Sunday, July 26, 2009
Dear Michael Mann,
With the exception of Last of the Mohicans, I have never seen any of your pictures. I am going to hire Heat from the DVD shop this very afternoon because I've been meaning to for ages and have heard extremely good things about it (better things than I heard about Miami Vice I'm sorry to say). And, let's be honest, I could watch Robert DeNiro stare at a wall (unless Ben Stiller is standing in front of that wall, in which case I won't watch it unless I'm on an airplane for 30 hours, there are no magazines and none of the other in-flight channels are working).
So why am I finally deciding to get to know you a little better? Well firstly to stop getting you mixed up with Michael Bay (sorry, I have a feeling that mix-up is more offensive than I realise). And secondly because I am pretty excited about this film...
... Possibly because I'm going through a bit of a gangster/gangsta phase at the moment (care of The Wire and new-found affection for Ghostface Killah). But more likely it's the combination of 1930s Chicago, the epitome of glamour in my mind, and a cheeky philanthropic outlaw. In spats.
Mr Mann, please don't screw this up. If you do, I won't be devastated, but I can't guarantee I won't continue to accidentally associate you both in my mind and in conversation with the phrase "Pearl Harbour". Just saying.
All the best,
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
(This is quite a recent theory by the way, formulated approximately 5 mins ago but I thought I'd share it with y'all anyway.)
I was just listening to "Where I Fall" by The Reindeer Section. It's a recent favourite track off an old favourite album. If I was still using last.fm I would tag it with "Damn That's Pretty" and I think it could also make a good wallowing accompaniment if you're in the market for one.
I couldn't find a clip for it so I have just put it with a photo that my friend took (this is actually the image I use as my desktop). It's a pretty photo that feels like late afternoon on a winter's day. Appropriate for a sad song I think...
PS. The song is being performed by Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol. But you don't need to feel too sorry for him. Last I heard he's dating the beautiful Lisa Hannigan who dropped Damien Rice for him (and they went on to record a duet together about kissing each other for the first time. Ouch.) So if you want to feel sad for anybody maybe make it Damo.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
We have had two budgies (I have had more in my lifetime but "Pepsi" - my brother's choice of name - predates this experiment.). So we had a budgie called Billie who was rescued from a park by neighbours and taken under our wing (yes, the bird puns start now.) He was a frail and nervous bird, having survived attacks by both cats and big scary birds, and it was always a treat when he would chirp.
We got him a lady bird, called Stella, to be his lady friend. Turns out she is completely nuts and possibly responsible for Billie's demise. Now we just have Stella but have grown to adore her and her eccentricities. Possible manslaughter (birdslaughter?) withstanding.
Tonight she is sitting in the living room with me listening to music. She was pretty quiet for the most part until Mogwai's "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong" came on. Then she started singing her little heart out. This was also one of the few songs that got Billie singing too.
So I ask you... what is it about this song that the birds dig so much??
If there are any ornithologists among you, can you share some thoughts?
PS. Just FYI - Stella, unfortunately, cannot make the trek to NY so will be looking for a new home come September. If you know anyone looking for a lady bird friend... She's pretty, playful and has exceptional taste in music.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I was just exploring some other blogs (I really am no good at working from home) and came across a lovely one: Adventures, Disasters & Everything in Between. On it I saw this Andy Warhol poster. I really like it (and I hope the author doesn't mind me stealing it!).
Just something to ponder on your Thursday night should you care to. And now I'll sit back and wait for Stuff White People Like #128 : Andy Warhol and Other Pop-Art Philosophy. I know it's coming...
Monday, July 13, 2009
Bit of a Post Script to :
July 13th, 2009
Big thanks to Jo for emailing me this link (and thanks to Stuff White People Like for many a sheepish giggle). Published on the same day as my ode to a White Person favourite no less...
Posted: 13 Jul 2009 11:33 AM PDTIt is a guarantee that whenever it is announced that a popular book is being turned into a movie, white people will get upset. This is partly due to their fear that something they love will be made accessible to more people and thus enjoyed by more people which immediately decreases the amount of joy a white person can feel towards the original property. Yes, it’s complicated.
The other problem is that these announcements create a ticking time bomb where by a white person must read the book in ADVANCE of the release of the movie. This is done partly so that they can engage in the popular activity of complaining about how the movie failed to capture the essence of the book. But more importantly, once a book has been made into a movie, a white person can no longer read that book. To have read the book after the movie is one of the great crimes in white culture, and under no circumstances should you ever admit to doing this. Literally dozens of white friendships have imploded when it was revealed that someone read Fight Club after 1999.
So when it was announced that Where the Wild Things Are was being turned into a feature film, white people didn’t immediately get excited at the prospect of this film, in fact a great number of white people cringed when they first heard it was being turned into a movie. This was merely instinct. Immediately, those concerns quickly turned into an opiate-like peace when they found out that the film is being directed by white person favorite Spike Jonze and adapted for the screen by legendary white writer Dave Eggers.
Though the talent and the material has white people in a tizzy, the real excitement comes from the fact that this film is based off a book that is 48 pages long and made up mostly of illustrations. This means that white people do not have to re-read the book until the day they head to the movie theater. Thus freeing them up to watch The Director’s Series: The Work of Spike Jonze DVD which they bought years ago but only watched once.
Finally, and perhaps of most value to you is that the film has generously provided you with an excellent way to test out how many white friends you have. When the trailer was released a few months ago, you should have been inundated with emails, instant messages, and Facebook wall posts about how you need to see the trailer immediately. If you received no word that the trailer was available, then you currently are in possession of no white friends. If you received multiple notices, you should take note about who sent it to you first._______
White as snow.
And what's not to like? He's cool, creative, cine-literate and has a kick-arse sense of humour. When I first heard the Where the Wild Things Are trailer was available online, I virtually dribbled down my chin in anticipation (ala Pitchfork reviewing any band whose name contains the words "Grizzly", "Deer" or "Dirty".) Although this entry was going to be about music clips, let's take a little side-step and check out the WTWTA trailer, in case you haven't already, and then I'm going to confess a little something...
Secret Confession (I think we're up to) #3:
I cannot watch this clip without having a bit of a cry. At least, not so far.
I know, I know. It's a kid's film!
But it is just so beautiful.
I love the little boy running off to be in his imagination.
I love the rejection of clinical CG animation in favour of live-action big furry monsters that are just asking for a big furry cuddle.
I love the elating Arcade Fire track.
The whole thing is under-pinned by the idea of loneliness driving you into your imagination and finding happiness there. It's bittersweet because the happiness is only imaginary. Or is happiness real no matter where it's derived from?
Lars and the Real Girl set off my waterworks for the same reason. There is a scene where Lars is at a party and everyone is dancing to Talking Heads' "This Must be The Place (Naive Melody)". He and his imaginary girlfriend have been kindly embraced by everyone at the party and he dances alone to the song in total bliss. The film wasn't perfect but this scene was beautifully executed and perfectly scored and just remembering it makes my chin start to quiver.
So there you go:
loneliness + imagination = happiness
is the guaranteed filmic formula to get me snuffling noisily into my Kleenex.
So how did we get to Spike today? Well today is a self-designated "research" day, in that I am slightly under-employed at the moment but about to work on a couple of music clips so thought I'd take advantage of having free time to watch a bunch of music clips and get inspired. Narrowing the field of "best film clips ever" is an impossible task, however. There are too many players and the field is too wide. Where do you start??
I was looking for a specific technique - namely split-screen - but had a bit of trouble getting references. Not that there aren't some terrific split-screen clips out there - the Michel Gondry clip for Cibo Matto's "Sugar Water", for instance, is genius. It's just not the use of split-screen I am after.
The upshot of the whole exercise is that I was reminded of a bunch of clips I really love and inspired once again by the potential of the format. And what an emotional roller-coaster! UNKLE's "Rabbit in Your Headlights" is almost unwatchable, it's so painful. Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" still scares the bejeezus out of me but this one always puts a smile on my face...
So I'm going to leave you with one of my all-time favourites, directed by Spike Jonze and starring the one, the only, Christopher Walken Esq. as you may never have seen him before: exploring the hypothesis that maybe dancing will help...
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Podley (Or: The not so magic 8 ball ipod)
Wednesday April 29, 2009
He was pretty spot on for a while (or at least, I was happy with his predictions and the song titles seemed to make sense - as did yours! You guys had some cracking tracks). Lately it's not working so well so either he's lost his psychic intuition or I need to update my library.
Meanwhile, Jon has a new and much cleverer take on the potential of the ipod/itunes 'shuffle' tool. (I know, I know, why not try coming up with your own ideas for blogs Katie? Because Jon's are funnier, that's why.) So here it is...
IF YOUR LIFE WAS A MOVIE, WHAT WOULD THE SOUNDTRACK BE?
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool - first songs only
First Day of School
Falling in Love
Life is Good
Getting Back Together
Paying the Dues
The Night Before the War
Moment of Triumph
So what does Podley deem to be The Soundtrack of My Life (so far)?
Opening Credits - F*ck it I love You (Malcolm Middleton)
Waking Up - Cloister (Loscil)
First Day of School - Slow This Bird Down (Boards of Canada)
Falling in Love - Two More Years (Bloc Party)
Fight Song - Beware the Friendly Stranger (Boards of Canada)
Breaking Up - Half Up Front (Prefuse 73)
Prom - First I Look at the Purse (The Contours)
Life is Good - Here it Comes (Doves)
Mental Breakdown - Baby I'm Just a Fool (Spiritualized)
Driving - 19th Nervous Breakdown (The Rolling Stones)
Flashback - Who Told You (Reindeer Section)
Getting Back Together - For Real (Okkervil River)
Wedding - please be 'Baby Got Back' - Your Hand in Mine (Explosions in the Sky) that'll do
Paying the Dues - Lovesong (The Cure)
The Night Before the War - God? (The Dodos)
Moment of Triumph - There Goes the Fear (Doves)
Death Scene - Why are you being so Reasonable Now? (The Wedding Present) Smart-arse
Funeral Song - Blood (The Middle East) This song is about the singer's mum dying. And it's so pretty. You just redeemed yourself, Podley.
End Credits - Paper Planes (MIA)
Play the game! I'd love to know the soundtracks to your lives. Sure Podley seems to think I'm a gold-digging woman on the verge but I liked some of his choices.
Thanks so much for introducing me to this Jon! I had a ball AND it temporarily interrupted my slow killing of Iron & Wine's Around the Well with relentless overplaying.
Now let's hear "The Trapeze Swinger" just one more time...
Friday, July 3, 2009
One of the reasons I love The National is because they are a relatively new discovery and when I listen to them I have absolutely no associations. Most of my music evokes a person, time or place and I'm sure this band will in a year's time but right now they are my own private and pure musical pleasure.
Phoenix, alternatively, is my current pop fix for when I need to step away from the computer and bounce around the room for a few minutes. They're everywhere you look at the moment and I love it when a cool band infiltrates the mainstream. Reaffirms my faith that good music can triumph and makes me want to punch humanity on the shoulder and go "Yeeeah! Way to go humanity".
Which brings me to this. I tweeted (twittered/twatted??) this link but for those of you who don't need confirmation that your life is uneventful enough to be truncated to 140 characters, here is a guy giving me serious ginga-drummer envy. How cool is this kid??
All I want to do now is get good at the drums, make youtube videos of myself and hope that Phoenix notices me and offers me an understudy gig. But I think Red has (deservedly) beaten me to the punch. So I should get back to work.
It's a bit naughty but I've just learned how to get clips off yotube and convert them into an editable format. It was like a chorus of angels started singing as massive gold gates opened and I stepped into a bright and shiny new world of procrastination. So even though I am currently being employed to cut a professional music clip, I thought I would fuse my new techno-nerd discovery with my new pop discovery and make you a little video mash-up.
Between blogs and edits I like to take Podley for a walk and zone out with some music. Podley's band de jour is of course Phoenix. To the average passerby I just look like a girl walking in black and pink tracksuit pants. In my mind though, I am actually doing this:
(Yes. It's Michelle Pfeiffer doing "Cool Rider" from Grease 2. Don't judge, just enjoy the seamless music edits. I've posted it on youtube. Let's see if Pfeiffer can go viral)