Posts from 15th October 2003

Oct 03

I’ve mentioned stupid superhero comic covers before

The Brown Wedge1 comment • 793 views

I’ve mentioned stupid superhero comic covers before, but I have to mention another classically dumb one, from the 1970s, when Marvel Comics had grasped there was such a thing as feminism, without having fully got to grips with its subtleties. Ms Marvel was created as a modern feminist superheroine. Her first issue had her fighting old Spider-Man villain the Scorpion. Her rather confused words on that cover were “Give it up Scorpion! You’re not man enough to beat Ms Marvel!” Magnificent.

MICHAEL JACKSON – “One More Chance”

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MICHAEL JACKSON – “One More Chance”

clearly irony is lost on michael jackson. we know it’s wasted on r. kelly, the song’s writer, who, on “step in the name of love,” declared himself the “pied piper of r&b,” i.e. creepy old guy who absconds with a town’s children for purposes unknown but very likely unseemly.

or perhaps it’s not. michael jackson essentially began his career asking for “one more chance” on the jackson five’s “i want you back.” and want you back he does, if the “you” in question is the pop audience. so, in his time of need, he turns to r. kelly, the man who wrote his last number one hit. it’s a pleasant, airy number with a leaden chorus: in his hey day it would have been an album track; during his lean years, maybe a third single. it quotes past triumphs, in particular “human nature,” itself a beautiful song that wasn’t fit to make it onto history, his first collection of hits, and one he’d die to get a chance to record today. “one more chance” is meant to help sell another hit compilation, number ones; if the single gets over by references to his past, the album will have to do the same because “one more chance” is rather charmless when taken on its own merits. he turned to kelly for another “you are not alone”; instead, he got a “gotham city.” does jackson really deserve another chance? based on a string of recent failures, professional and personal, that question becomes more and more secondary to another: will the public and, moreover, radio programmers give him one?

KAY STARR – ‘Rock And Roll Waltz’

Popular5 comments • 2,687 views

#44, 30th March 1956

‘There in the night was a wonderful scene / Mom was dancing with Dad to my record machine / And while they danced only one thing was wrong / They were trying to waltz to a rock and roll song!’ The chorus premise tells you everything you need to know about this cute little number: the ‘generation gap’ both crystallised and smoothed over. The tune is a hybrid itself, naturally, swing attempting a d’tente with the new music, and ‘Rock And Roll Waltz’ amuses for a few listens. Twenty-odd years later Cheap Trick came home and found their parents doing a lot more than waltzing to rock music: thematic mixtape makers should find a use for Kay Starr as she opens the loop they close.

Rock and Roll High School

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 238 views

Rock and Roll High School

Why in the last couple of years has America licked the wounds of Columbine, why have all the queers, dope freaks, outsiders, and lonely little adult boys decided that the proper thing to do is to make films about kids killing kids. Look at the list Michael Moore’s Oscar Winning Bowling for Columbine, Gus Van Sant’s Palm d’Or winning Elephant, Douglas Coupland’s novel Hey Nostramdamus, and now DBC Pierre’s Booker Prize winning Vernon God Little (I’m Missing a few)’

Did it take four years to wipe clean the fake Christian martyrdom, the triumph of jock will and the sadness and corruption of American schools ? What made people realize that there was another current surrounding Kelbold and Harris, one of appropriate rage, required to survive in an environment that was both hostile and wounding. Why do you think there was copy cat crimes soon afterwards in Washington and Arkansas? Because these two little fuckwits gave all the other fuckwits balls

I heard, whispered, just after those events, that it was about time, that perhaps now things would change, that the death was a ‘bad thing’ but maybe it was hawks coming home to roost’that high school was trench warfare in grown up struggles concerning class, sex and race.

Look at these new works created in response’a polemical screed with little concern about accuracy (Moore), a dirty old mans porno fantasy with the old gun as phallic signifier trope (Van Sant), a middle aged borderline hipster trying to reserve some cachet (Coupland), and then there is Pierre.

Pierre is a fuck up, he sells friends houses and furniture to pay for drugs, the first words out of his mouth when he learns of his win concern sniffing glue’not something cool like heroin or something rich like coke but the desperate poor punked out Glue. His book doesn’t deal with the real world, with fake verisimilitude, with isn’t it all sad bourgeois mourning. His narrator talks like a teenager’about sex as much as race, in a profane West Texas Patois that hardens like concrete. The author and his narrators, know how the classes stratify like weasels in cages, there is no tourism here.

Even his name, DPC stands for Dirty but Clean, suggests that no matter how many houses in Ireland and thousand dollar prizes he wins, he has a certain filthy integrity. This is the standard view of things, and this is why Peter Carey’s jury gave him the money–but does it continue a certain romantic instinct towards addiction and hard lives–by mirroring the characters with the novelist, does that give enough respect to his vision ? Like JT Leroy, Augesten Burroughs and other memoirists when a disaster of a child hood is sold, the traditional views towards real estate are reveresed. This is not a memoir but is marketed as such. Between that and this trend of “understanding” violent teen angst, it almost doesn’t matter that the book is well written..


The Brown WedgePost a comment • 127 views

LESS ART MORE GOFFS: aka the new Gene Wolfe book is out on 1 January 2003. I mention this as part of my charity shop HAUL this lunchtime where I spent ‘7.50 on what must have been (ulp) fifteen books. To be fair they were only 50 English Pence each but still. Amongst the Sweet Valley High Classics and Cheerleaders series, I also picked up THE FIFTH HEAD OF CERBERUS by the aforementioned Mr. Wolfe*. The cover is GRATE – it features a drawing of a youngish looking boy pointing into the distance inna Littlewoods catalogue stylee whilst crouched on the rock next to him peering over is a gurl clothed in what looks like one of Alice in Wonderland’s knock-offs. In the sky there are FLYING SAUCERS hurrah! Also $Mysterious_Mountain_City with lots of fancy-schmany towers, but then again this was the 80s.

Nowhere though is a blurb, ooh pique my curiosity why don’t you. As if the blurbs on Book of the New Sun ever gave indication to contents though – arf. I just opened a page randomly (blimey small print tastic) and found the word “feign-pheasant’. Am hoping to open it up next and read of “pseudo-grouse”.

*How he must have enjoyed the playground game “What’s the Time Mister Wolf(e)”.


Proven By SciencePost a comment • 214 views

FURTHER HOME EXPERIMENTS WITH CHEESE: dose yrself with a huge chunk of parmesan last thing at night, when you haven’t eaten anything else all evening

i. you don’t get to sleep for hours (note to self: similar to the PRINGLES effect?)
ii. you finally doze off and dream that JFK’s assassination was caused by bob-a-job week

New robots can perform somersaults, complex martial arts moves.

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 233 views

New robots can perform somersaults, complex martial arts moves.

“There are challenges in terms of mechanics still, but the biggest gap would be in intelligence,” he told New Scientist. “One of the key things we are looking at now is developmental robotics, where a robot learns.”

So, where better to turn than monkeys?

Today, technology has taken the first uncertain steps towards mankind’s brightest dream: the Powerpuff Girls movie. I feel privileged to be alive.

Impromptu art sightings #3

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 383 views

Impromptu art sightings #3: winning the mark s Poetic English As She Better Be Spake prize, combining elegant symmetry and bold semantic-grammatical precision, the phrase “this has to have been being filmed” in Tim’s post immediately below. Is an expression of this kind even possible – let alone exactly correct – in any other language?

Since the publog food of the day is celery

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 376 views

Since the publog food of the day is celery, I feel I should give a brief mention to celery in its finest possible form, as experienced by various publoggers on our Big Outing To Brussels earlier this year. Here is the recipe:

1. Install yourself in a fine Brussels bar and drink rather more than seems sensible (we chose the marvellous bar brun Le Mort Subite which worked perfectly)
2. Peruse the menu and decide that as part of your next round you would like to eat the menu item which is listed simply as ‘Cheese’.
3. Order Cheese
4. Marvel as a plateful of diced hard(ish) cheese is delivered to your table along with a number of cocktail sticks and a little pot of celery salt.
5. Eat the cheese having dipped it in the celery salt and wonder whether you are committing some kind of faux pas
6. Talk about how this is a better pub snack than crisps.
7. Repeat to taste (or fade).

Impromptu art sightings #2

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 1,004 views

Impromptu art sightings #2: alighting at Charing Cross Station (or possibly Victoria) I wandered through the barriers and out into the world. Standing there was a young woman holding a cardboard sign like a taxi driver at an airport. What was written on the sign? I CAN’T REMEMBER, which is annoying, but it was something like ‘meaningful relationship’ or possibly ‘love’. Whatever it said, it had a little heart drawn underneath. The young woman was looking distractedly into the middle distance.

From now on I will fear all video art because this has to have been being filmed for some sort of art project and my short-sighted squinting will make me look like a proper fool, or worse.