You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Culture’ category.

As part of the ongoing One & Other plinth project in Trafalgar Square, Justin Holwell, a random member of the public, stood up on the now famous fourth plinth today and undressed himself.

Standing nearby was self-styled saviour of the children, Mark Williams-Thomas, a so-called  “media police advisor and experts (sic) in crime” who, accompanied by his wife and children, decided that the naked human form, that form which his own children were born in, is offensive and disgusting.

Claiming that he and his family were “annoyed and upset” by the spectacle of a naked man just standing there, he ratted on Holwell to nearby policemen, claiming (perhaps for the first time in police history) that “common law” had been broken. Common law is, of course, the fist damn thing thrown out of the window when squatters are evicted by the likes of Mr Williams-Thomas.

What, exactly, is so offensive about a human being, Mark? It´s not like Holwell was furiously masturbating himself to a protesting public, while they covered their eyes like dazzled onlookers to a surprise solar eclipse.

You´re worries about the kids? Why? Not only did they begin life naked (I am suddenly reminded of Brass Eye´s sketch where children are made to be born clothed because of obscenity laws), they probably spend a great deal of their time like normal kids do, naked running around having a laugh.

Or do you tell them to cover up?  “SHAME BE THAT! Hide your dirty body. It´s something to fear!” Funny, I didn´t see you railing against the naked deformed pregnant sculpture on the 4th plinth a few years ago.

Oh don´t worry. It´s only a disabled woman, they´re not real people

"Oh don´t worry. It´s only a disabled woman, they´re not real people"

Mr Williams-Thomas is, unfortunately for himself and his utterly Victorian cause, eminently googleable, having appeared in numerous dubious and undermining shows, such as “Child Protection Gone Mad” – in which (no I´m not making this up) two child actors are put in a shopping centre and told to act distressed, to see if anyone reacts. The resulting inaction by random shoppers is wonderfully blamed square on the public, presumably by a Mr Thomas-Williams bawling the word “SHAME” yet again.

In fact, looking down his list of TV credentials is very much like reading the plot of CSI Miami if it were all about children.He´s even on Twitter, blabbing about the Garrido case (although he misspells his name as “Gurido”, well done that man. Trust him, he´s an ADVISOR.”)

Given that he hammers on about child rape and abduction all the time, and in every possible medium, it´s perhaps no surprise that he reacted in such a prudish, overwrought and tell-tale way, calling up The Met and wasting precious time that should be spent on solving real crimes with actual victims. Nice one Mark, way to waste the resources of which you claim to be a part.

And if your kids, aged between 8 and 13, are embarrassed by nudity, well, whose fault is that? Not all yours I suspect, given that you are suffering from the same delusion as they are. Your brain´s been warped. Probably by GURIDO!

There is nothing dirty about the human form. It´s how we are. Or do you shower fully clothed?

Whilst crying at the thought of nudity?

There is something horribly dirty, however, about your reaction and instinctive call on police powers to suppress a man simply shedding his clothes.

For a man who has built a questionable but profitable career on the prurient curiosity imbued by child-based tragedy, you appear to be woefully inadequate in judging the morals you claim to defend.

I never liked comics a massive amount.

I read that Mr Mxyzptlk Superman comic in the 1990s with the weird Justice League add-on at the end. I quite liked Unbreakable. Batman mopvies are great, but I never found the comics.

But now I have been bitten by Watchmen. First I saw the extraordinary trailer, wondered what it was and put it to one side in my head.

Then Aint It Cool News scooped a few stories in typical yelling three exclamation marks fashion. I put this down to typical comic book geekdom hype.

Then I saw Time Mag had Watchmen on its top 100 English Language Novels of all time list. And I started to take notice.

A few Wikipedia Pages later, I hit the One Click button on Amazon and waited for my copy to hit the post box. When it did I polished the whole thing off in 3 and a half days.

This isn’t a comic, or even a graphic novel. This is something much more amazing. And I am only twentysomething years off the mark. Complete with extracts from elaborately made up psychiatric reports, chapters from memoirs of protagonists, newspaper clippings and other metafictional esoterica, all nestled between chapters, Watchmen is more of a Universe than the ‘DC Universe’, it seems.

Now iTunes is releasing masterfully animated versions of the 12 chapters of Watchmen, thanks to Warner Bros. Artfully, each frame of the novel has been given life, but so as to make it still appear like the original comic book frame. Don’t ask me how they did it, because it is quite beyond me.

Here’s a clip of what I’m talking about.

Bring on the movie. This story deserves to be told again and again.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mitch Hedberg’s first posthumously released album is being released on September 9th 2008. It’s called Do You Believe in Gosh? and will feature all new material.

For those who aren’t familiar with Hedberg: if Jean Genet and Monty Python were to invent a Frankenstein One-Liner Comedian, the result would be Mitch Hedberg.

He stands out as one of the few comedians whose work is not smutty, offensive, political or “edgy”, and whose subject matter is, as he once put it in an interview “about like Bananas and shit”, but who simultaneously is face-disruptingly hilarious.

Unfortunately he is also dead.

It is perhaps the singular irony of my history of appreciating Mitch Hedberg’s comedy that I only discovered his existence through the announcement on another comic’s site that he had passed away.

Curious about this special mention (and the many others that followed on other comics’ sites soon after the soul-destroying news set in) I went to Limewire and downloaded two large files that turned out to be Mitch’s only two commercial albums. Immediately it dawned on me what me and most of the world outside American college comedy tours had missed in this remarkable comedian. And suddenly I was sad this so recently unknown person had died.

Since his death in March 2005 the power of the internet (particularly in the form of http://www.hedburgh.com) has furnished me with more underground recordings and video clips than should rightly be available for such an underrated and unknown comedian.

And since his two albums were all he had commercially available, it meant rifling through poor quality bootlegs actually yielded unknown jokes and routines. It also let you hear just how many of the audience had committed to memory his incredible one-liners as they yell them out in a comedic frenzy.

And when you hear the jokes, it becomes obvious why he had this effect.

– I haven’t slept for ten days, because that would be too long.

– I got an ant farm…them fellas didn’t grow shit.

– I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.

– I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it.

– I wrote a script and gave it to a guy that reads scripts. And he read it and said he really likes it, but he thinks I need to rewrite it. I said, “Fuck that, I’ll just make a copy.”

– I did a movie with Peter Frampton. He’s a musical genius, but I don’t listen to his stuff. So I had to continuously try to draw attention away from the fact. Hey Frampton! Do you like toast too!? As do I. It is warm and crispy and the perfect place for jelly to lay. Now stay away from me Frampton, I ain’t got shit to say to you!

In fact his appearance in the movie he mentions above was Almost Famous. Depressingly, he doesn’t utter a word. That movie would have torn my face off with awesomeness had they given him a role.

As with all good comedians, Bill Hicks, George Carlin (so recently deceased at the time of writing) it always seems too soon when they did (even for Carlin, who was a less than sprightly 71.)

With Mitch it is worse, because the nature of his material meant it was so short. To make matters worse, (or better?) Hedberg penned and directed an all-comedian star movie called “Los Enchiladas” featuring the wonderfully acerbic Dave Attell and the other top one-line machine Todd Barry (whom I accidentally saw live in new York in 2004 before I knew what I was witnessing.)

What’s so heartbreaking is that it is commercially unreleased, with only a few teaser clips online. We can only hope, pray and quietly will it that the world will hopefully latch onto this guy, and that we will all become 13% more happy.

After his death the following show aired on the E! Channel in 2006.

And thanks again to the persistence of Mitch’s fans and the internet, the new cd has finally been greenlighted and features unreleased live material from January 2005, a few months before this wonderful soul’s demise. The release will be from Comedy Central Records. And it will rock.

Til then, you’ll find me listening to the bootlegs, and reminiscing about times I don’t even remember.

Do yourself a favour and buy these albums.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rage Against the Machine
Stream of Justice (Late 2008, Epic)

https://i0.wp.com/www.morecowbell.net/images/posts/2007/06/ratm-alpine.jpg

There isn’t an indie-politically-motivated-rap-metal-crossover fan that didn’t immediately cry bittersweet tears of happy when RATM released their latest offering in 2008. The song “Shit on you, I Won’t Comply” made major international headlines when it received accidental airplay during a military funeral in Carolina, instead of “Runaway Train” by Soul Asylum. Michael Moore directed the band’s single “My guitar is my Flag, I strum as a Salute” by videoing the band breaking into The UK House of Lords and generally jumping up and down on the seats before being sternly told off. ard, heavy, meaningful. 8/10

Alice in Chains
FaceDirt (Roadrunner, Nov 2008 )

Alice-In-Chains-Live--Unreleased-296967.jpg

AiC decided that a dead lead singer shouldn’t stop them, just as it didn’t stop Nirvana, The Beatles or Queen. The result is the searing, grunge manifesto of FaceDirt, which was released for the stocking-filler market at Christmas 2008. Ten tracks feature Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez, the king of breakbeat rock drumming Sean Kinney and Comes with the Fall-Guy Wiliam DuVall, who does a superb job on lyrics. The album comes with a toy blade, a black dress doll you can stick pins in and other really really obscurely referenced toy spin-offs. 7/10

Fugees
I hear Voices…Wait, no you Don’t. (Jan 2009)

The+Fugees-150x150.jpg

Despite rumours of mental illness, hatred and black-on-black racism within the group, the Fugees came together in early 2009 to produce the seminal, nay fluid “I hear Voices…wait, no you don’t”. Wyclef Jean’s half-crooning, half rapping style was hampered by the fact that he chose to produce the album as he was singing it. The consequential button twisting noises, second takes sung right after first takes and not edited out, and constant suggestions about pitch tone and feeling spoken into the microphone as the other members sing severely hampers this album. 4/10

Guns ‘N’ Roses
Chinese Democracy (Spring 2009)

After only 16 tiny years wait, One 6th of Guns N Roses and a Third of all other bands got together finally to produce the symphonic, chronic, catatonic Chinese Democracy. Originally designed to coincide with the Beijing Olympics, the deadline was missed when Axl Rose, the sole remaining member of the GNR lineup, pulled the digital masters off the CD printing machine because “the horns aren’t quite fruity enough in Silkworms.” The completed 39 track album comes as a special edition with real 89 piece orchestra delivered to the home of each customer, who play along to each track in the listener’s lounge room. Price $8,000. Epic. 10/10

Dr Dre
Detox (Aftermath 2009)

5412494020070513182404.jpg

Dre, of NWA and Chronic Fame, hasn’t realised that his music is only ever played ironically these days. In fact, poor Dre’s dress sense is the first to be “mimicked expensively” as poor youths from round the world holed themselves up the face in credit card debt to drench themselves in jewels and puffy jackets worht $4000 “because if was hilarious and Ironic.” Standout tracks are ” Still infirm but Still in the Game”, “Ridin’ in my Stanna” and “Rap so hard my dentures come out” but overall it sounds more like Weid Al taking the piss. 4/10

Eminem
King Mathers (Shady Records, 2009)

Never one to disappoint or indeed shy from telling the world to suck it’s own penis, Eminem re-emerged with hist first studio album in 5 years. Raucousness, clever rhymes, real recorded executions of his enemies, and excellent guests make this the come-back album of the millenium. Tracks that shine include “F*ck You in the Knee”, “What Rhymes with Blunt, Shunt and Stunt, Your Face Does” and “Something Something Baby Mother”. 11/10

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last night, right before I went to sleep, I had a movie flashback – three kids, some kind of bubble, space travel and weird aliens on some kind of circuit-board style ship.

Only ten years ago I would have been stumped and would have to wait to accidentally catch a rerun to ever find out what this movie actually was. However, thanks to the wonder of the community chest that is the internet, it took all of nine seconds and a perceptive Yahoo Answers entry to get me what I needed.

Here, as a tribute to those movies, and my lost youth, are those key nostaglia-tastic movies of the 80s that don’t make it into conversation anymore, except as part of a vague unanswerable question.

This one’s for me, for my brother and sister, and for all kindred spirits caught in that otherwise forgettable age of the 80’s, here are those classics that creep in the far corners of our minds like the madwoman in the attic. Torrent Files linked in the title. Spread the love.

1. Explorers



Yup, the bubble space travel movie I watched by accident when I was, dunno, seven? Turns out that enticing story of three boys who run a computer program that creates a sphere that can be programmed to travel, holding the boys inside it, was the young work of River Phoenix, Ethan Hawke and James Cromwell (supporting, not one of the boys, he was old even then…)

IMDB tells us, Ben Crandall, an alien-obsessed kid, dreams one night of a circuit
board. Drawing out the circuit, he and his friends Wolfgang and Darren
set it up, and discover they have been given the basis for a starship.
Setting off in the ThunderRoad, as they name their ship, they find the
aliens Ben hopes they would find… but are they what they seem?

Well obviously not. But I don’t remember the outcome. Bittorrent here I come (oh come on, it’s gotta be public domain now.)

Trailer:


2. Flight of Dragons


Read my lips: THIS MOVIE IS BETTER THAN YOUR FAMILY. A brilliant self-reflexive tale based on Peter Dickinson’s real life book “Flight of Dragons.” Dickinson, as well as his book, appears in the movie in both a ‘real life’ world and a parallel magic world, whose conflict with reality is the basis for the movie in the first place. Fredric Jameson would have loved this film, which stars James Earl Jones as a baddie that would kick Darth Vader’s cack black Helmet right into Chewbacca’s furry face. Watch it and be educated in what makes good storytelling.

I had a chance to thank Don McLean who wrote the title track recently. He looked puzzled that I didn’t mention American Pie of Starry Starry Night.

Whole movie:

3. Flight of the Navigator

So synonymous with Christmas in my family the movie causes synaethsesia, and the mention on its name alone makes me smell presents, oranges, outlandish dolls that are also nutcrackers and general merriment. From the freakish voice that guides our boy hero into a secret hangar that houses a spaceship, floating quietly, to those melting stairs that solidify perfectly in midair, to the computer that starts off as a dull automaton, then absorbs the boy’s socio-cultural influences and starts talking like Kermit the frog on ADHD drugs. Brilliant, thoughtful, and fun!

Trailer


4. The Peanut Butter Solution




Cultural effect – minimal.
Total viewing audience – 3 including me.
Story-telling ability – 3 billion. And then some.

Ok, what other Canadian made for TV movie I saw serendipitously in a fringe Cinema in the 80’s (that still exists by the way!) features an evil artist whose paintings you can step into, a disused house whose mysterious contents scare the hair off a boy, tramps that tell the boy that peanuts and dead flies wiped all over the scalp will solve his problem, hair that grows visibly, hair harvesting for magic paintbrushes….OH MY GOD THIS MOVIE IS CRAZY. The production company has wonderfully stuck to its crazy guns all these years too. When I saw this flick at the age of 7, I was so scared I quit my Youth Group and had nightmares. Awesome.

Whole movie in lieu of dead torrent:

5. The Storyteller



Ok it’s not a movie but a series. Fine, BUT – Written by peacefully resting Anthony Minghella, created somewhere between England and the US, puppets by Jim Henson and narrated by John Hurt – how was this going to be anything but “The Awesome?” Only a few episodes exist (nine in all), and each inhabit a realm between puppetry, live action, Grimm Tales and modern storytelling, it was usually to be found in the gaps between Flight of the Navigator and Explorers on the Christmas Schedule. Poetic, subtle, rich, the kind of entertainment that makes kids into better people.

6. Weird Science

One of the first Buzzwords at my boarding school was Weird Science. “Have you seen it?” Damn right I saw it. I saw the shit out of it. And again we stumble upon famous people in movies, a la Explorers. This time it’s Anthony Michael Hall (of the actually quite dull Pirates of Silicon Valley) and Kelly LeBrok playing the role of every 80’s boy’s girlfriend…

The TV series spin-off means that this entry is a little more mainstream than twisted peanut butter hair magic house crazy stories, but it’s a gem nonetheless.

Trailer:


7. Dark Crystal

Jim Henson reappears on the list (in a movie directed by the the brilliant Frank Oz, who somehow manages to be the director of this, Death at a Funeral AND the voice of Yoda) in a wonderful story that…well, I don’t really remember but it was GREAT.

over to IMDB:

Another planet, another time. 1000 years ago the mysterious Dark
Crystal was damaged by one of the Urskeks and an age of chaos has
began! The evil race of grotesque birdlike lizards the Skeksis, gnomish
dragons who rule their fantastic planet with an iron claw. Meanwhile
the orphan Jen, raised in solitude by a race of the peace-loving
wizards called the Mystics, embarks on a quest to find the missing
shard of the Dark Crystal which gives the Skesis their power and
restore the balance of the universe.

All I remember is being terrified of those puppets.

Trailer


8. The Last Unicorn

Made by the Flight of Dragons Team of Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass (who made shedloads of awesome stuff including animated versions The Hobbit and Return of the King, though no-one seems to remember these), this is another GREAT example of 80’s creativity. I’ve included the German cover as it was infinitely more popular in Germany and the country deserves credit for that.

Trailer


It is my hope that posts like these and so many others might lend a little extra life to these gems embedded in the long tail of internet culture. Keep them alive. They were made for love, not profit. Long may they live!

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Chris Morris, satirist, genius behind Brass Eye and The Day Today, as well as the darkly awesome Blue Jam radio show, broke cover recently, in the most unlikely place. Cern Labs.

Morris fans will not be surprised to hear Morris talk intelligently about particle physics. The man, a zoology graduate and all-round godbox, has always had a broad command of many areas of science and literature, as is evident from the (admittedly multi-author penned) narratives delivered in his various shows.

Morris, whose visit to CERN also has a Flickr photostream attached to it, spends no time at all on Morris’ career and goes straight to an explanation of the Hadron collider (I think. I dropped particle physics after primary school.)

Also on the link above is a podcast with Simon Munnery and Kevin Eldon, leading me to worry whether soon Carrot Top will be asked along to Cern, where he’ll whack a watermelon over some big red button…(yes I know CERN doesn’t have any dangerous radioactive explosives.)

For more on Morris and his shows, click all these links. On The Hour fans will also be thrilled to hear that the series will get a full CD release, according to an interview with Neil from Cook’d and Bomb’d and Armando Iannucci (one of the big brains behind the big face of British satire since the late 80’s.)

Dave Eggers is the man.

Who else could write a book called “A Heartbreaking work of staggering Genius” and be right about it? Eggers’ Millenial work opened my eyes to his good worls and his publishing efforts that should be hunted down and, according to the official line “viciously subscribed to in the face many times over.” I made that up.

Eggers is one of those people the world desperately misses since the days that true love of literature was much more common than now. In his still annoyingly young life Dave has, with other luminaries of modern literature and culture such as his wife Vendela Vida, produced an independent publishing company called McSweeneys (reportedly named after an odd neighbour Chez Eggers) an incredibly diverse magazine called The Believer (no not the Garth Brooks fan rag) and the McSweeney’s Quarterly journal, which features, along with new writing, such oddities as letters written to the Ray Charles fan club (wonder how he read them), book covers that fold out into posters and magnetic compilation books that detach into miniature books.

Perhaps his most important contribution to his own native You-ess-of-ay is 826 Valencia. To explain these further, and new developments is Eggers, care of the fantastic TED site.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This band of three women play, as one commentator puts it “like the twin towers coming down.”

A bass, a guitar and a set of drums, and a load of rhythm so crazed it would send an asylum insane, songs are instrumental, long, fast, and become gradually more layered as new movements are introduced.

It’s really quite something. The above video, and a few others on Youtube, are entertaining and fun. Check them out.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags: , , , , ,

Click for full-size. Wonderfully old-fashioned and gloriously offensive.

Guide to hiring women

There’s a circular discussion going on talk pages of Wikipedia at the moment. It goes something like this (represented in BASIC computer code for a laugh:)

10 “By publishing the hand drawn images of our Prophet on Wikipedia, you are humiliating 1.7 Billion Muslims in the world.” – Idiot on Wikipedia

20 “No, by complaining about an Islamic illuminated text offending you, YOU are humiliating the world’s Muslims. Except most of them have better things to do than read the talk pages of Wikipedia, you child.” – Everyone else.

GOTO 10

Apparently, according to the braying ‘representatives’ of the Muslim community, once again the whole world has to censor images of real human being Muhammad. And it is argued that Wikipedia’s article, which contains images of Muhammad that stem from Islamic texts is transgressing the borders of decent Islam. Needless to say this is utter cack, and the repression of images of Muhammad stems mostly from the 20th Century.

And if you take offense to those Images of Muhammad on Wikipedia, maybe you should ask yourself why you’re a Muslim. After all, those are beautiful Islamic illuminated manuscripts you’re complaining about.

I have heard of people who take offense to images of Muhammad, and don’t want their texts displayed, andwant to censor the islamic religion – they’re callled fascists. And I never thought it would be people calling themselves Muslims who would be helping to stamp out accurate Islamic historical representationon the pages of an Encyclopedia.

If anything, The Q’uran, as well as the Bible and the Torah could do with some damn pictures.

Hope someone comes to protest the following images of Muhammad (courtesy of Google Images, Infidel Zionist creation)

Muhammad muhammad-sp.jpgMuhammad - AGAIN!

CensoredMuhammad Bestrides The GlobeMuhammad

View My Portfolio

Make Money on Fotolia – Sell your photos

ARCHIVES!

My De.licio.us links are better than yours

View My Portfolio