Jan 16, 2008

They did it with compost, you know

Fresh from seeing the Coen brothers' stupendous return to form in No Country For Old Men, I found myself staggering down internet ginnels and dead ends until I found this video.

UNKLE's Rabbit In Your Headlights features French actor Denis Lavant getting smashed up in a tunnel and being taunted by Vince from Queer As Folk.

It reminds me of the scene in No Country where the blood-soaked Llewelyn Moss is staggering on the highway near the American / Mexican border; the sense of isolation he feels as the cars drive past is palpable.

I also posted this because VFX artist Gavin Toomey slapped a bit of emulsion on this video. He's also known as Vessel and his comment a couple of posts ago led me, via Google, to his impressive IMDb listing as a visual tomfoolery boffin.

Although, don't make the same mistake I did and read 'compositing' as 'composting'.


Jan 12, 2008

Adam's backside causes a rumpus - or should that be a medial rectus?

Pub Quiz: the Timber team

Adnam's Broadside, affectionately known to the pub's staff as Adam's Backside, was nearly my downfall at the quiz this week.

Still, myself and my co-host 9/10ths managed to grasp onto reality for long enough at our monthly tryst of trivia on Wednesday. He's posted his questions there, and I'm posting mine here.

The typical score on this general knowledge round was about 45%, or eight points, so it isn't a walk in the skate park. Don't let that tempt you into the evil of Googling.

Answers in the comments section please: I will post the proper real answers there in about a week.

The invention of which drink reportedly caused its inventor to exclaim: “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars”? (1 point)

Do these African countries have a larger or smaller population than the UK? (4 points)
A – Ethiopia
B – Nigeria
C – South Africa
D – Zimbabwe

Where in the human body would you find a posterior compartment, a medial rectus muscle and a bulbar sheath? (1 point)

Name me the three most common computer passwords in the UK according to PC magazine. Clue: one is a noun, one is a sequence of numbers and one is a sequence of letters. (3 points)

Polar bears (2 points)
A – What does Allen’s Rule have to do with polar bears’ legs?
B – What colour is a polar bear’s fur?

If you were to see Pegasus carrying the First Lord in modern day Britain, what would you be looking at? (1 point)

In a Boots poll of 4,000 adults, what percentage of smokers had kept their habit secret from their parents, even into adulthood? (2 points if you’re spot on, 1 point if you’re within 5%)

What is the most popular boy’s name in the UK? Is it: Jack, James or David? (1 point)

In what year was the Ford Transit introduced to the UK? (2 points for the correct year, 1 point if you’re a year out)

What word connects a US rapper, a flavour abandoned by Coca Cola, a Cameron Crowe film and Obelix’s mother in the Asterix comics? (1 point)

Edit: I've snaffled all the answers into the comments bit of this post, so look there for the solution. If you are posting your own answers, don't look for fear of spoiling probably the most fun you'll have all year.


Jan 9, 2008

Merzbow makes crap an art form (that's meant to be a compliment, by the way)


Merzbow used to construct art from rubbish before he pioneered Japanese noise music.

If you don't know, Japanese Noise Music is Japanese, it just sounds like noise, and some people think it's music. I'm not sure where the name comes from.

Anyhoo, now Merzbow makes art from the unwanted noises we often cast away: static, radio fuzz, analogue glitches and machine hums. Still art from rubbish, then.

It's a sound that has served him well: he has a discography that's as long as your arm, but only if you're some long-armed freak who's spent too much time on the rack in your Uncle Cranford's secret torture chamber.

The latest ambient addition to that discography is an album called Higanbana, which literally translated means "you told me this was like Sigur Ros, I want my money back." If you're the sort of oddbod who hears music in the urgent clatter of a train or enjoys scratched muzak CDs stuttering over the speakers in Poundland, then you need this album. If, on the other hand, that sort of thing sounds like an audio atrocity, I'll never be able to persuade you that this extreme, experimental, harsh landscape is actually quite a nice place to visit.

Onto other things. Brighton's Square Records is the new home for iTAL tEK, and thank bigbeat for that because the eponymous title track from his new Deep Pools EP is my track of the week. If I did a track of the week. Which I don't.

A slow moving, spacious take on dub techno, with wheezing synths and heroin-flattened echoes of William Orbit's Water From A Vine Leaf, this record drips with the sort of hope lacking from his darker material previously offered on parent label Planet µ.

Like spacious? Klimek's Dedications is brooding and filmic, which make sense with titles like For Stephen Speilberg And Azza El Hassan. This mile-wide ambience is more suited to the plains of America than its home in Germany, and will appeal to fans of Deaf Center. (You can download a Klimek video by clicking here.)

And finally, a bit less minimal and slightly the worse for it is Vessel's Pictureland 01. It's lovely to have a chill-out album that doesn't have a picture of bloody Ibiza on the cover, but I don't think this release will change the fact that Vessel will eventually kick the bucket and his epitaph will be "'im off the Pet Shop Boys' Back To Mine complilation".

It's a fine way to remembered, but not as fine as making art out of a binful of crap.


Jan 4, 2008

Ironic really, that I chose to see Heima nowhere near my real actual home

Sigur Ros

What kind of twittering moron throws himself on the mercies of the New Year's Day public transport system to see a film in a different county that he could bloody well see up the road from his house?

Still, I don't regret trekking for hours from Manchester to Bradford to see Sigur Ros' masterpiece Heima.

This smouldering film, infused with the ashen Icelandic landscape that no doubt inspired Richard Long, is slow moving, contemplative and beautiful. As the film glides to a close, you think you've seen a "nice" documentary. Then they let rip with Popplagið in all its boldness and intensity. It will leave your ears ringing.

It's definitely one for the big screen. If you fancy schmoozing over to the Cornerhouse in Manchester later this month to see Heima (and you're not a random internet stalker hell bent on stealing my trousers), then give me a shout.

My trip to Bradford had a brace of nice side effects. I sat near a man who, if he wasn't the real thing, was an accomplished Pete Doherty impressionist. Then out of the blue, I flirted outrageously with the bloke who drove my railway replacement coach:


DRIVER stands in the doorway of his stationery coach chatting and laughing with a colleague

ME: Are you East Didsbury?

DRIVER: No, I'm a driver.

ME: Well, you look like East Didsbury. You know... classy.

DRIVER remains overly formal for the rest of the journey, although he still let me on without a ticket...