Posts from 13th September 2004

13
Sep 04

MAUL MY MEMORIES!

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MAUL MY MEMORIES!: An occasional series (‘series’) where I post tracks I used to really, really like and that I’m now – well – not so sure about. Most of them will hail from that den of frauds and jokers men call… the nineties. First we have Denim, with “Summer Smash”. This – as you might know even if you haven’t heard it – was their shot at a big Summer hit, cancelled and never released after that nasty business with the car, the underpass and the Princess. Looking back I’m not sure that Lawrence’s typically deliberate gaucheness would have troubled the Top 40 too much, but there were a few rum things afoot in late-nineties charts, so who knows. At the time – quite unaware of the single’s sad fate – I enjoyed this hugely, there was something wide-eyed and optimistic about it. Now? Hmmm. It might be a great lost hit, or it might be “My Lovely Horse” done straight. See what you think.

Is the Pet Shop Boys’ presentation of Battleship Potemkin

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Is the Pet Shop Boys’ presentation of Battleship Potemkin in Trafalgar Square last night a music, or a film event? I think the selling point was the PSB’s rather than Sergei Eisenstein, though he led gravitas to the affair. But despite the free concert atmosphere, it was a film screening and the music – no matter how good (and some of it was very good) was there to service the film. Frankly ten thousand people on a damp night watching a silent Russian film is more than a coup, and of the Square events this summer, this is possibly one to be most proud of (for London, for the crowd and for the ICA who organised it).

So we probably went to see the Pet Shop Boys, but there were plenty of people who I heard leaving who had been impressed by the film, and impressed by silent cinema full-stop. The PSB’s score was not particularly groundbreaking, and surprised me by including a couple of songs rather then being completely orchestral. The nicely plaintative “Brothers” (which was reprised as an encore) stressed the films solidarity theme, whilst the piece for part five ramped up the tension perfectly in unison with Eistenstein’s “will the fleet attack the rebels” camera work. But let us list those components again for a truly memorable evening.

An old central London square.
A silent Russian movie
A pop band playing a score of completely new music to said film.
A bit of rain.
And ten thousand people.

I saw the ‘rematch’ of the 1988 FA Cup yesterday

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I saw the ‘rematch’ of the 1988 FA Cup yesterday between veterans from Liverpool and Wimbledon. John Alridge finally scored a penalty against the Dons, though only just. But two things struck me of note.

Firstly, was how much the old players, most of whom were in their forties, still ‘had it’. They didn’t have pace, and to be fair, some never did. There were a couple of recent AFC Wimbledon players there in their twenties, and despite having younger legs and fitter bodies, the older Liverpool players still knew too much in the main. Most times they used their experience and anticipation to make up for the lack of pace. It’s a cliche used whenever a workhorse of a midfielder becomes a centre-back or sweeper, but yesterday I saw that it is true.

The second point was that despite the brain being still advanced, age wasn’t being kind to the players on show. Most of those who have been out of competitive football for a few years have gone to seed, carrying a little more weight that they used to. I was reminded of seeing football of a testimonial for ex-Nottingham Forest player Kenny Burns, where he looked extremely (shall we say) rotund. It made me think that given the classic English player’s diet and refuelling habits (steak and chips washed down with lots of beer) the only thing keeping them match fit was the regular training. Once that regime ceases, they pile on the pounds.

Contrast with today’s players – I can’t ever seen Thierry Henry, even at 60, being a portly chap. RIP ‘who ate all the pies’…

That Fishhooks In The Fanny movie

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That Fishhooks In The Fanny movie. Very rarely do you come across a film that the memory of which is so easily summed up in an alliterative phrase. Kim Ki-Duk’s film The Isle is not an easily forgettable film for this reason. From 2000, it has taken four year to get to the UK via the Tartan Asia Extreme season, and part of me wonders why they bothered. On the other hand it was a Korean film constantly mentioned as part of the recent boom, and having seen ads for it in Brussels well over a year ago I must admit I was intrigued by its horror trappings.

It disappointed as a horror movie. It is a film of near inexplicable longuers split up with a few scenes of violence, sex and nasty fishhook action (we get fishhooks out of the throat too.) I have seen two of Ki-Duk’s later films – the excessively violent but melancholy Bad Guy and Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…and Spring. In a lot of way The Isle is an existential horror romance version of that latter film, taking place on the water, with some similar themes. SSAW…aS plays it Buddhist, The Isle plays it for chills. But it still takes it time, makes little sense and does nothing but appall and baffle in equal measure. That said, Ki-Duk’s control of his audience is impressive, even if you don’t envy the mind of a man who sees entertainment in ripping up fish and kicking women in the vagina.

This is an extremely butchered cut by the way, made obvious by some leaps from live animals to filleted ones. I am a bit torn by these cuts. I am not PETA activist (despite my name) and certainly the treatment of the fish in the film is no different to what is going on at river banks the length and breadth of he country. But the whole pain and suffering for the sake of a movie aspect does not sit well (it happens in SSAW…S too so you get the feeling animal torture is one of his things).

EASTENDERS: ENCORE UN FOIS!

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EASTENDERS: ENCORE UN FOIS! New characters all round and I come out of my rubbish DYS retirement in order to give you, dear reader, the Definitive ROUNDUP. First we have the lovely Sash, whose nose is the size of the square and who wears so much eyeliner that I’ve heard Fat Bob “Bobby Bob Bob” Smith is planning a dawn raid of jealousy, and then we have a WHOLE NEU FAMILY! The Millers, Mickey’s nearest and dearest inc minging mam, minging dad, pregnoid skool-child and thieving little scrote who may or may not be called TYLER, I’m not quite sure.

My personal BRANE JURY is currently OUT on deciding whether the Millers = grebt or = rub. Genghis the Dog == grebt whereas the mam who thinks every woman in the square is after her husband is clearly based on no other character than DAISY from Keeping Up Appearances but has even less dimension, quite impressive eh? Her “soft-side”, I’m guessing, is meant to show up when she has tender moments with her little brat – you know the one I mean – the one with a cushion shoved up her blouse and loads of freckles. Well forgive me if I am so far failing to give a monkeys. Mickey is still doing well and I like the fact we’re getting a “nice guy” character without the weediness of Spencer Moon, but the others? Hmmmm.

Mayhap TIME WILL TELL.

Sash tho’. THAT NOSE! Does anyone else secretly suspect she was only bought back in order to facilitate the “Tariq mortally scared of SNAAAAKES” storyline? I shore hope so.

And what other Stenders news do we have? Peggy is back in the Square! With a beehive hairdo. And before anyone sez SPOILAZ it’s been all over sodding BBC1 and you can’t exactly avoid it, can ye. I’m sure the return of “The Duchess” will be very exciting, perhaps as exciting as Sam and Andy’s wedding plans.

Or perhaps not.

(Also: Kareena in back from Ibiza with a completely neu personality shockah!!! She now wears short skirts and sometimes wears her hair down!! And er… er… nope, she’s still as BORING as before. GAAAAH! Someone fetch me my stash of rotten tomatoes and the first Stenders scriptwriter you can find…)

Generosandwich, I think I sorta maybe love you, well maybe ‘love’ isn’t the right word…

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Generosandwich, I think I sorta maybe love you, well maybe ‘love’ isn’t the right word… — so today I thought I would wander over to the maximegamall to see if what I was looking for was in stock at a Best Buy (it wasn’t), and on the way I figured I would pick up lunch. There was this one generic-enough looking eatery I kept passing in recent months that had finally been finished, and I decided I would have what looked to be an overpriced sandwich there just to see whether or not it was in fact overpriced. And so I went to a Lawry’s for the first and last time.

As you can somewhat scarily see from that link, Lawry’s, originally kicking off back in 1938 in Beverly Hills and arguably more famous in general for its seasoned salt than anything else, has this thing trying to recreate Brit cuisine as such over here — which basically translates into questions about how to eat roast beef. Turns out there’s some allegedly famous restaurant down in Newport Beach that they run called Five Crowns: “A beautiful replica of one of England’s oldest country inns, Five Crowns is a place of candlelight and cozy fireplaces… where good cheer and warm hospitality invite you to leave your cares at the door.” Well, how special. Then there’s the Tam O’Shanter Inn and do I need to say anything more?

Thankfully this place, which apparently doesn’t rank its own website, was designed as a functional place where one gets a sammich and homemade potato chips rather than some trumpeter playing “The Roast Beef of Old England”* or the like. Instead it holds to the principle I heard of twenty years back that you know whether you’re getting fast food or not depending on whether you look up or down at the menu. I was looking up but the food actually took a little bit of time between ordering and being brought to the table, so hey.

But was it any good? I guess…but it was generic, as mentioned. It would have been a French dip sandwich if it weren’t for the peppercorn sauce I had ordered instead. The bread was there, the beef okay but I’ve had juicier, the chips were chips. Hrm. Well the iced tea was okay too, but that was also generic IE Lipton’s. And overall, far too expensive for what I was expecting, as the sandwich was smallish. You get a lot more at the local Boudin, and while that’s a designed-for-mall-shoppers experience too, the bread alone makes it worthwhile.

And so hail and farewell Lawry’s! I have no doubt that you will exist.

* They really should have done, though, with a choir or something. Imagining shoppers at South Coast Plaza being greeted with a massed chorale of this is a beautiful and wrong scenario:

When mighty Roast Beef
Was the Englishman’s food,
It ennobled our brains
And enriched our blood.
Our soldiers were brave
And our courtiers were good
Oh the Roast Beef of old England
And old English Roast Beef

But since we have learnt
From all-vapouring France
To eat their ragouts
As well as to dance,
We’re fed up with nothing
But vain complaisance
Oh the Roast Beef of Old England
And old English Roast Beef

Damned frogs! Pass the freedom fries.