Posts from August 2007

Aug 07

Peas In A Pod: Eagle vs Shark & 12:08 East Of Bucharest

Do You See + FTPost a comment • 745 views

Its really really lazy to compare two films from completely different traditions, different funding and different production histories just because they have come out in the UK at the same time and because they vaguely have something in common. It would be really lazy, for example, to take the low-key deadpan Romanian political satire 12:08 East Of Bucharest and compare it with the New Zealand indie deadpan rom-com Eagle vs Shark: just because they both use a very dry style to tease the humour out of their scenarios. Perhaps one could use the similarities to have a greater discussion about the use of straight, unironic delivery in these two films with very different aims. But that is an accident of chance, and neither could be said as the best exponents of this kind of dry delivery.
That said, it might be lazy but I’m going to do it. Because both I also saw both films within two days of each other and it kills two birds with one stone.


Agatha Christie Comics

FT + The Brown Wedge/6 comments • 1,357 views

I am a poor judge of whether or not a bit of PR work will lead to press coverage or not. Take the Agatha Christie comic adaptations story that’s been doing the rounds – this looks like a non-starter to me but everywhere has covered it. I will make a second – possibly bad – prediction and say that all this publicity will not help these comics sell very many copies.

For one thing, I can’t believe comic adaptations of books sell very well. They must make some economic sense because publishers keep doing them, but is there really much of a market beyond a particular type of mentalist collector? Children barely read comics any more, and for the adult reader it’s hard to escape a sense of illegitimacy if you’re reading an adaptation – like, shouldn’t you really be giving the prose version a go?


Aug 07

The Freaky Trigger Top 100 Tracks Of All Time: No. 55 DAVID BOWIE – “Suffragette City”

FT/2 comments • 1,432 views

Dame David in 40 years timeWham bam, thank you mam, well quite. Having just looked up the lyrics (having sung them phonetically all these years), is this like bowie trying to be bolan or summat? The other thing is I seem to spend most of the time thinking about other songs whilst trying to think about SC. If it’s not surfin’ usm it’s rock & roll suicide (now i no longer listen to alBUMs this very rarely happens with new tracks, but i have played ZS&TSFM once or twice over the years). maybe it’s the way the wham bam thank you mam bit (the most memorable bit of the song) drags you to the end before you’ve sung the beginning to yrself, thus leading you into the next track on the alBUM, or it being the sample makes you think of the other song (see also cloudbusting vs the u-u-utah saints).


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men.gifThe Schema, recording, promoting and releasing a single the modern way, not like that prat at the guardian with his psych-folk nonsense…

What Album Covers Are Really Trying To Tell Us: 5: MIKA – Life In Cartoon Motion

FT + I Hate Music6 comments • 6,324 views

Mika is a pop wunderkind isn’t he? Not content with “trying a little Freddie” in his intercontental balistic miss of a single Grace Kelly, he is now – er – trying a little Freddie in his Fat Bottom Girls rip “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)”. Now I’m not a big girl, which means I should be safe from his grasping hands. Though actually he’s probably trying a little Freddie in his sexual proclivities as well. You don’t have to be gay to rip-off the Scissor Sisters, but it helps.

But his sexuality is not what the cover of Life In Cartoon Motion is trying to tell us. Look at its poorly scrawled jumble of second hand Sesame Street link sections. Possibly you can hear the chimes of the “One Two Three Four Five…” song. (I rather imagine the digital countdown of a classic movie style bomb but each to their own).


Aug 07

PETERS AND LEE – “Welcome Home”

FT + Popular124 comments • 13,459 views

#334, 21st July 1973

Suppose one wanted to give “Welcome Home” a low mark – what actual grounds would one have for saying it’s a bad record? It’s a catchy, memorable, uptempo song, delivered in a friendly and honest way. It’s sentimental, but a level of sentimentality is almost inevitable when you’re trying to communicate big emotions in a small song. Certainly its sense of calm and relief doesn’t transmit as phoney.

But I don’t want to listen to it again, either – I can make myself empathise with it but that doesn’t come naturally. It’s not an exciting record. It doesn’t want to be, so this is another unfair criticism, but one which gets closer to the contentedly huge gap between what “Welcome Home” offers and what I want. Pop music needs to agitate me somehow, contain questions or conflicts, provoke reactions (physical ones are fine!), build imaginative worlds – but “Welcome Home” is all resolution, a happy ending without a story to lead me to it. In the end I can’t respond to it, not because it’s bad, or poorly crafted, but because it feels too complete. Maybe later.

IHM Health & Safety watch: THE WATERBOYS “The Whole Of The Moon”

FT + I Hate Music3 comments • 1,026 views

Mike Scott was not a clever man. For instance, he seems unaware that all he has to do to see the whole of the moon, rather than a crescent, is wait a couple of weeks.

However, the object of his affections in this song is perhaps even more stupid than him. The lyrics – while couched in the visionary allegory one might expect from a man who has “heard the big music” and so “will never be the same” – paint a pretty shocking picture.


It Were All Nerds Round Here When I Was A Lad

FT + The Brown Wedge8 comments • 580 views

Via I Love Comics comes this link to a remarkable collection of pictures from a 1982 comics convention. It’s a parade of earnest men – mostly men – in polyester suits, from a time when even respectability was an aspirational dream for the industry, let alone cool. Which doesn’t stop a politics of cool emerging from the pictures – several men from the emergent indie comix scene are (gasp!) tie-less, and there’s a picture of indie publisher Gary Groth smirkily enjoying being a hep fish in a hopeless pond. (The radical firebrands of early 70s comics, like Steve Engelhart and Steve Gerber, look awkward and morose in their suitiness, but suited they are).


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Midway Still“Because Midway Still Aren’t Coming Back.” Well, they did, but they shouldn’t.

The Unstoppable Power Of The Penguin

Do You See + FTPost a comment • 1,908 views

I saw two films on Saturday afternoon. One was the terrific, ruthlessly efficient machine that was The Bourne Ultimatum. There is little to say about it except THE 43 BUS DOES NOT GO PAST WATERLOO STATION. Except for that two second wrench out of an otherwise almost perfectly choreographed movie it does exactly what you expect it to do and leaves you gasping. Well done to my lookilikee Matt Damon and Greengrass off of Heartbeat.
The other film was JUST AS GOOD. In a very different way. I saw a trailer for Surf’s Up about six months ago, maybe even before Happy Feet (the singing penguin movie). I must admit to rolling my eyes and wondering openly if the world needed another CGI animated penguin movie. Especially one about surfing penguins. And having seen it, and enjoyed it thoroughly I am still not sure if NEED is the right word. But the perversity of the project is what makes it great. You see Surf’s Up is an CGI animated surfing penguin movie in the form of a mockumentary.