Posts from 26th January 2009

Jan 09

Crime Writers: Andrew Vachss

The Brown Wedge8 comments • 370 views

Vachss is a unique writer. Most of his novels centre on a man named Burke, someone far enough beyond the underworld that they don’t know he exists. He makes a living ripping off child porn fans and wannabe mercenaries, and will take a PIish case if it grabs his interest: basically this means if it involves abuse of children. Vachss himself is a lawyer specialising in such cases, a recognised expert on the subject, and his all-encompassing hatred and understanding of abusers makes for often heavy going. He also understands the victims, the effects it has one them. He’s not remotely part of the legal establishment, with no interest in convicting people – he wouldn’t consider getting someone arrested instead of killing them. Obviously many crime writers hate their villains, but none of them despise them like Vachss does.


500: 64-77

FT6 comments • 545 views

A quick recap!

This is a series of posts “liveblogging” the Pitchfork 500, reflecting the book’s dual purpose as criticism and playlist. The ground rule is that I do the writing in real time as I listen to the music: no edits after that (except of typos). Posts in this series are intermittent, because I don’t have a lot of uninterrupted writing time.

Disclaimer: I write regularly for Pitchfork and contributed a dozen pieces to the book. I have no insider knowledge of how tracks were selected, had no say in the selection, and any commentary on the book’s purpose etc. is purely speculative.

In this episode: Hip hop! Hip hop! Hip hop! Plus a smattering of post-punk and post-disco, and a listening session is rudely curtailed.


Reasons Why Slumdog Millionaire May Win The Oscar

FT7 comments • 492 views

Bear in mind that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is made up of a ragbag of old people and industry professionals. What does this superficially hip, nearly MTV edited, earsplitting, scatalogically* partial subtitled film got over the other contenders. The main argument may be that the other four nominees are worthy but not exactly demanding: biopics or based on source material with little need of a cinematic treatment (hmm, another German prison cell…) But there are plenty of good reasons why Slumdog Millionaire may triumph. Very few are to do with the quality of the film. Here’s how:

a) In the old days the movies HATED television and HATED films about television. This has softened with the barriers being broken down between visual media, and massive cross-ownership of independent film production companies. Even so whilst SM shows the unifying cultural power of television, it also shows it as venal, corrupt and in the end not worthy of its self reflected adulation.


ADAM AND THE ANTS – “Prince Charming”

FT + Popular76 comments • 9,124 views

#486, 19th September 1981

“Prince Charming” is the ultimate Adam Ant record, but also weirdly redundant. It’s his manifesto – a series of commandments building up to a credo that’s come to envelop Adam’s whole era: ridicule is nothing to be scared of. But almost every one of Adam’s hit singles had worked like this: the man was a walking manifesto, in slogans and looks and actions and sheer presence. There’s something too harsh, too stark about “Prince Charming”, this undiluted concentrate of Ant-iness.



FT9 comments • 286 views

Let’s kick the BBC again. For all the rights and wrongs in the current furore over the BBC not showing the DEC appeal for humanitarian aid in Gaza, a key point appears to have been missed. I must admit the arguments over news impartiality, appropriateness of particular cases and so on has passed me by. Sure prime time, post news exposure for a humanitarian appear will raise its profile and hopefully get more people to donate. But surely so will the 1896 news items (and counting) reporting and condemning the BBC. Some might say to the extent that it has much more exposure now than it would have had. After all the BBC are reporting it as news, on the news (with a short clip of the appeal that they will not show), twenty minutes before the slot which they refuse to show the actual appeal. It has been moved up the news agenda.

The only difference as far as I can see is that the appeal would have told you how to donate, where the BBC news item, and unfortunately all the critical news items against the BBC seem to not do this.