Posts from 8th September 2004

Sep 04

“This is not a dream, this is a f*cking nightmare, you b*tch!”

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 521 views

“This is not a dream, this is a f*cking nightmare, you b*tch!”

Search: Lady Sovereign – Sad Ass Strippah

Destroy: Jentina – Bad Ass Strippa.

…and you lose some

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 215 views

…and you lose some — the Genesis probe that was due to return to earth today, having collected a slew of solar particles, has done so — only not as intended. Success is never guaranteed, of course, but this is in many ways like the robotic equivalent of last year’s Shuttle crash — mission completed, everything apparently set for a picture perfect landing, and then a catastrophic failure. In this case it was a chute that failed to deploy rather than a punctured heat shield, but the sense of bitter loss is the same, and given the subject of the mission — capturing particles directly from the solar wind, a chance to analyze at least some part of the Sun directly — it’s all the more frustrating and sad. Hopefully there will be a thorough analysis to discover what went wrong (I hate to sound a note of doubt but after the two shuttle crashes and their investigations I admit sometimes I wonder if like any other organization NASA is more able to dissemble rather than face up to things), and of course it could just be that there was no way to prevent this. Still, though, it hurts — probes have been lost time and again, but this was the first to have been lost right at the end.

FT Top 100 Films 35: DUNE

Do You SeePost a comment • 792 views

FT Top 100 Films
35: DUNE

I’ve never really “got” David Lynch. Possibly because I saw his a few of his films before I could “get” them. I saw Blue Velvet as a sixteen year old, and was a bit bored. A fourteen year old me saw The Elephant Man and just associated it with David Lean and/or teatime Dickens adaptations. And the first David Lynch film I ever saw was Dune. And I really did not get that.

It was on video, which probably harms its panoramic scale, and was my choice at the video store. Of course it was. I was twelve, and it was science fiction. Problem is, when something is your choice, everyone else in the family blames you if it is rubbish. We all made the straight to video errors of the early video years (Combat Academy – please…) but this had been a proper, cinema film. It had Sting in it*. And it was an epic shmumble schmumble….

I was not allowed to pick the family video for about six months after Dune. I think my Mum got up to wash some curtains after ten minutes. My sister drifted off, she may have even fallen asleep. And my Dad, who had read the first Dune book, said that it wasn’t as good as the book. And then he said “and the book was rubbish too”. He is right of course. The book is rubbish, which means it is a bit of a mugs game basing a film on it. It is even more of a mugs game basing a film on a book that is six hundred pages long. It was a mistake Hollywood keeps making, cf Bonfire Of The Vanities and the stupendously poor Clan Of The Cave Bear. Good beach reading = poor film. (Stephen King is a genre to himself in this catagory.)

Did this prime me to not understand David Lynch, or is it just that there isn’t much to understand. His last few films I have actually really enjoyed, but even he would admit that Dune was a mistake. Too many gingers, too many fat people, giant worms and (say it in hushed tones) “The Spice”. At age twelve I did not like spicy food. Spicy movies lost me all credibility in my family, were dull and left me bored.

*Yes yes, but we didn’t know that in 1985.


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For me, Dizzee Rascal is someone who has become really good over a short period of time rather than suddenly realigning the world from the first single on — not the most popular of views, perhaps, but to my mind it’s telling that while I’ve heard Boy in the Corner a grand total of once, Showtime I’ve already heard a number of times and there’ll be more to come.

Great as it is, “Imagine” is the song that’s the killer — I had already heard of its virtues, but the first time listening confirmed them and then the chance listening to it out of the album context fully sealed it. To me it captures a sense of icy beauty mixed with emotional yearning, and in a specific London-based context at that, like nothing else since Disco Inferno’s “Love Stepping Out.” The swirling guitar/harp/strings of the earlier song have an echo in the collages here, the high zooms and soft melodies, the sense of rising up and out. The difference? For once (for me at least) the lyrics can matter as much as the performance. Ian Crause sung of isolation and violence in the midst of seeming calm with reflection and an unnerving calm, but Dizzee aspires for a busting loose, a way to transcend and get out not only of city as deathtrap but mental attitudes just as entangling and suffocating, and his performance captures that so very well.

Indie Chicken

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 592 views

Indie Chicken

(You may recall the first instalment of this all-comers welcome occasional series from a while ago. If not, I don’t care. But I would nevertheless like to see local chicken reviews from strange and exotic climes.)

#2 Perfect Chicken, Junction Road, London N19

Yesterday I went swimming after work (as is my wont of late) and therefore needed to eat something truly filthy afterwards to counterbalance any undesirable healthy effects. I emerged from Archway tube station, crossed the road to the above named takeaway, got my dinner (fresh chips!) and pootled off with it on the short bus ride up to Highgate.

It’s a reliable local chicken shop but I patronise it only occasionally, as there’s generally this spotty teenager behind the counter who leers at me and gives me extra hotwings, producing entirely the opposite effect to that which he presumably intends. However, their Value Box Meal is indeed the best value pile of grease in the vicinity, consisting of two pieces of chicken, three hotwings, fries and a drink for ‘2.99. The chicken was moistish and the seasoned skin is disgustingly and deliciously gooey, so that takes care of that. The hotlegs (one of last night’s was kind of ball-shaped – goodness knows what the fowl/cat it came from looked like) were a bit too crunchy and kind of meh in the hottness stakes, and the fries were fine. The drink selection is what endears the place to me over and beyond the pimply youth’s complimentary filth: a can of 7-up, Pepsi, Dr Pepper or Cherry Coke, and it’s always one of the wacky latter pair that I go for, in this case Cherry Coke. Mmmmm teeth-rotting fingerlicking fun.

There was no refreshing lemon towelette included in the bag (although there was a sachet of salt and a shiny paper napkin), but there sometimes has been in the past; this unpredictability is kind of attractive/annoying depending on the mood I’m in. Additionally, the hubris of calling a poxy fry-kiosk ‘Perfect’ puts me in a good mood as I pass the establishment on my way home. There’s definitely a ‘meaty’ project somewhere in documenting/analysing indie chicken names, but I’m too lazy to kick it off just at the moment.

Carter Beats The Devil is one of those “real people in fictional narratives”

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 386 views

Carter Beats The Devil is one of those “real people in fictional narratives” pieces which are often tedious hack-jobs weaving fact and fiction. And they usually involve the death of President Kennedy. At least CBTD involves the death of a completely different president.

It is a twee little number in places. Being a Marx Brothers fan I picked up on the Fun In High Skule cameo (the Marx’s act as kids). However I was wholly unprepared for the villain of the piece to be a ripped off of Spider-Man . Glenn David Gold could have put his villainous conjurer Mysterioso’s resemblance to fishbowl bonced Mysterio down to coincidence if he had not thanked Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko in the credits. That said, those comic book buggers are so litigious these days.

Carter Beats The Devil is one of those tube books that ruled about a year ago, and that in an uncharacteristic pique of anti-populism I rule out as being any good. I was (and am) wrong to do so. Thick enough for beach reading, an arresting cover and a faint smattering of award nominations, it is one part plot, one part history of magic. I have read at least two other books where Houdini rocks up as a major character, and here we have a rival/prot’g’ of his.

I do wonder though, how much of the charm of this book is due to the extensive research into the people, places and period and how much is good old fashioned making stuff up. The Marx Brothers cameo only plays to my vanity, finally reading that Groucho Marx biography was worthwhile. The whole thing could have been made up, rather than assiduously fit around actual facts and been just as interesting. But then research is a novelists badge of honour these days. Replace bad writing with spot on period detail and no-one can say you did not do the work. But then should art be work? Surely art is the opposite of work, when it become work trouble starts. Carter Beats The Devil, Art Beats Work – right?

Is Bugs Bunny funny?

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Is Bugs Bunny funny? I ask because it strikes me that his mixture of sass, insouciance and hyper-active bluster is much more dated than that of many of his Looney Tunes brethren. This was borne out by his lacklustre turn in Looney Tunes: Back In Action.

It is difficult to notice how poor even the concept of Bugs is these days in a film so hyper-actively insistent on pushing him into a second fiddle position. This is Looney Tunes, not the Brendan Fraser* and Jenna Elfman career suicide show. Certainly in the not being funny race this film has a Steve Martin turn of such ineptitude that it is hard to believe anyone ever let him in a comedy club, let alone let him perform. But there is Bugs, and there is Daffy and well, for sheer laughter value: Daffy is funnier. The problem with Bugs is he tries too hard to be cool. He is like The Fonz of animated characters. Rarely funny himself his is at his best as a nemesis to other hyperactive characters. As a counter-point to Yosemite Sam, this is easy. As a star in his own right, where are the gags?

The plot of the film is that Daffy gets fired from Warner Brothers because he isn’t as funny as Bugs. But Daffy is the everyman(duck), the bluffing, over-confident idiot we all are, or our bosses are. Daffy is a malleable black soup of possibilities. Bugs is a catchphrase, a carrot and always wins. Anyway the plot then throws in some ridiculous secret agent nonsense which highlights that
a) cartoons live in the real world
b) this is actually a film not the real world
And we wonder why five-year olds have trouble fitting in?

Not happy to just plunder the Looney Tunes legacy, Scooby Doo and Shaggy briefly rock up, Batman, Robbie The Robot and even a rogue Dalek in the mix. I believe this is the reason Terry Nation’s estate were a bit peeved with the BBC. Anyway, the whole things is a mess, not very funny and a complete waste of Joe Dante’s talents. Pop culture geek that Dante is, he does not know when to stop, and here everything and the kitchen sink is thrown in, as if to say that no-one really trusts the Looney Tunes characters to perform to a modern audience.

That might be right, maybe these characters belong to a bygone age. But it is not as if they have really been given a chance. Endless efforts at making compilation movies, Looney Tunes Jr, and ropey live action tie-ins forget that Daffy and even unfun Bugs were best in their five minute shorts. In, out and you never get to consider what it is that Elmer Fudd finds so attractive about a rabbit in drag.

*Not Brent Fraser, star of early soft-core porn such as Wild Orchid II, which I am sure Brendan Fraser wished he had been in now.

is it tempting fate to delightedly yell “haha in yr face orthodox medical science”?

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 313 views

is it tempting fate to delightedly yell “haha in yr face orthodox medical science”?

Ans = yes, since there’s a lot still to be surmounted and my mum remains fairly ill BUT she regained consciousness unexpectedly on monday night and her appetite shortly after, having proved to my and sistrah becky’s satisfaction at least that it is possible to be in a coma AND in a temper simultaneously!! She spent most of monday, not silent and inert, but growling and snorting and battling to wake up – her doctors were quite surprised when she did, but her childen, i have to say, weren’t…

The Popjustice 20 Quid Music Prize

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(Editor’s Note: This write up by Grumpy Pete does not reflect the views of rest of the Freaky Trigger gang, who enjoyed it enormously, shambles or no, but were too bone idle to blog about it – NYLPM Ed.)

The gang from Freakytrigger went and participated (perhaps too much) in this now pop institution last night. We were initially worried that we went a bit too mob handed, all eleven of us, but later inspection showed our hands did not resemble large crowds and were let in to the basement of a posho bar. Which I think was not quite sure what it had let itself in for.

The stated aim is to give the Mercury Music Prize a wedgie and find the best single of the year from a shortlist of twelve picked by, well someone who got it a bit wrong (not arguing about the caliber of the best tracks, but the also-rans were just that). Given ballot papers which seemed to do nothing, we busied ourselves getting drunk, drawing Kylie and later drawing The Emo Adventures of Charlie From Busted! (This may be coming to a Freakytrigger near you soon.)

Things took an age to get going, and we were presented with the old duel format of two tunes being paired and fighting off. The pairings were as follows:
Jamelia vs Javine
Will Young vs Sugababes
McFly vs Busted
Emma Bunton vs Shaznay Lewis
Girls Aloud vs Keane
Rachel Stevens vs Rachel Stevens
These pairing were on the whole amusingly set-up, though did leave Rachel Stevens with a bye pretty much. Between each pairing we were told to talk about the singles for three minutes, which generally turned into us slagging off Keane. The voting took place at the end, was done in the wrong order, our vote counter was not really counting and the whole thing became a bit of a farce.

As proved by McFly beating Busted. (Jamelia, Will Young, Gurls Aloud, Bunton and Some Girls made it through).

We were drunk at this point and started to get rowdy
a) about this fix
b) about the poor organisation (phrases like “Even Tom Ewing could do this better” were bandied around
c) near Cheryl Tweedy who found one FT writers surprisingly deep voice a little bit disconcerting. She probably used this as an excuse to scarper, after getting bored of the adulation only a proper pop star can get. I think she was also worried that ver Aloud were about to be knocked out.

Round two, and many of us who had put money of Busted had already resigned it to being a fix. The pairings were equally poorly arranged, in an order which meant the final three would contain at least one song well out of its depth. That song turned out to be Bunton’s Maybe, which beat Will Young to join Superstar and Some Girls (which put paid to The Show, so Tweedy was right to hoof it). After a very long protracted count I must say.

Now a ballot paper came out to get rid of the dead weight in this threesome, which took about half an hour despite everyone man jack to a toddler knew it would be the ex-Spice Girl. At which point this had been going on for three hours and a new rule was invented where each song required some advocates to big them up. Myself and Alan of this parish went over to champion Some Girls, though they were short of Jamelia big uppers, so I swopped sides. After some very inept speeches which added nothing to the power of the original songs expect a short fat sweaty bloke trying to sing like Jamelia, the final vote happened. And Rachel Stevens won.

At which point the London Bootleg Orchestra quit singing Rush Hour and Relax and went home, muttering that it was all a good bit of fun, but it was a fix.

Vote Beaker

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Vote Beaker the word went, and we did, and it worked! Science has been served.