Posts from 22nd October 2004

Oct 04


Blog 71 comment • 643 views


10. Threads

This is the only fictional work to get onto the list. Whether it should be so low overall is open to debate, but I genuinely think it’s the most frightening film I’ve ever seen – by a mile. Particularly since it was shown to me by a well-meaning teacher, denying me the option of the ‘off’ switch.

The film details the build-up to a nuclear attack on Sheffield, the attack itself, and the long, gruesome aftermath. I was scared of nuclear war before seeing Threads, but in an abstract sense: I thought it would probably happen, and that I would probably die, but I couldn’t grasp what it all might be like. Threads more than made up for my failure of imagination. For the next year and a half I would morbidly imagine mushroom clouds over every landscape, weigh up where was safest to live – or where would bring the quickest death, if I was in that kind of mood. Then eventually I found other things to worry about and the fear subsided.

Facts and scenes stay with me, though. The milk bottles melting on the doorsteps. A man crying as he finds a useless computer game. The factoid that the Russians would likely attack at 8AM GMT, when the American leadership would be at their most exhausted. What I most took away from it was the impression that the survivors of a nuclear war would be the unlucky ones.

Now of course we parrot the fact that there are lots of nuclear weapons still out there, the possibility of Armageddon has not really receded, etc. But frankly it’s less scary than it was: it’s not impossible to work out a situation where full-on nuclear war might result, but in the 1980s it was sometimes hard to work out a situation where it wouldn’t. Nuclear war is not scary to me any more – but I very much doubt I could sit through Threads again without nightmares.

Always look on the bright side

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 409 views

Always look on the bright side

Huo Jiyu, China, whose apartment was demolished by a space capsule on re-entry, is quoted in New Scientist,

“The satellite landed in our home. Maybe this means we’ll have good luck this year”

Why Genesis failed

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Why Genesis failed

Apparently they put the sensors that detected re-entry in the wrong way up. A serious case of “elbow-posterior uncertainty at work” as the caption in this week’s New Scientist would have it.


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I AM LEGION“: or Making the Contradiction the Hook

Aging leftists often wring their hands and shake their heads: “What happened to rock? In my day it was the soundtrack to the revolt against war…” And then they up and blame the corporate leisure industry or postmodernism or whatever other handy get-out phantom impresses them, and pass back inside their little niche-marketed mediazone, where noble uncomplicated elves-of-light battle depraved uncomplicated orcs-of-darkness. Meanwhile the First Punk President continues – brilliantly – to keep his constituency comfortable with their own conflictedness (as in eg: the white southern semi-poor assuming/hoping the party they fanatically support actually seriously fights for things they want, when it mostly doesn’t any more; libertarians mistaking Bush for a libertarian; conservatives mistaking him for a conservative; xtians mistaking him for an xtian… and so on).

So, last minute White Knight ahoy?! Eminem’s “Mosh” – pre-released kinda now on the interweb – is a bit of a dirge, and I’m not sure his constituency is what it was around the time of “Stan”, but it still does what he does best = compress the contradictions into a bolt of self-hating angry coherence (black rap presents as community, many voices in disrespectful intra-discourse; Em as always does all the voices himself: the community acts out its battles inside his own head). And instead of “coherence” I lazily wrote “energy” first, which is a. lame promo-speak, and b. untrue: the energy stays in suspension inside, to be sought for at multi-replay and relisten, which may be a problem for what I assume MM wants this record to do, this late stage. There’s all kinds of reasons the “Youth Vote” went back to sleep after the 60s – one being the fact that they fought for and GOT musics (and film and TV and… ) which variously provided outlet for all kinds of lesser frustration – but MM is right and aging leftists are wrong, if they think the anger-energy isn’t just as present now, latently, as it wz in 1969, overtly. But yeah, now either it’s locked deep inside, and needs to be unlocked: or the different broken bits of the ring have been secreted in different market sectors and niches (and it wz consumers demanded and got this soothing separation, it was hardly an imposition). The bits need to brought cracklingly together: there’s a potent ‘together’ in “Mosh” – invoking the confederate “rebel yell” in a rap?! – but I’m not sure I caught the crackle.

But of course it’s the reception that animates pop: the performer throws the lump of phosphorus into the air — does it land in the bucket of water (our hopes and dreams and needs and rage) or skitter uselessly under the fridge…


FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 352 views

Popjustice suggests multi-format bonanza as the best way to shift copies of a new Band Aid single. But with the line-up face-off currently being between ‘credible’ bands like Coldplay (i.e. music for cunts) and pop bands (i.e. music for proles), surely there’s an obvious solution? Make two different versions (or more — why not a metal version, and a house version, with dozens of the anonymous dolly-bird singers who front production-line chart dance tracks taking a word each too) and race them! It’d be Blur v Oasis all over again, but for charity! And anyone who really wanted to prove they were buying the single for a good cause, could buy both (or all three, four etc.) versions. Plus we (smug bo-ho scenester nerd scum) could all speculate endlessly over who on earth buys this stuff, and try and start class war between the indieistas and the popists. Of course, anyone with ears will have to stop listening to the radio for several months before Christmas, but fuck it, that’s a price worth paying.