Posts from 5th December 2003

Dec 03

Searle’s gone and done it again.

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 200 views

Searle’s gone and done it again. Finding little or nothing to criticize in the two concurrent Bill Viola shows in London (the Haunch of Venison one is over now, I think), Adrian Searle decides to lay into the critical texts around the work (the pieces on the wall and in the catalogue).

Surely he’s smart enough to have learned, even if only after the Candice Breitz show, that reading the crits upsets him so? As it stands, we’ve another review totally derailed by his inability to ignore the written word. I’d be so much happier if he told us what the work meant to him and went on from there. Can he really mean that the words of the artist, or the curator, invalidate his enjoyment of a piece of art?

I fear that my new favourite drink, Pepsi Twist

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 529 views

I fear that my new favourite drink, Pepsi Twist, is not long for these shores. A full fat version of the puritanical and chemistry set tasting Diet Coke with Lemon, Pepsi Twist has not been given a huge marketing push in the UK. But it has the balance between lemon and coke just right. It tastes like someone has pour a bit of R-Whites into a glass of Pepsi. Spot on.

However the only cans that seem to be availible are ones which have Ms Dynamite sprawled uncomfortably across its trade dress. On first viewing it is unclear whether this is a can of Pepsi Twist or a can of Dynamite Juice, such is her presence. “Ms Dynamite” – it says “Live + Loud”. I have always assumed loudness to be a decent selling point of a live performance, you do not want to be overshadowed by a pin dropping, but i imagine people have been ring-pull checking for months to see if they will make this exclusive gig. Except the closing date was October 1st. One sees a warehouse full of unwanted Pepsi Twist cans being slwoly shipped out as the drink if whipped away from us with as little fanfare as it arrived. It appears we only get some in our shop because there is an avid drinker of it. Me.

Maybe it is something to do with ms Dynamite looking a bit like a gopher on the can?

Interstella 5555: The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem.

Do You See1 comment • 460 views

Interstella 5555: The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem. Look the letter S looks a bit like the number five. A bit like the letter V looked nothing like the number 7 in Se7en. (A friend who works in publishing told me how much that little slight of hand really buggered up the indexing of the last Halliwell’s, but then they missed out all the new films that begun with B so I don’t think they deserve much sympathy). Its an anime video for the entirity of the Daft Punk ‘Discovery’ album. It is also a silent movie.

Let me explain. There is no dialogue in Interstella 5555. There is very little in the way of incidental sound effects to the action (bar the odd spaceship whoosh). The sound is literally the playing of the entire Daft Punk album, one track after another with little crossover in contect between the music and the film bar the first couple of tracks. So whilst we are listening to the excellent music, we are also treated to an hour long anime epic which is crudely simplistic plotwise, relying heavily on certain manga, music business and fantasy cliches. It is an interesting exercise which just does not really work on the cinema screen.

But if you fancy hearing the Daft Punk album through a really good stereo….


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 759 views


No-one ever said that every door on this advent calendar had to be nice. Instead a few musings on Britain’s most popular lager. Cheap, nasty, stuck in a no-mans-land of medium strength, gassy and generally unloved. But it is Britain’s most popular lager. How and why did this become the lowest common denominator? Is it really, as someone suggested to me the other day, because it is the only English Lager easily availible?

Well let us deal with the first item first. The Carling Brewing company dates back to the 1830’s, set up – yes by an Englishman – but actually in Canada. Thomas Carling pissed off from Yorkshire in 1818, and in the way these things go made an exceptional home brew. This was his amber ale, no DANGER BLACK LABEL signs yet. The idea of Britishness is also feigned by the fact that London was the home of the main Brewery. London, Ontario I should add. The company expands into the US slowly and then gets sold. And sold again. And sold again. Until all that is left is a couple of beers from the line up of porters, stouts and ales. One of which was the Rice lager : Carling Black Label.

The ethos behind CBL was to produce a mass market lager at locally brewed prices. Or, to be more accurate, cut corners so the cheapest brew would be availible nation and worldwide. Indeed at this point, the mid-thirties, Carling stops being anything like a brewing company and instead a selection of beer recipes to be sold around the world. And this is where the UK comes in. As lager became more popular in the seventies it was all about advertising to prize together the weakest from the equally weak. Which brings in the “I bet he drinks Carling Black Label campaign”, one of the most memorable of the eighties. Even these days Carling ads are some of the best on television. Are ads ebough? No, but being owned by brewing giants such as Bass and Interbrew who could count for well over fifty percent of pub coverage certainly helps.

Carling is cheap. It comes in nice big clearly labeled cans and has never, ever refered to itself as being foreign in its advertising. In allying itself with both football and live music it pumps out a huge advertising spend to attract a young drinking audience. It is the only non-premium lager sold in Students’ Unions due to a (some say attrocious) deal made by current owners the US brewing giants Coors. And it tastes bland. If any does say to you “I bet he drinks Carling Black Label”, there are two things worth noting. First, doe snayone really drink it as a conscious choice, as opposed to an alternative to the premium? And secondly, that is also the kind of bloke who bets on a favourite.

For more infor, try this quite frightening Carling fan site (including possibly the dullest blind tasting ever to take place).