Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Diplomat

I snapped at a colleague then kissed his ass. Such is life.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Rejected questions for Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan by T. Boy Donutt and Reall Deal N

1. Favourite South Australian band from 1983? (RL)
2. So, you guys are married yeah!? What about the other guy does he join in, you know, the fat guy? (TD)
3. Sunny side up, over easy or Eggs Jackson? (RL)
4. Who put the bump in the bump a bump a bump? Who put the ram in the ram a lama ding dong? (TD)
5. Can you make a Roman Catholic*? (RL)
6. Can you loan me a tenner? (TD)
7. Favourite alternative form of energy? (RL)
8. Did you build that city on rock and roll? (TD)

* a drink apparently

Monday, February 19, 2007

Public Service Announcement

Went to see Little Children yesterday. The only reason we didn’t walk out of it is because apparently I had hit a woman in the head with my bike helmet while trying to find my seat, she turned around and yelled Jesusand I didn’t say I was sorry, I didn’t hear her, it was during a very loud preview, then part way through the movie as the whole enterprise was getting exceedingly worse by the second I felt gripped by a terrible anxiety because I was too scared to get up and cross her path again until the movie was over figuring she would have forgotten about it by then and that is sad because Little Children, and De Campo will be disgusted by the fact that I am wasting my energy writing about it, I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt so repulsed by something so horrid. I also had a hangover. Went out the night before and saw Spider Vomit (NO), Kill Boogie (NO), Lindsay Lowhand (YES!). WHOAaaa-hey.

Art is kooky, in order for it to work, it has to be killer (of course), but at its most base level, it needs to have a heart and this movie, not only is it missing pretty much every essential organ (except rod and fanny), it does not understand life.

I was happy to go see it in the first place because it’s set in a salubrious suburb on the east coast satisfying my alacrity for Cheever's dark satires, not to mention my current literary obsession (Rabbit at Rest, incredible) and being homesick for U.S. suburbia in general.

Kate Winslet is a stay-at-home Mom and Patrick Wilson is a stay-at-home Dad. They meet in the park where their kids play and start having sex after Kate makes an implausible move to ruffle the stiff, conservative Mothers in the park, who are so tediously condescended to by the filmmaker its freaking pathetic. Kate’s unsatisfied at home because her husband jerks off all the time. The less said about him the better. (“We need to talk,” storms Kate. “Can’t you see I’m at work,” he replies, a pair of polka dot underpants smothering his face. It should be funny but it’s not. It’s awkward and embarrassing. ) Patrick is married to Jennifer Connelly in one of the most unsubstantial roles for a female of her calibre I’ve ever seen. Patrick tells Kate Jennifer makes documentaries. “You mean like Michael Moore?” she says. Is it just me or is that a really foolish thing to say. Actually no, because it turns out she makes documentaries about Iraq too that are extremely tacky. A clumsy voice-over done by some sleazy soap guy gives the movie a ghastly jolt. The moments when Winslet is off-screen are absolute torture.

The movie ends with a message of hope and that is its greatest offence. There’s other strangeness too. The number of loving close-ups of mangled hands and unkempt feet are just bizarre. And it actually isn’t nice to see Jackie Earle Haley, the rat-faced teen hooligan from the 1970s (Bad News Bears, Breaking Away, etc), back in movies because the character he plays is so utterly detestable he is pointless.

The director is Todd Fields. The fact that he and I went to both Mt. Hood Community College and Southern Oregon State College has always stuck with me. The only other person I know to have done this is my college roommate. Therefore I always thought Todd and I had some sort of kinship. Now I don’t believe I could even share a shortbread cookie with him. I think he’s a screwy closet Republican, extraordinarily na├»ve, who has assembled an extremely unsympathetic cast of characters.

This might sound arrogant, but I believe I have already accomplished more valuable work than what Mr. Fields has accomplished, despite glowing reviews by Mr. Denby in the New Yorker. I didn’t make Little Children.

Fucken Denby.

I don’t understand, a couple years ago, he was complaining about upstart foreigners (Von Trier; the guy who did 21 Grams, which I thought was a vastly underrated comedy and this Russian asshole who made an awful movie about the perils of San Franciscan real estate) making movies set in America, that were hateful and contemptuous of U.S. values. The argument being their knowledge of American culture purely based on vile American TV.

Why not add my erstwhile soulmate and his pretentious perversities and creepy foot fetishes to the mix? I don’t see the difference. Consider this my Public Service Announcement. I urge you not to go and see this foul, heartless, miserable little turd. I was upset for a very long time afterwards until I found a great-looking, second-hand copy of Martin Amis’ Money at the Elgin Street bookshop. That cheered me up immensely. I’m going to go read Rabbit at Rest now. A tremendously funny and compassionate work of art.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Golf Day

Played golf today for the first time since our company last held its annual golf day. The hot sun beat down hard on my neck and I had difficulty handling the sheer hotness of it all. I didn’t kick any ass, I just got really thirsty.

I drank a red and orange Gatorade (preferring the orange I think it has a more natural flavour), two bottles of water, one that I brought myself but it got so hot in my bag I could hardy drink it, others were generously supplied by friendly chap in a cart he also gave me a Schweppes and had to duck when I whacked a shot off the 14th straight into his cart accidentally and I only went to the bathroom once in the course of five hours of action because I was so dehydrated.

Squirming on the grass at the final hole, my vertebrae miraculously snapped back into place. Back at the clubhouse, in the cotton blend company of khaki, I tried to join in conversations about retirement villages and Chinese developers with expensive watches, but my input was pretty minimal I drank an entire jug of beer by myself. The highlight was standing in the sprinkler, which made my clothes smell like barnyard animal.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Slacker Ennui

Any news I am bored shitless.

The Jarvis Cocker Record

Actually not Joe Cocker’s son, to dispel a myth that has persisted ever since I developed chest hair. Despite the obnoxious similarities, Jarv’s Dad was a different Cocker and furthermore, Jarv’s Dad bolted early, leaving lil’ Jarv to be raised by mum, a bohemian from Sheffield and coincidentally the mining town setting for the comic hit The Full Monty. Purely a coincidence I swear.

Even though I don’t like the music on this CD very much at all it is a very attractive case featuring an array of fantastic photographs of JC a fantastic man in his own right, who of course once had a band named Pulp, a very good band who did some very good things. They specialised in anthems that succinctly summarised youth culture and all its perversions, hang-ups, come-ups, addictions and comedowns. Cheeky, hook-filled pith. Damn they ruled, and they continue to do so as well. I could easily listen to Babies, Mis-shapes, Party Hard every Saturday night for the remainder of my life and still want just a little more soul. Feel free to not take my word for it, I’d love to be corrected, but the eponymous solo record is a huge disappointment.

Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time is decent enough and straightforward and his voice is always a pleasure. Black Magic steals the tune of a tired 60s number (Crimson and Clover) and has a fairly monstrous kick drum and toothy synth fang. Heavy Weather is a vague rewrite of Different Class’s Something Changed, an encouraging, if slightly pointless development. I Will Kill Again is a more condescending version of Easton Ellis' Patrick Bateman, or something, set to music.

To its discredit, the production on this album is so radio-friendly it sounds like it could be from anyone (not least the guy from Verve), which might be okay if the songs were as catchy as the album’s best and most inspired tune (From Auschwitz to Ipswich), but they’re not and often times the songs sound either laboriously overworked or lazily underworked I can’t tell, so you lean back on the couch, cut your losses while gazing fondly at the swoon-worthy artwork and remind yourself it ain’t Joe Cocker.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Scorcese's Departed

Finally saw it. Wished I hadn't. Reminded me of 'In The Cut' it was so bad. And the music sure licked. Some racket by some Boston/Irish punk-pop thing who absolutely bite played repeatedly throughout the film. Marty what are you doing? Raiding Matt Damon's iPOD? I was completely mortified. Plus he recycled songs that he has already used before in better movies. I thought it was bad when Dirty Dancing used Mean Streets' Be My Baby, but this was much worse.

The actors seemed very cozy in their misogynistic roles. The plot stank. This was one wincingly terrible comedy of masculinity. Mark Wahlberg, praised for his repulsive one-liners - sucked! Ray Winstone was in it and he was good. Brought some subtlety and nailed the Boston accent, which is like my least favourite noise in the world (the only other decent Boston accent I can think of is the one Ben Sliney used in United 93, but he was playing himself). Destroy the faux Boston accent!

I sure like Ray Winstone. Have you seen Nil by Mouth? It's an oldie (well it's not that old), but it's a goodie. Ray Winstone, boy is he good in that one too. Nil by Mouth was directed by Gary Oldham, who would have been a more interesting casting choice than Nicholson in this, even though Gary has done that part (hyperbolic nutjob) to death.