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It was pretty much exactly what I'd been told to expect - a slow film without that much plot but absolutely beautiful. Some of the indoor scenes reminded me of Peter Greenaway. Apparently the actor playing the assassin herself was down for one of the lead parts in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but her manager insisted that doing a Coke advert instead was a much better move.

This morning, though. A council truck has just driven up with a car on the back, lifted it into a parking space, and left. I have woken up in science fiction story, but I've read too many of these to know what's expected of me now. Should I be vomiting up food, putting it back into its packets and taking it to the shop to exchange it for money? Or when I get food will they give me extra money that I have to give to other people to persuade them to accept goods and services? Or is this by an author I haven't read?

If you don't see me again, it's because I daren't leave the house.

Oh, Pixies : one of the ads at the cinema was for some sort of boneheaded killing game-console franchise. It was soundtracked by a gentle piano version of Where Is My Mind. Presumably it's a comment either on the game or its players.

High rise

May. 14th, 2008 04:06 pm
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Steve Bell has an update on Ebbsfleet.

Yesterday I met Mark and Lauren down in some shopping centre in Leith (Beth wandered past too, but then headed off on her way) to see Doomsday. If you're not aware of this cinematic entertainment, it's Escape from New York reset in Glasgow with added plague, mediaevalism, and (worst of all) Eighties chart music. It moves along nicely and is entertaining despite some blatant ludicrousness. To be honest, it has holes you could drive a bus through, but as big dumb films go it's pretty decent.

After that it was off to Glasgow to eat soldiers see Ladytron. The support were fellow Scousers Elles S'appelles, who were quite fun if not as distinctive.

They have some real instruments these days. Not just a drummer, but a fetching guitar/bass pair of Vox Phantoms too. And three piles of keyboards, obviously. They played a load of stuff off the new album (the ones on MySpork), several ones I know (mostly from Witching Hour) and about three others a couple of which may also be new. Very good. Marnie seemed pleased to be in Glasgow. They probably play there more often than Sofia, though, so I doubt folk feel too deprived.

Traffic was obviously crawling on the M8 as we approached it, so we took the scenic route to avoid the jam. This may have taken us longer than it saved, but it had the benefit of taking me through Bishopbriggs for the first time in about 35 years.

Misc

Apr. 4th, 2008 05:14 pm
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I saw an article today concerning controversy over this sculpture. If they don't want it over there, I think we should have it here.

Leila was round yesterday picking up some Beltane-related stuff, and via conversational peregrinations I ended up finding her those pictures of a Fishing Cat being kept in a Russian flat. One of the pictures isn't worksafe, for most values of, but not actually wildly offensive. In an event obviously totally unrelated to that URL, apparently a plan to make a sequel to The Wicker Man has just fallen through. I'm generally against sequels, but this one sounds potentially interesting. Hopefully they'll get their funding sorted. Shall we not mention the musical, please?
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Err . . . I went to see Ed on Wednesday, then went to the pub, which was nearly empty because the Goff'n'Rawk-Soc are apparently all away home for Easter. It was OK, though, because we got to recommend Top Secret1 and Dr Strangelove2 to people who haven't seen them.

Thursday was Saunderses as usual, then pub, which was not quiet as the redfolk were in attendance, Friday had Ed dropping by in the afternoon, then an evening finishing a book. Today's been more reading and the news that A Place To Bury Strangers will be touring Britain, including a gig in some tiny pub in Glasgow.

I've always wanted to be deaf.


1: "Listen to me Hillary. I'm not the first guy who fell in love with a woman that he met at a restaurant who turned out to be the daughter of a kidnapped scientist only to lose her to her childhood lover who she last saw on a deserted island who then turned out fifteen years later to be the leader of the French underground."

2: "You can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"
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The curse of Bladerunner has not been airbrushed out - Pan-Am, Koss and Atari are still prominently advertised. Drinks do rather better. You can still buy Coke and Black Label - in the same glass even, if you wish. TDK also survive.

The numbering discrepancy has been fixed.

Gigantor 23-11-07 )

Neon 25-11-07 )

La Cabina

Nov. 17th, 2007 02:32 pm
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So.

Who remembers that Spanish film about a telephone box?

Better than the recent American one, wasn't it?

La Cabina, part 1

La Cabina, part 2

La Cabina, part 3

La Cabina, part 4

Watch in order, and don't check for spoilers first. Apparently BBC2 showed it several times, but I'm not aware of it having been on at all recently. A cult favourite.
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As I'm here, I'll just mention this article about Joy Division and Control.

"This sounds awful but it was only after Ian died that we sat down and listened to the lyrics," says Morris. "You'd find yourself thinking, 'Oh my God, I missed this one.' Because I'd look at Ian's lyrics and think how clever he was putting himself in the position of someone else. I never believed he was writing about himself. Looking back, how could I have been so bleedin' stupid? Of course he was writing about himself. But I didn't go in and grab him and ask, 'What's up?' I have to live with that. Watching the film, there were moments when I wished I could have stepped into the film. Unfortunately, you can't."

This, of course, reminds me of Mark & Lard's quiz "We Love Us", which had them getting band members out of their beds and asking them tricky questions like what the second track on their own first album was, which they wouldn't generally know, or which of their songs particular lines came from (although the singers would be much better with lyrics than the rest - usually).

I've been avoiding the news this weekend, mostly. The Hoose last night had the BBC on, and it seemed to be rather singlemindedly pursuing the obvious agenda. The chicken, however, stops here - I hope.

Control

Aug. 20th, 2007 12:52 pm
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. . . is excellent. It's also a lot funnier than you might expect, especially at the beginning, although obviously there's a kick in the face waiting for you at the end.

It was interesting who they got to play John Cooper Clarke. I would have guessed it would be a difficult casting decision, but they found an interesting (if unorthodox) solution.

They'd had time to attach a dedication to Tony Wilson at the beginning. The contrast between 24 Hour Party People and this is interesting. He's a smaller character in this one, of course, and a lot of the time a rather quieter character.

The actors playing the band also played the music for the on-stage scenes - James Pearson (Sumner) was there, and apparently he learned to play guitar from scratch for the part. They sounded damn good, too - if the acting thing doesn't work out for them, they could probably hack it as a JD tribute act. He - and the film - got a round of applause at the end. I may possibly while leaving have overheard a comment from him in praise of Corbijn's general level of talent, which I'd agree with on this evidence.

It's based mainly on Deborah Curtis' book (very good - well worth reading) with extra contributions, in the case of some scenes surely from Annik Honoré, the only living person who was there. It shouldn't have been a surprise to be reminded how young they all were, but it was. Hardly more than children.
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The other week I came across a website with an early draft of Barry Hughart's highly excellent Bridge of Birds. If you haven't read the published version, then I'd recommend having a look at this to see whether it's likely to be your sort of thing. If you have read it then you're probably going to read that without my prompting.

[livejournal.com profile] niddrie_edge pointed me at a very odd story concerning a film called Darklands, made about ten years ago and in some ways rather like a version of The Wicker Man set in South Wales. The producers seem to have been putting it about that they and their film have been cursed by a scary gang of Edinburgh witches called the Beltane Fire Society (of which I are a member, and which is not witches). Now, in spite of the fact that this is very obviously the tallest Scottish witch story since the exceedingly tall Tam O'Shanter (or possibly even since MacBeth), they allegedly convinced Richard Stanley of this too, which I'm not sure I believe either.
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William Boyd, who reviewed Lanark for the Times Literary Implement when it was originally published, commented on rereading the book and his review last week in the article Return to Unthank: "I still prefer Thaw's story to Lanark's, but I recognise now what I didn't see 25 years ago: that it was Lanark's very awkward bulky scale, its ostentatious manipulations of structure, its extra-parochial pretensions, its allusiveness and its overt and purposeful invitation to exegesis and literary comparison that raise the book to another level."

I went to see Lunacy (Sileni, originally), the most recent Svankmajer film, at the FIlmhouse. After Conspirators of Pleasure, I was very disappointed. I didn't really think it was up to much at all, apart from the meat animation sequences between each scene. It's based on Poe and de Sade, and the Marquis character was given to launching into enormous expository diatribes that made me want to stab him with bicycle spokes, fall asleep or go home. There's a scene with a blasphemous mass which reminded me too strongly of the Onion article with Madge Manson going round doors begging people to be offended. The characters in Conspirators of Pleasure managed to be entirely mute and yet speak eloquently. In Lunacy, they drone on ceaselessly and still say nothing. The scenes in the mental hospital are pitifully weak - I visit one every week, and frankly unless you're going to set your piece in the past (which Svankmajer hasn't) you're just going to look irrelevant if you come across as not having any idea what the places have been like at any point in the last century. Using psychiatry as a metaphor for society is all very well (perfectly fine, in fact) unless you lose touch with the fact that neither society nor psychiatry currently have the properties you're discussing. In conclusion: F. Try again, and this time make it as good as your previous two films.

Stuff.

Jul. 2nd, 2007 10:17 pm
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On Sunday I went to the FIlmhouse to see Conspirators of Pleasure as part of their short Svankmajer season, and very fine it was too. It came out about ten years ago, and I didn't see it at the time. Mostly live-action, with only a little animation, it concerns the strange and obsessive secret activities of six Czechs, and the connections between them. For some reason it got an 18 certificate, and I'd love to know how that was justified - there's no violence against people (although a couple of straw-stuffed effigies get it fairly nastily) and no nudity stronger than a couple of shots of a guy's arse. Nevertheless, it's a deeply diseased piece of work. As this review has it, "I don't think I've ever seen a film that is quite so obsessively fetishistic - almost everything that passes in front of his camera is given a weirdly erotic charge [ . . . ] it manages to present a portrait of human sexuality of unusual complexity and philosophical depth without once resorting to spoken dialogue". Perhaps they used the same phrase as for Crash - "general tone".

Fantastic stuff. Massively recommended.

Mr Inglis has given me the OK to tell you about his Writers' Bloc MySpork page, where you can listen to a few of the clips recorded at their readings. Currently you can hear Hannu Rajaniemi reading his poem "Numbers" (the bit about numbers stations existing is entirely true) and Gav himself reading "From a completely unexpected direction" (you should probably, for best results, know that before starting he had left a selection of carrier bags on and around all the tables). I know for a fact that he has an awful lot of excellent material he could put up there, so it might well be worth keeping an eye on that for developments.

In a slight surprise, the Subway is closing. The management, and apparently all the various clubs, are moving to the Hive, on Niddrie Street. Apparently the Hive is nicer. That would not, to speak frankly, be difficult. The place has always been a noxious little dive of poor reputation, and what higher recommendation could there be than that? Many years ago some friends of mine saw the Clash play there. Rather more recently (but still not actually recently) I and some friends saw Radiohead. At around the same time (perhaps even that night) I saw a support band (Tinkerbell's Dope Ring, IIRC) do a mad thrash version of Groove Is In The Heart, with (if memory serves) vocals verging on the yodel during the chorus. Someone said they'd heard that it was likely to become an R'n'B (or what passes for it these days) venue. I can't see it. Bling? In a hole like that?

In the runup to the new smoking ban Doon Sooth, the Guardian dropped into a Hull pub to record a couple of prize comments from disgruntled tobacco devotees:

"I smoke 100 to 120 cigs a day. The ban will kill us"

. . . and . . .

"They'll be banning sex next."

Now, technically speaking it hasn't been legal to get it out and get on with it in the middle of a busy pub for quite some time, but why let sanity get in the way of a good rant? Well, either that or Hull's a more fun place than I've been led to believe.

And finally, and definitely not raising the moral tone at all, thanks to whichever of you it was who posted this link - file under "Don't children make you laugh?" Not necessarily worksafe. Entirely textual. Neither big nor clever. A couple of my friends have a story that would fit in neatly there . . . but I'll let them decide whether to share it.
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. . . gets a rapturous reception at Cannes.

Anyone got a copy of Side-line number 52? Apparently they had an interview with Annik Honoré.
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Got to see Pan's Labyrinth. Not exactly a bundle of laughs, but very good. There was a building near the beginning which might have been inspired by the proposed Monument to the Third International, which wouldn't have jumped out at me except that in the foyer there was a poster for a kids film featuring Tom Hanks, which had something quite similar in it. Of course, there are other things that could have inspired them - some depictions of the Tower of Babel, or the spiralling Malwiya Tower of the Great Mosque of Samarra, but the proportions and threading look more like Tatlin's version. To me, anyway.

Anyway, the fascists were cardboard cut-outs apart from the Captain, a real swine of a man, but everyone else was well-drawn. My efforts to make it to the Cameo more are working. Next, the Filmhouse.

My granddad once told me about going to church some time back for Mass. The priest was fulminating about the evils of supporting leftists - in particular, he had heard of some of the congregation (I can't imagine who he might have been meaning) who had been collecting in aid of Spanish Republicans. This, he declared, was unforgiveable, because they were opposing Franco, an honourable Christian gentleman. Barney got up and walked out. It's been more than 70 years, and he's still not been back. I wonder sometimes whether his entry into the Royal Artillery in 1937 was spurred by being only just too young for Spain. Regardless, it's good for me that he did. He'd never have been in Ayr otherwise.

Sorry. I'm talking shite again. I'll shut up now.
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Thank you for your thoughts on Silent Running. We crumblies mostly seem to have seen it, but the young'uns mostly haven't. I suppose my suspicion about it having become quite obscure isn't totally wide of the mark, although I was a bit surprised at how many people had seen it, many repeatedly. Not just me, then.

Last night I was shown a copy of Stunted, the Edinburgh University student newspaper. Its website is so out of date they could almost be done under the Trades Descriptions Act for using the word "news" on it, so instead I'll link to this Scotsman article detailing the fall of lawyer, local councillor and perennial EUSA hack Iain "Joy Division knitted jumper" Catto. Not a very pleasant story. Involves scenes of financial fraud and breach of trust.

On a lighter note (because nobody seemed to have been hurt so far) this article amused me when I saw it. Scientist goes out, gets drunk and on getting home realises he's mislaid about a litre and a half of hydrogen fluoride. Could happen to anyone, couldn't it?

I've also been listening to more Alamos this week. I saw them at Wickerman after being pointed at them by (I think) [livejournal.com profile] pigeonhed. They've a couple of streamable videos up at their website - Polemics and Photograph it. Warning - may contain scenes of skinny teenagers rockin' out.

Following the fuss over the Holy Father's speech, I went looking for the full text and found out that the Vatican Secret Archives have their own website, a fact which just terrifies me. Have they put the full text of their copy of the Necronomicon up yet?

Finally, a couple of items from the paper - there's a little article about Stephin Merritt and Lemony Snicket, in the form of the former interviewing the latter. This is to mark the upcoming release of the last part of A Series Of Unfortunate Events and the associated album of Gothic Archies songs. There are streamable samples of a couple of the songs at the end, if you're at all interested in the man Merritt's work. According to the mailing list, there should be a new Magnetic Fields album in the spring, if the job of recording it goes according to plan.

Patti Smith gets a writeup here, too, although she only has one new song to be streamed, and there's an interview with Kevin Smith, largely about Clerks II : "Once you get beyond the bestiality, vomiting and masturbation, Clerks II is a sentimental comedy about growing up."

Sounds good to me.
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I haven't seen Silent Running in quite some time. I'd rather like to.

[Poll #818018]

Jon and Kathryn have been and gone, it was great to see them, and I enjoyed the Joyriders a lot. It was the best free concert I've been to in a long while, and I got a CD of their complete output too. The flat's also tider than it's been in ages. Which is nice. More of you should come visit, OK? I've said this before, and quite frankly I'm a little disappointed in how few of you take me up on it.

In other news, we have some tentative Gigantor dates. Nothing until October, and obviously we'll let you know what they are as soon as they become definite. In the meantime, we'll be taking part in a night called "Alternative Culture" in the inevitable Park Room / Underground / Whatever on the 30th of September, along with (I believe) Cyberia, Bitch and Ascension. Could be a lot of fun.
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1. This slipped past me at the time, but is still beautiful.

2. Apparently Walter Sobchak is based on John Milius. I am rather disturbed by this.

On Saturday I saw The Call of Cthulhu (very recent black & White silent adaptation - well worthwhile) and King Kong (Peter Jackson's one - overall, a lot to like, but rather too faithful to the original, including a lot of dated nonsense that should have been replaced by shiny new up-to-date nonsense. The bit in the middle that seemed less inspired by King Kong than by Donkey Kong should have gone too. And Jack Black a should play Orson Welles) at Mark's, followed by Ascension (Douche! Douche! Douche!) - no dancing, but chatted to a few folks, so it was a good use of time.

Saw my folks today. Which was nice.

So: is, as I've been told, Saturday Night really just a faster version of Spanish Bombs?
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Karen Armstrong's back in the Grauniad today :

During the 20th century, a militant piety erupted in almost every major world faithRead more... )

In other news, I went to see a film last night with assorted friends - RLex, Lara, Seth, Crash & Judith - with thanks to the last (two?) for dinner. It was a film with boats in, which I rather enjoyed. Turner senior and Jones were both excellent, and it definitely has the silliest swordfight ever committed to celluloid. The Errol Flynn references in the fights scenes generally were rather fun too, but not as good as the Jules Verne joke, which is a hoot. Considerable liberties are also taken with the Flying Dutchman story and the "dead man's chest" itself. It started off a bit lumpenly, but warmed up a enough before long. Depp didn't seem to be playing things as remorselessly for laughs. Maybe this reflects him having the studio (Oh God, I went to see a Disney film . . . ) on his side after the success of the first. Not going to hit my top ten, but a good laugh. I'm looking forward to seeing Keef in the third.

I did, as predicted, start sniggering when Port Royal came into shot. There's a view here illustrating the lack of hills for at least ten miles, as well as some history and information on recent submarine archaeology of the site. Worth a look regardless, in fact.
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The smoking ban's been going exceptionally smoothlyRead more... )

Don't get involved in unfinished polyologies.Read more... ) Incidentally, anyone Easterconning?

I'm looking forward to seeing Timothy Spall play PierrepointRead more... )

I got dragged out to a rather nice punk club called Gulag Beat the other week.Read more... )

A couple of days after that there was a super-secret surprise party for someone's birthday. It was good, and seemed to be filled with the current generation of Geasites. They were all terribly terribly young.

On the Sunday there was a concert by The Organ in Glasgow.Read more... )

Bob Carlos Clark is dead. Stanislaw Lem is still dead, but at least got a nice big Guardian obituary courtesy of Chris Priest.

The body at Duddingston wasn't John. It was a homeless man who went missing last year. The police don't think it's suspicious.

From pigeonhed :
"We (Swell Maps) were probably more influential and important than we realize," reflected Sudden. "Apparently we've influenced all these bands like Sonic Youth and Pavement, but all I can say is you can't blame me for that." Sadly missed. Glen the soon-to-be-wed once swapped me his whole 7" collection for a Fire Engines 12" . . . this isn't as impressive as it sounds, but did include a copy of "Let's build a car".

Further to a recent discussion, there's an interesting case here of a former chef who rustles up omelette and chips while sleepwalking. "My wife says I should plug the Hoover in when I'm sleepwalking and do the housework." It would be some compensation for the disturbed sleep, I suppose.

Macca is to stand trial after an incident at the Barrowlands gig that I missed.

The Scotsman last week had an article about the Italian election, currently almost over, which started:
THREE days before Italy's general election, Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, went on the warpath yesterday, accusing the judiciary, the press, big business and banks of plotting his defeat.

Sadly, the headline was "Berlusconi: they're all out to get me" rather than "They've all got it infamy", which would have been much more appropriate.
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I went to see The Constant Gardener on Monday night. Read more... )

The trailer for Memoirs of a Geisha was on before the film. Someone remarked a bit ago that the poster has a picture of the lead with blue eyes, while the actress has brown eyes. Well, in the film her eyes are blue. Anyone read the book? It may actually be in the original story.

What a clumsy post. Never mind. In lieu of an apology, have some good news - more charges for Pinochet. And a railway engine's been named after Tam the Gun.

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