Posts from 28th October 2004

Oct 04

FREAKY TRIGGER TOP 25 SCARIEST THINGS: 5. Razorblades on the Waterslide

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There’s a Matt Groening cartoon called “Kids Want To Know”, reproduced by Greil Marcus in Dead Elvis, in which one of the “Life In Hell” rabbits is glumly musing upon various difficult questions. “Which would you rather do,” he asks himself, “slide naked down a 50ft razor blade or suck the snot from a dog’s nose until its head caves in?”Fairly primal fears, these, and the choice between excruciation and disgust is tricky. But no-one’s going to suck dog snot by mistake: it will never be much of a surprise. But imagine a razorblade was placed maliciously on a waterslide, and a sequence of events which might run like this:

swimming fun -> desire for greater excitement -> whooshing happily down the waterslide -> sliced lengthwise by a razorblade -> not feeling it initially -> slow but quickening sting of chlorine as you plunge into the water -> tell-tale spread of blood in the pool -> realising the blood’s yours.

It’s not just the pain, though razorblades on the waterslide are likely to be painful at best. It’s the randomness, and the helplessness, and the miserable shock in the juxtaposition between innocent fun and potentially grievous injury. Most fearful of all is the delayed realisation, arriving in the form of the sharpest of stings, and only when the damage has been done.


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6. Being Buried Alive

I am a fear faddist. Generally there’s one thing which will worry me desperately, obsessively, for a few months and then suddenly fade from my thoughts – to be quickly replaced by a new dread. The only think I can compare it to is romantic crushes – consuming, inescapable emotions which turn out to have very flimsy foundations.

After being afraid of nuclear war I was afraid of disease – ebola, Mad Cow, it varied. Then came wrongful arrest (I think I read about how some websites would encode jpegs the size of a single pixel which would then turn up on your hard drive as full on p43d0g3dd0n when Plod came to call), and more recently boring if more realistic fears of penury and bad health. In fact these fears are pretty commonplace and – unlike the bomb, ebola, and being framed for pervertalism – I can do something about them: the fear equivalent of settling down in a relationship.

Anyway in between the Mad Cow and the wrongful arrest came being buried alive. I needn’t go into detail about why being buried alive would be scary – it’s a slow and desperate death, and it has the ‘flickering hopes of escape gradually fading’ thing down to a T. The only problem with being afraid of it was working out how exactly I would end up in that situation.

Accidentally when thought dead? Too easy to get out of (mental note: must write will and include cremation). In an earthquake or some other disaster? Too many rescuers about. No, it has to be something else – being buried alive ON PURPOSE. Evil spouse like in that Roald Dahl story? Not really in her nature. Okay…GANGSTERS! How would I get involved with gangsters? A dodgy business deal? As a market researcher – hardly! Maybe it’s a case of mistaken identity?

And so on… I think on one occasion I lay sleepless at 3AM thinking about a post-apocalyptic cult burying me alive as a religious sacrifice. All of which goes to show the key lesson of fear: it makes you mental.

teaching our grandmothers to suck…

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 415 views

teaching our grandmothers to suck… EGGSES

“I headed off to a village in central Flores where we heard the most amazing tales of little hairy people whom they called ebu gogo: ebu meaning ‘grandmother’ and gogo ‘he who eats anything’.” What, even nasssty chipses? I am somewhat stopping to believe in the veracity of this story i ph34r

The problem with short films

Do You SeePost a comment • 301 views

The problem with short films is that you nearly always see them in collections. I remember at the Dublin Film Festival seeing a whole day of shorts, mainly local ones, that the only ones that really stuck out were the really ropey ones. A good short is often subtle, quirky, clever. A shit short is usually tedious, obvious and badly acted.

Coffee And Cigarettes is a collection of similarly themed Jim Jarmusch shorts filmed in black and white with various famous and semi famous actors. They all take place as chats over coffee and ciggies, usually on slightly surreal topics (Tom Waits and the RZA revealing their other lives as emergency doctors f’rinstance). Problem is eleven very similar shorts over an hour and ahalf get rather boring. Visually they are not all that interesting and beyond the celeb spotting the segments rarely have even a basic storyline (the Alfred Molina Steve Coogan one would have been good if Spider-Man had not made Molina a bigger star). The film is only good as its worse segment (a really clunky girl reading a gun magazine bit) which means the whole is rather clunky.

Poetry in a foreign language

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Poetry in a foreign language

If you have the chance to go to the current Steve McQueen exhibition at the South London Gallery until the 7th of November, go. But if you do go, try not to hear anything about it beforehand. That’s how I went, on Sunday, and I was puzzled and moved, trying to find threads and meanings in a succession of images and noises. It’s tremendous, honestly. I found it very hard to leave. It made me late and I still haven’t had time to buy that rug I want.

So if you think you might go along, maybe you should stop reading now. For those of you who won’t get to the show, McQueen has sourced the images which were sent into space on the Voyager2 spacecraft to illustrate Earth and Earth culture. He fades from one to the next in an extremely dark room, to the sound of all manner of glossolalia, which sounds like poetry in a foreign language.

The website notes that the pictures show an idealised Earth, one without war or any of war’s horseman mates. I thought it felt more like Martin Parr had compiled “Boring Postcards: Earth”: such rich blankness, such a sense of possibility. And it’s easy to imagine the speaking-in-tongues making sense, imagine the sounds being creation myths or romances. Especially when one of the unseen speakers sounds for all the world like Brian Cant.

Stay behind after class

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Stay behind after class

So, the fourth series of teachers has started on C4 with very little fanfare. I guess everyone else round here has given up on it, but I saw the beginning of the first ep on Tuesday. Since Andrew Lincoln (or Egg, as he’s still called round my house) left, Kurt and Brian had gone from comic relief to absolute stars, the reason for the programme to exist. But, hold on, they’re not in the new series (neither is the twatty bloke who was in the chewing gum commercial), the actors going on to other things. “How will they get round this?” meg and I wondered. We certainly didn’t expect them to ACTUALLY PISS ON THE CHARACTERS’ ACTUAL GRAVES, which happened within five minutes of the programme starting. There was no explanation as to how they died, neither do I think there will be in forthcoming eps, but then again, I won’t be watching so it doesn’t really matter…