Posts from 19th May 2005

May 05

In Honour Of Mark E.Smith for no apparent reason…

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Why Would You Leave The Hulk In Charge Of A Giant Morphing Robot?

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Good question huh? Would you leave an oversized, over-powered infant in charge of a super-powered robot? Indeed the question is begged why would he want to operate said robot in the first place when his prime directive is to SMASH!

Answer. To sell toys.

The history of comics is littered with promo-comics for other items. Toy companies like licences, obviously. But why doesn’t spiderman change costume more often, so they can sell more than one of him to the same kids*? Why doesn’t The Hulk have a car so they can sell Hulk-mobiles to kiddies? Action figures maybe the daftest named items in the world, and intellectually remarkably dull, but comics are not very good at providing endless streams of viable product (not true actually but toy companies would rathe rinvent stuff themselves, especially if it clears up a load of old GOBOT stock). And so we get Mega Morphs – read the blurb…

MEGA MORPHS #1 & #2 (of 4)
Pencils & Cover by LOU KANG (Clickee for big cover)
Some dangers are too big for even the Marvel Super Heroes–and that’s when they activate Tony Stark’s newest inventions: the Mega Morphs! Super-powerful high-tech transforming robots piloted by the unlikely team of New Avengers’ Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine–along with Ghost Rider and the Hulk?! Join Eisner-nominated writer Sean McKeever and superstar-on-the-rise Lou Kang for four issues of furious fighting, based on the hot new line of toys from Toy Biz. Marvel’s heaviest heroes in giant-robot action? True Believer, this is the toy-tie-in comic other toy-tie-ins dream of being!
32 PGS./All Ages ?$2.99

(Bold for absolute shock that they have the barefaced cheek to say this…)

*The answer to this is simple, as anyone who is aware of the complex history of the one time he DID change his jimmy-jams and got attacked by them later (see the horrendously RUBBIDGE Alien Costume Saga).

You Are What You Listen To

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You Are What You Listen To

In response to the findings in the article, the whole world commented, “DUH”.

“Another participant was worried about what his co-workers would think of the Justin Timberlake and Michael McDonald music he had purchased for his wife and included in his library.” — dude, guilty pleasures don’t exist on ILM! Somebody forward this guy a link! Because let’s face it, nobody in his office will buy the “b..b..b..b..but, this music is for my wife … honest!” excuse, even if it’s true.

NANCY SINATRA – “These Boots Were Made For Walking”

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#210, 19th February 1966

Somewhere on my hard drive there’s a track which mashes this song into Girls Aloud’s “Sound Of The Underground”. Like a lot of bootlegs it works as an act of criticism as well as a song: “These Boots” is indeed the knowing mid-00s pop aesthetic, almost forty years ahead of schedule. Take one celebrity starlet and one cynical songwriter, add sass and venom and a lucky bag of tricks, twists and gaps in the arrangement, and release. The opening bassline is heels down a spiral staircase, the final horn kicks are a nervous rush to obey, but really what’s being fetishised here is the single. Like “Good Vibrations” nine months later, “Boots” feels conceived and crafted not as a record of an ideal performance, but as a pop event, something unforgettable that sounds only like itself.

The ingredients might just about be familiar – a cruel but funny showtune sensibility (“truthin'”!); the dangerous bassy glamour of Kim Fowley’s teen dramas; the Brit girls’ amused detachment – but they haven’t been combined like this before, and no shopping list can capture the impact of “Boots”. That’s mostly down to Nancy Sinatra, who hardly has to sing the song, just act it. The band, and producer Lee Hazlewood, are canny enough to make the record move, so it doesn’t just become an icy exercise in snark. But still, half of what I love about pop seems to spring from her curled-lip “you” or her single, world-ending “Hah.” So here’s (yet) another definition of a great record: one that you can’t listen to without wanting to live it.


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#209, 29th January 1966

In an ideal universe the Beatles would be hugely generous to people wanting to sample their songs and deeply harsh on people wanting to cover them. The Overlanders obviously felt that this featherweight tale of chatting up an exchange student would be improved by a dose of folky sincerity: it isn’t. The flimsy charms of the original – The Beatles’ very own “Wooden Heart”, praise be – are exchanged for a different, less knowing, kind of smarm. Those pained final “I love yous” seem imported from a different, weightier song and they sink like lead shot in candyfloss.

Ethical Photography Dilemma

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From China, international home of the quirky, a rare story which isn’t somehow related to eggs.

A Nation Of Tar

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The more I thought about seeing Tarnation, the more my brain started splitting the words up to become Tar Nation, a film about a country complete tarmacadamed. In such a fictional land our hero Jonathon would be a very poor lawnmower salesman, until the day he harnesses the power of the hover mowers to create a new form of public transport.

Some nights I don’t sleep all that well.

The real Tarnation is no less bizarre in form if not content (though even that is a bit shakey). This is the closest I have ever seen to an art film in a cinema. I tend to use the phrase art film in a disparaging way, partially because a lot of rubbish comes under that subtext and I don’t like watching film in a gallery. That there is a narrative in Jonathan Couette’s film is about the only thing that marks it from the standard art film and a lot of them have narratives merely by virtue of having a beginning and an end). What makes it interesting is that it is completely old footage, home videos, camcorder trash and photo’s digitally manipulated, played with to tell the story of his and his mothers life. Probably only fifty percent of it is actual video footage – the rest is cut-up treated photography, which often looks like a bad 1980’s indie music video. Which gels nicely with the bad emo life the lead has led.

Does it work? Yes, but not due to any of the visuals. In the end, a tragic story of a woman who was driven mad by electroshock therapy that she did not need, and her son brought up by the grandparents who did that to her almost gets comic in its bleakness. This story would compel if the visuals were just pixelated photos spinning in and out of the screen. Which is just as well, because sometimes they are.

Get Your Stereotypes Here

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Eurovision Day 2. Nowadays the Key Facts everyone knows about the contest is that it’s enjoyed by gay people and it’s a fit-up. In more innocent times what people knew about Eurovision is that it was always won by songs with nonsense titles like “Ding A Dong”. This was a slight misconception but the likes of “Diggi Loo Diggi Ley” by Sweden’s Herreys were welcome and cheap fodder for UK wits. Actually “Diggi Loo” is the last nonsense-title to win it (and for all I know does mean something in Sweden): now ersatz world music has replaced joyful babytalk as the international language of pop and this stands as the end of a proud tradition.

Herreys – Diggi Loo Diggi Ley

There’s no harm in it really. Meanwhile here’s a picture of Herreys:


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frank kogan on pub rock

(the “experts” referred to may have been ME haha)