Saturday, 18 December 2010

Nice try Scorpex



Funniest man on the planet and firm Crystal World favourite, Nicholas Gurewitch is back, sort of, with some video shorts on Vimeo. ThePBF creator has even made some sci-fi cartoon epic skits for the BBC called Elite Fleet which have his trademark comic timing and imagination. I can't wait for this guy to make a film. It'd be incredible.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Big in Japan



Got rickrolled into listening to this track from a tweet by True Panther Sounds claiming it to be a collaboration between James Ferraro and Oneohtrix Point Never. Despite the fitting connection, it turned out to be the 1984 song Loverboy by Britain's biggest selling Black artist of all time, Billy Ocean.

I also wasn't disappointed, as the video is just incredible, watch it now. It's an insane mix of Ocean warbling in front of a green screen blissfully unaware of the fantasy/tical world around him, seemingly made up from the rejected Star Wars sequel costumes and the weirdness of the The Dark Crystal. The song itself leaves a little bit to be desired but has its charms none the less. Love to know what the record label/general public thought.

Speaking of The Dark Crytal, Jim Hensons terrifying masterpiece, the first ever live action film billed as not having any actors in it, is scheduled for a sequel. Due for release in 2011, The Power of the Dark Crystal is based on Henson and co-writer David Odell's ideas for the film formed in the late 80's. The film's been caught up in pre-production hell since 2005 though and fansites (http://powerofthedarkcrystal.blogspot.com/) have had to struggle with whatever information they can grab onto, currently it seems the film's being produced by an Australian company called Omnilab.

Below's an unofficial teaser trailer for the film, featuring some production sketches, though whether it'll ever be released and scar as many childhoods as the original did to mine, remains to be seen.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Meek Dreams

DJ Internet History





It was a desire to listen to some of the work of pioneering Disco remixer Tom Moulton (above) at around 1amish that sparked off one of those brilliant internet voyages that occasionally break up my constant bouts of flicking between Facebook and Gmail.

I went onto the unofficial (?) myspace fan page and listened to his mix of King Goes Forth's Don't Take My Shadow which unsurprisingly turned out to be incredible and had everything that I've come to like about his edits: catchy hook, loads of dreamy soul style back up vocals, classic emo disco vibes etc. Browsing around the page I noticed a link to an interview Moulton did with Dj History in 2008. It's a wholly worthwhile read (link) in which he discusses his career path starting as a buyer for a Jukebox company then onto an early champion of stereo and how he became involved in disco, making the first remixes, the emergence of disco/DJs and the usual banter about how New York gay clubs in the 70's were the pretty much best places in the world ever.

It led me onto a couple of things, Moulton spoke about how B.T. Express were livid when they first heard what he had done to their track "Do It Till You're Satisfied', unsurprisingly it blew up and became a hit. They even got to go on Soul Train and brag about how the song length (in itself revolutionary) was their idea. Now even though the internet is an amazing resource and I can access footage of them playing that song on Soul Train within seconds, we're still not quite at the level of Revenge of the Sith style meta-Jedi library just yet, as I couldn't find the footage of that exact exchange with Don Cornelius. But well done anyway.

I went off and listened to the what is claimed to be the first 12" ever commercially available, made by Walter Gibbons, after he was described by Moulton as a person who was 'as white as can be' - judge for yourself



That photo being infinitely more enjoyable than the release in question - which is disappointingly, pretty tedious

DJHistory also do some other really great interviews with other DJing pioneers, including a fantastic sit down with Jimmy Savile, who you know turns out to be quite important (at least according to him) in the whole business of clubs, disk jockeys and young people congregating and dancing in the UK. One of his claims is that he was the first person to think of having two record players on stage at the same time. Considering he grew up in a world where the very idea of dancing to a record was completely laughable, the fact that he was hugely influentially in changing that (for instance he actually did setup dancehalls and DJ's in other cities, eventually running over 50 and 400, respectively, of them) he can make up what he likes really.


-Special thanks to John Bloomfield for introducing me to Moulton months ago when he played me his mix of So Much For Love by Moment of Truth which completely dicks on the original and was the only thing I wanted to hear for a good few weeks afterwards. I think on that same night I stole a clock from a particular East London pub. The clock is now in broken pieces stuffed in a bag in John's house - 'THANKS' Karma.



Also funnily enough earlier tonight I had a similar urge to listen to some Nas, ended up rippin through the hits on youtube, reading the quite decent article about him on Allmusic and shamefully hearing the acidic Jay-Z diss Ether for the first time.



I did the pretentious thing afterwards and in an attempt to be interesting posted his full name 'Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones' on Twitter, but then thought nargh, deleted it and instead decided to put all the words together and make it a hash tag, clever. I clicked the post afterwards and found out that coincidentally some super fans had used the same tag yesterday, as it it was Nasty Nas' birthday, he was 37.

And another thing, whilst it's probably weird and pretty cool actually that Lil' Wayne sampled Iron Maiden's Fear of the Dark for his song 'Best Rapper Alive'. It's definitely a lot weirder and probably not all that cool that Brandy sampled a relatively obscure Maiden track (The Clansmen) for her song 'I Tried' in which she sings lyrics like 'I’m sittin' home on a cold day...Think I wanna hear some Coldplay'



Brandy's Twitter 4EVERBRANDY

Monday, 6 September 2010

Good Morning, Mr Orwell

The video for Peter Gabriel & Laurie Anderson's Excellent Birds that I included in my previous post was one that I discovered a while back when searching through YouTube for footage of Anderson to post on facebook. I had been previously unaware of its existence, but perhaps this is because it was not created with MTV in mind, but rather was part of a satellite broadcast "installation" by video art pioneer Nam June Paik, Good Morning, Mr Orwell. Transmitted on 1st January 1984 (for obvious reasons) primarily between WNET TV in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, it was intended as a rebuttal to Orwell's vision, by showing that technological advance is no bad thing. Try telling that to a typical Daily Mail journalist (I'm sure the left-leaning Orwell would be dismayed to find his book become such fodder for those loons). Alongside Anderson and Gabriel, the broadcast featured live and recorded work from the likes of John Cage, Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg (with Arthur Russell on cello), Merce Cunningham, Oingo Boingo and The Thompson Twins.



Larger version can be found here.

Orwell's 1984 was of course even more explicitly acknowledged in 1984 with the release of the John Hurt/Richard Burton-starring film version of the book, complete with Eurythmics soundtrack.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Good Morning, Mr Gabriel

Renowned mentalist Fever Ray is soon to release a cover of Peter Gabriel's Mercy Street, this being the year that Gabriel released Scratch My Back, an album of orchestral-and-vocal covers of 12 artists, with an intended sister-release, I'll Scratch Yours, in which the artists each cover one of his songs.




Trouble is, Peter Gabriel covered neither Fever Ray, nor Karin Dreijer Andersson's more famous band, The Knife. It's a tad ironic that someone would voluntarily choose to cover one of his songs, when he has had difficulty getting some artists to return the favour for his own project. While some (Stephen Merritt, David Byrne, Paul Simon, Lou Reed, Bon Iver, Elbow) have recorded tracks (released as double a-sides with the corresponding track on Scratch My Back), others (reportedly David Bowie, Radiohead, The Arcade Fire) have been a little less forthcoming. Of those released, Lou Reed's distortion-drenched version of Solsbury Hill is a clear winner, which is rather apt given that Gabriel and Reed's wife Laurie Anderson once scratched one another's backs when Gabriel did guest vocals on Excellent Birds on Anderson's Mister Heartbreak, which later appeared in a different arrangement on Gabriel's So.




It's long perplexed me that Gabriel does not receive as much hipster kudos as other contemparaneous artists, with his often dark, bleak, paranoid masterpiece third self-titled album deserves to be a revivalist hit on a par with Paul Simon's Graceland or Talking Heads' Remain In Light. Perhaps this is because of many people's (clearly misplaced) misgivings about Genesis or his mega-success with So tying him to the 80s, particularly embedded in the famous boombox raised aloft scene in Cameron Crowe's Say Anything (I feel that in real life Lloyd Dobler would have received a restraining order). My feeling was that perhaps the Scratch My Back/I'll Scratch Yours project would correct this, though its apparent failings point to no. Perhaps the Fever Ray effect will be a winner though. At the very least we can agree it's preferable to Bon Iver.


Monday, 9 August 2010

Zbig

While watching Beyond The Lighted Stage (the Rush documentary) the other day, I caught a bit of the video for Time Stand Still for the first time. I've actually got the Rush videography on DVD, but I guess I never got as far as this because it's from about the period that I lose interest in Rush (the back end of their New Wave-y material and before their current hard rock sound). Time Stand Still is a tune, mind.



Anyway, the video's bleeding awful, its effects are horribly dated, to the point that you wonder if they ever even looked good at the time. I was surprised then to find out that the video was directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski, who directed this great video for the Art of Noise's Close (To The Edit).



He also directed the video for Stereotomy by The Alan Parsons Project, which, while also fairly dated, actually manages to look quite good, and work well with the music.



He was also co-writer, editor and cinematographer of Gerald Kargl's serial killer movie Angst, which is bloody terrific. The film has been a big influence on Gaspar Noé (particularly Seul Contre Tous aka I Stand Alone), and features a cracking soundtrack by Klaus Schulze.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

What Time Is Love Distance?

Been listening to a lot of The KLF recently, taking in full albums and watching quite a bit of online (i.e. Youtube) footage of their music videos, TOTP performances and original video pieces (below).



I'm sure everyone knows enough about them to justify me not writing a full article, (the wikipedia page sums up everything succinctly enough) but I'm still really fascinated and taken aback by a lot of the bands work both musical and not. The production on their records alone is so alien to what I'm used to hearing that it really seems completely foreign and bizarre. I find myself asking just how something like The KLF ever existed and was so widely experimental yet commercially successful at the same time.

That whole era of late 80's/early 90's in fact just seems like a totally different world to me more so than the 60 or early 80s, maybe because the BBC haven't made a slightly comical idiosyncratic period drama starring Judie Dench or Martin Freeman based on that time yet. I remember I went to a talk by Gavin Watson recently about his new(ish) book Ravin' 89 and having that same feeling of what the hell was going on with these people exactly. I do find myself struggling a lot with 90's pop culture in general, mainly in Britian (not that I'm letting Grunge off the hook) - just makes me think of black berets, The Tube, black leggings, The Word and numerous other awful fashion choices and televisions programs. Really makes me dread the inevitable 90's comeback that's already in semi swing, Chris Evans's Omen-like rise through the ranks of Radio 2 being a portent for the horror that'll unfold (up date perhaps not!).

I do sometimes wonder whether I would have liked a band like The KLF had I been the age I am now during their heyday, same with other genres/scenes like Chicago House, The Beatles, Punk, Juke (oh wait that's now). Would I have been able to enjoy them in the context of the times or would I have rejected it due to overexposure or something else like disliking the majority of people who were fans also. I suppose there's no real point thinking about it, and I should just appreciate that I get to enjoy all this great music, free of context, peer pressure and well actually literally free also. Everything's available to everyone essentially. Kanye West made an interesting speech on a sort of similar subject recently at Rolling Stone (here) talking about making music that's popular and how the underground is no longer the avant-garde due to this ease of access.

But back to The KLF, as it's pretty easy to be enamoured with them, their use of samples, visual aesthetic, philosophy (if you could call it that), publicity stunts and range of output over the course of their career is inspiring, as is their savvy-marketing technique of constantly repeating their own name during songs. must start doing that myself.

Always worth a watch is the 1992 Brit Award performance of the KLF with Extreme Noise Terror during which Bill Drummond fired machine gun blanks into the audience.



As exceptional as that might have been, more shocking to my eyes events occurred on that night, as this video below shows - the KLF somehow managed to tie with Simply Red in the category for 'Best British Band', but more importantly host 'Martika' is seen smoking onstage whilst presenting the award, on television, in an enclosed public space, with four or more walls. The early 90's must have been a very different world indeed.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Howard Brown


Extra have a new range of mints out in shops, so new in fact that I can't even find a stock image of them on the internet. They're similar to their chewing gum counterpart in packaging and flavours, so much so that accidentally I picked a multipack thinking it was the standard wonderful Extra (rememeber the days when Orbit was the shit? and on that note those tedious Trident adverts). Word to the wise though, the small print on the back mentions that these new mints 'may cause laxative effects' - they should probably drop the 'may'.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Commando


If you know anything about the crystal world you'll know how ecstatic I was to wake up to this package of records this morning. Sure we'll have a proper write up on Oldfield soon, or at the very least on Pictures in the Dark.

I also happened to do this blogspot entirely on my mobile phone. Tower of Babel man.

Monday, 28 June 2010

It's you and me





You can make your break in one decade and still make your best songs in the next

Bonk Bonk Bonk

When I was about to head home the other day, I bumped into a friend who asked if I'd like to join in on an impromptu ride in the countryside around Nottingham, and lacking any reasonable excuse not to, I did. While it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride, unfortunately I bonked on the hills towards the end - beset by muscle fatigue, I struggled to turn the pedals at a decent pace. Seeing David Millar also bonk in the British Road Race Championships on Sunday offered me some comfort, though I think we both would've been better off had we watched this cracking film made by the British Rail film board in 1955, and heeded the advice at the beginning of the second part.



All I Do Is Think Of You





Above are just a few of serial killer Rodney Alcala's 2,000 plus collection of photographs he took of various women, girls and sometimes boys during the 1970s.

I came upon the photos earlier in the year when Californian Police released them to the press and public in the hopes of finding information about the subjects involved, believing there to be further unreported victims within the set of portraits .

The images offer up a snapshot of distinctly 70s fashion and film aesthetics as well as a feeling of stunningly intense intimacy, giving you a glimpse into the mind and life of this perverted man. Yet behind all the beauty to them they serve as a cold and sobering reminder of the fine line between affinity and obsession and the horrific acts that human beings can commit against each other.

Though sentenced to death in March for the murder of Robin Samsoe in 1979 and four other accounts of homicide (read the official report here) investigative estimates put Alcala's crimes of torture, rape, assault and kidnapping anywhere from 30 to 50 to even 100 cases spanning several years and different states across America.

You can sense the distress and desperation the Police are faced with when trying to tackle the sheer expanse of his crimes when you get quotes from his prosecutor Orange County DDA Matt Murphy, simply exhaling out comments like 'God only knows how many people he killed'.

Due to his confident rapour with women and brutal psychotic violence of his acts Alcala has been compared to the serial killer Tim Bundy and was also sometimes dubbed the 'Dating Game Killer' by the media due to a 1979 spot on the USA equivalent of Blind Date 'The Dating Show'. Joining Steve Martin and Michael Jackson in the list of notable alumni from the TV series (fyi the former is genuinely funny and entertaining, the latter's tragic then quite sweet, then tragic again).

More of the photos released can be found at crime.about.com/od/serial/ig/Rodney-Alcala---Photographs/

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

I'd rather be in Barcelona

You can count The Crystal World as fans of Primavera Sound, so it's always quite nice to see its home, the Parc del Forum, used on adverts...



It's hardly surprising, especially given those visually arresting solar panels. But this one for Tesco Mobile really bugs me. I mean, where would you rather be - the beautiful, sunny, cultured Barcelona or the white, soulless vacuum of Tesco?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Shock of Grey


Ivy-Style is a blog that, as its name suggests, focuses on the life and style of the preps, college students and WASPS of the privileged American East Coast.

It's an interesting and inspirational read, spanning decades, trends and fashions whilst touching on celebrity, culture and history in equal and erudite measures. Despite being essentially a site about pretty awful rich people, there's something infinitely more attractive about boat shoes, Ralph Lauren shirts and rolled up blazers than the offensive Jack Wills affair that plagues much of the current English home counties and Universities. It's probably just a form of Yankophile escapism on my part, and definitely the continued influence of Mad Men (no not the Sesame Street version).

'Like' them on Facebook and you'll receive amusing and varied updates from site-creator (and possible Grand Dragon/Skull and Bones club member) Christian Chensvold, offering up arbitrary freebies and brotherly like advice.

One of Chensvold's recommendations is The Official Prep Handbook by Lisa Birnbach, an all knowing guide similar in vein to Stuff White People Like by Christan Lander, in that you're not sure whether the author is satirising or glamoursing their particular subculture. A bestseller upon its 1980 release, below's a promo video for her new book 'True Prep' with Chip Kidd coming out later this year.



Given that I feel I dress in a certain way to try give off an impression of a well-rounded, presentable and intelligent individual despite only knowing enough about most things just to blag my way through a conversation and not having any real practical or transferable skills there's a certain poignancy when Birnbach says things like 'I think that dressing this way and having some good manners and good eye contact and a nice handshake can be your cover for a lot of things'.

500 Days of Summer



Altreport just dropped a bomb of a before they were semi-famous bricks with a post about Zooey Deschanel being the star of Crystal World Rhythm game favourites The Offspring's video for She's Got Issues. Kinda disappointed I never made the connection myself, though perhaps Deschanel's convincing pink barnet might have thrown me off the scent, and that I haven't listened to that song since I was MTVtween (was always more of an All I Want man really, the cartoons in SGI's always feared me out a little too much, something about the Richard Nixon animation that was always a little too much)

I can hardly confess that Zooey's one of my favourite manic pixie dream girl's, I would even argue that she isn't even a true MPDG. Something about those retarded doughy eyes that always annoyed me, oh and her music, and acting career, and her fanboys, and her in person. Katy Perry occupies all the space my heart has for dark haired pale girls with prominent fringes.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Indecent Proposal



When this guy spends a Ted Mosby-esque inordinate amount of time telling his kids how their parents got together, I'm sure they'll be delighted to hear he proposed through the medium of dance to Metro Station.

Although, at least it's less embarassing than the guy who'll tell his kids that his proposal method-of-choice was to pretend to be late to attend a taping of Daily Mail-made-televisual flesh, Noel's HQ, only to reveal himself to be the front end of a pantomime horse dancing here to seminal anthem Britain Has Gone Bonkers.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Fuckin' Martin Bashir, how does he work?



After his interviews with the People's Princess and the Prince of Pop, it's clear that Martin Bashir has always been building up to this interview with the Kings of Horrorcore. I figure Messrs J and 2 Dope didn't do their research as they too may fall foul of the Curse of Bashir with their untimely deaths.

BTW, I love how there is a Juggalo-crime expert.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Zombie vs Shark vs Windows 7

Someone in the Microsoft advertising department must be a fan of Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 aka Zombie Flesh Eaters aka Zombie.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Best Coast

So I was working tonight at the Royal Festival Hall for Glen Campbell peforming his 'Greatest Hits and More' show. And it saddens me to say the night was quite a poor shambles, far from being a storming return of a classic country star, Glen just came across as unproffesional, at best.

Either suffering from an alcohol addiction or perhaps just being quite lazy, Glen look bored and awkward on stage: putting his hands in his pockets for solo routines, hamming up a pre-rehearsed banjo duel offer (lifted straight from Deliverance), hitting bum notes, taking his guitar off after a number only to realise he needed it straight away, finally walking off stage pre-encore with his microphone still in hand. Even the material he played, mostly covers of old country songs and scaled down contemporary rock classics (Foo Fighters, Greenday) seemed like a cheap, uninspired attempt to copy the success Johnny Cash acheived just before his death. The emphasis was hardly ever on 'Greatest Hits'.

It seemed like perhaps Glen was just a guy who got lucky with a couple of tracks in the 70's and now was milking it for all he could (which wasn't much by the way only about 42% of seats were sold for the 3000 seater RFH). By the end of the concert though I felt that maybe Glen wasn't the greedy sloth that I had pegged him as, and that he was being forced into this by a support and backing band of friends and family who were either using him to further thier own careers or just didn't want to let go of the stage. Despite the admiration and applause of a Yankophile audience, the whole event didn't sit well with me.

That said, when he played Rhinestone Cowboy my heart completely melted.


A clip of Jon Lovitz in High School High, sadly only available in German

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Moonlight Shadows

The Shadows. How cool were they? Just watch them perform Apache here - the bassist stops playing at the end and just smokes a cigarette. Effortless cool.



Furthermore, they were immortalised in Supermarionation in Thunderbirds Are Go! I first watched this film on a day off sick from school during the Thunderbirds revival of the early '90s. Not even the presence of puppet Cliff (who would leave an older me, wanting to watch tennis, emotionally and mentally scarred) could drain their cool here.



But what happened? See their performance here on One Show antecendent Pebble Mill in 1986. I've got nothing against the song, I've got a lot of time for Mike Oldfield & Maggie O'Reilly's Moonlight Shadow, which they covered on their album Moonlight Shadows (I'm not making that up). It's the sort of outdoor performance that would become standard on Top Of The Pops in the next decade, where what little cool remains bleeds out into the daylight. And how little is evidenced by Hank's jacket. As Bobby said, it's the definition of naff.



Moonlight Shadows also features covers of other pop hits (Against All Odds, Every Breath You Take, Jennifer Rush's The Power of Love, Lionel Richie's Hello) and Elaine Paige musical ballads (Memory, I Know Him So Well). I am still not making this up.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Sloane Ranger


Due to the washed out weather conditions of this bank holiday weekend and the loss of my springtime harrington, I've had to resort back to my winter Barbour wax jacket, possibly for the foreseeable future. The past 72 hours though have led me to the conclusion that it is the perfect English overcoat. Stylish, warm and most importantly water proof, the Barbour adds an air of distinctly Anglican formality to whoever's wearing it. Not to discredit the quilted Barbour, but it's just not in the same league given that the wax jacket practically pays for itself with the ample pocket space and a bit of retail subterfuge.

Apologies about the Diana photo, the only decent shot I could find, bar the ones of myself ofcourse.

Further Reading

Sunday, 2 May 2010

I of Infinite Forms



Our friends at Records On Ribs have just released the self-titled album by Chicago proggers Ga'an, and it's available to download entirely for free! I'd say some kind words about it, but I already wrote some for the release - you can read those and grab it from their site here or, if you prefer, from ClearBits (fka Legaltorrents) here.

EDIT: I should also add that Records On Ribs have some of the cassette versions of the album for sale.

Friday, 30 April 2010

This is what you'll get Ke$ha, you twat



Not sure what it is about Ke$ha, but people seem to react pretty venomously towards her when given half a chance. Whether it be bearing a striking resemblance to John Travolta, simply posting her fairly standard for the decade music taste on myspace or trying to jump on the Lady Gaga bandwagon things just don't go well for singing star.

So, I'm surprised that this video of her performing a cover of Radiohead's 'Karma Police' in her not so glamorous, or acoustically forgiving, school hall aged 13 hasn't gone viral.

I admit, sometimes she does bring it on herself, but Tik Tok wasn't actually that bad once you got past the initial shock of the Uffie-lite-but-was-Uffie-ever-that-good-no-not-really verses. And come to think of it, how would your formative years stand up to scrutiny once fame inevitably struck?







Friday, 23 April 2010

"I'm Finch, David Finch."

Sesame Street seems to have had a penchant for parodying great* TV shows over the years, even though the references go way over the heads of their diminutive target audience.









*It's par for the course to write off the second season of Twin Peaks. In truth, while it does lose its way in the middle of it (after the conclusion of the Laura Palmer storyline), the momentum kicks back in towards the end. Furthermore, the Black Lodge sequence in the finale and Gordon Cole almost entirely make it worth it. Miami Vice's standalone episode structure inevitably lend it a mixed bag quality, while I agree with the AV Club line that the two latest seasons of 30 Rock are weaker than its first two. Mad Men has yet to hit sucky ground, and let's hope it never does.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

beep beep


My apologies 'Drive My Car', maybe next time 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun', but I have to be honest and say my favourite Beatles song is probably always gonna be 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand'. Not least because of the plethora of interesting and genuinely quite good covers that are out there, ranging from a slice of happiness by funk giants Lakeside, a Philadelphia swirl from everyone's favourite pop band Sparks and an unsurprisingly smooth take on the track by 'bop guitarist' (not necessarily a bad word) Grant Green.







Notable mention to Human Hair of course.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Lemon zest

After taking part in a marathon SingStar session last night, I couldn't help wishing that, amidst the selection of duets, it were possible to sing Serge & Charlotte Gainsbourg's classic, Lemon Incest.



Unfortunately society's conventions have likely prevented other father/daughter pairings from unleashing their own take on what should be a modern standard. Maybe it would've spared us Ozzy & Kelly Osbourne's version of Black Sabbath's Changes. I could post that too. We do have standards though.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Memento Memorial

A month or so since re-discovering the joys of Cosmos I've been on the look out for simarly incredible music. In my search I've spent a lot of time listening to Casiopea, with song titles like 'Passionate Voltage' and 'Princess Moon' as well as loads of classic youtube footage you'd have thought I was onto a winner but I have found myself really questioning really what the hell am I doing and why am I listening to any Japanese Jazz-Fusion in the first place.

Then I put on Tokimeki and all my doubts roll away

Friday, 12 March 2010

Vodafone



Of the myriad ways in which Lady Gaga is great, we can now add to that list how she can take one of the main reasons why Madonna probably thought she was relevant for the past 15 years of her career and then make it completely her own, practically erasing any memory of 'our madge' post-Sean Penn.

The 'it' here I am refering to is former Bathory man Jonas Akerlund, who directed and co-wrote the above treatment for Gaga and Beyonce's 'Telephone'. Shame he didnt just do a shot for shot remake of his earlier efforts with Candlemass though:

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

"He looks good." "He looks flashy."

Note: This postscript to my post on the cycling documentaries of Jorgen Leth features three passably diverting personal anecdotes!

Another favourite cycling-related film is Betcher!, a 1971 Cycling Proficiency promo, in which two kids have a competition to see who conforms more to textbook road-safe cycling, as kids naturally do.



This leads me to...

Personal anecdote #1: I failed the Cycling Proficiency Test at the first attempt. My second attempt came the following week, but an untimely bout of illness struck me down in the preceding Maths lesson (sidenote: I hope this sufficiently authenticates my illness). Being the last day of term, I was told I would have no other opportunity to re-take. Having tumbled over my handlebars on my way down to the test, I rode not only sick but also in both pain and tears. I passed, but I can't help thinking sympathy may have played its part. So next time you see this possibly falsely accredited cyclist on the road, make sure you give him a wide berth!

Betcher! features an appearance from Noel Edmond's perpetual Man Friday, which leads me to...

Personal anecdote #2: I once took a Noel Edmonds tea towel to Cub camp.

...and...

Personal anecdote #3: When holidaying in Somerset one year, my family and I visited the Crinkley Bottom theme park at Cricket St. Thomas. (For photographic evidence of the current state of the attractions, see this piece from, all of places, the Daily Mail.)

Neither of these actions were borne of a great affection of Père Noel, but rather a burgeoning sense of irony in my pre-teen self. Natural-born hipster, I guess.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Eccentric Games

Over the past few months I've been enjoying the ever-increasing internet presence of Nile Rodgers. As one of the few people on Twitter I actively enjoy following Nile comes across as a charming and talented guy with a healthy dose of nostalgia for his times with Chic and later on as a producer. As well as some insightful updates about the state of music biz back in the day, Nile also shares old pictures of himself with various musicians and celebrities in poses and studios that seem to capture the 1980's in the same way that a John Hughes film does.





Bonus andecdote - Nile Rodgers on the inspiration for Diana Ross' I'm Coming Out

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Meehn

Crispin Glover is a gift that keeps on giving:



















Saturday, 6 March 2010

Pavé

It is widely held that the cycling documentaries of Jorgen Leth are among the best ever made. Leth (who also commentates on the Tour de France for Danish television) made three cycling films in the 1970's: The Impossible Hour, Stars and Watercarriers and A Sunday In Hell.

Stars and Watercarriers follows the 1973 Giro d'Italia, as Eddy Merckx battles for victory in this Grand Tour with the lies of Felice Gimondi and Ole Ritter. The film not only depicts these contenders, but also the work of their domestiques (literally from the French, 'servants'), team members employed to aid their leader.



(Stars and Watercarriers is in 9 parts on YouTube)

The Impossible Hour documents Ole Ritter's three attempts at the World Hour Record, the ultimate test against the clock.



(The Impossible Hour is in 5 parts on YouTube)

Leth's masterpiece though is A Sunday In Hell, which follows the 1976 edition of Paris-Roubaix, the one-day classic race and battleground of cycling's great strongmen. The race is known for its cobbled sections (around one fifth of the 260km) which often cake the riders in dust or mud, depending on the weather. It is this that make Roubaix the highpoint in the cycling calendar for many fans, myself included.



(Sadly, A Sunday In Hell is not on YouTube, further, it is difficult to get hold of in general in the UK)

Leth recognises the aesthetic quality of bike racing, that hyperediting and showy camerawork can subtract from this, like in recent, flashier films such as Overcoming and Hell On Wheels (though some would say that cycle sport itself had a greater aesthetic quality then than it does now). Further, Leth eschews pace in favour of a clearer narrative and the endeavours take on a epic, mythic quality.

Leth most recently came to semi-prominence when he was tasked by the 'Dennis Bergkamp of cinema', provocateur Lars Von Trier to re-make his 1967 experimental short, The Perfect Human, five times over in Von Trier's The Five Obstructions. The last film was created by Von Trier himself (with Leth forced to read Von Trier's narration and take full directorial credit), and it's testament to Leth's ability that this version is inferior to those made by Leth himself.


Monday, 1 March 2010

Close Encounters

In a pure 'how on earth did I not already know this?' moment, it was pointed out to me yesterday that Glenn Close appears in Hook as a MALE PIRATE. Never in a million years would I have realised myself that it was Close (hey, make-up department, great job!), but now knowing that it is her it all seems so obvious.



We can hardly pretend that Paltrow's appearance is a cameo, as it would be another four years until Se7en, but alongside Close and Collins, Steven Spielberg also found room for appearances by Jimmy Buffet, David Crosby, George Lucas and Carrie Fisher. I doubt we would have had this kind of indulgence had Steven's non-union, Mexican equivalent, Señor Spielbergo, been hired instead.


In North Korea one of the best jobs for an attractive young lady in the city is as a traffic warden.

Presumably along with a handsome salary the government also gives these women a free gundam stlye body upgrade in order to perform the robotic like manoeuvres that the post requires. Take this warden in Pyongyang for example and how she only turns her body anti clockwise.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Happy Day

A semi-steal from Simon Reynolds, Derek Jarman's 1971 short A Journey To Avebury, with a soundtrack recorded by Coil in the 1990s.


Journey to avebury
Uploaded by zohilof. - Independent web videos.

These stones immediately made me think of those in ITV's 1976 cult children's drama,
Children of the Stones, a sort-of magical realist Wicker Man for kids. Hardly surprising given they are the same 5000 years old stones in Avebury.


(The seven episode series is currently up on YouTube in its entirety).

A third and final trip through Avebury is offered up here by a Shell film with narration from John Betjemen.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Altoto


In 1973 Xerox released the Alto personal computer. Decades before its time both in scope and content, the Alto used menus, a graphical user interface, bit-mapped graphics, an Ethernet connection, 2.5mb removable drive 'platters' and came complete with a 5 chord keyset and 3 button mouse... in 1973.

With software as vital as a basic word processor and paint program the Alto also boasted one of the world's earliest (if not earliest) first person shooter. Appropriately titled Maze War (demonstrated in this video here) the game saw players dual in a three dimensional labryinth, competing against each other on two separate computers using the Alto's Ethernet connection.

Unfortuneatly for everyone, the computer was never commercially released by Xerox, being seen as a threat to its core business of printed documents, and only saw the light of day in its incarnation as The Star in 1979 - priced at a sensible $16,000. Despite this, the Alto remains an innovative and inspiring invention in modern technological history.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

VV Classic



Sample Youtube comment:

'@MisterScientist

It's a common Western misconception to ignore the broader musical context that Japanese video game music is rooted in.'

TechnoEstate

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Hit me with those laser beams

The first time I saw Brian De Palma's Body Double, I was largely unconvinced by it, up until this point in the film, which opened up my mind to the schlocky brilliance of it all.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

dizzy



Sun Ra's version of The Elephants On Parade synced up with the Disney original.

Don't think as a child I ever really picked up on these ridiculously overt metaphors for Dumbos inebriation - probably for the best really.

(to say nothing of the animators hilarious vision of a formely enslaved minority)


(and again)




(rotoscoping bastards)

Friday, 29 January 2010

Quad



So I was at this exhibition the other night where the above Samuel Beckett video was playing and I couldn't help but cheapen the experiance and be reminded of this 80's childhood classic.

Bacon



I don't care if you've already seen this, watch it again. It's my favourite thing on the internet.

As Ed Knock said 'Where's he gonna go?'

Ullmatic



"In 1992 Tracey Ullman filed a lawsuit against Twentieth Century Fox in Los Angeles Superior Court over profits from the later half hour incarnation of The Simpsons for $2.5 million of the estimated $50,000,000 USD in profits reaped from merchandising. Several years after her show went off the air, she said jokingly in a late night television interview that she hoped to one day have a regular two-minute spot on The Simpsons."

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

...



What the fuck!? Joe Jackson... man, not cool.

Monday, 25 January 2010


The ever incredible Sexy-people.com have just done a feature on the evolution of a young Dustin Diamond from '78-88. Hopefully they won't continue to his lauded brief stint into amateur cinematics. Comes in parts 1 + 2... much like Dustin.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

SUPERfluous



Curtis Deforest has sent the ordinary bicycle into hyperdrive

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Asparagus officinalis

Ever since catching Suzan Pitt's animated short Asparagus as part of an ICO Essentials programme, Dreams, a couple of years back, I've not been able to think about the vegetable in the same way. It is, by turns, dazzling, bewildering and disturbing. Richard Teitelbaum's kosmische soundtrack is terrific (with special thanks in the credits to New Age goddess Suzanne Ciani).



Sunday, 10 January 2010

You got your peanut butter in my chocolate!

Further adventures in modern advertising - this commercial for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups features music from proto-Hauntologists Plone.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Plantasia



1973 Animation Fantastic Planet soundtracked by Alain Goraguer. Major source of inspiration for Air apparently. Kinda like One Million Years BC mixed with some chrome and that dirty feeling you get when reading Robert Crumb. Disgusting Stuff

Parts 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8 - All on Youtube.