Monday, 22 May 2017

SONIC WAR IS EVERYWHERE



Moor Mother creates a fiery blend of Afrofuturism, beat poetry and protest politics set to jittery, complex electronic soundscapes. The effect is challenging, unnerving, constantly moving. It points its finger in your face and demands your full attention. I'm listening.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

OPTICAL ART

 

























As a child, all Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru wanted was a pair of glasses, but his strict Dad forbade him from wearing them. Now he rootles through the rubbish tips of Nairobi, looking for chunks of metal and strips of wire he can use to sculpt unique spectacles that wouldn't look out of place on the incredible Sun Ra, the thinking and feeling person's Elton John.

I've been wearing glasses since I was nine, as of today, a mere forty years. I've clearly been doing it wrong.

Monday, 15 May 2017

SCI FI OF OLD TIMES




























A RÉGI IDÖK SCI-FIJE is a 1982 Hungarian television tribute to the golden age of Science Fiction, soundtracked by music from the Human League and Kraftwerk amongst others. It gets quite trippy, but that's outer space for you. 

Friday, 31 March 2017

SMOOTH OPERATOR





















From Jangal Mein Mangal, the Professor gets his swerve on. With an opening gambit like that, how can he fail?

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

IN THE JUNGLE, AUSPICIOUS



I am always fascinated and delighted by Bollywood films, they do things so differently there. Jangal Mein Mangal is a strange film, a light romantic comedy punctuated by murders committed by an unstoppable zombie. Here, some cheeky girls use their hair, hips, lips and chests to terrorise a bunch of scared old men, sorry, eligible bachelors.

The title of the film is, apparently, somewhat ambiguous, even in Hindi. It is literally translated as 'in the jungle, auspicious', but is actually more like a proverb about good things coming out of chaos. In keeping with the slightly risque themes highlighted in the above clip, it can also mean 'a vacuum can be filled', perhaps the closest Bollywood gets to smut.   

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

FIRST THOUGHT, BEST THOUGHT?












































Here's a funny thing: when I started this blog, I intended to only write about O Lucky Man! In actual fact, I've NEVER written about O Lucky Man! - not a word. Well, I thought it was funny.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

JOG ON



You want entertainment and excitement, yeah? The old bread and circuses? You got it, courtesy of hyperactive Italian Ms Raffaella Carra. Now do one.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

EXERCISM


























I didn't expect much from the 1986 National Aerobic Championship US, but I was unpleasantly surprised at how tired it made me: physically, mentally, existentially. 

There's something terrifying about the bouncing, perma tanned, fixed smile, glassy eyed fervor of the contestants, all desperate to win - to be the absolute best in something that is never going to amount to anything.  The whole event reminds me of a dayglo coloured Nazi rally with the stiff armed salutes replaced by relentless high kicking, but then that may just be the hyperbolic response of someone who has never known the feel of lycra. 

Take no notice of me, I'm exhausted. 

Monday, 13 March 2017

PHOSPHENES


















Phosphenes are colour patterns and shapes that do not enter the eye in the normal way, but are instead produced within the eye and brain. Ever see stars? They were phosphenes.

Dr Max Knoll very helpfully grouped phosphenes into 15 different categories, although he did this by using electrical induction on test patients, so you might want to check how humane his methods were before metaphorically patting him on the back (he died in 1969). I'm sure it was fine.

Friday, 10 March 2017

ROYGBIV







































Diagram showing the existing electro-magnetic waves. The small area of the visible light-waves received by the human eye is enlarged.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

YOU'RE GOING DOWN


























THE FINAL COMEDOWN, d. Oscar Williams (1972) 

'350 years ago, I was bitter; now I'm violent. VIOLENT!'


The Final Comedown only cost $25,000 to make, much of which was provided by exploitation genius and counter culture casher inner Roger Corman. What it lacks in frills, however, it makes up for in rage. It's an incredibly angry film, that both begins and ends in a bloody shootout between Black Panthers and Police with the remainder of the content provided via a series of flashbacks from the seriously wounded leader of the activists, the extremely watchable Billy Dee Williams.

Arty in execution, incendiary in intent, the film struggles to remain quite as interesting when pigs aren't being offed, but these violent sequences, nihilistic and full of spurting red paint, speak volumes, not least about the limited options available to black people when facing a heavily armed and highly oppressive fascist regime. I don't condone armed insurrection...actually, you know what? I do. Sometimes the system needs shooting.    

Friday, 3 March 2017

MEANWHILE, IN A COMPOUND SOMEWHERE IN THE USA...





















RED STATE, d. Kevin Smith (2011)


I'll start by saying that there are few film makers I dislike more than Kevin Smith. I don't like his point of view, or his sense of humour. I don't like his face. But I like Red State*, I like it very much, not least because it is absolutely nothing like a Kevin Smith film.

The plot centres around a radical church group who picket gay funerals in public and, in private, kidnap homosexuals and other people they don't approve and execute them. When they are visited by the police on another matter, a violent siege begins that only concludes after a government approved massacre and the baleful sound of the seven heavenly trumpets that announce The Rapture.

The film moves quickly and erratically and feels as if it's unfolding live as you watch it, aided and abetted by washed out visuals and unshowy mumbling performances*. It made me think about the off the map parts of America and the churches and clubs and families within those neglected places that are armed to the teeth and waiting for Jesus and, for the first time in a long while, I felt glad to be living in the UK. It won't last.

*  A 'red state' is a Republican Party stronghold.

** Michael Parks is quite amazing as the leader of the cult, but resists numerous opportunities to chew the scenery to instead create a terrifying but nuanced character.