Posts from 22nd November 2004

22
Nov 04

Indie Chicken

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 583 views

Indie Chicken – an occasional series

#5 – Laz Fried Chicken & Pizza, 190 Archway Rd, London N6 5BB

Post-FAP last Friday night, I and my boo hopped off the bus, bid goodnight to Pete and headed for the local filthy chicken establishment. This, in close proximity to our new flat (and indeed fairly near my old one), is more of a pizza delivery place, but the fried chicken takes precedence on the shop sign so that it appears that one could purchase a pizza topped with melting chunks of deep-fried poultry. Which would be a very special experience, I think we can all agree.

Anyway, the meal: Rob, feeling lairy, went for a two-piece meal and a Diet Pepsi (‘2.95 I think, as was mine), while I was more sedate with my choice of one chunk of beast (yes, I mean that and not ‘breast’) and three hot wings, accompanied by a cheapo can of German-import Fanta (which, this reminds me, is still in the fridge). The chicken pieces were covered in satisfyingly greasy and crunchy skin, but a rather disagreeable muddy taste was evident even through a palate-thickening beer patina. The hot wings (baby drumsticks, par usuel) were better, and the fries (crispy but yielding) were downright tasty, but you know, I was a little bit refreshed at the time. So-so would be my overall verdict, what with no cleansing towelette action in evidence, but it hit the drunken spot, and what more can one desire?

Incidentally, while searching fruitlessly for the presence of Laz on that there interweb, I came across http://www.takeawaysulike.co.uk/, a marvellous site devoted to making sure that you can always find your favourite filthy food emporia. Excellent work.

Liz & Rob’s Freeview box criticises television

Do You SeePost a comment • 430 views

Liz & Rob’s Freeview box criticises television

So, we finally got an appropriate aerial to help our shiny new Freeview box do its stuff and provide us with access to UKTV History, BBC 4 and, most importantly, Bid-up TV. Programmes such as last year’s recycled Cribs and Nick & Jessica: Newlyweds now form vital components of our domestic entertainment matrix. However, we have noted certain quirks of the little silver machine surfacing over time. For example, during a viewing of the very stylish video to Charles and Eddy’s Would I Lie to You? (shown as part of The HITS’ Classic Hits Weekend), the broken-down jazzy middle eight (so familiar to Top of The Pops fans from the early 90s) was mysteriously blanked out by interference, only for the song and video to become crystal clear again as the verse came back in. Clearly, we must make note of future occurrences of this type in order to ascertain the precise critical stance adopted by our digital television receiver. Look to the skies.

I thought as much.

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 372 views

I thought as much.: Britain’s (occasionally) best pop band destroyed by the evil forces within it. Unless of course the real reason for the ‘break’ is that Charlie wants to get in some pre-election campaigning for Mr.Howard.

ITV seem to have missed the point

Do You SeePost a comment • 201 views

ITV seem to have missed the point, if you are going to show the Junior Eurovision Songcontest it’s rather pointless to leave the subtitles in the original language the song is being sung in, we want the TRANSLATIONS, so we can LAFF. Also if we had had them (scroll down to bottom half of page) Spain might not have won, “I’d rather be dead than plain” seems a little extreme coming from a nine year old, especially at the start of anti-bullying week (UK finished second with slightly manky piano ballad btw).

World-historical EuroNoiseniks meet Post-Ballardian Prime-Time Cop Procedural

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 222 views

World-historical EuroNoiseniks meet Post-Ballardian Prime-Time Cop Procedural: ok so grissom and the black guy were diggin a PREGNANT* SKELETON out a blob of CONCRETE in the BACK-LOT of a MOTEL (yeah this is a repeat but i missed the first part of it when it first showed on brit terrestrial), and cz this took a while and the S/T wd only be gruntin and that, the soundtrack switched to some atmospheric pop obv, and after a while it was suddenly shockingly evident that CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION was using EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN to colour yr waiting mood! boo to me cz I’m not sure which the song wz** – one of later, quieter, almost-monotonous long-slow-build ones (based on my description, marcello tht from tabula rasa, but my description was/is a bit vague), except at one point it has a scrawly little microtonal synth figure – but YAY to CSI***!!
*(this info only available subsequently)
**(lovely google reveals that it’s “ein seltener vogel” from perpetuum mobile)
***(i actually really like that CSI rescued and redeemed the who’s previously v.stupid “who are you?” as its openin theme, but if they ever get tied of it they shd of course replace it w. EN’s “BRAINLEGO”!!)

FEMALE TROUBLE

Do You SeePost a comment • 154 views

FEMALE TROUBLE
dir. John Waters

The last few days I’ve been on a bit of a John Waters kick, one of those happy phases with just about anything where you want to step back and take the plunge through someone’s work again when it’s someone you really like a lot but haven’t revisited in a while — it’s always nice when the good feelings are reconfirmed rather than leaving you going, “What did I like in this again?”

Happily Waters’s sense of humor was something I’ve loved since I first encountered his work (yep, Pink Flamingos, like so many others — though I did know that final scene was coming), and while there aren’t any of films of his I’ve seen that I hate, I definitely have to agree with Waters’s own conclusion on the DVD commentary that Female Trouble is the best of his early films, in some ways marking the end of an era. David Lochary would be dead in three years, his thin, striking looks and weirdly elegant voice would be gone forever, while Divine’s next appearance would be in Polyester, with cinematography and production values much different than that of Waters’s scrape-by beginnings. Also, the dialogue consisting of ranted speeches wouldn’t make it beyond Desperate Living.

So there was summation of technique and approach in Female Trouble, but also some stronger showcasing all around than ever — Divine, for the first time, played a character with a history and a past, the whole movie being the tracing of Dawn Davenport’s…well, not so much a rise and fall as it is an existence, from being one of the bad girls in high school to dying, in the throes of insanity, on the electric chair. It’d be tempting to call her entire character a grotesque like the immortal Babs Johnson, but instead Dawn Davenport is much like Polyester‘s Francine Fishpaw, somebody recognizable, however melodramatic, at the start who turns into a grotesque by the end. And as with so many of Waters’s characters, her change and transformation is anything but a sorrow — the movie simmers with barely-disguised glee at all the trashiness of her situation, not an indictment of her but just a celebration of the world and universe that Waters creates.

And what a world! Not only does Davenport literally fuck herself (thanks to Divine playing a dual role as a sleazy auto-body worker), but hairdressers dictate social status in a way that Vidal Sassoon could have only dreamed of, aggressive aunts desperately urge their wastrel nephews to turn gay (instead he stays straight…but enjoys having hardware with him during the act), a bride wears a wedding dress showing, to quote Waters, “full bush,” and the worst thing a daughter can do to upset a fashion-obsessed mother who’s turning into a killer is to turn into a Hare Krishna devotee.

Then of course there’s the core of the film, the cross-combination of ugliness as beauty, of crime as art, of death as the most creative thing possible and as the culmination of a career. Waters’s ability to live in his own world while sharply observing that around him, to create an America that isn’t always our America but isn’t that far removed at all, shines here — friend Arthur and I were talking the other day on the phone, I mentioned rewatching this and he (not to my surprise at all) called it one of his favorite all time films, noting among other things how predictive it seemed over time on questions of media coverage, on criminals as stars in the TV age and beyond, how Oliver Stone and Quentin Tarantino did their own version of it with Natural Born Killers twenty years later but how it ended up nowhere near as funny. (Or arguably as unsettling — the closing shot and sound of Divine in the chair is flat out disturbing.)

And damn is it funny and creepy all at once — perhaps nowhere more so when Divine as Davenport, head shaved except for the proto-punk mohawk towering high, makeup reaching back to her ears, face scarred from acid, concludes her show business debut rant with the barely controlled shriek of “I blew Richard Speck! And I’m so fucking beautiful I can’t stand it myself!”