Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
When all is said and done, in the land of celebrity, yesterday was shitty. Losing one icon (Michael Jackson, King of Pop) is bad enough, but two (Farrah Fawcett, Charlie's Angels Pin-Up) is awful.
Of course, I only found out about such losses this morning over a bowl of Shredded Wheat, because I'm very much behind the times. So, here is a small post to commemorate those who left us yesterday.
Say what you want about his private life, but he was a legend- everyone knew his name, everyone has devised a zombie-esque dance routine to 'Thriller' at some point. Jackson 5 are one of my favorite pop acts of all time (tied with Marvelettes, I think), and I am genuinely a huge Jackson fan. It may not be the sort of music I might think of immediately when switching on my MP3, but his music has undoubtedly had an impact on the world.
Everyone has alot of memories connected to the life, times and work of Mr. Jackson. I remember dancing around my friend's kitchen on her 10th birthday to 'Blame it on the Boogie'; I remember a kid at primary school who used to sing alot, but he would only ever sing 'Thriller', or the 'Back to the Future Soundtrack'; I remember playing Pass the Parcel to 'Rockin' Robin' one Christmas when I was eight. Thanks, MJ- you gave us some great memories.
A pin-up for a generation, an icon, and my idol as a child. I went through a phase where I was obsessed with spies; I'd read 'Harriet the Spy' over and over again, and patrol my neighbourhood in a trench coat, convinced I'd eventually find something worth spying on. I kept a book of my findings, which is absolutely hilarious to read these days- I was a complete nutter as a child. I was also kind of obsessed with watching "Charlie's Angels" re-runs on a Sunday morning- I didn't care much for her naive character, Jill Munroe, but I couldn't imagine anyone more glamorous than Farrah, a vision of messy blonde girls and a perfect toothy grin. Every night, I'd dream of espionage- I too would have a head of messy blonde curls, and for some reason, I was always wearing Audrey Hepburn's yellow coat from "Charade" (which is by far my favorite Hepburn film). Thankyou Farrah, for inspiring my madcap childhood.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
There’s an attack on
One young man, by the name of Aakash Nihalani is on the rampage, taking his particular brand of geometric art to the streets. Armed only with reels of neon tape and a paintbrush, Nihalani is trying to, as he says, ‘make work that sparks dialogue about space and perspective in a city packed with infinite layers and views, and also directly observe its impact’. He hopes that by attacking sidewalks, signs and buildings with fluorescent tape, he can emphasise the clean, geometric lines of the city that sometimes get taken for granted, or go entirely unnoticed. Personally, I am all for abolishing apathy in the Big Apple- when you live in the countryside, cities seem like superlatively imagined, vibrant wondrous places- yet, when you look around, the jaded city slickers seem to see it as little more than a grey backdrop. There should be more artists like Nihalani, who take their art to the streets, work on a grander canvas and inspire some love for the city.
Monday, June 22, 2009
It's a pity that Say Anything are sometimes overlooked, because they write some of the catchiest love songs known to man. I'm really not big on the whole romance thing, and love songs are often lost on me, but I appreciate Say Anything's particular brand of romance. If you ever feel the compulsion to stand outside my house with a boom box (please don't, by the way), I request it plays this song- or 'Alive With the Glory of Love'- either way, I'm good.
MP3: I Want to Know Your Plans
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Version 1- Kings of Leon
Well, I couldn't very well write a post about 'Use Somebody' by Kings of Leon wihtout mentioning Kings of Leon, could I? The original, and in my opinion, still the best. The fact that I still think this is best version makes this a whole post a little bit pointless, but still- the other versions are definitely worth listening to. Just less that this.
Version 2- Bat for Lashes
What this version lacks in volume, it makes up for in wispy haunting notes. According to SongFacts, frontman Caleb Followill wrote this song about longing for somebody to have a cuddle with while feeling lonely on the road. He said on his band's website: "It's about being far from home"- this message is perfectly captured by Bat for Lashes's cover.
Version 3- Friendly Fires
What I like about the Friendly Fires version is that, unlike the other covers, it still has that slightly triumphant tone of the original. Rather than taking he obvious route and stripping it back to just largely vocals and guitar, Friendly Fires have succeeded in making the song theirs without completing redefining the sound of the original.
Version 4- Karima Francis
Karima Francis definitely wins the title of 'Person in This Post With the Coolest Hair', but I doubt she'll be winning too many prizes for her version of 'Use Somebody'. Nice as it is, it seems he's trying a little too hard- it doesn't have that easy, natural feel of some of the other versions.
Version 5- VV Brown
I'm not world's biggest fan of VV Brown, but I think she did a pretty good cover here. However, I got quite irritated when her hand started smacking against the guitar whilst she was playing (about 30 seconds in)- but maybe that's just me looking for something to criticise. Nevermind, a top ocver nonetheless.
Today, I offer you a blast from my past- Oh, Godammit by Hot Hot Heat. The band relased this song in 2003 and have since (unbeknownst to me) made 2 more albums, chaged label, lost Dante De Carlo and gained Andy Paquin. In that time, I've made my way through school, lost five people close to me and gained about 3 stone (which is a good thing- I was a scrappy little youngster). In spite of all of this, as soon as this song came on shuffle to day, I was transported back to my days as a carefree teenager, wearing that khaki blazer I wore all the goddamn time and dreaming of about seven different boys. Good times, my friends, good times.
F My Life
A collection of horrible, hilarious things that go wrong with other people's lives.
Whoever thought of F My Life is a genius for two reasons. Number One- it means everyone has a place to vent about horrible, hilarious shit that happens in their lives. Number Two- when someone's had a mildly shitty day, they can go on FMyLife.com and laugh about how other people's days have been much, much worse.
Examples: Today, while teaching at a daycare, a child came up to me and asked if he could go to the bathroom. Obviously, I said it was fine. He then pulled his pants down, and pee on my brand new shoes, and all over my leg. FML
Today, I found a note on my door that said "You're the sexiest person I've ever stalked". Later, I found another note that said "Sorry, that was meant for your roommate. You aren't my type." Not even a creepy stalker thinks I'm attractive. FML
Today, I had a job interview. I have a nervous tendency to rub my foot against the bar under the table. After the interview I noticed I had been rubbing my foot against the interviewer's leg. FML
Tiny Art Director
Artist Bill Zeman has his art critiqued by his 4 year old daughter
I love this website because the Tiny Art Director reminds me so much of me. A little demanding, prone to sulks, and she likes dinosaurs- I LOVE dinosaurs. I have a dinosaur teddy, a dinosaur that runs when you wind it up, socks wtih dinosaurs on them...
Examples: Kangaroo and Giraffe
The Brief: A giraffe and a kangaroo fighting over an apple
The Critique: Where's the dinosaur?! Draw me a dinosaur right now Daddy!
Job Status: Rejected
A collection of horrible, hilarious things that go wrong with other people's professionally-ordered cakes.
This website is a stroke of genius. Rather than get all irate when professionals ruin your celebrations with the Cake From Hell, send it to Cake Wrecks and chuckle. It is kind of funny, afterall. My favorite section of Cake Wrecks is 'Literal LOLs', in which the proffessional ckae decorators take cake request a little too literally.
Customer: Could I order special a cake, please? Baker: Absolutely. What sort of cake are we talking about? Customer: A cake for a graduation, please. Could I have '2008' written on top, please. Oh, and I want sprinkles too, if that's ok?' Baker: Certainly.
And, the finished cake:
Awkward Family Photos
A collection of the most awkward family photos you will ever see
Y'know when you see a family photo in someone's home so awkward, so atrocious, so obviously staged that you want to burst out laughing? Well, AFP have saved you the trouble of going into people's houses to see such gems. Hysterically funny.
Examples: What every family photo needs- a topless beardy man swinging his shirt around his head:
It comes to something when you look terrifed by your own horrendous wedding concept:
A website containing funny, stupid exam answers.
Now that exam season is over, if you're feeling a little worried, you should mosey on over to Funy Exam, and realsie things could be much, much worse. However, if your exam paper appears up there any time soon, then maybe you should start panicking.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Ok, so it's been sunny on and off for nearly a week now, and in Britain, that means one thing- summer, baby! Despite my previous pledge to avoid bright colours that will wash me out, I couldn't resist taking a sneak-peek at some of the kaleidoscopic delights I'm missing out on. Delights such as:
1. Red Kimono Dress, $129.00, Indie Shopper
Oof, I love this dress. It's silky, sexy whilst still being quite kooky. It could be worn with anything- pumps, hells, jeans- or, as the web page suggests, as a cover up at the beach. I'd rather not risk ruining a $129.99 silk dress at the beach, but maybe that's just because I'm poor and fashionless.
2. Tasker 009, £130.00, Rebecca Torres
Rebecca Torres's bold, geometric design in vibrant colours never cease to amaze me. This exquisite dress is a personal favorite- bright, beautiful and very, very unique. However, the exquisite cape the model is wearing is sold separately (yes, even more money), and you can view that here.
3. Tier Garden Dress, $44.99, Modcloth.com
There are alot of colourful, floral dresses out there at the moment, but I'm partial to this one in particular because it's a little more delicate. Rather than being an explosion of huge, garish fluorescent pansies, the small, more subtly-coloured flowers of this garden dress are alot more palatable, without being too boring. The delicate, frilly material also adds to the subtlety, meaning this dress is wearable by people other than teenagers who look like they've permanently set up camp in their nearest Topshop stores.
4. Candy-Wrapper Clutch, $28, Ecoist
Some people find them unbearably tacky, but I've always secretly worshipped these eco-chic woven handbags made out of old sweet wrappers. Take a look and decide for yourself. Ecoist is particularly good, because as well as the usual multi-coloured affair, there are many different styles and colours to choose from, so there's something for everyone- I particularly love the 'Magazine' one.
5. Vintage 80's Pastel Mini Dress, $11.99 (at the moment), NoirOhio Vintage
This pastel dress is so girly, and so very not me, but I'm a sucker for a good bit of vintage. If I owned a dress like this, I would only wear it with boots or Converse, but it would of course also look very pretty with pumps or high heels. Unfortunately, NoirOhio is auction-based, so if you want it, you'd better be quick.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Album: 'You're A Woman, I'm a Machine' by Death From Above 1979
Artist: Cole Chernoff
MP3: Black History Month
Album: 'Ladyhawke' by 'Ladyhawke'
Artist: Sarah Larnach
MP3: My Delirium
Album: 'Day and Age' by The Killers
Artist: Paul Normansell
More than this album art, I implore you to check out Paul Normansell's other art, such as 'Another Late Night!' below. It's awesome.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I have to admit, whatever witty remark I may concot to accompany this awesome song, I cannot compare with whoever wrote the last.fm song description for 'My Girls'. So, without further ado, here is that description:
"Pulsing, ambient guitar strokes cascade over one of the most rhythmic tracks Animal Collective has ever written. ‘My Girls’ has a clear purpose and drive, something many AC tracks lose sight of in their distant pop orgies. Immediate ejaculation of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys drives the anticipation of the build up and climactic “Wooooo!” to epic bliss. The subsequent release of huge, dribbling tribal drums coupled with 3 part harmonies erupt into a magical audio moment all over your face."
Saturday, June 13, 2009
You get all that you need, without all the frilly bit you don't: Artist and Album Name (which always helps), how I found out about them, or 'Hype', (so if you like the album, you can go to that site/magazine and find some more music to your taste), my thoughts (subjective, but concise), my rating (I'm quite a harsh marker), and an MP3 from the album, so you can get an actual taste of what the album's like. Get it? Got it? Good.
N.B- I know my music tastes are quite eclectic, but there are reviews for all sorts- from experimental jazz to hardcore- so hopefully there's something for everyone.
Dredg-Catch Without Arms
Hype: I saw it on this blog, and was drawn in by the mesmerisingly green cover.
Thoughts: Undoubtedly good, but I found it a little difficult to get into at first; it seemed to pick up after a few more listens.
MP3: Hungover on a Tuesday
Emmy the Great- First Love
Hype: I first downloaded the 'Edward is Dedward' demo off the Skins website, when it was featured during the first series.
Thoughts: Pretty I guess, but the songs all sound very similar- it all gets a bit monotonous and repetitive; definitely not as strong as her earlier demos.
Funeral for a Friend- Hours
Hype: Jeez, I can't even remember, Kerrang, perhaps?
Thoughts: Fairly wonderful- definitely on par with their first album, 'Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation', but single song quite rivals the sheer awesome-ness of 'Juneau'.
Hype: I heard about them on Clash Music, which you should go check out.
Thoughts: I wasn't overly keen at first, but I've been wholly converted. It has a melodic, indie feel, but with a definite unique slant.
MP3: Relentless Fours
Headlights-Some Racing, Some Stopping
Hype: Recommended artist on last.fm for Throw Me the Statue.
Thoughts: Quiet, tranquil, lovely- nothing to get overly excited about, admittedly, but easy on the ears and highly listenable.
MP3: Market Girl
Very few words are needed to accompany the wonderful work of Miss Van- vibrant and seductive, I've been in love with her art for many years. It can often be difficult to track down this elusive artiste, but you can see her work at the Magda Danysz gallery, and Photobucket unaccountably have an immense collection of her art.
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianackis
Directed by: Todd Phillips
When watching the trailer for 'The Hangover', you may be fooled into thinking this is another throwaway comedy- stock characters, unbelievable shenanigans, and perhaps a gratuitous celebrity cameo to boot. All of these elements are in place, but don't be fooled- 'The Hangover' is a legitimately hilarious comedy.
Initially, you have the usual plot- four guys head to Vegas for the bachelor party of a lifetime. They wake up in the morning in a hotel suite, missing any recollection of the night before, a tooth, a man-purse/satchel filled with Bellagio chips- and the groom. There is also evidence of the same old hijinks- a stolen cop car, a hooker's baby, Mike Tyson's tiger- however, what makes The Hangover stand out is that all of these outlandish props have actually been considered- there is an equally hilarious act of the film linking back to props in this hotel suite. Rather than leaving details of the bachelor party to the audience's imagination, we discover throughout the film every act of the debauchery that occurred the night before.
There are the usual stock characters in there, too- the likeable-but-cocky team leader (Cooper), the nice-guy with the superbitch girlfriend (Helms) and the psychiatrically imparied one (Galifianackis). However, unlike must comedies, we get as real sense of team spirit from these three; rather than constantly competing for the role of the 'funny guy', they work together- increasing the sense of comradeship in the film and making the laughs seem effortless.
There is also the usually un-funny celebrity cameo in the from of Mike Tyson. Although he's not going to be winning any Oscars any time soon, Tyson's rendition of Phil Collins deifintely got a few laughs and, unlike most cameos, Tyson actually contributes to the plot; he both explains the prescence of the tiger, and advances the trio's efforts to find the missing groom.
All in all, despite the subjectivity of comedy, The Hangover seems to appeal to the masses- it's hilarious, which always helps, and has also been clearly thought through-this attention to detail has definitely paid off. On a final note, I implore you to go see this film at the cinema- the comedy of the film was amplified tenfold when I was surrounded by other people who were laughing so hard they had popcorn spilling out of their mouths.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Directed by: Ron Howard
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Whether or not you enjoy 'Angels and Demons', I feel, lies in how you perceive it.
Some people went into the cinema having read the book, expecting a slick visual representation of Dan Brown's novel; on the whole, they were disappointed. The film does deviate from the book; without giving too much away, the identity of the Pope has changed, and the crucial scene in the Pope's office was not up to par. Tampering with Brown's universally-loved format is inevitable when you have to transfer it from one medium to another- however, such obvious and pivotal alterations have caused disappointment amongst fans of the book.
Some people went into the cinema expecting to be challenged- they wanted a puzzle, a quest, a trail- they wanted an intelligent journey, seamlessly weaving together Catholic history and philosophical food for thought. They too were disappointed- whereas The Da Vinci Code dotted from to place, between fact and fiction, leaving you pondering, I found the conundrum at the centre of Angels and Demons very linear. There was a clear, pre-ordained course that was clearly paved from the very start. It wasn't so much that the film was easy to follow; it was more that you were five steps ahead of what was happening on screen.
Those who weren't disappointed were those who took a less obvious slant. If you view Angels and Demons as a mad-cap adventure ride, you'll be on the money. It may seem a little strange, but think about it- well-renowned leading man? Check. Beautiful (yet sort-of unnecessary) female assisstant? Check. A series of clues to follow, clear enough that anyone could follow it? Check. Nice cinematography and cliche dialogue? Check.
What ... has succeeded in creating here is not the philospichal thirller many had anticipated, but a mainstream version of a highly acclaimed novel. They've beautifully packaged an everyday 'adventure' film, which even adheres (as commercialised films often do) to the Golden Rules of cinema (such as 'The "Bad Guy" is never the bad guy', and 'The guy who shouts 'He did it!' is always guilty). It's not half as good as what we anticipated, but still watchable nonetheless.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
So, after posting 'Splitting Seams' by Ruby and her Whorses as the Song of the Day, I got to thinking about how many underrated, unsigned yet profundly brilliant acts there are out there, and how such acts hardly ever get the recognition they deserve. Thus, I thought it only fair that I introduce you to my favorite five- it's hardly a record deal, but it's a little bit of the recongition they so rightfully deserve.
I've featured Ellie Goulding not-so-ago, as her cover of 'The Wolves' by Bon Iver was Song of the Day. Her own songs (such as 'Starry Eyed', below), are very, very different from this- she descirbes her sound as 'Indie-electro pop'- a bit of a deviation from Bon Iver, admittedly, but enchanting nonetheless.
Two Door Cinema Club
I can't imagine 2DCC remaining unsigned for long- they have that flawless indie sound that record labels snatch up, and are pretty good to dance to, which is always a plus as far as I'm concerned. A prime example of their danceability is 'Undercover Martyn', below.
Johnny was one of the original cast of Spring Awakening (I saw it before it came to the West End, at the Lyric Hammersmith- I loved it, and I'm really not a musical person), and fell in love with his voice after hearing the soundtrack. It's not just me- the guy's won a Tony award (which is a huge deal in the world of musicals). Away from the stage, Johnny produces the sort of pensive acoustic sound I love- this song's called 'I Thought Of You' (it's about thinking about someone else in the... ahem... throes of passion).
Holly Walker was the singer of the late, great South London band, Sly Mr Fox. However, it's very unlikely you've heard of Sly Mr Fox, as they spent their brief-yet-spectacular career unsigned. Holly's own songs are very, very good, but since I'm still mourning over Sly Mr Fox, I've decided to post their song, 'Motorbikes' (which is on Holly's Myspace, here).
You either love or hate George Pringle's upper-class-spoken-word-over-a-background-of-electronica style; and I class myself as a lover. Either way, I implore you to listen to SW10 below- give her a try and make up your own mind.
Monday, June 08, 2009
I know it's already out in the USA, but Fanboys is coming to most of Europe in the coming months, and I for one am quite excited- I've been following the progress of this film since it was optioned (which is usually a tale of heartbreak, in which the film never gets finished- see Revenge of the Nerds remake). Most reviews claim Fanboys is generally quite fun, but not the best film you'll ever see- nevertheless, it's been raking in at the box office, due to die-hard Star Wars fans.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
If you haven't read the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley yet, you should. They're the sort of graphic novels that appeal to all- even those who are reluctant to explore the entire graphic novel genre. My main gripe thus far is the casting of Michael 'I-always-play-myself' Cera as Scott Pilgrim- undoubtedly, he's very funny playing himself in Superbad, but whether or not this will work with an established character such as Scott Pilgrim remains to be seen.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
To be honest, there's not much to say- if you haven't seen Transformers yet, go watch it. It's epic. Once you've done that, start getting excited about Transformers 2, in which the Decepticons return, revive Megatron, and are are out for revenge. Fingers crossed it's as good as its prequel.
A distant prospect, admittedly (although writer Zach Penn says 'it's definitely going to happen'), but more details are leaking through about Marvel's latest movie venture; most recently, the inclusion of The Hulk and Iron Man. Details are also emerging about the upcoming 'Iron Man 2', although the whole prospect of an Iron Man sequel is slightly less exciting.
If you've watched Grindhouse (or just Planet Terror), you'll know Machete was a spoof film trailer put on Grindhouse about a Mexican assassin. Originally, they were going to make the feature as an extra for the Planet Terror double-disc special edition (which was a little lacking), but have now decided to make it into a full film. Seriously. As if Rodriguez's schedule wasn't packed enough with Nervecrackers, The Jetsons and the potential of Sin City 2. Also, Rodriguez killed his own son off and smeared his nieces in entrails in Planet Terror- I wonder if he'll be killing any more of his relatives in his upcoming films?
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa McCarthy, Hope Davis
Directed by: John August
Genre: Science Fiction
In search of the illusive beast, the Credible Science Fiction Film, one rarely ventures into outer space or does battle with intergalactic beings. Case in point? The Nines.
Now, although it is not concerned with space and extra-terrestrial life, it is within the science fiction genre- a film not based on real life, but rooted in the 'What Ifs?' of science- what if we could inhabit other planets? What if we created artificial life? Or, in this case, what if celestial beings- with the power to create and destroy worlds and galaxies- walked among us?
The three protagonists in this film- Gary/Gavin/Gabriel (Ryan Reynolds), Margaret/Melissa/Mary (Melissa McCarthy) and Sarah/Susan/Sierra (Hope Davis) live three lives within the film, in a series of interwoven 'parallel universes', and all have a connection to these celestial beings, 'The Nines'.
This novel yet complex plot idea is in itself a problem- August must somehow carve 3 distinct worlds within the film (no mean feat when they all involve the same house), in 3 half-hour parts, and somehow also cram in who or what 'The Nines' are. The film has been criticised for not tying-up-loose ends; instead, the viewer must 'read the pieces like tea leaves'. Yet, is this such a bad thing? This means you must invest some brain power in the film, and it'll certainly leave you thinking. And, if you think it through, you'll be hard pushed to find a loose end that goes unaddressed by the end of the film.
What may also get you thinking is the wider implications of the film. Reynolds' characters (brilliantly acted, by the way) are an actor, a writer and a games designer- in a way, aren't they all Gods? Actors are certainly often treated like deities; writers sculpt their own worlds, deciding fates with the flick of a pen across the page; games designers create worlds that other can immerse themselves in. In a way, then, although actual transient beings may not walk among us, we can find 'Gods'- be they idols or creators- in the most unusual of places.
Sunday, June 07, 2009
After years of taunts and jibes about said virginity and resultant rumours about their sexuality, The Jo Bro's appear to have come up with a novel strategy to combat these rumours.
What is this strategy, you ask? Why, to dress up in a leotard and high heels and dance like a fool, of course!
Yes, I know- it seems a little stupid to me too.
Still, if you want to see evidence, you can watch video footage of JJ's leotard dance below. It drags on a bit, but still, enjoy: