Posts from 17th January 2006

Jan 06

Day 58: Theme From Tokyo

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 417 views

I woke up with the poor dismembered bodies of the young karaoke singers around me. It was like a scene from a Japanese horror movie – such as Ring (nowhere near as frightening as the Abba horror Ring Ring which still keeps me awake at night). I could not remember my actions, but it was more than plausible than in a fit of rage I had attacked these poor Japanese teenyboppers as they attempted I Think Were Alone Now, that proving that they were not
a) Tiffany
b) The Rubinoos
c) Tommy James & The Shondells
d) Alone at all.

And yet even I would surely not stoop to murdering sailor suited schoolgirls just because they were singing a bad song really badly. Would I? I was not going to wait to find out. Rather than the relaxing break I hoped Japan would be, it had become a nightmare. I needed space, quiet, solitude and a plain ticket away before the police charged me.

I head for the Imperial Palace in the centre of town, recognizing it as an oasis of calm (not that the phrase Oasis of Calm makes any sense these days). Walking through the imperial gardens, considering where I should go next, my eyes set up a Mandarin Duck. Which took me back…

BIS – Theme From Tokyo

…To the time I saw Bis in Amsterdam, where I threw an egg at the twee hairslided singer, and that is the last thing she did. Duck that is.

Remember Bis? Its a very short name, easily overlooked on a hit list you might think. But what you misunderstand is that I give ever band their own line, so the very shortness – leaving lots of blank space – drew attention to them. That and the screeching catawauling noise of Manda Rin (please, my sides), the Toys’R’Us instumentation and the piss-poor stabs at ska this hopeless band attempted.

Theme From Tokyo comes from one of their later albums, when apparently they were over the age of eighteen and therefore were allowed to use grown up instruments. This did not stop them being rubbish, but at least access to a drum machine meant they were not constantly out of time. Out of tune yes, but only an electronic voicebox would sort that problem out. Now there is an idea.

Bis are one of my successes, no longer being together. I hounded them out of existence from the moment I realised that they had set their sights on terrorising children. Unlike Ruth Kelly, I believe in the sanctity of childhood, and am aware that allowing Bis to record the theme tune to a kids TV show was tantamount to making Gary Glitter an art teacher. Whilst I did not manage to save the ranks of Powerpuff Girls fans, I hope that the future will view the demise of Bis as the best we could do under the circumstances. Remember, they were the first unsigned band to play Top Of The Pops.


Why The Man Is In The Moon

Blog 7Post a comment • 304 views

I caught the first half of Man In The Moon last night, but we were too tired to stay up. So in answer to the “what did Andy Kaufmann die of” question, I websearched.

I did not imagine I would actually find his DEATH CERTIFICATE ON THE WEB.
(Lung cancer at 35 in case you cannae read the handwriting.)

The Decade Of The Smugs

Do You SeePost a comment • 282 views

Mr Busy, the slightly gossipy insiders view of the movie industry page of Sight And Sound wanders into a minefield this moth. In trying to define a cultural mindset, a move away from direct arthouse snobbery into what he describes as “Smug”, there are a number of contradictory ideas at play. Is he just talking about middle-brow, not hardcore arthouse but at the same time pooh-poohing populist cinema? Not really, that region of film is easily defined by the awards season. He is almost talking about the opposite – the fact that films with vaguely daring agendas are patronised and then downgraded. But until he gives us a concrete example, the concept seems to elude him.

His suggestion is that the critical stance of “the smug” are the type of people who were initially interested but quickly turned off by Dido. Initially she was interesting because she wrote her own tunes, was involved in UK Dance and of course was sampled on one of Eminem’s best records. However once either
a) critics realised that actually the songs were just inoffensive ballads
b) she sold lots of records to the general public
the critics went off her. To the extent that she epitomises a bland naffness.

The cinema equivalent of Dido, Mr Busy suggests, is Alan Parker. No-one would be seen dead rating Alan Parker as an interesting film-maker these days, indeed no-one would be seen dead writing about Alan Parker. And he is right, but is it due to blandness? Possibly. Is it due to populism? Again, only possibly. Is it due to Parker being a self-involve gobshite who constantly berates the media. Probably.

I like the thesis, I know exactly what Mr Busy is talking about. I even thing Dido (or Coldplay) as the epitome of it is correct. But I am not sure if Alan Parker is their man. But then directors are rarely as connected to their work as musicians are, especially when the work is deigned to be bland. Maybe the Dido of the film world are directors like Bob Zemeckis or Martin Campbell. Or maybe the concept is not applicable to directors at all, and rather films themselves.

(For what its worth, this is the best copy of Sight & Sound I’ve read in a while, where the magazine for the first time seems positively forward looking and perky about cinema. I even liked the David Thompson piece. Still not enough television, but it was ever so).

Quiz Night Hustler

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 379 views

The new quiz season at the Three Compasses started last night. This is a twelve week season, unlike the six week one which we walked just before Christmas. And out team is understrength, having lost members to the 21st century malaise that is traveling. Nevertheless I am sure quiz regulars hearts must have sunk a touch when they realised we were back. And were probably heartened when we not only came second last night, but two teams came joint first.

Well on our stewards enquiry, down with pencil and paper on the table, I have to disabuse them of this fact. After three rounds we had thirteen points. In the next three rounds we picked up twenty five. The winning score was thirty five, we were given thirty three, we actually got thirty eight.

But did we whinge, did we moan? No. Firstly we had already picked up a bottle of wine as a spot prize. And secondly, we are in this for the long run. Two teams have shared victory, so they will return knowing that we are beatable. And hopefully they will return week after week paying money in that we should regularly clean up. Just call me a hustler.

Oh, and I’d go back anyway at the moment as they have a fantastic coriander ale on.

New York Was In The Arctic Circle In The 1930’s

Do You SeePost a comment • 316 views

Grand conspiracy theory I know, but finally in the recent Peter Jackson production of King Kong I HAVE PROOF. See below:

Proof 1: There is snow everywhere. In particular Central Park is so cold that an iced over lake is strong enough to support the weight of a cavorting flirting giant ape*.

Proof 2: Night lasts about one hour. Kong breaks out of the theatre during his show, and it is dark. Bearing in mind that theatre shows, even in the 1930’s, always started before midnight, the latest this show could be was perhaps a late show at 11pm. He goes on a quick rampage and finally comes across his true love. After a quick cavort on the frozen lake, its time for a quick run up the Empire State Building. By the time the planes shoot him down, the sun has risen. Therefore night time is less than two hours long, suggesting a much more northerly position for New York.

*It may be suggested that it cannot be THAT cold, as Naomi Watts seems happy with said cavorting in a diaphanous skirt. To which I counter that any woman who is seemingly impervious to the kind of whiplash injuries she ought to have sustained on Skull Island can certainly put up with a bit of cold.

Worrying News For Web Designers

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 366 views

People judge websites quality in about a twentieth of a second. Which IS FASTER THAN WE ACTUALLY THINK. This is the reality of the interwebworld, first discovered almost five years ago when it was discovered that people could tell if a website was using frames or not BEFORE THEY EVEN CLICKED ON THE SITE.

So if it takes less than a twentieth of a second for us to be prejudiced against a website, why are there so many crap websites out there. My warning signs almost certainly come with the words “Loading” or “Click To Skip Intro”. Huzzah for the human brain developing new senses (I think we are up to twelve now).