Thursday, 22 January 2009



That's more like it.


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

See No Evil

There are two films called SEE NO EVIL. One is a horror film with a wrestler in it which had the baffling original title EYE SCREAM MAN. Ugh. Whoever thought of that should be fired from using language. I won't be talking about that movie partially because I don't like anything frightening but mainly because I don't like shit.

The other SEE NO EVIL, on the other hand, seems far more promising. I haven't seen it and I don't know if I'll ever get to - it was made in 1971 so it has probably gone on fire which, in case you didn't know, is what happens to films from history times. It looks especially interesting because it was written by Brian Clemens who is capable of being terrific (casting Diana Rigg in THE AVENGERS, possibly the worlds sexiest decision) but also of being wildly awful (HIGHLANDER 2: THE CONFUSENING). Not only that, but it was directed by Richard Fleischer who seems to have been capable of similar swings. It looks like it might be brilliant and I'd love to see it if either of you know where I can find a copy.

Since it is probably some kind of lost masterpiece, I guess it's okay for me to spoil the story. Mia Farrow, having been blinded in a riding accident, goes to stay with her uncle. Everyone gets murdered by a mad killer while she's out and I expect it's very tense when she comes home because it will take her a while to find the bodies and then the mad killer comes back and it will be especially frightening because the mad killer is played by Paul Nicholas.

Paul Nicholas started his film career playing a bunch of bastards: the aforementioned lunatic, a scheming grandson in WHAT BECAME OF JACK AND JILL? and the cheerfully manic sadist, Cousin Kevin in TOMMY. He went on to become a household name opposite Jan Francis in JUST GOOD FRIENDS for which he also sang the theme tune. Jan Francis went on to star in STAY LUCKY with Dennis Waterman who (as if you didn't already know) also sang the theme tune! I would like to see Paul Nicholas standing on one side of the stage with Dennis Waterman on the other and Jan Francis in the middle. They can sing their theme tunes at the same time and when they're finished we can measure which one has done the best job of attracting JF - the winner gets to toy with her emotions for a series or two.

The horses/blindness theme of SEE NO EVIL makes me think of EQUUS and Alan Strang's effect on Dysart reminds me of the effect that Walter Kovacs has on Dr. Long in WATCHMEN. In WATCHMEN, Dr. Manhattan is in self-imposed exile on Mars. Earth is between Mars and Venus and, in a strange and disturbing twist of fate, Venus will be the title of my next entry! 

Shit, I think I snapped my shoehorn. 

Monday, 19 January 2009

Emerge from your shelters and prepare to feign interest!

I've decided to theme my blog this week. I'm not entirely sure if the theme will work but I am fairly sure that when I say 'week' I mean 'fortnight' and I put 'fortnight' in inverted commas to give me the option of extending it to a month if it's going particularly well or badly.
The theme is the Television album, MARQUEE MOON. I know it's rather a boring "critic's top five albums of all time" sort of a choice but I can't help the fact that I was near the front of the queue when they were handing out pedestrian and middlebrow aural palates.

Luckily, there is no need to insulate yourselves against the anticipated wave of sub-NME bullshit because I don't intend to bore inelastic the few readers I have managed to accrue with extravagant and turgid rhetoric concerning the apparent influence of French symbolist poetry, syncopated, angular rhythmic structures or the contrasting yet complemental styles of the two "axe men", I believe they're called.

Instead, the plan is to use the record as a kind of jumping off point - I'll go through the album one song at a time looking for any movie connections and I'll write about various scraps of celluloid thrown up during the course of this lazy and housebound investigative odyssey. Some will be easy - SEE NO EVIL, TORN CURTAIN and VENUS are all the names of films, PROVE IT is (kind of) about THE LONG GOODBYE and GUIDING LIGHT is a soap opera. Actually, this is starting to look a bit convenient - readymade, almost. Damn. Okay, so to make it half interesting I'll probably use most of those films as individual jumping off points as well. If anyone has any suggestions or connections of their own, please don't be shy in coming forward. And we're doing the album in order, in case you were wondering.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

You're my favourite waste of time

I watched my FLASH GORDON video a couple of times over the holidays. I love it more than ever, I think. I had to watch it twice because i had a gnawing suspicion that, although the film was playing in front of my eyes, I was actually watching my memory of it inside my head. Like a man in the stocks, I was struck by lots of things but Dale Arden's lovely piece of idiocy in the scene where Flash is chained up prior to his execution was especially special. Klytus tells her that time will be up when the big egg timer* runs out of sand and she wastes about half that time struggling to turn it over. She also grunts about how it won't turn over. Can you imagine getting a postcard from this woman?

Hello. Gosh, these postcards are quite small,       Alex Livingstone
aren't they? I'd better choose my words wisely      28 Success Gardens
because I'll be running out of space soon. It's        Edinburgh
already about half gone. I'll write a bit where        Ecosse
the stamp goes and you can steam it off when 
you get it, okay? Really run out of space now
Love Dale x

Of course, Dale's a genius next to Li Mu-bai from CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. He's got one breath left and he uses it up saying "I've wasted my life"

*They have big eggs on Mongo. Ming's daughter probably lays them - she lays everything else.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Up From Sloth!

I am dreadfully sorry for having been away from the computer for so long. I have been an atrocious host and I may never forgive myself. Well, I probably will but I faithfully promise to never forgive my parents for having made me this way. I will not bore you by listing all the different ways in which my attempts to make blog have been thwarted. Instead, I'll just bore you with one.

I've been reading a lot of Robert E. Howard lately. It's pretty terrific stuff, full of nameless horrors, flashing blades, grim countenances and (sometimes, but not always) sandalled feet. It's all out of copyright now so I was kind of hoping for a Conan movie which would be a big hit and trigger an avalanche of barbarian pictures. Well, I was sort of hoping anyway - half of me hoped they'd hold off a decade or two until I was ready to helm the bloodstravaganza. But it's bad luck for all of us  because some stupid, impatient industry person hired Brett Ratner to do it instead. Now it will definitely suck and nobody will want to make barbarian movies any more and the oceans will become as boiling blood and the lamb will lie down on broadway and teen pregnancy rates will go up and it will all be ruined for ever because, like a one-legged cyclist with a poor grasp of grammar, Brett Ratner can only peddle crap.

I have also been reading John Kennedy Toole. I haven't been reading a lot because there isn't a lot to read but what I have been reading, I have been reading very carefully. I read A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES - I avoided THE NEON BIBLE because, although it was released (like all his work) posthumously, it is still juvenilia and I can't stand the work of precocious children, no matter how widely praised it is. Stick it on the fridge door, don't fucking publish it. 

Getting back to A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES though, it has taken me a long, long time to acquire a copy and the reason for this is rather embarrassing. First off, there are some books that I would order from the internet and there are other books I wouldn't. Basically, if I truly believe that I am going to love a book, I want to buy it in an actual, physical shop. I won't go into all the sordid, fetishistic details of why things have to be this way, of how I want to form a relationship with this book, of how I want to notice it from across the room, eventually sidling over to pick it up as if it were a girl in a bar - I''ll stop short of telling you how I'd take it to bed and open it up, hauling its inky scent deep into my lungs and so on and so forth. And that's not even the most embarrassing part of it. The embarrassing part is that, although I have heard and read the words "John Kennedy Toole" many times, my brain always read it as John Kennedy O'Toole. So for ages I was hunting amongst the O'somethings for a book that wasn't there. Then I would wonder if his surname mightn't be double barreled, propelling me to investigate the Kennedys with a Hooverish fanaticism. I can't ask for help in shops so when this search proved fruitless I would slink home, check the book was still in print, and resolve to try again another time. This has been going on, on and off, for years. I never once thought to check the T's. Stupid boy.

So how does this tie in with my abominable and neglectful behaviour? Well, the long and short of it is that Howard killed himself at 30, Toole at 31. I couldn't stop thinking about it. My heart filled up with cold sick and I sank into a leaden stupor. Sorry.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Quantum Entanglement

Today I went to see James Bond 22: THE QUANTUM SHOELACE. The baddies wanted to control the water supply, like in CHINATOWN. The main baddie was played by Mathieu Amalric. He looks a bit like Roman Polanski, I think.

You might think that's enough coincidence for one day, but no! There are stronger, stranger forces at work here: the families of both men their have their roots in the same Polish village!

Yes, even as I type, THE QUANTUM SHOELACE snakes through the eyelets of probability, intensifying the pinch of Schrodinger's brogues around the bunioned feet of existence. Where will it strike next? When? Are any of us safe from its probing aglet?

Sunday, 7 December 2008

I can't believe I missed this

Pretty much the first thing I do when I get up in the morning is go on the internet and check who died in the night. I'm obsessed. Ikimono no kiroku that, if I take my eye off this morbid ball for even a second, my favourite people will stop living and will go unmourned into the bargain.

Imagine, then, my shock, shame and, why can't I think of a third one? Anyway, imagine all that when I caught a few minutes of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT this lunchtime and resolved to find out what Jerry Reed had been in lately - the last thing I really remember him being in was 1983's SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT PART 3 so maybe "lately" is the wrong word to use.

Well, it turns out "lately" is exactly the right word to use because Jerry Reed became The Late Jerry Reed on September 1st of this year. I feel especially guilty about missing this because now I have wronged him twice over. 
You see, as a little kid, I loved SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (ditto CANNONBALL RUN, HOOPER and anything else with car chases where the authority figures end up in a pond) but I did NOT love Jerry Reed's character, Cledus "Snowman" Snow. In fact, I thought he was a bit rubbish. I thought he was rubbish because he wore red trousers. I thought he was rubbish because he wore a bodywarmer. Most of all though, I guess I thought he was rubbish because he was a normal man, because he was not The Bandit.

Well, I was a fool. I was a fool to fall under the spell of that vainglorious lout, The Bandit but I was double the fool to deny the value of this decent, dependable everyman. The Snowman was cool and I should have realised it sooner. From now on, every time I slide  SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT into my VCR, it will be to appreciate the understated heroism of the man in the truck, bodywarmer and red trousers.

I wanted this to be more of an apology than an obituary so i wasn't going to put a clip up but he seems to be having such a good time in this one, I thought it'd be a shame not to. And if you don't like the music, just turn the sound off and enjoy the suits!