Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Apple: Switch... We'll Keep You Here Until You Do!


I love the new Apple Centre in NYC. It is a bold design and a beautiful utilisation of space. The store is underground. It is topped by a huge glass cube and the innards are reached by a glass staircase or a glass elevator.

Classy, glassy, faulty.

AppleInsider reports that a group of students ended up trapped in the great glass elevator for 45 minutes.

Stuck in a glass elevator on Fifth Avenue, New York City. That's not at all visible. Nobody would have seen.

I am sure they had their iPods to keep them entertained.

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BBUK: Four to the Door

Almost two weeks into Big Brother over here and already four housemates have left the house. FOUR! And only one of them has been evicted via the usual channels.

Shahbaz left of his own accord after flirting with suicide. His stint in the house was a series of over-dramatic little breakdowns and I think Big Brother was happy to be rid of him, especially as community groups were already piping up about the inappropriateness of putting him in in the first place.

Dawn effectively laced the boot that Big Brother gave her. She was not keen on staying without her suitcase. The little mind games we recognise as par for the course, she saw as victimisation and bullying. I am sure it can seem that way when you are in the firing line, but honestly, what was she expecting?

Bonnie was voted out. Thank sweet baby Lord Jesus.

And today, George (Prince William) walked out citing that he didn't think that he would be able to deal with the fame were he to stay in too long. I can't blame him. A glance at the Big Brother sections of The Sun or News of the World is like opening a 40-gallon drum of worms. The papers are extremely vindictive. Allegations of date rape, lesbian lovers, affairs with Pete Doherty, PVC fetishes. They openly rake muck and then gleefully fling it.

And the public loves it (don't they J.P.)

Though, at this rate, there won't be many housemates left to bitch about.


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At 4:11 pm, Anonymous jp said...

yes we do

 

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hey Pandora, Show Us Your Box!


I am a renowned proselytiser of music. I will whore my music collection out to anyone willing to listen. I don't listen to the radio that much so talking to friends about music is a wonderfully rich source of new music, but I have noticed recently that I very seldom listen to the music my friends recommend. Partly it is because I names tend to tumble out of my head and be forgotten very easily but I have come to realise that a large part of me simply doesn't want my musical tastes to be beholden to anyone. I want to have the satisfaction of having dug up new artists of my own accord. Silly really.

For a good while now I have been keeping my iPod stocked with recommendations from Pitchfork's excellent Best New Music page. While visiting this morning, I bumped into their weekly feature, Better Than We Know Ourselves by Chris Dahlen and lo and behold, what should take centre stage but Pandora, a music recommendation service, which a friend of mine has been pushing me to try for months. I had held out for so long, but if Pitchfork commands, I follow.

The idea that a project such as Pandora or Last.fm can effectively map and project our musical tastes is tantalisingly interesting. Not so much because it can actually be done (I don't believe it ever really will be) but for what it shows us about how and why we even listen to music in the first place.

I remember a friend of mine who once said something along these lines (I would give you the exact quote but my time machine is out of action): I used to like [insert band name here] but now they play them too much on [insert generic commercial radio station name here]. This comment goes hand in hand with the "hipper" version: I used to like [insert band name here] but now they play them too much on The O.C.. In my typically argumentative manner, I berated my friend for being such a slave to fashion, remarking that the band he knew and loved was still the same band (it was like the band had suddenly turned gay). As you can tell from my opening comments, I am just as much a slave to marching to my own beat.

Like clothes, speech and reading matter, music marks us as both individuals and members of a collective. We wear music like a badge but as much as we define ourselves though music we also constrain our music through our desired identity. I love the feedback Pandora received: "Somebody writes a note saying, 'I want Neil Diamond off my acoustic rock station now,' and I write back, 'No. Listen again. What's your problem with Neil Diamond?'" We often tend to disregard music or love it because of the associations we tie to it (Don's recent post on the Pet Shop Boys is beautifully illustrative evocation of this).

Computers may never understand why I love the throttled gypsy moans of flamenco or why I delight in the Numa Numa song but they may be able to point me in the direction of some undiscovered soundscapes and, if I listen without prejudice, they may be able to open my eyes to some unjustly closed musical doors. I suggest you check it out.

Oh dear, I just stuffed Sigur Ros into Pandora's box and she coughed up Jack Johnson. I think I have some more ideas to contemplate...

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X-Men: The Last Stand (or Faster Firebird Kill Kill)

X-Men: The Last Stand is one of those films that it is easy to bitch about. In fact it is very easy to bitch about, so easy in fact that I fear this review could easily become a little snipe-fest, so I am going to say at the kick off that this movie is okay. It is not good, but it is not bad. It is a comic book movie that never transcends the confinements of the genre. In this respect I would put it in the self same basket as the first film in the franchise, which is no huge condemnation, it is just a pity coming as it does after, the excellent X2.

The film pretty much picks up where X2 left off. Everyone is moping around wishing Jean Grey would rise from her watery grave and come back into their lives. It is like the whole X team never heard that old adage "Be careful what you wish for!" Jean comes back as damaged goods to wreak havoc on the nasty nasty world. If that is not enough to handle, some smart chap has invented a cure for mutants, which obviously proves to be quite a divisive little invention.

The threadbare plot is actually an extremely solid base for a comic book film. The "Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix" story is one of the most revered comic book plots ever written and the idea of a cure for a genetic "defect" is a brilliant extension of the mutant/gay parallel developed by big gay Brian Singer in the second X-Men outing. Where did it all go wrong? Unfortunately, the film fell in a heap after Brian Singer was offered a chance to resurrect Superman. Singer out, Ratner in. To compound the damage, Fox Studios set an unreasonable release date and Ratner (rumoured to be a studio "yes" man) set about the task of castrating the film to enable it to be shot on the quick.

Ratner has been quite ingenious in how he has utilised his resources and, truth be told, he has pulled off some very spectacular scenes. Magneto's assault on the road convoy to free some of his colleagues is spectacular, as is Xavier's confrontation with Jean at her childhood home. But for every successful decision there are at least a dozen clunkers. The biggest is that the film relies too much on these flashy set pieces and any character and thematic development are left by the wayside. The complexities of the issues raised in the film are never explored, or in many instances even hinted at. This leads to a very laissez faire feel to the plot, where events seem to happen simply because they look good.

This of course leads to some pretty hefty characters being either killed off or "cured". I personally don't take issue with this. In comic book land it happens all the time and it certainly doesn't mean that they won't reappear in the future. What I did take issue with was the unceremonious way that many of the exits were handled in that the film is so bloodless that there was no emotional connection to the characters, or if there was Ratner basically traded off the emotional investment of the previous films.

In the end, this is one of those films that is not well-crafted enough to exist in and of itself but it is one of those films that if you loved the first two (or just the second one) you will be more than willing to explain away any inconsistencies. In other words, this is the Return of the Jedi of the X-Men franchise. Worth seeing but prepare for the worst.

Oh, and it is another one of those films that you have to watch right to the end... like the very very after the credits end.

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4 Comments:

At 12:41 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

Couldn't agree more, Mike (although I disagree with you about the first X-Men film, which I rate very highly). X-Men III - The Final Stand, is bloodless. All the characterisation and depth that made Singer's films good has been lost.

I will add that, having just read some of the X-Men comics (loaned to me by my new boss at MCV) the 'mutant cure' plot was created by Joss 'Buffy' Whedon in an X-Men series that he scripted for a while. Good fun too.

Now I just want to see the film francise introduce the subplot where young Colossus (the metal-bound spunk) falls in love with Wolverine and comes out.

Go gay superheroes!

 
At 5:52 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I don't mind the first film. I think it was one of those films that suffered from the weight of my high expectations.

After seeing it for the first time I thought it was a let down. Now I see it as a great set-up for the second film, which I think is one of the best comic book flicks around.

X3 makes a good conclusion but (fingers crossed) there will be more. I didn't see it but there was a little snippet after the credits that hinted at things to come.

 
At 11:22 pm, Anonymous belial said...

Do you know that this is the first film review of yours with which I agree absolutely? (And it is rare that we agree even remotely...)

I do have to say though that I was happy with the deaths, but very unhappy with what I saw after the credits.

Such a poorly put together film.

 
At 11:29 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

This from the man who loved Date Movie.

Hmmm...

 

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Monday, May 29, 2006

I'm television-less... Well almost


It is that time of the year again. All the big television serials are shutting down for the summer, or for good.

(Reasonably unspoilery Alias banter follows)

This of course means goodbye to the Bristows. Opinions are mixed on the finale. I found it a little bit slap-dash in a very generic, let's tie everything up kind of way. Granted, the season was cut short by around five episodes but I have (had) pretty much lost faith that, without Abrams, the production team could pull all the convoluted plot threads into any cohesive and satisfying finale.

Sure, they brought back many a face from the past but they gave them little or nothing to do. Ultimately, the grand master plan was rather piss weak and left many of the aforementioned threads dangling in the breeze. To their credit, many of the characters received some poignant moments and did their best with them, but top notch acting by well loved characters couldn't save the under dramatised, Alias-shaped cookie cutter senarios that they were forced to intensely run through.

Does anybody die? It's Alias, everybody dies. But they will be back for the feature film, somehow.

On other channels: Veronica Mars finished up with a bang, Prison Break has run off, Lost has wrapped itself up in an even tighter enigma than ever, and the doctor is no longer in the House. What is left to watch???

Footballers' Wive$. Five seasons of trashy, campy, nudey, melodramatic goodness.


God bless Britain!


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Sunday, May 28, 2006

TATE-a-licious

The TATE Modern continued its long weekend long celebration of its first rehanging since it opened in 2000.

Today they staged the puppet show Mori el Merma, a collaboration between Joan Miró and Joan Baixas, using the original puppets, which were designed and constructed by Miró himself.

As you can probably glean from the little video snippets that I have uploaded for you, it was a pretty bizarre experience. I am sure the kiddies in the crowd loved the funny puppets simulating anal intercourse (that's right Donald, real art!). It was a little like the Muppets on acid. I suppose if Kermit and Fozzie were going to rip into General Franco they would resort to sodomising each other and singing gleefully.



That bum sex is used as a symbol of corrupt political decadence is hard to hold against this little production because everyone is so ebullient (and they handed out presents). The singing and dancing was infectious and it wasn't difficult to imagine yourself in some Catalonian plaza watching the carnivalesque ribbing. I imagine back then it was a welcome frivolity.

We didn't get through the entire collection today but we did have a look at some Pollocks and Miró's, some Dalí's and a Magritte or two.



Modern art. It is all very fractured. There is a lot that I like and a lot I am not too keen on. The works of the Tate Modern are so diverse that, while there is always something interesting to get lost in, there is a lot for which I feel no compunction walking on by. We didn't get as far as the Pop Art gallery, which I was particularly looking forward to (and was wearing my tomato soup t-shirt for) but entry is free so there is always tomorrow.

My favourite work of the day was a spontaneous piece produced by a kid on the floor of the turbine hall. Ah, school holidays and modern art galleries: a match made in heaven.

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5 Comments:

At 10:32 am, Anonymous belial said...

I think your tomato soup t-shirt was probably feeling right at home with the spontaneous child art.

 
At 2:36 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

To quote the band Art Brut: "Modern art makes me want to rock out!"

 
At 7:50 pm, Blogger Donald said...

Love it. It's been a while since I saw such a S.A.S.y performance!

 
At 11:34 pm, Anonymous belial said...

Ahhh... the good old days of S.A.S.

 
At 3:58 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

We won't see the likes of those days again!

 

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

R.I.P. I.P.A.

Excuse me a moment while I step up onto my high horse. Theeerree we go.

I thought coming over to the United Kingdom, home of the BBC and heartland of Received Pronunciation that I would be able to bathe my ears in the dulcet tones of the Queen's English.

Now, I know that Australian English may be far from perfect, but I was completely unprepared for the aural bashing that my poor tympanic membrane would have to endure. I could probably write a list that would stretch all the way to Melbourne but today I will start with just three:

1) The propensity of many a Brit to use the past participle (done) in the place of the past tense(did).

"Who scraped their fingernails down the blackboard?"
-"I done it!"


2) The over abundance of the glottal stop. Honestly, they drink so much t here but they can't seem to put into a bo'le.

3) The banishment of the dental fricative (th) and its replacement with the labiodental fricative (f).

"I like de way your brain finks?"

Still, there is some elegance in the substitution, since the voiced dental fricative (th) is likwise replaced with the voiced labiodental fricative (v), at least in the middle of words (initially, the voiced alveolar stop seems to suffice).

"Dat is your bruva, innit?"

Oh, the pain. Give me an H.R.T. any day.

On an even sadder note. While I was hunting down a link to Peter Ladefoged's excellent phonetics resources I discovered that, in January this year Peter passed away. His death certainly leaves a hole in the field he left his indelible mark on. The photo above shows Peter on the set of My Fair Lady, where he worked as a consultant (it is Peter's voice you hear on the vowel cylinders Eliza has to replicate). Do take a moment to read through his achievements.


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6 Comments:

At 10:05 pm, Blogger Donald said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:07 pm, Blogger Donald said...

Hehehehe...'labiodental fricative'! As Jerry Blank would say: "That's hi-larious!

I have made it my mission to use it at least once a day when I get back to work!

 
At 10:33 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

You think that is funny, you just wait until I trill my uvular.

Phonetics classes sound downright dirrrrrrrrrrty!

 
At 4:39 pm, Anonymous shamil said...

Did manage to accuse someone of overusing the labiodental fricative yesterday. Japanese Australian friend of mine does it all the time.

Actually Mike the death of RP is very interesting. Is Estuary English (sans glottal stop and all?) the new RP?


And sorry off topic how silly is Dawn or have I got the wrong end of the BBUK stick ?

 
At 10:48 am, Anonymous belial said...

What an amazing man. . . or perhaps "was" an amazing man.

Anyway... i still shivva wenn I read "labiaden'al". There are juss summ places wivv which yu teef shouldn' be associa'ed.

 
At 8:06 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Estuary English replacing R.P.? I shudder to think Shamil.

It seems some linguists believe it could happen. I find it interesting that the egalitarianism of the accent is a main element of its attractiveness to British youF.

If it did take over I can't imagine Australia following suit. I suppose that would leave Australians speaking a more "high" English that most of the English.

 

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Cannes' Heat

Some things I have had to let slide this year, with having no money to do anything. Cannes was one of those things. But did it have to be such a stunner this year?

The reactions are coming in on some of the films I sit at home hotly anticipating.

Sofia Coppola's 1770s/1970s melange, Marie Antoinette has met with boos rather than wees. Then, who cares about French critics anyway? Anachronism worked a treat in Plunkett and Maclean so I am still hotly anticipating this flick as I speak/read/type. Watch me, watch me anticipate hotly!

It was a whole 'nother story for San Pedro Almodóvar, whose new cinematic treat, Volver received more claps than slaps. You could fry chorizo on my anticipation for seeing Carmen and Pedro working their magic again. And Chuz Lampreave, too. Gold!

Hands up who is surprised that the critics didn't like Southland Tales. Richard Kelly's first film, Donnie Darko, may have been an instant hit with the geek-ridden "cult" film goers but it certainly didn't win the praise of many individuals with moleskin pads and sharpened HBs. Donnie's follow-up saw many a walkout but we all know that they were simply walking out of the chilly cinema to bathe in the hotness of my hot hot anticipation. I don't care what the they say, I'll get it. Myopic critics, pffft!

Finally, a project I have been following (and hot hot hotly anticipating) ever since Hedwig took off his/her wig. John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus started with an open casting call for men and women of any make and model to come and create a film cram packed with sex sex sex. Real sex. It was on again, off again, on again. Lucky for us they settled on "on". The critics agree so all the film needs now is a distributor with a set of balls as big as my anticipation is hot.

There's heaps more on show and I have set myself the goal of being there sipping Camparo from Heath Ledger's navel this time next year. Don't worry, I'll send photos.

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6 Comments:

At 9:47 am, Blogger stuboo said...

marie antoinette LOOKS beautiful, but as a concept APPEARS quite intriguing. a period piece set to siouxsie sioux, the cure & new order? what could be better! & the cast - Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Molly Shannon, Judy Davis, Steve Coogan, Asia Argento, Marianne Faithful, Aurore Clement, Tom Hardy - brilliant! who cares what CANNES says, i say! = )

 
At 1:09 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

Mmmmm, Heath Ledger's navel. *ahem* Excuse me, lost in reverie there. I can't wait to see Shortbus!

 
At 2:39 pm, Blogger RC said...

i'm not surpsied at the marie antoinette boos...it looked bad...

Do you think Volver's gotten better buzz than Babel?

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

 
At 4:48 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I have heard surprisingly little about Babel at Cannes. I am sure it will be well received though. Anything that criticises America will get the thumbs up, and it has excellent pedigree.

 
At 5:20 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

i don't think sofia coppola EVER looks bad, for she understands the finer photographic elements of light & imagery & how & when to manipulate it. as for babel, generally anything with out cate is tops. dunno about brad tho - he's a little hit & miss...

 
At 4:19 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey all,

Fresh from Cannes, John Cameron Mitchell will be the closing night speaker for Frameline's Persistent Vision conference, June 19-22 in San Francisco. Don't miss your chance to hear Mitchell talk about the intersection and difference between porn and art films.

Other noted speakers and panelists at the four-day conference include film and cultural critic B. Ruby Rich, TV host and writer Keith Boykin, and directors Malcolm Ingram,Jamie Babbit, Guinevere Turner, Angela Robinson, Rodney Evans, Parvez Sharma, Jenni Olson, Susan Stryker, and over 50 other queer media arts professionals.

More info and registration at www.pv2006.org

 

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

BBUK: Hail Sezer

I know I promised you some Shabaz today but there is still precious little of him on the net. He flew the coop today so I am sure there will be some more clips popping up soon. I'll keep hunting. In the meantime feast your eyes on Sezer.

The public seem to be writing him off as a slimy "geezer" but I really think there is more to him. Maybe I'm biased.



He has gone the hard sell on Imogen (who is positively gorgeous) and tonight it seems to have paid off. Everyone else is cynical but I think they make a great couple.

Aaaww!

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3 Comments:

At 2:59 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

he's hot! so's she! MORE please?!

 
At 10:04 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I will certainly be collecting as much as I can. And of course, I will share the wealth!

 
At 11:09 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

Go you for rating a mention on Dude Tube, one of my fave blogs (although I gotta say, I prefered it when it featured mostly drunk straight boys, as opposed to exhibitionist gay boys....*sigh*). Anyway, Mike rules! Mike rules! Mike gets to see all my favourite bands! Bastard. ;-)

 

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

BBUK: Resilience Masterclass

I feel it is my duty to anyone out there to give them advance warning that this blog is going to plunge new depths over the next thirteen or so weeks.

I also have to say that tonight's edition of Big Brother was sublime. Unfortunately, as it only finished moments ago you will have to wait for the juicy bits but I can give you the basic gist.

What was a happy home only a few days ago has splintered due to the shenanigans of Shabaz, the "Paki poof". In the housemates' defence he is tres O.T.T. but at the same time they are dealing with it like school children (believe me, I know). Shabaz readily offered up the "it's because I'm too gay for you to handle" excuse. While that certainly played a role in the beginning of this situation, Shabaz's coping strategies and his eagerness to slip into the role of house pariah have simply exacerbated the problem.

The last shot of tonight's show had Shabaz pilfering the house's food and hiding it in the back yard.

"Oh, the satisfaction," he beams. Absolutely clueless!

Until I someone uploads that I offer up instead a quick vid of one of the other nutbags in the house.



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10 Comments:

At 12:06 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

OZBB is also great at the moment! bring on the trash, i say! we over here may not have a 'paki poof' in the house but hey, we got rick outside! we do, however, have in the house DAVID, the gay farmer with model looks (ahem), who thinks he's very str8act (ahem) - BUT now that gothic gay elvis ROB has entered the house, i've realised just how camp a gay farmer can be! those two are soul sisters! i've also realised eyebrows can be plucked to a whole new level (and not by the girls.) i'm sure jp would love ROB! LOL the remaing housemates (also) snugly fit tightly moulded & cliched stereotypes - the SURFER, the ITALIAN, the SCRUBBA, the SKANK etc etc. still mighty fine entertaining stuff! so, keep the UK goss coming! i'll be keenly reading! x

 
At 1:58 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

And for all those Aussie BB fans, and for you Mike, seeing as you're missing all the meat on display - such as Jamie, oh my! - I give you:

http://allaussiebeef.blogspot.com/

 
At 5:28 pm, Anonymous shamil said...

ooer. I dont mind Daffyd the farmer just wish he would stop crying all the time. But I gotta say this year's Australian BB does seem rather good - absolutely love the bitchiness. Not sure about Goth Elvis initially but he may be growing on me (or perhaps tis fungus). Still UK BB does sound even better - perhaps Sezer and Shabaz will eventually get it on ?

 
At 7:45 pm, Anonymous jpfromireland said...

that is fukin awesome!!!UKBB rocks..i think i may have to become addicted to it when i come home soon.Don't care what these Aussies say..BBOz is full of uninteresting bogans..it's so so bad. U r missing nowt..except a few rather large penises on a Monday night

 
At 8:02 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Oh god JP. Honestly, if it were an Aussie girl carrying on like that you'd have been screaming about how much of a bogan she was.

She is horrendous but I love her so.

I watched an episode of BBOz today though and I have to agree with you. There is no diversity in the house. It is populated with the Bali set.

I don't know why they choose such a homogeneous bunch. It is like watching an episode of Home and Away, only with extra cock.

 
At 10:39 am, Blogger stuboo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:43 am, Blogger stuboo said...

ps. while i do agree that OZBB h/mates look like the cast of HOME&AWAY (slim, athletic, toned) i will say this - who would really want to see more fat people (like sara-marie par example) on TV? we've got enough fat in shows like FAT ACTRESS! (which, BTW, is brilliant) do we need more fat? bring on the svelte! am i fat? do i need light&easy? oh dear...

 
At 3:59 pm, Anonymous shamil said...

oh my god. (a) I am so very drunk following lengthy business lunch. (b)Am listening to "unpretty' by TLC on repeat loop on my ipod sp thas grate too. So lets have more fat people on the TV. Like Jade. Also JP dont be so mean to out home and away crowd. Also word verification is really hard after two bottles of wine.

 
At 10:11 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Hang on, don't knock fat people on TV.

Sarah Marie and Christie were both tops as well as being top of the food chain.

The beauty of BB lies in the mixture of people. Old, young, cool, outrageous, normal, obscene, devout, firey and placid.

Besides, beautiful people have generally had to work less on their personalities. All they seem to have to talk about is boob jobs and threesomes. Yawn!

Bring back ugly people. Tim and Daniel, people with brains or antagonistic people like that guy with the dreds from a few years back.

Enough of BB YHA!

 
At 9:55 am, Blogger stuboo said...

my tongue was firmly in my (fat) cheek! xx

 

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Goodbye Serbia and Montenegro...

...hello Serbia AND Montenegro!

Last night Montenegro voted to effect its independence from Serbia.

So, Serbia loses its beach and Europe gains a new Balkan country. The disintegration of Yugoslavia is almost complete. Kosovo looks to be next. A few years from now maybe everyone in the Balkans can have their own private country.

Of course, the real impact of Montenegro's independence won't be felt until next year in Finland because a little more Balkan in-voting is just what Dr Eurovision ordered.

Apparently, Eurovision is quite the impetus for geopolitical change!

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2 Comments:

At 8:32 pm, Anonymous James said...

Interestingly Serbia and Montenegro have qualified for the World Cup... not sure when the split takes place, but that team is basically now defunct.

 
At 2:55 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

As far as I know they are pushing for an early settlement if all goes smoothly, which these things rarely do. I have a feeling it was some time in mid July but it could have been June. It talks about it somewhere in the linked articles above.

 

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sing Me To Sleep...



More music drawn from my recent gigology.I was going to pop some songs up from Spoon, The New Pornographers and The Decemberists but in the end I elected to stick with the band that, by far and away, put on the best show.

So, prick up your ears for the storytelling brilliance of The Decemberists:
California One/Truth and Beauty Brigade from Castaways and Cutouts - This track closes their first album but opened their set Friday night. Two songs in one. It is a gentle summer track bathed in sunlight.

We Both Go Down Together from Picaresque - This track is pure Decemberists magic. A simple story, eloquently told. Two lovers leap to their deaths from the white cliffs of Dover. The beauty of the song lies in its jolly tone. There is so much joy here that it borders on the macabre.

Apology Song from 5 Songs - This is a cute little number off their original EP, which ironically had 6 songs on it. I'd like to know the gestation of this apology to a friend for losing his bicycle. It is so affecting in its simplicity. It is always fun to explore the beginnings of a band's sound and you can certainly see where The Decemberists were headed from here.

The Chimbley Sweep from Her Majesty - This song soared as Friday nights encore. Brilliantly augmented with electricity and theatrics it made for the perfect closer.


Remember you can order all these albums and more at Amazon UK.


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At 10:27 am, Blogger stuboo said...

speaking of awesome music - new ex-geffen records label (grrr how a great grunge label can go hiphop is anyone's guess?!) check it out
http://www.suretonerecords.com

 

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For Those Outside Europe's Vision: SPOILERS ABOUND!!!


Fate brought me to the U.K. for a reason and last night I fulfilled one of my destinies and cast my first vote in the Eurovision Song Contest. I would have cast my second and third votes as well but the mobile coverage at G-A-Y Bar (at least for my phone) was throttled.

What a night. A little bit of everything for everyone. This year's theme was legs. Legs and white suits. But hell, white suits are just par for the course nowadays.

My personal favourite was the singing mullet of Russia. The Lithuanians were ballsy with their confident anthem "We Are The Winners Of Eurovision", and yes that was about the extent of the lyrics of the song. Oh, and Armenia with their strap dancers.

The only disappointment of the night was the distinct lack of climactic key changes. We counted only three. Sweden, of course, managed to cram one into their entry, which was easily the most Euro of all the visions. It was certainly a HUGE hit with the patrons of this venue.

The beauty of Eurovision in Europe is that these guys are really involved. REALLY involved. There was one guy dancing out the front of the screens with his girlfriend, who knew EVERY word to EVERY song. That is devotion!

The winners, Finland's glam metal monster band, were also a crowd favourite. It seems it was a crowd pleaser all over the continent. Looks like next year will be a lot more theatrical.

Voting was a little different this year but there was still the prerequisite host of cheesy Euro-presenters. My favourite was the guy from The Netherlands who told Sakis and Maria that they looked like Will and Grace and then proceeded to give Sakis his phone number. Classy!

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3 Comments:

At 12:55 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

Oh glamour, oh joy, oh Eurotrash! Not quite enough hi-NRG pop songs for my liking (what were the French thinking with that dirge of a tune!) but more than enough white suits, Russian mullets and bondage dancing. I was watching the event with a crowd of about 120 people at the Spanish Club, and a madcap, noisy heckling crowd it was. FIN-LAND! FIN-LAND! FIN-LAND!

 
At 4:12 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

& also in melbourne, i flicked the tv onto which ever channel (shame on it) was screening the, erm, junior high talent show. first up i saw a man (wearing white) who could not sing to save his life (he, too, was surrounded by white, i believe.) next up a woman from germany singing in english doing C&W. i love contemporary C&W! she nearly killed a passion! *sigh* it had to go! i have to say i found much more pleasure watching (& squirming to) season three of the sopranos!

 
At 2:40 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Eurovision trivia 23: The English speaking German was actually Australian.

As for the French (and the Irish for that matter) they always take the comp too seriously. Bleugh!

 

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Gig: The Decemberists @ KOKO 19/5/06


Originally uploaded by Janus Granka.

Sit back and I'll tell you a story.

Hell, stand up and I'll sing it to you.

Seeing The Decemberists' Colin Meloy perform onstage is like lying back in bed listening to your mum read you a story. Each song is a little vignette, a trip into another world, another persona. Over the course of tonight's set we jumped off the cliffs of Dover, relaxed in WWII trenches, went up a chimney and lay prostrate on a basketball court. Each time we skipped from body to body, place to place, Meloy effortlessly conjured up the scene with a twist of his hand or a hug of his guitar.

I say effortlessly because we never left the concert. For all their drama and theatricality, The Decemberists are first and foremost a band. They look and sound like a band. They play tightly and they have the charisma and style of a band (Meloy has the best indie rock stance I have seen in a long time - he must spend ages in front of the mirror). Their art is in their music. If it weren't so evocative, Meloy thrusting his hands in his back pockets would be a cheap parlour trick but with the music pulsing around him, he transforms into "Billy Liar".

All of this began with a rather esoteric choice of opening track, "California One/Truth and Beauty Brigade", a slow builder off their first LP. All I can say is that it was an inspired choice. It gave away slowly what we were about to see and drew the audience into the magic of the imagination. When Meloy lay down in the lengthy bridge between the two songs (where the slash is I suppose) green grass seemed to roll out from under him and the sun kissed his face. Then he simply stood up and rocked on.

I took all of this in from the heights of KOKO's seventh level. It was the only railing that had any free space left but it turned out to be an optimum space. Secluded enough to feel intimate with the band with no distractions in front and no whale echo. After drifting through an up-beated "We Both Go Down Together" (I know, up-beat suicide songs, go figure), a crowd pleasing "This Sporting Life" and a soaring rendition of "The Soldiering Life", I was convinced to check out some other vantage points (and KOKO as I said before, has many).

Eventually I ended up in the pit again for "Billy Liar" and "Los Angeles, I'm Yours". Perhaps because there were too many conversations going on, or perhaps because they are not the band's best compositions I wasn't much taken with the songs or the position so I wandered back up to my little heaven in the heavens.

I am glad I did because the finale was a cracker. First they finished up with a crackling version of "Sixteen Military Wives", I song I have never really taken to until tonight. Meloy rocked out with his electrified acoustic guitar, knocked over microphones and leaped about. Just when they had the whole crowd jumping they disappeared.

One obligatory encore later they tip-toed their way into "The Chimbley Sweep". AMAZING. Words can't describe how well this song works live. Meloy walked into the crowd, held aloft by the hands of his fans, all the while strumming away then Meloy hushed the band. He hushed the band, then he hushed the crowd. He hushed the crowd, then one by one he knocked the band members into sleep.

With the band crumpled on stage like rag dolls, Meloy turned his attention to the pit. Gently he urged them to slink down on the no-doubt manky floor. Then the dress circle. Then the upper circle.

With the whole venue reclining on the floor the band picked up their instruments and continued with the song. Jenny Conlee tunefully rasped the gentler moments then, as Colin picked up the chorus, in a communal effort seen only when elephants walk the streets, the whole of the crowd leapt up and jigged out the rest of the closing number.

A grand ending to a grand evening.


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2 Comments:

At 2:26 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

Whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

*insanely jealous now*

 
At 5:59 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Ah Richard, you would have loved it.

Such an amazing set. If you could imagine everything you could want them to be live, you'd only be approaching what they've managed to pull together.

 

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Big Bruva

Okay, Big Brother starts tonight in the UK. Actually it is starting as we speak. I was going to wait until the end to tell you but this is TOO good.

The English are spastic.

Already this slapper has come on and ranted about how hot she is. She stepped out of the limo and everyone booed her.

Classic quote 1: "I am so hot, even Davina will be at home flicking her bean."

Ew!

OMG, the second housemate could be ever so slightly spastic. And I use that in the mean that in the nicest way. He is really hyperactive.

Third. Prince William. Seriously. Blue-blooded to the core.

This is great! Next up a self proclaimed "Perfect Paki Poof"... It gets better... He's GLASWEGIAN... and his name's SHABAZ!!! He refers to himself as a 21st century Quentin Crisp with a Asian muslim twist.

Keep updating your page coz this is going out live!

Next up: Plastic surgery woman. And so conceited. I'll grab you a photo soon.

"I don't consider myself a freak, I just consider myself as something abnormal"

Ooh, Prince William is freaking out!

Next up is the first "normal" person. She is going to bomb big time.

Next up is another "good looker" (his eyes and his abs are his best features apparently). He's also the second guy to go into the house who doesn't like transvestites or camp gay men.

Number whatever is the misanthrope. Fucking misery guts. Interesting choice of game plan.

What is the house lacking?

That's right, a Welsh nudist who hates posh people. Guess they're serving leek every night in this house.

A male man-eater from Canada. Muscle Mary with muscles on the side. He has a phobia of pregnant women... classic.

Shabaz is going crazy for muscled cowboy hat man!

Another man-eater, but this one is English and female (though not pregnant).

Ah, now for some pure entertainment. Chinese scouser! Nuff said. Probably my fave so far.

She'd like to meet Madonna because she's mint. Mint! She uses my favourite 80s word. She's gotta win.

This guy has to be a favourite. Sezer! And the crowd love him. First time they've actually cheered.

Acutally Shabaz is going crazy for everyone. He is off his trolley.

And finally, just what the doctor ordered. The social climber. She wants to marry up (and the only way is up for our Vicky P.) And she is wearing a playboy outfit!

Here's another little update: Spastic guy has Tourette's. For more info on Tourette's, visit the Tourette Syndrome (UK) Association website... That link came from the BB site and I haven't tested it yet.

Also I have to qualify that I use the word spastic as a term of endearment and I think it is great they have put him in the house. Especially this house. With this bunch spastic guy is positively mundane.

Ooh, look at me. All PC all of a sudden.

Okay, let's tie this up. Compared to Australia these guys play hard. They have very thought out personas. That, or they have VERY strong personalities. On top of that, the audience over here is far more vocal. In Oz they are loud but complimentary. Over here they are far more judgemental. It is like a huge episode of the Jerry Springer show.

Goodbye summer.

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3 Comments:

At 2:01 pm, Anonymous belial said...

I don't think I need to watch it with this level of commentary. Not sure that I could bring myself to do so anyway. But by proxy I can live with myself.

Glad to see that something of innate worth is keeping your page filled. Keep up the flow.

 
At 3:16 pm, Anonymous shamil said...

Oh belial lighten up

In between being vastly busy at work (ahem) I have been catching some of BBUK7 on some websites. WTF was Sezza thinking talking about flatulence while trying it on wiv that chick. Much more interesting than the Oz version

 
At 2:45 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

It is very different to the Australian version, which I tried to keep up with but wasn't very successful.

For one, they are much better at constructing plot lines in the show and foreshadowing what could be to come.

Secondly, there is less fascination with nudity, even though there is sure to be some. It is just more frank and they don't play upon it so much in the commentary (though it is early days.)

I am sure it could all fall messily into a messy mess mess but for now it is entertaining.

(snaps to Shamil for being a true addict!)

 

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Another Vid For J.P. (and Belial)

I didn't think anyone could ever drag up something more gut-wrenchingly awful as the masturbating walrus but I think this one beats it out easily. Oh, the tears!

Found this one over at Dlisted. If you are quick (witted) they are having a "caption this" contest. Go for glory!



YouTube is being painful for some reason. If the vid doesn't play, go here!


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1 Comments:

At 1:20 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

Sadly, this video is no longer available.

 

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"Do Not Take This"

This afternoon, on my way to the park for lunch I came across a note on the ground. It was written boldly on a piece of lined note paper and it read:

Do Not Take This

It took my fancy. At first I walked on. Twenty paces on I turned to check it out again. I returned to pick it up.

There was nothing written on the back. I didn't show any marks, tears or other signs that it may have, at one time, been attached to something.

It is quite astounding how much story this paper could have behind it. What was wasn't supposed to be taken? Has it been taken or did it just blow off? Come to think of it, why was something on the street moveable enough to require a note such as this? Maybe the note has been picked up by a pernicious child and the guarded object is now naked with nothing to shield it from passing magpies? Do magpies live in London (I think not)? Perhaps it is simply an elaborate "candid camera" style set up.

Whatever is going on, it is satisfying to contemplate the elaborate journey this note and its mystery master have travelled (and are still travelling).

It put me in mind of this poem by William Hughes Mearns:
Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today
I wish that man would go away.
Antigonish, 1899
I like the history of this poem. It has so drifted into Western consciousness that it was only recently attributed to the author. Until then most people though it an ancient nursery rhyme. That is an impressive achievement if you ask me.

Then again, I'm not here.

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2 Comments:

At 5:13 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

but did you take it?

 
At 5:33 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Take it?

And leave the rest of Hanwell bereft of such a thrilling tale?

No, I left it with the rest of the litter.

 

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Gig: The New Pornographers/Spoon @ KOKO 16/5/06


Ever since seeing KOKO on the ads for The Album Chart Show, a live music program on Channel 4, I have wanted to see a band there. Theoretically, I couldn't have chosen a better band to christen my KOKO nights than The New Pornographers and last night was the night.

KOKO stands like a monolith on a busy corner in Camden. Boldly illuminated letters pronounce its name proudly to the street. The place is huge without loosing its intense intimacy. That is most probably due to the deep red and gold motif in which the whole place is decorated. All storeys and ramparts included, there are something like seven levels of vantage points from which to watch the stage and then there are back bars and wings to ferret away in. It is like a playground for the live music lover.



By the time Rog, Duncan, Paul and I rolled ourselves in after our meal of exceedingly good vietnamese from Nam An, Spoon were already trying to rock the crowd.

While I am not a huge fan of Spoon, I do like them. I would even venture to say I like them a lot. Their recordings are can be quite adventurous and innovative but last night, live, they managed to squeeze all of that innovation out of their set, and with it went most of the passion. Even though we were chatting away up on tier 6, paying little attention to the band and attempting to stop our noses from bleeding, I got the vibe that that, like us, the crowd hadn't got the vibe.

I suppose that is the problem with a double bill. Most of the crowd will generally be there to see only one of the bands.

For The New Pornographers we muscled our way into the pit. From the bowels of KOKO, under the murderously large mirror ball I was awakened to the horrors of the acoustics and the impossibly low stage. Perhaps we were spoilt at the weekend with The Globe's elevated stage but I generally like to think that I should, as a reasonably tall individual, be able to see the band when I am 10 odd people from the front. The stage I can forgive, it is a known hazzard at concerts but the acoustics are harder to get over.



I am blaming the acoustics. It may have just been the mixing desk. Whatever the reason, A.C. Newman sounded like he was singing inside a whale; you couldn't even hear what he was saying when he was speaking into the mic. This, for a band whose music registers pretty highly on the treble-o-meter. It took me a while to get into there set but the sound did seem to improve, either the mixing desk picked up or my ears became accustomed. Or perhaps I just forgot my woes after Kathryn Calder missed her entry into "Bones of an Idol" and, giggling, was forced to play the notes with her nose, twice.

It is refreshing to see a band enjoying themselves on stage. The humanity of error and the cohesive playfulness gives the audience a reason for seeing a band live. From there on in it was all jumpy, sing-a-long goodness of the kind that only The New Pornographers can provide. We slunk upstairs to the mixing desk to take in their encore rendition of their classic first single "Letter From An Occupant" and it sounds like the place to be for this Friday's gig. Though on second thoughts, The Decemberists would probably fit right in singing inside a whale.

All in all, a little disappointing. I still hold out hope for KOKO; I don't think I'll bother seeing Spoon again live and I'd hunt out The New Pornographers for another set or two, even though they weren't the revelation I'd hoped for on stage.


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Robo-flattery

In the early hours of yesterday morning NNM was ambushed by a spambot, who proceeded to leave a flattering comment or three on every post I have written in the last month or so.

After recovering from my glee of having such an inflated (though illusory) readership, I launched my counter attack and initiated word verification on all comment posting.

Sorry, I know (most of) you are not robotic spewers of platitudes, and I know that it is a pain in the keyboard but it has now become a necessary evil.

Mwahwor.

2 Comments:

At 1:10 am, Anonymous James said...

Man, you should see the volume of spam that Angela and I get on our sites. I think I average about 3 spams per day, whereas since Angela posts more than I do, she rakes in almost double that. I installed Spam Karma for Wordpress, which is awesome, and really does kill all your spam. It uses lots of little tests to determine whether something is spam, and while it requires human moderation, it is easier for the user, as there is no captcha word puzzle involved.

The cool thing about the Blogger captcha I just noticed though is the accessible audio file -- first time I've really seen an accessible alternative for captchas being used.

OK, that's enough geeking from me on your blog for now!

 
At 6:10 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I am surprised that I have been able to hold out this long with the word verification thing.

I hadn't checked what happens when you press the little wheelchair button. I thought someone was going to come out of the computer and chop off my legs.

There was another spam filter that asked users to pick pictures of cute pussy cats out of an array. Apparently computers are imune to cuteness.

 

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Winner Takes It All


Crack out your PDAs ladies and gentlemen. In case you have forgotten this Saturday is the final of Eurovision Song Contest. Maybe this year we will see the birth of another ABBA or Bucks Fizz. Let's close our ears and pray.

This year the fun takes place in Greece, land of sodomy. And this year the event is hosted by a gay. Okay, it isn't official but we have it on good authority from friends in the know in Melbourne that their family back in Greece have the whole story on Sakis.

Who cares, he is is awesome eye-candy. Now if only he and Alex would get together.

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4 Comments:

At 3:34 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

Tell me more about Sakis being rumoured to be gay!

 
At 6:38 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Well, a friend of a friend of mine overheard at the corner store that the grocer's son said...

In seriousness though, at the last Eurovision Party at Surrey Road (the one where Sakis performed), Byron and Kate's friend Rosie (or it may have been her sister) said that (in their younger and more vunerable years) when they were staying with their cousins in Greece, they bumped into him on the beach getting intimate with his long rumoured bf.

Like Ricky Martin, there is an onging is-he-isn't-he debate surrounding the guy. Please, he performed at Eurovision in a white suit surrounded by male dancers. Case closed!

 
At 8:40 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

Fab - that's the only reason I need to include him in MCV this week then! Oh, did I tell you I was the new News Editor?

 
At 7:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice colors. Keep up the good work. thnx!
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The Director In The Trailer


Ain't It Cool just posted the new onesheet for M. Night's new film.

Even though I am a huge fan of his work I have been relatively uninterested in this project until now. The new trailer actually looks promising. I love M. Nights use of banal settings for magical events and this film looks to deliver on all fronts.

And this fellow is getting more and more brash with each film. He stars in the trailer for this one. My bet is that within three films he will be playing the fucking lead.

Why stop there? Perhaps with camera trickery he could play all the roles.

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6 Comments:

At 3:06 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

the poster is very intriguing - but can he redeem himself after the dreadful 'signs'?

 
At 3:37 pm, Blogger Donald said...

In all fairness, I don't think you can say he "stars" in the trailer. It was a very brief cameo, you must admit. I think it might be a smart move on his part - he has raised his profile with Amex and so forth - he has "branded" himself, if you will, and perhaps is now taking advantage of that, even in a small way?

Or maybe you are right and it's all ego! I can't imagine Hitchcock giving himself a moment in a trailer. Hehehe.

It's interesting how different to the teaser this one is. The first was even described as a "bed time story" or a fable (not sure which?) but the gist was a "benign" story. I like the fact that this seems to reflect a darker fairy-tale edge, (Although what is it with CG wolves? They are everywhere these days. I should be an agent for them!) Anyway, all the good fairy tales involve some kind of believable threat... I'll have to wait and see.

Ho-hum. I'm just hanging around, waiting to head off to the airport to collect Neil!

(Love all your recent posts by the way.)

 
At 6:20 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I have to agree that Signs was atrocious. Great premise but I think he tripped up when he tried to add in all that very flat humour. In its defense, it was hobbled by Mel Gibson.

 
At 6:28 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

The first trailer for the film was very different. That was what put me off the film. It looked rather bland.

They are still using the "bedtime story" line though it appears to have more scope than originally suggested. Apparently it is quite epic.

As for his forays into acting. Don't defend him Donald. He is a megalomaniac on a quest for cinematic domination.

He is hatching a master plan to be the first man ever to win all the major Academy Awards in one year, including all four major acting awards. And I think he has his eye on "best score" as well.

 
At 7:10 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 3:35 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

true, about mel hobbling it. why a crazy catholic would even sniff at a film about aliens is beyond me! speaking of catholics & catholicism, let me turn to 'the da vinci code' - if one more person informs me that this piece of mills&boon trash is a great read i'll fucking rip his/her head off! how can something written so terribly be a 'great read'? i have to go now, before i explode...

 

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Coriolanus @ The Globe Theatre


We braved the ominous weather today and on a whim rushed into Southwark to see Shakespeare's Coriolanus at The Globe Theatre.

The Globe is one of my favourite venues in London and for £5 it is easily one of the best days out in the city. Of course, the entry fee may be cheap but the cost to one's back is quite expansive. Clocking in at three hours, Coriolanus could have severely tested mine but the play cracked along so well that the pain was soon forgotten.

Coriolanus is one of the few Shakespeare plays that I hadn't read or seen, until today. After seeing it I am surprised that I haven't ever come across it before. Apparently T. S. Elliot ranks it above Hamlet in Shakespeare tragic ouvre. I wouldn't go that far as the final act is a little lacking and the flaw in Coriolanus' character, his pride, casts him as relatively shallow hero/anti-hero, certainly not as self reflective as Hamlet or Macbeth.


That said, the powerplay between the great unwashed masses and the senate is electrifyingly relevant to contemporary audiences. The disdain that Coriolanus holds the common people who hold the power to ratify his election as consul of Rome and the two-facedness of his peers is reminiscent of the ever more autocratic power structures of the modern superpowers. Unfortunately the masses are portrayed as fickle and easily manipulated, which I suspect, in some respects could just as well be true today.

As soon as the actors opened their mouths it was clear that there was some quality at hand. In Australia I have often pined for some decent Shakespeare productions and nothing has ever really come close to holding a candle to the British. This troupe had an excellent handle on the cadence and rhythm of Shakespeare's lines. I was a little worried when Simon Cake stepped on stage as Coriolanus; he seemed to chew through his lines with next to no passion. Luckily he came into his own when the role required it. I'd still take issue with some of the comedy he tried to bring to the role and sometimes his anger tended towards petulance but all in all he came out on top.


Margot Leicester was exceptional as Volumnia, Coriolanus' mother. What an intriguing character. She came across like an battle-hardened stage mum and her relationship with her son was both affecting and oppressively real. Menenius, played by silver-tongued Robin Soans, made for a solid voice of reason in the whole affair. It was a wonder to watch him in action and I hope to bump into him again in some future production at The Globe.

My only serious gripes with the characterisations was that of the Sicinus, who slipped all too easily into the gay villain role. Surely nowadays, with homosexuality being considered relatively mainstream, relying on gay affectations to signify to the audience that this character is untrustworthy and cowardly is a little passé.

As always everything turns out horribly and everyone dies, but at The Globe they like to finish up the traditional way so after the horrific conclusion there is a rousing dance number and everyone gets up and clapping. It is a great way to end a sombre tragedy.

I have taken some shots that you can see here but they are not that interesting because stewards were very vigilant about not taking shots when the show was being laid out.

There is also this quick video I took. You can see the steward coming over to tell me off.



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6 Comments:

At 10:08 am, Blogger stuboo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:15 am, Blogger stuboo said...

what a beautiful theatre! thanks for the great shots!

 
At 3:18 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

I walked past The Globe during a long London walk last year, but sadly it was closed for some sort of Shakespearean conference that afternoon, so I missed out on going inside for a show. *sigh* Reading your post, I'm now even sadder I missed out on the experience!

 
At 7:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your site is on top of my favourites - Great work I like it.
»

 
At 2:04 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The weather looks better than yesterday [Sunday 21 May 2006], but the audience were still attentive, winning praise from the cast - glad you enjoyed it.
Us stewards get used to being demonised, but as I'm sure you realise, the creative team are touchy about their rights - trying walking into the Royal Opera and taking pictures or video ...

 
At 2:54 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Standing for three hours is one thing, standing for three hours in the rain is another, completely impressive thing altogether.

I hope you don't think I was demonising you with my comments (eek!). I think the work you all do is admirable. I don't envy you the job of prising cameras from London's tourists.

Maybe you can all tell me off again when I come to see Titus Andronicus (when it is sunnier). Is it a successful staging? You'd probably know better than most.

Thanks for your comment (and your stewardingnessness)

 

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

More J. C. Leyendecker


Earlier today, sorry yesterday (it's just gone midnight) I posted of Mamluke's awesome photostream. I was particularly taken with J. C. Leyendecker and I was reminded of a pic I had found a while back in one of Worth 1000's photoshopping contests and secreted away on my hard drive.

Well Mamluke had the original in his J. C. Leyendecker set.


I know the photoshopping didn't take much; there was a hell of a lot of subtext there already. Not surprising since Leyendecker was a darksider who lived with his lover and even immortalised him as Arrow Shirt Man.

It is also nice to know that a 'mo was instrumental in redefining good old Santa to the red suited fellow we know and love today.

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At 7:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey what a great site keep up the work its excellent.
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Music To Shout Racist Taunts To


It's been a looooooooong time coming but finally it is here: Yay, more new music.

This week's music is old though, so: Yay, more old music!

I was planning on putting these tracks up with this post but me being me, nothing came of it. Until now!

Today, for your ears' enjoyment, it's the Morrissey Racism Roadshow:
National Front Disco from Your Arsenal - A delightful little story about a boy who runs off to join the circus, sorry, the National Front (one of England's more openly "nationalistic" political parties). The upbeat cheeriness of the tune belies the fact that the story is obviously not glorifying the whole idea. Morrissey apparently tried to get that across eventually... From Wikipedia: "He later cleared it up in the fanzine Sing Your Life (Issue 5) that the song was about someone he knew who was politically naive and had gone to an "NF Disco" (one of Griffin/Anderson's many attempts to win favour with the young during their "Let A Thousand Initiatives Bloom!" phase of the 1980s). This person found himself promptly ostracised by local people and friends equally politically naive."

Bengali In Platforms: Viva Hate - Another little story of alienation in society, which is Morrissey's bread and butter. Even so, the lyric "Don't hate me just because I am the one to tell you that life is hard enough when you belong here" does seem to sit outside of the frame of the story and sounds rather more like a comment. Ill advised, considering the majority of the Bengali population living in London at the time were most probably born here. On top of that why should somebody who is not born here not belong. Oh, fuck it, it is just a really stupid demeaning lyric to put in a song.

Ambitious Outsiders from Maladjusted - I don't think this track ever got Morrissey in trouble, mainly I think because nobody was listening to his music at the time this was released. I love the cinematic nature of the music and the creepy, claustrophobic "we're taking over from within" tone. I would have thought more people would have taken issue with this tale, which borders on the paedophilic "Top of the list are your smiling kids, but we'll be smiling too, so that's okay... and we know when the school bus comes and goes" I love the way he articulates all the fears that suburbia has of subcultures without ever naming what exactly is going on.

Trouble Loves Me from Maladjusted - Nothing creepy here, just general Mos morbidity/catharsis. This was the standout track at the Ally Pally. This track is the reason I revisited this album. It certainly had more punch live but I still love the recording.

Alma Matters from Maladjusted - The track that almost balances out the six or so duds on the album. I loved it as soon as I heard it and it comes right at the top of the album so there was so much promise (I've given you tracks 2, 3, 4 here and it is only down from there. Still, you have to love this classic track.

Now take your Union Jack out of the drawer and run along and play...

Remember you can order all these albums and more at Amazon UK.

Next up I will probably offer up some Spoon, New Pornographers and Decemberists, as I am seeing them all next week.

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3 Comments:

At 7:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 7:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 7:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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300 (Is that Frank Miller's blood on the logo?)


That's right, after his work being castrated for the silver screen God knows how many times, the pain only continues for Frank Miller.

Another of his graphic novels is being adapted. No word as yet on Frank's take on this one but I am sure it will be vitriolic as usual.

On a less pessimistic note, the site for 300 has an astounding amount of information for a film that is not set for release for almost a year.


The video journals show how much green screen they are using. It seems similar to Sin City in that respect (click on the pic above to get an idea of how they are doctoring the initial print). It is interesting to see how difficult it is to act in a vacuum, with no atmosphere to shape your responses or emotions. It makes you feel for Ewan McGregor in the Star Wars prequels.

That, and there is lots of video footage of semi-naked buffed up gladiatoresque men (my God, David Wenham has buffed up!)

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1 Comments:

At 7:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this.
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The Comforting Warmth of Nostalgia


J.C. Leyendecker Scribner's Cover
Originally uploaded by Mamluke.


So today I have been taking a turn around the gardens of cyberspace (a term coined by William Gibson in 1982 (or was it?).

I stumbled on the flikr page of Mamluke by way of Boing Boing and their post on Towel Ads of the South Pacific.

Mamluke has collected a feast of images from Renaissance art through Sargent and movie stars of Hollywood's golden age to vintage photography from the 60s. I still gush at the warmth and texture of nostalgia. Like life wiped clean, only the sun-soaked valleys of golden wheat remembered. There is a lot of comfort to be found in those places, even if they never truly existed. Anyway, the hunt for these oft' remembered hills is obviously a labour of love for Mamluke and he has a keen eye for beauty.

He also has a partner, 2 cats, 1 business and a blog, Late Late Antiquity, which I am going to keep an eye on because I am sure it will be worthwhile. Besides, anyone who owns a book titled Uppity Women Of Shakespearean Times has my vote of confidence.

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4 Comments:

At 8:23 am, Blogger Mamluke said...

thanks for the entry Mike! kinda freaky to read about yourself elsewhere :) Glad you've enjoyed my flickr collections - I've enjoyed putting them up!

 
At 8:28 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Aw, thanks for your thanks.

 
At 7:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 7:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Mullet: Twelve years young???


The Strap-On Straggly Mullet®
Originally uploaded by Blank Stares JT.


I know the mullet has existed for time immemorial, unfortunately, but apparently, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. the first known record of it being used is a Beastie Boys lyric from '94.

So the O.E.D. is looking for evidence predating 1994 to place the origins of the word mullet as part of their Wordhunt.

I immediately thought of the Pansy Division track "Hockey Hair" hoping that it would have a reference but it didn't (and it four years later anyway). It is still kinda funny though:

It's such a problem
It's got me in despair
He's such a sweetheart
But he's got hockey hair

Cut short on top
Long in back, he lets it fall
A neck-warmer haircut
You can get at any mall

People giggle and stop and stare
And it's not like he's unaware
But he plays hockey so he don't care
Now I'm stuck with a boy with hockey hair
Surely there must be someone out there that can prove the true origins of this enigmatic conundrum. Someone at St. Kilda F.C. must know.

I implore the peoples of Bendigo, Bindoon and Whyalla to unite and reclaim this term for our wide brown land. Besides, here is scientific evidence that the mullet is most commonly found in Australia.

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4 Comments:

At 10:14 am, Blogger stuboo said...

he is the mulleted doppelganger of my melbourne friend rob!

 
At 3:07 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I also think he has a touch of the Jamie's about him.

 
At 7:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very pretty site! Keep working. thnx!
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At 12:44 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

ur right! i knew there was someone else!

 

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Ah, the French!

AIDS, AIDS, AIDS!

Sorry, couldn't help myself. As coincidence would have it, Beatiful has posted a pair of safe sex advertisements from France. And they are really quite endearing in both their representation of the "dating" world and their take on equality (this year's gay version is almost a carbon copy of last year's straight ad, just with less domesticity).

Click on the pics below to see the ads. I am sure you can figure out which is which.



Snaps as always to Beautiful

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3 Comments:

At 8:46 am, Blogger Mamluke said...

love the male-male ad - hubby and I watched it together and "awwwww'd" at the end - thanks

 
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At 7:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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