The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

I had a visit from The Kid in the Front Row

with 10 comments

The Kid in the Front Row has been a busy bee lately. Not only has he been incredibly productive at his own blog (which I appreciate since I’m a fan of his writings), he has also invited us all to participate in a blogathon.

The idea was that the Kid wanted to get to know us all a bit better. So he took a bunch of questions with him – different for every blog – and took a bar tour, visiting every blog that was up for it.

The other night, time had come for him to drop by The Velvet Café and we had this conversation over a drink:

I think our blogs are kind of similar in design. Pretty plain, white background. Why do you go for that kind of design?

I’m not that much into blogs that look like Christmas trees. It’s distracting, it gives me a headache and it’s not safe for work. Unless you’re running a photo blog, it’s your writings that attract me, not your decorations. I don’t shy away from walls of texts. I enjoy them, as long as you make sure to break it up with new paragraphs when needed. So basically I have the type of layout that works fine for me as a reader.

I’m sure my design could be improved if I had those skills myself. But since I don’t I’ve decided to save myself a headache and just stick with a standard WordPress template. I picked one that I thought was reader-friendly with a white background that would let the content speak for itself.

Your style is quite casual, it has a certain joy to it — yet, you manage to ram a lot of information and knowledge into it. How do you do that? I would like to steal this skill.

Thank you so very much! That’s really flattering. I honestly don’t have any good answer to that. I’m glad you can spot the joy in the writing and that you think it’s casual. I think writing in English makes me a little bit more formal than I would have been if I’d used my native language, Swedish. It’s only when you’re very good at a language that you can play around with it and treat it with less respect and more imagination. If anything I’d like to become more casual and more joyful than I am now. Perhaps I will as time goes by.

I often find that people whose first language isn’t English are more creative with the language. We learn English when we’re small, and we aren’t really aware of the rules. Everyone else learns about grammar and meaning far more than we do. My foreign friends often teach me a lot about the English language!

Do you think your blogging has changed at all since you started?

I’ve only been running this blog since July 2011 and I don’t think I’ve changed that much over this time. Perhaps I’ve started to talk about films with a little bit more of confidence as I’ve gotten more used to writing reviews, which was a new thing for me to do. I’ve found my film blogging voice.

I guess I’m also constantly improving my English, but that’s a long and slow process that has been going on for several years. When I first started to do this, on a different blog a few years ago, it was painstakingly hard. I basically wrote everything in Swedish first and then translated it. After a while I started to translate it in my head. Nowadays my brain switches over and I think in English whenever I’m blogging. I still make mistakes of course, but the writing is a lot easier.

Do you dream in Swedish, or English?

I have no idea to be honest. Sadly enough I don’t remember any dreams. I’ve always imagined they’re mostly wordless though.

I think we like a lot of similar films. Like ‘Eternal Sunshine..’, ‘Together’, ‘Into The Wild’ — you say on your ‘About me’ section that your tastes are ‘wild and unpredictable’ – but do you really think that’s true?

I actually think my range is comparatively wide. It seems to me as if many bloggers are into either one thing or another. Some stick to small art house productions that barely are shown outside of festivals. Others will barely watch anything outside of the box office top lists, and barely ever anything with subtitles. I think I watch all sorts of movies. I also try to stay true to my own feelings towards them, not necessarily worshipping movies that are considered classics, just because it’s expected from my. Because of this approach I think that you can’t always predict what kind of movies I’ll watch and like. I don’t see a specific pattern in my move taste apart from that I’m much into science fiction. Perhaps it would be easier for an outsider to spot it.

I’m interested in knowing more about you and your life, if you’re willing to share. It’s the little things that interest me — like, what do you have planned for tomorrow?

I’m more than willing to share; I think I share a lot more of my life outside of the movie watching than most film bloggers do. The reviews aren’t really reviews in a traditional sense, but more of jumping spots – an excuse for me to ramble about anything that comes to my mind and share stories from my life.

I think the regular guests at The Velvet Café know a great deal already, so I’m not sure if I can up with much that will surprise them. But ok, my plans for tomorrow you said, so here you are:

I’m writing this on a Friday night. Every second Friday I go to a guild sorting under the Tolkien society in Stockholm, where we train all sorts of historical dances, for instance the ones you see in Pride and Prejudice. However this Friday is a night off, so here I am writing this post instead. I’ve just been driving one of my daughters to a party in the other end of the city. Or rather she drove and I was sitting beside, since she’s about to take her driver’s license.

Tomorrow afternoon I’m going to watch a Norwegian movie, Sons of Norway. It’s only been up for a week but they’re already taking it away so I need to hurry. This is my last chance to see it. It’s got a punk rock theme and seems fun for some who was into that back in the days.

And then there are duties waiting, such as doing the big weekly shopping tour to get groceries. I hate that. But listening to a bunch of good podcasts makes it more enjoyable.

On Sunday I’m going to do train another of my interests, iaido, which is Japanese swords art. So far my attempts to look like a dangerous samurai are laughable. It will take me many years of training before I even have learned the basics of it. But so what? This is most of all about reaching a state of mind when you’re absolutely focused on one thing. There’s nothing that soothes my mind like imagining that I’m chopping the head off invisible enemies!

I’m getting scared now. Not really. What podcasts do you listen to?

I listen to far too many to mention them all I’m afraid, but I’ll give you a few examples. Kermode & Mayo’s film review is my favorite film podcast, hands down. Filmspotting is another great film podcast. They don’t review as many of the current movies, but they dive deeper into the films and also talk about old films, which I appreciate. Jeff Goldsmith makes wonderful interviews with screenwriters in his Q & A show. I’m really into storytelling and The Moth never disappoints me. Wonderful stories there. For general pop culture entertainment I dive into Pop Culture Happy Hour and Slate Cultural Gabfest. For great and thoughtful conversations I listen to WTF with Marc Maron and Mental Illness Happy Hour. Dan Savage is also a great podcaster. I like his insight and he gives glimpses into a lot of worlds I never would have dreamed of existed.

Have you ever been jealous of someone else’s blog?

“Jealous” is a very strong word with a lot of negative luggage. But for sure, sometimes when I read something excellent I can feel a pang, wishing I was as good as that writer. If you want me to name someone, you’re one of those whose talent I can envy. However it’s not a feeling I’ll dwell on for too long. It won’t make you any good. Besides while I’m usually fairly competitive in my mindset, it’s not the case with my blogging. I’m not making a living on it; I’m not looking for fame or getting a job through it. I’m just having this conversation because I enjoy movie watching and writing and connecting to other people. Basically I should just relax. There’s no reason to be jealous.

Thank you for the kind words re my blog. I think we’re all in a similar boat. It’s that unspoken thing, the jealousy thing. I think everyone feels it at certain times. The important thing is how you handle it.

Yes, I think it basically has to do with the insecurity we all feel when we put out ourselves the way we do. There is an exhibitionistic side of blogging that we rarely admit, but it’s there. Deep down we crave for confirmation. When people show their love for our posts or comment on them, we get a kick out of it. And when they don’t, it’s easy to start doubting yourself. I’m trying not to pay too much attention to it though and I don’t pay much attention to the statistics for my blog. In the end I’m not blogging to please an audience. I’m blogging to get to peace with myself.

What have you enjoyed most about blogging?

I’ve found my way back to the joy of writing, which basically was gone for a few years. I do this for fun and not for a living, which makes quite a difference. I also enjoy all those unexpected meetings I’ve gotten through it. Whenever I reach out, there will be someone there touching me, reaching out from the other side of the world. It never ceases to amaze me. The more you give out of yourself, the more you get.

And that’s all for this time. Thank you for dropping by Kid in the Front Row! It was a pleasure. I hope it won’t be the last time. And who knows, perhaps you’ll get a return visit?

Other bloggers who got a visit from the Kid:

Ryan at The Matinee
Steeve at Cinematic Paradox
Aiden at Cut the Crap Movie Reviews

Written by Jessica

April 23, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

10 Responses

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  1. Interesting post! I just started following your blog so this was a nice way to get to know you. I can identify with the problems you initially had (and still do somewhat) when writing in English as my native language is Spanish. I, too, think in English when I’m blogging! We have something in common 🙂

    fernandorafael

    April 23, 2012 at 1:24 am

    • Yay! A brother in arms! Welcome to my place and have a free drink of your choice! Writing in English is a challange, but I also sthink it’s awarding. I love to get the chance to talk with people from all over the world, not just my own countyr. And this is the price I pay for it.

      Jessica

      April 23, 2012 at 7:26 am

  2. Started blogging in July 2012? Are we time travelling…. hehehe I am just pulling your leg…. sorry to be the typo police!

    • Woops! It was supposed to be kept a secret that I’m a time traveller. Please don’t tell anyone. I’ll just correct it discretely and hope noone noticed.

      Jessica

      April 23, 2012 at 10:42 am

  3. Great article, as you know I’m a big fan of knowing more about the people that write the blogs I read (why I started the Moviesite Spotlight). Nice to read even more about you Jessica!

    Nostra

    April 23, 2012 at 11:26 am

    • Your spotlight series is wonderful, Nostra! I really like to learn more about the people behind the blogs. Now I’m looking forward to read the conversations with other participators in thos blogathon.

      Jessica

      April 23, 2012 at 11:40 am

      • Thanks for the compliments. If you ever want to interview me to know more about me you are more than welcome 😉

        Looking forward to others as well. Should check out his site more as I have visited it and thought he had some great articles.

        Nostra

        April 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

  4. Folk dancing…sword wielding…film watching…

    You are what they call “A woman of many letters”! This was a great read both in terms of the questions The Kid put to you, and your responses. I haven’t noticed how much of your personal life you usually put into your posts, but this certainly painted a detailed portrait. So much so that it left me wondering “Where does she find the time?”

    I was most encouraged to see your note about enjoying long-form writing, since I often feel quite alone in that. If there’s one insecurity I have about the way I format my writing, it’s the fear that “Nobody is going to read all of this”…we’ve become a society with a low attention span.

    Hopefully you continue to find time in your busy schedule to keep up with this space, if not I know that I, for one, would miss it dearly. Thanks for the window into The Life of Jessica.

    Ryan McNeil

    April 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    • Thanks for looking into that window! Yeah, my spare time is pretty stuffed, but then my kids are grown up, so it’s not the way it used to be when life circled around their doings.

      I probably sleep too little, but again, they say you need less sleep as you grow older, so perhaps that’s not so much to worry about. Better enjoy those night hours blogging!

      I really love walls of texts! On the other hand, my attention span for very short posts with mostly pictures and a few text fragments and a ton of links is quite limited. So text heavy blogs have a fan in me.

      You popping by here makes me realize that I should have mentioned The Matineecast among my favorite podcasts because it is. Among the podcasts that are fan-driven, not sent on radio and such, it’s probably my number one. ❤

      Jessica

      April 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm


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