Posts from 23rd August 2005

Aug 05

Around The World A Bit Faster Than Tanya Does It

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

ILMiXoR, the collaborative MP3 blog by members of top Neil Young fansite ILM, is back! And this time I’ve contributed to it – you can find my contribution by scrolling down a bit and looking for the picture of Dr.Alban singing in a conservatory. You might have better luck with the actual MP3 if you click here though. The theme is “Around The World In 80 Minutes”, and the idea is a sequence of tracks moving a little bit East each time, literally or metaphorically (man). Several other familiar names among the contributors, as you’d imagine.

How I Write A Freakytrigger Post

FT + New York London Paris Munich2 comments • 3,227 views

Here is your exclusive, behind the scenes look at how these posts are written (by me):

Step One: Someone (Nick Dastoor) e-mails a link to an amusing news story. In this case, the President of Turkmenistan banning lip-synching.

Step Two: Think of an amusing correlation to this. Namely when Top Of The Pops similarly banned lip-synching in the 1990’s in an equally draconian fashion.

Step Three: Try to remember the name of the producer who brought this in. Google ‘lip-synching Top Of The Pops’. Discover the current policy of lip-synching from a bored looking disembodied head of producer Andi Peters. “The policy is ‘there is no policy’. There are some artists who can not sing live. What would be the point in putting them on television for four minutes where they screech their way through a song and it embarrasses them, it embarrasses me as a producer, it embarrasses you as a viewer.”

Step Four: Click on the history link, which takes you to the TOTP2 website, which is now seemingly without purpose. Notice in the corner a searchable performance database. Put in Carter USM, because that’s what I do whenever I see a searchable band database.

Step Five: Get a list of all their appearances. Unfortunately no video clips. Probably just as well. Notice that five of the eight performances were presented by the up until now forgotten Mark Franklin. I must have watched a lot of Top Of The Pops at this time and yet cannot remember this man. Who is he? Google him.

Step Six: Google little help. All I find out is that Franklin presented from 1994-1996 and bizarrely did a voiceover for the British version of kinky anime stalwart Oh! My Goddess. Also find out that IMDB is a very funny way at looking at a long running magazine television show (Kylie Minogue – 41 appearances).

Step Seven: Remember it was Ric Blaxill after all with my head. Google to check. Find out from this very comprehensive history from Off The Telly that actually it was Blaxill’s predecessor Stanley Appel who was the Turkmenistani president of Top Of The Pops. At this point it seemed pointless to draw a comparison, except that clearly the short lived reign of Appel and the wiping out of Mark Franklin from history seems symptomatic.

I Can See Inside You (cheap version)

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 224 views

People laughed when I made a DIY endoscope*. They are laughing on the insides of their faces now, and this Vietnamese Doctor can see them. After all, what is an endoscope but a really bendy telescope? So a lot of decent lenses, a good light and something to work out the pictures should be pretty easy to knock together.

Of course why would the NHS “knock-together” stuff when it can pay ’30,000 quid for one? This does suggest there is not a lot of competition in the endoscope market however.

*a) I did not actually make an endoscope.
b) It was for looking into my flatmates room, rather than something as philanthropic as this.

Gallery Told To Take Down Batman’s Pants

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 242 views

DC Comics have asked the Katherine Cullen Fine Arts Gallery to remove art by Mark Chamberlain that depicts Batman and Robin in homo-erotic situations. Like living together in a big mansion, dressing up in tights and – hold on – that’s their own back catalog (and the less said about Batman’s Boner the better).

Anyway, while you can, the offending pictures are here. (I think we advise you don’t look at them otherwise you’ll never think of super-het Batman in the same way ever again). Personally I would remove them just for being the most obvious idea ever. This rumour (can you have a rumour about fictional characters?) goes back to the Seduction of The Innocents and probably as far back as anyone who thought about the relationship between a man and his orphaned teen ward. So actually drawing it in shonky watercolours adds very little to the idea.

(Have just discovered that this has already been discussed at some length on the Batman’s Boner thread on I Love Comics. A thread notable for a wonderful two panel shot of Aunt May discovering sticky white fluid seeping out from underneath Peter Parker’s door.)

Primer Is Just A See-Through Undercoat (tenuous cliche link ahoy)

Do You See1 comment • 612 views

I am loathe to say it, because it is the hoariest old cliché in the reviewers book. But there is a touch of “that posh bloke what bought new duds” about Primer. The reviews all state how fascinating this tricksy little science fiction time travel tale is. They are particularly keen on the obfuscating overlapping dialogue, the very matter-of-factness about the film and the nested conundrums in conundrums. Many reviews even say that you need to see it a couple of times to understand it.

So have they? It seems a bit strange for a film reviewer, whose job it is to review films, to go and see a film lots of times just to understand it. Surely understanding might be something we demand from our first viewing. It’s a line I trotted out after seeing it, and feeling slightly underwhelmed. It was not technically very interesting at all, and I did not understand the ending. I think I just about understood the middle. To be fair the trailer baffled me.

Now I like science fiction. I have read an awful lot. So much so that I am aware that stories which have time travel at the heart of them are nearly always disappointing tricks. (Out of the “time-travel” stories I would take those where a time machine is just a way of getting to the setting, so The Time Machine and most of Doctor Who is safe.) You can get bogged down with paradoxes, what ifs and hypotheticals – and the human drama is usually destroyed. You might say that at the heart of Primer is the simple matter of trust, between two time-travelling friends who find that with this enormous power to change things they cannot trust each other. But then equally we have been given no reason to trust the film, these changes happen retroactively to the viewer, and seem somewhat implausible in the process. Even if they actually happened.

What is nice about Primer, and what most reviewers have flagged up, is that it is a film that makes you think and concentrate while watching it. Concentrate in case you miss something key, think to make you realise it. Now perhaps I am being arrogant in saying that I think there is nothing to be worked out. The loose ends are due to a loose beginning and an equally loose middle. Maybe Primer is exactly what it says it is, a first go at a film, with which future, better films will be made. Undercoat if you will: which this “posh bloke” is not wearing.

The Music And Football Player Exchange, Notting Hill

TMFD4 comments • 1,250 views

One of the happy upshots of the Bosman Ruling which we have been living with for almost ten years, is the effect it has on players prices near the end of their contract. Take Clinton Morrison (Birmingham wish someone would) the Republic of Ireland striker. Bought for a club record of £4.25 million three years ago, he is certainly not at the end of his playing career. But his contract is up next year, and Birmingham have just realised that if they don’t sell him now, he will go on a free transfer.

Therefore the pack of clubs hovering are in an interesting position. Southampton, Norwich and better the devil you know Crystal Palace have all brandished chequebooks. But are also taking their time? What does this remind us of? Why, its record collectors returning week after week to the Music & Video Exchange in Notting Hill, waiting for a record the really want to go down in price for them to buy it.