Posts from 26th November 2003
Dave Q speaks on punk rock — the man is now even more officially an international treasure. Every word here is worth millions more than those recent Rolling Stone and Pitchfork lists combined, I tells ya.
Snappy nudge-wink tune bizarrely and gratifyingly enlivened by the backing vocalists, who repeat – ahem – “Yip Yip we ‘pon the boom-ditty boom-ditty!” at every opportunity (and they have several). It would undermine a more serious song, but from its title down “Yes Tonight” is no such thing. My wife suggests that Josephine should have nothing to do with this chancer, but that seems a little harsh. After all, Ray gets inside the song with aplomb and plays the comedy horndog role to the hilt, his lips smacking and tongue flapping like a Tex Avery cartoon wolf. Yip yip!
Just to add to that afterthought of Claire Forlani being Box-Office Poison, here is the list of productions she has been in. Meet Joe Black, Mallrats, Mystery Men, AntiTrust and what’s that, right at the bottom of the list. Police Academy VII: Mission To Moscow. This girl is so detrimental to a films fortunes that she could even kill this unstoppable comedy jugganaut. Sorry love, I think you need another career.
Ooh, book within a book. The Land Of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll is a novel about a novelist. Or at least a novel about the writing of a biography of a fictional children’s author Marshall France. It is a slight pity that the version I read was part of the Gollancz Fantasy Masterworks series, because the Fantasy aspects are understated until the rather melodramatic ending (knee jerk reaction to the end is fun but rushed, but I’m not so sure now). It is a book about the power of fiction, about the mystery of authors and especially the lingering effects of children’s literature. ‘The Land Of Laughs’ is also the name of one of the fictional books, which we have described but never see any passages of.
This is wise I think, as keen as I was to see an insight into this author that our narrator and his girlfriend are so besotted by. France’s work is compared to Tolkein, Lewis Carroll and Baum’s Oz (though tellingly not to CS Lewis I thought) as whimsical yet dark, and to our lead characters it was a defining moment of their unhappy youths when they latched upon this work. The book is at its best when it is coming to terms with its dysfunctional leads, and spends an awful lot of its 230 pages just trying to get them together romantically. When they then visit the daughter and home town of the author we are therefore firmly on their side, despite their prickliness, quirks and obsession with childhood literature.
It strikes me that when Carroll wrote the book (1980) that the idea of adults reading and revering children’s literature was not yet in vogue. It has quite a different spin now, with Harry Potter, Phillip Pullman and the reframing of Tolkein et al. Its odd that a book written only 25 years ago seems so dated, not just with its Bionic Woman references but in the leads embarrassment at writing a biography of a children’s author. Short, sweet and devourable in a couple of sittings, it leaves you slightly disconcerted and feeling as if you are missing something. Probably the fictional Land Of Laughs, a book title which is pretty inappropriate for the actual book it refers to, but too damn good to be left within the pages of the novel.
IS FOR…OOPS UPSILON YOUR HEAD
A tradition Greek song, as mentioned by Homer in the Iliad, sung by Achilles and Hector after the prophecy of the death of Paris. Recently updated by The Gap Band in the ceaseless trek of modern popular culture to piss on antiquity. I did not mind the original, as the Greeks had no form of musical notation and therefore all that was left in Homer was less a song, more a rather bawdy poem. The Gap Band, by stapling their interpretation to a poor funk workout left us is no longer anywhere near a rousing war song.
There are many theories as to why The Gap Band named themselves such:
a) The were named after what was between their ears
b) They were pioneers of rap, if it weren’t for their singers odd G/R speech impediment
c) They foresaw a time when adverts for a particular clothing store would dominate all of popular music and thought they would get in on the ground floor before Missy and Madonna destroyed both of their legacies
or d) They were actually a special force of the Real IRA, so incensed by what was seen as traitorous moves from Sein Fein leader Gerry Adams that they went deep undercover, relocating themselves and undergoing somewhat sever surgery and skin toning experiments so that twenty five years later they could assassinate Adams in a Irish unification concert where their brand of anodized funk would be welcomed with open arms. The crack squad was known as the Gerry Adams Project, acronym being the GAP Band.
IS ALSO FOR…TA-tU
Just to say these pretend schoolgirl Russian lesbians are ridiculously offensive with their high pitched Pinky & Perky whinings which convince absolutely nobody of their personas basis in any sort of truth. I mean sure, there is a legacy of lesbians in pop but come on, are we really supposed to believe these two liars. After all, they worked with Trevor Horn who is used to covering up for other duplicitous types, see Frankie Goes To Hollywood. They can act all they like in the All The Things She Said video, but they will never convince me. There is no way that they are still at school.
Jackie Chan’s Hollywood career is a little bit sad really, just when he started to make it big he stopped being able to do all the things that made him good in the first place. This does not mean that he does not still have great comic timing, but it does mean that he seems to be involving himself in some real lowest common denominator tosh. Hot on the heels of the pretty poor Tuxedo comes The Medallion (nee the Highbinders) where Jackie tries to work out the formula to his American hits and replicate it. The formula seems to be Team-Up With A Comedian. The failure here is that the comedian he teams up with is Lee Evans.
Don’t get me wrong, Lee Evans can be very funny. But there isn’t a single gag that works in this supernatural powered, poor special effects effort. The idea of pairing two gifted physical comedians drops the moment that we realise that Evans has been hired to do some sub Norman Wisdom schtick. Suffice to say the plot makes no sense, the characters make no sense and – even for £1.60 at an EasyCinema – we felt robbed.
Note to scriptwriterss (and comic writers since they suffer from the same disease). Merely pointing out an inconsistency in your plot, does not make it go away. Here when Jackie Chan is resurrected he comes back naked. Yet the other characters come back fully clothed. When Evans’s character points this out this is supposed to funny (and a bit smutty because he wants to see Claire Forlani in the nuddy). It just illustrates how bad the movie is.
By the way, Claire Forlani = Box Office Poison. Yes?
If you’re in a snackish frame of mind, have a look at Taquitos. I stumbled across it while searching for Turkey and Paxo Sage and Onion (note: no mention of stuffing anywhere on the packet, how odd). ‘We’re serious about snacks’ they say and there’s no arguing with that. Chipworld in particular is an invaluable addition to my life.
Happily munching on some special edition Christmassy Walkers Roast Turkey with Paxo Sage and Onion flavour crisps (‘Merry Crispmas!’ indeed), ILx draws my attention to a nasty news story about parasites. And I’m thinking that if our crisp manufacturers keep pressing further and further towards authenticity and exoticism then surely tapeworm cyst flavour crisps aren’t far off. Mmmmm, tapeworm cyst’
IS FOR…BERNIE TAU-PIN
Elton John gets plenty of hate here. Rightly so, this pompidour is the chandelier in the toilet that is pop music, shining his shitty light wherever he goes. But wherever he goes, he has his wordsmithw ith him. Bernie Taupin. Many people have often wondered why Bernie Taupin, with such a gift for lyrics, never released any songs under his own name. In cannot be musical ineptitude; if he wanted decent music he would not have gone to Reg Dwight. No, there must be another reason.
The reason is simple. Bernie is an agent of the devil who exists solely infiltrate our charts with banal rhymes. He cannot be viewed by the naked eyes of a human, since we would detect the horns of a daemon on his bonce. Instead we are driven to madness by rhymes like this one from Daniel – I hit:
‘Daniel is travelling tonight on a plane
I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain’
But there are plenty of songs which weren’t hits, like this biting political piece Facist Faces:
“I read about how you’re slow with the truth
Like any old Aesop’s Fable
But when you’re turtlesque, I’m a hare’s breath
Into payment under the table”
Or even from the frankly frightening Christmas flop ‘Ho Ho Ho – (Who’d Be A Turkey At Christmas)’
“Ho ho ho, guess who’s here
Your fat and jolly friend draws near
Ho ho ho, surprise surprise
The bearded wierdy’s just arrived”