Posts from November 2005

27
Nov 05

WWE commentator Jim Ross

TMFD1 comment • 1,016 views

Since it’s petty irritation month over on Blog Seven, I’ll mention here some of the stupidities that annoy me from the wrestling commentator Jim Ross, known as JR. He is generally regarded as the best commentator (Mick Foley is very good on why in his autobio – mostly about helping sell the big moves, the twists, the blood), but anyone who does live commentary every week for many years will of course screw up on occasions.

The first pair are a case of hyperbole inflation, where you use an extreme trope, but because it has been overused, you have to try to beef it up some more, but that’s not easy, so you end up with lame reinforcement, which of course in fact undercuts it. The first is about the Undertaker:

“It’s your worst nightmare – to say the least!”

“Sean Michaels dodged a bullet there – a big bullet!”

Yes, bullets are scary and dangerous because of their size. The next is just getting your negatives wrong, but amused me. His emphasis:

“This man interrupts more special moments than anyone else. It’s a TOTAL LACK of DISRESPECT!”

But my favourite is this, largely because of his bizarre shouted emphasis, about the WWE champion, who you wouldn’t expect to be backing down easily:

“John Cena showing yet again that he isn’t intimidated by any man, woman OR CHILD on the face of the earth!”

Samurai Executioner (again)

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 544 views

I did a small item on this series when it started. I’m not sure how much it’s my state of mind and how much it’s the creative team of Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima finding their range, but volume 6 struck me as much the best yet, and one of the stories seems to me a genuine miniature masterpiece.

Japanese comic stories tend towards the long – an episode on a series might be as short as 20 pages, but very short serious stories are rare. ‘To Be A Sunflower’ here is preceded by a story of 105 pages, but itself runs to just 15. It has three scenes, and the first, of a man being let through the closed city gates at night, had my jaw dropping, and it never falters from there on, through the man’s crimes and his final encounter with the executioner around whom the series is centred. There is no name, personal history, friends or family, reason for his crimes, narrative of their sequence or how they started, nor how he is caught, tried and sentenced.

There’s not much of anything in it, but the control and judgement in what there is is magnificent. It’s a piece about tone, atmosphere, mood, expression, composition, line, light – the switch from the first two night scenes to the blazing sun in the final scene is breathtaking, and the first two-shot of our protagonist and his executioner is drawing as good as you’ll see in comics – as is the bleached-out penultimate panel, of the sword swinging.

Oddly, there aren’t so many genuinely great short-short stories in comics – the Feldstein/Krigstein ‘Master Race’ is justly celebrated, but this reminds me most in control and mood of my favourite war story, by Bob Kanigher and Alex Toth, called ‘White Devil, Yellow Devil’ (which you can find reprinted cheaply in Sgt Rock Special 8). You would imagine that the form, and the way comic publishing works, would be extremely well suited to this kind of miniature – but perhaps the craft and control demanded to make it work so well is in short supply, and all six of the creators mentioned here are very much the exception rather than the rule. Anyway, I now have a top three such pieces rather than a top two.

(Final note: unlike their subsequent series Lone Wolf & Cub (same creators, same era, same samurai subject matter), there is very little sequence to the Samurai Executioner stories, and not having read 1-5 will not mar your enjoyment of this volume at all.)

25
Nov 05

Beer Goggles

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 384 views

PROVEN BY SCIENCE.

Not really much to say about this stirling piece of research which manages to not only prove the existence of beer goggles, but do so by inventing a spurious scale wherein you can be proved to be using beer goggles EVEN IF YOU HAVE IMBIBED NO ALCOHOL! As far as I can work out you could have definite Beer Goggles if you were in the smokiest pub ever and the object of your affection was about five metres away.

GOOD WORK UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER.

irony as a big fat non-existent LIE!

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 427 views

i. a very dear friend = former drummer w.mike flowers p0ps
ii. he wz givin me a lift home after we met for his gf T’s bday meet at walthamstow dogs
iii. on his car stereo wz playin an old tape of a live show from i think 1996
iv. it wz TREMENDOUS! (partly just bcz excellent quality recording and technical performance)
v. yes yes of course you state that these songs were being performed in a “pisstakey” manner BUT
vi. this is frankly meaningless* and sez more abt YOUR DESIRE to let YOURSELF off the hook for
vii. likin these versions, and through them graspin things you never noticed abt viz various 70s bowie songs!!
viii. back to the tape: the technique wz exact and exactin (see iv.)
ix. => if the original song is any good — as wz NOT the only mf original that played — then a “non-serious” version cannot in fact dim the original’s strength, and may open it out (if you only hear the original w.automatic eras these days, as is sorely likely the case w.bowie)
x. bcz a key layer of light entertainment music showcasin had collapsed since the 60s — the val doonican/lulu continuum you could call it — it became necessary to invent a NEW SPACE**, and
xi. the way to DO this in the mid-90s (in the context of brit pop cool ew ew) was to PRETEND to be ironic
xii. but actually not, so NOT. qed. also plus hurrah!!

*(there is no material correlative as evidence, it is a face-saving assumption abt the intentionality of tambo and bones which actually indicts the prejudicial refusal to listen of mr interlocutor)
**the old space bein the one that eg scott walker and jim webb established their respective auteurdoms within; in the shrivelled*** space of the 90s both wd have had to be eg merely elvis costello and NEVER have found themselves a useable torque
***ok altered is perhaps better than shrivelled: as well as spaces that had vanished, new spaces also existed that DIDN’T in the 60s, viz the “rock press”, but there AWESOMENESS wz NO LONGER PRTOECTED BY TRIVIALITY (= there is NO equivalent in the 90s rock press to eg hendrix appearing on the lulu show)

Rave Rave Rave Murder

FT + New York London Paris Munich1 comment • 803 views

VIM – Maggie’s Last Party. Just a bit of Iron Lady cut-up fun for the weekend – the music on this is really familiar but I can’t quite place it.

24
Nov 05

Pop Notes

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 692 views

Rescued from a LJ comments box, about the Rachel Stevens album (and the Girls Aloud one):

“That is kind of the problem though, it’s a terrific album partly because it’s a series of little revived micro-genres (‘the Bucks Fizz one’, ‘the Adam Ant one’ and so on) but it’s hard to sell that to a mass market and harder still if it’s going to be packaged in as dull a way as possible.

The other thing I don’t get is why there’s such a huge focus on FHM, Nuts, Zoo etc. in the promotion of pop acts – YES lots of men buy these mags and they fancy GA, Rachel et al. but they DON’T buy their albums I’d bet and a large potential market might be put off by it as it reinforces the “totty not talent” anti-manufactured line, obv. this is a false opposition but it’s a false opposition believed by a great many people.

The Spice Girls got big not so much from showing off in the lad mags but because they pushed the gang-of-mates angle, dare I say it that GA’s marketing people need to be thinking more Lambrini?”

First impressions of the new Madonna album: too little variation, she’s fallen for the bangin’ pop JLC style – and who wouldn’t – but she doesn’t have many ideas what to do with it, vocally, so a lot of the time it sounds like she’s making it up as she goes along over the top of some (great) grooves. The one about “New York” takes this to an amazing/awful extreme, there is one bit where she says new york ain’t for whiny little pussies and it’s like a poptastic Lou Reed! The one with the Arabic sample shd be a single probably.

Fans of more thoughtful criticism should look at the revived Church Of Me.

I have about 200 Christmas songs sitting on my hard drive and I want to write about them.

MY BIG POT Day 4 – with pictures

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 177 views

MY BIG POT

WHAT IS INSIDE MY BIG POT

As you can see I am barely using the capacity of MY BIG POT at the moment, and the contents at the moment will probably last two days tops. This is due to it taking a slight hit last night when I got in from the Last Last Orders. I did not even have half a glass of wine left over for me to chuck in. So it go no new additions, and just heated up – eaten as a very lumpy soup. This worries me a touch as it is now quite dry, and will need an emergency liquid transfusion.

Here is a close up of what is in MY BIG POT

Comics Lie To Tom, Again

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 398 views

Cloning scandal

I am somewhat disappointed in Professor Hwang Woo-Suk, even beyond the ethical considerations a disgraced cloning genius should not be saying:

“I am very sorry that I have to tell the public words that are too shameful and horrible”

No, he should be saying.

“The blind fools! Craven ants! My years of work – ruined! How could such as they understand true genius? But they will learn – when I complete my greatest experiment! HA HA HA HA HA!”

The end of an era

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 206 views

aka (Ring the fucking bell)

I don’t think anyone has ever anticipated the ringing of last orders as we did last night in the Lyric. A tiny pub opposite the Windmill Theatre (soon to be subject of a film which has Bob Hoskins naked in it), it is a pleasant place to sup and chat (though it does seem to have an accoustic amplifier in there). Nevertheless as we waited for this bell to ring, we got increasingly drunk. Suddenly the process of calling last orders became fascinating to us: do they call it at 10:50, 10:55 or the illegal 11 on the dot. But why would you call it at 10:50 in a pub where there are only ten punters (and we were eight of them). What if this pub already had a late licence.

Luckily it didn’t. Though from tonight the Lyric can be open til 1am most nights. So we had picked a perfect venue for out experiment and as last orders interrupted out game of Dirty Crossword we felt a slight frisson that time was passing. Then we said fuck it! (And other rude words what were in the crossword). Roll on sensible drinking!

The great West Lancashire Pub Crawl / Hike

Pumpkin Publog2 comments • 1,587 views

What with the weather being cold but dry, your intrepid correspondent spent yesterday hiking across many a field in the interests of healthy exercise. The effect of which was rather ruined by the pubs visited at along the route. However, in the interests of research much was gained by the consumption of a different beer at each pub, the results of which are here presented for your edification.

Pub 1 The Robin Hood, Mawdesley

Sensibly, we decided to get the majority of the walking out of the way before the first pub was visited. So a brisk hike hour and a half along the Leeds/Liverpool canal from Burscough took us to Rufford, where we struck out across desolate fields for a further hour or so. The original plan had been to skip the Robin Hood first up, returning to it later on. By the time we arrived, however we were cold, and one of the party had a decidedly mutinous knee. Cue the first pint (and a medicinal Lagavulin, to warm up), which was Phoenix Brewery’s Thirsty Moon. Jolly nice it was to (though truth be told I was in the mood for something a bit meatier), appealingly malty and easily drinkable.

Pub 2 The Original Farmer’s Arms, Ecclestone

A silly name, which caused us to spend a moment or two scouting around to see if there was an Imitation Farmer’s Arms somewhere. It was a strange, dispiriting place. Pride of place in decoration was given to a large baseball bat with the words “The Original” engraved on it. We asked why, they didn’t know. My companions each had a poorly kept Wadworth 6X, I got luckier with a pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord that wqas in much better nick. They weren’t happy with me, and their gloom was deepened further by

Pub 3. The Rose and Crown, Ecclestone

A twenty minute trot down the road in gathering gloom brought us to this benighted establishment, which broke a cardinal rule by having its Christmas decorations up already. It broke a second cardinal rule by having Simply Red playing. So it came as a bit of a surprise to get a pretty good pint of beer. Hook Norton’s Old Hooky, which had a bit of heft to it, necessary as the night drew in.

Pub 4. The Robin Hood, again

By now we were disastrously behind schedule, and by the time we’d negotiated a footpath which disappeared completely, what with farmers having little regard for Ordinance Survey and navigated our way through a large cattle shed which inexplicably cropped up in our path it was dark. There then followed a hair-raising half an hour down the road, heading with grim determination for the Robin Hood and safety. We discovered that drivers, whilst happily dipping their headlights for other cars, are less inclined to do so for pedestrians. So it was that blinded, and shaking in fear, we collapsed into the Robin Hood for another restorative Lagavulin (at two quid for a fat 35ml measure it would have been financially imprudent not to do so) and another pint from their jaw-droppingly extensive range. Jennings Cumberland Ale. I’m pretty sure that it was lovely, it certainly looked the part, a wonderfully rich chestnut colour, however my palate was somewhat ravaged by the whisky so any review would not necessarily be reliable. We looked in horror at the damge our mud-caked feet had done to the stools and scarpered to…

Pub 5. The Black Bull, Mawdesley

A vast, old building which really looked the part, decent selection of beer, including (to my delight) Deuchar’s IPA. Now I am an unabashed fan of this beer, not least because clocking in at 3.8% it is a significantly more forgiving brew than many others. I love the Pale Ale style anyway, and down it slipped as we shouted abuse at Chris Tarrant’s ravaged feautures on the quiz machine. A pound was won, and duly cheered we moved on to

Pub 6. The Red Lion, Mawdesley

Now, the pub itself is perfectly pleasant, but beer-wise this was less of a winner with only a standard pub selection on display. So we had to settle for Guinness, which was okay because I was starting to feel distinctly peckish, and it would do until more solid fare could be procured. We were starting to feel the pace a little by this point, legs aching and heads distinctly sketchy. The only noteworthy thing I can recall about the pub is that, mystifyingly, sweet sherry was the only drink on a speed pourer. We gave this due consideration, before concluding that we were too hungry to think straight, so it was handy that the next (and final) stop was

Pub 7. The Eagle and Child, Bispham Green

Now I’ve banged on at length about how great this place is before, so I shan’t do so again. Suffice it to say that the Eagle was the Eagle. Three huge and hearty meals (your correspondent indulged in poy-roasted beef, which was sublimely tender, his companions had a steak, and a slightly overdone pheasant casserole, respectively) were accomapnied by three different beers (we’d reached the squabbling stage by this point, having stuck largely to the same stuff all day, in the interests of fairness) . I had Daleside session blonde, which was a lovely, light and fresh tasting beer. Perhaps a bit too summery for a cold Lancastrian evening, but very nice nonetheless. A bottle of french red about which I can recall absolutely nothing helped wash the food down, and after some monstrously sized deserts (two sticky toffee puddings for my companions, a wonderful dense plum and almond tart for me) a quick tour of the extensive whisky range followed (Ardbeg for me, no idea what the others had). Exhaustion was beginning to set in, and the damning evidence of forgetting the end of one’s sentence halfway through it was beginning to rear its ugly head. Lucky for us then that the taxi chose this moment to show up, bearing us home to our respective long-suffering significant others, and the promise of a hangover today. Hic.