Here's Johnny!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Crawling from the Wreckage

We’ve been out and about in the Not-so Flatlands doing the extended family thing. Normally this would be cause for commiseration, but the alternative is the horror that is unfolding in our kitchen as we strip it completely and then rebuild it. Well, I say rebuild but there’s not a lot of that been happening so far: this one looks like it could run and run.

I’ve been turning the power on and off for a while now. The battery backup on the answer phone’s buggered, so every time I shut down the clock goes haywire and I have to reset it. If only this was the worst of my worries. Still, Mrs effay has proved her worth by plastering walls I’ve just beaten the shit out of in order to lay cables. I knew I married her for something. On the other hand, if I hadn’t married her, I wouldn’t be involved with all this kitchen business in the first place…

On the plus side, so long as I’m actually working on the thing, she hasn’t got the bottle to complain about what's coming out of the stereo. Consequently we’ve had Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso belting out at very high volume all afternoon. Not the sort of thing that you can really whistle while you work, but when Kawabata Makoto lets rip with the guitar strangling, you suddenly get much more efficient with a hammer.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Cure

Having discovered the other day that I can officially be referred to as a ‘Batcaver’ because, ermm, I used to regularly go to The Batcave, I feel that I must surely be qualified to add my two cents worth to the thorny question of The Cure.

I have a great deal of sympathy for Loki’s claim that
The Cure, then, ought to be regarded not just as not particularly gothic but as anti-gothic

Because I’ve always wondered why they were thought of as Goths in the first place. Slapping on a wig, some eyeliner, and singing a couple of miserable songs doesn’t really do it for me. Surely one of the great things about being a Goth (apart from never having to wonder what colour clothes to put on when you get up in the mornings) is the sheer brash decadence of the whole thing. There’s a forcefulness to decent Goth bands completely lacking in the Cure which is reflected both in their music and performance. Compare them to Siouxsie stalking the stage in her best dominatrix act; or Pete Murphy huddling up to a flourescent tube whilst he tries to out-David Bowie David Bowie and all the other members of Bauhaus try to grab the attention that he’s getting; or Nick Cave yelling about killing people. Even Trent Reznor could pull off the ‘we’re all doomed, and we’re going to shout about it’ thing when he chose to. I must confess that it’s nearly twenty years since I last saw The Cure, but Robert Smith used to just shuffle on stage and either not move much, or apologise before doing some very crap dancing. The focal point was the much better looking Simon Gallup who would be bouncing around doing a Jean-Jacques Burnel impression without the leg kicks.

For me, The Cure only manage to get the Goth thing off pat twice and on both occasions they do it on video. The first is ‘Charlotte Sometimes’ where one of the oldest schoogirls you are ever likely to see outside of a schoolgirl porn site wanders around a boarding school constantly bumping into her ghost whilst the band slouch around behind her.
However it does suffer from the fact that the song itself isn’t really up to much. The other is the video for ‘The Hanging Garden’ where the band bugger about in the firelit garden of some stately home or other (actually, it could be the grounds of the place where they filmed ‘Charlotte’) wearing various masks to the accompaniment of a very good song indeed.

Anyway, Goth credentials aside, the real question is what is the Cure’s finest album? Loki goes for the remixes, but this may be just out of nostalgia for his youth spent fumbling around in stripy tights, so we can dismiss that out of hand. K-Punk goes for Pornography with honourable mentions for Seventeen Seconds and Faith, which is the right period, but not quite on the button. No, the best Cure album is Carnage Visors.

“Pah,” I hear you cry “You’re just saying that to be controversial!” But no, I mean it. I do actually really like The Cure (in a non-Goth sort of way) and have nothing against Robert Smith singing about being sad (or about love cats, for that matter), but you can’t beat just under thirty minutes of jangly ambience with Gallup’s bass wandering all over the top of it. I’ve got no idea what the film it is the soundtrack to looks like but, to me, it sounds like it ought to be the soundtrack to wandering over the slag heaps outside an ex-mining town, in a really fucked up state due to combining a handful of downers with whatever you could get down the local chemist: perhaps codeine linctus, but probably Night Nurse. I always think that Goth should be more hot metal and methedrine, but if you want The Cure being bleak, this is the one.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Sand, Space, and Sperm

Crawled back from the seaside last night with sand in every crevice. It would be nice to report that we spent our time on some hellish debauch which brought us within a whisker of a custodial sentence and chronic kidney failure, but no: we flew kites, paddled canoes, and stuff like that.

When not engaged in Family Fun, I read lots of science fiction. This included re-reading Asimov’s original Foundation Trilogy for the first time in years. It occurs to me that psycho-history is basically Dialectical Materialism with added maths; not least because the first few hundred years of the Foundation’s history are basically accounts of class struggles and the deciding factor being who controls the means of production. I wonder whether he was criticised for this which was why the latter books got more and more mystical and filled up with super human robots and telepaths. Not to mention those horrible prequels with salt of the earth type working class urchins being taken out of their environments and civilised in a university atmosphere. It always amuses me to see Asimov labelled as ‘hard science fiction’ (i.e. light on characterisation, strong on scientific detail) when the Foundation novels are so reliant upon a mathematical form of psychology which is capable of predicting the future and then, in order to get his plots to work out, he has to bend the rules of psycho-history or use it in an unscientific way. Still Asimov is still a lot better than most of the dross that has followed him.

I’m changing my contact e-mail as the Cinestatic address is groaning under the weight of Spam. There are only so many offers of cheap mortgages you can delete in a day and I don’t have any use for products which will allow me to shower my woman in pints of sperm. I must confess that it isn’t something that I’ve ever really wanted to do but, in the interests of good marital relations, I pointed out these adverts to Mrs effay. Her response was “Try that, and you won’t have a woman”. I bet they don’t work anyway, unless the product in question is a Tupperware container to save it all up in.

Monday, August 01, 2005

New Link

Still too busy to post much at the minute and then the effay Tactical Nuclear Unit is off on manoeuvres again. Hopefully some sort of regular service will be resumed next week.

Just going to add this to the links for all you smug French reading academic types out there. I managed to slip away for a very enjoyable afternoon in the pub the other day re-reading Communists Like Us, which reminded me just how much I like Guattari's stuff. If you want to get involved with bizarre psychoanalytically based left wing politics, he pisses all over Zizek any day of the week (note my use of clever academic terminology here). Anyway, I stumbled over this Guattari site and very good it is too.

Incidentally, look how much Communists Like Us is going for on Amazon! Perhaps Félix is about to get the recognition he so richly deserves. On the other hand, perhaps it's simply because the book was co-written by the latest 'big thing in academia': Antonio Negri.

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