Posts from 2nd May 2006

2
May 06

DEATH OV POLITICS, 6.55pm, Tuesday 2 May 2006, BBC1

Blog 7Post a comment • 306 views

OK, I don’t expect party election broadcasts to be just one old, white, public school educated bloke sat behind a desk reeling off a list of things their party has done/will do if you vote for them, and i know it’s difficult to run a national campaign for local elections, but tonight’s labour effort has plumbed new depths of saying ABSOLUTELY FUCK ALL about ANYTHING. it makes dave the chameleon (DUDES, everyone LOVES chameleons, what were you thinking!?!) look like a masterpiece of hogarthian satire, makes us LONG for the days of D:ream and the five pledges, even OWPSE Bloke would have been better than this tossed off nonsense (britain’s on the move, natch) that looked like a “come to britain” video knocked up by a bunch of first year meedja students in 1998…

…and that’s before we get started on SHED 7!!! it’s GETTING BETTER, do you, in a very real sense, SEE???

You Take 16 Blocks And What Have You Got?

Do You SeePost a comment • 347 views

The reviews of 16 Blocks are almost a text book example of damning with faint praise. A better than average buddy movie, a notch above th usual buddy movie fare – phrases like that don’t make you storm the cinema. And you know what, they’re right .As a genre exercise 16 Blocks is more than acceptable. It goes interesting places, rounds out its characters slightly beyond its genre cliches, but it isn’t the best things since sliced bread and it knows it.

This kind of lacklustre whiff over the project is illustrated I think by the lead character names. Willis plays Moseley, Mos Def play Eddie Bunker. Both names of crime authors. It might be an homage, but its a clunky homage to his favourite authors. I would not have been surprised if the bad guy was called Leonard or Chandler. But certainly a return to form for Richard Donner after Timeline.

Day 64: One Night In Bangkok
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 LOUSY TUNES

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 560 views

I was a little bit off the beaten track, stuck – as I believe they call it – In Country in Vietnam. Very friendly people whose food was excellent and all their radios ran of batteries, which were easily stolen. In my time their the only music I heard was bird-song, and that is only because the buggers flew away when I tried to catch them. “Blackbird singing in the dead of night” = “Blackbird dead” in my book.

After consulting my Wonder Book Atlas I planned a route across Laos to Thailand and then to hopefully hit India somewhere along the line. Luckily people in communist countries are always pleased to pick up hitch-hikers, especially attractive Western female ones, so I had no end of drivers taking me through the breathtaking countryside. I thought we might have to stop in Laos, which would have caused me a problem as I don’t know any songs about Laos. Clearly I know lots of Laosy songs, but that’s not a joke that really works in print so I was pleased to see he was just stopping off at an Esso to put a tiger in our tank and move on.

Things unfortunately got a little bit stuck when it turned out that he had actually put a tiger in our tank and the engine did not strictly run of tigers. Though by then it was late night and we had reached Bangkok.

ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK – Murray Head

Okay. ABBA. I hate ’em. But I do know that they wrote their own lyrics as well as their own music. Which might explain the sub-literate doggeral which rocks up in Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! or Waterloo (“I was defeated you won the war”). But if you did want to write a West End music, surely they would be better off sticking with themselves, than splitting the fee with a man whose day job is writing lists about records and looking like a waxwork of Jeremy Bentham? Indeed, they clearly would be as the hateful musical “Mamma Mia” has outrun “Chess” by about five times.

CHESS!

A MUSICAL ABOUT CHESS GRANDMASTERS!

Okay, a musical about trains is a stupid idea too. So is one about Jesus. So is one about the Phantom Of The Opera. All musicals are stupid. So since Tim Rice writes ’em he is stupid. But if there was a genus of stupidity which was more crystalised stupidity than the rest, man alive, Chess would be it. And if there was a subcatagory of stupidity within Chess, some sort of quintessential essence of stupidity boiled down into one moment: Stupiditus Stupiditus Stupid – if you will : well One Night In Bangkok would be it.

Murray Head is some sort of actor come singer. We won’t dwell to much on his miserable career except to note that his delivery is even worse that David Essex (and I should know, I’ve suffered through an Essex version of Bangkok). Instead look at the carnivalesque atmosphere attempted to be evoked in ONIB. Showgirls, dirty sex, everything basically except Yul Brynner. Its a tall order. And the song flops hugely. Its more the Tolpuddle Summer Fete that some extraordinary carnival of Chess.

A CARNIVAL OF CHESS! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING.

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster? One night in Bangkok and the songs a stinker more like. Consider how Rice came up with this line, to convey how the CARNIVAL OF CHESS travels the world :
“It’s Iceland — or the Philippines — or Hastings — or —
or this place!”

HASTINGS!

I won’t even get to the Somerset Maugham line… Rest assured than this song manages to simultaneously not be about Chess, Bangkok or anything except tedious white boy talkie rap and showgirl catawauling. Stupiditus Stupiditus Stupid

NEVER THAT FUNNY

Do You SeePost a comment • 214 views

i dremt mr sayle came up to me in the street and challenged me to tell him what i thought of his work, only i woke up before i could, so HERE IT IS ALEXEI

(update: as’s besetting sin is TECHNICAL IMPRECISION)

Cattle and Other political Animals

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 540 views

Looking Through Garry Winnogrand’s book Stock Photographs: The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, initially, I thought it wasnt very good. Though it came via interlibrary loan at the same time as a couple of livestock catalogs, so maybe it was unfair to compare them. The live stock catalog photographs were slick, commercial, beautiful, and seductive, they made me want to buy the product and they were of a form, genuine;y vernacular even being commercial. The livestock in this book you can barely see, they are badly cropped, move too ing to a rodeo, the doctors, wranglers, clowns, medics, and support staff are an intergral part of the whole process–no one bucks a bronco or rides a bull without a coterie. The photographs that Winniograd are the photos of an outside, because he shows the assistants and in that representation punctures the mutually agreed upon mythologies (the best ones arquickly for the camera, aren’t the main point of the photo, or show up with the wrong side to the lens (if you were into sheep assholes this would be be book for you)

I was going to dismiss this as yet another act of cultural tourism, and not a very good one at that. The tourism charge seemed really apt for several reasons– the photos were commissioned by the U of Texas at Austin, and a museum there and because of Winnogrand’s status as a art world insider (the several NY:MoMA shows, the two Guggenheim grants, the NEA funding, and other grants and gifts).

But the photos kept sticking in my head–the work is very much part of the anti-aesthetic of the photogs that arrived in the 70s, and has the grit/dirt of Meatyard or Gednis, but most photos of the west, frankly most art of the west is empty, is about unpeopled vistas–and the photos here are of large crowds of people, dozens in all sorts of circumstances, in parades, judging, in the stands of rodeo, at parties after the stock sold well–having a peopled west, and having that shot like one would shoot new york cocktail or LA dance clubs has a certain egalitarian power…(this is strongest in two pictures he took of the stands, each of them a crush of people in their Sears bought best, overwhelming two painted murals, of a cowboy doing his work on bare plains–the reality of spectacle and stadium, abutting the mythology of the unpopulated west in a really clever way)

Continuing on that theme, the 13 photos he has taken of actual rodeo events, are fascinating when juxtaposed to the stills that come from professional associations. The tradition in professional stills is to make the animal and man alone in the frame, a struggle between two elements (element in the primal sense of the word).The photos here are of everyone involved, and the action makes the camera goes squirelly. The best are the several where the clown is running the fuck out of the way of 1000 lbs of angry meat, while the cowboy remains foolishly on top.

Looking through the book was a useful argument against assuming value in only one source.