Posts from 27th September 2004

27
Sep 04

For those of you interested in the origins

Do You SeePost a comment • 220 views

For those of you interested in the origins on of the “movie based on a computer game” we can go back a lot further than Streetfighter, Mortal Kombat and Super Mario Brothers. I give you David Cronenbergs lost masterpiece: Repton: The Movie.

MON DIEU, C’EST UN RIP OFF!

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 429 views

MON DIEU, C’EST UN RIP OFF!

The French market held in Glasgow on Saturday as part of the Merchant City Festival looked promising. A long row of colourful stalls stretched the length of Candleriggs and only the addition of a couple of peasants walking around carrying live chickens by their feet would have made it more authentic. They were even selling gaudy homewares (glass roses in rainbow colours, mmm) and items of clothing nobody in their right mind would purchase.

Strictly following my mother’s marketing technique, I trailed round every single stall before making a purchase. There were Breton cakes, steaming pots of proven’ale potatoes, shiny red tomatoes, tubs of pure pork brawn and interesting vests that looked like they should fit a baby, but which magically expanded to the kind of size which would cover the chest of the average lady. I bought none of these, but I did acquire the following: six figs, three peaches, four almond squares, two chunks of cheese, some pat’ de campagne and a wild boar saucisson.

The saucisson stank out the bus on the way home and by the time I got it all into my kitchen, my mouth was watering. I’d picked up some bread from my friendly local organic baker, so I thought the pat’ would be a good start. It was a reassuringly coarse, chunky looking thing and the lady had given me the slice off the end which I, in my naivety, had thought would be the choice cut. You see, I’m the kind of girl who likes the crust of the bread, the skin on the custard and blackened sausages. Oh dear. This stuff was so overcooked I couldn’t even squish it onto the bread and the dark edge tasted like gravy browning. I had a go at a couple of figs for dessert, but they were dry and sandy and tasted of nothing.

By this point I was feeling suspicious about the standard of produce I might have bought from the other stall holders, so I had a taste of everything to check I hadn’t been ripped off. The saucisson was so garlicky I couldn’t have known whether it contained wild boar or swamp rat. The almond squares were sweet and crumbly, but I soon realised that only their shape differentiated them from the almond fingers you can buy cheaply from any supermarket. The peaches were enormous and juicy, but almost tasteless. Only the cheeses were good – 250g each of Tom de Savoie and Comt’ – but I’d paid six quid for them.

I can’t imagine that any market trader worth his salt wouldn’t have a taste of his fruit before buying it from his supplier, let alone putting it out for sale. I really hate to think that some of the stall holders had brought across the goods they couldn’t sell to their regular French customers to flog to eager Brits at inflated prices. I’m kicking myself for trusting a trader who will sell me a rotten bit of pat’ because she knows she can get away with it. Let’s face it, I was blinded by the exotic novelty of a French market in Glasgow. What I should have done is take the bus up Great Western Road to buy exactly the same things from Roots & Fruits and I J Mellis, probably a good deal cheaper. The next time this girl goes to a French market, it will be in France.

Indie Is Back!

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 393 views

Just a quick note to say that (pending arrival of cheques) the latest Indie Amnesty netted the Grecian Earn another £20, the bulk of which came from a frankly astounding eleven earth pounds paid for the first Soup Dragons album, a new Amnesty record. And without even Junior Reid involved – wow!

There were lots of angry and concerned punters in the studio debate after last nights

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There were lots of angry and concerned punters in the studio debate after last night’s Dirty War. Some complained about the stereotyping of the Muslims in it. Others worried about the suggestion that the fire brigade did not have enough equipment to sort us out in the event of such a bomb. One mother wondered exactly what she would do if a dirty bomb went off in her children’s school in Andover*. But no-one asked the question that should have been asked of the esteemed panel and Fiona Bruce.

Why was the show so rubbish? I tuned in waiting for some Threads-like apocalyptic action. What I got was sub-adequacy disaster film. It spent over half its time developing (HAH!) its characters and then, in complete disregard for genre rules, did not kill any of them. This collaboration between BBC Drama and BBC Current Affairs was so specific abut its threat that it was not all that worrying at all, but was so cliched in its drama that you did not care anyway. Not only was the bomb and its supposedly deadly aftermath fluffed, it seemed so upbeat that beyond coughing and losing a bit of hair, a dirty bomb is just another afternoon in the city.

Clearly the BBC were keen on this being an event. The discussion afterwards certainly tried to push that line. Instead though what they produced was a half arsed version of the first five episodes of 24 season two. Why exactly were we shown the terrorists. Perhaps the idea was to show how easy a dirty bomb was to make? Well it did not work, and gave the whole thing a thriller air at odds with what it was supposed to be doing, showing us what would happen if a dirty bomb went off. We got chaos in the control room, a befuddled minister (who would not have been left as she was anyway) and a few people staggering around not sure if this was a zombie movie or not. The programme finished with a bizarre jump in time, showing us London a month later and NOTHING HAD CHANGED. Not so much of a Dirty War as a Rubbish War.

*Mourn being the correct if unlikely answer.

Not an artist given to great subtlety

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 528 views

Not an artist given to great subtlety, Mauro Perucchetti’s new show at Beaux Arts* is a big punchy thrill. For a start, as you walk up Cork Street, three four foot-tall jelly babies look out at you from inside the gallery, bulbous, translucent and benign. There are more jelly babies inside, normal-sized jelly babies lined up in rows in a “clone factory” or jumbled and trapped inside a large, transparent urethane crucifix.

As I say, not terribly subtle. Neither’s the crucifix which contains condoms (still wrapped) of many brands, all colourful like naughty confetti.

At the same time, for all the big bright visual unsubtlety, it’s not precisely clear what he’s trying to get with his wee multicouloured jelly baby army. I tend to be wary of artists going on about clones: I’ll worry that they were sneering at ordinary people. But these are JELLY BABIES! What’s not to like? They seem so pretty and so pleasant that it’s hard to see this show as snobbish badness. They’ll surely taste great if you put them in your mouth. And in my favourite piece there, “Notre Dame”, hundreds of jelly babies are marshalled in strict formation and back-lit for a glorious rose window effect.

So I’ll take this show as being about the mistakes you make when you don’t look carefully, when you treat people like clones and when you refuse to see the complicated beauty in front of your face. And I’ll be happy.

(*NB the text and images for this show aren’t up on the site as I write, hopefully they will be soon.)

FT TOP 100 FILMS 24: BODY SNATCHERS (Abel Ferrara Version)

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FT TOP 100 FILMS
24: BODY SNATCHERS (Abel Ferrara Version)

Its a clever commentary on McCarthyism you know.
Oh, its also a critique on the evils of communism.

The problem with The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is that it has been held up as a poster boy for B-movie film theory greatness for, well forever (quite possibly before it was made). The idea that B-movies made it possible for those critiques to be made behind closed doors, because no-one really cared about B-movies. All well and good, but Invasion, like a lot of these sci-fi cheapies, can easily be read in any number of ways, usually contradictory. While you are using the film to back-up your current political bugbear, youa re missing the real reason it has lasted fifty years. Its a bloody good story.

It is not something that Abel Ferrara missed, in this the second remake of the film. Certainly a needless remake, the late seventies version certainly essayed the simple dumb remake furrow and ended up looking like The Stepford Wives. The seventies version is these days touted as a classic satire on capitalism, but then every film in the seventies was. Ferrara takes the tale back to the small town, adds an army base and then gets his hands dirty with the effects.

The problem with the previous two versions of this plant based chiller always had a slight problem with the “snatching” angle. It was rather invasion of the body replacers. Ferrar not only rectifies this, suggesting the idea of virtual eviction from your own body, but also plays up the paranoia aspect. Perhaps having his protagonists as outsiders was a mistake, and there is not a lot in the way of suspense, but for sticky, gooey, body snatching fun, this version requires you to stop inventing allegories (the army alienation one is so full centre it requires no thought) and enjoy the ride. Sometimes a squiggling body snatching aliang is really just a squiggly body snatching aliang.

ARCANE TAX FAX

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 186 views

ARCANE TAX FAX

You pay VAT on Crisps, but not on Pork Scratchings. This is, due to my VAT book, because Scratchings are “by-products” rather than a foodstuff in themselves. They are also k-num.

Scenes from my First Actual Real Proper Holiday Abroad for 20 Years: day three

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Marseille(s) is the most exciting city I’ve ever spent time in – to drive into, to walk around in, to gaze across. Why: “Bcz it’s full of pirates like a GIANT BIG OLD PLYMOUTH!” sez Dr Vick (who as u know grew up in the small one). ie old (has half a millennium on london); crammed into a natural bowl in the hills round two natural harbours, the ancient one now mainly a tourist centre, the newer one to the west a vast merchant and naval complex

And dotted all across this bowl are thrilling little crags, every single one with buildings new and old crammed onto the pinnacle, and every other available nook cranny crevice ledge and etc (also dug down invisibly under all this are CATACOMBS!! this = where the resistance lived during WW2) (of which more anon)

So our first stop wz a funny old hotel on the harbour sea-front where Vick had always wanted to stay – she has known Marseille(s) for years, since she came to live here to finish her dr8 – but it wz full (plus also while she wz checking it out i wz scolded by scary french little old ladies annoyed by the patented dr vick car-parking style). So on a hunch we drove across town to check if there wz room at LE CORBUSIER’S legendary ur-modernist RADIANT CITY viz l’Unit’ d’Habitation:

AND THERE WAS!!! (someone had cancelled at the last minute): ok but to keep things swift i will leave further discussion of this place to BROWN WEDGE next week maybe

bcz i need to say something abt the one place we visited that day: Notre Dame de la Garde, built 150 yrs ago on a sharp little hill so you can see the gold statue of mary far out to sea – neo-byzantine style outside all steps and terraces and marble and gold and parti-coloured mosaic, have seemingly and likably forgotten that the Roman Empire split in two after the death of Theodosius (being older than both Roman Empires, Marseille(s) is entitled to forget such trivia); inside full of models and pictures of ships which sank and cars which crashed and trains that crashed, desolately moving little drawings or constructions of personal grief and catastrophe hung all over the walls and on dusty chains from the ceiling, as if the congregation had arisen in its passion to transform the building into their own guileless shrine to their own bitter lives

(later we had vietnamese takeaway pancakes in our corb room and somewhat stained the concrete balcony table w.grease so oops for deathless architectural heritage there)

The Limits Of Photography

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 293 views

The Limits Of Photography: overheard on the tube. Speaker – teenage sloane on way to Camden to buy a T-Shirt (circumstantial detail provided by same, at high volume).

“I hate people who won’t be photographed, it’s so stupid. There are only three times when it’s OK to refuse a photograph. If you’re not meant to be there, if you’re eating, and if you’re royalty.”

So now you know.

2004 Man Booker Shortlist and Profiles

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 231 views

2004 Man Booker Shortlist and Profiles