Posts from October 2009

Oct 09

SHAKIN’ STEVENS – “Merry Christmas Everyone”

FT + Popular//92 comments • 7,380 views

#562, 28th December 1985, video

The Christmas we get, we deserve: sometimes a Christmas song can reveal a group’s nature more than any other formal exercise. Slade’s raucous bacchanal; Wizzard wanting the whole year to be overloaded with tinsel; Wham turning the season into an excuse for soft-focus mirror-gazing – and now Shakey, offering shopworn material in bargain-bin fashion. It’s cheerful – when was he otherwise? – but it’s very, very cheap.


Oct 09

The Most Important Game Ever Made #17: Whaddya Got?

FT/1 comment • 326 views

There are still those, even in the dying days of the Noughties, who deride Rock Band and its ilk as ‘fake’. Well, here’s NES-rock group ‘I Fight Dragons’ doing their chiptune-heavy cover version of ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’, played on a PC-friendly flash clone of Guitar Hero.

So someone’s playing a let’s-pretend version of a let’s-pretend version of the guitar, pretending to play a cover version of a song by a band – probably a hipster band, ugh – who play with Nintendos instead of real instruments. We’re down the rabbit hole of inauthenticity here and I LOVE IT. Suck it, Grandad! Suck it in HELL!


WHITNEY HOUSTON – “Saving All My Love For You”

FT + Popular104 comments • 6,589 views

#561, 14th December 1985, video

The chiming, soft-focus keyboards that open “Saving All My Love For You” suggest late-night romance, low lights and the chink of glasses. This is a bluff and a lie: “Saving” isn’t a song about romance, it’s a song about pain and anger, and how its singer copes with and channels those.


Oct 09

The Lucky Horseshoe, or Imaginarium Squarium

Do You See + FT + Pumpkin Publog7 comments • 514 views

I’ve not been to every pub in London, but I have been to a fair few in the centre and think myself to be pretty well versed in the whereabouts of drinking venues. From refurb to closure, I keep an eye even on the holes I rarely visit. All that said, when Ewan suggested we drank in The Horseshoe in Clerkenwell I couldn’t immediately place it. It turned out to be slightly off of Clerkenwell Green, by a load of Peabody Estate flats and really rather lovely in the kind of rough and ready way I like. We had a terrific night in there, listing our alternative careers, talking about Javier the Giraffe who thinks he’s a llama and U2pia. It was one of those odd nights that creep up on you out of nowhere, and the pub was a lot to do with it.

All that said, I have never been there before, and had never seen it before, having never taken that turn off of Clerkenwell Green. So can we call it mere coincidence that in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, a very significant scene (including a fight) takes place outside of The Horseshoe?


why philip pullman is a bit of a nincompoop on this one: a diagram

FT/8 comments • 1,050 views

typical_narniansLWW: lucy and susan get to ride on a lion’s back
PC: omg lucy and susan get to WINE-CRAZED ROMP with BACCHUS dude. Actual real quote: “Two of the Maenads… helped her take off some of the unnecessary and uncomfortable clothes she was wearing” YES I’LL BET THEY DID!
VDT: er ok pass, though lucy does get sold into slavery briefly, plus cuddles reepicheep at the world’s end plus er er seamen, yes PP can have this one…
SC: jill gets blown by a lion and rides on the back of a giant owl and a CENTAUR
MN: polly gets to ride on the back of a flying horse
HahB: aravis gets to ride a talking horse
LB: oh noes susan prefers teh lipstickz to RIDING ON LIONS AND AN ETERNITY WITH PRIAPIC GOATMEN

c.s.lewis had a fear of female sexuality: I’m sorry the more telling psychological evidence says otherwise…

<--- The Old Narnians, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)

St Felicien & Chaource (cheesy lovers #30 and #31)

FT/6 comments • 382 views

St Felicien

Soft raw cow’s cheese from France, bought from Mons

St. Felicien comes in a shallow round wooden box. It has a wrinkled white and cream coloured, softly bloomy rind. When I cut into it I see exactly why it’s sold whole, in a box; it’s entirely liquid, and the creamy cheese puddles out of the rind. It’s the colour and texture of double cream. I fetch a spoon.

Creamy probably goes without saying, but this cheese is also surprisingly sour and bitter. It’s got both a lemonishness and a taste of soured milk. It’s also got a bit of herbal astringency, reminding me of thyme. It’s bitter in the aftertaste, and it leaves my mouth tingling. The rind (I have to fish a lump out of my sea of cheesy ooze) is creamier, if that’s possible, and softer and sweeter; it has nutty fudgey notes. The St Felicien is so oozy and liquid that I was rather expecting a slightly tart and funky cream, but it’s more complex than that, with a big contrast between the sweet creaminess and the bitter and sour ends of the cheese. It’s good!


Oct 09

The Most Important Game Ever Made #16: In Which The Beatles Find Out

FT2 comments • 336 views

Welcome to Budokan.

The boys are obviously exhausted, the microphones don’t work properly, Ringo looks ready to top himself right there and the haircuts have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Offstage, all sorts of trouble is brewing – the ‘bigger than Jesus’ comment, increasing tensions within the group, an album cover where the band smilingly cavort amidst bloody hunks of butchered meat and baby dolls – and history tells us that the Beatles are on the brink of Tourpocalypse.

As a result, that’s got to be the worst performance of ‘Day Tripper’ I’ve ever seen. Beatlebots to the rescue!


WHAM! – “I’m Your Man”

FT + Popular36 comments • 5,990 views

#560, 30th November 1985, video

Wham!’s first single for a year followed the “Wake Me Up”/”Freedom” model – a Motown template airbrushed for the mid-80s, brisk and bright and shiny-toothed. But something’s changed – George Michael’s no longer the lens of the song, he’s now its focus. “I’m Your Man” does what the title promises, introducing us to someone confident in his stardom and sure of his ability to hold your attention without too much assistance from the music.


Five Things Pixar’s UP Has In Common With The Saturday’s UP

FT17 comments • 372 views

1: Pixar’s Up has a multicolour bird in it.
The Saturday’s Up has five multicoloured birds in its video, to use the vernacular.

Actually, that’s the only thing they really have in common, one is a angular if ordinary pop song, the other yet another pretty terrific Pixar animated movie. And one where the critical consensus is spot on, a terrificly powerful first ten minutes followed by a somewhat random but very funny main film. So bearing in mind that yet again this movie will end up in best of the year film lists and so on, its worthwhile reflecting on the trends in Pixar’s movies which often feel without precedent and extremely original. But are they?


Oct 09

Going Solo

Do You See + FTPost a comment • 683 views

Solo is an awesome name. Think of the great movie characters who use it. Intergalactic rogue Han Solo, suave UNCLE agent Napoleon Solo. To these ranks we now add Senegalese cab driver Solo, from the film Goodbye Solo who in his own eyes is equally heroic. Though actually, he is not quite as exciting as the other two. But hey, he’s in an arthouse film, what does he expect. Well I’ll tell him what not to expect: adventure, escapism and a happy ending. Because whilst Solo is the optimistic heart of Goodbye Solo, it is the shit life throws at him that is the meat and potato of the movie. He drives a cab in a shitty little town, but he rents the cab because his own one has broken down. He is in a relationship with a woman who doesn’t take him seriously. He is training to become an air steward, and is finding the tests hard. He is a Senegalese immigrant trying his best to provide for his parents back home, and provide for his girlfriend and her daughter.