Many of my favourite films of recent years have been classified as documentaries (The Fog Of War, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, Inside Job, Beware Of Mr Baker, Nostalgia for the Light, Stories We Tell….) but the one that won the Bafta in that category last year takes the genre into brave, new territory.
In The Act Of Killing, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer puts in front of the camera a handful of the gangster* paramilitaries who helped the Indonesian army torture and kill around a million ‘communists’ in 1965/66. He then encourages them to create fictionalised versions of their acts. Being still highly-regarded by the current regime, they are keen to do so and, being fans of Hollywood films, they use the language of the Western, film noir, the musical and the gangster film.
The result is a devastating, upsetting, mesmeric, often surreal, portrait of corrupted humans who are celebrated and still valued by a corrupt government. It is now available on DVD/Blu-ray and I urge you to see it.
*The label ‘gangster’ is worn as a badge of honour, as it is understood to mean ‘free man’. Hence the use of Born Free in the film.
Why oh why is it Y?
Well, I’m away for a couple of days and really don’t need to come back to a full inbox of astronomical levels – so we get a tough one… and a little earlier in the week.
It’ll be easier next time – I promise.
The game to illustrate either:
How wildly eclectic your taste is… or,
How perfectly streamlined it is.
Some of you may know that I help put on gigs in our village’s community centre, so I thought I would share some of the homegrown talents of Newport-on-Tay.
First of all is Sonny Carntyne who are an echo-rock 4/5 piece who make great songs in the vein of The National or Interpol with a deep musical intensity & evocative lyrics.
Their “Retreat” EP is up on band camp for a pay-what-you-like arrangement here
Then there is St Kilda Mailboat, who have been wowing crowds with post apocalyptic skiffle songs about David Niven, Heebie-geebies, cats called Michael Stipe, and a tune called Mini Wham Bar Rampage where they pelt the unsuspecting audience with mini Wham Bars.
And thirdly we have Seven Sons who play americana tinged folk with lovely harmonies & are very engaging live to boot!
So, open up your village hall, be merry & please share in the comments what’s going on in your neck o’ the woods!
10 dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip – I’m contracted to add Pip every year.. this is one of the best protest tracks of the year – again missed by Dorian. Stiff Upper Lip dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip feat. Itch Repent Replenish Repeat
9 Orties – French elctro making you dance like a robot from 1984 – here you go – accented songs about orgasms and goths – sold. Ghetto Goth Orties Sextape
8 The Indelicates – Arcade Fire’s extremely intense love of their own dangly bits getting on your nerves? – then try this – yet another brilliant story telling album played with passion and anger but without the egoistic self love of the brilliant ideas involved – they ARE brilliant ideas and wonderfully imaginative musically and lyrically too. Bitterness Is the Appropriate Response The Indelicates Diseases of England
7 Zola Jesus – with strings, lush and cool reedits of her ‘famous hits’. Collapse Zola Jesus Versions
6 Manix – the Daft Punk album retro theft left you cold with it stealing from all the crap eras (when they used to at least try and be pioneers) and only having one track of any merit – yep – skip that and play this; it recreats 1992 with all the fun of a prodigy album off their tits with spiral tribe… no pretense at originality – no media hype – this it 24 hour rave and it’s boz. Your Love Is Over Manix Living In The Past
5 The Lovely Bad Things – the pixie aping nuggets loving bad things. Darth Lauren The Lovely Bad Things The Late Great Whatever
4 Savages – there’s is no better indie this year – full stop. No Face Savages Silence Yourself
3 Tricot – jagged jittery brilliance from Japan – a masterpiece of alternative buzz rock playing and performance. ACE. Artsick Tricot The
2 Sleaford Mods – ranting, swearing infested, bile, spewed forth with aggressive venom and stream of consciousness – brilliant – is number one album of the year when I’m not in polite company – (**this track from Jobseeker 3 track single not austerity dogs album). Black Monday Sleaford Mods Jobseeker album is Austerity Dogs
Okay – so it’s Luke’s birthday HAPPY BIRTHDAY PANTHERSAN
I picked up my record player in a suitcase and headed to the wilds of Japan’s countryside (via China so they could make my record player) and I grabbed a few slabs of vinyl for a party game.
What connects the songs?
DON”T TYPE IN THE ANSWER – just say YEAH, I GOT IT – when you work it out.
and we’ll wait until the birthday boy knows what the link is.
happy happy joy joy – pin the tail on the panther GO:
Kool Thing Sonic Youth
Get It On Grinderman
Rebel Without A Pause Public Enemy
Miss Lucifer (Bone to Bone Alec Empire Remix) Primal Scream
Blondes With Lobotomy Eyes My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
TV All Greasy (feat. Anti-Pop Consortium) TOBACCO
Apollo Throwdown (Star Slinger Remix) The Go! Team
Probably the most interesting, significant and readable book that I’ve read in the last decade or so is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It’s fairly hefty at 500 odd pages but even so I’ve read it throughout twice and have listened to the book on CD version also, I like to listen in bed in the early hours. When I acquired the CD’s I inadvertently loaded them into my computer which resulted in them being installed into iTunes and consequently whenever I listen to iTunes on shuffle I get an occasional chapter on some aspect of the history of science sandwidged between Dylan and whoever. I don’t mind that one bit.
He’s a fabulous humorous writer with enormous curiosity which he uses to investigate and explain basically the history of almost everything we know and how and when we discovered it.
I’ve always loved the way he begins the book, by describing us in a most unique but totally complete fashion, I just found that introduction at youtube and I’d like to share it with you; it’s well worth the listen.
Ali’s photo for Earworms reminded me of two fantastic videos – The Hidden Camera’s video is so powerful it takes over the brilliant song. Based on an old comic Joel wrote – it’s been a live favourite for a while. The short film has been shown at festivals in Berlin and Canada to much acclaim. The freedom of the birds over the field at the start is rather significant.
Another film that uses the flight of birds as a metaphor for escape is Leonard Cohen’s – First We Take Manhattan, their flight is deliberately juxtaposed against the songs beat to discombobulate.
I’ve just read The Burning Question, by Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark. It’s not an easy read – as it paints in graphic detail the trajectory of our planet if we continue to do very little about carbon emissions – yet it’s one that should inform every school curriculum, business plan and political manifesto immediately.
Governments agreed at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009 that we shouldn’t let the atmosphere warm up more than 2 degrees C, and simply can’t let it increase by more than 4 degrees C, or the planet’s eco-system will become unstable.
If we deposit another 565 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, we’ll heat it up by 2 degrees C.
Those companies and countries who exploit carbon fuels are basing their future economic prosperity on their intention to release at least 2,795 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, roughly five times the ‘safe’ amount.
There are no globally-agreed plans to resolving this issue.
The book does suggest ways to avoid the monster truck we’ve created from mowing us down but they all need a rapid increase in awareness of the problem by everyone, everywhere, as soon as possible. This is part of my small contribution. I urge you to read this book and tell everyone you know to read it. Just because the climate-change deniers are in retreat doesn’t mean things will change. The UK energy sector is currently having orgasms about the discovery of 40-odd years of carbon-rich shale gas under the country as people still complain that wind turbines spoil the view….
Trash ONE – add ONE
yep, this week the rules have changed – I like changing rules!
We have a wobbly based FANGS playlist, if you would be so kind as to trash your least favourite, I’ll be mildly angry and after your blood. But you can make it up to me with an added bonus track.
I’d also like to know a movie or book that you’d recommend on the subject – AIP’s a closet Twilight fan, heehee (he’s been listening to the soundtrack – not reading the books or watching the movie – he’s not imploded with pressure that much) – keep it Vampires – I’ll do a wolf playlist next time I get a go.
A chance comment the other day and news items about the BBC got me thinking about British comedy. I like a bit of comedy, me , but find much of today’s output ( especially on the BBC) pretty feeble and lacking in laughs.
I began to wonder if this is a symptom of me growing old. Each generation , naturally, has it’s own comedic zeitgeist which , like an old photograph, is bound to fade over time.
I do think, though, that a path can be traced, in Britain, in which , though each generation succeeds the previous it also draws inspiration from it.
“So what, Big Ears ?” I hear you, rather rudely, enquire.
Dear Webcore, to wish you a very Happy 60th Birthday, here’s a long short story written to a secret formula by a team of your fellow Recommenders. We hope you don’t mind making an exception to your non-fiction habit, seeing as it’s such a special occasion. The RR writers’ workshop takes strange delight in presenting:
A RUM DO…
V Valentino, propelled by a whirl of thoughts, turned and beckoned to his legs, urging them to please keep up. Two steady elements – his non-beckoning hand holding the flat bottle in his pocket, a little more firmly as he crossed the bridge with its view of the drop between the iron railings; and directions committed to memory as he turned right at the bridge end and the river’s murmur emerged from the receding traffic noise. The river reflected muscovado in the last drops of sunset and the early fizz of street lamps. There was a party of special things to do. Continue reading →
My end of year round up is now turned into the ‘spill game:
you know the score DUMP one (or all of them – see if I care)
It’s pop and it’s fun – don’t take it too seriously.
Remember, they are my most played – I’m not claiming they will change the world – I just liked them.
Band names in BOLD – for those who believe I make stuff up:
1 Stroke My Curls The Dodoz Forever I Can Purr 2012
2 Cuka (feat. Ikonoklasta) Batida Batida (feat. Mck, Circuito Feixado, Ikonoklasta, Beat Laden 2012
3 The Empty Man Whitey Lost Summer 2012
4 Genevieve Stealing Sheep Into The Diamond Sun 2012
5 Horn For The Whole Damn World Lazarus and the Plane Crash Horseplay
6 Passenger Emily Wells Mama 2012
7 Kevlar Sweethearts Diablo Swing Orchestra Pandora’s Pinata 2012
8 Be Strong (Blakkat Remix) The 2 Bears Be Strong (Deluxe Edition) 2012
9 Rat-at-at The Skints Part & Parcel 2012
10 Clap Hooded Fang Tosta Mista 2012
11 Circus Sunday Driver The Mutiny 2012
“I’m as mad as hell – and I’m not going to take this any more”
1 Letter From God To Man Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip
2 Madder Groove Armada
3 Who Needs Actions When You Got Words Plan B
4 We Are Fucking Angry The King Blues
5 So Hungry, So Angry Medium, Medium
6 The Floor Buck 65
1 Fight The Power (’95) Dreadzone
2 Penny For A Thought Saul Williams
3 Alone And Annoyed Eric’s Trip
4 Got This Rage Honkeyfinger
5 Fight Art Brut
6 Bad Luck Hot Chip
7 Open Mind Surgery Culture Shock
Now you’ve gone and left me and there’s nothing here,
But a tenner in my pocket and a fridge full of beer,
There’s an aRRmy around the country, we’re all stuck in our rooms
It takes a lot of preparation to make a move.
1 Foot Soldiers (Star-Spangled Funky) Funkadelic
2 A Brighter Beat Malcolm Middleton
3 On My Shoulders The Dø
4 Brave Tin Soldiers Sarah Nixey
5 The Happiest Place on Earth Desaparecidos
6 Soldier’s Grin Wolf Parade
Tokyo all female three-piece TOQUIWA release their hi-energy J-punk in the UK on October the 22nd, 2012. Scopitones announced TOQUIWA’s self-titled debut on digital release and limited edition tour CD.
They begin touring the UK on 26/10 in Bournemouth – I’m going to be there (in a home made bright orange TOQUIWA T-shirt) – I also made a T-shirt using the ticket from a live Wedding Presents Ukrainian Sessions gig. But I can’t wear both.
This is the track listing and below the review are Smash Hits style questions sportingly answered by the band.
(I want to post this today – so I will have to ask Sakura to advise if I’ve got anything in the wrong places)
Photograph of the band used with permission – all designs created by arTEEsane are not for profit – please don’t use.
illustrative track from Music Ripple recorded as Pinky Piglets
The self titled album by Toquiwa on the Wedding Presents Scopitones label, should almost be called go out and get ‘em girl – such is the frantic pace that they erupt with perfect pop rock. The first 13 seconds set up the album (you heard right – 13 seconds sets out their manifesto) – Fantasticly playing the many influences and condensing them into a tight Toquiwa package.
Strangely managing to be extremely talented musicians yet still exuding that punk ethic of innocence and naivety.
The tracks have so many astonishingly catchy segments and hooks, you wonder how the pace can be kept up, but keep up they do, building and building, twisting styles and era’s together as if timelines were squeezed, squashed and smashed into their musical brains. Until in comes out sounding as though these things should always have sat together (superbly) in each 3 minute track.
Not only that, they know how to sequence an album – just as your head might explode keeping up – (ten second bar room blues, into superfly 70′s style, into a quiet millisecond break – roaring back into .. you get the drift – I’m loath to compare because it all sounds so Toquiwa – but as reference you could detect The Animals merging with a Curtis Mayfield track with hints of Kirsty MacColl’s weariness and wonder, while a Status Quo repetitive rock riff underpins a track – and quiteloudquiet indie rock aesthetics jostle in) they take a breather with a ballad – and then we are invited to party hard once again, ending with an enthusiastic Wedding Present adaption to thrill and inspire while closing the album out.
It’s fantastic fun – superbly performed and feverishly played. Total enjoyment.
Would they be happy to answer my frivolous questions linking to each song on the album?:
I think I got the inaugural RR Player shirt? It arrived today (unannounced, with no fanfare) and was a wonderful surprise. It totally exceeded my expectations.
Shane had emailed me a list of my A listers to check which took me a few hours as I hadn’t got a clue and had to look some of them up in The Marconium. He has listed these as you can see on the design.
I requested a long sleeve ladies style in a faded-out looking black or gray colour. The fabric is great. Here’s a picture of everything except the neck (which is round).
This is going to be my Thursday shirt from now on.
This has been one illuminating topic – I’m not in the camp of: “this has nothing to do with the songs” – this has everything to do with the songs. Any choice and any dond this week illustrates a unique glitch or shinning diamond in people’s character.
Doesn’t everyone look at a music collection and analyse the owners ability to live day to day? – you really can judge (you might not judge correctly) – but it’s good enough for me.
The ability to take on new and interesting tunes must be great – if our teenage selves could understand what we are doing here – they’d be shell shocked to see aged replicas of themselves loving and conversing and inspiring … this thread totally nails why RR is an important release for those with a strange disposition in creating playlists – they say SO much.
If you read the song titles here – the overwhelming idea would be ‘run for the hills and take any sharp object‘ but, it is a playlist using black humour to cope – all I did when I was young, was cope .. I don’t now. I relish what I do – but music has an important part to play in how I survived, and how I grasped a way forward – these songs are not depressing; listen to the words in Teenage Suicide, the important part is the repeat of “don’t do it” – I like that turning on the head of snap judgement. It’s a dumb pop song with little depth – but it works for me… other songs here have a greater depth – serious drugs for instance – go on – listen.
That is why I delve deeply into songs and their words, it’s the feelings they give me… and the nodding in agreement to a life similarly experienced – and a need to express that artistically. (or it’s a great bit of fiction – shhh – don’t tell – the mystery intensifies)
My teenage self would sink his teeth into this list and ponder… he’d also find all the double bluffing bloody hilarious.
To those more blank than Frank and more dark than shark – enjoy:
1 Get Better Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip
2 Why Tell The Truth (When It’s Easier To Lie) Brakes
3 Weak Become Heroes The Streets
4 Sweet Words for the Sour Whitey
5 I Never Said I Was Deep Jarvis Cocker
6 My Struggle Withered Hand
7 Teenage Suicide (The Glass remix) Clubfeet
1 The Truth Hurts So This Should Be Painless Her Space Holiday
2 Write Record Release Blues Jesus & Mary Chain
3 Serious Drugs BMX Bandits
4 Extra Medication The Manhattan Love Suicides
5 Medication Karaocake
6 Anything For Destruction Her Space Holiday