Monday, 16 April 2018

INBETWEENERS


























Transitions, backgrounds and landscapes from Filmation's Aquaman cartoon that ran from 1968 to 1970. Here's Orin / Arthur Curry in action. Doesn't look much like Jason Momoa, does he? That's not important, of course, but I do wish DC made better films from their extraordinary back catalogue.


Friday, 30 March 2018

NIKE DECADE


















In 1996, over the course of three days, 39 members of the UFO and doomsday cult Heaven’s Gate swallowed poison, put plastic bags over their heads and laid down on their bunks to die. Dressed entirely in black, with patches stating that they were members of ‘The Away Team’ (a Star Trek reference) their corpses were recovered a couple of days later. The cult believed that the millennium would bring the end of the world and decided to join the afterlife on their terms, perhaps in order to direct the Rapture from heaven. 

The cult all wore Nike Decade trainers, budget range black and white shoes that they bought in bulk from the local K-Mart. These trainers feature heavily in the crime scene photographs, sticking out from the purple cloths and tarpaulins pulled over their bodies, an unwelcome advertisement for the sports brand that had dominated the decade. Pissed off, Nike immediately withdrew the Decade from sale, in hindsight a missed opportunity. 

Just Do It clearly does not mean mass suicide, it’s much less meaningful than that.

All of which prompted me to think about what trainers I'd wear to kill myself. I eventually decided on a pair of Adidas All Blacks, a rather sleek shoe I wore a lot in the late eighties. They were discontinued some time ago, so I'm unlikely to commit suicide just yet. Which, actually, is fine by me.

Friday, 23 March 2018

1,758 FEET UNDERGROUND






















Chosen Survivors, d. Sutton Roley (1974)

Briskly ticking pretty much every box on my mental clipboard, Chosen Survivors is a 1970s US sci fi drama set in a sealed military bunker which quickly becomes a horror and disaster movie. The titular survivors arrive drugged and disoriented by army helicopter, and are herded into the shelter by soldiers just a few minutes ahead of a worldwide nuclear apocalypse. The race and gender balanced group are from all walks of life, and are people prominent in their own fields selected to be preserved for posterity, i.e. it’s going to be their job to repopulate America (they’re all a bit too old for this, by the way, surely what you’d really want is a few teenagers?).    

The trouble with this deep shelter set in an ancient cave system, however, is that the hole is already populated – with millions of vampire bats – who are both pissed off at the intrusion and delighted that their larder has been filled. What follows is messy, as (poorly) optically imposed bats feed on middle aged character actors, some of whom fight back and some of whom just flap and flip around until the bats empty them. It’s good fun. To observe as fictional entertainment, I mean, I can’t imagine the reality of it would be anything other than nippy and unpleasant.

Here’s a spoiler: the best thing? It’s not even a real nuclear war, it’s just a drill. Oh, the irony!  

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

THE VOID OF A WORLD SURREAL




















Teeny Deane, here's some rock an roll, Bubbu, hope you like em if you don't you're a cretin!! Ratfink*.

Chrome is not so much a band as an unexplained phenomenon. I don’t know how they wrote these songs, how they performed them, or how they recorded them. They seem to follow the classic film screenwriting edict of ‘come in late, leave early’, so many of their songs are like blurred Polaroids: bits and pieces in motion, indistinct edges, colours smeared and inchoate. The overall result is as exhilarating as it is disorienting. Their music chops and changes like a radio being tuned, ending abruptly, fading out or changing tack mid-song, layered to overload with scuzzy riffs, wild noodling and wayward analogue electronics. Sometimes they layer in screams, chuckles or maniacal laughter, ear-splitting buzzes and sudden bursts of static or dialogue taped off the telly. Their subject matter is from the pages of Philip K. Dick: mass surveillance, sinister media, doppelgangers, terrorism, paranoia, time out of joint. The drums always sound as if they are in a different room to the tape recorder.

My favourite Chrome album is their third, Half Machine Lip Moves, perhaps the most perfectly Chrome-like of their peak output between 1977 and 1982 (they’re still going now, albeit in a revised form, having lost a founder member along the way). It’s a record that sounds like a mix tape – it jumps around in time and space, in time zones and space spaces, a hundred sonic ideas hastily jotted down then crossed through, an album with both a laser sharp focus and attention deficit disorder. Arrows point to new directions, new sounds emerge. Everything sounds live and improvised, then laden with overdubs, echo and lots and lots of compression, slightly chaotic, but often hypnotic and adorned with sinuous guitar lines and squelches. It’s beautifully composed cacophony, sheets of sound, metallic clangs and clatters, heavily treated vocals that hiss about alienation, duplication, death and a ‘cold clammy bombing that will shit on your town’. If the Red Army Faction had made a record, it might sound like this, reeking of high explosive and petrol.

They’re probably my favourite band, and they are becoming more relevant as the world becomes more splintered and confusing. I strongly recommend them to you if you want to listen to something that will beat the hell out of your ears and head whilst making your heart and legs compulsively pump up and down.     

*Indented inscription on the cover of my secondhand copy of the album.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

ANIMALISTIC

I like animals in general more than humans. That said, there are a number of humans who I would hold protectively in my hand if I were able to. None of us are just one thing, are we? Life doesn't work like that.  

Friday, 9 March 2018

TEST TUBE PLANET







































200,000 years in, we're still trying to find an origin story that makes sense. This isn't it.