Posts from 29th July 2004

Jul 04

I’ve just been listening

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 424 views

I’ve just been listening to a song called ‘Tupelo Mississippi Flash’ by Tom Jones. It’s on the flip of his 1970 single, ‘Daughter of Darkness’. Here‘s the lyrics. It’s one of Jones’ typically r’n’b b-sides but was written and first released by Jerry Reed. Jerry had written both ‘The Guitar Man’ and ‘U.S. Male’ for Elvis, so I guess you could see it as a typically country narrative conceit or maybe a simultaneous philosophical homage and sulk in honour of The King. But, as you can see, even without squinting, it’s about an A&R man. Which got me wondering about other songs about A&R men. And I couldn’t think of any. Now, I’m fascinated by A&R men and label politics, so, by a process of swift deduction, I guess other people could be too…

So, where are these songs to whet our appetites? There MUST be one about Dick Rowe, the guy who famously rejected The Beatles, but I’m damned if I’ve heard it. SURELY Berry Gordy will have done some. And, if there are plenty of songs about being a fan or a DJ and gazillions about musicians, why no A&R or label boss?

Any suggestions?

Now you can easily understand Mystery Science Theater 3000’s endless glory

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Now you can easily understand Mystery Science Theater 3000’s endless glory — if you so choose. Not totally new news, but Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and Manos: The Hand of Fate are coming out in a little DVD two-pack in a few more weeks. If you’re not familiar with MST3K in general, hie thee hence, but if you are and are wondering what the deal is and your file-sharing program queue is too backed up, give these a whirl.

The first film was already a well-known loser that too many people had to deal with on TV while waiting for A Charlie Brown Christmas to air, the latter was plucked from near-oblivion — to my knowledge only the characters at RE/Search had ever written anything about Manos before the MST3K treatment — and is now firmly enshrined as inept hilarity to the nth degree, in large part thanks to the legendary character Torgo. In both episodes the Joel/Dr. Forrester lineup was easily firing on all fours, references running from Tim Weisberg to John Waters to Frank Frazetta to Nam flashbacks to lentils to Soul Train — and then of course the skits as well (“SLEEEEP! In heavenly PEEEEACE!”). Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was the first episode I ever saw, at least in part, so it’s a good starter point, even if it’s July rather than December.

Mind you, those of us who already own the separate Manos DVD will have to sell it back or the like, alas. But that means credit for something at Amoeba when I do sell it back on Saturday and they have a lot to offer, so make me a random suggestion of something moviewise to get if you like.

Around The World in 80 Days

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Around The World in 80 Days

I don’t actually have much to add to Pete’s review. I didn’t even consider the few problems (not that I’m suggesting Pete was much bothered) because I saw the film as a perfect merging of the 80’s cartoon animal version with the films that were shown a little later on kids TV (One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing being the classic example). Except the one thing I did want to say is that there is still few moments in film more joyful than Jackie Chan catching sight of a small trestle.

See look how popular showjumping was in the 1980’s.

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See look how popular showjumping was in the 1980’s. There was even a Commodore 64 game – “Harvey Smith Showjumper“. And the copyright issues – possibly the BBC wanting to do their own Showjumping game for the BBC Model B (imagine) meant they could not use the Horse Of The Year Show music.

The screen shots make it look rubbish. Horses never looked good on those early computers. That said I don’t imagine the version on the current Olympics game is any better. It is unclear for the grabs but the game seems to ignore the hill?

And in tomorrows showjumping update, we will talk all about THE HILL.

insert DIET OF WORMS joke here

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 264 views

[insert DIET OF WORMS joke here]

“(…) Insufficient consideration has been given to the new underground religious war which is modifying the modern world. It’s an old idea of mine, but I find that whenever I tell people about it they immediately agree with me.

“The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ‘ratio studiorum’ of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory, it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach–if not the Kingdom of Heaven–the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

“DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can reach salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: a long way from the baroque community of revellers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.

“You may object that, with the passage to Windows, the DOS universe has come to resemble more closely the counter-reformist tolerance of the Macintosh. It’s true: Windows represents an Anglican-style schism, big ceremonies in the cathedral, but there is always the possibility of a return to DOS to change things in accordance with bizarre decisions; when it comes down to it, you can decide to allow women and gays to be ministers if you want to.

“And machine code, which lies beneath both systems (or environments, if you prefer)? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic…”

-From (translation of) Umberto Eco’s column, ‘La bustina di Minerva’, in Italian news weekly Espresso, 30.9.1994, courtesy Colin, my IT manager at work.

Mannequin 2:

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Mannequin 2: Department Store Boogaloo!!!

Has anyone EVER seen this film? I speak as a fan of the original film Mannequin, with the young Kim Cattrall being imprisoned as a shop dummy, awakened only by the love of a young window-dressing scrote for some inexplicable chuffin’ reason. My actual reason for liking it is because I really love the idea of being able to play in a huge department store at night by myself – a plot line nicked on DAWSONS CREEK a while back actually – I believe they get locked in a K-Mart or something in their best clothes and they eat sweets and watch Romeo & Juliet and have a bonk in the camping department or something, but anyway, wouldn’t it be cool?

But does it need a SEQUEL!? (Haha it also stars the original BUFFY!!)

Okay, I must admit I did not expect this when I idlely googled

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Okay, I must admit I did not expect this when I idlely googled Monkey Testing. It is a bit of a let-down really, where are the shaven, rage infested gibbons of the movies. Instead a rather dull defense of random testing of software.

What stood out though was this version of a “popular aphorism”

Six monkeys pounding on six typewriters at random

for a million years will recreate all the works of Isaac Asimov.

Now I am not sure where the six came from. I always remember my enemy infinity stumbling into this one somehow. And Shakespeare. But perhaps because Shakespeare is more complex than Asimov. After all one monkey, pounding for about three days would probably come up with the rubbish three laws of robotics (which all these writers feel clever for pointing out are rubbish and their essays lined up in a row show that they aren’t all that clever after all).

FT Top 100 Films 53: BREAKIN’

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FT Top 100 Films

Pete Baran says:

Or as it was called in the UK – Breakdance: The Movie. There was a spate of films in the late seventies/early eighties with the appellation “The Movie” attached, in case you thought that it might be
a) A comic – in the case of Superman
b) A local dance class – in the case of Breakdance
c) A tin of Grease in the case of – er – Grease.

Anyway, its title was changed from Breakin’ to Breakdance in the UK, because in the UK Breakin’ is something your elder sisters friend does to your toys and then gets you in trouble for, which obviously had bad connotations for most of its potential viewers. Anyway, it was called Breakdancing in the UK. It was what all the tuff lads at your school did in the playground, because spinning on their heads on hard concrete was not going to hurt them. This was nearly always championed by an Art or English teacher, who felt it an exciting and valid urban artform (unlike graffiti which the school caretaker had insisted was a menace). Thus when the school play came up, there was always a bizarre break in the proceedings for said tuff lads to come on and “Body Pop” – as the oldens would say. For some reason they were nearly always dressed as tramps. So whilst in the US Breakin’ might be associated with gold chains, Reeboks and My Adidas , in the UK it is usually thought of as being a tatty shirt, soot smudge and flat cap type of affair.

Breakin’ is a Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney backstage musical, without the singing and with electro (further refined to Electric Boogaloo in the sequel). It is one of the first and best of a genre I have insisted on calling “Dancicals”, in as much as its dance sequences are really rather good. But since they are not dressed as tramps it did not really cross over to the UK.

Sarah C says:

Breakin’ AKA Breakdance The Movie: as if the names of the cast weren’t funny enough! Lucinda Dickey, Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones, Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers and Phineas Newborn III, what were they THINKING? Were they having a turkish? I generally like “dancicals” because they all have the same satisfying plot. Posh (ie classically trained, she CAN be working class viz that rubbish SAVE THE LAST DANCE flick which can quite frankly naff orf) bird whot does posh dancing like ballet – or in the case of Breakin’, jazz – meets tuff street kidz0r, learns all about RHYTHM and DANCING FROM THE HEART and then they win a dancing competition/she gets into Juilliard/you are allowed to have a disco by the local Priest – in the case of Footloose. Billy Elliot does a sweet gender reverse trick but essentially conforms to the genre.

Breakin’ is BEST because not only does posh lady get to go to Julliard, the street kids win in a) GANG WARS b) getting breakin’ accepted as art form yar yar and c) some WONGA in the final competition. Hurrah hurrah! Good old Turbo and whatever the other one was called. Hurrah for equal opportunities break dancing! Breakin’ also ditches the tired romance subplot and concentrates on what we really care about, ie spinning on your head whilst wearing improbable leotards and fingerless gloves. The women too, ahahahha. Having not seen Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo I cannot confirm whether the sequel can live up to the original but I doubt it’s more than ‘2.99 in the HMV sale eh, readers?

Songs about or by puppets #6: Keith Harris & Orville – “Orville’s Song”

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The controversy here is – is a ventriloquists dummy a puppet? Obviously its function is slightly different in the world of rubbish light entertainment, but I maintain that for being hand operated and anthropomorhic that yes, it is a puppet. And anyway, I’m not going to do a series called SONGS ABOUT OR BY DUMMIES. Because that encompasses everyone ever in the music business.

Not really much to say about this song though. It was one which was universally reviled from the moment it was released. Kids around teh country memorised the Kenny Everett joke about Orville wishing he could fly and being given a helping boot. Keith Harris’s genius as a ventriloquist was inventing a character so hateful, that he garnered sympathy when he invented Cuddles, his other character. The Cuddles schtick was after all merely how much he hated “that duck”, ie Orville, and in this he echoed the audience.

Of course a record made by a man pretending to talk for a oversized green duck in a nappy is going to be bad. But did it have to be this bad?

Things to do with half a carton of orange juice.

Pumpkin Publog1 comment • 666 views

Things to do with half a carton of orange juice.

a) Drink it
b) Drink it with gin
c) Drink it with Vodka
d) Brown a chicken leg, with onion and a bit of red pepper. When nicely browned pour the orange juice on, and let stew for about twenty minutes. If you have any lemon handy, a squeeze won’t hurt. I also added some turmeric just to make sure everything stayed orangey-yellow.

Serve atop some couscous with raisins in it.

The left over sauce (and there was quite a bit, was later tipped over some cold roast chicken and went great on a bed of salad leaves. NUM!