Monday, March 28, 2005

" matter where you go, there you are."
...The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension.

Laff while ya can munkee boy

The easter break has allowed me to indulge in one of my favorite and--in comparison to some of the others--quite wholesome pasttimes: watching lots of movies in a row. I always feel it hasn't been a bad day if I've seen a film I hadn't seen before. In the last two days I've seen a right few: Constantine, I had feared the worst. It's not too bad as a film, but if you're adapting a great comic character why throw out everything that's distinctive and funny about him? Anchorman, great but the actors seem to be having more fun than the audience; Roger Doger, is Jennifer Beals immortal? she looks younger than Elizabeth Berkley in this; Enigma, hilariously clunky exposition: is that a squeaky flooboard? could there be something hidden underneath it?? why yes, there is--better show a few more flashbacks of it just in case the audience is in a coma; and All the President's Men--ahh this is more like it! excellent, although it did make me want to smoke at my computer again and pretend like I've got to 'get me something to the front office' like a 1940s hack. This wasn't too bad, but nowhere near my previous record: 17 horror films in two and half days at the Horrorthon held every Hollowe'en at the Irish Film Institute. There a 13-year-old guy there who sat through the likes of Zombie Flesh Eaters and such former 'video nasties' while accompanied by his mother! I sat beside a girl who laughed hysterically all the way through I Spit on Your Grave.

Anyway, while attempting understand this habitual mania for cramming as many films as possible into my munted retinas until about 5 in the morning, I was reminded of the first three videos I ever saw and the one that I didn't. In primary school, I was staying over at a friend's house and we decided to rent a video player for the night. With it you got three videos. Bear in mind this was the mid-1980s in rural Ireland. Having a video player in the house was like owning a space shuttle or something. Anyway after much tortured deliberation we settled on
Return of Jedi
(obviously), Brewster's Millions
(looked like it might be a bit racy) and Enemy Mine (reasons escape me--probably because the alien looked a bit like the one in The Last Starfighter).

The film I didn't choose, although I looked longingly at the cover was The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eight Dimension. It was almost 15 years later until I actually saw the damn film but in my mind, I built up into the best film ever made. I had overcomplicated it to the nth degree: as it was a parallel dimension movie, I thought all the characters were different versions of Buckeroo Banzai (Peter Weller) from different parallel dimensions--covering every possible permutation of sex and race. They're just his friends and there is not much real inter-dimensional travel in it. It's still great though, it's the sort of bonkers sci-fi you could only get away with in the 1980s: cars drive through mountains, it's got a cast you'll probably never see assembled again, and it make geeks look cool. It's also got some great lines, like "Laff while ya can munkee boy", "Evil. Pure and simple from the eighth dimension", and of course "History is-a made at night. Character is what you are in the dark."

Friday, March 25, 2005

C'mon Popey pop your clogs already !

When I actually get to spend most of the day at my desk (reading Bataille'sEroticism (in my ongoing pursuit of accademic excuses for my perversions and peccadilloes), I normally have BBC radio of some sort on in the background. I switch between Radio 2 (Wogan, Ross,Lamarr, Radcliffe oh and The Organist Entertains*), Radio 1 (Zane Lowe, annoying bastard but good music so I can keep hip with the kids, daddy-oh) and Radio 4's comedy shows like That Mitchell and Webb Sound and The Museum of Everything.

Today, however, it was not the comedy shows that made me laugh the most, but the news. Apparently the Pope doesn't just die like normal folks, oh no he is:

"Serenely abandoning himself to god's will"

As someone who was brought up Catholic the idea of the Pope's infallibility was one the religion's major lunatic ideas** that stuck in my craw the most. A human being (supposedly like you or I) who somehow never makes mistakes and is in contact with god?. Does he have a bat-phone type appartus or what? When he has a shit is he 'serenely abandoning himself to god's will that the holy rectum must banish its matter'? It's an amazing catch-all phrase to excuse anything. So if you get into any embarrassing scrapes over the weekend due to drink or lust, just explain that you are 'serenely abandoning yourself to god's will to get totally hammered and cop off with someone.

*Yes I would prefer if it was about those sorts of organs too, but's mostly hammonds and that.
**I know Catholicism's got plenty, don't get me started on trans substantiation or its views on not tampering with yourself.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The demented ramblings of drunken 14 year-olds

Yesterday I handed in my corrected essays for a module I'm teaching on television studies. I'm still reeling from reading what seemed at times like the demented ramblings of drunken 14 year-olds. According to one essay 'no one went to see Orson Wells' (sic) film Citizen Kane'. Others had amazing powers, like seeing into the future: 'However you look at it, television is, and will always be a very important medium'. They were fonts of useful facts too, did you know that television was invented by 'scientists'? I was reading back over my comments today and it's safe to say I was probably losing it bit, some samples:

"You have to provide more information than: 'according to research'"
"It would be a help to consult more than one book throughout"
"I would be wary of citing Laura Mulvey's essay (seemingly) without reading it"
"I would call World War II slightly more than a 'disruption' to the first half of the 20th century"
"There is an idiosyncratic tendancy in the essay to claim that certain writers 'would agree' with you--quote what writers have published not what you think they might say"

Beside one bibliography (if a list of two books can be called such) i just wrote in big letters with a knarled sleep-deprived hand: 'Read More Books!!'. After submitting them, went with good friend 'L' to the Eaton Cottage and then off to his for agreat dinner. I called around with some DVDs to perform some demented audiovisual endurance tests: the extras to American Spendor, because we are both gen-u-wine neerds, lots of Big Train, which led to watching A Matter of Life and Death.

Monday, March 21, 2005

A Brother Seamus? What... like an Irish monk?

As promised/threatened, here are some pictures of blogger par excellence Karl and I's self-styled two-man St. Patrick's parade around Norwich on Thursday. Beginning in Norwich's only proper Irish pub, The Temple Bar, via The Grad Bar and then a place called Imagine (an apt name, once you're there, you try to imagine you're somewhere else). We ended the night with some impromtu drunken cookery and watching the two best post-pub episodes of Spaced and The Big Lebowski, two cultural products that make one glad to be alive.

Here's where the trouble starts...

A two-man Paddy's day parade in Norwich...

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The (dazed) look of the Irish....

And this is where it ends...4am pizza and The Big Lebowski.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Flann O'Brien (Brian O Nuallain) (1991-1966)

A bit of culture for the day that's in it.

"Stand up there and recite it man, said Furriskey, don't keep us waiting. What's the name of it now?

The name or title of the poem I am about to recite, gentlemen, said Shanahan with leisure priest-like in character, is a pome by the name of the 'Workman's Friend'. By God you can't beat it. I've heard it praised by the highest. It's a pome about a thing that's know to all of us. It's a about a drink of porter:

The Workman's Friend

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night-

When Money's tight and is hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt--

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say that you need a change,

When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare--

In time of trouble and lousy strife,
You have still got a darlint plan,
You still can turn to a brighter life-

Flann O'Brien (1939),At Swim-Two-Birds from Penguin Modern Classics edition, 1985 (pp76-77)

Yippee St Patrick's Day has arrived, a day where we celebrate being converted to fecking Catholicism by acting like depraved heathens, you can see why I like it so. Perhaps I'll meet a Leprechaun like this, but it will probably look more like this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Harvey Pekar...geeky blogger before the fact?

Usual perversions and peccadilloes.

In anticipation of a certain blogger’s arrival for some much-needed celt-carnage, I am feverishly tapping away on my usual perversions and peccadilloes disguised as an academic tome. In place of a longer post, observe the above still from the amazing American Spendor, which graphically represents the kind of geeky whining I normally do. I got it at the excellent Fopp while seeing my sister last weekend. It’s the Easter break* so things are lightening up though, watch this space for photos of Guinness-fuelled debauchery as and when.

*In Norwich it’s not as much 'fun' as this, but I did see an ice cream cart in the square yesterday.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

bittersweet ironies of zombie love

With that hallowed day approaching, it was great to get another blast from the past, thanks again to the connectivity of blab-blogs. A comment alerted me to the Web presence of the amazing Sinead, former student politics head honcho and barperson back in the day.

In related Irish person news, Karl over at the great Dumb Riffs has given my grim outlooks on human relations more exposure. Check out the comments, as they have resulted in reimagining Woody Allen films so that they cover the bittersweet ironies of zombie love. A move I feel worthy of inclusion in hilarious Query Letters I Love. Mention of zombies also gives me an excuse to mention the blog of top movie and comic writer John Rogers, whose Daddy Smells Different tackles the important issue of zombie interpersonal relations.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, new literary blog 'Schemes' has foolishly allowed a certain Mr. Homunculus to post frantic gubbins and perverse hallucinations under the guise of sub-morris news satire.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Previous incarnations, No.1: 'The Purveyor of the Perverse'.

Not without my collage scissors...

Over ten years ago, my friend Danny put me in touch with an insane crew of writers/rock musicians/artists in the borders region Scottish town of Galashiels to do college work experience. I ended up doing fanzine reviews, cartoons, crazy collages and interviews for Sun Zoom Spark magazine. In a blast from the past styleee, Brendan McAndrew, the erstwhile editor of that latter-day organ, has sent me the above scan from one the pages. This proves that the things that obsessed me 10 years ago have changed frighteningly little. Standout memories include: doing Donald and Davey Stott impressions until hoarse with Paul Vickers whilst we had inexplicably wrapped sellotape around our heads. Contracting 'bubonic plague of the neck'. Getting stoped by the security of the Barrowlands while at a Suprgrass gig and having to surrender a pair of kids collage scissors I forgot were in my pocket.

Through the wonders of the old ethergut blabblog serendipmachine, I've tracked down the Web presence of this old crew, which it has to be said are partly to be blamed/thanked/excommunicated for their contribution to my writing 'style'. Their most high-profile project, I suppose is Dawn of the Replicants with top-notch spin offs and side projects a plenty with Roger Simian's BROYism bizarre trash culture comics and music site and Brendan and Mike's Drood, who have released a 'Theory of Everything' downloadable LP.

The 'read' section of the site has an amazing potted history of all this lot with some stirring words from young McAndrew about the nature of our plight:

All we know how to do is write. Write songs, operettas, aborted poems and plays, magazines. We never stop and we never will stop. It's been our life choice, our successful career, our skiing holiday, our fucking compensation. No compromise. It's all hardcore, the real thing. This is pastime, fourth rate toe dipping pretence. Biting bullets, hanging ourselves out to dry. Turning a small town in the Scottish Borders into our Mecca, our holy of holies, our sepulchre. The real thing.

We are born of dark understandings and inevitable acclaim. We made some money, sure. But we made more friends and that's the way it should be. One big sad, artistic family of headcases who don't know what else to do. Always bursting with creative energy. And so it goes on...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

There's a boring kind of ribbed rubber?

I recently bought a ribbed rubber product that you use in bed but is totally fucking boring: a hot water bottle to soothe my bad back! I didn't even know where you bought hot water bottles. They were always something you just had in the family home, it took a bit of research to realize that they, like other nocturnal ribbed rubber products, are sold in chemists. This week has thrown up a few examples of old-man Jimmny's advancing years. I was a 30th party last Saturday that included a jaunt to one of Norwich's premier nightspots. While in a taxi on Prince of Wales road (Norwich's very own Damnation Alley) I remarked that that particular street's scantily clad female denizens should put on jumpers or something because they'll catch a nasty cold. The taxi driver was bemused (it's a novelty to get a Norwich taxi driver that actually talks), and said I was showing my age by being more concerned about their health than ogling them, which is the local custom, I suppose, of this clacking, squawking crazy slice-of-hell street. I remarked to V at work last week that when we're all senile in nursing homes, the only thing we'll be able to remember is the 'crazy frog' ring tone. I imagined old-folks sitting aroung with blankets and hot water bottles all going 'da ding ding ding daaaaadadaaa' etc. She found this a depressing thought, but I topped it this week by saying only three things happen to couples: they either get married, break up or one of them dies.

I'm hoping working on Wonder Woman will create more cheerful thoughts! I'm cheering up already though, the postman's been and thanks to dirt cheap dvds from ebay and amazon, I have acquired some of my favorite films. Indeed, it only takes a we bit of arty perversion and fetishistic costumes to turn frowns upside down chez Homunculus.