Thursday, June 30, 2005
'One Thing The Aliens Hadn't Counted On Was Derek, And Dereks Don't Run!': A Film Review Of 'Bad Taste'
Apparently, for the American front cover, Lord Crumb had to receive an extra finger in order to make a peace sign, the distributors considering an 'I' sign a little ripe for American sensibilities.
Back in the middle eighties, life was a little different for Peter Jackson, the man who became the director of the 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy. He and his mates worked nine to five jobs in New Zealand. The only thing that set them apart was that, for between three and four years, they would head out to the countryside at weekends to film 'Bad Taste', a true cult classic.
The plot is absurdly simple - Oz, Barry, Frank and Derek (played by Jackson himself) are members of AIDS (Alien Investigation and Defence Service), a government department whose job is to find and capture alien invaders. The film starts with the decision to send 'The Boys' to a small sea-side village in New Zealand, where the inhabitants have mysteriously gone missing. They immediately ascertain that the aliens moving around the village (albeit in human form) are those responsible. Their attempts at recovering an alien alive go sadly, and bloodily, awry, and a full-on battle is on the cards. After half an hour of campy gore-fun, Derek has fallen off a cliff, and the other three have to manage on their own as they discover the source of the problem is a mansion upon a hill. They head on up, and find that human flesh has become the latest taste-sensation throughout the galaxy, sold by 'Crumbs County Delights', managed by the sadistic Lord Crumb. Obviously, only one option is open to 'The Boys' - complete annhiliation.
The film truly is a masterpiece of gore. I would usually say that a horror film that has, at best, one or two genuinely scary moments is a particularly poor horror, but not in this case. Horror is substituted for liberal amounts of fake blood and brain matter. The most wonderful thing is, the gore is seldom less than hilariously applied. From Barry's killing of the first alien, when the whole skull is removed, for the pink matter to slosh around on the beach, all the way through to Derek's 'total body penetration' of Lord Crumb at the finale, the sheer campiness of it all is just too funny for words.
After his fall down the cliff, Derek makes the sad discovery that part of his skull has become partially detached, and his brain is escaping. He spends much of the rest of the film attempting to keep it in, using such devices as the belt.
It has to be said that the obviously improvised script does contain some really funny lines too, meaning that gross-out humour isn't the only fun on offer. At the start, Barry is pondering the aliens next move - 'they could go somewhere bigger. Christchurch. Wellington.' A considerable pause. 'Auckland.' 'Oh, that wouldn't be so bad' replies Derek.
Jackson is clearly well aware of the remoteness of his setting, and the film makes gentle fun of New Zealand. The films first image is of a postcard with the face of Queen Elizabeth on it, and the phone operator speaks in Home Counties english, a delightful satire on remoteness - not only is the village remote, but so is New Zealand, the furthest colonial outpost. A little fun is had too at the prevalence of the sheep to the lives of many in rural New Zealand, with the childish, but oh-so funny destruction of one with a rocket launcher.
While one-liners do exist, and do play well, gross-out is still the most prevalent. Jackson's vivid imagination provides the viewer not only with chainsaw dismemberment, and the sight of Derek firing his machine gun through the body of a dead alien, but also the truly disgusting sight of the aliens consuming fresh vomit, which Frank has to partake in out of politeness during an 'undercover' scene. Genuinely sickly.
Lord Crumb enjoys the obvious gustatory delights of a bowl of fresh alien vomit.
The film has its problems. Jackson makes a Herculean effort to disguise the miniscule budget of the piece, but that frequently fails. The plot is incredibly basic, and the acting is rather obviously unprofessional. All these count against it, as does the fact that the whole film is really a rather adolescent male fantasy, getting to shoot things with no consequences. Indeed, there isn't a single actress in the film. According to the IMDb trivia page for the film, there are ladies credited as having taken some of the '3rd Class Alien' roles, but all of the aliens appear male. There is a rather heavy metal attitude to the film, a connection made all the more apparent by the music Oz chooses to listen to in the car. Indeed, one of the funniest moments throughout the film is the sight of two aliens desperately defending their ears from the onslaught of metal music from the car radio.
Despite its problems, however, I regard 'Bad Taste' as a singular achievement. Considering the budget, the film manages some astonishing feats, from the sophistication of the gore make-up, which puts certain Eurohorror make-up artists with bigger budgets to absolute shame, down to the bizarre finale when the mansion launches into space.
The make-up of the gore is exceptional considering the budget.
All in all, a must-see for B movie fans and splatterfest fans alike. Just remember the sickie bag.
A Few Distictly Paranormal Resources
Convinced you've seen a UFO? So are many other people, and their stories are told in the only flying saucer compendium worth bothering with, Frank Edwards' wonderfully-entitled 'Flying Saucers: Serious Business!'
Finally. Caution, all ye who enter here. Yes, that's right, it is the Death Clock. Okay, it's not strictly paranormal, but somehow I suspect the greys would approve. How long have you got left? I appear to be on track to live to a ripe old age, given that my date of death will be Friday, May 7th, 2060. On the plus side, this means I shall get to join Saga, but on the downside means I shall witness the inevitable war between the greys and their reptilian masters. Still, you can't have everything.
What If Blob Was One Of Us?
They do it all through the help and co-operation of the JASON Society, about which more can be found here. You see, all the worlds important organisations and secret organisations are linked together, and together they rule the world, oppressing us the people. They're all in it, from the President to the Vatican, from the masons to the Nazis, from The Institute of International Affairs to The Russell Trust. The JASON Society are a part of this network, and according to Mallinson, it is they who provide the human abductees for 'analysis and extraction of vital fluids.' Don't trust those smiling scientists with all the facial hair either - apparently, according to the JASON Society page, 'as of 1987 the membership included four Nobel Prize winners.'
Fortunately, however, all is not lost. Through the brave analytical work of UFOlogists, we now have descriptions of the greys. Here is the most useful:
'The nature of the Greys, especially the Zeta Reticuli and the short Greys, is that they do not have deep emotional feelings or compassion. They are, in fact, extremely curious about all aspects of existence, highly analytical and devoid of sentimentality. They look at humans much the same way a farmer looks at his cows, as an inferior species. They understand the passions and compassion of humans to the degree it is observable by them but do not their feelings.'
That's why you see them with clipboards.
It turns out, despite the fact that the greys keep abducting us and extracting our vital fluids, they really need our help. The problem is that:
'The Greys are not masters of their own fate. They are, rather, subservient to a reptilian race . In their desire to retain that freedom from their reptilian masters, they would hope to play the role of being masters here on earth, or at least having enough control so as to be safe from slavery by any other species. The Zetas desire the help of humans in an expected future confrontation with the reptilian masters who are expected to follow soon, within the next 20 years. This refers to the so-called asteroid that is on its way toward earth. It is housing millions
of reptilian aliens. It has, however, temporarily diverted its path as it
moves into the constellation of Draco.'
This comfortably explains why NASA and Bush wish to remove the asteroid from the sky - they're slave to the greys, and the greys do not wish to meet their masters again (bad karma). Bush and NASA can explain it to homo sapiens as a measure of protection, but we know who really wears the trousers. It seems, however, that if this plan fails, we will have an intergalactic war on our own planet within the next twenty years.
Still, there are those who can save us. Yes, that's right, the movie was correct, there really are 'Men In Black.' According to Monstrous, 'they might be bio-synthetic forms or even holographic images working for aliens invaders.' Well, it is a worry. Once again, however, you don't have to take my word for it:
'The very first occurrence of MIB was traced to a man named Albert K. Bender. He was the editor of a flying saucer publication called the "Space Review" In the October 1953 issue he placed an announcement stating that he had come across information that would solve the flying saucer mystery but they could not print it because they were ordered not to.'
'They then ended the announcement warning others in saucer work to be "very cautious" they then stopped their publications. Later in an interview Bender stated that "three men wearing dark suits" had ordered him to stop publishing flying saucer material, and that he had complied with the order because he had been "scared to death" of them.'
'He later published a book called "Flying Saucers and the Three Men in Black" in which he explained The Men In Black in more detail: they were, he claimed, from somewhere called Kazik; he had visited their spaceship in Antartica; they had told him that their agents had infiltrated the Pentagon.'
Some people really are bat-shit crazy.
Putting Aliens On Hold
I normally wouldn't consider just arse cheeks acceptable, but since that dish was served with a side order of 'hint of muff', I'll call it.
Now we have to rely on the mens mags next week for the breast shots. Let's hope - though, sadly, Maxwell doesn't seem so keen on the idea. Shame.
When Aliens Attack
Spielberg cut the 'Aliens Take Over A Small Software Company's Offices' scene for fear it looked ridiculous.
Tomorrow, or maybe Friday, we shall hopefully have a review of 'Bad Taste.' Only trouble is, there are a couple of details of my review I need to check, and to do this I need to watch the film again. This wouldn't be a problem, except my DVD player keeps turning films green. If anyone knows what might be causing this problem, I'd be delighted if you could tell me.
In the meantime, however, following this article, I want to know your favourite and least favourite films with aliens in 'em.
My least favourite would undoubtedly be the awful 'Mars Attacks!', which is a deeply, deeply annoying film. Even if you haven't seen it, you can tell it'll be awful since 'IMDb-idiot-in-residence' 'bob the moo' likes it. PJ O'Rourke once said about the French that 'every moral compass needs a butt end.' Well, bob the moo is the butt end of my movie compass, because I don't know if I've ever agreed with a single one of his seemingly ubiquitous reviews (and there are currently 332 pages of them).
My favourite, I suppose, would be '2001: A Space Odyssey', just because it's wonderfully original and daring for its time, positing, as the BBC article rightly points out, the novel suggestion that were there forces 'out there', they wouldn't necessarily be complete arseholes looking to kill us all.
Your thoughts welcome (as always).
The 'Saskia Please Get Naked Countdown Clock' Update #1
1 day, 18 hours, 38 mins left for Saskia to please get naked.
The ironic thing is, she was caught shagging Maxwell last night, but all you could see apart from the duvet was Maxwell's hairy arse. This was a poor substitute, in my opinion.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Almighty Thor Was In His Heaven Tonight
It's a good set-up for Saturday's final, though.
I, meanwhile, am going to Edgbaston myself on Friday, having procured tickets for the Warwickshire/Worcestershire 20/20 game. It's my first 20/20 game, and I can't wait. It'll be excellent, I'm sure.
The split in God's trousers.
The worst thunder storm I was ever in was in a small town called Bad Breisig in Germany. I've never known anything like it. At one point, I was looking out the window, trying to see how close the storm was, guessing it was pretty close since the crashes were so loud. This was, in retrospect, a mistake, because as I leaned out the window, a bolt flashed about two feet in front of me. I could literally have reached and touched it. Buggering good job I didn't though, isn't it?
Just stop appearing publicly, Tom. You're becoming a bit embarassing, and sadly you're not a good enough actor to be excused for it.
'Look into my eyes. Keep twirling the pen! Look into my eyes. You're feeling sleeepy, sleeeeeepy. So, so, sooooo sleeeeeepy. Asleep? Good. Now, listen. I know about prescription drugs. After all, before I converted to my ridiculous religion, I used to take them. Now, however, I don't, because I'm happy. I am king. Kiss my ring. Kiss my ring, dammit! Now, admit it. I know best. Thank you. Snap out of it now.'
Between A Rock And A Hard Place
It'll be Saskia who goes, of course, for three reasons:
1) In every eviction so far, it has been the person I don't want to go who has gone.
2) Maxwell is Mr Cheeky-Chappy Man, and so will stay because the public are sure to like him.
3) I don't wish to sound sexist here, really I don't, but the majority of those who actually bother to vote are clearly female. If they weren't, Sam would never have gone. These voters are, I suspect, somewhat jealous. Which is why there are so few women left, when the men are clearly more annoying.
Anyway, it's all but certain, since the bookies are heavily backing her to go, and still backing Maxwell as a decent contender to win the whole thing.
This is obviously a real shame. Still, the good news is that Saskia made it clear she wishes to be remembered, and said 'this girl's gonna have to wear some outfits.' The nudity prayer lives on yet. However, to add excitement, let me introduce the 'Saskia Please Get Naked Countdown Clock'.
Time left: 2 Days, 19 Hours, 37 mins.
The clock is ticking.
Monday, June 27, 2005
RIP Richard Whiteley
A good man.
Lights Out After Dark
This is clearly vital information, so let's take a closer look at the article:
'Seeing a glow-worm for the first time must be something of a thrill. As one awed spectator told the UK Glow Worm Survey: 'It's the first time I've ever seen such a thing - amazing. I thought someone had dropped a mobile phone!'
Now take a closer look at that first sentence. It says to me that the writer of the piece, one Nicky Trevett, may very well have never seen a glow-worm himself, which raises the question: why does he feel strongly enough to write about them?
He (I'm presuming it's a he, but I might be wrong) goes on to write several marginally interesting paragraphs about the 'glow-worm in literature', before coming up with the following astonishing paragraph:
'But your chances of seeing this fascinating little beastie might be diminishing. Glow worm enthusiast Robin Scagell began the unofficial, but highly regarded, UK Glow Worm Survey in 1990. 'There is anecdotal evidence of a decline,' he says. 'People tell us they are not as plentiful as they used to be. But it's hard to be sure - people don't walk around as much in the dark, we all drive around in cars, and populations of glow worms do fluctuate. But on specific sites, yes, I would say we have seen a decline.'
Astonishing because, firstly, in a half-serious publication, a paragraph contains not one, not two, but three sentences starting with 'but', and secondly because, it seems, no-one is even sure if the populations are even declining, not even the director of a national survey on the insects numbers. Which sort of raises the question: just what was the point of this article?
Lights out. Or not. Honestly, who really cares anyway?
In an extra bit, anyway, it is revealed that glow worms can be found on Box Hill in Surrey. This surprised me - I thought only middle-aged, beardy, Harley-riding bikers could be found there. Every day a school day, as they say.
What A Vegetable!
From the 20/20 match between Leicestershire and Durham today, the following entry was recorded onto the scorecard:
D L Maddy c P Mustard b G Onions 1
Saturday, June 25, 2005
(Hopefully) Brief Censorship Updates
1) According to the Melonfarmers, the government are considering implememting a scheme to give greater parental knowledge about the computer games their sproglings are playing. This sounds fine on paper, but there are several flaws in the proposal:
i) As the writer of the link points out, by the age of seventeen, teenagers are nearly totally independent. They can marry, leave home, buy a house, play the lottery, drive a car, and indulge in heterosexual intercourse. Consequently, the idea that parents are likely to have much of a say in what their sons and daughters are buying is pretty laughable.
ii) Protecting the kids seems reasonable enough, but this initiative seems, from the BBC article linked to at any rate, to be a knee-jerk reaction to the 'Manhunt' case, a computer game that was alleged to have inspired a fourteen year old to commit a murder. However, as the BBC article points out, this claim was dismissed by the Police investigating the case.
iii) Check out this quote from Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade & Industry:
'Adults can make informed choices about what games to play. Children can't and they deserve to be protected.'
This is undoubtedly true in the case of younger children, but older children, certainly by the time of their teenage years, are well aware of what the content of games is going to be like. I know I was - many of my friends and I used to purchase gaming magazines by the armload, so we knew exactly what we were getting into. I know this is a tired, hackneyed and cliched old argument, but I was playing Wolf-3D by the time I left primary school, and it hasn't turned me into a maniac.
2) Another Mondo documentary has been banned by the BBFC. This one, made in 1993, but only just submitted, going by the title 'Traces Of Death', has had a long and detailed explanation of its rejection, as the BBFC are righly wont to do these days. What is really noticeable is how similar the rejection statement is to those made for 'Bumfights', 'Banned From Television', and 'Terrorists, Killers And Other Wackos' (the details of all can be found here). My standpoint on Mondo is this: it is stupid, and I don't see the point, but with the proliferation of such websites as Ogrish and Rotten and others like it (which are all easy for minors to access), bans may be inevitable, but they're pretty ineffectual.
3) All of which brings me neatly to the final piece of news: Rotten is shutting down a significant part of its operations, due to new US legislation requiring the registration of all participants in hard core pornography, in order to, amongst other things, ascertain that they are not minors. For several great reasons to hate this piece of legislation, read this. The point is not that the actresses at Rotten were minors - how would I know if they were or weren't? - merely, that it is simply not possible to prove this in every case. Furthermore, as Gavin M points out, it seems somewhat ironic that the comparatively acceptable porn has bitten the dust while the Mondo stuff lives on (as it were) (so to speak).
Interestingly, I went to the cinema today to watch 'Inside Deep Throat', which I know I've mentioned here before. At the end of the film, the interviewer asks the prosecutor in the obscenity trial of Harry Reems, the male lead of 'Deep Throat', if a trial like that could happen today. He answers that the 'climate is perhaps even better today for obsenity trials than it was then.' How ironic.
Something is brewing in the US, and I don't like the look of it. To hand it over to Mr M again:
'You just get that familiar, Bush Presidency feeling of tanks rumbling into formation in the distance -- of Something being Up, except you won't know what it is until the battalions are in place and the air support is droning overhead with bomb racks laden.'
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Another Nail In The Coffin Of Civil Liberties in Britain
The headline says it all really. British citizens are expected to shop their fellows to the police if they light up where they are supposed not to. The reason for adopting this Eastern-bloc-police-state-secret-service-style law enforcement is that law enforcers in Britain are so incompetent they can't manage for themselves.
The law is a disgrace, and everyone behind it should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine agreed with me that if smoking were banned in public places, we would start smoking in public routinely. I still intend to do this.
Further information can be found here and here.
Oppose the ban!
Thanks, Tony, for making me start.
You go, grandad!
Signs Of The Times
I have discored a marvellous site called 'Church Sign Generator', which allows you to create such wonders as this. I shall obviously be doing several of these in the future.
I Will Happily Support The World's Second Most Annoying Man In An Argument Against The Most Annoying Man
Well, as reported here, the world's biggest buffoon, Billy Bragg, has accused Bono of selling out because of the fact that:
'Bono is prepared to sit down and talk directly with George Bush in his territory. He has put his credibility on the line.'
I couldn't agree more with Mr Burgess, who sarcastically states:
'It's clear that those who think that such discussions [Bono's discussions with Bush and Blair] - which, like his visit to Africa with Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, have arguably contributed to recent concrete results on debt relief and aid - actually enhance Bono's credibility are simply misguided. Far better to adopt the blinkered view of the professional naysayer, thus preserving one's street cred among the like-minded.'
I cannot stand the attitude of people like Bragg. For all Bono's manifest flaws - and I do consider him greatly irritating, due to his utter sanctimoniousness and his apparent belief that no important decision should be taken without him throwing in his penny's worth - at least he tries to do something about the worlds problems. He may or may not have the right approach - don't ask me, I'm not an economist. The point is, however, he is at least demonstrably trying. The last time the world heard from Bragg, however, was his recent appearance on a documentary about football hooliganism (because obviously for an expert view on the matter nobody has more to say than an irrelevant washed-up popstar), in which he blamed football hooliganism on the Falklands War. This, in my humble opinion, defies parody.
I know nothing about Bragg's music, but if it as one-note as his politics, it must have been ghastly to listen to. I can quite understand blaming Thatcher for some things, but he insists upon blaming her for everything, ever (unless Bush or Reagan have to carry the can, but frankly they're second best). If you gave him enough rope, he'd blame her for the Viking invasions.
Bono, by contrast, at least tries constructive instead of destructive.
Billy Bragg appears to blame all the worlds ills on just a few people. If this is to become acceptable, I should like the record to state that I hold Jimmy Hill responsible for everything wrong with my life.
This Is What I Call 'The Drunk Man At The Party' Syndrome
The error, first of all, is extremely silly. It should have been completely obvious to anyone awake and facing the right way. I'm not going to complain about that though - what I'm going to complain about is the complete non-apology that was subsequently posted. This non-apology, which completely fails to answer the charge that left-wing anti-war protestors should not be tarred with the same brush as nutjobs who spend their time cheering death and destruction of everyone except for those as bigoted as themselves, is exactly the sort of weaselly get-out attempt that drunk people in the pub or at the party always try when they finally get it through to their woozy brains that they've said something particularly stupid.
During the course of writing this blog, I anticipate I will make several mistakes. I may even make a mistake as egregious as this one. The one thing I will promise, however, is that if I should do that, I will apologise like a man, not try and crawl like a snake.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
A Little Self-Deprecation
Then it struck it me - I'm turning into JD from 'Scrubs.' The days of 'hairmets' and 'shower shorts' are surely closer than I would like.
Which is why I was so thankful that I managed to get so angry at my stupid countrymen for voting Sam out of Big Brother last week. Here's why. Just what the fuck is wrong with British people today? Have they not got eyes in their heads?
In the words of Robb;
'I cannot believe you voted Sam out, are all my vistors now gay, well lots of Maxwell bum cleavage and cock fondling pictures now.'
I heartily agree. So what if she barely smiled? Obviously the ideal situation would have been to have Makosi, Sam and Saskia left for the last fortnight, and maybe they might have got bored, and then Sam could have . . . sorry, slipping into a daydream. Still, even if that couldn't happen, it remains a fact that my bobble-headed countrymen have voted three women out in three votes, making the programme into a complete cock-fest. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Just a little more Sam.
Cruising For A Bruising
I was, when I first heard the story, rubbishing Cruise for a complete lack of a sense of humour. What sort of a baby throws a hissy-fit over a squirt of water? However, thanks to the folks at the Beeb, you can now watch the incident in question. Having done so, I have to say I'm taking Tom's side. This is not because what happened was particularly bad - he could and should have laughed it off - but because, as the Beeb article points out:
'He is famed for his lengthy walkabouts at film premieres, spending hours greeting fans, signing autographs and talking on their mobile phones.'
In short, he's one of the few Hollywood stars who doesn't treat his fans like shit, and consequently, I don't think it's particularly funny either. When you see the incident, actually Cruise seems pretty composed about it to me.
I'd have twatted the bloke.
What's important, though, is that he doesn't get any stupid ideas about criminal prosecutions or any of that shit. If this non-story is to be put out of its misery, they need to just show the programme and then everyone involved needs a grow up a bit.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Let's Just Hand It Over To The Knack, Shall We?
I was going to write this post as a criticism of what she said. I was going to point out that the accusations of wrongdoing that Lovelace made make a documentary examining the truths behind those claims more, not less important. I was going to comment upon the sheer chutzpah of a representative of a completely different part of Scotland presuming to tell the citizens of Edinburgh how to live their lives. And I was going to say how disgraceful it is that, as a party of the left, the Green Party should turn their back on free speech, not endorse it.
However, two things then happened. Firstly, IanG wrote a letter to the Melonfarmers that beat me to it, and covers most of the important reasons why she is an idiot. Secondly, I got to thinking about what a strange name Shiona is. Then it struck me: comedy gold!
Of course - 'My Sharona' by The Knack! It's so close, I just had to. Sharona/Shiona? Practically the same. At first, I was going to use just a couple of lines in the title of the post, but in fact the whole song is just perfect, given what a sensual person the delectable Shiona clearly is. I should like to point out at this point that this post works better if you're actually listening to 'My Sharona' at the same time.
So, without further ado, I present, courtesy of The Knack, who came up with the original idea, 'My Shiona:'
'Ooh my little pretty one, pretty one.
When you gonna give me some time, Shiona?
Ooh you make my motor run, my motor run.
Gun it comin' off of the line Shiona
Never gonna stop, give it up -
Such a dirty mind.
I always get it up for the touch of the younger kind.
My my my i yi woo. M M M My Shiona...
Come a little closer huh, ah will ya huh.
Close enough to look in my eyes, Shiona.
Keeping it a mystery gets to me
Running down the length of my thighs, Shiona
Never gonna stop, give it up.
Such a dirty mind.
I always get it up for the touch of the younger kind.
My my my i yi woo. M M M My Shiona...
When you gonna give it to me, give it to me.
It is just a matter of time Shiona
Is it just destiny, destiny?
Or is it just a game in my mind, Shiona?
Never gonna stop, give it up.
Such a dirty mind.
I always get it up for the touch of the younger kind.
My my my i yi woo. M M M My Shiona...'
When you gonna give it to me, Shiona?
Book Meme Whatsit
So Dr, have you ever had a crush on a literary figure?
No, not really. I did read one book, though, when I was in the first flush of adolescence, which did cause a certain amount of lust. I can't remember the title of the book, or what it was about, but it contained a character called Bernice, who entered her friends motorcycle sidecar with a different friend. The journey was problematic for some reason, and she ended in a sort of melee with this other fellow who got a good look at her split-crotch knickers. I recall thinking that no man, other than myself, should ever have that much luck in life.
How many books do you own?
About one hundred. I prefer the library - much cheaper.
What is the last book you bought?
I bought two at the same time, actually. The first was 'Gold Coast', by Elmore Leonard. I'm a bit of a fan of Leonard generally - pretty good for pulp fiction, I would say - but I'd been looking for 'Gold Coast' for ages. The reason is that I absolutely adore the made-for-TV film based on the book, called 'Elmore Leonard's Gold Coast.' It's one of those films I feel just a tiny bit ashamed of liking, but really it's rather wonderful. Great characters, a plot that flies along at a decent clip, gorgeous scenery of Miami, Lauderdale and Key West, a beatiful score, and one of the best villain performances captured on film. Jeff Kober is superb as the brutal, hilarious, and downright evil Roland Crowe, a shylock who swaggers around town in range clothes and a cowboy hat, and does such anti-social activities as throwing people from high buildings and lying in wait in people's flats with a loaded pump-action shotgun. Indeed, so well does Kober play his role, that I always kind of want him to come through in the end. Because of the respect I have for the film, therefore, I was keen to read the source material.
The other book was 'Mr Pye' by Mervyn Peake. I've read this once before, but I can remember nothing about it. A friend of mine has been ribbing me about the fact he owns a copy and I don't for years, so obviously I had to put the record straight.
Jeff Kober is Roland Crowe. A magnificently over-the-top performance. Great stuff. Can a villain ever really be a villain if he isn't wearing a cowboy hat?
What was the last book you read?
The improbably gripping 'Nature via Nurture: Genes, Experience And What Makes Us Human' by Matt Ridley. It's a subject I have a great interest in, and Ridley does a great job presenting all the important details. At times the text can be totally impenetrable:
'What do BDNF, GAD65 and diazepam - the three things that can affect critical periods - have in common? The answer is in the neurotransmitter GABA: GAD65 makes it, diazepam mimics it and BDNF regulates it. Since GABA was implicated in the filial imprinting of the chick, it looks plausible that the GABA system will prove to be central to critical periods of all kinds.'
And so on. If you can get past the frequent dense passages, however, there are many fascinating facts to be learned: did you know that, as a proportion of body weight, chimpanzee testicles are 16 times greater than gorilla testicles? Furthermore, this difference is due to the type of food eaten, of all possibilities. Or did you know that, at some point between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five, we simply lose the ability to change accent completely to match our surroundings? The book informs of all these, and many more, interesting facts, and does so with a humour rare in scientific writing.
Name five books that mean a lot to you.
1) 'Last Night A DJ Saved My Life' by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton. I love dance music, and I particularly love northern soul, as a glimpse at my links list should show. No book does as much justice to that scene as this one, telling many, many interesting stories and fascinating facts. The whole history of dance is charted, from the moment Jimmy Saville invited some of his mates around, to the superclubs of the 1990s (which Brewster and Broughton righly give short shrift to). It is not only authoritative, but entertaining as well, packed as it is with anecdotes of the most important DJs and music scene figures. A riveting good read, totally authoritative, and the book that helped shape a passion that now defines me.
2) 'McTeague', by Frank Norris. If it hadn't been for his tragically early death, Frank Norris would be a name that towered in the annals of American literature. My favourite naturalist novel of all time, it charts the courting, marriage, and slow and painful break-up of a couple living in turn-of-the-nineteenth-century San Francisco. Beautiful, charming, and decastatingly painful, it goes where many writers would be afraid to travel. Furthermore, it contains perhaps my favourite lines of literature ever written:
'The instant that Trina gave up, the instant she allowed him to kiss her, he thought less of her . . . . Perhaps he dimly saw that this must be so, that it belonged to the changeless order of things - the man desiring the woman . . . . for what she witholds; the woman worshipping the man for what she yields up to him. With each concession gained the man's desire cools; with every surrender made the woman's desire increases. But why should it be so?'
Terribly, tragically true.
3) 'Blott On The Landcape' by Tom Sharpe. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has ever written a farce as well as Sharpe can. I had the devil of a job deciding which of his novels to include - I was oh so close to choosing 'Ancestral Vices', for the creation of Walden Yapp, who is comic genius. His pathetic attempts to dispose of the corpse of the hospitable dwarf who sheltered him are the stuff of legend. Part of the beauty of Sharpe is hsi incessantly negative characterisation: as one of the reviewers on Amazon puts it, 'the male characters are unsympathetic pedantics and deviants; women are often hideous gorgons.' Exactly the same is true of 'Blott On The Landscape', which finally gets the nod because of the extent of the perversions of Sir Giles (and before they can be dismissed as unrealistic, remember Stephen Milligan) and the sheer hideousness of Lady Maude, genuinely the world's most horrific heroine. One writer once said of 'McTeague', 'never before has a writer treated his hero with so much contempt.' I would submit that, in the case of 'Blott On The Landscape', never has a writer treated his heroine with so much contempt. It is rioutously amusing. Buy a copy!
4) 'The Wind In The Willows' by Kenneth Grahame. I couldn't do this quiz without mentioning a childhood favourite, and 'Wind In The Willows' is probably it. The copy I have is beautifully illustrated by Inga Moore, and oh so rarely for a British book, is printed upon quality paper, so it won't fall apart. The story itself is a classic - love, betrayal, adventure and small furry animals. What more could you want?
5) 'The CEO Of The Sofa' by PJ O'Rourke. I am not a particularly political person, which is, I think, why I enjoy O'Rourke's cynicism about politics and politicians so very much. The passage on the impeachment of Clinton is, without doubt, my favourite political writing ever. I don't believe there has been a funnier non-fiction book in the last decade. It really is bloody marvellous.
Friday, June 17, 2005
'Well You Know I'm Sorry But, If I Live To See The, Seven Wonders, I'll Make A Path To The Rainbow's End, I'll Never Live To Match The Beauty Again'*
There is another reason, however. You quite often hear various bloggers complain how left-wing the BBC is. Well, maybe, I don't know. What I do know, however, is that it is still filled to the brim with any number of parochial, I'm-a-little-Englander type programming.
A glorious example of this genre was just on my screen. It was called 'The Seven Natural Wonders Of The West Of England', and was presented by a middle-aged lady called Amanda Parr who wore checked riding trousers throughout. She seemed pleasant enough in a country-bumpkin sort of a way. She certainly had an affable manner, even if she did seem a little too likely to shout 'TALLY HO!' at any point. The programme simply showed her travelling to each of these 'wonders' and commenting a smidgeon about each. For those who are undoubtedly desperate to know, here are said 'seven wonders:'
1) The Severn Bore
2) Cheddar Gorge
5) Symonds Yat
6) Glastonbury Abbey/Tor
7) The Standing Stones Of Wiltshire/Stonehenge
The last two seem somewhat unfair since they appear to make nine wonders. Never mind, that is what the west has to offer. I suppose I'm being a bit cruel, taking the piss - none of them are the Pyramids of Giza, but then she never pretended they were. My point, however, is that programmes like this, presented by ladies like Parr, who was succeeded on BBC2 by 'Gardener's World', presented by Monty Don, hardly himself an icon of modernity, show that the BBC does not spend its entire budget producing daring leftwing statements, or funding apologias for terrorism, or whatever else they are frequently accused of. Little-Englandism lives strong yet.
Go West. And then 'Call me!' How witty am I? Sometimes, just sometimes, I even make myself smile.
*Fleetwood Mac, 'Seven Wonders'
Erm . . . Really?
I, of course, did it earlier, and this is my result:
It's not far from true, actually. The message, that is, because in fact I've never seen the film. I'd better get down to the rentals, then.
An Open Letter To Saskia, Who Of Course Can't Read It
I don't know what it is, but you've begun to annoy me a little over the last few days. Actually, I'm lying - I know exactly what it is. You're not giving me enough. I need more, and you need to give me more. Our relationship will improve because of it, trust me.
You see, all the other girls (well, Sam and Makosi anyway) are showing themselves off a bit. You need to do this too. Obviously, reaching the highlights of last year's show, when stripping became a recreational activity no rarer than a cup of tea, were always unlikely. I need something, though!
I know what it is. You are teasing the public. However, I have a message from the public - hurry the fuck up will you! Nobody likes a prude. So just fucking fuck Maxwell like you obviously want to and then we, and most importantly I, can get on with my life.
Thank you for listening telepathically.
Saskia, this is not enough. Stop teasing me, and get naked!
This is a little better, now you're starting down a good path. Go there, please!
Readers: Share With Me Your View!
Then tell me if I'm not wrong:
'He's turning Japanese,
I think he's turning Japanese,
I really think so.'
Watching People Sleep Is Undoubtedly Boring
There is something so comfortably mind numbing about doing so, though, that I was riveted. I've only just recovered, like waking from a trance.
Partly, I think, it is the silence. So much of my life is spent amidst noise, it is really quite refreshing to hear complete silence for a change.
It's still sad though.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
A Poem For Lara Lewington, Channel 5's Weather Lady, Written In The Modernist Style
You brighten my day.
I'd like to feel your warm front.
You sexy bitch.'
I can feel my pressure rising.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Well, Bugger Me With A Broomstick!
Quality innings for England from Trescothick, Pietersen and Collingwood beat off an acceptable Aussie attack, before great bowling from Gough and Lewis demolished a lacklustre Aussie batting line-up, who at one point lost seven wickets for eight runs in nineteen balls. The victory margin, one hundred runs, is exceptional for the format.
Michael Vaughan has proved once again that he's an excellent captain, not just by his performance today, but more importantly by his performance after the match, and he was quite right in saying:
'"I don't think it will have any impact on the five-day format."'
This is completely true, though in typical fashion the British press tomorrow will be full of idiots saying that it'll be easy for England this summer.
Of course, it won't. I still believe the Australians will beat us, and beat us comfortably, this summer. However, that is all the more reason to savour the victory tonight!
Shock! The Crazy Frog Has Not Caused The World To End
For my part, I just don't understand the fuss. Yes, it is shit, but so are the vast majority of adverts. Someone I read, and I sadly can't remember where, claimed that when the Frog beat Coldplay to number one, it showed that music was dead in Britain. I haven't had a laugh that good in several months. In fact, what am I saying, I haven't had a laugh that good since the last series of 'I'm Alan Partridge' ended.
A few weeks ago, I was in desperate need to get from Oxenholme to Preston, and the trains weren't running. There was a coach instead, and the coach driver was one of those sad old men who still listen to Radio 1. The top 40 was on. I used to listen religiously to the top 40, and indeed I can still tell you where many obscure tracks made their debuts in the chart, and how many weeks they spent, and suchforth. I stopped listening a couple of years ago, though, because the music was so very crap. As you can imagine, therefore, I was interested to hear what I now thought.
I heard the top 20, and of those songs, one was good (but it was an Elvis re-release), two were average pop-dance sort of music that was tolerable without being any good, and the rest was pure shite. None of those seventeen shit songs were worse than the Crazy Frog, but here's the thing - they weren't much better, either. The truth is, the Crazy Frog might be a symptom of what is wrong with British music, but it certainly isn't the cause.
Trust me - if you grit your teeth, the adverts will go away eventually. I promise that. In the meantime, please get over it.
Besides, this is the worst advert on television.
Not the end of the world.
From The Bad News To The Good
The very manna of heaven.
According to the article:
'Liam Cassidy of the UK-based Michael Jackson worldwide fan club said he was "ecstatic" at the verdict.
"This is a vindication for Michael but also a vindication for the fans who have stood by him," he said.'
Some of his fans are genuinely, worryingly sad. I was watching TV the other day, and there was a programme on that fount of all knowledge, Sky One, which showed some of his more obsessive fans, some of whom had shrines to the man, with candles lit there every day, and that sort of malarkey. I honestly think if he'd been found guilty, it might eventually have given these people some closure on their obsession.
It's bad, too, I believe, for his children, who (in my opinion) are gravely mistreated by Jackson. It's not just the hanging-over-the-balcony business, but also the fact that he makes them wear masks and suchforth in public. It must be no sort of a life at all, really.
This Is Extremely Vital Information
I Can Confirm That, Yes
What do you think - knobhead or not? Answers in the comments please.
(via Blithering Bunny)
Thursday, June 09, 2005
The Wonderful World Of Words
The argument is over the origin of 'chav.' I have whittled it down to three possible options. Here they are:
1) The option preferred by the dictionary, that the word is a corruption of the Romany term 'chavi', meaning child. I personally think this is rubbish - not all children are chavs, and who creates new words from Romany, for fucks sake?
2) My preferred option - that it is a term coined by the pupils of Cheltenham Ladies College, standing for 'Cheltenham Average.' In this case, it is a sneering term applied by posh upper-middle class girls with names like Felicity and Lydia to insult the normal, decent, hard-working townfolk. I live near Cheltenham some of the time, and I can confirm that there is a clash between the townfolk and the collegefolk. The suggestion that this is the source, however, isn't popular with the school:
'Vicky Tuck, principal of the 150-year-old college, was appalled by the suggestion that her girls, schooled so tirelessly in the need to respect other less favoured members of society, could have come up with such a derogatory label.'
'"It is offensive because it's deprecating one group of people against another," she said. "If we're trying to stand for anything here it's respecting all kinds of people living together in harmony. That's what I spend my waking hours trying to do.'
. . .
'Mrs Tuck believes chav derives from chavi, the 19th century Romany word for child.'
Still doesn't make it true, though, does it? And it hasn't been used since the 19th century? Option two sounds better to me. On to:
3) The word is an anagram, standing for 'Council House And Violent.' This is my mate's idea, and he claims he saw it on telly, which obviously he regards as the fount of all wisdom. Certainly, this origin would fit with adding 'asbo' to the dictionary at the same time.
So what is it, readers? 1, 2 or 3?
Seeds Of Discontent
This is an image of "the peas who hate people who hate peas." Love it.
It's A Little Late For Modesty Now, Dear!
It seems that an Anouska Hempel, now Lady Weinberg, is somewhat embarassed at her history of soft-core porn. She starred in the Russ Meyer film 'Black Snake', which is soon to be on DVD in Britain. According to the 'Times' article the Bunny links to:
'The former proprietor of the chic London hotels Blakes and the Hempel is rumoured to have offered to buy the video rights to ensure the film was forgotten for ever. In its celluloid version the film is thought to have been shown in Britain on only a handful of occasions. But it will now be sold in video stores and the Ann Summers chain of sex shops.'
Tut-tut. That's for two things - first of all, for a journalist with a national newspaper starting a sentence with 'but', something that angers me inordinately, and secondly for an actress attempting, by distinctly dubious means, to remove something regretted from the public domain.
It seems that her concern is not only related to her nudity. The film allegedly (I haven't seen it) contains some distinctly dubious racial epithets, and is set upon a slave plantation. It sounds a little like a soft-core porno version of 'Mandingo.' Although, in fairness, 'Black Snake' came first (by two years). Russ Meyer clearly disagreed, however - according to the IMDb 'Trivia' page for the film, Meyer 'stated in an interview that this film was his "statement" film against racial bigotry.' Who knows? If anyone has seen it, I'd be interested to hear your views.
Incidentally, given that the main review for the film calls it 'Susan, She-Wolf Of The Plantation,' a clear nod to 'Ilsa, She-Wolf Of The SS' (interstingly, according to the IMDb, banned in Australia and Norway), a Nazi sexploitation film, it doesn't sound terribly edifying.
Sadly, there is actually nothing that can be done to stop people from buying the rights to their own films. It seems, given that the film is being released, that Hempel's attempt must have failed. Anyhow, it emerges that Hempel's soft-core career didn't end in 'Black Snake' - the Bunny mentions another film called 'Tiffany Jones', which sounds like a true trash classic. I think I shall see if I can't get hold of a copy.
I belive that the tagline 'When the going gets tough, the clothes get going!' may be my favourite film tagline ever. It's sheer genius.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
'What Would Martha Stewart Say?': A Film Review Of 'Bride Of Chucky'
Because of how much I love this film, when I discovered my best mate hadn't seen it, and we had nothing better to do, I suggested we watch it. And do you know what? He didn't like it. I know this because he turned to me about half an hour before the end and said, 'This is shite.' He couldn't have hurt me more if he'd driven a pickaxe through my heart. Something, incidentally, that Chucky himself would do.
Murderous dolls. And why not?
So, in light of this, I decided to try and see what it is that I love so very much about this film. The plot goes like this: it's been ten years since the Good Guy doll containing the spirit of mass-murderer Charles Lee Ray was put to rest in the (allegedly execrable) 'Child's Play 3.' Chucky's old flame Tiffany decides to stitch the old doll together again, and brings him back to life with that wonderful tome, 'Voodoo for Dummies.' Due to something of a domestic, Chucky electrocutes Tiffany in the bath and moves her soul to a bridal doll. In order to return to human form, the two murderous dolls need human bodies, so they persuad Tiffany's trailer-park neighbour to drive them to the cemetery containing the amulet which can achieve this. Trouble is, Jesse, the neighbour, has fallen in love with Jade, the niece of the Police Chief. They attempt to escape together. Unfortunately, the police try to stop them, meaning that the dolls have to take matters into their own gory hands.
The plot, which is a clear riff on the horror classic 'Bride Of Frankenstein' (the connection is made clear by the fact that Tiffany is watching that film while lying in the bath), is fine in itself, but is really a vehicle for no end of wonderful dark humour and gore. The humour is everywhere in the film, and really there's far too many great gags for me to list here, but my personal favourites are the references to Martha Stewart being Tiffany's idol, as the title of this review exemplifies. There are many, many eminently quotable lines, from 'if this were a film, it would require three or four sequels to do it justice' to 'I'll be BACK! . . . but dying is such a bitch' to the bizarre philosophies of Tiffany's mother. I've seen the film a fair few times, but it still cracks me up all the way through.
Chucky gets lucky!
The film has other wonders too. The casting of Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany was simply inspired, and Katherine Heigl and Nick Stabile offer fine performances as the runaway couple, with Brad Dourif being as reliable as ever with the psycho voiceover for Chucky. The late (and sadly missed) John Ritter is great too in the role of the Police Chief.
The sexy, incredibly gorgeously sultry Jennifer Tilly.
John Waters, the director of such trash classics as 'Pink Flamingos' and 'Hairspray', apparently claimed that 'Bride Of Chucky' was his 'favourite film of the year!' It wasn't the best film of 1998, that honour going to perhaps my absolute favourite film 'Lola rennt', but it was probably second best. In fact, I don't know if this is deliberate, but in Waters new film, the wonderfully bizarre sex comedy 'A Dirty Shame', Tracey Ullman, when tarting up', draws a mole above her upper lip in exactly the same place that Jennifer Tilly has a mole. Is it a homage? Who knows. Whatever, 'Bride Of Chucky' is definitely a trash classic in the Waters tradition.
Another of the many reasons for the film earning this earmark of quality is its glorious soundtrack. Director Ronny Yu, who has previously been behind the chair of several quality films such as 'The Bride With The White Hair' , clearly decided that the trailer trash theme could be emphasised with a great metal soundtrack, with songs such as Rob Zombie's 'Living Dead Girl' and Monster Magnet's fantastic song 'See You In Hell', which I would number as one of my top twenty tunes period. Still, this doesn't win the award for the best soundtrack moment in the film, which goes to the use of 'Call Me', Blondie's best song, over a montage of the Tiffany doll dressing up as the evil bride. It is a wonderful, wonderful scene, and words can't express how much I love it.
Monster Magnet are just one element of the films sound.
The frights are definitely toned down in place of the humour. 'Child's Play' was a genuinely frightening film, and the two immediate sequels 'Child's Play 2' and 'Child's Play 3' apparently followed the tradition. Yu doesn't try to fill 'Bride Of Chucky' with too many wanton scares, which works in the films favour. It is, howerver, quite gory in places, though scarcely ever anything other than hilariously so. Undoubtedly the best moment in this regard is the shattered mirror ceiling falling down upon a couple of thiefs on a water bed. As plumes of water and blood gush into the air, Yu creates a surprisingly beautiful scene.
A little gore never did anyone any harm.
The truly astonishing thing is that the film was ever made at all. The furore over 'Child's Play 3', which was implicated in the murder of James Bolger, despite the fact that there was no evidence the killers had even seen the film, reached America too, and it appeared that the franchise was dead. It was only because horror enthusiast Yu was dead keen to reinvigorate the franchise that 'Bride Of Chucky' came into being, so it's him we have to thank. Yu's passion for horror cinema can be seen in the appearance of horror props such as Leatherface's chainsaw and Michael Myer's mask in the opening scene. Yu later continued his work on reinvigorating dead franchises with the film 'Freddy vs Jason.'
All this makes it something of a shame that 'Seed Of Chucky', which I saw last week, may well have put the franchise back on the life-support machine. It had its moments, including a wonderful scene riffing on 'The Shining', in which Chucky breaks down a door with an axe, only to say 'Dammit! I can't think of anything to say.' Credit is also due to Jennifer Tilly and rap superstar Redman for shamelessly sending themselves up. Nonetheless, it lacked the edge that 'Bride Of Chucky' has, and wasn't consistently funny enough, and it could be that the door has finally closed on one of the strangest horror franchises.
That's the attitude!
Saturday, June 04, 2005
1) Ofcom rejected seven complaints about Channel 4's screening of the Lars von Trier film 'The Idiots' during their 'Banned' season. The issue was with the infamous 'gang bang' scene and the momentary glimpse of 'real sex' that that scene contains. I have to disagree with the Ofwatch comments on the film - 'The Idiots' being screened uncut hardly sets a precedent for R18 content on television, not least because of the brevity of the scene in question, and also the fact that 'The Idiots' is clearly and definitely not a sex film - indeed, the scene in question could hardly be described as titillating.
Still, Ofcom definitely made the right decision. And, as MediaWatch Watch pointed out, the fact that the screening received only seven complaints, one less than the number of people on the MediaWatch board for goodness' sake, suggests that the controversy is really very manufactured. Those complainants either had to stay awake until 1:35 in the morning (when the scene appeared) in order to be offended, or else they had to set their videos in order to be offended. Anyway, given how much the scene was flagged, in Tim Roth's introduction, before the start of the film, and after the advert break preceeding the scene in question, it would have been impossible to have not known what was coming.
2) Ofcom, having appeared a voice of reason in the 'Idiots' decision, promptly ruined that by continuing their nonsensical ban upon R18 rated content upon pay-per-view, PIN protected satellite services. The decision, announced in thir new code, is, in my view, the wrong one. The idea that R18 content should be banned because kids can get hold of PIN numbers is ludicrous. Kids can get hold of all sorts of things, from kitchen knives to hardcore porn, in many homes, yet that is no good reason for banning people from possessing them. Ultimately, Britain's regulatory bodies need to trust parents to be able to bring up their kids properly, and I'm sufficient of an optimist to believe that the vast majority manage that.
A decision in favour of R18 content would not have been to put R18 upon terrestrial television, or even upon free-to-air satellite channels. It would have been strictly pay-per-view, and that, in my opinion, is reasonable enough.
3) The 'Daily Mail' had a predictably ludicrous reaction to the news, writing about the viewers right to 'not be offended.' I do find it amusing that newspapers such as the Mail, who spend all their time dismissing legislation such as the Human Rights Act, can, when they want to, come up with an alleged 'right' that is clearly many times more preposterous than the ones they dismiss.
John Beyer of MediaWatch needs to wake up. The R18 ban was not just a snub to the 'pornography industry', but was also a snub to the consumer. It could be his best friends or next-door neighbours who suffer at the hands of the continual prohibition. Of course, he would be perfectly happy with this, but it's noticeable that pro-censorship campaigners always leave out of their statements the implicit view that it's perfectly acceptable for the consumer to suffer. After all, the consumer might read their statements, and if they said the full truth, the consumer might be more skeptical of organisations like MediaWatch.
4) Finally, the BBFC have made the right decision in passing Mark L Lester's film 'Class of 1984' uncut 18. The film had been banned on video in Britain after failing to pass the censors in 1987, who were concerned about the films unflinching portrayal of classroom violence. The link shows an IMDb review claiming the film is eerily prophetic because of its visions of high school security and metal detectors in classrooms just a few years before they became a reality. It has apparently received decent reviews, and I shall see if I can hunt down a copy now that it's legal.
Filming of the 'gang bang' scene in 'The Idiots.'
Away From This Blog . . .
Lindsey of Immoderation has been coming up with film ideas that would have been better than 'The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants', which she righly identifies as the worst name, and indeed idea, for a film in years. A few weeks ago, I identified 'The Good Old Naughty Days' to be the best film title ever, and no-one disagreed with me. I have taken this as agreement, whether it was or not. Regardless, the 'Sisterhood' is going to be, I predict, a bit of a bust. Clearly in America, the word 'pants' doesn't have quite the blush-worthy connotations that it has in the UK, but we're only talking a matter of degrees. I struggle to imagine anyone, male or female, being able to go to the box office and ask for a ticket to that film without breaking out in a sweat. Consequently, I reckon few people will bother.
Long film names can work - 'The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou' was a great name, but the 'Sisterhood' thing is awful, awful, awful, and someone should be fired.
This story features everything you could possibly want, from pornography to postmodernism, and made me grin from ear to ear.
This post correctly praises Christopher Hitchens for carrying on puffing when some daft fool wanted him to stop. Highly commendable. As is this, which puts the boot into Yasmin Alibhai-Brown for her sickening stance on the issue. She really is a ghastly journalist.
Finally, this is a must read. The very possibilty that this law might even be considered in a civilised country made me feel ill. In fact, it made me so angry that I'm going to add the US Marijuana Party and DrugWarRant to my sidebar.
Friday, June 03, 2005
So far, however, by far the worst thing about adulthood has been going to the pub and listening to other men talk about cars. I might have unwittingly given the impression in this post that I am a keen driver. Perish the thought. I have no especial objection to driving, and I'll watch 'Top Gear' if I'm in at the time, but emphatically I do not wish to discuss them all the fucking time.
I went to the pub with some friends last night, and they talked about nothing else. They're companions of no little merit when they talk about something interesting, but bugger me is getting them to do that the Devil's own job. They talked about different models, paint jobs, types of key, anything under the sun. That's right, some cars come without keys nowadays, apparently having a button that says 'Start Engine', presumably for the benefit of those too cretinous to switch an ignition key.
The worst of all is that they could talk about 'doing up' their cars. No modification was too ludicrous for their approval. Here is, I swear, a sample of the sort of thing they were saying about 'modification:'
Man 1: 'Hey, have you seen, there's a car going around Fartville with a full aquamarine carbon-fibre body kit with added foballozadadine with go faster stripes and fluorescent lighting underneath.'
Man 2: 'That's nothing. I hear there's a car going around Sodittown with its headlights in backwards.'
Man 3: 'Pathetic. My mate Toerag has got his windscreen washer jets pointing out sideways so it sprays pedestrians. Neat, huh?'
Man 4: 'Well, I've heard . . . .'
and so on, and so on, ad infinitum.
Get a grip, men! Talk about something interesting or I'll crash into you.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Official - Britain Is A Nation Of Killjoys
1) 84% of those surveyed believed 'P' (provisional) plates should be compulsory for those who have just passed the test. Why? Why should my license be any more provisional than anyone elses? If I've just passed a compulsory test, which requires awareness and knowledge of road safety, why should I be any more 'provisional' than someone who hasn't been tested for decades? Also, before any old British codgers reading this say 'the test's not as hard as 'twas when I were young', you're right - it's harder. As road safety has become ever more of an issue, demands for harder and harder tests have been met. Consequently, young drivers are fully aware of road safety - if they get into crashes then, it's because the young person in question was an arsehole, not an ignoramus. And, lest we forget, there are arseholes of all ages on Britain's roads.
2) 'The compulsory introduction of Pass Plus, a Driving Standards Agency (DSA) scheme providing additional training to recently-qualified drivers, would be welcomed by 79% of those questioned.' Again, how does this make sense? If you agree, and I don't, but for the sake of argument I will, that young drivers are dangerous and irresponsible, why not simply make the current compulsory test harder?
3) 'Brake chief executive Mary Williams said restrictions, together with education for young drivers, were needed to show that driving licences were "a privilege, not a right".' Au contraire, my dear, once you have passed the test, a license is a right, not a privilege. It is a conditional right, certainly - conditional upon not breaking the law - but it is a right nonetheless.
4) The proposal includes other daft measures, such as a 'curfew.' Pathetic. If that ever gets implemented, I'll remember who is responsible for the fact that I can't get to the hospital to see a friend in a critical condition.
A quick message to all busybodies - leave us alone, now. I'm serious.