Thursday, 25 December 2008


Bad to the bone

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Can Pacino box?

For the rest follow the links

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Mask of Death

At some point when I get near my paints I'll flesh this one out.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Film posters from Poland

This is the Smokey and the Bandit Film Poster from Poland. You can find more here. Just how cool is this? It's not apparently clear why these posters were used instead of the Hollywood ones. In the comments section of the website, someone claims it's because posters were not subject to official censorship, allowing artists to hide political commentary.

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

Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy

There are loads of people who reckon the TV series was a load of old rubbish. Yes, the effects let it down. Yes, the humor is glib. And yes, Zaphod's makeup makes him look like he's got AIDS. But it's partly nostalgia. I grew up on bad BBC sci-fi effects - Blake's 7, Dr Who, The Adventure Game and Tripods (which really was awful). But HHGTG was my favourite. Especially the 'cutting edge' computer graffix! Gosh, I'm such a geek.

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.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

China - week 1

In China for the next four weeks or so...

Good things

Everyone is very helpful and friendly

Everyone is really social

The food is good, cheap and plentiful

Sleeper trains

It's just so different from anything I've ever experienced

Bad things

The toilets

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.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Riddley Walker

I'm re-reading this again. It's a great book.

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!

Way Home

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The soundtrack of your life

I was talking to Rish of Being Beta the other day about how it’s often the oddest music that defines the key moments in your life. His argument is nobody ever had an epiphany to Dylan.

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.

This won the Yellow Pencil

D&AD: Viral

Good, it's aces. It also avoids the viral trap: people will only send videos of porn and or pain

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

More great audio: Robert Popper

Robert Popper: author of The Time Waster Letters (As Robin Cooper) and co-writer of Look Around You. Audio from the occassionally amazing but often so-so The Sound of Young America.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Stuff from the Decode days

Created by the lovely Rubberductions. Potatoes was also lovingly donated to feature on the first Decode Cd-Rom. Which I edited - the CD Rom that is not the magazine that was the lovely Gabriel Solomans. Here he is:

Monday, 15 September 2008

David Foster Wallace Dead

Still a bit odd to hear about DFW's death. And because it's a suicide, there's a whole load of extra intrigue as well. I suppose the one question (and one that will never be answered) is why?

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

I heart Speechification

This site has been doing the rounds, usually appearing in the 'my favourite website' columns and for good reason, it's a great idea, well executed. Speechification collects the best of English speech radio with an MP3 link, so you can download and listen when you want and where you want.

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 skated - badly

But when I did, I imagined I looked like the guys in the slow motion bits of this video. Until I hit a tiny pebble, which would pitch me on to my arse.

I like the comparisons to the Masai warriors

But for a real blast from the past, check out these old skate mags.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Good clean fun: Children’s Film Foundation

The scripts were awful, the acting terrible and occasionally, if you were really unlucky, you’d watch the one with a young Keith Chegwin in it. But we’d run home from school on a Friday to watch these films on the BBC.

Here’s Hitch in Time

Hilarity ensues in the Johnstown Monster

And my favourite: The Glitterball

Friday, 22 August 2008

Things that didn't work [Part 1]

Continuing on from the post about Bruce and his verve for talking about things that go wrong, I thought I'd post a few items from Everyday is Sunday. This blog seemed such a good idea at the time. Unfortunately it just didn't have legs.

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

I am not Bruce Robinson

Bruce wrote The Killing Fields and directed Withnail and I. You can find more about him on his Wiki. Or better still, buy ‘Smoking in Bed: Conversations with Bruce Robinson'. The title is awful, but the book is great. The author rightly decided to just pitch up and let Bruce talk.

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

Chariots of the Gods

God was an astronaut, Jesus an alien and Man the product of genetic manipulation. It's a load of old hokum. Even the author of Chariots of the Gods? (love the Ron Burgundy question mark) Enrich von Daniken has since admitted that bits of his evidence don't stand up to scrutiny.

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.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Boring school night, 1993.

Usually after dinner I’d go to my room, draw and listen to either John Peel or ‘Jive Alive’ (a more easy listening John Peel) on Hereward Radio. But not tonight. Tonight I watched ‘No Nirvana’.

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

Stuff for sale on ebay -1970 Plymouth Roadrunner

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Remember the future?

Another great Jonathan Meades show.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Saturday, 19 July 2008

What’s the matter with this place?

For when I’m asked ‘where are you from then?’

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

Solaris & Stalker

The original 1972 Solaris is a slow film. Even when compared, which it often is, to 2001. But there is something quite beautiful about the way it’s shot. I like the opening scene in the forest and the rather peculiar ‘road’ scene that goes on, and on, and on.

The director Tarkovsky considered the film a failure and preferred his 1979 Stalker.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Pierre Huyghe

When I'm asked 'who's your favourite artist', the first person who springs to mind is Pierre Huyghe. In 2007 a retrospective of his work was held at the Tate Modern. As soon as I walked through the (moving) front doors I was interested. But if I'm honest some of the work (which you can see in the video) was a bit 'meh'. I understand the idea and concept of ownership; it was just a bit impersonal and dry.

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

High Scores

High scores is the story of Bill Carlton, an Oregon man who attempts to smash the high score record held for the Missile Command coin op. So how high is that score? Pretty high: 80 million points. He had to play non-stop for two days. Sounds boring right? Ah but you’re overlooking this everyman’s determination and the sheer despair he experiences when his coin op crashes a day in, simply because it’s too old. Does he make it? Find out. don't know how, it's not on Amazon, but keep an eye out.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Wes Anderson Wednesday

Today's music is Creation 'Making Time', featured in the film 'Rushmore'.

Then, The Who 'A Quick One While He's Away', which is in Wes' film The Royal Tenenbaums.

I love the way Keith mimes away.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Warren Oates

You might not remember Warren from such movies as Race with the Devil, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and my all-time favourite Two-Lane Blacktop. But you might remember him from Stripes and as the grizzly police captain in the helicopter hokum fest Blue Thunder. He was best playing those past their prime, something that never happened to him because he died aged only 53.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Phase IV

It’s 1974. People are starting to think about Man’s effect on the Earth. Some of them went to see The Day of the Animals - maybe even screenwriter Mayo Simon - who reads the classic short story, ‘Leningen Versus the Ants’. ‘What if ants took over the world?’ Simon writes Phase IV. Saul Bass directs. It will be his only feature film.

Monday, 16 June 2008


Bad acting, script, effects. Bad cop!

Count the Beach Boys references

Such pace

If you've got time then watch the fan edit

I am R.O.T.O.R, you are guilty

‘We live in a world of anxiety’

In 1970 Alvin Toffler published Future Shock. He believed people were suffering from too much change, in too little time. Computers, jet set travel, mass consumerism, 24 hour news - all these elements would isolate us from one another.

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.

Steve Canyon - starring Lee Marvin and Cher

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

24 May Lincolnshire

Prep work for something. Not sure what yet.