Posts from 6th November 2003

Nov 03

After moving twice

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 238 views

After moving twice, and one big summer tidy-up, I’ve finally got round to unpacking an enormous box of cassettes… I’ve even managed to throw a few out, on the grounds that they had been: a) broken; b) bought for 20p and so awful that that wouldn’t even have been a bargain if I’d intended to record over them; or c) replaced on CD. Obviously a long trip down memory lane was also in order, and some of the tapes still sound remarkably fresh despite their long confinement; others, however, definitely musty. Still sounding like a shiny new future was Omni Trio’s Volume One, which conveniently allows me to link to both ILM and Blissblog. (Yeah yeah, the usual suspects.) This was, if not quite a life-changing album, certainly one with a massive impact, and I can still remember buying it in the Virgin Megastore in the Wellgate Centre in Dundee — and being genuinely surprised that this had made it north of the border, drum and bass being but a minority interest in Scotland back then, restricted to a handful of Edinburgh University’s Londoners, as I was later to discover. What I can’t recall is whether it was Omni Trio or the first Boymerang 12″ that Simon Reynolds described as ‘instantly outdating St Etienne’s sampladelia’ in a Wire year-end round-up? I bought both on (I would imagine) his recommendation, so could have been either. To prove that this was a horizon-opening moment, as well as to deny any hint of indie-guilt, I’m happy to admit that one of the other tapes which still sounded great was an old copy of Ichabod and I by the Boo Radleys! One of my favourite mix-tapes was also near the top of the pile — Cajual Relief on Ministry of Sound (1995) and reminded me how much I’ve lost track of what’s happening in house music since then. So a sense of discovery mingled with a sense of regret that I don’t have the time or energy to chase down hot tips, or turn up the second-hand bargains which kept my student self’s desire for new music satisfied (DI Go Pop on vinyl for 20p being my favourite boast).

One potential guarantee of the overall cultural worth

Do You SeePost a comment • 194 views

One potential guarantee of the overall cultural worth of any project may well be the ability of the project to have cheap jokes made about it. Using this rule of thumb 24, Stephen Hopkins finest hour, certainly stands up. But jokes about Kim vs cougars, PDA’s which can do everything, and Jack Bauer’s lack of luck in love pail next to the humour potential of The Matrix. This is often to the consternation of people who love the films, thinking that if you are taking the piss then you don’t like the films. On the contrary, I take the piss because that is about all there is left to like about them. And The Matrix Revolutions (needlessly streamlined plot narrowly avoids amusing renaming Matrix Convolutions) is the funniest of the batch.

It has already been noted that nothing in The Matrix ever gets said without someone it being prefaced by “I am about to say something”. There is an entire five minute sequence which takes place pointlessly in a train station which brings up the horror of the first hour of Reloaded, obliquely gigglesome from cute child to Keanu being punched through a wall (AGAIN!) There is the scenary chewing delights of Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith, possible the first movie villain to discover how rubbish it is to rule the world. And there are those jumpers.

Please, someone tell how this future came about. Why did ‘the machines’ develop as these snakey squidlike creatures whose ‘batteries are people and spend all their time trying to, uh, kill people. Is Zion really a city predicated on being completely set in a sewer? Where does the light come from. Why don’t the build tanks. HOW COME THEY CANNOT MAKE JUMPERS THAT FIT PROPERLY!!!

Everybody dies. Hurrah! Except for the Zionists. Political subtext from the W Brothers (read that either way). I don’t think so.

It barely needs saying that the best project Stephen Hopkins has ever been involved in, and by some distance, is

Do You SeePost a comment • 277 views

It barely needs saying that the best project Stephen Hopkins has ever been involved in, and by some distance, is 24. But the others haven’t been awful either, apart from perhaps Lost in Space and The Ghost and the Darkness. Hm. Argument seems to have fallen apart there.

And it won’t be helped by adding Predator 2 to the list, as seen on TV last night. But while idly watching the movie as a means of putting off the better things I had to do, I caught the fleeting reference to the Alien films – an Alien skull is amongst the trophies in the Predator’s space ship – and suddenly my childish sci-fi joy was roused.

Tom’s discussed the issue already, but sometimes the urge to pursue continuity is so strong, its almost primal. The cross-over was probably only intended to be a knowing nod to genre fans, but at that moment I wanted nothing more than to see a genuine Alien against the Predator movie. I wanted to learn of the intricate symbiosis of enmity between the two species, to glimpse their histories and ecologies. (I also want to know more about the race that piloted the ship that had fallen victim the Aliens in the first film, and how ‘The Company’ had come to know about it to send Ian Holme to go and bring one back, but that’s yet another world of geekdom.)

Such a thing has often been mooted, and indeed comics and computer games along those lines have been a backbone to the fanbase of both franchises. But the idea is also despicable to the purism that underscores continuity fetishism, and Sigorney Weaver has spoken of it with a shudder. Even thinking of it, I knew that the film being terrible would probably be the price to pay for this tiny pleasure.

Well, be careful what you wish for, for last week Alien Vs Predator started filming in Prague. But at least the congregation of these movie series, which have boasted James Cameron, Ridley Scott, John McTiernan and David Fincher amongst their helmers, wouldn’t be entrusted to as small a name as Stephen Hopkins, would it?

Oh no. This one’s being directed by Paul W. S. Anderson.