Went to see The Dream Aktion Unit and Mirror/ Dash at Stirling Tolbooth on Friday. The music was fab, the venue sophisticated and I didn’t even mind that I wasn’t allowed to smoke [ok so I also didn't have anyone to nab any cigarettes off ] Anyway this has kind of rekindled an old interest in all things free-form [free dancing being the best of all] and I’m going to have to dig out those Ornette Coleman and free jazz CDs I used to listen to as a teenager.
OK, this easily made my day. Radio 4 recently ran an interview series Chain Reaction. The details are unimportant, as Slartibartfast once nearly said. All you need to know is that my favourite standup Stewart Lee interviewed my favourite comic author Alan Moore. It’s like a big comics-flavoured biscuit with chocomedy chips, or possibly a fondant laugh topping.
If you check out the Chain Reaction site now you get Alan Moore interviewing Brian Eno, what are the chances?
In other news the film of V for Vendetta is progressing, though possibly not in good directions.
As if you needed it here’s just one more reason to say a big Fuck You to MTV and everything they stand for with their safe, corporate, mediocre-friendly, stuff-it-down-your-throat, unit-shifting, cowardly demographic slime.
Despite the howling awfulness of Robot my week was boosted by Plusnet upping my ADSL connection to 2Mb, so the bittorrents have been flying through the wire. If I can recommend one thing only, I strongly urge you to download Armando Iannucci’s 2004 – The Stupid Version. Easily the funniest thing I’ve seen since the toothbare tongue-lolling face of that strangled poodle.
Actually if you enjoyed any Chris Morris stuff you will be filled with childish glee watching Armando, he’s my new hero. He presented his own superb 8-part series that you can also grab. Or the rare Fry & Laurie series 2. Oh and the proper Adam and Joe series’ are also appearing just now. Why go out?
So I finally burned 90 minutes on I, Robot. Pretty funny, the first 4 minutes have almost no dialogue but placement for Converse, JVC and FedEx. I was expecting this mind you. I even expected the gay assault, with unending shots of Will Smith’s bizarrely inflated naked body. However.
The film features your typical Mega Corporation running the city – think OCP in Robocop, or Tyrell Corp. in Blade Runner – called USR. Fine I thought, until they expanded the acronym. Yes, it’s present day company US Robotics. The whole fucking film is one long hymn to a second rate modem manufacturer. Can you imagine how unacceptably distracting this would have been if the company was Microsoft or similar? What a shower of feckless twats.
Saying that I enjoyed the robot-on-robot fighting action, so a whole minute or so wasn’t completely wasted. Also pretty funny to see Smith trying some Real Acting. Bill’s quick capsule review: Piece of Shit.
Starting the new job next Tuesday, is what it looks like. This gives me three days or so to clear the To Do before working hours are not spent drinking tea and playing games. Amusingly this includes getting my kitchen ceiling remade after an angry washing machine in the flat above spewed its soapy load over my kettle. I am learning exciting manly things like ‘screeding’ and ‘skimming’, both of which must be gay slang for something messy.
In tribute to “the last weekend before I start work”, the Friday and Saturday past were utter chaos. The highlight was a trip to Penny Black on Saturday morning (opening hours 5am-10am, drinks fans). Sat in a total state sipping warm champagne and being astonished at the actual non-scary nature of the punters. Good fun but some terrible conversations.
Last night watched the frankly astonishing Liverpool victory with some colleagues, and drank according to their performance. Quite heartwarming in Scottish pubs to see a 110% support rate for the English side. People were going bonkers on the penalties.
In other news summer is here; the ivy is growing back over my block and framing the windows appealingly. In sunlight it appears as though a benevolent leafy Swamp Thing is hugging the block. In darkness it appears that hairy baby’s fingers are forcing their tendrils inside the house. There is also a spectacular explosion in the spider population outside my window. Spider Explosion!
This shop is ace! I think I may spend a fortune. They have cat collars so cool, I wish I had a cat (they’re too small to fit Leo) And cool bags and lego bracelets and sushi bracelets and skull legwarmers for your dog. And a small creature named Loaf. I like it all.
And whilst we’re on the subject of spending your hard earned bucks on stupid things, Airside have new stitches in their shop. Ultimate kitsch value, and at £50 for each one off erm.. thing, it’s not so much a fluffy bed companion as a way of life.
Did you see Dundonian George Galloway ‘interviewed’ by Jeremy Paxman immediately after his election win? Totally hilarious. Paxman gets his puss rapped (and the questioning had to be defended by the BBC afterwards).
He earned even more respect from me though in his reaction to the recent accusations levelled by the US Senate. The general idea is that a pro-war US senator – Norm Coleman – is pursuing revenge tactics against a small number of anti-war politicians (British, French, Russian).
In Galloway’s case the charges seem identical to earlier – disproved – allegations made by a US newspaper. Rather than simply issuing a statement (like the others) then, George realised the diamond PR opportunity this gave him. He insisted on meeting the Senators in person, and laying the smack down with good old-fashioned British Parliamentary verbal. A profound shoeing was administered.
In fairly uncomplicated language Galloway called the panel leader Coleman a “pro-war, neocon hawk and the lickspittle of George W. Bush,” and somehow survived. He also quite openly pointed out that Coleman simply sought revenge against anyone who did not support the invasion of Iraq.
Definitely not the way it was meant to happen for the US panel. As The Times note, they were “completely unused to being attacked by a belligerent foreigner with a peculiar tan and a strong Scottish accent”, and the “brawling methods of British politics”.
Update: nice coverage by Yahoo News.
Pre-work schedule is ongoing this week. I try and get up early – sometimes succeeding – and do techy stuff most of the day while trying equally sketchily to stay off the web. Then in the evening a film or two and a few hours of WoW. Did I mention the sheer excellence of ScreenSelect? OK.
Stalker: by your man Tarkovsky is as slow-paced as you might expect, and then some more. And then played at half speed. Patience required then, but the pay-off includes some of the most hauntingly beautiful scenes you’ve seen. One of those films that you seem to appreciate properly days afterward, when it all compresses down in your head and you’re left with the essence of it.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: alas I added the 2003 version when I wanted the original. The remake is so fucking awful they should be ashamed. Just really predictable slash fare, flaccid and lacking in imagination. The end chase sequence is yet another 20 minutes of the heroine squealing, and despite repeatedly dunking her in water – for bouncy T-shirt effect – manages to be both laughable and dull. I hated it.
Thankfully Spirited Away was a total vision. Like everything good I remember about the Neverending Story, this is a perfect fable with real depth. Dreamlike, subtle, unpredictable and internally consistent. Like in a dream, the reasons for things happening are there to be found but never hammered home. Characters are satisfyingly complex with no goodie/baddie stereotypes. Pacing is also perfect (unlike Laputa or Monomoke, for example). Magical. Make sure you watch Jap sound with subtitles though, unless that stretches your wee brain.
2:1 : )