Posts from 24th October 2005

Oct 05

The FT Top 23 STRANGE PHENOMENA: No.14 Rain with unconventional contents

Blog 7Post a comment • 471 views

Funny rain is quite reserved as strange phenomena go. The usual suspects – frogs, fish, clams and whelks and so on – may be nonsensical, but it stops short of the hard stuff: no anvils or grand pianos; a herd of cows is as outrageous as it’s ever got.

Perhaps that’s what makes this freakery wonderful as well as weird: any number of theories flirt with plausibility, and their provability-proof haziness has lasted them well. Here are a few – all believed by someone somewhere, apart from ONE, which I’ve made up. Can you guess which?

It’s a lie! Invented to enliven discussions about the weather after the conventional contents of rain had become unremarkable

It’s the wind! Tornados sweep hapless schools of fish onto hapless Fins

It’s the birds! Flocks of pelicans have fill their bills with sealife for later use, and then simultaneously change their mind in mid-flight

It’s the planes! … dumping their cargos of cows for political reasons – and of course it was the Russians who were most notorious for this

It’s nature’s way! There’s a whole unknown ecosystem in the sky, swarming with airborne frogs, presumably with lemming-like instincts

It’s modern Victorian science! Observe: sea water evaporates, travels as a vapour, then reconstitutes over the land – well, animals do that too

It’s teleportation! Fish have inter-dimensional travel capabilities that we can never understand, and occasionally make mistakes on re-entry*

It’s the devil’s work! And I urge you, fair traveller, ask no more; no good shall come of it – we don’t talk of the curse-ed showers here, and pray you never learn why

It’s sort of like The Truman Show! The earth is some kind of zoo or sanctuary for humans and other species – a divine maintenance team are topping up aquatic life by chucking more in the sea every now and then, and sometimes they miss

*A computer game was written about this. It was called ‘Fish!’, and featured the Seven Deadly Fins.


FT + New York London Paris Munich/Post a comment • 2,159 views

Shystie – “Woman’s World”

Alex Macpherson writes:

She was meant to be the female Dizzee, the girl who would feminise grime enough for the charts and the broadsheets alike while still holding down the scene’s realness. Instead she released an album which was acclaimed by precisely no one except me and bought by even less, and the super-scary teenage MC Lady Fury did a diss track so harsh that Shystie hasn’t been heard of since in any capacity whatsoever. Shystie could be just as harsh, too, and she was at her best when she indulged her inner Lil Kim rather than aiming for the Ms Dynamite socially conscious model. On ‘Woman’s World’, she aims her rapid-fire flow squarely at MEN – not some men, or scrub men, but ALL MEN – and pumps them full of verbal bullets. Shystie is imagining a world, possibly a utopia, in which gender roles are reversed; she starts off joking about naked studs on Page Three and ends up fantasising about keeping men “in kennels like dogs”. After climaxing with some particularly outré what-the-fuck-did-she-just-say musings on body hair she delivers the sucker punch with relish: “Yeah we crossed the line / But men do that shit all the time!” Come back Shystie!


The Brown WedgePost a comment • 340 views

all london-based FT posters on standby: equiv mass-crit opportunity not sighted since they cancelled POKEMON ON ICE!

(heads-up courtesy chuck at ilc)

Super Soldier Story 2

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 398 views

You wait for years for two stories which are microscopically, tangentially related to Captain America, and then two pop up in one day. Secret Origin of Captain America imitates life. Or fdeep frozen death at least.

emerging texan political scandal edn

Do You SeePost a comment • 177 views

the film at POO corner (sorry)

Do You SeePost a comment • 586 views

As something of an amateur jones-ologist I was pleased when mrs carsmile booked us tickets to see Stoned at the london film festival, certainly more pleased than on leaving the cinema.

There are some good moments, and good performances (david morissey as t0m “the bastard” k3yl0ck, in particular), but also REALLY DREADFUL half hours. Stephen Woolley seems to have attempted to pull together all of the disparate theories regarding Jones’ death and though concentrating on the who killed christopher robin/the murder of brian jones hypothesis that “it was frank what done it, t0m says frank confessed on his deathbed” there are also sly little mentions for the paint it black theory about two (other) builders and a big party where t0m k3yl0ck was present.

But most of you don’t care about that (certainly mr k3yl0ck didn’t as he was sat a couple of rows away from us), you want to know about the filmy bits, the witty badinage ‘tween young groovy mick n keef n bri, how brian ran amock through the cheltenham streets siring children left, right and centre. Maybe even some recreated footage of rock and roll circus, or them on top of the pops. Not a cat in hell’s chance. Despite Woolley’s protestations that they didn’t WANT to include any rolling stones music because it was a film about brian, it was pretty clear that the Jagger/Richards behemoth told them to GO AWAY. The problem is, actually there are so many problems, we’d better have a list:

1. the story being told here is mainly about one builder turning on and fucking up after working for a past-his-best, manipulative, paranoid rock star for a handful of months. It is NOT the story of brian jones’ life, rather of his death.

2. they use FVCKING WHITE RABBIT by jefferson airplane for the scene when brian and anita first take acid, FOR FVCKS SAKE.

3. if you didn’t know anything about the genesis of the stones and why they were brian’s band and not mick and keef’s before you went in (which I’d argue most people under 35 don’t), you aren’t going to know much when you come out, his entire time in the band is covered in less time than it takes for the LSD montage mentioned above.

4. Vast swathes of the dialogue seem to have been ripped screaming from the aforementioned anna wholin book, which is a shame as it’s dreadful, like some sort of mills and boon sixties novel (groupie is better written)

5. Really pointless gay agenda.

6. Really really pointless nakedness and fvcking and, I think, subliminal goat sacrifice (no, me neither).

Gah, and that’s just the start of it. I don’t think I’ve seen a film this WRONG since “the beach” where I’ve sat and thought “argh! no! don’t do it like that! why have you forgotten that bit??” etcetc

It’s almost worth it for the charlie watts bits though…

Proper Food Science

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 890 views

Man invents perfect soldier maker. And before you lily livered pacifists* start moaning about the futility of war and the evils of genetically altered super-soldiers hold up there. Mike Minton is no one man SHEILD, and we won’t be getting blue skinned Rogue Trooper-esque GI’s. These soldiers are for dunking in you soft boiled egg.

The article tells of the frustration of the habitual soldier users and the not all that annoying quandary that he found himself in. A gadget to put by your Breville**, it would probably have more legs if it also came with a device to perfectly slice off the top of said egg.

*Actually, livers are not far off the clour of lillies.
**More on this and the Breville Lending Library, coming soon.

Tasting Tasting One Two

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 245 views

According to all decent cooks, there is one absolutely key secret to making excellent food. That is tasting as you go. This is possibly why items which transform magically in the oven tend to be seen as more high class affairs, rustic stews and soups can be tinkered with endlessly as long as you know a bit about what you are tasting.

I have to say I have never been great at this. Until recently my general line would be to taste, and if it was not as nice as I wanted, add a bit of salt. I feel I have inherited this urge from a long line of stout British yeomanry, and have only recently discovered the condiment of choice for my Polish roots – add a bit of vinegar (admitted the poles were probably short of cheap Balsamic). But now I feel more profligate with fresh herbs, and generally notice a touch of bitterness which needs a bit of sugar, or tempering (ha ha – masking) with mint.

Except there is one thing I have never mastered with tasting as I go. Not burning my mouth. Like people who state they have asbestos hands, and rather appear to have hands primarily made up of third degree burns, I always forget how hot food is. The first spoonful is blown assiduously, to tepidness. Thus having overdone the first one I become more laissez faire with the second one. The third spoonful (this being a painful example of last night) will always have the dangerous combination of too hot and too much.

Of course you can’t spit it out. Not back into the pot. And anyway, genetically human beings must do the ‘Ot ‘Ot dance when they can feel their tongue going fuzzy and their gums peeling. So any tips on how to remind oneself that food is too hot during tasting will be appreciated.

* The ‘Ot ‘Ot dance consists of pulling a face like a monkey whilst trying to internally blow ones own tongue. This being a physical impossibility the gurning gets worse as you try to shift the food around your mouth but suddenly self awareness of looking ridiculous will probably induce the dancer to say “Ot – Ot” as if explaining that the food is hot, but unable to do the H without closing the mouth and trapping the deadly steam in.

Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Most Extraordinary Craft

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At the weekend a number of Freaky Trigger writers went to the SCIENCE OF ALIENS exhibition at the Science Museum. Space prevents a full account of the exhibition (summary: fun but pricey), however the final room, describing our attempts to contact the aliens, is worth a mention.

The exhibit covered most of the notable attempts at alien contact – the Arecibo radio message and the Voyager plaque, both from the wide-eyed 1970s. Full accounts of these can be found here on a page which also sensibly analyses why they are mostly rubbish. The Arecibo one makes the schoolboy error of switching from code to pictures halfway through, also even if the aliums realised the picture of a man was a picture of a man, they might well assume that ‘we’ have heads shaped like giant DNA helices. The Voyager one of course came complete with a record with humans saying “hello” in 57 languages, designed more to flog a few copies on behalf of NASA than make any serious effort at extraterrestrial contact.

The Science Museum made no editorial comment on the likely success or otherwise of the various methods, but perhaps a level of cynicism can be inferred from the other part of the ‘contact’ section, a machine allowing children to send their own messages into space, messages built from a pre-selected vocabulary. “PLEASE BRING US LOVE.” “DO YOU HAVE FRIENDS?” and so on. Unfortunately for the future course of human/alien relations, the museum had included a particularly child-friendly word as one of the options, so our friends from space were being bombarded with gems of astro-wisdom such as “PLEASE DONT BRING US TOILET”.

The Whatsitstname

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It is apt that The Forgotten was pretty much overlooked on its release. Not only because of its name because it is a quite ludicrous picture. The latest in a line of creepy kid based horror, The Forgotten is notable for being mentioned in every single review as an X-Files rip-off. Even this gives away too much of the plot, and is lazy, lazy journalism. Anyway, The Forgotten is nothing like The X-Files: it has a real ginger actress in it (indeed Julianne Moore is so ginger she has freckles on her back).

It does share with the X-Files a penchant for ludicrous plots which favour conspiracy over the pay-off of said conspiracy (a bit like paying the CIA to cover up a sweet shop robbery). And I suppose it is by default superior to the X-Files in as much as it is about 1/200th of the length of that convoluted project. That still does not mean you should waste your time on it, especially as it has in its genesis a really nice idea which it completely destroys.

The Forgotten, on paper I guess, is a film which is about grief. It is about losing a child, and then not wanting to forget them: not even wanting the daily feeling of aching grief go away. In the conspiracy that follows this nice, everyday idea – which nearly everyone can sympathies with – the empathy is lost in endless cryptic chases and lots of actors who look like Gary Sinise.

I have always been a wee bit suspicious of Sneezy: with the exception of his outstanding turn in Snow White & The Seven Dwarves, he usually turns in perfectly exceptionless, everyman performances. But there is a difference in being the everyman, to being EVERY MAN IN THIS FILM. This is not literally true of course: its just that Linus Roache and Dominic West do look so much like Sneezy that the casting director must have forgotten he was already in the movie. It certainly adds a slightly disconcerting air to the first half hour of the film when we are supposed to entertain the idea that Moore is deranged. Unfortunately that idea is scotched too soon, to be replaced by the idea that Moor was deranged to do the film in the first place.

The Forgotten is an excellent bad movie. Any foreshadowing of the plot by a review would spoil what few mysteries the film allows itself to have in store. Unfortunately saying “it is a bit like the X-Files” foreshadows it completely. Forgettable.