A sub-division of oldpunks.com

Friday, July 29, 2005

Review: 24 Hour Party People

It’s hard not to equate 24 Hour Party People with Hedwig And The Angry Inch. They’re inventive, witty and fun films, and they both die in the last act. Hedwig heads south when Heddy longs for love while 24 Hour Party People withers on the rave vine.

The story of Manchester, UK’s Factory Records and its founder, lovable fop Tony Wilson, 24 Hour Party People is front-loaded with whimsical scenes, nonlinear story-telling and neat effects. Steve Coogan is wonderful as Wilson, an erudite putz who builds a thriving music scene for art’s sake alone. Real clips of The Sex Pistols, Iggy, Siouxie, The Jam and The Stranglers help visualize the revolution in music that gave birth to the Manchester scene of The Buzzcocks and Joy Division. Real and Memorex Sex Pistols mix to recreate the show that launched a thousand Mancunian ships (as it were).

Sean Harris looks a lot like Ian Curtis even though he does have a chin. I was expecting an immediate epileptic seizure but it took 37 minutes to get to the Ian Curtis money shot.

At 117 minutes the film is a long 27 minutes too long. If you watch this up to the demise of Joy Division you’ll have a great time and nobody gets hurt. When rave rears its trippy head the film loses its charm and becomes a lesson in exponential stupidity.

Many music scenes have drug cultures attached to them. A few drug cultures have their own music scenes. Reggae’s what happened to Ska when pot slowed down the mind and reflexes. I like Reggae. Ecstasy brought with it rave which allowed horrid bands like The Happy Mondays to record white soul dance crap. I like when Ravers drive off cliffs.

Rave provides the last euphoric high and catatonic low of Factory Records, and the demise is laid out like a police procedural. Wilson reveals himself to be both impotent and morally indifferent, a quasi-Buddhist approach big with intellectuals (Bowie comes to mind).

The first half of 24 Hour Party People is great. The second half pretends the slide to oblivion was fun while it lasted. If you like rave you might agree. I don’t.

Muhammad Ali on North Korea

Via RightWingNews, wrestler Ric Flair recounts his strange 1995 experience in the hellhole of North Korea, where every year the calendar starts over at "0" since all's not going according to plan. Muhammad Ali has a funny line and a bout of verbal clarity.

Because of the ravages of Parkinson's disease, it was difficult to understand Muhammad Ali when he spoke. But at one function, we were sitting at a big, round table with a group of North Korean luminaries when one of the guys started rambling on about the moral superiority of North Korea, and how they could take out the United States or Japan any time they wanted. Suddenly, Ali piped up, clear as a bell, "No wonder we hate these motherf*ckers."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Old Punk Memory 61

From 1980 to 1983 I worked concert security at various Washington DC concert halls, from the Capital Center to the University of Maryland. Being a music nut it was a great opportunity to meet bands and be at great shows, sometimes the whole time looking away from the stage.

The worst was a go-go concert at the Cap Center where street gangs were breaking in by tossing cinder blocks through glass doors. At the time, Go-Go was the local DC name for hip-hop. The next to worst were any shows involving Grateful Dead members. Hippies feel entitled to everything and get angry when told no. The punk shows were ok and new wave shows the easiest.

One night before a new wave show I was walking down the line telling people what they couldn't bring into the venue. When I listed spikes a woman looked at me sideways and said "I can't wear my shoes?"

Ba dum bump! Enjoy the show folks. Order the veal!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Too Busy To Be Creative Today

Anti-Flag signed with Sony? Isn't that like Muslims and Jews hosting a pork festival? I laugh at their sell-out-edness.

Punk77 is a great resource site for classical folk music of Norway's Kerfluggen region.

I'd like to let this speak for itself, but in case you don't get the joke - $50,000 for a used car?From MTV last month, "If you're a fan of Green Day — and have a spare $50,000 laying around — then maybe you can own a four-wheeled piece of punk-rock history. Currently up for bid on eBay is the 1985 Ford Econoline 150 formerly owned by none other than Green Day drummer Tre Cool, which the band piloted on two U.S. tours back when it was an unpolished and unsigned bunch of kids. The inside of the van is wood-paneled and covered in Green Day graffiti — including Cool's signature — and stickers. The starting bid is a cool $50k, and the auction runs until June 7."

A Punk Seagull

OK, who was weirder, Klaus Nomi or Jim Skafish?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tesco Vee, Where Are Thee?

What ever happened to Tesco Vee of The Meatmen? This site contains everything you need to know about one of punk's great personalities. It's written from a very pro-cock rock perspective, a side of Tesco's career I shy away from. I prefer their kinder, gentler Mentors material. Tesco's real name is revealed, something I thought was a trade secret like the true identity of The Residents.

Someone e-mailed yesterday about finding a copy of Tesco's 1988 MTV show "Way U.S.A.", where Tesco soaks up local oddball color as your sleazy, wheezy master of ceremonies. The only place to find any and all weirdness is Los Angeles' Mondo Video-A-Go-Go, where there's probably a section labeled "Midget Nazi Vampires".

I met Tesco in the 90s at a show in Baltimore. He was showing off weird German porn mags to friends by his van. I went to his annual Halloween blowout and he showed me some of his prized toy collection. He was most proud of the vintage mint Beverly Hillbillies truck that set him back a few hundred dollars. He later opened a used toy and whatever else he could find store.

I thought Tesco was a great guy and nobody had a better act. On Gonzo Hate Vibe there's a song about Jeffrey Dahmer called "Jeff Boy R Dee", sung to "Yummy Yummy Yummy". It starts "Jiffy Jeffy Dahmer's an apartment embalmer/If he feels like offing you/Slips you Mickey Finn/And then he's slippin' it in/With his fridge and belly full of fools". At shows he sold Jeffrey Dahmer cooking aprons. If you tell me it gets better than that you're a frickin' liar.

In Old Media News...

If you're an old fugg like me you'll be interested in knowing TV Guide is changing format and will no longer carry local listings. Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine has the scoop. Here's a direct link supplied by Mr. Jarvis himself.

TV Guide was the bible in my family's house, just like in Archie Bunker's. To read TV guide will no longer carry local listings is like saying Santa is no longer leaving toys in individual homes. The future is now and the future is a scary, uncaring place.

I was impressed when Jarvis wrote "I worked at TV Guide as critic and in magazine development about 10 years ago." I plotzed when I read "When I started Entertainment Weekly..." That's major!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Review: Constantine

I liked Constantine. I liked it a lot. Fans of the long-running comic Hellblazer dismiss it because it barely resembles the source material. It's no masterpiece like Class of Nuke 'Em High 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown but I'll be watching this again soon.

Constantine was shot on what looks like 1970s film stock and people are lit like cadavers in a David Fincher film. It looks great. The effects are scary and the depiction of hell terrifying. Keanu Reeves aside, the acting's great, especially Rachel Weisz, Tilda Swinton and Peter Stormare as Satan, who chews the scenery in a most satisfying fashion. He's insane, sadistic and also having way too much fun being Satan.

The story makes little sense and defies its own logic but I enjoyed not having a clue what would happen next. It's thick with mythology of both the religious and comic book kind, adding to the WTF factor, but WTF. The Spear Of Destiny prop was the same one made for Hellboy, a film I love, and maybe Constantine has a similar appeal. Hey, this runs rings around End Of Days!

Keanu Reeves seems nice enough. He gets more roles than his talents dictate but hey, good for him. He cannot express emotion through his eyes, which in a less pleasant face is creepy. He looks too young for the role of John Constantine. Bruce Willis would have been better (as long as he didn't smirk). Reeves isn't a bad actor but his face is like a mask.

Mark Steyn Destroys Multiculturalism

Mark Steyn (aka my hero) puts the wood to warm and fluffy multiculturalism in The Australian. I'm all for multiple cultures existing in the same space but PC multiculturalism is where every culture that hates western culture is automatically considered superior to it. Anyone "of culture" who claims victimhood is encouraged to agitate for revenge (oops, I mean justice) and money. It's one thing to claim equivalence of cultures (an argument I avoid) but, as an example, I don't like that there's a native Hawaiian master race theory that's allowed to flourish because of multiculturalism.

Friday, July 22, 2005

More Che Shite

Che-Mart is funny. Gotta love the ox blood shroud of Che t-shirt!

Here's Che -- better off dead than red!

7/25/05 Update - A funny funny piece of comedy from the Huffington's Toast mocking Che. My favorite line, "Thank you, Mike Tyson, for having my handsome face tattooed on your body! Try not to land on it the next time you get knocked out by a club fighter with Sterno on his breath."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Review: Foetus - Ache

Australian Jim Thirwell, aka any band name with the word "foetus" in it, literally crashed onto the noise scene in 1981, taking No Wave to new heights and depths. 1982's Ache is the only early album I can listen to more than once. Imagine an album influenced equally by James Brown, The Residents and Oingo Boingo. Then make it sound insane. I like his asexual funk tunes and avoid the metal and industrial stuff.

When he focused the man could be a genius. I saw him perform around 82 at NY's Danceteria, when he sang with a tape backup. He had a case of small Perrier bottles and he'd open one, wave his arms around while singing, the water would fly out, then he'd open another one and repeat the process until it was all gone. Did he manage to drink any? Who knows?

I would have bought more Foetus records back then except he tended to not list songs on album covers and I never knew if what I had in my hand was a 12" or LP.

With Foetus you have to ask if he's a nut because he's a genius or a genius because he's a nut.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Review: Charged GBH - The Clay Years 1981 - 1984

The Clay Years: 1981 - 1984 compiles 14 tracks from one of the better 2nd wave UK street punk bands who started off a bit tribal (good) and ended up metal (bad), as was the way back in the day. Along with The Exploited and (bloody rectal) Discharge they gave the world the apocalyptic rooster look kept alive by crusties, trendies and unemployed kids who want to stay that way.

Clay was their first record label and the cd is a collection from singles and such. "Time Bomb" and "City Baby Attacked By Rats" are perennial toe-tappers, and at their best GBH could rev up and change direction with sureness. They were good musicians who could create a big sound.

On the down side GBH wrote a number of songs incomprehensible besides a few words and phrases, making it a tough call if a song like "Christianized Cannibals" is anything more than a bizarre word grouping. Normally I wouldn't point this out but their socio-political songs sometimes boiled down to the titles, which were screamed. Does the song then boil down to a screamed phrase?

Mosh Like The Pros Do

Worth 3 credits at any community college, here's The Beginner's Guide To The Mosh Pit

Q: Can I mosh to my favourite pop music?

A: A resounding no. The joys of moshing are reserved only for the followers of metal, rock and punk. I recommend you get piecings and give up listening to that mind numbing trash.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Review: Dee Dee Ramone - Legend of A Rock Star (book)

Ah, the many faces of Dee Dee Ramone - sensitive artist, paranoid, passive-aggressive, songwriting genius, junkie, good friend, impossible, desperate to be liked, anti-social - which is the real one... I guess it could be all these things, but ultimately what lingers is instability and that amazing bug-eyed hobo clown face, truly a skid-row character.

Legend Of A Rock Star: The Last Testament Of Dee Dee Ramone was a project cut short by Dee Dee's death from a drug overdose on June 6, 2002. Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones is the only Dee Dee book you need. This is a collection of some road diaries and a ton-o-filler.

Dee Dee is surprisingly literate. Each chapter begins with a short copy of his original writing, deliberately proving the book wasn't ghost-written. He's an "honest" writer but also delusional (oops, artistic) so it's impossible to know what's real. I guess it doesn't make much difference but this isn't a magical mystery tour but an often boring trek through the craphole clubs of Europe. For sure he didn't kill border police and bury their bodies in the snow. He recounts many conversations and it shines through constantly how people dealt with him like he was a huge flake and pain in the ass.

The real value of this book is experiencing reality (or lack thereof) through the mind of a nut. I was constantly reminded of the scene of Psycho when Norman Bates sits in the police station and he's thinking

"They know I can't move a finger and I want to just sit here and be quiet just in case they suspect me. They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly..."

Dee Dee doesn't whitewash his violent tendencies but he also complains of being an endlessly giving person being drained by psychic parasites. His mind was all over the place and he was capable of anything.

Legend Of A Rock Star is sadly a dumping ground for everything the publisher could put together. It's a fun read but not essential. Here's a link to some Dee Dee artwork. These look a lot better than the work found in the book.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Ahnold In Da Nooze

I'm used to certain people hating Arnold Schwarzenegger. At a party last week a guy next to me for no reason started punching a fist into the other open hand and saying something about people who voted for Arnold. I said I voted for both Arnold and Bush and asked what he was going to do about it (in a friendly way, of course). It was funny how quickly the subject changed.

I have little interest in local politics and I've made it a point not to take an interest. National politics are bad enough so I don't care how sausages and laws are made locally. I barely knew the last governor's name until the recall election. Anti-Arnold forces, led by the ironical MoveOn (they came to be to protect Bill Clinton from charges of rape and adultery) hammered Arnold as a serial groper. If that eliminated Arnold as a candidate, then what of Gray Davis, who verbally and physically assaulted his staff on a regular basis. The LA Weekly uncovered the story that Davis violently shoved his loyal, 62-year-old secretary out a doorway. She suffered a breakdown and refused to ever work in the same room with him. I don't like hypocritical standards.

Arnold was in the news last week for signing and then dropping a multi-million dollar contract that attached his name to various bodybuilding magazines. If this is ethically wrong he shouldn't have done it but, my god, Arnold created modern bodybuilding almost single-handedly. There's an exercise named after him and his annual bodybuilding competition, The Arnold Classic, has been a premier event since 1989. He takes no salary as governor and whatever involvement he had with the magazines would have taken very little time.

Here's a before and after shot featuring Arnold on the beach last year, an unflattering photo used to mock him. He's like 58 years old and not training, What do you want? It's his off season. Here's Arny in his prime.

Here's what made me write this long rant. Someone in a giveaway newspaper wrote he could take steroids and become Mr. Universe like Arnold. Rarely do you come across such a pure statement of ignorance. If there were no steroids Arnold would still have been the best. In Arnold's day everyone was on 'roids. Even with steroids you have to be gifted genetically and train like a fiend. Dieting for competition is a 24/7 torture few can accomplish. To say it's as easy as eating a can of spinach disqualifies you from ever being taken seriously.

Dislike Arnold all you want. Both I and Arnold don't care. I'm no fanatic but I do give him credit for what he's accomplished. He decided as a teenager to be the best in the world at something and he chose bodybuilding. He came to America with $20 in his pocket and made it happen for himself. He trained for a week at a gym where I worked in the early 90s. He wasn't over 6' and he doesn't displace water like Lou Ferrigno, but every muscle was a steel cable and when he touched his toes his bicep was a bowling ball. He was also the most gracious person, talking to everyone and making everyone feel good. He radiated charisma and confidence.

Hello?... Hello?

Can someone please explain why I get phone messages where a person says "Hello?... Hello?" and then hangs up. It sounds like they're in a room of people saying "Hello?...Hello?".

What the hell product or service are they selling, and do people really star69 to call back? The Nigeria e-mail scam works, so I guess getting lonely people to return a weird call from an unknown voice has to be a piece of cake.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Review: Sin City

Sin City, the dumbest movie I've seen in a while. It's Sado-Noir. Oooo, I just made that up. Now I'll scat for you: skeep bop boop, a flopity snoop.. Yeah!!!!!

Style is not substance when it's made up entirely of cliche. Comic books are for kids and the harder you try to prove they're not the more it's proven they are. I own 12,000 of them, that's right, twelve thousand, so craps, boxcars and big bennies!

Robert Rodriguez and co-director/comic book fellow Frank Miller channel one-scene "special guest director" Quentin Tarantino and his scumbagio aesthetic into a digital world where all men are psychotic and all women are whores, where what's real is the worst of what's possible, because that's the real reality man!

Harry Potter is Hannibal Lecter and Freddy Krueger. Bruce Willis is always good. It's nice to see Rutger Hauer work and it was very brave of Mickey Rourke to appear sans makeup and prosthetics. I kid, I kid. I kid because I love. He's the best part of the movie.

Do you want bad dialogue? Well, do ya?

It's going to be blood for blood and by the gallon. These are the old days, the bad days, the all-or-nothing days. They're back!

I already have killed you, you jerk! Wise up! But even though it feels like Niagara Falls down there, you'll be a damn long time dying and I can make it quick, or I can make it worse.

My warrior woman. My Valkyrie. You'll always be mine, always and never. Never. The Fire, baby. It'll burn us both. It'll kill us both. there's no place in this world for our kind of fire. Always and never. If I have to die for you tonight, I will.

Oh I wish someone would make a movie with stories from the old Spirit comic books. The character is quite secondary to the stories and mood. Now there's violent noir with grace, humor and style. Skeep bop boop, indeed.

Mr. Cranky loved Sin City too!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Review: Gun Club - Fire Of Love

Punk blues psychobilly legends Gun Club came out of Los Angeles and were a death ride to hell compared to X's desperate party to perdition and The Blasters plain old party. Fire Of Love was their debut in 1981 and it's the first true hardcore blues country roots record. It starts fast and ends slow, a wave of energy that explodes and then settles into a drunken coma. It would be lost in the crowd if you stumbled on it today but it was the real deal then and considered dangerous.

I never went for Gun Club in any big way because I don't enjoy humorless nihilism and I like most songs uptempo. I also larfed a bit at Los Angeles bands who pretended they lived in the old west as conceived by Charles Manson.

"Sex Beat" opens the album and it's their best, evoking both X and The Angry Samoans. "Preaching The Blues" follows and it also kills, reminding me that Soul Asylum's underrated Say What You Will is like this but not as hard. "Promise Me" combines Delta blues and The Velvet Underground, which is quite a trick if you ask me.

On the album Gun Club also evokes The Cramps, roadhouse blues and straight country (old skool!). The last third runs slow - too slow for me since it's not 2AM and I'm not drunk and angry when I listen to it.

I highly recommend this to Social Distortion fans (latter day).

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Review: The Groovie Ghoulies - Travels With My Amp

The title led me to believe this was a live cd, but it's not. If there's anything not to love about The Groovie Ghoulies, please let me know so I can tell you to eat flaming poop. I demand that every album sound the same and be the soundtrack to my next Mad Monster Party party.

The Ghoulies don't smash the state but they do run with Bigfoot and take their hats off to Godzilla. Groovie Ghoulies songs: learn 'em, love 'em and forget what album they come from.

On this one "The Highwayman", "Hair Of Gold (And Skin Of Blue)" and "Criswell Predicts" stand out.

No real reason to review a cd from 2000 except to remind you that if you like your Ramonesy pop punk fun and danceable you can't go wrong with the Ghoulies. Compared to Blink 182 you'll also get more street-cred!

Why Scrappleface Is Great

Scrappleface reminds us all that it's funny because it's true!

G8 Mulls Qaeda Offer to End Modern Civilization

(2005-07-07) -- Leaders of the world's major industrialized nations, meeting in Scotland at the G8 Summit today, said they would consider al-Qaeda's latest proposal to "end modern civilization and return to the glorious days of feudalism."

The al-Qaeda offer came in the form of multiple explosions during rush hour in London, drenching buses and trains with the blood of ordinary working people.

"Modern civilization had a good long run," said one unnamed global diplomat, "and these Qaeda chaps have made a serious proposal that one must consider. It should spark thoughtful discussion at the G8 about whether Western values have become obsolete in the face of the growing popularity of this progressive Islamic lifestyle."

In related news, we're all Britons now.

Moxie Crimefighter

Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller named his new daughter Moxie Crimefighter Jillette. Penn was a long time associate of The Residents , formed a record label (50 Skidillion Watts) just to release Half Japanese records and is behind the new film about the dirtiest joke ever. He's grabbed life by the short hairs and I think he's great. Anything he wants to do he does, and it's very inspiring. You go, guy!

I met Teller once. He's very nice and well spoken.

Jillette, 50, and his wife Emily, 39, welcomed Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette on Friday, according to publicist Glenn Schwartz. It was the first child for the couple, who married last year. "We chose her middle name because when she's pulled over for speeding she can say, `But officer, we're on the same side,'" Jillette explained. "`My middle name is CrimeFighter.'"

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Review: Brian Wilson – Smile

I could always take or leave the Beach Boys, mostly leave. The falsetto singing reminds me of Frankie Valli and I can’t figure out the appeal of castratto. Being from New York I also have no interest in surfer guys and chicks.

I recently bought some homemade surf comp tapes and while there’s no Beach Boys I do get a kick out of some of the tunes and a few are really, really bad (in a good way). The Surfaris do a song called “Surfer Joe” that sounds like “The Monster Mash”, spoken lyrics and all. Then there’s Jan and Dean, who sound like a parody of a comedy sketch.

This weekend I put on The Queer’s Don’t Back Down, the best of their albums influenced by the Beach Boys. I said to myself “self, maybe you should explore The Beach Boys”. Smile is where I start.

Smile is a legendary album started in 1967 and both finished and recorded in 2004. There were 85 original recording sessions that led to no finished album. That’s a lot of work. Fans and critics are collectively crapping themselves over how great this is, and I’ll grant them that even though I find Smile to be well recorded, pleasant, interesting and not the answer to any great existential question.

There's a definite nod to the Beatles and I never realized how much XTC were cribbing from these guys since at least Mummer in 1983. Here’s some lyrics from “Vega-Tables”. Some may find this silly. I think they answer the great existential question:

I'm gonna be round my vegetables/ I'm gonna chow down my vegetables/ I love you most of all/ My favorite vege-table/ If you brought a big brown bag of them home/ I'd jump up and down and hope you'd toss me a carrot/ I'm gonna keep well my vegetables/ Cart off and sell my vegetables/ I love you most of all/ My favorite vege-table/ Oh oh taba vega vegel/ I tried to kick the ball but my tenny flew right off/ I'm red as a beet 'cause I'm so embarassed/ Oh oh dum do dum de dooby do/ Oh oh dum do dum de dooby do/ Oh oh dum do dum de dooby dooh yeah/ Oh badumday oh dum do dum de dooby do/ Oh badumday oh dum do dum de dooby do/ Chomp chomp chomp chomp do-do-do do-do-do/ Bop bop bop bop do-do-do do-do-do

It’s upwards and onwards to Pet Sounds!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Like Punk Never Happened

I heard a Boy George (not your father's Elton John) song this morning and remembered there was a book about him called Like Punk Never Happened: Culture Club and The New Pop. I thought he wrote it but it seems it was from one Dave Rimmer, who writes travel guides. Every time I read that title I groan the groan of the consummately annoyed. Culture Club and Duran Duran were in a hot race to see who could destroy new wave as a viable music form. Culture Club was to punk what fish are to bicycles. When you put punk and Culture Club in the same sentence the universe should collapse into an infinite mass. Or something. Like punk never happened....oy....

Thankfully Publishers Weekly hated the book. There's hope for the universe yet:

Rimmer intends here to compare English New Pop bands of the '80s with their predecessors, the punk rockers. Although he documents the lessons New Pop musicians learned from the punk bands (more artistic control, better business acumen), he rarely quotes from the punk movement about the new bands. Likewise Rimmer is strangely silent about Culture Club, with whom he traveled during a tour of Japan. Apparently he conducted no extensive interview with Boy George and did not get cooperation from other members of the band. In the end his comments are limited to his own observations and a few other similarly limited ones from others. A typical statement comes from promoter Miles Copeland, who defines New Pop by saying, "We're not in the music business. We're in the commodity business."

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Patti Smith Made Queen Of France

Earlier today Patti Smith was presented the insignia of Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters by French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres in Paris. Good for her.

The AP Article noted "The ministry, in a statement, noted Smith's appreciation for 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud..." That's when my eyes rolled like a broken slot machine. Arthur Rimbaud: history's prime example of the artist as consummate asshole. I think people worship him because he was an asshole just as more people prefer Charles Bukowski as a degenerate drunk.

Rimbaud was a sadistic bully. He stabbed someone at a poetry reading and, as gloriously recounted by Smith herself, urinated on a poet because he didn't like the work. Later on he skipped town after committing murder and then ran guns and traded slaves. A real lovely person whose poetry absolves him in the eyes of his fans. The art world allows itself a great number of get out of jail free cards.

In 2003 Paris made Mumia Al-Jamal an honorary citizen. When that happened my eyes didn't roll but I did urinate on a french roll. At least Patti didn't stand over a policeman and shoot him dead, so I'm glad the French have upped their standards. If you think the French didn't think Mumia killed the cop, think again. He was given the honor because they thought he did. You do things like that when your role in the world is duplicitous coward.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Review: Crimewave VHS

In 1985, between Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, Sam Raimi directed Crimewave from a script by pals Ethan and Joel Coen. It died quickly and it was rumored Raimi and the Coens pretended Crimewave never existed. I don't know why because it's one funny ass film.

Raimi's cut was rejected and edited by the studio to make it less extreme and more widely appealing. Raimi rated his cut a C and the final cut a D. Oh, what I'd give to see the director's cut.

Crimewave is Blood Simple meets the Three Stooges in Detroit. The IMDB description sums it up quickly, "A pair of whacked-out cartoon-like exterminator/hitmen kill the owner of a burglar-alarm company, and stalk the partner who hired them, his wife, and a nerd framed for the murder, who tells the story in flashback from the electric chair." If this sounds like your kinda fun you should seek this out.

Bruce Campbell , more god than man, was rejected by the studio for the lead and ended up in a bit part. Reed Birney plays Vic Ajax and I think he's great. I can't imagine Campbell being effective in the part because Vic is a meek, small character. Sheree J. Wilson, a staple on Dallas and Walker Texas Ranger, plays the love interest. Louise Lasser is the biggest name attached to the film and she's very game to go through all the physical abuse.

The true stars of the show are b-movie legend Brion James and man-mountain Paul L. Smith, the exterminators who "kill all sizes". James' voice is a squeak and Smith's is Kermit the Frog as a deep baritone. The cigarrettes in the glove compartment bit should be taught in film schools as a textbook example of sadistic comedy. James laughs in agony while Smith laughs in evil pleasure. The laws of comedy physics dictate it doesn't get any better than that.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London's Burning

When I read about the horrific terrorist bombings in London this morning I became angry at the murderers who did this and their defenders who will surely blame this not on the people who did it but the countries at the front lines of stopping these monsters. Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, The Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabi scumfuggs are the most illiberal entities in the known universe yet are defended and even encouraged by liberals. Why? I have no idea. If conservatives are hateful than liberals are just insane.

The far left sometimes speak of Islamofascists like they're the Sand Amish, diverted from their peaceful, organic lives of art and culture by the intrusion of evil capitalistic imperialism. As if their stated agenda of world sublimation is just words. Then in their fantasies they think of Islamofascists as the army that will kill everyone they hate: jocks, Christians, rednecks, the bathed and the good looking. As if the Taliban will spare the NPR crowd from total religious submission out of gratitude. As if.

The Reasonable Man Theory does not apply to people who kill their own daughters for being raped. You can't negotiate with people who love death more than you love life. You can be a coward and give in to terrorists, assuming they will stop once they get what they want, but what if they won't stop no matter what? Read their literature and listen to their words. Yasser Arafat often admitted he didn't mean anything he said in English. In English he said peace and in Arabic he demanded perpetual war. The left knew this but said nothing. Why? They love war as long as the right people get killed.

At a leftist site today I came across the comment "Violence begats violence", one of those sayings that's only true and relevant when it's true and relevant. like Neitzsche's "That which does not kill you makes you stronger." When the oft stated goal of your enemy is to kill you then only violence will stop them from killing you. Peace is a word used mostly by children, cowards and nihilistic psychopaths. Excuse me when I laugh at a rich American supporter of Bin Laden who speaks of peace.

The new and improved GOPVixen understands, "This is a war of attrition. This is a war the next generation will fight. This is a global war with no front, no capital, no flag to capture, and no end in sight -- at least in my lifetime. And what happened in London today was just another battle."

I'm always amazed when I'm accused of being conservative when I write like this. Al-Qaeda and their ilk want to destroy liberalism. They imprison women in burkas and force men to grow beards. These people have no sense of irony and nuance. It's all black and white. There will be no punk rock or freedom of anything when the enemy of your enemy marches down your street victoriously. Only an endless hell that'll make you long for the days when all you had to worry about were jocks laughing at you and Christians proselytzing on street corners.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Review: The Futureheads - self-titled cd

I can't think of a more fun band to come from the new angular movement than Sunderland, England's Futureheads. Their self-titled cd was produced by Gang Of Four's Andy Gill, but to say this sounds like Gang Of Four would be a mistake, especially compared to other bands. The Rosetta Stone for this is XTC's White Music and GO2, albums that have grown in importance years after their release. You can throw in The Jam for good measure.

Barry Hyde sometimes sings like Robert Smith, but these guys sound Scottish or something. "Don't" comes out as "Dough'nt" and "Rust" is "Roost". I'm from New York so I haven't a clue. There's not a weak track to be found, my favorites being "Le Garage", "A To B" and "Man Ray". The songs generate infectious energy. I lost the track listing but a slow one sounds like Al Stewart, he of "Time Passages" and "Year Of The Cat".

I highly recommend this to all you new wave hipster doofus maroons out there in blogtown.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

John Belushi: Unsung Hero Of The Punk Rock

John Belushi (real name: John Belushi) was a huge punk rock fan, especially of The Dead Boys and Fear. Before his death in 1982 he was talking of starring as a journalist in a film about punk. He played drums for a benefit show for Dead Boys drummer Bobby Blitz at New York's CBGB's and held as a condition for appearing on the Halloween, 1981 episode of Saturday Night Live that Fear be the musical guest. For the film Neighbors he wanted Fear on the soundtrack so he blasted Fear in the executive offices and jumped on the furniture.

The songs Fear played on SNL were"Beef Bologna", "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones", "Let's Have a War" and "I Don't Care About You." Skins and punks, some from DC (Ian says he and Henry were there) slammed, trashed and naughty words were spoken. There was a quick cut to commercial.

Fear's Spit Stix wrote that "In 1982 I produced demos written by FEAR and John Belushi for the movie Neighbors with Belushi singing. The final tracks were produced by Steve Croppa and vocal coached by Lee Ving and Mick Jagger, but were never used as Belushi passed away before its' release".

Monday, July 04, 2005

Family Guy: Episode 4-6 update

Only one of the first three was great and the same applies in this batch. "Don't Make Me Over" was pretty good while "The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire" and "Petarded" were only fair.

I honestly think Seth MacFarlane has lost it. I see a bunch of raw hatred where they was once mostly over-the-top humor. Lines are being crossed now because I think MacFarlane has a vengeful attitude towards what was censured last time. Quagmire is a toilet freak who sleeps with his good friend's wife? Brian hits on Megan like Quagmire did years ago? Lois pulls down her pants to be spanked, Brian spanks her and nobody reacts? Family Guy was never great because it had no rules. It was great because it had rules but broke them with hysterical and often subdued bits.

I swear, MacFarlane would make every episode a version of The Aristocrats if he could just to be a prick.

Review: Crippled Masters

Do they still have tv like Kung Fu Action Double Feature? I spent many Saturday afternoons watching the worst of the worst Hong Kong martial arts, at or below Ocean Shores quality. In the 80s Ocean Shores Video flooded the burgeoning American video store market with cheap and worthless martial arts films, suppressing the desire for and availability of the good stuff for years. 1982's Crippled Masters would have been just another crapper if it wasn't also the most bizarre movie ever!

These two reviews will give you all you need to know: wak! bam! There's also one called Crippled Avengers but it doesn't feature a real paraplegic and a man born with no right arm and a small left flipper/hand. Oh no, it don't.

Crippled Masters has all the social cruelty, training sadism and misplaced maniacal laughter you expect, and it's definitely an unblinking exploitation of the handicapped, but these two men are also super handi-capable and working instead of feeling sorry for themselves.

When you see the one running with his hands you can't but think of Freaks, which brings up another point. Freak Shows (here's another) from the 1840s to 1950s were a travesty of cruelty but also the only way these people could both make a living and not be alone. When do-gooders shut down the shows for the sake of the performers they also took away their lives.

Crippled Masters features good fighting of the 1 stop, 2 stop, 3 stop school, which allows you to digest the techniques, and the armless guy is really good twirling a bamboo staff. The dubbing is good and nobody has an old west gunslinger accent. One villain looks like Yul Brenner and Tor Johnson and the evil master has an iron hump for a back and a rubber burn scar on his face.

The film opens with the one eventual hero getting his arms chopped off. It seems to hurt him for about 10 seconds. Don't you just quickly die from a loss of blood? The other one gets his legs burned with acid. Since there were no wheelchairs (I guess) the actor had crossed his tiny legs to get them out of the way so he could walk with his arms. The scene of him choking a man with his leg is unnerving.

The best line was "You again? Hmmm. Well, you don't seem to like living very much."

In 1992 The Residents produced a major work called Freak Show, and this line applies to a film like Crippled Masters, a film you see only once and you don't know what you should be feeling while you do:

Everyone comes to the Freak Show/ To laugh at the Freaks and the Geeks/ Everyone comes to the Freak Show/ But nobody laughs when they leave.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Review: Hanson Brothers - My Game

2003's My Game was the third and hopefully not last Hanson Brothers cd. The title and cover are a rip on Black Flag's My War. The sound is Ramones-based pop-punk and the themes are hockey, women and beer, in that order. The Hanson Brothers is a side project of NoMeansNo, and I have no idea if they exist anymore either.

That out of the way, the Hanson Brothers have to be on any thinking person's list of best pop-punk bands. 1992's Gross Misconduct is the sentimental favorite that nobody can deny. 1999's Sudden Death saw a slight move towards the eclecticity of NoMeansNo, and while it's a little less 1,2,3 Go! than their debut it's also a great record. "Can't Hide The Heino" and its cousin "I'll Ask The 8-Ball" are classics. Sudden Death and My Game are equally good, the latter being maybe a bit more solid.

The song "My Game" has a breakdown that sounds like The Descendents/All. "They Made her Mine" steals the riff from Alternative TV's "Action, Time and Vision". There's a phenomenal cover of Maxine Nightingale's hit "Right Back Where We Started From", here titled "Get It Right Back". I read the original was used in Slapshot so that's why it's here. The funniest tunes are "100 + 10%" and "Honey I'm Home".

You won't find a better polycarbonate plastic coated with a much thinner layer of super purity aluminium than this.