Posts from 9th December 2004

Dec 04

The Advent Calendar Of Comics: Dec 9

Blog 7Post a comment • 1,532 views

The Advent Calendar Of Comics: Dec 9

(via Culture Schlock Jukebox). “In the first [story], Superman must act when an evil scientist connects every nuclear missile on the planet to the button with which the President is about to light the White House Christmas tree” !!!!!!!

My dark secret!

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 331 views

My dark secret!

I was talking about this with Dr T last week and I realised the awful truth….

I don’t really give a monkey’s about the latest round of the ‘rockism debate’. Or much else.

More power and total respect to those of you fighting the good fight, but count me out for the time being. In fact since quitting ILM in April I’ve been in a state of glorious near-isolation from ‘music discourse’ and it hasn’t missed me – I’ve made my humble contribution, long ago said what I had to say, I don’t have the curiosity or energy that make the good blogs worth reading any more. Records of the year? No idea. Doubt I’ve even heard ten albums! The records that have given me most pleasure this week are “Kung Fu Fighting” by Bus Stop and “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” by Elisa Peavey (sp?).

I honestly never thought I’d feel like this. Caring about music has been so much a part of my life for so long that it’s a bit odd admitting that I don’t at the moment (I’m assuming it’s a phase, of course). But I feel better admitting it, too – this is not a negative post! I still love listening to music, of course, I love downloading new stuff and I have a mad novelty habit but worrying about how it all fits together or trying to think about it – I’ve just lost that critical libido. Might be different if I had an MP3 blog, I really liked that and there’s a massive infectious energy in that scene – but I don’t have the space.

(Doing Popular, that’s different, it’s like pottering about in an allotment or playing with toy soldiers and I wish I had the time to do four entries every day.)

Hats off to the people – rockist, popist, hip-hopist, grimist et al. – who still have that commitment, that desire to right wrongs and get the good word out there and not just state the bleedin’ obvious, you know who you are and it’s you who make independent music writing worth reading. And yes I’ll update that sidebar soon. It’s not like I’m planning to stop writing here – and NYLPM is hardly a one-man band anyway – but I know a lot more of you come to this part of FT than any other and I’d hate to think you were after something I’m not equipped to give nowadays. Having a faithful readership has been a continuing delight and I’d send you all a Christmas card if I knew who you were (and wasn’t bone idle). Now off I go to listen to Bus Stop again.


Do You SeePost a comment • 1,091 views


Who are Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted “Theodore” Logan? What lessons can we learn from their excellent adventure? Perhaps the only lesson is the piece of philosophy which, once espoused, was to turn the world into a soft rock Utopia. “Be excellent to one another”. It’s a simplistic treatise some might say, but the word excellent is an interesting one to use. Perhaps because it is peppered so liberally through the script here that we forget its true meaning, derived from excel. Let us excel in all our dealings with one another. Let us be the best we can be, let us strive for the greater good. And therefore be excellent.

In their time travels Bill and Ted encounter a wide range of historical characters, and abduct them briefly. There is a suggestion that this abduction galvanises their later deeds. Is it really Socrates who comes up with his method or is it Bill and Ted’s relaxed yet lively banter, argument without aggression? Does Joan Of Arc’s military nous come from God or the callisthenics she practices? Freud may well conjure up much of his theories from Bill’s relationship with his stepmom Missy. One may easily assume that Napoleon’s aggression comes from being ridiculed at the waterslides.

There is little in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure that is startlingly original. The Valleyspeak gag was relatively old hat when Zappa did it (and got even older hat when Mike Myers did it). Time travelling phone booths seem oddly reminiscent of another very long running show. The approach to history is close to 1066 And All That. Even the metal which was going to save the world was on its way out. And yet the whole Bill and Ted package dazzles, so much so that Keanu Reeves can never quite step out from the shadow of Ted, and Alex Winter has had a pretty disastrous career since. Yet this is the epitome of low budget, high concept silliness which always makes me smile. The language, convoluted yet seamless is just part of its magic. Look at their historical shopping list after all? Would you want to be stuck in a phone box with this lot? Bill & Ted did, and still remained excellent to each other:

Sigmund Freud
Ghengis Khan
Billy The Kid
Joan Of Arc
Abraham Lincoln
Ludwig van Beethoven

Politics Can’t Kill The Situationist International

Do You SeePost a comment • 288 views

Politics Can’t Kill The Situationist International. Not really DYS, but this needs attention. Having spent the ’70s making trad-left agit-prop plays, David Edgar now sees the ‘light’: ‘Thirty years later, the miners’ triumph in 1974 looks hubristic, an ironic prologue to the tragedy of 1984-85. On the other hand, the libertarian socialist critique of consumerism appears surprisingly, if not uncomfortably pertinent. This is a world in which challenges to oppression have been downgraded into lifestyle choices, the political process has been turned into a form of shopping, and (to quote a Situationist slogan) the ideology of consumption has become the consumption of ideology.’ Splitting the movements from Marxism, the Situationist canon becomes just another arrow in the quiver of cultural criticism…

What happened next

TMFDPost a comment • 320 views

What happened next

Portraits of the German 1974 World Cup Winning Team from a recent edition of Der Spiegel.

The same pages washed through Google’s translate tool are here in case you wanted to read the text in appalling English which adds nothing apart from slightly comedically rendering Der Kaiser as Franz Basin Farmer.

And now “We Are the World” part two!

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 395 views

And now “We Are the World” part two!oh good god:

Jermaine Dupri has been called on to produce an updated version of one of the (if not the) most legendary collaborations of all time, “We Are the World.”

“It’s called ‘We Are the Future,’ ” Dupri said from Los Angeles on Tuesday after hearing the Grammy nominations

I hope they ditch the charity angle — and the melody, and everything about the original actually — and just make it a celebration of how great they all are, at least.

A heart-warming and implicitly anti-rockist letter

Do You SeePost a comment • 394 views

A heart-warming and implicitly anti-rockist letter to The Times from an Oxford legend:

Sir, The outcry against David and Victoria Beckham as Joseph and Mary is risible. What character tests were imposed on the persons so portrayed in the churches and art galleries of the world?

How many courtesans (and no one is calling Posh that) must have served as models for the Virgin — or do the critics imagine that painters and sculptors were all vouchsafed personal visions?

Yours faithfully,

The Man Who Ate The 747 is a cute little book

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 645 views

The Man Who Ate The 747 is a cute little book. It is a romance which is neither Danielle Steele doorstep thick, or branded via Mills & Boon. Romance fiction has a bad name, and yet historically the romance was a more than respectable genre. Ben Sherwood’s novel probably escapes obvious pigeonholing by virtue of being written by a man. Ah, the enlightened 21st century.

The book feels a touch off though, for no reason of its writers devising. The tale concerns a loveless researcher for the Guinness Book Of Records. Now you might say that he is loveless because he is a right wing, racist reactionary scum, but the book is not about Norris McWhirter. Nor does The Man Who Ate The 747 mention the word Guinness. Instead it constantly refers to The Book in hushed tones that this Christmas stocking staple possible does not deserve. Obviously trademark issues have intervened, but it does make the sweet tale of courtship via ingesting aviation appears to take place in a parallel universe.

De Hems, the continental beer palace off Shaftesbury Avenue

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 428 views

De Hems, the continental beer palace off Shaftesbury Avenue, is by nature an upmarket boozer. Its range of beers is well-regarded and it presents them with style, though usually I find it a bit too busy and noisy for my liking. But even taking De Hems’ upscale aspirations into account I was a bit surprised to find, on a return from the bar there, one of my companions being massaged.

The masseur was a freelancer who travelled from pub to pub rubbing and chopping the clientele, who paid “as much as they could afford”. Each massage lasted ten minutes and the three who took her up on the offer reported that it was very satisfying (remarkably so if the look on the face of a certain FT contributor was anything to go by). We were good for her business – the table next to us got in on the act too and she will have left the pub at least sixty pounds to the good.

For myself I don’t think pubs and massages mix. The kind of relaxation a drink with mates provides is a very different beast to that brought by a good rubdown. I think I wouldn’t be able to give myself over fully to the experience, that I’d be distracted trying to follow the conversation. But I wasn’t offended by the idea and it added to the fun of the evening.

There was some debate though over the going rate for an in-pub massage. Our first massee handed over a tenner, and the others followed suit, but we wondered if we could have got away with a fiver. (Of course technically we could have paid her nothing at all, but we feared her knowledge of pressure points.)


Do You SeePost a comment • 174 views


Aaltra is a Belgian Inside I’m Dancing, but without the dancing inside bit.