Posts from 26th July 2004

26
Jul 04

Brazil

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Brazil win Copa America

A strange final, full of fluctuating tempos. Perhaps tiredness caught up with the players, but at times it resembled training, Argentina keeping possession and Brazil just keeping their eye on them.

The final few minutes were out of all proportion to what had already passed. Argentina struck three minutes from time, justifying their possession. As the subs linked together, arms around shoulders, Brazil equalised with the final kick of the game. The goal was Adriano’s 7th of the Copa. The first time anyone had scored more than 6 since Pele. The Argentines remonstrated with the referee; unfocused rants about hand-ball, offside, not fair. It looked a legitimate goal from my sofa.

Brazil had momentum. Argentina wore the body language of sulking teenagers and missed their first two penalties. Brazil never flinched and didn’t miss.

THREE OF A KIND – “Babycakes”

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THREE OF A KIND – “Babycakes”

A Summer gets the anthems it deserves. And this humble, cloudy weather fits “Babycakes” so well – the sudden return of Garage, but shyer, more tentative, and much more tender. Twee-step? The title points me that way, and the way the song has the couple explaining their feelings, quietly asserting that yes, this is real, and the way the music bubbles so evocatively (was it really only five years ago that – ?). Use when: walking hand in hand in the drizzle; feeding the ducks.

If quality could be judged on the time spent sitting in the pub

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If quality could be judged on the time spent sitting in the pub discussing it afterwards (and perhaps in a Geezeasthetics world it should be) then the standing of dodgy science fiction movies would obviously soar. I went to see The Butterfly Effect a couple of weeks ago, with fellow members of our self titled bad film club, and we could not get off the subject for hours afterwards. We even felt a bit robbed that it was not as bad as we thought it would be.

Plot? Ashton Kutchner (yes, you are turning off now) plays a grown up (yes really) version of a kid who had lots of black-outs as a child. Because of these occasionally disturbing black-outs he wrote down everything that happen to him, and later discovers by concentrating really hard on these words, he can revisit these scenes – and change them. What is interesting about the film is the care taken in the set-up. The childhood is laid bare, with plenty of nastiness, for about forty minutes before we even see Kutchner. The rest of the film is a bounce back and forth in time and the worlds that Kutchner’s changes bring up. The overarching plot is nothing all that clever, but plenty of detail has been expended on trying to get the changes to make sense. And as befits the directors of Final Destination 2, the film is gleefully exploitative in visiting horror after horror on poor ole Kutchner.

The kind of film it is though screams out for a dissection of its inconsitencies. And remarkably there really aren’t any. It is bizarre as the viewer has to suspend a massive amount of disbelief for the premise, so why would we mind if the plot mechanics were rusty too. Yet time travel movie after time travel movie comes up against this problem. The only real inconsitency in the film is its very title. The appeal to the Butterfly Effect (refered to as written by Chaos Theory as if Chaos Theory were a scientist in its own right) is loose in the extreme. Fine the world changes when someone gets their arms and legs blown off (best gag in the movie) but not when they give themselve stigmata via a mail spike? This isn’t the Butterfly Effect, it is the sledgehammer effect.

Sometimes

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Sometimes I think I sort of miss the stupid broadsheet articles about Eminem that were such a feature of the early naughties.

Songs about or by puppets #5: Robin The Frog – “Halfway Up The Stairs”

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Robin The Frog was Kermit The Frog’s nephew. He was a tiny little creature, whose main problem in life was:

a) Being a frog

b) Being a small frog more »

Routemasters in Finsbury Park

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Routemasters in Finsbury Park
 
“Basically, it’s a tank without a gun barrel” said a man in a white shirt with yellow armpits. This was considered insightful judging by the nodding it produced. Routemasters are being phased out, replaced by long bendy buses that are difficult to overtake and occasionally explode.

You’d have been ill-advised to mention bendy buses in Finsbury Park yesterday. This was a golden birthday celebration of the Routemaster and lined up smartly in the sunshine were dozens of the things. Old ones (with external spiral staircases), Jubilee ones, green ones, Harry Potter ones, bizarrely adapted ones. Rows and rows of buses each surrounded by packs of badly dressed middle-aged men. The more sophisticated had digital cameras, but most had plastic bags full of old-school slides. I saw 60 year olds doing Panini style swapsies, childlike with enthusiasm. Many brought their kids along and some their wives; sleepy grey women feigning interest.

I eavesdropped on two red-faced men, “No, Martin, it terminated at Holborn.” Martin wasn’t having any of it, “John, the 14 terminated at Holborn, the 27 went to Ludgate Circus.” John looked like he wanted to punch Martin and punch him hard. I walked over to the ‘market stalls’ before the bloodshed began. “Jonathan Clay – Transport Art” was doing good business. Framed watercolours of bygone London buses were flying off the shelf.

From the caf’ terrace, struck brightly by the afternoon sun, the buses looked quietly impressive. The family opposite had come down from Sheffield for the day. The husband wore khaki shorts and socks with sandals. His prim wife and their restless daughter were bickering. I stereotyped them immediately. Then the wife stood up, said “right I want to talk to the driver of the Green Line bus and then we can go.” The husband rose reluctantly from his seat and followed her down the hill.

Yukari Fresh and Low IQ 101–Anarchy in the UK

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Yukari Fresh and Low IQ 101–Anarchy in the UK
(available here)

Everyone assumes that Anarchy is all about nihilism, and its all Sid viscous fault. There is none of the freedom, the collective nature, the joy or fun that anarchy can provide in The Sex Pistols punk (or there DIY neighbor’s.)

So what do the Japanese do ? They make a pop version. It is silly, over the top, sickly sweet, all in harmony and it seems to be like taking the piss–like what Me First and The Gimme Gimmes do for things like Judy Garland.

But I think that Yeager Fresh believes the message, or at least a similar message. They seem to believe in the Anarchy of preschool television, of taking care of your messes, of being nice, of having fun with your friends, of singing along when the chorus comes, of having as many people on the stage as possible.

They both use Anarchy, I’m going with the cute.

Returning to the realm of cinematic consideration

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Returning to the realm of cinematic consideration — as it’s been a bit and I let Commentary Conundra languish some time back. I may yet revive that on a very irregular basis but encouraged by a good friend, I shall retake the plunge into the medium that I adore and yet barely engage with regularly.

To explain — I really don’t see movies in theaters anymore, I really really don’t. Everyone should read Kevin Murphy’s brilliant book A Year at the Movies at some point if you can, because it’s a lovely celebration of the power of movies and viewing and more. But it pulls no punches when it comes to the sterile horror of the usual movie experience amid multiplexes and stadium seating, where the ticket prices for matinee showings barely differ from the regular ones and anything and everything on sale at the concession stand could buy you a full-price RIAA-approved CD just as easily. When it comes to a theater, I’ve seen Anchorman so far this year — everything and anything else, come to me, sweet DVDs, and lend me your time.

And those I see, quite a bit of. This year was the year I’ve finally seen The Manchurian Candidate (pretty good), The Third Man (entrancing), Andrei Rublev (almost crushing in its length but truly a masterpiece of flow, editing and unexpected cinematography) and La Grande Illusion (brilliantly moving), discovered the creeping horrors of Frailty and the now-a-great-period-piece Fear of a Black Hat, understood why Full Contact helped make Chow Yun Fat even more of a star than before, realized exactly why The Onion Field made a star out of James Woods in the first place, finally got my long overdue commentary and more for the peerless Ed Wood, still my favorite movie of the nineties, hands down. And more and more and more besides — I’m not a Netflix person or a renter, for better or worse I want to own DVDs (shop used, of course — the only way to go), and then I want to wait for that moment or time when I’m bored or at a loose end or suddenly seized with a desire to watch to break out a disc. Far more fun and less pressure all around.

So I’ll not be writing about new films – much. There will be the exception. But mostly, things will just come to me…and I will write.

Doubting doubts, and overcoming same

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Doubting doubts, and overcoming same — it has been a long while since I posted on NYLPM, largely because while I’ve gotten over my crisis of confidence/lack of interest in music from last year, I have felt strongly disconnected from the world of instant music updates and the latest thing and so forth since then. Partially I think it’s a response to the world around me — the blogs and news sites I’ve been obsessively checking lately are those regarding US politics and Iraq’s mire and more, where it doesn’t matter if you venerate the Beatles or know about the latest grime track when you’re dead or wounded thanks to an adminstration’s idiocy and humanity’s folly — partially I think it’s been building up a certain new defiance to return to where I was in the first place. Namely, talking about that which interests me as opposed to what I’m supposed to be interested in, and more often than not it is work of excavation and reconsideration rather than tuning into whatever the mp3 blogs have just stumbled across or talking about Britney…again. But at the same time it’s a rejection of the Mojofication of the music world, where what is old becomes stultifying cosseted comfort, rather than something that lives and breathes because it exists and is heard and loved again right now, right this second. The digital bass on something like “Fine Time” by New Order may be fifteen years old now but it’s still a message from the present and future for me, not a dim glow in a cobwebbed past — that’s for Interpol to run into the ground instead.

The above serves mostly as a somewhat conflicted statement of purpose to talk again more readily about music than my occasional journal contributions on the one hand and my continuing stream of AMG work on the other hand. What will occur first I don’t know — but hello again. For all the slightly sour tone above, trust me, I’m still myself. ;-)