim around the world, but in Germany both audiences and critics are more sceptical. Tabloid Bild Zeitung has described the film as ‘horny for Oscars’ and the left-leaning Süddeutsche Zeitung called it ‘war kitsch’.
The most internationally acclaimed German film of recent times happens to be released at the time of the largest European war since 1945. The film is not a particularly faithful adaptation of the novel (one of my personal favourites, I first read it at age 16), and the non-combat subplot often feels clunky, but as trench warfare rages to the east, it is a timely reminder of William Faulkner’s quote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”