Posts from 19th August 2005

19
Aug 05

Day 44: San Francisco:
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 LOUSY DAYS

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 590 views


What the hell was I doing drinking in LA. At twenty past six. In the morning. Staving off the hangover I suppose. Crispian had been away for a long period of time, and I wondered if he was getting some sort of vendetta against the film studios out of his system. He was never happy when I Hate Films bombed, and in particular blamed the monopoly of Hollywood studios. I blamed his rubbish writing.

Still when he turned up with two plane tickets I almost forgave him leaving me alone. Until he told me that he could not get tickets from LAX. Now admittedly post Rachel Stevens I was not looking forward to going to LAX. Sweet Dreams My LA-EX? When I had finished with here it would be more like Sweet Dreams Due To Ex-Lax. Nevertheless I was not particularly happy when Crispian said the tickets went from San Francisco.

I hate hilly places. I wanted out of America, and I particularly did not want to end up in a hippy city like San Fran. What’s more during the night I had sold our car for some more drinks so we had no form of transport. Even on this one Crispian had an answer. He took me to a bakers van which had agreed to let us stow away in the back for the journey up the coast. I shrugged my shoulders and got in, what else could I do.

But if I got any flour in my hair, Crispian would die.

Let’s Go To San Francisco – THE FLOWERPOT MEN

Sorry, let me restate that. The flowerPOTmen. And before you get all smarmy and clever on me, no, these are not slightly camp glass collectors. Instead the FlowerPOTmen were yet another iteration of John Carter and Ken Lewis who in a shameless attempt to have hits in the 60’s rode every half hearted crazy. This craze was the Summer OF Love and Drugs. A bit racy eh?

1969 is often thought of as the Summer Of Love, mainly because people were feeling so good that the Beatles were about to split up. Couple that with the ongoing Vietnam war and you can see the time was ripe for love. And because actually the time was not ripe for love at all, everyone had to take drugs to simulate the sensation. And then they had to go to San Francisco to:
a) wear flowers in their hair
b) have interesting sexual experiences
c) have car chases like Steve McQueen in Bullitt
d) dodge the draft, despite San Francisco being in the US, it was well known that spending ten minutes in the company of a San Franciscan made you ineligible for being gay, drugged up and having flowers in your hair over which they could not fit a helmet.

It is very clear to anyone who has the misfortune of listening to Let’s Go To San Francisco, that Ken and John had no idea WHY anyone should go to San Francisco. They were pretty sure there was some sort of counter culture element, but they did not know enough to explain in the song. Indeed Ken & John were such old fogeys that they considered this counter-culture to be full of funny people, and the whole song is rather condescending – as well as faux hippy tosh.

Of course if John & Ken swopped surnames things would have been much more apposite. Any band with a member called John Lewis can expect to be never knowingly undersold. Underselling is exactly what this record needed.

ilx kickstarts the corpse of ole vlad propp

Do You SeePost a comment • 283 views

the slut = Blanche = Bono
the “innocent” = Rose = Larry Mullen
the cynic = Miranda =The Edge
the sophisticated center = Dorothy = Adam Clayton

and many similar elegant mappings

The End Of QWERTY UIOP?

Proven By Science2 comments • 895 views

I was always afraid as a child of coming across a kids book where a lead character would be called Qwerty Uiop. As much as I enjoyed The Phantom Tollbooth I was well aware of where this, and Lewis Carroll’s, mixture of fun and learning would take us. Pete’s Adventures In Typing luckily never occurred, not did Tom In Macroeconomicsland.

Nevertheless, the Qwerty keyboard is one of those wonderful inventions whose genesis is taken a bit for granted and we are not all that sure if it really works. Supposedly spaced for optimum typing ability, its invention was made before any real work in ergonomics or computing had been made. Some might say without Qwerty it would hard to so any work in ergonomics and computing at all (these people are are stupid and should not be listened to however).

Nevertheless the Qwerty keyboard is another English-centric design that has invaded the world, needing hundred of function key shifts or pictogramatical languages and Russian keyboards which look bizarre to Western eyes. So it is fitting that Russians have invented the keyboard where each key is a monitor. I thought this was a remarkably rubbish idea, until I saw the article and saw all the potentials for foreign language use, gaming etc. The only real problem is that you aren’t really supposed to look at the keys when typing anyway (yeah right!)

Man Writing For BBC Should Be Writing Here

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 250 views

There was a brief moment, when the Booker longlist came out, that I thought what it would be like to read them all. It would be a good challenge. Even more challenging considering ONE OF THEM ISN’T EVEN OUT YET (this drum will continue to be banged). Then I realised it was pure mentalism. A reason which would not necessarily stop anyone around here. Then, then I realised it was the wrong kind of pure mentalism: ie the type of pure mentalism they would do on the BBC.

So a number of people are doing this for the BBC4 show Bookered Out. And one is writing an diary of it on BBC Online. Pshaw, I said, they are probably trying to make some rubbish point or other (they did approach an FT writer to do this last year, on the basis as someone who liked football he did not like books). But this chap is an English teacher and nicely scabrous about the first one he read. And then I came across this bit in his biography:

Ever been in the situation when someone asks you “So, what’s the last book you read?” and you have had to lie through your teeth in order to avoid the humiliation and intellectual defrocking that the truth would elicit?

In the last two months I have read Doctor Who novels, Manga comics, a “post-modern” horror novel, a book called Giantslayer about a dwarf who slays giants, a Spider-Man comic featuring The Sinister Six…I won’t go on.

Looks like he’ll always be welcome around here anyway.

Camera Phone Public Service

Do You SeePost a comment • 228 views

Two things you would never think would go together. Nokia have recently had their 15 second film competition, with a special section for films made on camera phones. But they aren’t the only people at it. In what appears to be a response to their previous high budget “Cancelled” campaign (wow, kid is like Britney, how lucky – oh, hold on she isn’t cos she was actually run over) comes this new very lo-fi campaign. As is standard for road safety campaigns now, the shock tactics are still there. But this is an attempt to try and bring it down to street level, to mock-up what might actually happen.

But is this ad saying that fannying around with camera-phones is more of a distraction? Probably not, but it might be read that way. Equally how will it hold up to repeated viewings (the pretty in pink line sounds like it might get derided quickly). How, after all, do you advertise not to getting run over to kids?

Maybe we want to go back to a quieter age, of Tufty and the Green Cross Code Man/Robot. It would be interesting to see Dave Prowse in a modern car advert/ The car comes out of nowhere and slams into Green Cross Code man, and crumples next to his huge, Darth Vader body. That’ll learn ’em.

In the meantime, the search for the camera-phone feature film continues. I bet it will be made by Mike Figgis.

Wash Out

TMFDPost a comment • 431 views

The most repeated joke doing the rounds yesterday at the Grange ground in Edinburgh was that the only thing stopping Scotland from being a Test side was the impossibility of ever having 5 days without rain. Not that that has ever stopped England mind, but as light rain turned heavy, turned light, turned heavy again, and the groundsmen performed ever more complicated formation movements with the covers, and the day wore on, it seemed more and more appropriate. And painful.

Do I feel a chump for spending five hours sitting in the rain until the match was finally declared cancelled at about 4pm? Yup. We were convinced that Cricket Scotland would find some way of squeezing in their statutory 10 overs to avoid having to refund the 4000 strong crowd (but give or take 1000 hospitality tent punters who presumably ate, drank and schmoozed their way through the day exactly as if Scotland and Australia had actually been battling it out with willow and leather.) Thank heavens for Deuchars IPA is all I can say.

The Scots propensity for laying claim to everything under the sun was in full evidence (Kant — Scottish, as my university tutor used to say): apparently they’re responsible for the modern game because bloke who captained the bodyline tour was Scotch. Excuse me while I choke on my balls.

But it was all good natured. My companions, more used to Easter Road, couldn’t imagine a football crowd sitting it out for that long with no promise of a spectacle. Nor would they have nipped out for sparkling wine and — I shit you not — caviar from the Stockbridge grocers. The best photo opp. was the point that the bloke dressed as a pint of IPA met the see-you-jimmy-hatted gang with the blow up kangaroo. Kids played, well, cricket behind the stands put up for the occasion. So someone was happy. Biggest spontaneous boo of the day went to the announcement that the First Minister was on the premises: Jack McConnell attracting more opprobrium than Caladon — fuck-awful cod-opera singers, imagine G4 off that there tv show doing Flower of Scotland and other sentimentalist fuckwit classics.

Disappointed though? Yes.