Posts from 23rd August 2003

Aug 03

Stupid Am Best

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 579 views

A lot of old comic fans are very keen on the intelligence and comparative realism of modern superhero comic books, but I miss the heroic stupidity of the old days. The Atom, DC’s superhero with shrinking powers, is a terrific example.

His origin is my all-time favourite. Physicist Ray Palmer saw a shooting star, and wandered off to see if anything landed. He immediately recognised what it was: “I don’t know the odds against one white dwarf hitting another out in space but it could happen – and when it did this piece drifted until it landed in this field.” White dwarf stars are super-dense, so it was a bit of a struggle carrying this fist-sized rock back to the lab, but when he did he wove a costume out of its fibres (yes, fibres), and that obviously enabled him to shrink.

The cover of the first issue of The Atom is another gem of titanic stupidity. The villain is Jason Woodrue, who has control over plants. He is looming over the tiny Atom, who is caught in a venus fly-trap, trying to hold back the closing jaws. Woodrue (good name, I always thought) is saying “If my venus fly-trap can defeat the mighty Atom, nothing can stop me taking over the world!” Hold on there Jason: how is your plant going to worry anyone who doesn’t have the power of shrinking? Can’t the Atom win this struggle by turning off his power? Is any plant really going to terrify Superman or Wonder Woman?

I miss those days.

KEVIN SHIELDS — “Are You Awake?” and “City Girl”

FT + New York London Paris Munich1 comment • 518 views

KEVIN SHIELDS — “Are You Awake?” and “City Girl”

It’s part of a slightly cartoonish self-image I create, I admit, but my mania for the work of Mr. Shields and My Bloody Valentine isn’t feigned, really — it wasn’t when I first heard his stuff back in 1990, it wasn’t when I wrote this and it isn’t now. But after a baker’s dozen years since “Soon,” I wasn’t and I didn’t expect the world was going to end when some of his efforts from the Lost in Translation soundtrack — his first solo efforts credited as such, remixes and other participations in groups aside — surfaced. Lightning may strike twice but I think something so skycracking and vision-altering as those seven minutes I first heard of the band really probably is unique, however everyone’s experiences will differ.

And indeed, my world didn’t end, things didn’t suddenly rearrange, but I am pleased, not surprised, but content. “Are You Awake?” seems to be a nod after the fact to the likes of Seefeel, whose Quique is one of the few albums to have taken up the idea of a true electronic/blissout flow back in the early nineties (about half the laptop crowd seems now to be backing into a similar place). The beats are crisp and straightforward, a simple enough pulse, rather than muffled in chaos, guitar swirling in a distant haze and thoroughly softened. “City Girl” is a proper song-as-such that those who demand that from their art will be somewhat satisfied (lyrics still won’t be clear enough, though) — I’m nowhere near so choosy, and the song itself is nowhere near so striking, guitar but no tremelo queasiness, but plenty of ghost of late sixties Beach Boys melodic flow in the harmonies. It’s the fact that for all the sentiments of “I love you” and the like in the words there’s something just alien enough still, like Shields figured, “Well, it’s a sort of love song for a film, I guess I’ll do that for them…strange.” Who knows what next, if anything, but I’m all for someone spending their time figuring out new ways to gild a lily than just ignore it.

Moving house

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 506 views

Moving house is usually a pretty hideous process. At the moment we’re pretty much restricted to moving to “any area which we can afford”. However, Simply Indian has now limited my choices to the following postcodes: SE1, SE16, SE11, SE17, EC4, SW1, EC3, as they fall within the deliery area of aforesaid curry place, where I have just eaten the BEST LAMB SAMOSAS EVER. I fear I will never be able to eat another samosa ever again for fear of disappointment. Crispy shell enclosing about a TON of spicy lamb crammed in probably using a complicated MODUS OPERANDI hem hem using surgical gloves and instruments of shiny grabbing implements. You get two samosas for ‘2.25 but you may as well get HEAVEN ON A SOAP DISH.

Next time I’m ordering ten.

I can also recommend their fish tikka. Another speciality of theirs appears to be crab dishes. I’ve not sampled yet but NEXT TIME my friends, o… next time…