Cinematic Counsel Courtesy of Dr Nathan


doctor will see you

Since graduating from a Buzzfeed quiz with a recommendation to become a medical professional, my good friend, Nathan, ahem: Dr Nathan has been “prescribing” cinematic advice and council for the needy of Jaén  (and indeed those further afield). And who would have thought it? It turns out in these dark days it’s a much required service.

Here are 2 referrals which I personally fielded:

Here is a two letters which I am forwarding to you in good faith for your cinematic counsel. I trust that our colleague Jessica Marie may have some further referrals for you.


Howdy Dr Nate (yah don’t mind if ah call you Nate do yah’ll?),

Ahm what you might call a business bigwig (in more ways than one), but ahm nat content with screwin’ over the little guy in the private sector so ah’ve now set my sights on public office in the goddam, god bless best country in this whole world. Frahm leading corporate America to leading “America Corporate” (copyright pending), ah just love privatising the shit out of every last inch of this beautiful country. Ahm lookin’ to watch a feel-good film about how megalomania pays, and ah don’t wanna see any art-crap-europe cinema, unless it’s full of titties,

Best regards,

Mr Darren Muffet
(ah have changed ma name to protect mah identity – but ahm still proud to be from the U S of A)


Dear Mr ‘Muffet’,

I must tell you that in all my years practising medicine, I’ve never quite seen a case as aggressive and advanced (yet simultaneously backward) as yours.

I’m afraid that at this stage, the only course of action is a heavy dose of The Wolf of Wall Street. Please take one viewing, once a day for a week, in order to give sufficient time for the initial europhic cool to wear off and the underlying message to work its way into your system. Although you may not see it right away, I feel this course of action is best for you in the long run.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Nathan



Dear Dr Nathan,

I am a simple lad from ‘oop north’ and have neither access to kestrels nor a village hall ballet school. I’m shit at football and am worried that I’ll be left to push bicycles laden with bread up cobbled paths for the rest of my days. Can you offer some celluloid inspiration for a poor lad like m’self?

Yours beseechingly,

Timmy Buttons


Dear Timmy,

Don’t fret m’duck, we’ll have ya raaaht as reeeehn in no time.

From the symptoms you describe, I’ve detected a deficiancy in your sense of belonging and feeling accepted. Therefore, the only course of action seems to be a prescription of This is England.

The dosage is particularly important in this case, so please ensure that you watch the whole film first, and then suppliment this with the subsequent series’ in chronological order: This is England 86, This is England 88 and This is England 90.

Please note, this suggestion has been known to cause side effects including mild melancholia in some cases. If so, please contact me as soon as possible, so that I can provide you with the alternative lighter treatment – Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Nathan


Of course, it is only polite to follow up on such matters, and duly I sent the following update to Dr Nathan:


Esteemed colleague,

many thanks for your prompt diagnoses and your judicious treatment schedules. I trust I shall be able to make further referrals? . Timmy has already announced his intention to get some tattoos and has told the bakery owner to f*ck off, but as you note Mr ‘Muffet’ has quite an intractable case and a few more viewings will be required.



Dr Nathan is available for consultation in Jaén for all your cinematic queries. If you can’t come to this Andalusian “Pueblo masquerading as a City” yourself, myself or my colleague at “Dos Besos” can certainly relay your request.


Where’s weird now?

Move over Austin, there’s a new weird kid in town


Jaén. No, not Jane. “Hayen”, and if you can cough up that “h” like a furball, all the better (you’ll be needing it later).

I’ve often not chosen great places to live, rather, I’ve had great places thrust upon me.

Saving some money to live in Paris, I found myself in London’s Homerton during the “fried chicken years”. First impressions weren’t good. The only shop open after 9pm was “Senoritas”, whose services I was unlikely to require. But over the subsequent four years, and during the early days of it’s gentrification, Homerton was an edgy and exciting place to live.

And throughout my time in Paris, I felt like I’d ditched my quirky, funny boyfriend for a superficially superior specimen, but longed for the weird goings-on at the canals and in the basements of Stoke Newington.*

I came to Spain to learn Spanish and live in Seville. And I did, for four months.

I found some quirky cafes (Thank you Alameda), some tourist strongholds and a picturesque river walk but when I started to look for permanent work, I cast my net wide, knowing this postcard city and I weren’t a match.

I wasn’t keen to come to Jaén, but soon-to-be-beggars certainly can’t be choosers, and I passed up some poorly paid work in the charming Cadiz to come to a town which advertises it’s self as “an interior paradise”. Someone should tell 1) the Jaen tourist board: “ONLY ONE HOUR FROM GRANADA”, they scream, and 2) the Jaén wikipedia entry, which features a large roundabout as it’s main image. I was reassured by my at the time Pamplonian flatmate “It can’t be that bad” she said, “it’s got a  Corte Inglés”.

But she makes a striking impression, arriving from the west, with white houses lapping on the steep hills of Jabalcuz (“Habalcooth”, again go for it with that furball).

Architecturally, she’s underwhelming. Four weeks prior to the famously commemorated bombing of Guernica, Jaén suffered similar, devastating losses during a bombing raid as part of the Spanish Civil War. Narrow arabic streets provided a high concentration of deaths and casualties, and many of the old parts of the town were lost.

There’s not much said, on the internet or otherwise about small town architecture post war and during the Franco era. With good reason: the preferred style was ugly, or should that be cheap.

But Jaen got’s something about it.

It’s weird.

And it’s ok with that.

*There was an excellent Tuesday evening life drawing group in a Stokey basement. Great tunes. I hope it’s still there!