Posts from 24th May 2004

May 04

FREILAND – “Hot Love (Justus Köhncke Remix f/ Meloboy)”

FT + New York London Paris Munich1 comment • 1,140 views

Since mentioning my Tarkus mural in the neverending Kompakt thread on ILM, my inbox has been flooded with inquiries as to how I obtained such a thing. For the sake of convenience, I’ll respond here.

My wife and I were approached by the staff of Mutant House, a failed “home makeover” program that was beat to the punch by the Discovery Channel’s Monster House. (Gist: A crew of people come over to give your house an off-the-wall theme, usually involving bizarre constructions.) The show needed willing homeowners for their pilot episode, and we were game — as long as they agreed to make our house “Tarkus house” rather than something obvious like “Vegas house” or “Retro-Future house.”

The pilot failed, but the makeover was a success. The game room now features a wall-size mural that recreates the cover of ELP’s Tarkus; matching multi-color carpeting maintains a sense of flow. We have a fleet of RC tarkuses that retrieve the paper or carry our drinks. A wax figure of Keith Emerson now sits at our baby grand; at the push of a button, he and the piano twirl in mid-air (Californa Jam style). Our doorbell chime now resembles that “off to battle” Moog bit from “Tarkus Medley.” And, in keeping with the ELP theme, a 20-foot manticore guards our back yard. (As a footnote, word of our remodeling reached as far as Oslo. A gentleman from there wanted to purchase our house for a large sum and was willing to uproot himself and his family.)

One of the things I can say about Justus Köhncke’s remix of Wolfgang Voigt’s “Hot Love” is that it is funnier than our house. The original, presumably named after the T. Rex song of the same name, was a semi-pleasant shuffle-stomp of a track. Köhncke adds jubilant vocals (credited to Meloboy, but they sure sound like Köhncke) to make it a full-blown cover, as well as some burping children’s program keyboards. That’s all it took to transform a relatively benign Voigt production into something sprightly and noxious.

I don’t much like watching the tennis.

TMFDPost a comment • 225 views

I don’t much like watching the tennis. It’s not the game for me. I like epic one-on-one struggles, tests of nerve and skill and emotional strength as much as the next blogger but I think the darts provides all that much more effectively. And the darts doesn’t make me feel ashamed of my own waistline.

I’m generally pleased when a major tournament rolls around, though, because I adore the commentaries I read here (and on similar threads), lead mainly by Mike Jones and his genius for re-naming and shaming. For the tennis dilettante they are tantalisingly semi-decipherable, like reading a review of a favourite band in Czech, or something.

I suggested to Mike that he might like to bring his tennis talk to TMFD but he prefers the interaction, which is, I suppose, fair enough. Go and interact.

THE POWERPUFF GIRLS – Saving The World Before Bedtime

TMFDPost a comment • 449 views

We found this boardgame in a charity shop at the weekend. It’s a lavish game with good production values and a nice game mechanism, very similar to the much-loved Judge Dredd Boardgame. Players, controlling any or all the PPGs at a time, move a space or two around Townsville by means of card play and turn over tiles which usually contain a villain. They then roll a dice to fight the villain, needing to roll a certain number of hearts to beat them and collect the tile.

The game is well designed and the play works but there’s a certain lack of variety. The rules specify that the winner is the first to capture 4 villains – in fact this happens within a couple of turns so extending the requirement is a good idea. There are a few special cards which affect gameplay but not enough to stop things becoming repetitive. It’s a shame because it means the verve and imagination of the TV series quickly go missing. The villains list is present and correct though as with a lot of PPG tie-ins Him is missing – quite why merchandisers are so shy of a camp pink devil is a mystery!


I Hate MusicPost a comment • 630 views

THE B-52’s

In order of preference, your B-52’s in full:

a) A super flying fortress of a bomber responsible with the ability to destroy much of the world or at least the world in the mid-fifties when it was at the height of its powers. The Stratofortress was designed with swept back wings to best ride out the after effects of a nuclear bomb – this plane increased nuclear tension in the world four fold.
b) A fucking disgusting drink made of Kahlua, Bailey’s and Grand Marnier which is as destructive as the bomber and drunk solely by idiots who generally do not know what is in it.
c) Aural torture unparalleled even by the standards of bands which came out of Athens Georgia (ie even worse that R.E.M.) Stupid people, with stupid hair and stupid clothes writing stupid songs about stupid things. Want a song about a Lobster that Rocks? No, didn’t think so. How about assembling a band who have two incredibly shrill female singers and juxtapose that with a man who voice is so deep his bollocks must have been dropped with assistance. Not funny, not good – and then they sicked Love Shack on us, so every wedding we ever go to we will be reminded of stupid beehive hairdos and funny dancing ugly men dancing.

Give me the Stratofortress any day.

The most disasterous disaster film…Deep Impact.

Do You SeePost a comment • 245 views

The most disasterous disaster film…Deep Impact. As a follow on from Mark’s note about missing Armageddon (how does he fashion these nuggets!) he unfairly lumps Deep Impact in with a whole load of 96-98 disaster epics. On the surface it fits. It has after all almost an identical scenario to Armageddon. Except Deep Impact tells the much more likely story of the five million to one shots strung togther by Willis & Co failing. The asteroid is deflected only slightly and will therefore still make the Deep Impact of the title. Then what?

Well then it is a matter of in God we trust. Or in this case God’s representative in the White House, Morgan Freeman. Say what you like about US racial politics, but no-one blinked an eye when it was suggested that Freeman could be president. He has the gravitas. (Neverthless perhaps it says something that he is the president who fails, compare this to Bill Pullman’s fighter pilot Independence Day Prez). The hard decision starts here. Who do we save? What happens if we are saved and our love ones aren’t. And there really is no room for dogs.

This did not make for prime time joy. Concentrating on a bunch of people hand wringing over scientists/artists and the sure fire death of much of the population did not ring the cash registers. Sure the film had plenty of great destruction scenes – but this time we were all being destroyed. The only way to survive was to be
a) exceptional and needed (top biologist or engineer seems to win through here)
b) win a lottery.
Look at the audience demographics and weep for the box office takings.

Even Terminator 3, which has its own apocalypse, shies away from considering the lot of the survivors. John Connor and hastily invented future madonna of the machine wars are trapped in an archaic nuclear bunker as the world they knew is utterly destroyed. A few games of scrabble later and where are we. Fighting a war it is impossible to win. Machines have it, just because without machines we could not destroy Manhattan, Paris or whichever new city gets destroyed in the next big celluloid disaster movie. As long as someone can walk away, alive and preferably not in a hole in the ground, the films will always be about them.

A Million Love Songs

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 468 views

A Million Love Songs – the ‘all-star MP3 superblog’. Oooh!

(I have signed up to ‘contribute’, expect tat.)

ALSO! Bang and Burn – the hits just keep on coming.

ALSO ALSO! Radio 1 just did a DREADFUL Colin and Edith parody of Eamon/Frankee a la Shirehorses (whose CDs go for big money on eBay, no honest!) during which they sang the word “penis”. What fresh nightmare of the permissive society is this??


Do You SeePost a comment • 224 views

NOISE = PROPHECY” except Hollywood Style

Even though Armageddon has the longest sustained purely abstract-expressionist avant-garde sequence ever edited into the heart of a mainstream blockbuster, I didn’t catch much of it last night. A friend wz in relationship meltdown; i wz on phonebuffy max alert ; most of Five’s suddenly too-well-named ‘Disaster Evening’ passed me by. But the opening minutes of Armageddon reminded me of the degree to which at-the-time heart-tugging boilerplate of US city police and firemen doing their duty as buildings fall have gathered abt themselves many new layers of emotional force ( I first noticed this when finding I wz tearing up duting the closing scenes of the very ludicrous Volcano as screened ITV last September, when Tommy Lee Jones is all covered in ash).

There was an odd season, 1996-98, which Hollywood spent imagining the worst, aimed at NYC: Independence Day, Twister, Volcano, Dante’s Peak, Armageddon, Deep Impact, Godzilla – even Titanic maybe. Back then it felt like end-of-history peace-dividend relief (possibly): Imperial America has no more real-life foes, can divert itself into tales of its own catastrophic immolation. Now it seems ghastly in its prescient unease: not just that terrible things can still happen to this so-long safe haven, but that the response will in each case be a small-minded further disaster convincing itself it’s brilliant improvised genius? The endings are focus-grouped for feelgood, as per, until you actually think abt what happened to anyone who didn’t get onscreen. Plus also consider this: the plan that saves “all” of us “works” in the movie, but really only as the result of a sequence of hair-raising gambles – such gambling is cool fun in a thriller, but fantastically criminally dumb and irresponsible once intruded into the actual real world.

FT Top 100 Films 97: BRINGING UP BABY

Do You SeePost a comment • 901 views

I adore screwball comedies. Light airy flights of fantasy where the internal logic of the film slowly creeps outside of the expectations of reality. A good screwball comedy should be a perfect one line pitch. “A scientist, and heiress and a leopard: hilarity ensues”. Okay, appending hilarity ensues does not guarantee anything, certainly not as much as inserting the deal winner here: Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant.

Everyone thinks of Grant as the ultimate suave sophisticat, which is why his bumbling, nervous, woman shy (and on this evidence rightly so) Dr Huxley surprises so much. Huxley may be representing the sensible, rational society here – but it is Hepburn’s Susan Vance who has all of the power. And of course, that leopard.

It has been suggested that the role of Ross in Friends was based entirely on Grant’s paleontologist here; just the presence of a stuffy, nervous bone doctor is funny. Ross is played by diametrically opposite actor, but the archetype lives through. Is Phoebe a million miles away from a poor version of Hepburn’s Vance? Perhaps Friends vs Bringing Up Baby is a cultural comparison too far, but imagine the best Friends episode, stretched over ninety minutes with a definite resolution (and a collapsing Stegosaurus to boot) and there is some indication of quality. The roles and character types are so strong that the farce almost builds itself without any prompting. Of course a couple of leopards on the loose make awfully good prompts.

Talking about comedy is always difficult, the urge is just to yell go and see it or quote the film. To which I would counter, go and see it and, well this Cary Grant line say all you need to know about the film. “Now it isn’t that I don’t like you, Susan, because, after all, in moments of quiet, I’m strangely drawn toward you, but – well, there haven’t been any quiet moments.”


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 150 views



Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 374 views


I made a rhubarb pie yesterday, after having been afeard for many a year of how to cook the fruit worlds answer to celery. I guess I was always slightly put off by the poisonous leaves thing (Bad Girls watchers taken note) and my mothers arcane stweing rituals which seemed to go on for hows. I am not sure why having cooked some yesterday it took about ten minutes to go to the consistency of melted human (with nice strands to suggest a still working nervous system).

Unfortuantely there was not quite enough to fill the pie which was a bit empty. So I tried to bulk it up with banana, which was interesting but as an experiment I have to admit did not work quite as well as I might have hoped. Here is to a summer of rhubarb though…