Posts from 21st September 2004

Sep 04

Chronicles of fashion science

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 216 views

Chronicles of fashion science

Hot Stuff.

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 258 views

Hot Stuff. who the fuck is florian?
Perhaps this is de rigeur down in Londres, but on my trip to Norwich last week I was amazed/amused to see the latest in vending technology installed at the station… or perhaps the amusing thing was that as soon as someone dragged their squalling kids in front of it to try and purchase some fries, another party, in most un-English fashion, darted over to warn them to stand right beside the machine or their fries would be liberally vended across the station concourse. Extensive research Google reveals there are at least three types of these machines on the market, but this was singled out by the name brand fries on offer.

FT Top 100 Films 26: JAMON JAMON

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FT Top 100 Films

You’ve got to love any director called Bigas Lunas. It promises a level on nutsiness you just don’t get from people called John Sayles, George Lucas or John Waters. Perhaps that’s why I like John Waters so much. Anyway, Bigas Lunas is the Spanish John Waters, and Jamon Jamon is his masterpiece.

Jamon Jamon is a black comedy, and seems to tick all of those Spanish sex comedy boxes that you might assume if you had only ever seen an Almodovar film. Densely packed it has a little bit of a love affair with unfulfilled symbolism. If it can’t think of a decent way of ending a scene it has a lizard crawling out of a vacant eye socket instead. But that only really kicks in later, the first half is all sex farce agogo in the underwear factory.

Its another one of THOSE Penelope Cruz films, which she wanders around as the workd goes to pot around her. And when that includes some ham fights and naked bullfighting then all should be right with the world. I called this Lunas’ masterpiece, and it is his best film. But that does not mean it is all that good. But it is a great foreign film to see when you have just turned eighteen. It has sex in it. It has violence. It has pretty foreign ladies. It has a nicely enlightened view of sexual politics and a sense of humour. It does not really hang together though and having seen it again recently I wondered a bit about the eighteen year old me. But that is not an unusual sensation.

I’m really worried about watching Delicatessen again now.

the revolution devours its own children pt 234523

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the revolution devours its own children pt 234523

M&S just started a new pre-cooked dinners line, “a delicious new range of dishes inspired by modern pub meals” —> and it’s called GASTROPUB, and i’m not going to review it for you

“mark s eats in” by goya

Pete’s fine attempt at a Busted comic

FT + New York London Paris Munich1 comment • 630 views

Pete’s fine attempt at a Busted comic (see below) prompts this vital question over at I Love Comics. I’d never really given it much thought before but it seems odd that there was never a Beatles comic, or a Bay City Rollers comic, or a Monkees or a Duran or or or – I think there were a few pop bands strips in Look-In but I can’t remember who they were about. Maybe real people are wary of letting themselves become material for fiction writers (or bad artists!).

The sport on TV most often in my boyhood was Chess.

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The sport on TV most often in my boyhood was Chess. My Dad used to play Chess – pretty well, too, he won his club tournament 11 times in a row and they had a special rose bowl made after the tenth, so when he finally lost the cup he’d have something to keep. Of course he tried to get me interested – but I was never very good, a mid-table performer on the school ‘chess ladder’. The bookshelves in our house were full of chess – openings, gambits, defenses. Dad would watch the great battles between Karpov, Kasparov, Korchnoi, and I would sit by him and doze – chess is not really made for TV. But the formality of it, and the fierce concentration on the players’ faces, made an impact.

So there has always been a sort of mystique about chess for me, entirely divorced from the game itself. Nowadays Dad doesn’t play chess much, his hobby now is diving: there is no mystique attached to diving for me. The things that fascinate, I think, are the things the smaller you constituted as part of the adult world – natural for them, strange or symbolic for you. The chess I played on cheap boards in our draughty school art room was not the same game as Dad played with his special wooden pieces that had green felt on the bottom and fell into their carved box with a rich, satisfying clack-clack-clack.

I don’t know what my Dad thinks about Bobby Fischer, whose match against Boris Spassky would have happened when he was two or three years into those eleven wins. On the front cover of Bobby Fischer Goes To War, a book about the game, there’s a picture of Fischer sitting over a chessboard, staring at the reader. The hair, the suit, the stare, everything about the picture is evocative, because everything in it reminds me of old photos of my Dad, the model – my model – of the clever, awkward, early 70s man.

Except there are other old photos of my Dad, where he’s swimming or ski-ing or laughing or holding me: the simple fact of his family and social life (compared to Fischer’s paranoid isolation) meant that I couldn’t recognise him in the words of the book, only in the pictures of chess clocks and men in crumpled suits. Maybe that’s why I didn’t finish it, or maybe it was that chess isn’t a great subject for the layman. It’s hard to describe unless you are willing to get your hands dirty, show diagrams of chessboards and get into details: this book isn’t. When it talks about the chess the grandmasters played it reads more like music criticism.

Like Mozart’s music, [Spassky’s] chess was a brilliantly fluid combination of form and fantasy. He himself took pride in being labelled the ‘Pushkin of chess’, explaining…that it was ‘because of my elegant and harmonic style’

This is elegant, and sets Spassky up against the deep logic of Fischer, but actually tells me nothing about how the form, fantasy and harmony might translate to style on the chessboard. After six or seven chapters I gave up. There were hints, though, of a book within the book that I might go back to: a book about the hold chess took on the imagination in the early 70s that led to it being on television in the first place for my Dad and I to watch. (Think for instance of the word ‘Grandmaster’ as a cultural boast, bouncing from the boards in Reykjavik to the New York Boroughs…). Bobby Fischer Goes To War is trying to be that book, but by focusing on a match it forces itself to address the actual games played, and in doing so loses its thread. Or maybe it’s just me who’d think that, since I’m not really looking for a book about chess; I’m looking for a book about my Dad.

Ugh ugh ugh

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 352 views

Ugh ugh ugh wine described in wine list menu of the Kings Arms as having “a creamy mouthfeel”!!! Ugh ugh!!

Vince Vaughn is a funny one

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Or, to be more precise, is not a funny one. It strikes me of all that “gang” mentioned last week when I talked about Anchorman, he is the only one who is not really a comedian. Or at least did not start that way (the Wilson brothers may be exceptions too). But what Ben Stiller and latterly Will Ferrell have been able to do is surround themselves with amiable straight men. And if there is one word which describes Vaughn in Dodgeball, or indeed any of his other good roles, it is aimiable.

The opening of Dodgeball is instructive to see how he the works. Film opens with an ad for Stiller’s gym, with Stiller doing a butch, nasty version of Derek Zoolander. It is nothing but pure parody, which cuts to Vaughn, the slob, waking up, getting in his rundown car and driving to his gym. There we meet a number of his clients, all strange (including “Steve The Pirate” a great idea unfortunately undethe rused). All Vaughn does is react to their madness, and in the process sucks us in. The role of the everyman is a difficult one in a stupid comedy (Steve Guttenberg played it in the early Police Academy films) and Vaughn can do it well. But he is not a comedian.

Nor for that matter is Christine Taylor whose main ability seems to be to keep a straight face. That is not altogether fair, but then nor would saying that she got her role by being Ben Stiller’s wife. Truth is she plays the female lead as well as anyone could, even if it is basically the same role as the one in Zoolander. But nepotism is okay in a film like this, which coasts by on the good humour from the set more than anything else. A laxier comedy than Anchorman, it is still thoroughly entertaining, all of which describes Vaughn’s character. You kinda like him, so its nice he is doing so well now.

ELVIS PRESLEY – “His Latest Flame”

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#129, 11th November 1961

Maybe “His Latest Flame” is so endearing because Elvis is losing for once. Not that you’d know from the airy arrangement – or from the first verse, the song saving its unpleasant twist for a little while. It rests on a tweaked Bo Diddley beat, an undercarriage of such pedigree and power that the rest of the band can afford to give the music a little space and delicacy. Sonically it’s Presley at his lightest, but that seems to bring out the best in the man. Presley tackles the song with authority, the showboating of his recent hits left behind: he respects its simplicity and gives a more subtle performance than you might expect. Listen to him in the final, repeated bridge and verse, how he hints at despair and anger before settling on defeat. It’s not that he couldn’t fight for Marie – this is Elvis Presley singing, after all – but it’s that there’s suddenly nothing worth fighting for.


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 230 views

LONDON BRIDGE IN MICKEY TAKING SHOCKER: Whilst standing in a bleary haze on platform 6 waiting for the train to Charing Cross (it’s these details that make or BREAK! a successful blogger, I tell yer) I look up and see a picture of a RAM in a Gentleman’s Club in a pose of confident recline that I imagine Boris Johnson to assume at the East Croydon Conservative Club, or something. Either way, the posing RAM was in my vision on a honking great big BILLBOARD for YOUNGS B33R. Argh! What is a lady to DO faced with the prospect of CCP’s so early in the morning?

A lady looks away.

To the next billboard, my eye drifts. An “art-deco” picture of some beach-houses, the type one expects to see on posters from the 50s advertising “See Brighton by RAIL!”. I sigh in relief. Surely this is just an advert for one of those bizarre City tailors that make pink shirts and yellow faux-silk ties and think this is a GOOD THING?? Seriously! Have you seen them? It’s NOT RIGHT! Oh look at me, digressing again. Yes but, I then look at the subtle text at the top, and instead of reading “Moss Bros” or something, it reads “ADNAMS. THE BEER FROM THE COAST” (or words to that effect).


Overcome by the double WHAMMO of TWO BEER ADVERTS before 8am, I fall over on my bottom and sit in a puddle, and scratch my head in overwhelment.

Then the train comes, and I note to my horror that I am sitting opposite a lady wearing nails which are painted red, blue, green, black and red again. I do not endorse this. Hands that look like they belong to children’s TV presenters should NOT in fact live on a white-bloused commuter. No! They should be teamed with DUNGAREES, and GUNGE! Won’t someone let her KNOW, I thought??

Luckily the train then ARRIVED and I committed no social FAUX PAS.

I’ve digressed for the THIRD TIME, I note, but I shall leave by imparting you with the FACT that I’ve just had a DOUGHNUT. Oh I love doughnuts. Not much JAM in the middle though. Come on Tesco, get a grip…