Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Friday, 5 December 2008
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Saturday, 25 October 2008
Monday, 20 October 2008
Hmmm, not quite convinced by that arguement. But what's interesting is what the artists have added. Suddenly Smokey and the Bandit looks like a Peter Sellers satire.
Steve Guttenberg sci-fi Saturday afternoon stalwart, Short Circuit 2 could be a futurist CCCP propaganda feature. And apparently Critters isn't some lame Gremlins rip off. It's an art house film. My favourite is the simple sexual frisson of the Fatal Attraction image.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Here's the first show. The rest of the series is upon YouTube and pretty easy to find.
And yes, the radio show was much better.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Everyone is very helpful and friendly
Everyone is really social
The food is good, cheap and plentiful
It's just so different from anything I've ever experienced
Eating offal (so far I haven't)
Smokey smoke everywhere and everyone smokes - even on the toilet
My inability to Chinese. I try and say thanks and end up saying beer, or much worse
KFC, McDonalds and Starbucks
But so far the Chinese are great at just getting on with it. Be it eating meat or smoking. They just ride up on their bikes, squat and finish everything until there us nothing left.
Thursday, 25 September 2008
However, as it's set in Kent two thousand years after a nuclear war and written in a decayed phonetic English, it's a tricky read.
Trubba not, read the first few pages out loud in a West Country accent and everything gels together. Oh, and this website helps too.
Apparently, Russell Hoban found his ability to spell nose dived after he finished the book. TRUFAX!
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
And if they did, well, they’re a big ol’ liar then aren’t they.
It made me think about the defining moments of my life and the music I associate them with. Only one readily springs to mind and it involves the birth of my son.
It was the morning after and naturally my mind was all over the place. I found myself wandering around the hospital looking for a coffee machine with another new father. Twenty six and a raver, he was still in that euphoric ‘I’m a Dad me, well mental’ stage and wearing a Leftfield ‘Rhythm & Stealth’ t-shirt. ‘Isn’t birth amazing!? Isn’t it awesome when their head pops out the fanny!’, he bellowed, waving his hands in the air. But all l I could think was ‘No way is their second album as good as Leftism’.
In my defence I had not had any sleep for 14 hours.
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Monday, 15 September 2008
He is a difficult read. But a rewarding one. At first glance, the long sentences and the footnotes make you think 'why is this man making it so hard?'. But you need to give it time. You need to be somewhere quiet. And you will need to reread bits.
For me, I loved his macro level of description - be it the operation of a cruise liner, the interactions of a focus group or what David Lynch is really like. For David Foster Wallace, difficult was worth doing.
I was reading on the Tube this morning the introduction to Riddley Walker by Will Self - another difficult book to read. He made a very interesting point: 'The idea that what I say to you will be immediately and lucidly comprehended is one of the most prosaic delusions of the neurotic age. Everyone wants to be understood as if the world were in a position to provide unconditional love. This is balls.'
Read something difficult today, it'll be worth your while. 'A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again', is a good start, or 'McCain's Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking About Hope'. But if you're feeling brave you can dive into 'Infinite Jest'.
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
A lot of the content is from BBC Radio. In fact, the site describes itself as a blog of Radio 4. So why not download directly from the BBC Radio site? Well some content is available, but only for a limited period and some isn't - presumably in the case of music documentaries, because of licensing issues.
The breadth of shows and subjects covered is amazing. The documentary on the 1977 New York black out is really a study of what went wrong with the city in the seventies. The BBC 3 feature on RAND fuses the idealism of Beach Boys harmonies and Californian sunshine with the chilling subject of planning for the apocalypse. And where else are you going to find a show on cunning except public radio?
Sunday, 7 September 2008
I like the comparisons to the Masai warriors
But for a real blast from the past, check out these old skate mags.
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Here’s Hitch in Time
Hilarity ensues in the Johnstown Monster
And my favourite: The Glitterball
Monday, 25 August 2008
Friday, 22 August 2008
I was trying to establish a tone of voice and tell the story of an uptight, depressed man who could't admit his unhapiness. But it all came to a grinding to a halt because it's very hard to write about depression without experiencing it first hand. And researching therapy was not only hard, but the more I read up on it, the less I wanted to write loads of gags about it.
The comedy came from the writer's contorted explanations about his beliefs. But this ended up being the only source of comedy. Everything else didn't work. It was too one dimensional
One thing I don't like about themed blogs (unlike this one which is essentially an online sketch book), is too often they meander on without conclusion. Unless it's reportage, it's hard to sustain interest in a made up character without some sort of development. And besides, I think things should have an ending.
Anyway I jumped in without planning it out properly. Here are the best bits from the blog, which will close soon:
Question from my Beautiful Wife
We get on like a house on fire. Surely this is not a good thing? This point was raised this morning by my beautiful wife. I could not answer her question. I felt uncomfortable. I asked colleagues, but they ignored me. Figures for this quarter are due. I need to focus on my work. So I asked my therapist. She said it refers to the action of the fire. Fire is exciting and vigorous. And so this describes the nature of a friendship.
I get it. But it seems a long way round to explain the term. This is what I will say to my beautiful wife this evening as we eat the delicious meal she’s prepared:
We get on like a house on fire
Fire is dangerous. It does not discriminate; it will burn you with impunity. When a house catches fire it is a terrible thing. Women, children, cats even dogs. They are in danger and can get hurt. When a house catches fire, it’s like a cavity in the neighbourhood. And it’s usually started by a fat person.
Perhaps they leave a cigarette burning on the edge of a toxic sofa while they raid the fridge during the ad break. I don’t know what they watch. Maybe a show about mutant poor people. These people deserve to lose their homes. But not their lives. No matter how cockamamie it all seems to us.
That’s why the normal folk run to the burning house and save them. They hand each other pails of water, they raise ladders to windows and they swap names. They say ‘Quick Robert, turn off the gas before the balloon people pop like sausages on a barbecue’. They say ‘Mary, call the Fire Brigade before something important catches fire’. And when they peel their feckless blobby bodies from the plastic sofas, they laugh and say ‘Isn’t it funny how they look like massive babies?’ They are now friends. So when we say ‘We get on like a house on fire’, we remember the times we saved those who couldn’t be bothered to save themselves and How It Brought Us Together.
My son Joel has a question.
Today, I faced the question all parents face at some point – unless their child is mentally retarded: 'Dad, why is the sky blue?' I looked down at my beautiful son as he gazed up at me with his almond shaped, pale blue eyes and asked: 'Why do you want to know?'
My Beautiful Wife suggested this was a rather underwhelming response to an earnest child’s question. So I’ve decided to rectify this, because if I’m to be happy, I must make the people around me happy. This is what I call Good Sense.
So why is the sky blue?
According to the Internet: ‘The sky appears blue because sunlight filters through the oxygen in the atmosphere, and the oxygen absorbs all the other colours but blue.’
Here is what I will say to him tomorrow as we enjoy our daily fibre at the breakfast table:
Oxygen is all around us. You can’t see it, taste or smell it – except when it’s bad – and it gives us life Joel. When we breathe, we wrap ourselves up in the love oxygen has for us. It will never leave us. Or do us harm. And because your favourite colour is blue, it is oxygen that chooses to make the sky blue to show you its love. So as long as the sky is blue, you know you’re safe and loved. And if the sky is black, you know it’s the infinite void of space and it’s time for bed.
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
What I like about Bruce is despite all his success, he’s quite open to talk about things when they go wrong.
For Bruce, this means his scripts and films . When you write anything for Hollywood, everyone from the head of the studio on down will submit 'notes' on how to improve your work. And If you do anything creative for a living you can expect the same thing to happen because:
- When people spend money, or more importantly, other people's money, they play safe. Hollywood, advertising, television, it doesn't matter, safe sells. Safe is easy to understand, easy to enjoy and easy to forget if it doesn't work. Every film, TV show and advert has a thousand lives relying on its success. Three guys and two girls in a New York flat bellowing 'oh my gawd' is an easier sell than a sitcom about two losers who share a flat and hate each other*
- People are inherently suspicious of paying money for something creative. It's the old 'I can write, draw better than that,why am I paying this idiot?' argument. And the scary thing is sometimes they're right.
- Often what you think is shit hot, is actually rubbish. It's ill-thought out, boring or derivative, which is a big word for boring. The world is full of shit books, films and telly that every one of their authors thought was 'great'.
But criticism and failure are good things. You learn from your mistakes and you learn to defend your work from points one and two and how to watch out for three. The interesting stuff usually makes no money, unless you're lucky, willing to wait or end up being dead (in the case of art).
To find out more, click on the new 'I'm not...' It's Alex Cox, a film maker who certainly put with more than his fair share of people saying 'no, do it again'.
This would be Peep Show, so proof that the cream rises to the top, eventually
Saturday, 16 August 2008
But in the seventies, the book sold by the truck load. And yes, they even made a film about it. Stating how ridiculous the film is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. You've only got to watch two minutes to see for yourself. But I like it the wild eyed optimisim and eagerness to ask 'what if?'. We don't seem to question anymore. We look it up online and know everything.
Thursday, 14 August 2008
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Next day everybody had two questions:
When is the Rage Against The Machine album out?
What’s up with Perry Farrell’s mouth?
The following happened in my school:
The RATM album would be worn thin on the Common Room tape deck
More people would jump on the Pearl Jam bandwagon
Girls with cracked nail varnish and DMs started wearing over-sized sunglasses
I tried to get those Tommy Morrello sounds out of my guitar. My Dad told me to turn it down. I briefly wore my Tele high and flirted with the idea of going by the name Tommy, briefly.
Billy Corgan's jumper. Good Lord
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
Saturday, 19 July 2008
I grew up about a couple of miles away from most of the opening shots. And I sailed acrss the South Forty Foot on a potato pallet when I was 14.
I have line danced too. Well, I was made to, that's my excuse.
There are also here collectors of Morris Marinas, double decker buses and a man who made a private railway in his own garden.
Thursday, 17 July 2008
The director Tarkovsky considered the film a failure and preferred his 1979 Stalker.
Monday, 14 July 2008
But then I saw his video work, in particular ‘Streamside Day’ and something just clicked. Inventing a carnival for a new housing development is more than just telling stories and exploring the concept of ownership (there’s that word again). There's warmth and a human quality to it.
You'll find little about Pierre on the Internet. Have a look at his Wikipedia page, read about his journey to find an albino penguin and if you have a chance to go to a gallery and look at his work, go. You won’t regret it.
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Monday, 23 June 2008
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Monday, 16 June 2008
Future Shock predicts us plummeting into a world where man would be a slave to technology and permanence would be a thing of the past. But in the end we chose to ignore everything and robots are, on the whole, still a bit shit. Yes, Future Shock is dated, but it's still worth a read, especially as it spawned the term 'information overload'. Arrrgh, too much data! You can pick up a copy for peanuts.
They made it into a movie and it's a good one. The soundtrack is pure Boards of Canada, with ‘frantic’ visuals to match. But best of all, they got Orson Welles to walk moodily around the place moaning about change with a stogie in his mouth. A lost classic.