Posts from January 2013

16
Jan 13

Young and vengeful

FT26 comments • 1,271 views

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Exactly a week from now, Tumblr is going to have a sort of collective aneurysm. Well, bits of Tumblr, anyway. The reason? Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s new series of Young Avengers starts. Eight years since the start of the first Young Avengers volume (although time hasn’t passed so fast for the characters) and in the wake of a Marvel explosion, it’s time to bring back everyone’s favourite teenage sort-of-good-at-saving-the-world, only-slightly-Dr-Doom-enabling, probably-no-longer-dicking-around-in-the-timestream-at-least teenage heroes!

Does Billy and Teddy having an argument in some of the preview panels mean they’re breaking up? (probably not)
Is Loki evil again now? (statistically, yes)
Does Miss America know? (possibly, she might just like kicking him)
Has Kate Bishop totally forgotten Eli in favour of banging Marvel Boy? (well, she is the Tony Stark of the equation)
Where the fuck is Speed? (TOO FAST TO SEE!)
What’s Thor going to do when he finds out his (these days) much littler brother is horsing around between dimensions putting together a superhero team? (tell their mums) (or well, Captain America; same thing)

Tom Ewing will be bringing the reasoned analysis, Pete Baran the puns and I the emotional mental breakdown when I remember that The Vision and Cassie are dead (‘FUUUUUUUUU-‘ Feels Editor) as we bring you some sort of coverage of each issue as it happens. In the meantime and if you’re just joining us, why not catch up quickly with my comprehensive and not-at-all biased summary below?

WARNING: spoilers for Journey into Mystery 622-645, some of The Mighty Thor, everything that’s gone before in Young Avengers.

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15
Jan 13

Cruisin’!

FT/1 comment • 1,281 views

(While I am in slow recovery from virus mode, here’s an article from the Tumblr vaults.)

I have been listening to the Village People’s discography recently. Village People albums may not have seemed especially good value for money, because they are all very short. But! While lesser bands might have wasted their time and yours on things like “experimentation” or “developing their sound”, every single track on the first few Village People albums sounds EXACTLY like the Village People.

That doesn’t mean the Village People can’t surprise you! On their second album there is the valuable Biblical history lesson “Sodom And Gomorrah”, for instance. “GIVE ME! JUST FIFTEEN GOOD MEN!” bellow the VPs. There is nothing quite as striking on Cruisin’ but it does have YMCA on it. If you were going to make an equation for Village People song quality it would be something like:

Q = Y

Where Q is the quality score and Y is the extent to which the song sounds like “YMCA”. So by critical science we deduce that “YMCA” itself must be of the highest possible quality, and so it is.

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11
Jan 13

The Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2012: #10-#1

FT8 comments • 1,106 views

harry stylesBoo-hoo! Sob! Hallo Readers, I’m Harry Styles, one of the One Directions, the X-Factor boyband sensations who are worse than both Rebecca Ferguson and Matt Cardle, as proven by phone-vote-science. And yes, I am weeping my heart out because my one true love (with a record to promote) has just broken up with me (in the middle of promoting a world tour). Yes, I loved Taylor Lautner and her kooky smiles SO MUCH that I even took her to the Beatrix Potter World Of Adventures, where we went on Mrs Tiggywinkle’s Teacup Ride, and I threw up in her hair. Swift! Sorry — I meant Taylor Swift. We did see Twilight Breaking Up, I mean Dawn, together though. However it is now ALL OVER and I am a sad global heartthrob indeed. Who will probably have a song written about me called “He Was A Selfish English Twot” or something. Feat Nicki Minaj.

Anyway when I get depressed and need cheering up, there is nothing better than looking at year end best of lists which are bound to feature me and my band! When reflecting in such glory I like to think of all the people who took the effort to vote, you may not know it, but you’re beautiful. Seriously, I don’t think you’re ugly even if everyone else says you are. So, here are the top ten FreakyTrigger tracks as voted by you! What do you mean we’re not in it? And Taylor Swift is? You’ll be telling me next that a track featuring people hitting dustbins made the top five…”

Thanks Harry, if that is indeed your real name. I am sad to say that you and your fellow One Directions only garnered one vote this year. But without further ado and without any more spoilers from Master Styles, here is the FT Top 10 of 2012…

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MANCHESTER UNITED FOOTBALL SQUAD – “Come On You Reds”

Popular77 comments • 5,810 views

#708, 21st May 1994

As a football-shunning nipper in the 80s it seemed to me that an FA Cup Final song barged its way into the charts every year, swayed through the top ten full of song like a beery fan on a train carriage, and was gone. And looking at this Wikipedia page – a memento to the rise and fall of the genre – I was basically right.

By the time I got to University, my terribly narrow social circles were broadening a little, and football was gentrifying a lot, so I had friends who bought FA cup records. The songs themselves were no better than they had ever been, often – to the extent that they sounded ‘up to date’ – quite a bit worse. But why should they improve? Who would it benefit? To criticise a club song for its music would be like criticising a souvenir scarf for its insulating properties. Cup Final songs were souvenirs, and maybe something to fuel your sense of belonging and anticipation in the lead-up – “belonging” being the emotion these bluff, comradely, incompetent things managed best and most often.

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10
Jan 13

Let’s Be Frank

Do You See17 comments • 1,421 views

So the first picture of Michael Fassbender as Frank Sidebottom have appeared on the internet, and the internet is all a kerfuffle. It doesn’t look – right – they say. The eyes aren’t round, the eyebrows have been shifted from Sievey’s perma-surprise to a more reflective, even pair of brows. And real-Frank was more dapper than this movie-Frank. The body language is all off too (but this may not be a film take). Just wait til we hear his voice, possible drifting from the Irish-German lilts that are the Scylla and Charybdis of all of Fassbender’s vocal performances.
frank

But hold on a minute. Do we want this Frank to look just like the real Frank? This is not a case of impersonation, Fassbender is playing a role.

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STILTSKIN – “Inside”

Popular105 comments • 8,704 views

#707, 14th May 1994

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Pop’s triumph is when a private language turns out to have been public all along. When the way you express yourself – visual, lyrical, physical, vocal – becomes something hundreds of thousands understand, like a word that was somehow always waiting to be said. This was Nirvana’s triumph too, and part of Kurt Cobain’s doom. His scraping, negating, self-scouring howls and sneers turned out to be a Rosetta Stone, a way for his fans to start making sense of themselves.

But the language he’d helped discover was too powerful – it went too far for him, made him fans he hated, and then rippled out still further, beyond Nirvana and Seattle. “Grunge” mutated quickly, from music to catch-all generational tag – I bought a lumberjack shirt from a British chainstore sometime in 1992, not really understanding why. It was very comfortable. I would never have had the nerve to buy Levis, though. They were for the fashionable, not the misfits.

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9
Jan 13

THE FT TOP 100 TRACKS OF ALL TIME No.5: Belle And Sebastian – The Boy With The Arab Strap

FT/8 comments • 1,108 views
STEPS
WAS
ROBBED

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The Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2012: #20-#11

FT2 comments • 510 views

thorin“Hi, I’m Sexy Thorin Oakenshield, and I like nothing more than a good sing-song, especially if it’s about gold. Sitting down, standing up — as long as transition metals are involved I’m not fussed. However I must say I was slightly disappointed in the ABBA Gold album, in that gold was only mentioned briefly at the end of ‘Thank You For The Music’. ABBA have a lot to learn from Spandau Ballet in that respect.”

Thanks Thorin. Let’s see if there are any ‘nuggets’ in part three of our countdown!

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Pokémon X And Why

FT///3 comments • 2,332 views

GET UR FROAK ON

While most of my online acquaintances were geeking out today at the thought of a new David Bowie album, our house was far more excited by the announcement of new Pokémon games – Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, the first on Nintendo’s 3DS console(1). The announcement was made by the President of Nintendo himself, in a style not far off the Queen at Christmas.

pokemonxystarters

The announcement makes Pokémon creators Game Freak look canny – widely criticised for releasing this year’s games, Black 2 and White 2, on the older DS machine, the rapid follow-up of X and Y shows they’ve been simply holding off until they’ve got a game ready (and a high enough user base to make it worthwhile)(2). After all, if these games make their ship date it will end up that the gap between console release and first Pokémon game is pretty much identical for the DS as 3DS.

So, good business. But good games? The reviews for X and Y are likely to be very similar to the last few Pokémon games, because X and Y themselves are likely to be similar. In fact you could write them now: global franchise, remarkable longevity, but will these be the last, finally they’ve included ____ but a change to ____ is long overdue.

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8
Jan 13

Old Mother Riley’s Boys

Do You See27 comments • 1,210 views

(Apologies to Alan from whom some of the ideas here were appropriated.)

Everyone hates Mrs Brown’s Boys – right? Everyone finds it bizarre that this sitcom with a dragged up old Irish Mammy is such a big hit, and such a big hit in a post-watershed BBC1 fashion, with a spin-off celebrity gameshow in the works.

But why does “everyone”, for which read quite clearly not everyone, hate it? When discussing it people often bring up Miranda as well, another seemingly old fashioned sitcom – down to its “You Have Been Watching” tag. Other instant reasons to hate both are their laugh track (or actually live studio audience) and a breaking of the fourth wall where in both sitcoms the lead often telegraphs the laughs straight to the (present) audience.

I have seen some pretty strong invective against both, which reminds me of much of the lower level of critical discussion around pop and rock music, where the opening gambit is to use the word HATE. When people drill down on their kneejerk hate, the reason is not always easy to pinpoint. We may fall back on phrases like something being derivative, lazy or unexciting. If we are really lucky we can try to construct a straw man of offensiveness: potentially it is implicitly racist, anti-working class and there must be something that covers our overall discomfort with drag. Of course we are allowed to say “it isn’t funny” but clearly plenty of people think it is. What should say is “I didn’t find it very funny”, but that isn’t very useful critically.

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