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


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.


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


Crispin Glover is a gift that keeps on giving:

Saturday, 6 March 2010


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.