Posts from 20th June 2005

20
Jun 05

Dream Jobs Dept.

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 1,012 views

Whenever Vic Fluro and I get together and have a few beers, talk always turns to comics characters and what – given the chance – he or I would do with them, were we comics writers. I say “were we” but he actually is one, or at least is working his way up the greasy comics pole. Of course this doesn’t mean that our indulgent chatter is anything other than fannish speculation but it’s good fun nonetheless.

So hats off to Grant Morrison, who is now essentially getting paid to do just this for DC Comics as their resident imagineer. All the fun of idea generation, none of the sweat of getting the series down on paper. Envy isn’t the word! Except that Grant M is one of the most imaginative people in the industry, and he’s also sometimes a bit crap at endings, so this is his ‘ideal job’ for readers as well as the man himself. My only concern would be that this maybe limits the opportunities for newer writers to come through and pitch their own amazing reinventions – but by all accounts DC Editorial holds a pretty tight rein, so maybe those opportunities were figments anyway.

Orgasm Addict

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 508 views

What a difference a headline makes. Serious and quite interesting study on the way different bits of the brain works during orgasm is presented by the BBC Online sub-editor as OMG SCIENTISTS INVENT FAKE-A-TRONIC SCANNER, implying that future Harries will take a massive brain scan machine along on their dates with Sallies.

DAY 38: I Drove All Night
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 LOUSY TUNES

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 322 views


Several things can go through the brain of an attractive woman when she is standing in a top secret compound underneath Graceland having just killed Elvis Presley. I must admit to my chagrin that “Yessss!” was the main thought. It is very rare that one of you most hated icons actually comes back to life just so you can dispose of them.

It was Crispian’s jibbering that broke me out of my reverie. As we ran though the cold Tennessee air it was clear that on foot we were not going to get anywhere. It was at that point I decided to double back to Graceland to see if there was a vehicle which would suit us more. Apparently Crispian is a fine driver, having seen Bullitt five times, and so given a half decent car we could clear half of this now problematic country in one night.

In Graceland’s back yard I found exactly what we were after. Another of those black glassed, black heavy, black cars. It was very black. It was also locked. However the wallet I had lifted from Elvis also contained some ID, and some keys which seemed to fit perfectly. We jumped into what could only be described as the Elvismobile, and Crispian sped off. Straight into a wall. It would appear that watching car chases in movies was no substitute for proper actual learning.

I put the monkey boy in the back and took over the driving myself. And put three states between us and the Corpse Of Rock’n’Roll before I stopped.

CYNDI LAUPER – I Drove All Night

There is a brief period in a persons life, usually just after someone has passed there driving test, when driving is actively fun. The rest of the time it is a bit of a chore. Something we do to get from A to B. Now I am not saying that Cyndi is necessary being inconsistent when she said “girls just want to have fun” and that “she drive all night”. I am just pointing out that by her own logic, driving all night is something girls really don’t want to do, and certainly something the rest of us don’t want to hear a miserable song about.

The song was written for Roy Orbison, who turned it down. So not only is this Roy’s sloppy seconds made by some chipmunk lady, but when he heard how bad Cyndi’s version was Roy repented. He (wrongly) believed that no song should be done quite so badly, so then agreed to record it to wipe the stench of Cyndi’s version out. It did not work of course, all a cover version does is give us another version to hate, but I suppose it was an honourable idea.

As for Cyndi – any woman with hair more than three colours is TRYING TOO HARD. Any woman who is happy to embrace the tag kooky is in trouble from the get go. She drove all night? I’m not surprised. To get away from the rampant crowds baying for her blood.

Films about films (no-one has seen)

Do You See1 comment • 1,798 views

Last week saw the release of not one, but two films about previous films. And I don’t mean Batman Begins (which should be retitled Batman Starts for Essex). Inside Deep Throat, a documentary about the making of and the effect of notorious porn film Deep Throat. And Baadasssss!, Mario Van Peebles film about the making of his Dad Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. The films have one key thing in common as well as being films about notorious 1970’s flicks. More people will probably see these films in the cinema in the UK than ever saw the films they are based on in the UK cinema.

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Promotional Sweets: Deep Throat case study

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 649 views

When I went to see Inside Deep Throat a couple of weeks ago, after I bought my ticket I was presented with a tie-in promotional lollipop. Ha-ha, I thought, I see what you have done there, for whilst I suck my lollipop it will be a little bit like Linda Lovelace sucking a different type of lollipop. The analogy really falls down if you see the film, but the promotional power of this lolly also falls apart.

Consider. I was given the lolly after I bought my ticket. Nowhere was it advertised, “See our documentary, get free lolly”. The lolly was a pleasant surprise but as a surprise it had no impact on my buying the ticket. However consider alternative uses of the lolly. Perhaps a bowl of them, all saying “Come And See Inside Deep Throat” was placed in the foyer. This would clearly attract the main consumers of lollipops, young kids*. Unfortunately young kids, off to see Millions, will not be allowed to see Inside Deep Throat (just as well) so this logic falls down. Thus the small distributor seems to have waster much of its money on these slightly insipid lemon lollipops. And yes, I did feel dirty sucking it during the film.

*It may also attract Kojak, who I would imagine may well be in the demographic sweep for both Deep Throat and the documentary on it.

WORLD MUSIC COVERAGE ON FOX NEWS

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 236 views

Whilst away I had the privilege, nay pleasure, of watching some Fox News. Its output was probably at about two in the morning, however what was interesting was a five minute package of Palestinian Rap. There was much pooh-poohing that this “uniquely American” musical form could translate to an oppressed group who, let’s not beat about the bush, are Fox News viewers’ enemies. But the piece did show how artists can express their frustrations through their work. Then undermined the whole story by saying that these are actually the only rappers in Palestine, and no-one actually likes them.

The piece then really undermined itself by never telling us the name of the group. So I’ll tell you (cos I know them): it was Dam. I am not saying that anyone watching that piece might be stirred to do any further research, or interested in them, but if they are they can look at the ArabRap website.

The Incredible Science of Journey Planner

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 348 views

Dear Transport for London,

My travelling requirements are as follows:

Leave home (Upper Clapton, Hackney) around 6pm on Friday, arriving at Buckhurst Hill station as soon as possible. I have filtered out the tube / train as I only have a bus pass and don’t like travelling on the stinky things at the best of times. I’ve calculated the distance to be approximately five miles and can see from my A-Z that the A104 is a direct route between these two locations.

Yours,
Mikey G

Result

why websites are better than books

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 325 views

Self-publicising in its most blatant form, but I hope some people might be interested. I’ve just released what there is so far of my new website about Japanese arts. It arose from conversation with several people, mostly Freaky Trigger writers, where I’d be talking about the kinds of links between Japanese artforms, or ways they reflect on western arts, that don’t get mentioned in any of the many books I’ve read about the areas – which do tend to focus on one segment at a time, never on painting AND books AND movies AND comics AND ceramics… I’d keep getting told that I should write a book, but there were various things that put me off that notion, or made me feel inadequate to the task. Also, how do you tell the story of Japanese painting in book form and still make the point that medieval Zen art goes a long way towards explaining the massive popularity of comic books now, or draw parallels between rustic ceramics of several centuries ago and American abstract expressionist painting? It was only when it occurred to me that a website would address ALL my doubts about this project that it all fell into place.

Firstly, I get to do it to my schedule, with no deadlines. I don’t have to think in terms of it being an incomplete work until I hit 50,000 words, at which point I’ve done – there is no right size for a website. I don’t have to find a publisher – which, with my lack of publishing history and total lack of authoritative background, plus the awkwardness of the project, would be hard – as I can do it all myself. I don’t have to face the difficulty of getting lots of good colour pictures reproduced, bumping the publishing cost sky-high. I can do it as and when I want for the rest of my life, without needing to feel I’ve finished, with the permanent option of going back and revising things when I learn more, develop new interests, realise mistakes or whatever. But crucially, I can make links all over the place, in ways that make alternative routes easy to explore. Obviously a fairly conventional history of ceramics is handy to have in place, but I couldn’t resist the potential to link the rustic kind to not just those that came before and after, just like in a book, and the more polished kind produced contemporaneously, but also to the technicalities of why they looked that way, to the concept of the accidental and the flawed in Japanese art, and therefore on to abstract expressionism, to Chinese ceramics, and Chinese splatter painting and later (14th-15th C) Japanese flung-ink painting, to the tea ceremony and Rikyu’s decisive role in Japanese aesthetics, plus some pages on potters of the rustic school, starting with Chojiro… You get my point. That’s hard to do in a book. Frankly, it’s not that easy on a website, if you want anyone to be able to navigate it, and you need some of those solid spinal histories in place first. The site so far has only the painting/printmaking section ‘completed’ (I know I’ll revise and extend parts of that – just got a new book on Hokusai…), but I’m hard at work on extending that soon, and very keen to do the Zen painting section. I hope those interested in Japanese arts will take a look at it.

SARAH’S FIRST COMIC (part 1)

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 278 views

Last night I sat down to read THE TOMB OF DRACULA, a collection of GOTH COMIC BOOKS nicely given to me as a birthday present by a collaborator of this (man2man) Parrish. Goodness grief! Whilst I admit that I have general anti-comics stance, I was willing to give this one a go, if for the goth name alone, but good GRAVY! Not only is all the text in CAPITAL LETTERS* with emphasised words being written in BOLD, but the emphasis is all over THE place! Natural rhythms of speech live and die a thousand deaths with such gratuitous use OF the bold key, nations rise and fall in self-despair, people DON sunglasses to hope that the horror lessens BUT no!

The thing is, that by the nature of comics, most of the story that actually gets put down IN words, is oral communication, right? And if you can’t even get THAT right, then what does that say about the whole shebang? I haven’t even managed to make it past the first PAGE yet, never mind worry if there are old fashioned things like a PLOT, good CHARACTERISATIONS and a catchy chorus that the milkman can sing on his morning rounds.

Yet, despite this, I will give it another go. I rarely let a book fail me, and why should I change my standards if the word “comic” is appended to the front of the media?

Wish ME luck. (GUH!! DO YOU SEE??)

*despite my pro-capital letter stance I do not agree that they should be EVERYWHERE, hongu?