Posts from 14th September 2004

14
Sep 04

free culture now or sooncome famine

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 167 views

free culture now or sooncome famine!

i think i had an argt or two in a k-punk comments column abt this, back at the start of the summer: i’m a bit sad the “virtual commons” meme is being declaimed by others as i wanted to COPYRIGHT IT MYSELF BWAHAHA (while writing abt gay pirates blah blah)!!

(i actually saw this for my sins via crooked timber which is as alert to vital stuff in the thinking as it is dedicated to dulling it down in the writing)

FT Top 100 Films 31: INFERNAL AFFAIRS

Do You SeePost a comment • 980 views

FT Top 100 Films
31: INFERNAL AFFAIRS

This is the third time this year I have talked about Infernal Affairs, the first being when it came out here, and the second being about its sequel. And looking at those two reviews I find myself also considering my memories of this(/these) film(s) and wondering if they really are that great. Or if they just happen to be a slightly more extreme and tidy version of Michael Mann’s Heat.

The plot is simple, and wonderfully symmetrical. And perhaps it is this symmetry coupled with the veneer of spiritual Buddhism that might distract the viewer from seeing a gratuitous exploitation movie. Because beyond the admittedly clever and admirable twists and turns of the film there really is nothing going on here. The futility of all of this duplicity (a common theme in many an undercover/spy movie) is hidden in Infernal Affairs, waiting to bop us on the nose at the end. This is made all the more clear that a prequel, set before the tragic events of Infernal Affairs could be possible. It is not that these characters are that interesting, but rather that having so little character they are infinitely malleable. Infernal Affairs 2 makes little sense as backstory to Infernal Affairs, but it has the same sheen of honour, duty and duplicity that its predecessor had and therefore feels like a similar film.

None of this should bother you if you want a bang for your buck. As a head down thriller Infernal Affairs manages to be ridiculously tense and engaging for almost all of its running time. The air of tragedy inhabits the whole piece, speeches about continuous hell are a bit of a giveaway on this front. Nevertheless it is never clear if death for the two leads is the only outcome, and just sticking to its guns to not have the potential happy ending makes it feel grittier for its viewer. A great thriller then, whose pretentions are a mere smoke screen. You could do worse than waste two hour in front of Infernal Affairs, but never forget it will be a waste.

current chart(ish) popgothnoise as subliminal politix

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 363 views

current chart(ish) popgothnoise as subliminal politix

(i haf only skimmed this and am anyway currently so under-the-gun that i find world affairs soothing forsooth, so my opinion is worth little prob)

No excuse at all

TMFDPost a comment • 246 views

No excuse at all

I know it’s reknowned as a library, but surely this is taking things a bit far. Songsheets? In full colour .pdf format? Blimey… This does prove, quite conclusively though, that arsenal fans do have the worst chants ever, considering the freddie ljungberg one is the only one with more than three words in (rubbish “new” chants (to the first noel????) not withstanding).

I did not know the ending to Open Water

Do You SeePost a comment • 1,906 views

I did not know the ending to Open Water, so after reading Pete’s post I went to the interweb to find out. This led me to this hugely useful site, old news to most of you I’m sure but for me one more handy way to keep up with films I’m not arsed to actually see. Even if some of the endings are wrong.

Open Water aka The Blair Jaws Project

Do You SeePost a comment • 384 views

Open Water aka The Blair Jaws Project (a joke made by every other reviewer save none). A nice little suspense thriller which proves yet again the Texas Chainsaw Massacre thesis that the crapper the cinematography looks, the more real the scenario seems. Filmed almost like a home video, there is a point in Open Water where you wonder why the two leads don’t just ask for a lift in the cameramans boat, so so it might stabilise it.

Simplicity is the key to Open Water’s success. There is only one question when our extremely likeable couple get into danger: will they survive? Their relationship goes through all the obvious crisis stages, yet none of it seems forced. There is little expositionary back story to come back and cause conflict, instead they seem like a slightly over-stressed young loving couple. There is no need to invent conflict, when the scenraio gives you enough tension. Instead they are stuck in the middle of the ocean, on their own, and it looks a bit scary. Between segments there are almost abstract cut scenes, some lapping waves, some moving clouds. You may know the ending already, but the film refashions its own suspense. And has a good soundtrack too. A very satisfying hour and a half.

Wrexham? Damn near killed them!

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Wrexham? Damn near killed them!

Hot on the heels of Hearts ground woes comes the saga at Wrexham.

The background can be found on the excellent Red Passion site, which covers these revelations from the club chief executive (and former Lincoln City Chairman) John Reames; I think Mr Reames reveals much about the behind-the-scenes goings on at most clubs. Naturally, there’s talk of ground sharing at Chester (more business brains being deployed there. Sheer genius!) Even so, better than the first suggestion of groundsharing in Warrington. He’s getting closer, and may soon discover that the best place for Wrexham to play is, er, Wrexham.

If you want to waste some time, you could do worse than visit the short-lived Dismal Jimmy fanzine which was very funny indeed. Almost as funny as the hysterical letters of the current club owner which he had placed on the club website in an amazing fit of transparency, egotism, and appalling sentence construction.

Should club nights* have ‘standards’?

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Should club nights* have ‘standards’?

There are two schools of thought on this. One says that no, they shouldn’t – it makes good records turn stale and means the evening becomes predictable. My feeling is somewhat different. I think the danger isn’t in the concept of standards per se, it’s in becoming too attached to too many tracks which gum up your last hour or so. I have always liked the idea of a night having an end-of-night anthem: it’s a kind of appreciative nod to regulars, a way of saying “thanks for coming again, we’ve had a great night”. But having three or four songs that always show up is a bit less desirable, at least if they’re not spaced out through the evening.

I like the idea of songs rising through the ranks – starting as early-on, ‘ooh what’s that’ numbers, earning a place in the closing set, then being quietly relegated, perhaps to show up again as an early-evening big tune. In other words, I think a disco night should work very much like the chart used to, with some ‘big new entries’ as well. And nobody likes things to hang around the top 5 too long, even if they are good.

The end of night tune at Club FT always used to be “One More Time”. Then it turned into “We Want Fun”, by Andrew WK, a slightly more divisive ‘anthem’. The position is now, I think, up for grabs. Big And Rich? Alcazar? Something else entirely?

*(by ‘club nights’ we really mean ‘disco nights’ here, as per the distinction in previous posts.)

How not to run a football club

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How not to run a football club

Hearts held an EGM last night to consider a resolution to approve the sale of Tynecastle for housing, and move the club to Murrayfield.

Murrayfield – across the train tracks on the Glasgow-Edinburgh line – isn’t Milton Keynes, but it’s the national Rugby Stadium, it’s got a capacity about 4 times the normal crowd at Tynecastle, and well, Tynecastle’s everything you’d want from a ground. It’s got 4 stands heaped on top of the pitch. It’s in a residential area, not out of town shopping city. It’s redolent of tradition and simply, the fans don’t want to move.

So why will they move? Because the major shareholder wants to, that’s why. He thinks the only way the club can recoup the 20M losses it ran up is by selling the ground for housing and sharing at Murrayfield. They’ll eventually move to a purpose built ground, fans are told. I think we’ve heard this one before haven’t we?

There’s a rival plan to reorientate the piutch, rebuild the stadium and attach community sports facilities to it. It’s never been pursued, as the major shareholder is against it. He says they must take the option that pays off the debts.

And who ran up the debts? Why, the major shareholder did, who’s also the Chief Executive. He’s also sitting in judgement of Berti Vogts as he’s on the Board of the Scottish FA; all that tip-top business experience, see. Who wouldn’t be without it?

It’s the major fault in the game today – no-one is ever held toi account for their actions, no-one ever held to blame. It’s the same in England. The FA have on their board at the moment the man who left Sheffield Wednesday millions in debt heading down the league fast (he jumped ship before they were relegated naturally) and has seen other businesses fail. There’s a pathetic cry from such types that football needs people with business expertise, which begs the question why such business people always turn out to be complete muppets. Part of it is the environment – the boot room ether, if you like – which encourages spend spend spend. Part of it basic incompetence. But in the most part, it’s the inability to remove people who aren’t strong enough to resist the spending urge, or too stupid to recognise the need to do so.

There’s an article in the current edition of 442 magazine on the resurgence of Barcelona, which mentions that they had a clearout of a tired and broken old regime. They didn’t have an EGM which dissolved into farce and threats to remove them though – they had an election. Democracy’s not just something that’s morally right – fans after all, are the moral owners of their clubs. But it’s also bloody sensible, the most effective and efficient way to get rid of the dross populating many of the boardrooms up and down the country short of demonstrations and protests and instability. Though stinkbombs should always have a place in grass roots protest.

Fred Tomaselli – Monsters Of Paradise

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 567 views

Fred Tomaselli – Monsters Of Paradise: Magnus said before we entered that he had never seen a bad exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. I had: me, Tom and Dr T had seen this Jeff Koons exhibition there and had been particularly underwhelmed. But I was willing to let Magnus’s infectious enthusiasm drag me in.

I felt bad about breaking his duck. Tomaselli’s large collages are blandly pretty in an abstract way from a distance, and become less interesting the closer you get. When you see the strands and strings are made of cut out magazine noses, eyes, lips and pills it makes little symbolic sense, the bits are blandly as uninteresting as the whole large affair. The Fruitmarket Gallery seems to like housing big art (if the Koons was also anything to go by) and these large but dull affairs dominated the room. There was a lot of that art gallery too-ing and fro-ing to see if it looked better close up or far away. And at least the effect of the work being set in amber by builing up layers (of varnish?) to give the pictures a degree of physical depth was vaguely interesting, but it did often mean people spent more time looking at the side of the work than the work itself. A little bit too drug happy, the art did nothing for me.

I did however like the small prints he had made in the next room. These were prints of plates similar to those you would get in a birdwatching book with names and birds ranging from the palusible to the silly (I guess there could be a bird called the Greater Pewee.) Whilst nothing new – strokes of a more subtle and hence less striking Great Bear abound – I liked these pieces. It managed the two key points of art I could live with, it looked good and was interesting. And having discovered that I can get one of these prints for ’100 I am almost tempted. But do I really want to support an artist whose work I on the whole do not like? Is that what buying art is about (probably not).