James Cartwright is a freelance writer and editor. He currently edits Weapons of Reason magazine and was formerly Print Editor at It's Nice That.


Daniel Swan and David Rudnick — Valhalla by RL Grime 4 minutes

I don’t usually go in for ultra-futuristic sci-fi or whatever kind of trap/drum and bass is going on in this video, but if humanity is headed for some kind of apocalyptic desert war then having Daniel Swan and David Rudnick direct and design the whole thing would perhaps take the edge off the desolate horror surrounding us. Those big armoured trucks are so shiny!

Sweetgrass Productions — Valhalla 3 minutes

I stumbled across this because it has the same name as the last video. Watching snowboard videos is one of my favourite ways to kill time, mostly because although I’m a reasonably proficient rider, I am shit-scared of heights, so the kind of activity taking place here will be forever out of reach for me. Which is a depressing thought. It’s also soundtracked with Donovan’s Hurdy-Gurdy Man, which will either make you love it, or drive you crazy.

On The Roofs — Shanghai Tower 5 minutes

My fear of heights also means that this video makes me feel physically sick. I’ve never seen another bit of film that makes my vertigo kick in so violently. Enjoy!

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick — The Vietnam War 2 minutes

This is a trailer for Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s recent documentary The Vietnam War, which is unsurprisingly, about The Vietnam War. I’m currently 12 hours in to the 18-hour saga, which took longer to put together than the war actually lasted—and it was a really long war. You can find the whole thing online for free if you’re the kind of person who likes to flout copyright law, or it’s probably available on DVD. The soundtrack is by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Atticus Ross, and is really, brutally good.

Neil Young — Heart of Gold 5 minutes

“I’m gonna sing another new one now,” says Neil as he gets himself comfy on his stool and adjusts his harmonica. “Is everybody having a good time or what?” Neil’s only just getting used to playing his harmonica in 1971, and seems to be feeling pretty bashful about the whole performance. Then he launches into Heart of Gold, a “new one”. I don’t have to explain why this is so good.

Patrick McGoohan — The Prisoner 2 minutes

When I was first a student, my housemate had the complete boxset of The Prisoner, and we must’ve watched it in its entirety five or six times. We had a lot of time to kill. The set design and costumes are as dazzling as the script is hammy and absurd. But the whole production is genuinely unsettling and often scary, which is testament to the direction of the whole thing. Also the main villain is a weather balloon, which proves special effects aren’t all that important.

Twitter @jdmcartwright

weaponsofreason.com