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Chris Van Gogh


One's a depressing artist, the other one of the most famous painters to have graced canvas. Another corking Private Eye lookalike. Maybe Chris Martin should cut off both his ears to save himself the trouble of having to hear his own songs; who knows maybe he'd make better music - Beethoven was supposedly deaf and check his prolific classical output. As for those ('scuse the pun!), 'limp-wristed' biro-slogans, they, um, wash off, so who knows if Chris really means it or not, he could be faking it. Be a man & do it Henry Rollins style -get some tats or get those messages cattle-branded.


Posted on May 20, 2005 at 01:04 AM
Cannes U Feel It?


Exciting & exhilerating 4 days at Cannes Film Festival kicked off with me DJ-ing @ Luc Besson's party. Everyone said it was the party to be at on the Saturday night with a packed 1,200+ guests that included George Lucas, Harvey Weinstein & Samuel L Jackson.


Respect to Samuel L. not doing the predictable hiding away in the VIP area, instead he danced like a cool mutha, sporting white kangol, white suit & white shoes, ruling the dance-floor.


Didn't manage to play anything off the 'Tarantino' mix-CD like 'Get Down, Stand Up' or the 'Woo-Jet' mash-up from it, with Samuel's immortal 'Pulp Fiction' line, 'Oh, I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?'; would have loved to have seen his reaction.


Ian did get an excited reaction from Samuel L. when he was given a 'Tarantino' mix-CD - unfortunately no photo of Samuel grooving by the DJ Bamboo-booth, though the image is firmly stuck in both our minds.


(Pic above Ian Neil, Jérôme Lateur & James Hyman post Luc Besson party)

No time to check any movies due to tight schedule of parties, meetings, drinks, clubs etc. Loads I'd like to have seen particularly 'Pauly Shore Is Dead'.


A lengthy Pop Culture-d celebrity cast (Sean Penn, Snoop Dogg, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock etc). all cameo amidst a simple 'art imitating life' & 'life imitating art' story where former comedian/ex-MTV VJ Pauly Shore finds himself down and out, losing everything so he decides to fake his own death to achieve critical acclaim and a new burst of fame.

Always thought of doing something similar for a sick reality-TV show to watch the media hysteria it'd generate just like Chris Morris' 'Brass Eye' did with its infamous paedophilia episode.


Matt Dillon (below right) with smart Max Headroom look - go re-visit Rumblefish immediately!


Talking of 'Rumblefish': (Below): "Don't you know who I am? Yes, I'm Mickey Rourke....or am I?"


Plenty more voyeurism from Ian & I cruising La Croisette clocking & clicking the fans, autograph hunters, paparazzi and celeb-spotters who are all hungry as ravenous jungle predators waiting for the slightest scraps of a sighting of a star leaving a hotel, peering thru a curtain window or driving away slowly in a hired limo.


(Picture right): "OK, here's the 1-minute pitch - Stop believing and begin to understand - we're keeping it 'Rael' homies and hey, we can clone movie rights!!!"

Cannes' chilled yet gently hectic pace provided plenty of hilarious direction vagueness from loads of people Ian & I were meeting with, "Yes, we're on the boat next to the flag" or "Opposite the Carlton, you can't miss it!" - thanks see you in an hour or two.

(Picture below): More shark-infested snappers with crowds of crowds crowding round anything
that vaguely resembled a crowd:


Modern Toss's comic-strip character, Mr. Tourette (recently animated for Channel 4's superb comedy lab) provided Ian & me with one of the trip's best Cannes catchphrases, "I f*cking want paying for that you c*nt!!"


'Hustle', a keyword at the top of this billboard-saturated Carlton Hotel front, summing up a more invisible side to the obvious glitz & glamour of Cannes' Film Festival - actors, financiers, distributors, producers, script-writers, lawyers, agents etc. all wheeling & dealing in one of the chic-est cities on offer.

Posted on May 18, 2005 at 02:20 PM
Music Week/Upfront - Missy Elliott

From Music Week (13.5.05). Click pic. for sample:


Posted on May 13, 2005 at 10:28 PM
Elementary My Dear Geek-son!

I've banged on enough recently about freaky geeks, you know, people with a pain-staking passion for Popular Culture, including yours truly, so, er, here's a little bit more. It's when geeking gets that little bit too detective and nit-picky - slightly worrying - check out some of these letters to editors:

From last month's Word:


A fantastic photo of The Beatles in this month's issue but, as your article asks the question, 'Could there be any questions left unanswered?', the answer has to be: yes, when you get the information wrong. The photo cannot have been taken on the 15/2/67 as The Beatles did not have a studio session on that day. The photograph was actually taken on the 10/2/67 in the afternoon or early evening before the commencement of the orchestra overdub for A Day In The Life, which began at 8PM. How can I tell? Just watch the film which was made of the recording session and which accompanies the track in the Anthology video and DVDs. You will see John and Ringo are wearing the same clothes. The person impersonating "Paul being Dead" over Ringo's shoulder is not William Campbell but Michael Nesmith of the Monkees who was staying with the Lennons (and who is also in the film clip). But keep up the good work.
Richard Kennedy

Keep up the good work? Mate, you keep up the good Sherlock Holmes-stylee work. I mean, any idea what colour pants the sound engineer not in the picture was wearing? Were they fresh on that day? People like this need help or work with the FEDS/CIA etc. - whatever, their intricacy gets props.

Then, couple of 'complaints' about April Vanity Fair's Star Wars fold-out cover:


THE AMBITIOUS and well-produced cover photo of the Star Wars cast is on most counts an amazing achievement, but I am afraid that it falls short. As a die-hard Star Wars fan since 1977, I feel compelled to write and express my profound disappointment with the glaring omissions from this ensemble. While Ray Park as Darth Maul and Temuera Morrison as Jango Fett are unfortunate absentees, the failure to include Jeremy Bulloch as Boba Fett is unforgivable. True, Boba Fett enjoys minimal screen time and speaks only a few lines in the films, but he has arguably achieved permanent status as a pop-culture icon beyond cultism. Given your commendable devotion to the Star Wars legacy, the failure to include such an essential figure on your cover is a grievous error. In addition, giving a detested character such as Jar Jar Binks a place of prominence just adds insult to this injury

New York New York

HOW IN THIS GALAXY could you publish a Star Wars cover without the inclusion of the inimitable James Earl Jones? Darth Vader would be nothing without That Voice.
Nottinghamshire, England

Anyway, great to have lunch yesterday with Simone (below) at regular fave Soho snackerie, Yo! Sushi where we didn't talk Star Wars,

YoSushi JamesSimone.JPG

....instead catching up on some past MTV peeps' whereabouts & recent rants like how her beautiful son Lucas was, ebay, digital cameras (P-pppp-pixel P-p-p-ppower!!!!) & life in general etc.


Then a quick scoot round the corner to 'Church' (pic. above) for some DVDs that I bought her on the condition she buy a region-free DVD-Player to watch them on out in Belize!!!

Off to bed, then off to Cannes...

Posted on May 13, 2005 at 01:04 AM

Adding to my 'Cinematic Sprit & Soul' blog below, Rohne & I also waxed lyrical on Star Wars - my excitement focusing from a piece in this month's Wired with Lucas on the cover.


Like John Landis slipping in the quick 'See You Next Wednesday' line in all his movies (presumably wordplay on 'C.U.N.T'!), Lucas has often given a healthy nod to Arthur Lipsett's '2187', check this, I love it! (from Wired 13.05):

"The film that made the most profound impression on Lucas, however, was a short called 21-87 by a director named Arthur Lipsett, who made visual poetry out of film that others threw away. Working as an editor at the National Film Board, he scavenged scraps of other people's documentaries from trash bins, intercutting shots of trapeze artists and runway models with his own footage of careworn faces passing on the streets of New York and Montreal. What intrigued Lucas most was Lipsett's subversive manipulation of images and sound, as when a shot of teenagers dancing was scored with labored breathing that might be someone dying or having an orgasm. The sounds neither tracked the images nor ignored them - they rubbed up against them. Even with no plot or character development, 21-87 evoked richly nuanced emotions, from grief to a tenacious kind of hope - all in less than 10 minutes.


Lucas threaded the film through the projector over and over, watching it more than two dozen times. In 2003, he told directors Amelia Does and Dennis Mohr, who are making a documentary on Lipsett, "21-87 had a very powerful effect on me. It was very much the kind of thing that I wanted to do. I was extremely influenced by that particular movie." Deciding that his destiny was to become an editor of documentaries who, like Lipsett, would make avant-garde films on the side, Lucas worked in the USC editing room for 12 hours at a stretch, living on Coca-Cola and candy bars, deep in the zone.


"When George saw 21-87, a lightbulb went off," says Walter Murch, who created the densely layered soundscapes in THX 1138 and collaborated with Lucas on American Graffiti. "One of the things we clearly wanted to do in THX was to make a film where the sound and the pictures were free-floating. Occasionally, they would link up in a literal way, but there would also be long sections where the two of them would wander off, and it would stretch the audience's mind to try to figure out the connection."


To simulate a realistic society of the future on a shoestring budget for THX, Lucas and Murch pushed that audiovisual disconnect as far as they could. A scene in which the hero (played by a young Robert Duvall) is tortured is made more horrific by the banal shoptalk of his offscreen tormentors; the chatter of unidentified voices throughout the film reinforces the idea that in a world of ubiquitous surveillance, you are never alone.

Lucas never met the young Canadian who influenced him so deeply; Lipsett committed suicide in 1986 after battling poverty and mental illness for years. But like a programmer sneaking Tolkien lines into his code, Lucas has planted stealth references to 21-87 throughout his films. The events in the student-film version of THX took place in the year 2187, and the numerical title itself was an homage. In the feature-length version, Duvall's character makes his run from a subterranean city when he learns that the love of his life was murdered by the authorities on the date "21/87." And in the first Star Wars, when Luke and Han Solo blast into the detention center to rescue Princess Leia, they discover that the stormtroopers are holding her as a prisoner in cell 2187.


The rabbit hole goes even deeper: One of the audio sources Lipsett sampled for 21-87 was a conversation between artificial intelligence pioneer Warren S. McCulloch and Roman Kroitor, a cinematographer who went on to develop Imax. In the face of McCulloch's arguments that living beings are nothing but highly complex machines, Kroitor insists that there is something more: "Many people feel that in the contemplation of nature and in communication with other living things, they become aware of some kind of force, or something, behind this apparent mask which we see in front of us, and they call it God."

When asked if this was the source of "the Force," Lucas confirms that his use of the term in Star Wars was "an echo of that phrase in 21-87." The idea behind it, however, was universal: "Similar phrases have been used extensively by many different people for the last 13,000 years to describe the 'life force,'" he says.


The lessons Lucas learned from filmmakers like Lipsett, McLaren, Jutra, and Kurosawa helped shape the creation of all of his later work. "My films operate like silent movies," he explains in an unused portion of an interview for a documentary on editing called "The music and the visuals are where the story's being told. It's one of the reasons the films can be understood by such a wide range of age groups and cultural groups. I started out doing visual films - tone poems - and I move very much in that direction. I still have the actors doing their bit, and there's still dialog giving you key information. But if you don't have that information, it still works."


Rounding off Star Wars tings, check people queuing for the Sith, 360 visuals - flip da pic!!!

Posted on May 12, 2005 at 10:41 PM
Cinematic Spirit & Soul

Lengthy cinema discussion with uber-film-geek Rohne the other day, mainly sparked off by a Guardian interview with Jean-Luc Goddard:

"(Godard) seems despairing of the medium's ability to reinvent itself or to have any kind of social impact. "It's over," he sighs. "There was a time maybe when cinema could have improved society, but that time was missed."

A far deeper piece on cinema's possible demise was the New Yorker's, 'Gross Points', articulately arguing how the blockbuster could well be the end of cinema. Who knows? Maybe as an art form but not yet as an industry or culture.

So Rohne & I rambled - I loved every minute of his passion - how 'Manhunter' (pic. below) was his all time fave flick, so much so, that we should have an evening where he'd deliver a live DVD-audio commentary backing up his brave boast.


Then it was onto limitations of 'Cinema' as an art form, exemplified years ago by Peter Greenaway who's often found the screen/frame so binding.

Limitations do produce superb creativity, particularly re: tight budgets. We chucked examples at each other: Spielberg's 'Duel' - terrifying tension from the simple premise of a truck relentlessly in pursuit of an innocent driver.
Sam Raimi's 'Evil Dead' - staggering camera work including all that f*cking phenomenal sped-up, aggressive 'Zombie Cam' point of view, often imitated, never bettered. Coppola's 'The Conversation', in between 'Godfather' & 'Godfather II', not so much of a budget issue, perhaps more on restrictions from circumstances facing the director at the time.

Next, limitations of a medium. Books, film without time. Film's forced time (24 frames/sec) etc. which brings us to Sin City which I've touched on already but needs bit more blogging:


Sin City (pics above & below) has set the template for comic book adaptations; the film-noir feel & polished look, stylistically staggering!! Someone jokingly compared it to A-ha's 'Take On Me', unfair but f*ck, that A-ha video was seriously, and still is the BOMB!!! Steve Barron, we salute you.


Anyway, Sin City features rocking performances from Elijah Wood, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro & Rutger Hauer (effortlessly echoing his brilliant 'Bladerunner' soliloquy), so maybe Paul Greengrass will deliver something as solid for Alan Moore's supposedly un-filmable 'Watchmen' graphic-novel (pic. below)


Again, love seeing something dark & edgy like Sin City do so well, having rinsed it at US Box Office.

Similarly, check this new wave of 'Spiritual Cinema', as media have been tagging it. Bristol's 'Watershed' recently put on the Kaleidoscope event featuring Ingar Bergman's work plus Kim Ki-Duk's 'Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter' but the 2 doing it for me, fast gaining momentum & taking 'fringe' front-row are 'Tarnation' & 'What the #$*! Do We Know!?'


Like 'Capturing The Friedmans' on crack, 'Tarnation' sees film-maker Jonathan Caouette bare his and some of his family's souls on film in a way I doubt you'll ever see again - ever.

To some, the film's concept may ultimately be stronger than the film itself but I guarantee few have had a more traumatic life than Jonathan and managed to keep a video diary of the whole experience from early teen to 30-something - ya get me?!!


The way Caouette uses the camera as shield, mirror and stage are exhilerating. The film's scrap-book style, multi-formats (Super-8, Betamax, VHS, DV & Hi-8) and encylopaedic collage of material offers up some glorious lo-fi technqiues, very 'Eraserhead' with colour. Again, amazing what you can do with initial bare budget and i-Movie. The 'pumpkin' scene disturbed me almost as much as the Charles Manson 'Super Star' DVD documentary - pure insanity captured by an un-biased lens.

Finally, tonight, just back from 'What the #$*! Do We Know!?'. One can easily dismiss this as new-age tosh - if so you'll really miss the honest beauty of this stunning documentary film.


A loose talking heads narrative wraps itself around the life of the deaf actress Marlee Matlin to deliver incredible human drama, inspiring insights, quantum physics for starters with me leaving the cinema empowered and hungry for more. I like how the film tackled 'addiction', 'designing our destiny' and clever end-crediting of the talking heads to avoid bias/prejudice. The Robert Palmer/Addicted To Love parody was somewhat cheesy but surreally cool and I loved hearing Kernkraft's 'Zombie Nation' in the wedding scene - Let's AVE IT!!!


At times 'What The Bleep' reminded me of Diane Keaton's 'Heaven', an absolute hidden gem, go discover it now, a real movie mash-up!! Plus Baz Luhrmann's genius global no.1 hit, "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" which was an early viral thing, spawned from an 1997 internet poem that did the rounds - a sincere e-mail that didn't promise you a trip to Disneyland if you forwarded it to Bill Gates, millions of Nigerian dollars or a missing liver!!!

Cinema's far from dead with films like these breaking barriers and box office!

Posted on May 09, 2005 at 11:25 PM
Future Music - Mash Ups

Extract below from well-written & rigorously researched piece on 'Mash-Up's' for June re-launched Future Music mag. (US edition) & based round the Jay-Z & Linkin' Park 'Collision Course' project that's taken 'Mash-Ups' to MTV-Mainstream.

Journalist Bill Murphy's a great guy; our paths crossed many moons ago when he was co-running Axiom Records, helping set up my journeys to Brooklyn & Amsterdam's North Sea Jazz Festival for an MTV interview/2-hour documentary on legendary producer Bill Laswell.

Whenever those 'new' musical trends/fashions, like 'mash-ups' hit the media, remember, there's history, as this excerpt succintly proves:


Posted on May 04, 2005 at 11:57 PM

This surf-dude caught my attention on a BBC/Radio 4 documentary and he so reminded me of an old friend, er, yes hello, Guy, on that same 'surfing & 'spiritualism' tip, both very much finding one's self in Costa Rica, though Guy's now left much of the surfing behind, focusing hard on the religion.


Love how Rabbi Nachum parallels Surfing's solitude, discipline and concentration to Judaism.

inflatable church.jpg If they can have those inflatable/portable churches, bring on mid-sea Synagogues!!!

Whilst on the surfing tip, gutted to have missed Death In Vegas's 'Chairman Of The Board' set at the Barbican (weekend just gone), part of 'A Day Of Surf'.

My man Nick @ MVE told me it was very cool with D.I.V. performing live to edited highlights from 3 cult surf classics, 'Liquid Time', 'The Morning Of The Earth' and 'The Innermost Limits Of Pure Fun'.


Incidentally, 'Billabong Odyssey' has dropped on DVD for UK/Region 2


...whilst you're at it, 'Big Wednesday',

big wednesday.jpg

both breath-taking/game over!!

Posted on May 03, 2005 at 09:11 PM

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