Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Well, here's a truly novel development! Spanish prostitutes have joined the ranks of the yellow reflectives. And you have to say they do look rather alluring (at least from the waist up). From my years of living in Barcelona, where many would congregate alongside the roads nearby the Camp Nou football stadium, what I recall is that the best looking ones were invariably trannies.


Sunday, October 24, 2010



big plans for this weekend are centred around the imminent release of Saw 3D; in contrast to that, I've been obsessing over Disney Original Movies the last few days, brace yourself for a full exposition of this guilty new pleasure in the coming days

Ante Mortem
the celebrated forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black gave a supremely enjoyable talk at Edinburgh's Surgeons' Hall last night; she veered an absorbingly dark path twixt some atrocious cases of terrorism, murder, paedophilia, and domestic abuse, while delivering her presentation with a cheery sense of humour that never felt trivialising

Invisible Jukebox
written by David Keenan, this feature is appearing in December's edition of The Wire magazine; it was a lot of fun to do (despite much apprehension about making a fool of myself), especially owing to his such exquisitely selected tracks (as were those, tellingly, not selected)


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The chance meeting of worthy objectives.

One, the major art gallery wanting to transcend its depressing raison d'être as trendy gift boutique and extension of Helvetica coffee culture, a status it shares nowadays with most all other galleries. Two, offering people an alternative to the stultifying prospect of another Booze Britain Friday night. Three, finding something you can actually do with philosophy, the ancient intellectual discipline, ever since it made that terrible pact to become part of organised religion otherwise known as academia.

Robin Mackay's Urbanomic and Tate Britain thus staged one of the regular monthly Friday evening themed specials together, bringing together an enticing variety of artistic stimulation under the theme of Speculative Realism. And people turned up in their hundreds. In addition to the chance to wander around the beautiful building, there were video installations, sculpture, sound performances, a symposium, and a set of 'complimentary' (sic) picture captions responding to the paintings in the Tate's Room 9 Sublime collection. My own contribution being an opportunistic, if not mischievous, exercise in dark post-hypnotic suggestion.

Even though the UK's ingrained weekend drinking habits probably once again triumphed over all three above-stated goals (mostly thanks to the Tate's bright yet flawed idea of setting up a bar in the Octagon), there was really lots to like. The discussion on Speculative Realism featuring the excellent Mark Fisher (K-Punk) and Iain Hamilton Grant seemed to be well-received by the multitude and Hecker's sound piece was a typically abrasive delight.

The picture labelling experiment felt like a glorious opportunity missed. The new captions supplied by the Urbanomic team were certainly infinitely more coherent than the typically tired vacuous bullshit art-speak of the juxtaposed originals. However, by again buying wholesale into the traditional academic referential paradigm, along with all its wearying baggage, they betrayed the potentially subversive intent of any radical philosophical notions promised by Speculative Realism.

Too timid given such a glorious opening. Surely this must be about more than competent enhancement? Otherwise, philosophy is stuck in an abyss of despair in the form of university and college classrooms and hallways whose only escape route is by forming a diabolically exciting cult or new religion. Time for a re-read of Collapse IV: Concept Horror.


Saturday, October 16, 2010


Whilst awaiting Halloween's Saw 3D release with bated breath and tightened unlubed sphincter, here are a few reviews of mostly recent releases to stave off that sweaty raw anticipation.

Exit Through The Gift Shop (*****)
just don't miss this brilliant subversive pseudo-documentary from Banksy; there are so many moments of pure genius to relish, my personal favourite being Madonna's taking the big bite

Frozen (*)
dreadful indie thriller horror effort based entirely around 3 slackers being trapped in a ski-lift; Open Water's similar premise in shark-infested waters was blessed with the sharp script and strong character performances that this sorely lacks

Piranha 3D (****)
perhaps the funnest trashiest B-movie horror I've ever seen, one that far exceeded its modest expectations; loads of gore in the third dimension, knowing dark humour, cute movie references, and gratuitous nudity

A Very Short Life (**)
the Hong Kong police, as they investigate the case of an 11-year-old girl beaten to death by her mother, stumble across evidence of sexual abuse; this promising subject matter gets quickly bogged down in the interrogation of the suspect whilst we are deprived of any meaningful flashbacks to the events in question

Lake Mungo (*****)
fantastic Australian film which soon reveals itself as far more than the routine supernatural shaky-camera documentary the marketing suggests: a memorable finely-observed study in grief and female adolescence

Resident Evil: Afterlife (***)
despite some neat 3D effects, Afterlife is not as impressive as earlier entries in the franchise, yet still comfortably superior to Romero's increasingly lame zombi efforts; also features some nice re-enactments of moments from the Resident Evil 5 game


Saturday, October 09, 2010


You may or may not be familiar with my obsessive attention to particular detail. A pedantry that verges on the pathological at times, and a direct and regular cause of an often bad case of insomnia. Just as a girl knows stocking seams not regimentally straight right up to the mandatory keyholes will earn her a deservedly sound thrashing, for me the thought of leaving even the tiniest orthographical error is mortifying.

In fact, on two separate occasions now, at vast personal expense, entire Susan Lawly CD booklet runs each had to be recalled and reprinted owing to a single ridiculously minor typo; always for the simple reason that, even if not a single person ever noticed, I couldn't comfortably live with myself knowing they were thus flawed.

And thus my heart sank when the new Zeitkratzer Whitehouse CDs arrived. Already bewildered by the band's bizarre choice of cover illustration, like a rabid proofreader, I came upon not only flagrantly insignificant punctuation and spelling mistakes in the booklet's accompanying text's English translation, but also factual errors. Oh, and a font that looks suspiciously like the dreaded Helvetica. Damn.

Despite all that, and some rather indiscreet revelations from our preparatory conversations on his part, ZK's genial main man Reinhold Friedl writes a lot of very kind things in the text, for which I'm grateful; and it has to be said what counts most, the music itself, sounds fantastic, clear and abrasive. It was, I repeat, an amazingly pleasurable experience to work with such incredibly talented musicians there in Marseille; this release is a great testament to their brilliant and thrilling performance.

I'll send a complimentary copy of the album to the first person who correctly identifies the original albums of the songs Nzambi Ia Lufua and Scapegoat in the comments section.