Monday, November 28, 2005

The Fly (1986) 2-Disc Special Edition DVD

The start of October brought that which I and my fellow Fly fans yearned for over many long restless nights, a special edition DVD of David Cronenberg’s classic, The Fly. Fox Studios finally bayed to the howls and cries of fans, disgruntled over the DVD treatment so far of the film, a paltry double pack of it and it’s inferior sequel, and so they brought out a mammoth 2-disc extravaganza, “packed with chilling new extras” according to the sticker on the box, the sort of disc-set to make those cats over at Criterion shiver with jealousy.

This film’s been a favourite of mine since I first saw it as a youthful ten-year-old a decade ago, although I was hardly fit to understand the depth and intricacies then. The film for those who don’t know, and I doubt many of you are unfamiliar with the plot, concerns scientist Seth Brundle (played by Jeff Goldblum) who invents a device capable of transporting matter through space from one fixed spatial position to another. He eventually goes through the machine himself, and the process works perfectly as it should, except that unbeknownst to him a fly was in the machine with him during the teleportation. Unlike the 1958 original, Brundle comes out normal, but soon begins to experience mental and physical changes.

The film is genius for many reasons, most originating from David Cronenberg’s majestic writing and direction. He produces an interesting and compelling film that doesn’t skimp on minor details. Where the original (a 50s B-movie with Vincent Price) has the awry transportation resulting in a swapping of heads between the scientist and the fly, blatantly absurd and nonsensical illogicality, Cronenberg injects his film with a credible scientific reasoning. I still see questions about this on message boards, so I might as well clarify things here: in the transportation, Brundle fuses with the fly at a molecular genetic level; this means that Brundle’s genes are now the new ‘Brundlefly’ mix. He doesn’t emerge as a hideous creature because it’s the genetic formula that has been altered not the actual cells, and thus the process is a prolonged change over time as old cells die and are replaced with the new ‘Brundlefly’ combination (just like the natural processes in all of us of skin cells dying and being replaced). The fly doesn’t emerge and begin to slowly turn into a small Brundle-esque creature because to the computer Brundle was the main object of the teleportation. Sure it’s still science-fiction, and probably wouldn’t happen in real life, but nevertheless the science is of a high, and believable, level.

The Fly is generally categorised as a horror film, and I guess it’s understandable for some of those visceral moments later on, but at its heart it’s a love story. Despite labels of metaphoric allusions to AIDS and cancer, Cronenberg wanted to show the effects of old age (which is more jolting because it’s inevitable for everyone) and it’s ramifications in the microcosm of the couple. Here we see Veronica helpless to assist, and left to view the disintegration of her lover Brundle. Then of course, with the inclusion of Stathis Borans it’s a verifiable love triangle.

The acting in the film is nothing short of brilliant. Geena Davis puts on a wonderful sceptic-turned-enthusiast early on, and then executes the slide to lamentable individual cursed to ineffectuality sublimely. But obviously the real star here is Jeff Goldblum, who conjures a realistic and sympathetic figure. Certainly at the centre of this film’s appeal is the main character, relatable by many. At the beginning he is shy and geeky, in many ways playing a teenager as he tries to woo his female conquest. He then goes through different changes in personality, through obnoxiousness and ostentation, to sickly and morose, then to psychopathic bloodthirstiness. As a character piece it’s fantastic to view the different psychological changes, such as a newly founded sexual prowess, and the animal viciousness. The most amazing thing is that Goldblum is able to continue that identifiable persona, even through the numerous layers of rubber makeup that were to come later on. There is a lot to be said about acting through the eyes.

There’s elements of comedy in there too, Cronenberg’s typically dark humour comes through a number of times, such as: “Is this real, or is it Memorex?” Or Brundle’s gawky attempts to pursue Veronica. Although Videodrome’s probably better overall if it’s a dark humour you’re looking for.

And what of the horror then? Well there’s the visual gratuity feasts towards the end, but their effectiveness lies solely within the story and characters, it’s made all the more perturbing because of the concern we now have for the protagonists. But the horror isn’t just derived from the visuals, the dialogue contributes plenty to this, just witness the ‘insect politics’ speech.

The film is topped off with a magnificently tragic score by Howard Shore, he who would later go on to score Lord of the Rings, although it’s no where near as good as this (films or score). The score is reeking of the epic tragedy and melancholy that perfectly mirrors the story, the tragic tale of a man’s sorrowful downfall.

So the DVD then. Undoubtedly one of the main areas of interest are the infamous deleted scenes, specifically the six minute long monkey-cat scene. To those unaware, this scene occurs late on in the film and features Brundle testing his bio-matter fusion theories, similar to what he attempts in the last scene. Using the telepods, he proceeds to fuse a monkey and a cat together, which, subsequent to amalgamation, attack him, and he has to beat this new monstrosity of nature to death with a pipe. Following this he goes to the rooftop for some frolics. A pain in his side causes him to fall down the side of the building, and, on landing at the bottom, a fly leg bursts it’s way out of the side of his abdomen. He uses his corrosive enzyme on it and then rips the rest off with his mouth. I was one of those eager fans impatient to see this, and it didn’t let me down. Understandably it’s dark as hell (the main reason for cutting it – animal fusion may have led to a dissipation in sympathy for Brundle, sympathy which is paramount), and moreover it’s bizarre and surreal to watch. It’s also very sad; prior to the fall, Brundle sits perched on the rooftop and begins to shout “No!” repeatedly, presumably at the recognition of his continuing loss of humanity. Of course this exclusion does result in a couple of minor plot discrepancies, for example Brundle’s earlier mystification at what the lump in his side was is not resolved without this scene, not that it’s a major thing. Deleted scenes from films you’ve seen many times always seem strange upon first viewing, and this is no different. It’s brilliant, but I understand why it was excluded; I’ve seen it now and can die happy.

The DVD’s main special feature is the Fear of the Flesh documentary, a beast of a retrospective that lasts for over two and a half hours. It features everyone who was involved in the film production (except for Cronenberg himself – he has a commentary track anyway) and is laid out in chronological order through the varying stages of production. I doubt they could have made a more comprehensive documentary, no detail is spared here.

David Cronenberg’s commentary is exemplary as always, the man is a hive of knowledge. And surprisingly there is little overlap between it and the documentary. Cronenberg is able to elucidate plot points and production technicalities both intelligently and succinctly, and is simply a joy to listen to.

Other special features include textual versions of the original short story, original screenplay, and Cronenberg’s rewritten opus. Also photo galleries, trailers, and the other usual bits and pieces.

It makes me full of divine bliss every time I see my copy sitting there on the DVD shelf, imported straight from the heaving streets of America land as soon as it was released. The film is a sublime dip into the cinema of David Cronenberg (or the cinematic arts period), who continues his ever-present themes of the human interaction with technology; this is surely the pinnacle of his awesome career, and one which (deservedly) was his most successful outing at the box office (so far at least).

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Social Constructionism Rhapsody

Recently I’ve been reading a bit about social constructionist theory, and I’ve come to the stark realisation that there is a severe lack of songs dedicated to this theoretical area. And so I have taken it upon myself to rectify this, because if I don’t then who the fuck will?

[Chords to be strummed are indicated below lyrics. Strumming pattern is up to reader discretion, but some form of triplet or up-beat speedy strumming is recommended ('-' constitutes continued strumming, also used because blogger is awkward with spaces). Composed with guitar in hand, but could be played using other music machines. Slow to moderate tempo, and 4/4 time.]

[Verse 1]
Anthropological annexation of the knowledge

brings about -

a sociological flux in the head.

Marx and his beard, the rabid historians,

there’s Nietzsche on a pogo stick.

The social construction of reality

Ripped from the minds of concise duality

[Verse 2]
Epistemo-logical di-----mensions

Foundered-on-a Scheler and a Mannheim

Look at the symbolism in our minds.

Insti-tutions, all subjectivity

The social construction of reality

Ripped from the minds of concise duality

[Bridge - half-time feel]
Reification process

Depository of language

Flagellation of Althusser

Empirical methodologies

The social construction of reality

Ripped from the minds of concise duality

[Play alternating Dminors and Aminors ad nauseam]

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Lacklustre in the Key of meh

Where has the energy gone?
Vigour and oomph in October,
Now dissipation en masse,
Platitudinous batterings,

Geek glasses exemplar,
Irrationality forthcoming, or present?
Lust variation of Moore’s Law,
Prolonged wait equal better prep?
What do people do?

Marx/Engels – beard dichotomy?
Creeping clouds of Eisenstein.
Vitality seeping out the ears,
Come back I yell yee,

Mannheim swimming about in the air,
“Get back into your page”.
System of a Down soundscape.
How do you spell the true meh?
Exegesis of meh protocol.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Hot Topic

This week’s Hot Topic – Technology.

Hot Topic notifications now come replete with pictures – just look at that fine crap there.

The Fahey Prayer

The Fahey Prayer was first concocted by Benedictine Faheyists in the late 14th century. Solemcess Boniface was the monk to actually pen the words, but as we all know the words really came from deep within Fahey, whose soul permeates us all.

Through the centuries the prayer has remained a constant routine in the monasteries of Faheyian monotheism. Only at the beginning of the twentieth century was the lament to escape its monasterial confines and is now known by almost all citizens of western culture.

Witness this wonderful Faheyian verse in all its naked virtue here:

All ears who rest open, who art in the fields round the back of my house,
Hallowed be thy Fahey.
Thy kingdom of Parker Kane hath come,
Thy will be smacked in the scrot,
On earth as it is in Die Darkman Die.
Give us this day our daily feast of blonde Jobiality.
Forgive us our excursions into Fayhey mentality,
As we forgive those who Fayheyise against us.
And lead us not into the tri-tones of the Fayhey scale,
But deliver us with a redeeming watch of The Lawnmower Man.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Doctrinal Expletives: The Lyrical Testimony of Carcass

It was 1985 when the smoke cleared to reveal three miscreants from the shores of Liverpool, standing, slightly choked up on the ethereal substances, but with a glint in their eyes, down-tuned guitars slung back over a shoulder or two, and medical dictionaries tucked neatly under the arms. They were out to grind the delicate aural features of anyone and everyone, and were prepared to do so with lyrics as much as with a few blast beats or shudders of the low E (or low B in their case).

The first two albums, Reek of Putrefaction (1988) and Symphonies of Sickness (1989), represent some of the finest slabs of macabre medical jargon known to man, or at least to coroners, because lets face it we ain’t talking about ‘oh doctor I’ve got a bit of a cold’ here. Witness the tale of a simple tummy pain explained in all its visceral detail in ‘Ruptured in Purulence’:

Miasmic fungus infests the small intestine
Vitriolic juices burn through the stomach’s wall
Bursting carcinosis as chylase melts your guts
Crepitating neoplasm erupts with gore...

According to my internet research miasma is a noxious, poisonous atmosphere; carcinosis is a cancerous spread in the body; chylase seems to be a Carcass original; a neoplasm is an abnormal growth of flesh which is perhaps cancerous.

Or observe this fable of the dangers of parasitic infection in ‘Cadaveric Incubator of Endoparasites’:

The inset of rigor mortis, ulcerous corruption and decay
Saponified fats lather as soap as you slowly eat yourself away...
Organs savaged by rotten enzymes, rennin and rancorous cysts
A festering abcess immersed in ravenous autolysis

Saponification is the conversion of fat to soap (cf: Fight Club); Rennin is a milk curdling enzyme; autolysis is a rupture of cells induced by release of certain enzymes.

The excellent ‘Exhume to Consume’ presents a lovable lament of excavating the corpses of the dead to indulge in a feast of their remains:

Ulcerated flesh I munch
Rotting corpses are lunch

Pretty self-explanatory there.

1991 brought arguably the pinnacle of their music in the album Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious. Another collection of pathological horrorscapes this time set against a refined and matured instrumental section, most of these songs even come with disturbing spoken-word intros.

Fourth track ‘Pedigree Butchery’ comes with some appropriately gruesome and obscure lyrics. Check these:

Desparental, primparal goods oozing

Desparental is another Carcass original, let’s assume it to refer to a set of progenitors, especially due to primpara meaning she who is pregnant for the first time.

Rheological, twisted nursery chymes
The fluxing of the delfeshed
Paedophilosophical, carnage knowledge
As the illegitimeat to the domesticated is fed

Rheology is the study of the deformation and flow of matter; another Carcass original in the form of Paedophilosophical, maybe the best word ever, the paedo prefix is of course connected to children, so how about: a deep investigation of youthful progenies. Very family orientated number here.

Also the lyrics here show a certain step up in that things have developed into a wonderful moribund poetry, this is demonstrated numerous times throughout the proceedings. Just look at some of the following extracts:

Striking up my discordant underture
A carnal cacophony perversely penned
(‘Carneous Cacoffiny’)

Is not the sentiment upon which we feed
But precocious consciousness
Draws out a morbid nous to bleed
Chiselling out seething words
(‘Symposium of Sickness’)

Monographic text, a literary vex
The macabre perplexed, with meshed reality
(‘Symposium of Sickness’)

The medical preoccupations dissipated somewhat for Heartwork (1994), where the lyrical concepts had to evolve to match the ever evolving instrumentality of the music. A lot of the old primordial gratuity remained, but was interspersed with a wider range of ideas, producing fewer words that I had to look up in an online medical dictionary, and less of an overall visual, nausea-inducing lyricscape. But nevertheless, tell me what the hell the following is about:

Multifarious carnage
Meretriciously, internecine
Sublime enmangling steelbath
Of escheated atrocities
(‘Carnal Forge’)

Internecine is a mutual slaughter/destruction.

Notice the contrasts between the older material and the aforementioned with some of the words of Carcass’ “hit single” (or closest thing to it), the title track ‘Heartwork’:

Profound, aesthetic beauty
Or shaded sensary corruption
Perceptions, shattered, splintered, mirroring
In deft taints, diluted, tinted

The spreading wings of song concepts can be seen in the likes of ‘Embodiment’ (religion), ‘No Love Lost’ (human emotion), and ‘Blind Bleeding the Blind’ (ignorance and apathy).

A final evolution in the lyrics occurred with the band’s last album, the fittingly titled Swansong (1995). Movements in music, to what was occasionally termed ‘rot n roll’ (presumably after the B-side of the ‘Heartwork’ single) and/or ‘death rock’, once again pushed the lyrics in directions where that medical dictionary wasn’t really an imperative item. The order of the day here was more sociological than pathological. Peruse the opening verse to ‘Don’t Believe a Word’:

You should never take too literally what you read
Misinformation, distortion, make belief
Fabrications, half truths implied
Misquotations, out of context and lies

Or the anti-consumerism, anti-corporate single, ‘Keep on Rotting in the Free World’:

Consumer or consumed, your life is cheap
Economic salvation in sweatshops returned from the East
Despair the only quality of strife
A reason for existence if you can afford the price
If your price is right

Or other concentrated, relevant themes such as authoritarian state control (‘R**k the Vote’), tyrannical oppression (‘Firmhand’), and generational apathy (‘Generation Hexed’). It’s an album of bitter anti-establishment ideals verging on anarchical sanctimony, and is brilliant because of it!

Carcass had a life too short, but traversed a number of lyrical themes in that time, from grisly surgical manoeuvres, to mortality, to free speech and thought. I’ll leave you with a quote from the song whose name I took for the title of this writing, not that I attribute these sentiments to Carcass, but it’s important to remember the subversion possible with language:

A play on words, making no sense

Which makes no sense
Which makes nonsense
(‘Doctrinal Expletives’)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Statement on Scientology

It was yesterday eve whilst I was listening to the new System of a Down album that an acquaintance of mine came up me. This acquaintance began (rather randomly I might state) by saying how he had previously viewed Tom Cruise as a decent, fun-loving, and easy-going kind of guy, but no, he says, turns out he’s into all that Scientology crap. He then goes on to say what a load of nonsense it is and that he has lost any hitherto existent respect for Mr Cruise.

Knowing this acquaintance’s religious disposition I reply the following: “Sure scientology is just as valid as Christianity, is it not?” This only led him to strenuous denial and weak attempts to justify an absent rationality.

“Hey as long as they’re happy participating, and it is doing no harm to anyone else, then who’s to negate them that.” His in-grained narrow-minded stubbornness would, however, not be breeched, no matter what logic I could lather upon him.

This leads me to postulate that there is a great hypocritical irreverence aimed at Scientology from many fronts, the sort of irreverence that might be best pointed inward. I am mainly speaking in respect to organised religion here. I don’t mean to single out Christianity from the cauldron here, but do so because of its hegemonic status in the west and (in many ways a corollary of that) I am more knowledgeable about it than others.

Why is Scientology just as valid (or invalid) as Christianity?

One of the criticisms aimed towards Scientology from a Christian standpoint (and I’ve witnessed this) is that it is wrong because it doesn’t follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Surely it doesn’t take a huge step into the objective to realise that the simple reply from a Scientologist here is that Christianity is wrong because it doesn’t follow the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. Simple my word against yours conundrum here.

Scientology contains similar elements of abstract mysticism present in Christianity. Scientologists believe they are spiritual beings, and that life does not end at death, just like the Christian conceptualisation of an afterlife (you could say that both are ostentatious enough to call themselves immortal).

Does the short lifetime of Scientology make it invalid? Well Christianity had to begin sometime, it was young once too. Is Christianity more valid because it has been around for a duo of millennia? Does this train of thought lead to a hierarchy of validity based on time? Does that make ancient Greek religions more valid than Christianity?

You could argue that Christianity has a good message and it is beneficial to live your life by its values. To believe that entire sentence would be highly erroneous, but I will admit that the life of Jesus is surely a moralistic, righteous one that I wouldn’t castigate anyone for following fully and properly (although could the same not be said for honourable fictional characters such as Batman?). Scientology also has many principled facets such as the belief that all people are good and only certain aberrations leads them away from that point, this is basically a mass equality idea.

The main argument against Scientology is to do with the fact that a lot of celebrities enlist themselves into the doctrine and spend huge amounts of their huge amounts of money on it. Again, going back to an earlier postulation, if it makes them happy who cares? Let me highlight an example of the double standards here by stating one word: consumerism. I may go out and purchase a DVD, it’s not necessary to my survival, but I give money for it, and it makes me happy to have it and to watch it. Is this not the same thing as the financial exchange for mental beatitude present in Scientology?

What’s that? Scientology is a corrupt unethical entity just out for people’s money? How’s that make it different from corporations? Is Scientology different because it advertises itself as a non-profit organisation? Perhaps it’s just the same as corporations advertising their products as necessary and beneficial when they clearly are not?

Scientology also has the dogma of abstinence that Christianity is well known for. For one it is very vocal on the subject of drugs and their iniquitousness, the poison attributes which inflict the body. Funnily enough this is in direct contradiction with the Scientology ideas on freedom; I quote the following from the official Scientology website:

“Through Scientology, people all over the world are achieving the long-sought goal of true spiritual release and freedom.”

Freedom to take as many drugs as they possibly can take?

Well my comparison wouldn’t be complete without the elucidation of doctrinal contradictions now would it.

How about the sources of each religion’s belief system? The Scientology ‘bible’ is of course L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics, published in 1950. Does it have more validity than a book that has been constantly revised and interpreted for over a thousand years, and even who’s origins are highly open to question?

Now don’t go thinking I’m some Scientologist now, I’m nothing of the sort. In fact I view the religion as nothing more than a fallacious cult which only reinforces mystical faiths in a world overrun with them. But I do contend that its chastisement from Christianity is extremely hypocritical and that the argument thrown towards Scientology would be better served directed inward coupled with an open-mind.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Four Days and Four Nights in the Wilderness

I was in the midst of a strange manic euphoria, wrapped in sheets of crystal meth, watching Return to Oz for the fourth time that day, when the vision came to me. A dream that escaped the diabolical clutches of the Sandman, and had spent two years wadding through oceans of mind gunk to get to my mind’s eye.

The phantasma came in the form of a cloud of fluorescent neon smoke, which dispersed to reveal a golden effigy of William Shatner. His address began, as all addresses in such situations do, with a song. His was a serenade of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On, followed by an a cappella version of Napalm Death’s From Enslavement to Obliteration. Song and dance over (he also cavorted suggestively in rhythm to the music) he showed me, not with words but with his eyes, that I was to take a journey. Yes a journey, one deep into the wild fringes of society.

After I had come to, following a set of savage convulsions brought on by thoughts of giant fringes roaming fields devouring cattle, Shatner was gone. All that was left was the whiff of TJ, and ‘the Gump’ on the television. Damn you Shatner, you made me miss part of the film, I’ve now missed that bit with the hall of heads.

But I knew not to look this gift Shatner in the mouth, who knows what he’s been eating after all. I left later that day, making my way across the river on a raft created by tying all my VHS copies of Ghoulies 2 together. Now, I know part 3, Ghoulies Go to College, was better, but that’s precisely why I chose part 2 to form this boating device. Rest assured that part 3 accompanied me in my nap sack. The vessel held up pretty well considering the VHS were a bunch of old ex-rentals that I had smuggled in from Egypt.

My first meeting in this bestial trip into the wild occurred when I first hit dry land. The man was none other than Denis Franz, best known as Sipowicz from TV’s NYPD Blue. He was being crucified by a group of rowdy scientologists, who all wore James Joyce masks and chanted the ancient rite of Greased Lightnin’.

This was indeed a barbaric place.

Further on I discovered several bathing fishmongers who told me that the essence of existence is that disjointed mass of macrocosmic Dadaist fluff lodged deep within us all. I thought they had a point, but would probably be better to utilise Faheyian doctrine in their hypotheses.

I decided to set up camp at the base of a gigantic monolith surrounded at its base by a scatter of human skulls. I assumed this to be some sort of postmodernist’s joke, I could just imagine their smug little faces, all scrunched up, yelling, “we’re deconstructing the paradigm of fear, the culturally in-grained abstract associations.” Fuckers.

Turns out no. In the middle of the night the monolith turned into a massive turtle who took no pain in attempting to eat both me and my vase collection. I barely escaped.

A warlock masquerading as a wizard lured me to his ice palace. This ice palace was a wonderful place, children played in the courtyards and imps danced in the gardens singing Have a Marxist Christmas Everyone. It was truly a paradise.

Upon my second day there I began to get anxious. Someone was stealing my sense of security. A dangerous presence was near. My anxiousness was nearing explosive heights, not unlike those times when flush riveting a canopy rail and you realise that not only has someone double dimpled the wrong set, but the buck bar is nowhere to be seen! A nightmare in other words.

I was lying in my room being entertained by a limbless minstrel when the blue monk came in. Now, and I must explain, he was not blue in colour, but had the disposition only an individual with an elemental feeling of blue hue within their character has, and thus he carried this prefix through his early monk career and then, subsequently, in his later monk career. The blue was not a pejorative term implied from the sidelines by nasty fuckers jealous of his deep-rooted blueness. So get any ideas of the kind out of your god-damn head right now. He did, however, have no eyes.

He informed me that a winged shovel had challenged me to a duel on top of the hairy tower. Turns out the only stipulation to this utopia was that at any moment one resident could request combat with any other and they’d be obliged to battle till death. That shifty bastard warlock!

As this was being explained to me I slipped out via the dog door and ran down the mountain-side screaming like a little girl.

I joined a weary band of travelling geometric circles on their way to Damascus. Turns out they didn’t know a lot about Miike, or the reasons why pigtails are the pinnacle of female hairstyles, but they did happily go on and on about Michael Biehn and the social constructionist theories behind him. I don’t know what it was but after four hours of being repeatedly told how Navy Seals should have won eleven Oscars I was getting pretty tired of their orations.

I eyed a lake surrounded by a path of melted cheese, but the impassioned screams of the locals caused me not to go anywhere near it, but to in fact stubble into a hole set in the terrain. I fell tumultuously down through the abyss; men with beards occasionally poked me from the dark rim, and the intermittent sounds of yak milking filled my aural senses.

I eventually landed on a custard Woody Allen. He was squashed beyond all hope and I ran deep into an ornate cave system away from the mess.

Tunnels led me to an underground Bic factory. Here vampires fed me molten cracker juice and bathed me in a vat of mugwump jissom. They gave me a going away party once I was ready to leave, and even generously gifted me a spoon shaped like Kurt Russell.

And so that was my time in the wilderness. It was good, but I’m unsure whether I’ll go back again next year.

The Hot Topic

Visit the Hot Topic, this week led by yours truly. The roving commentators tackle the subject of creativity this episode.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Since half of my visitors come from internet searches for Mugwump (the other half from searches for Jeff Fahey) I feel a few words on the subject are in order.

From the outset I will disregard the old meaning of mugwump, that which concerns the slang term for Republicans who deserted their party to vote for the opposition; it’s an obsolete term, one never used, and certainly has no relevance in this context.

The mugwump to which I refer is the creature brought into existence by William S. Burroughs in his amazing novel Naked Lunch. The following is an excerpt from the novel (stolen from elsewhere for convenience):

Mugwumps have no liver and nourish themselves exclusively on sweets. Thin, purple-blue lips cover a razor sharp beak of black bone with which they frequently tear each other to shreds in fights over clients. These creatures secrete an addictive fluid though their erect penises which prolongs life by slowing metabolism. (In fact all longevity agents have proved addicting in exact ratio to their effectiveness in prolonging life.)

These were given physical form through David Cronenberg’s adaptation, or rather translation, of Naked Lunch. The above picture is how they appeared to Peter Weller and is how I have come to visualise them.

What a magnificent creature they are. Rendered tangible they are grotesqueries of the highest order. Had Frank Oz placed a bunch of them in Labyrinth it would have been greatly enhanced as a piece of cinema. They secrete milk/jissom from their head-teats, smoke, and have a voice rather akin to Mr Burroughs himself (i.e. as creaky as a warehouse full of rusted doors). It must be said that in the film they have a much more cuddly and endearing character, unlike Burroughs’ description of a vicious, belligerent fiend.

I hope to attain one as a pet some day. It can sleep under my bed, emerging every now and again, preferably when I’m thirsty for mugwump jissom.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Aaron McMullan - 75mg

Now I don’t want to be a propagating fucker here, it is true that Aaron McMullan (aka The Duke) is a good friend of mine, but I am being all-to-Jandek honest when I say his new album, entitled 75mg, is great.

It shames me to admit that it was a good two days before I had a listen to the record (in abstract Internet-form), due to being busy with that whole life thing, pain in the ass that it is, and it was not until last night that my aural senses got to experience it.

And now today, on the lovely Maggie Gyllenhaal’s 28th birthday (although we won’t make too much of that due to The Duke’s distain for her brother), I feel compelled by it to note a few thoughts. This ain’t a review though, don’t be going and getting those sort of preconceived notions.

First thing, and this all sounds very review-like, as if I were sitting in the offices of NME or some other music magazine I don’t buy, but the first thing is to note that this musical outing demonstrates a great increment in maturity, both musically and lyrically. I’m a very music-orientated music fan (as opposed to lyrical), so I can really appreciate a good chord change, or guitar lick. Track eight, City Country City, has one such endearing guitar lick, catchy as a tropical disease, but not nearly as skin-meltingly nefarious.

It’s a shame that I’m not more lyrical minded because the man has produced a wealth of wonderful poetry here, a close listen or a glance at the lyrics evidences this.

Highlights for me include the aforementioned City Country City, and the melancholic couplet of Sad Song Sung and Sinead in Savage Purple (both “bathed in melancholic dew”). But the major standout is second track Go Fuck Yourself, truly destined to be the first McMullan single. Again another number with catchiness in the abundance, best song since I Do Believe You Are The Devil would be a fair thing to contend I’d say.

So there you go, I’m not trying to publicise my friend here, but why not when it’s so good?

So go on, have a listen indeed, no puppies will be shot were you to not do so, but at the same time you might as well, just think about telling your friends about a great, fresh singer-songwriter you found who has yet to be whored on MTV and in the mainstream music press, why I’d assume you to be the coolest cunt that ever entered my vision.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Seder (S5 E7)

Larry David is a genius. I’m not sure if I’ve said that before but he is, and the latest episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm just proves the contention to it.

First of all, surely there is no better trademark in TV history than that of Larry’s infamous look. To those unfamiliar, there is this thing where Larry will be squaring up to another character, usually Larry has accused them of doing some wrong against him and they have denied it, and he will start looking into their eyes, scrutinizing them, in careful examination all the time. Then after a prolonged period of time he’ll go “....ok.” Pinnacle of television right there, no, scratch that, the entire motion arts.

This particular episode sees Larry get to showcase the look in an exchange with a doctor acquaintance of his, whom he accuses of systematically stealing his newspaper repeatedly everyday for the past week.

This was also quite a political episode. Larry and Cheryl are throwing a dinner to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Seder, and they have to invite Susie’s (Jeff’s wife) sister and her family to it. Now, Jeff’s brother-in-law here is, hilariously, a conservative, and it’s just great to witness Larry infinitely bemused at his being told of how GW Bush is one of the great presidents and how “we’re turning the whole damn world around.” I know I’d be liable to interject with some Chomsky quotes right about then, but he just takes it how it should be taken, as if it were a child allocuting such erroneous sentiments.

Also, in the spirit of politicalisation, Larry befriends a sex offender who moves into the neighbourhood, and invites him to the dinner. I’m not too sure how well known Larry David’s political allegiances are, but he’s clearly a liberal type (observe the finale of season 4, how he terminates the passions with a female due to the sudden sight of a framed photo of Bush in her room, absurdly brilliant), and this overtly comes through here. The idea that a man isn’t as bad as made out, and can change, and generalisations shouldn’t be used to judge character. When Larry first met the man he was tentative about any sort of colloquium, but as things progressed he realised that the two shared many interests and that he might not actually be that bad.

In fact, towards the finish of the episode, it turns out that the conservative is the one who is in possession of the negative attributes, he helps his son win a game and consequently denies it (although he didn’t get the look). And who is the one to unveil the deceptions? Why it’s none other than the sex-offender.

I’m assuming Larry set out to make a political comment here, it probably doesn’t warrant so much yakking on my part, I shoulda discussed the look a bit more, but still it’s a positive ideological point to notice anyway. I’m always happy to see a bit of political commentary in Curb, and it’s always done very hilariously.

The Fable of Axl Rose and the Sloth

It was a warm and moist 1991; people walked the streets draped in tablecloths in attempt to soak up the moisture, but yet their hair still erupted in mass cataclysm. Some took to holding street vigils where primordial couplets of shaman would echo ancient rites to the great sky god of pre-Cambrian times, most often these ended with two or three rowdy ruffians throwing excerpts of Genesis chapter 5 and De Sade’s Justine at the shaman in paper airplane form. If anyone ever contented that paper airplanes could not possibly kill a man, well, they were certainly proved wrong on these nights. As reported deaths from paper airplanes (papier-planacide) escalated, the Los Angeles landscape became a breeding ground for spontaneous riots, unsuspecting shaman would be in the 7/11 buying their Lucky Charms when suddenly a small group of miscreants would come in and holy hell would break out. Individual riots often lasted all night and police would be powerless to stop the yob army battling against the entrenched shamans.

One such riot was occurring in the street below when Axl Rose woke up in the bathroom of his hotel suite. The previous few hours had welded a wild type of debauched frenzy exclusive only to mid-tour rock bands. The madness included the acquisition on the part of Axl of a massive Ludo set from the cold hands of a gypsy, and Axl biting the temple of a female partier after she had unintentionally taken the piece of paper that Rose has scribed a new song on (a love dedication to GG Allin) and used it to clean between her toes.

The room was a mess; the bed lay on the balcony angularly slanted against the railing, the floor was a colourful mix of broken glass and barnyard hay, each strand of wallpaper had been replaced with nude pictures of Noriega, and pathology reports of various serial killers were scattered on the tables. But Axl could see none of this, for he was residing in the bathroom’s bidet lighting a cigarette.

A dazed Axl Rose was slowly coming to, cigarette in his mouth he shook his head and looked at his watch. Except where used to be his watch was now a crude drawing of a watch (which incidentally stated the time as twenty minutes past seven).

He sat up, and put the cigarette out in the sink, carefully avoiding the shards of what looked like a stained-glass Jesus. Standing up he looked around the room. Suddenly he peered a sloth sitting on a shelf anchored above the bath. The sloth gave him a beckoning look, and Axl moved towards it. As he got closer, Axl noticed that this was no ordinary sloth (luckily Axl had taken six years of PHD study into the mating habits of sloths, including two years living with the animals in their natural habitat). No, this sloth had a purple insignia on its nose, an insignia which seemed to resemble the t in Star Wars.

When Axl was no further than two feet from it, the sloth spoke. It bellowed at him in a deep voice, “I am no ordinary sloth, for I have special powers, and were I permitted unconditional use of your bidet, I would grant thee three wishes.”

“Well it’s not really my bidet, but alright,” replied Axl.

Axl exited the room to the exalted cries of a relieved sloth cleansing it’s extremities.

After a short while the sloth emerged from the bathroom.

“Thanks for that, one can get mightily gunked up in the rainforest.”

“I’d imagine there’s not many bidets round those parts.”

“Motherfucking none, the lack is incredible, inconsiderate cunts the lot of them. Now, wishes, you’ve got three and I’m on a tight schedule.”

“What the hell have sloths got to do?”

“Here son, shut the fuck up, I may not have anything to do right in the vicinity of now, but I’m a fucking sloth, whatever it is it’ll take me ages to get there, sloth by definition motherfucker. So, hurry up.”


Axl stood and pondered for a moment using the international sign for the ponderance (chin cupped in thumb and forefinger).

“I wish for a billion dollars.”


And so it was done, Axl’s bank account suddenly bulged with funds.

“I wish for every new Guns N Roses record to go platinum in the first week.”


And so it was done, all new GNR records would indeed go platinum by the end of its first week of release.

“I wish for you and me to have a night of uninhibited, ferocious sex.”


“You heard me.”

And so it was done, the sloth could do no more than issue light protest, he knew he was required to satisfy Axl Roses’ desire no matter what the request.

It turns out that, during those long nights in the noisy depths of the rainforest, Axl got very lonely, very lonely indeed, and would often indulge himself in a sloth or two. And this was the first opportunity for Axl to pamper his little idiosyncrasy since GNR’s tour of Brazil two years before. And so, like any self-respecting person, he took the chance when it happened upon him.

Guns N Roses went onto to make $2 million in ticket receipts during the remainder of the tour.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Ken Foree Debacle - Reprise

We all remember the controversial debates that raged in flaming fury back in the day over the pronunciation of Ken Foree’s surname between The Duke and myself, well it’s come time to issue a cessation to the conflict, and to emit apologies in the direction of The Duke.

What happened was I was watching the Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 DVD, a film which features none other than Ken Foree. And so I was perusing the documentary, and what’s this? Someone was cast due to their great performance in Dawn Of The Dead? And what was that man’s name?


No it wasn’t that. It was Ken Foree. But more precisely, it was Ken For-ray.

My hands are up, I was wrong. It kills me to realise it, but only a fool would ignore the overwhelming evidence presented to him. At least now the great Foree wars have been annulled, and we can all go on with our lives, watching From Beyond with peace of mind.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Coming of the Fapocalypse

**Warning: extremely plagiaristic of both biblical prosy and Satyricon**

“And I looked, and behold a fallacious shade of blue:
And his name that banished all virtue was Jeff Fayhey
and Hell followed with him. And power was given
unto him over the fourth part of the earth,
to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death,
and with the beasts of the earth”.

And then again “I saw and beheld, a righteous shade of blue;
And he that sat on there had a mop of blonde hair; And a crown
was given unto him and he went forth conquering, and he was Jeff Fahey.
And there was a great earthquake, and the sun became blue
as a sackcloth of Lawnmower Man DVDs, and the moon became as bluestone.

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth,
even as detective Jack Whitfield sketches,
when he is conferred of a mighty case. And the heaven
departed as a scroll when it is rolled together,
and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
Almighty mountains and rocks, I beg you fall on abhorrent Fayhey.

For the great day of wrath is coming, and who shall be able to stand the Fapocalypse?

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Remake Rant

So there I am, minding my own business, watching Neil Marshall’s latest siege of flickery, The Descent (brilliant by the way), when suddenly I sense a rumbling in the ether. It’s my phone; it’s yelping beeps with relentless precision. Turns out to be a text message from The Duke. Between bouts of esoteric iambic prose he informs me of the latest piece of gossip straight from the leaves of the grapevine, turns out that Renee Zellweger is to be the star of the remake of The Eye. He was obviously desperately upset at this happening. As was I.

However, I was more upset at just the reminder of Hollywood’s annexation and subsequent perversion of all good, original ideas.

A spectre is haunting cinema - the spectre of Hollywood.

OK, so I hyperbole a little here, there are slight snippets of originality floating around the aura of Hollywood. But this remake business is really one that gets me down, specifically the recent wave of Asian remakes.

Now, I love those Asian flicks, from the gateway films like Ring and Battle Royale, to more obscure entities such as Bullet Ballad and Uzumaki. It honest to GG kills me a little every time one of these fine cinematic treats are transformed into some easily digested piece of Hollywood cack.

The main thing that leads to my extreme resentment is that they are pretty much remade exactly the same, except in English and with American actors. Am I the only one who sees the pointlessness to this?

Yeah, I know why the studios do it; they are catering to the ignorant masses, and by corollary endeavouring to maximise profits. Perhaps I’m being a cultural snob here, but if people aren’t prepared to go that effort to read the subtitles, and thus open themselves up to some of the best cinema on the planet (I’m not just talking about Asia here), then they deserve fuck all.

Recently I attempted to watch the Dark Water remake, the original was a fine slab of Nakata which I enjoyed. I got about thirteen minutes into the remake before switching it off, which is something I don’t like doing, but I really did not want to waste the next hour watching something I’ve already seen, and in better form also. That’s another thing, they copy most of the content but present it in a thoroughly Hollywood style, the film loses that unique atmosphere that the Asians are able to lather in there.

It’s not paradoxical that two of my favourite movies of all time are remakes, The Thing and The Fly. This just highlights the power of current studio executives to control the creative output of the studio and, perhaps, the ineptitude of the new batch of directors assigned to these projects. Sure, give a remake proposal to a Cronenberg or a Carpenter, and let them have free reign at it, and they’ll generate something interesting and original with it. Times sure have changed.

That’s the end of this rant; I make no pretensions to this being an in-depth polemic, simply a collection of thoughts. I'm sure there will (in true Hollywood style) be a sequel sometime.

Dream Theater - Octavarium: A Retrospective

So Dream Theater’s new album then. Well I say new, it’s actually been out the majority of half a year. It was released, if my memory serves me a steaming platter of truth, around early to mid June.

I remember the time well; I was slipping into the depths of an Audrey Tautou obsession (one which traversed the flows of manic EBay DVD purchasing and insane preoccupationry thoughts for the next couple of months), in fact, if I recollect correctly, I had just watched A Very Long Engagement the day before the album arrived, although it was the Amelie watching a few weeks earlier that caused the major bludgeon to the cerebellum. But all that’s for another retrospective, one to be undoubtedly penned someday, someday where I’ve finally come to conclusions about what exactly the hell was going on there besides the obvious, and now’s no good because my scatter graphs are currently out in the shed and it’s too cold to go get them.

Well, that was a distraction, unforeseen. Also I saw Batman Begins that week, a Thursday it was, and Octavarium arrived on the prior Tuesday. But I won’t delve into BatBale the Early Years either right now, and probably never will.

Yeh, this album. Now is the time to print a myriad of thoughts, due to back in the day I had not stepped into the b**gging world, and also recently I’ve been dedicating more time to that very neglected area of musicology (well one album review).

Octavarium is the eighth studio album by the prog-metal band Dream Theater. I think that constitutes a competent back story to this fable. There’s not a great deal more to say, this ain’t no biography after all.

First track is ‘The Root Of All Evil’, a continuation of Mike Portnoy’s regaling of his time battling alcohol addiction built around the conceptualisation of AA’s infamous 12-step program (this is parts six and seven). In what seems to have become a Dream Theater convention, the song opens with the final note of the previous album (Train Of Thought), and this one always reminds me of the beginning of In Flames song ‘Stand Ablaze’, probably because it’s the same note being played by piano. Then once the song starts up we get this funky riff, which is fun to play on those days when you’ve got your guitar down-tuned a half step, but lacks any real substance to listen to. The song is a far cry from its mythos precursors, ‘The Glass Prison’ and ‘This Dying Soul’, which are both fantastic. In fact its high point is mid-way through when it mimics the chorus of ‘This Dying Soul’. Competent, nothing more.

I’ll admit to never really giving the second track, ‘The Answer Lies Within’, much attention. It’s true that around that time I had read the outraged opinions circulating the roof spaces of message boards that the song imitates a Linkin Park song. I wouldn’t be familiar with that song it supposedly copies, but I trust the vast masses to be anything but wrong on this issue. And to be fair I have just given it a listen there, and it’s pretty poor stuff, obviously that's backed up by my immense passive listening to it in the past.

‘These Walls’ is a down-tuned seven string heavy-with-sing-along-chorus type of song. It’s decent enough, if not stab-my-ears-with-egg-whisks generic.

First thing I noticed about ‘I Walk Beside You’ is the startling similarity the chorus possesses to any number of U2 songs. Great intro and main verse riffery, but that chorus is the sort of faux-uplifting and derivative dull stuff that I’d expect a progressive band to avoid, on penalty of a resurrected Antonin Artaud coming over and screaming French obscenities into your aural sockets.

What a pessimistic and negative review this has been so far, the dismal clouds of mediocrity are sitting somewhere over the O of Octavarium. But hark thy words! Repentance is here in the form of the latter half of the album.

Track five is the point where the album starts to pick up. I dunno what it picks up exactly, I just hope it’s not my Three Colours Trilogy DVD box-set, or at least if it does, it puts it back down where it’s supposed to be.

In ‘Panic Attack’ it’s all heavy baritone guitars, and, more importantly, energy. Much needed, and absent, it finally arrives at the show, chauffer driven by the ghost of GG Allin. Great breakdown in the mid-section, lots of keyboard and guitar shredding, wonderful dynamic rhythm in the drum and bass quadrants. The chorus is a bit Muse-sounding, but we’ll ignore that for now.

Now, Muse then. I never got into this band, but they clearly have had an influence on the music here, perhaps especially evident by Petrucci saying things like, “Aye, I like them.” This influence is no more apparant than in ‘Never Enough’. It’s great, but on first listens this struck me with sharp swords of worry. I’ve since then displaced the Muse references in my head, probably because the chances are I’ve listened to this song more than I’ve listened to Muse (which isn’t a huge lot). Another great breakdown mid-section, excellent flowing soundscapes here, Murray Schafer would be falling over himself at this right here. Then a great keyboard/guitar solo unison section (one not based upon bpm), followed by a very dissonant little section of ringing-out arpeggios.

Penultimately is ‘Sacrificed Sons’. A song which opens with a collage of news soundclips based around on-going international crises concerning terrorism and Jihad and whatnot. Given that, it’s not very political a track, mainly just about “don’t be silly with your misinterpretations, it won’t do no good.” Probably more focused on the likes of suicide bombers, as opposed to any deep political dialectic. Musically, another excellent song, lots of riffs pumped into that ten minutes, including a lovely melodic melancholic lead somewhere in the middle, and a heavy staccato power chord riff under the final verses, which rules greatly.

So here we are kiddies. Hope you’ve been keeping up with the narrative so far, maintaining your instalment payments, and so on. The final track is the epic title track, twenty-four minutes of proggy goodness, split up into five sections (probably to aid reviewers, in that they won’t need to go “that bit at 16:32 rules”).

The intro (which doesn’t even warrant its own official section apparently) is a superfluous mix of ambient sounds and understated keyboard, often shamelessly skipped by me.

I think I’d have to recognise the first section to be my favourite section, a glorious acoustic, melodic composition. Mainly because of its sublime third-person lyrics by John Petrucci, which I misconstrued as a positively uplifting message that life doesn’t have to go the conventional and banal way of education-job-retirement-death. But on closer inspection since those early-preconception days, it seems to be more about how one’s life philosophy can alter, someone’s motivations and ambitions can change course and transmogrify into something else (perhaps that which you previously avoided and resented).

Still, ignorance is gliss (or so I read, although that might have been a typo).

Moving on a bit, section two is another nice euphonious piece. Section three is where the musical maestros escape their cage. It opens with lots of rapid keyboard squiggles, then onto the vocal segment. Then the customary instrumental part, multitudinous time signature changes, keyboard/guitar unisons, tempo changes, all the usual fare to be expected, but brilliant I must add. Fourth section verse-based heaviness, final section comprises a rousing vocal part followed by one of John Petrucci’s best solos. A slow moody beast of a thing it is.

Christ, I’ve yakked on way too long about this, and not nearly enough Bruce Campbell or Kafka references! I’ll digress and sum up: a good album, undoubtedly, flawed and patchy at times, but worth it for the excellence that is on there.

Pertinent question: where does it be placed on the Dream Theater discography ranking then?

I would say above Falling Into Infinity and Train Of Thought, but below the rest. This is actually the first time I’ve thought about that rhetorical; I never before realised I warranted it such a low position. I guess I always look upon the optimal material on there, which there is easily a sufficient amount of.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Hot Topic

Visit this week’s edition of The Hot Topic, penned by the collective mass of Mondo Gentlemen (however, no gentlewomen as of yet, despite my pleas for gender balance).

This week we have been mostly deconstructing our own pop culture shames, get ready for a surplus of confession.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Symphony X - The Divine Wings Of Tragedy

Released in 1997, The Divine Wings Of Tragedy is the third album by progressive power metal band Symphony X. It was at this point where people literally suddenly jumped up (I’m assuming here) and shouted at the peak of their voices, “Who the fuck are these guys? They’re great!”

It’s unsurprising that the album title sounds not unlike Judas Priest’s Sad Wings Of Destiny. I assume this is an etymological influence here, an overt reference perhaps. I doubt there’s a single power metal band to not have been touched by the metal studded fingers of Rob Halford and co. Their early material providing the grounding for most of the hallmarks of the genre, and of course they later went onto define power metal in the most vivid sense with 1990’s Painkiller, one of the greatest metal albums ever released (certainly in this reviewer’s top five).

Beyond that, but whilst we’re talking about influential facets, in his review of the Gigantour in August, Chris Beaumont posits that they are similarities of Symphony X to the music of the mighty Dream Theater, and this I agree with. But I would go beyond that to put forth an idea that early Dream Theater influenced Symphony X (on top of the more metal-based influences), and that later Dream Theater is influenced by Symphony X. Although it’s probably more accurate to say that later Dream Theater is simply influenced by heavy modern metal in general, but certainly some of the riffs on this album wouldn’t seem out of place on Train Of Thought.

So the album then, eight songs, sixty-five minutes of heavy progressively-infused power metal.

The lyrics are the usual stuff you get in this bastion of music, metaphysical negativity, allusions of historicity (the Egyptian themed ‘Pharaoh’) etc, not the type of thing that’s really going to challenge the verse of Whitman or Blake. But if I wanted to see majestic musical poetry dripping with profundity I’d listen to Dylan, that’s not what this is about.

No, this is about the mighty guitar playing of one Michael Romeo. He may look a bit like Yngwie Malmsteen (there’s a hint of the corpulence in him), but unlike Malmsteen he plays for the song. Don’t get me wrong when Malmsteen’s good he’s great, but beyond the first couple of albums it all gets excessively patchy, there’s only so many ways you can play a minor-scale neck-pickup flurry of notes. Romeo is much more song-orientated, he’s about how the music sounds, not “here’s the bit where I play 16th notes at 200bpm for a minute and a half”.

It’s Romeo’s powerful riffs that make this album, the D-tuned chuggathons, the chunk envied by a million Yorkie bars. The synergy between the rhythm guitar riffage and the drums make for a wonderfully powerful and tight soundscape.

Then of course his solos are splendid melodic treasures, often including a number of trade-offs with the keyboard player, again the type of prog metal discourse exemplified by Dream Theater. And there’s a subtly to the playing, one of my favourite moments is during the mellow medieval-esque intro to the ‘The Accolade’ when the keyboard understatedly plays the vocal line for the to-be-found-later-in-the-song chorus.

Despite my previous negation of the lyrics, there is a plethora of catchy chorus’; however this is more to do with Russell Allen’s excellent vocal performance than any particularly deep lyrics. First track ‘Of Sins and Shadows’ exhibits said sublime chorus.

I’ll circumvent the linear review convention and avoid a song-by-song dissection, but I will say that the highlights are fan favourite ‘Sea Of Lies’ (with it’s infamous arpeggios), ‘The Eyes Of Medusa’, and the twenty minute epic title track.

So then, concluding remarks, brilliant album. Clearly not recommended for people who get nauseated at the very contemplation of a palm mute, or a power chord, or an artificial harmonic. But for those looking for something technical, heavy, and catchy, then what the hell? This is obviously for you!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Poem for Yesterday

Sleep-in, cold virus demitting slowly,
Consumption of necessity,
Library yields no positivity,
Early sit ended via compulsory affairs,
Truly compulsory?

Turns out no, but whatever,
Sort of soiree, explosion of cackle,
Sit symposium eases mind of neuroses,
Edgy converse, relaxation and sit follows,
Diet Coke, royalty, civil liberties, free speech.

Chicken and Bukowski,
Eflat ponderances,
Ginsberg discusses fascist laws,
No Enigma of Kasper Hauser,
Nor Crumb, restless.

Electronic epistolary brings joy and confusion,
A Fahey tale unleashed,
Genet, Artaud, Kerouac, meanderings in Ginsberg,
Final slab of John Cage,

The Review Haiku

Ichi The Killer (2001)
Non-cicatrice abounding
Worthy of the exchange
Semen resides

The Third Man (1949)
Theme tune of understate
Beckoning of majesty
Pilferage by Orson

Pierrot le fou (1965)
Godard and Belmondo
Country banality
Flawed but fine

Batman Begins
Meritorious Bale
Initial superlative
Platitudinous ending

Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Soviet propagation in silent
Eruption of virtue
Mesmerisation of music

Dark Water (2005)
Suicide contemplation
Pointless exercise

God is Great, and I’m Not (2001)
Cover chocked of wonder
Myriad of appearance
Classic of brown eyed brilliance

The Passion of Anna (1969)
Bergman exploration
Subdued innovation
Deep persona piece

The House by the Cemetery (1981)
MacColl loveliness

Repellent kid

Superiority rests elsewhere

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Hot Topic

Visit the Hot Topic over at Blogcritics, created and maintained by the wonderful Mondo gentlemen’s club of which I am a component. This weeks topic is What’s your vibe, What’s your scene?

The Fahey Connection: My Time in the Jeff Fahey Yahoo Group

It was a dark, cold Friday afternoon when Hurd arrived at my office doorway (door open as always, they won’t suspect anything that way).

“The commish wants ta see you.”

I gave my obliged thanks and, lifting my fedora and overcoat off the rack, exited the room. I walked the corridors, I sensed the reek of stale urine, archaic wallpaper remnants of a forgotten past, trapped in a memory of the Cold War. Framed portraits of Josef Manegele and Max Ernst’s Eye of Silence sat side by side on the wall; this place had never ceased its bizarre condition for me.

The Municipal Affairs building resided just south-west of the Potomac River in Washington DC. The large white building lay in the shadow of a large cheese factory, an inconspicuous location indeed.

The commish was a pugnacious-looking fifty-something. I had only met him two or three times before, although his reputation was notorious, he would often challenge his agents to combat each other in late night games of pogs, with the losing participant/s cast into the abyss of reptilian rabbis. I had never awarded much prestige to these so-called superiors, but I knew I’d have to rove cautiously here. He had the glint of usuriousness in his eyes; the man was probably a loan shark in a previous life.

“A matter of great importance has surfaced.”

Isn’t that what they all say?

“Now I can’t tell you too much you understand.”

Unambiguous as always.

“We need you to infiltrate the Jeff Fahey Yahoo Group.”

The words resounded in my inner self, bounding back and forth between kidneys. I had heard rumours that a major operation was to be executed on this matter, but never did I consider myself a viable candidate.

“Why me?”

“You have the sort of nefarious repugnance that is required of such a mission.”

I didn’t know whether to be flattered or offended at such remarks, but I left anyway content that my orders had been declared. The way the department functioned was in a pronounced minimalist respect, you were told the primary details and then you were on your own. Cuts down on paperwork apparently.

I took the stairs to the basement car park (the lift had been acting aberrantly recently; the technicians complained of asymmetrical malfunction, no one knew what the hell they were talking about). At the car I made a number of phone calls to known infiltrators and interlopers, in this business there is a huge capacity for meeting some of society’s vilest and most repellent individuals, perhaps that’s why I continued to do it.

I had been tipped off about a man who palpitated with blue. I found him in a back alley bar, he was wearing a large blonde wig, I could smell the blue emanating from his pineal gland. I approached and grabbed his lapels, as you do, trying to maintain that gruff exterior that is expected of all those plunged in seek.

“Where is the Jeff Fahey Yahoo Group?”

“I...can’t tell you.”

At this point I put him down and reached into my inside coat pocket, out came a DVD of Psycho 3, I learned this trick in ‘nam, I lifted the object just above his line of vision, at the same time my other hand was immersed in taking out a large blow torch from the opposite side of my coat. I teased the inevitable twice before finally meeting the two objects in a cataclysm of Fahey-fan terror.

“No, no no no! I’ll tell you what eva you want.”

Never fails. He promptly went onto describe the full activities of the group. In the end I gave him the slightly scorched DVD, what the hell do I want with it anyway?

I pulled up at the docks relaxed and reassured by the presence of a gatling gun in the trunk. I slipped in the back door of the non-descript building and was immediately met by a ‘members only’ notice. Dodging that mammoth impediment I proceeded to the ‘join’ area.

This is almost too easy.

I used a codename and progressed on though the labyrinth of questions, a screening process to rival MI5 and the FBI combined.

Before I knew it I was ensconced within the walls of Jeff Fahey discussion. My training had taught me that fear was only an aberration of the psyche, but it was hard not to feel it manifest in this instance. I could feel the pungent whiff of trigonometry.

I had been rambling amongst the discussions of The Wrangler and Body Parts for some time, I had thoroughly lost track of any semblance of the nonspatial continuum, a terrifying sempiternity. Then suddenly I was awash with decrees of ‘Jeff nights’, and I thought infiltration is of paramount importance here. However before I was able to find my Dictaphone, I had been bludgeoned in the cerebellum by a comment on Every Woman’s Dream, causing me to lose my footing and slip into the chasm of blue.

I don’t remember quite how I got out of there, all I recall is waking up on a small dinghy covered in a putrid, translucent, blue-tinged, viscous substance.

Fearing for my well-being and sanity, I escaped to a cabin in the mountains where I write this now, forewarning all those tempted to engage the calamitous and maniacal discourses held deep within the Jeff Fahey Yahoo Group that it’s not worth it, you will only pay with your mental lucidity and physical welfare.