Monday, September 29, 2008


In a recent live show at London's Shepherd's Bush Palladium, the comedian Russell Brand did a brilliant and hilarious deconstruction of a gossipy article about himself in one of the UK Sunday tabloids. And I was reminded of it after seeing the latest Scottish edition of the paper News Of The World in which there was a shock-horror feature about so-called 'unders clubs' where kids between 10-18 can enjoy going to the disco before they open for the adults in the evening. (The print version has more and better pictures.) Personally, I can't see any problem with kids doing this and has been common over on the continent for decades; if anything, we're more socially dysfunctional as a nation because there aren't enough opportunities like this for teenagers.

Anyway, all that aside, one of the things Brand pointed out in his own inimitably baroque way was the ridiculous habit tabloids have of using bullet points, and certain words in bold capitals, to give absurdly unnecessary and undue emphasis - 'TEN', 'SOZZLED', 'TANKED-UP', 'FULL SEX', 'CREEPY', 'LURKING', 'WRONG', 'TWICE', 'BOUGHT'.

But in the following extract from the article, it's my own emphasis.

'A boy and girl no older than 14 had been groping each other frantically on the dancefloor for about five minutes. As our shocking pictures show, the shameless lad had one hand inside the pretty blonde’s neon tutu. Then he unzipped his jeans and exposed himself. There was no doubting what happened next - the girl, who towered over her partner, parted her legs to let the clearly excited boy go all the way. The grubby display was over in A COUPLE OF WORTHLESS MOMENTS - then her pals screeched raucously as they yanked her tutu down from behind to reveal she was wearing no underwear.'

A couple of worthless moments? Are you kidding? These fleeting seconds will probably be the most transcendental of both of these teens' lives, their entire identities constructed around them (and even more having now been immortalised in the Sunday press). It's everything else that's worthless. That was, will be, and is, it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

HK47 2

Another item for all you fellow Hello Kitty fans (thanks to Lorin for the link) - this time it's in the form of a bizarrely rigorous psychological test about how much you care for others. You can do it in 5 minutes and let us know how you get on. (I got 'about 40 per cent' and a good dressing-down.)

HK47 1


Is someone who will not shut the fuck up.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Instead of just doing a film review of Constantine's Sword (***), it seemed more apt to relate it to this thread. Author James Carroll is both brave and well-intentioned in this historical documentary (told as personal biography) regarding the origins (and brazen Christian culpability) for the relentless persecution of Jews throughout the last couple of millennia as being the killers of Christ as portrayed in the New Testament Gospels. On his journeys, many poignant and fascinating stories emerge and for many, I suspect, they will come as quite a shock to dearly held beliefs.

The real truth (as I see it) is simpler, starker and more shocking than even he, as a former priest, could understandably bring himself to contemplate. That Emperor Constantine (and many of his predecessors and successors), at a time of waning military influence, cynically and ruthlessly used Christianity as a means of oppression is clear, but the film doesn't reveal its special underlying strategy (and the one that gave it its unique leverage), that of forced acceptance of the historicity of the gospels, of fundamentalism. And therein lies a poetic tragedy because all the bloodshed and persecution and perversion and corruption and slaughter at the hands of the bearers of the holy cross was (and continues to be) committed on account of a distorted account of something that never even happened about someone who almost certainly never even existed. A fucking work of fiction.

And furthermore, neither was there a real decline of the Roman Empire, it just morphed from a military into a vast religious empire whose pagan origins and hierarchy are pretty much intact to this very day. The movie's footage of US Christian evangelists, and of the charlatans, pederasts, murderers, warmongers, child-molestors, perverts, and shameless self-serving crooks creepily dressed up as popes and bishops, will send a very real shiver right down your very real spine. And especially that nightmarish last shot of Ratzinger.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


For the most part, this is just more crap to avoid.

Felon (***)
powerful, well made prison drama in which Dorff never really convinces, despite the excellent supporting cast - a pretty depressing way to spend 90 minutes

Cat Girl Kiki (**)
Japanese low budget weirdness in the form of the story of a rescued kitten who turns into a real girl and her effect upon the life of a young lonely guy - what starts out as promisingly pervy ends up annoyingly sappy

Man Jeuk (The Sparrow) (*)
disjointed, incoherent, and stylistically redundant Chinese film that borrows heavily from 60s French and Italian directors without understanding what originally made them great; I'm afraid The Sparrow never takes to the skies

Kabluey (****)
excellent quirky independent comedy, its quiet treatment on the theme of alienation is deceptively effective; Kudrow is brilliant, and I adore the girl from the supermarket

The Promotion (**)
pretty good deadpan comedy with some nice touches and performances, but at times the film lacks pace, its resolution is unsatisfying, and the 'Scottish' accent of Richard's wife is from outer space

Expired (****)
brilliant offbeat romantic comedy - Samantha Morton and Jason Patric are both amazing

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (X Files 2) (**)
I Want To Like This Movie: a few of the original X Files TV episodes (especially the less supernatural ones) were taut and clever packages of wry dark humour; and owing to the unusually bold subject matter, and despite the accusations, I don't see X Files 2 as an obvious cash-in; yet that said, the whole project is fatally undermined by the clunky wooden TV-quality dialogue, the wretched casting and acting (Billy Connolly and Xzibit are both particularly ludicrous in their roles), the unnecessarily slow pacing, and finally its painful attempt to incorporate some kind of spiritual debate

The Life Before Her Eyes (*)
appallingly pretentious movie about a girl who survives a Columbine-style massacre - the script and photography and pacing is so unbearably ornamental and self-conscious that it loses all its potential emotional pay-off and even half way through you really don't care any more (and don't get me started on the nauseating religious content)

Baby Mama (*)
oh my god, Baby Mama - now I have officially hit rock bottom and actually feel soiled having sat through this excruciating comedy about babies and motherhood

The Go-Getter (*)
an annoyingly derivative movie that has indie film student written all over it - the score, the scripting, the acting, the photography, the lot

Monday, September 22, 2008


Many years ago in a café in Spain, I remember listening, fascinated, to a girl telling me about all the cheeky ways she and her friends were able to cheat in university exams. I never thought I'd actually get to see how it was done but here's a set of pictures demonstrating one such strategy. Ingenious.

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

Thursday, September 18, 2008


An amulet to symbolise the basis for the entire Christian faith. And a fake 19th century amulet strung around the neck of a dodgy bearded pillock in a cope would be a lot funnier if it wasn't for the centuries of misery, harassment, repression, intolerance, and bloodshed inflicted (and continues to be inflicted) in its sorry name. I know I had some harsh things to say about Garcia's book the other day but that's nothing compared to creeps like this, if you dare.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Somebody wrote in with a link to a 2003 Lora Logic interview which I read with a mixture of minor discomfort and wistful curiosity. Her answers don't seem all that forthcoming so I've added a few notes for your post-punk delectation.

'the manager for X-Ray Spex liked the idea of having another woman in the band...'
OK, so he's a manager that liked the idea of having a rebellious 15-year-old girl in the band. Enough said.

'I grew up really fast. I was extremely naïve at first and was exploited by the management'
'they even used all the sax parts I worked out for the album (Germ Free Adolescents) with a new player...'
She certainly learned about the machinations of the music industry fast because when I joined the band, the previous guitarist who'd written most of the repertoire (other than the sax parts and lyrics) had his work misappropriated, and then the two songs that I wrote the music for on the Beat Rhythm News album suffered the same fate.

'it transcended labels and boundaries: that was really part of the punk spirit...'
'Punk' must be about the most untranscendental label of all time.

'I always saw that as my service to Krishna and share that but nothing really came out...'
I'm not sure if Hinduism works like that.

'I had an arranged marriage from the temple around '84 and we've been together ever since then...'

By the way, don't be fooled by my sarcasm as it's not intended to be bitchy - I always liked Lora, and I'm genuinely happy for her if things have worked out well with her family; there's just so much Alice In Wonderland irony in that whole Rough Trade feminism/politics thing of which she was a part. And to a lesser extent I was too. How the business was run and how that would evolve, the relationships there, the nature of some of their employees, and of course the super-prudish Talibanesque censorship. I mean let's not forget the origin of the place's fucking name. And there's a kind of charm in it all that I, for my naïve part at that time, didn't really appreciate fully. Many of her simple answers in this interview neatly encapsulate those wild contradictions.


The last day or so in Japan went past in a rush. Unlike the interminable 4 hours stop-over at Paris CDG airport before flying on home - even more tortuous its acting as a contemplative state of purgatory. In fact I got so bored with wandering around and testing perfumes in the duty-free and reading Italian women's fashion magazines in the news shop, that I carelessly picked up a copy of The Wire magazine to peruse. Huge mistake, I know. Look, I was desperate.

Do you think The Wire's contributors will ever get tired of using the word 'epiphany'? I must have counted out another dozen examples in that issue alone. And then of course, that prime pumpkin-head Nick Cain leaps out at you with a full page review of Peter Rehberg's recently released anthology. Now you might think this is bitterness for his inane review of Racket but far from it. Eminently worse is one of his (inane) 'good' reviews, especially after reading the incontinent twaddle he has to say about Pita's work. How that managed to get past the magazine's editor is beyond me. Cain is so toe-curlingly aroused by the sound of his own wretched prose, he actually manages to put you off wanting to hear the music. (And by the way I'm sure it is a great release.)

Anyway, enough already on that. The last day in Japan was for the performance that evening at the Red Brick Warehouse with the wonderful Marcus Schmickler also performing, in addition to a charming Toshiya Tsunoda and Luke Fowler. The opportunity also arose for an extra collaborative set with Incapacitants' Mikawa-san, so after a 30 minute solo set featuring Killing Hurts Give You The Secrets (live for the first time), we did 15 minutes or so together. For many years now I feel I've no real time sensitivity to music so that, whether recorded or live, it's impossible for me to make personal evaluations. Could be one of the best things ever, or a load of stinking rubbish - only time can tell.

Before I sign off with regards to this trip, and I do apologise for the consistently tiresome name-dropping, it'd be good to mention one particular highlight, that of meeting and spending some time with Joan Jonas - what a truly lovely and fascinating human being, one whose artistic passion burns ever bright.

In summary, it's such a privilege to get these kinds of opportunities that, let alone 4 hours, I'd happily sacrifice 4 days or 4 weeks stuck in limbo at CDG in exchange for. Just so long as that bloody magazine isn't anywhere to be seen.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


This morning's was a walk along Osanbashi Pier (a predominantly wooden architectural marvel that makes dear old Brighton Pier look like a decidedly sad dilapidated knackered old relative). Some of the Triennale's lesser events are taking place there, and additionally this morning a young Japanese couple were tying the knot in a western-style wedding ceremony. An extremely curious event watched by a 50-strong audience of family members and friends clearly oblivious to the mushy Christian AOR soundtrack's excruciating lyrics along the lines of 'God will lead us to heaven' and 'Jesus is in our hearts' and so on. You get the idea. When it came time for the veil to be lifted, the groom, shy and diffident beyond belief, could not manage to give his bride little more than a brief terrified peck on her exquisitely unsullied alabaster cheek. I can't see the earth doing much moving tonight unless it's from a genuine earthquake. And then they signed the luxuriously bound marriage contract followed by an extended walkabout period for everyone to get the chance to take pictures of the happy couple. (It's weird but there's something I find peculiarly sexy about pretty girls in their best frocks and heels using state-of-the-art £2,500 fuck-off Canon cameras for mere snapshots.)

I've prepared as part of my own live performance at the Triennale the three pieces in full (so-called 'Cut Hands trilogy') for the first time: Killing Hurts Give You The Secrets, Cut Hands Has The Solution, and Pains Part Of The Dilemma. I hope it works out better.

Friday, September 12, 2008


The essence of this will already have been said by thousands no doubt, but that new Facebook redesign is not only as ugly as Sarah Palin's soul but betrays an even worse intent. Fuck me, it's almost begging you to go back to MySpace. Notice how everything is now justified to the left to create a vast ocean of white space to be filled up with advertising on the right-hand side - one that I hope the trusty and utterly essential Firefox add-on AdBlock+ will continue to be able to overcome. Speaking of which, when you have to use a public computer and are confronted with flashing banners, gaudy boxes, scrolling bars, and pop-ups all over the place, it makes you appreciate what a godsend AB+ truly is.

Therefore, I'd like to call out to the nice people at Google to come up with a shiny new beautiful social networking site for us and run this arrogant Zuckerberg's lot out of town. You did it before with Hotmail, you provide these pleasing blogs without ads, and this might be the just moment.


I'm not sure if flying on 9/11 since 2001 is such a good idea even though the flight to Tokyo was less than half full. Absolute chaos at Paris CDG airport caused by some anti-'terror' alert meant there were insane queues to get through to the gates. For your comfort and security of course. In fact the sprawling CDG may have to be added to the list of Airports To Avoid At All Costs headed by that undisputed pit of despair that goes by the name of Heathrow.

It was nice to bump into Pita Rehberg and Stephen O'Malley on the flight over, who are apparently off to record a new KTL album with Jim O'Rourke.

Anyway, it's good to be here in Yokohama at last - the sights, smells and sounds of Japan are reward enough for the long journey, and it was too tempting not to dive into the first visible branch of Tenya - my favourite fast food chain. Although comparing and contrasting it on any level with the kind of muck served at the likes of Burger King or KFC is grossly unfair. Tenya do these great quality bowls of delicious freshly-cooked tempura at bargain prices, the staff are always super-polite and welcoming and have a supernatural ability to know precisely when to top up your cup of green tea. Since my last visit they seem to have introduced a new English language version of their menu, which is 4 times larger in size, and amusingly, even if you don't read Japanese, about 10 times more confusing.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Remember this story?

According to the Israel Institute of Technology, 24 hours is needed to manufacture a liquid bomb even in lab conditions, so I'm not quite sure how that can be achieved in the bogs on a transatlantic flight. Now British 'justice' has got the temerity to blame the US (yes, the US!) for scuppering this trial of a bunch of deluded wacky muslims. There were originally 20 people arrested related to this case and a jury has found only 3 of them guilty of these much less serious charges, despite there being the 'strongest evidence yet at a terror trial'. Meanwhile air passengers continue to suffer the most ludicrous restrictions on bringing innocuous liquids on board - even when the whole thing was clearly a panicky charade right from the beginning. Anything to avoid an admission of failure.

Friday, September 05, 2008


13th September : DJ Benetti : Yokohama Triennale 2008 party, Yokohama, Japan
18th September : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
25th September : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
2nd October : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
4th October : DJ Benetti : TBC, London, UK
9th October : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
16th October : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
18th October : DJ Benetti : guest appearance, TBC, Edinburgh, UK
23rd October : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
30th October : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
6th November : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
13th November : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
20th November : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
21st November : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
28th November : DJ Benetti : italoBLACK, Edinburgh, UK
30th November : DJ Benetti : supporting Hercules & Love Affair, Glasgow, UK


Updated diary of live dates for the next couple of months.

15th September : William Bennett (Whitehouse) : performance at Yokohama Triennale 2008, Yokohama, Japan
10th October : William Bennett : talk at Kill Your Timid Notion, Dundee, UK
18th October : Cut Hands : Cut Hands II : Rain Washes Away Chaff, Henry's Cellar, Edinburgh, UK
7th November : Cut Hands : 13th Note Café, Glasgow, UK
17th November : William Bennett : talk at Filmakademie, Germany

Monday, September 01, 2008


One assumes Nina Garcia graduated from the Sex In The City College of how to commit crimes against fashion - to write a book of '100 must-haves for every fashionable woman' encouraging others to be a walking laughing stock is perverse and irresponsible. It makes you wonder what hideous garish planet the so-called fashion editors from some women's magazines come from, because Garcia is by no means the only serial offender.

Let's look at some of her so-called must-haves. This is going to be a long post so grab a nice hot cup of tea.

  • Animal Print: does that scream anything other than middle-aged woman trying way too hard? hang on a minute, Garcia even suggests going for the 'full outfit'...
  • Ankle Boots: one of the most common functions of clothes is for camouflaging, or detracting attention away from, perceived body flaws and vulnerabilities - the operative word is 'perceived' because it's a part of the illusion of identity; either way you look at it, these boots are horrible
  • Aviators: unless your name is Amelia Earhart, or you're part of Colonel Gadaffi's entourage of female bodyguards, aviator sunglasses are just going to look plain ridiculous
  • Black Opaque Tights: 'the higher the denier the better'? is this some kind of misprint?? I don't think there can be anything unsexier for the legs - other than skinny jeans and those indescribably repulsive leggings things; as with ankle boots, their popularity is far more to do with complexes with parts of the leg, like knees, thighs, calves and so forth
  • Blazer: right now I can't think of anything worse than being seen in public sitting at a table with someone wearing a fucking blazer (male or female)
  • Boyfriend Cardigan: men who wear cardigans are usually serial killers or child molestors, so why is it that a woman would even go out with a guy that wears them, let alone borrow one from him?
  • Clutch Bags: while now and again I'll pay (sincere) compliments to a person's clothes and appearance, handbags mean nothing as far as I'm concerned whether they be a £5,000 Hermes creation or a used carrier bag from Lidl, yet women for some unfathomable reason place enormous value in this accessory
  • Denim Jacket: Exhibit A, I rest my case
  • Fishnets: nowhere near as 'super-sexy' as they'd have you believe
  • Frye Harness Boots: a lot of dodgy product placement here in Garcia's list - my ankle boots comments apply
  • Gentleman's Hat: wearing a fucking fedora would be grounds enough to get dumped on the spot, I don't care who you are
  • Havaianas: it's a proven fact that flip-flops can only look good on young women from South America or South East Asia, or else children at the seaside
  • iPod: product placement alert - did I ever mention how much I hate iTunes?
  • Kaftans: look good when pregnant
  • Leather Trousers: yeuch... Exhibit B; leather skirts for sure but does anyone really find a sweaty smelly butch trouser in any way alluring?
  • Old Concert T-Shirt: broadcasting to the world what awful music one listened to 15 years ago does not seem like a cool thing to be wearing
  • Pyjamas: these passion-killing monstrosities must be responsible as the real (yet unsaid) grounds for so many separations and divorces - only appropriate for small children and incontinent geriatrics in nursing homes
  • Push-Up Bra: just because you're turning heads doesn't mean people like what they see, a push-up bra fools no-one, and just highlights another personal complex which is no big deal anyway
  • Polo Shirt: anyone up for a round of golf?
  • Safari Jacket: this is one of those items that will transform even the most exquisite gorgeous angel into a grumpy frumpy old biddy
  • Spanx Tights: more product placement courtesy of Elle magazine; Exhibit C - these things are way way beyond grotesque, I'm actually shuddering in horror as I'm typing these words; any straight man that would admit to finding something like this attractive should seek immediate counselling for his condition
  • Zip-Front Hoodies: I'm assuming the hoodie connotations do not resonate in metropolitan New York