Wednesday, 22 December 2010
AN XMAS NOTE TO Y'ALL via TOM WAITS' BLUE VALENTINE (and a vague link to Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams)
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Friday, 10 December 2010
In the decade between 1966 and 1976, 150 000 jobs were lost along London’s dockyards. With them so was a thousand years of history. A way of life, a work force and a community that has now more or less vanished from the public eye and conscious. The Docklands areas of east London were home to the largest port and trading places in the world, and the men and woman who lived and worked on the ships and the docks not only provided the infrastructure that created the wealth and power of Britain but also were integral in creating a sense of place and community that shaped the national identity. In The Rime of The Modern Mariner film makers Mark Donne, Joe Morris and Anthony Rossomando have created a documentary that draws light to this lost world of Dockers and Sailors, showing the colourful past and the barely skeletal remains of an industry that literally made Britain the (Great) modern nation it has become.
Narrated by The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things front man Carl Barat, The Rime of The Modern Mariner opens with fast and lyrical retailing of characters that roamed the East End dockyards. This then leads to perhaps the film’s most vital aspect. The men of the Stepney Dockers Social Club are nearly all that’s left of a link to the past that was so quickly demolished and built upon. These men tell their stories with amazing coherence and pride, this is amplified by the unspoken stories that are there to see in the old men’s faces. Yet this is mixed with a sense of anger, that the world they new and the communities that lived in and forged were taken from them. Their way of life and their skills were made redundant by forces that were out of their control.
The modern age and the fully encompassing assault of globalisation, has changed the east end of London in such a way as to render it almost unrecognizable to how it formally was. The film takes the viewer on trip on the Dockland’s Light Railway, through Canary Wharf and the other glass corporate tower blocks and sky scrappers that have replaced the once vibrant and integral area of London’s docklands. A stark reminder of how quickly the world has changed throughout the last century.
The second half of the film is about the modern day dock workers and the maritime trade. About 90% of all imports to Britain are still from shipped sources. But the role of the dock workers, the sailors and the ships have changed dramatically and (paradoxically) even though there is more trade than before there are fewer jobs in this dwindling industry, as technology leaves manual labour redundant and what labour there is sent overseas.
The filmmakers, to their credit, handle the history, stories and emotions of the film with great restraint and respect for the subject. Mostly letting the subjects speak for themselves, unedited and honest. Joe Morris and Mark Donne’s images of the lost dock world work in wonderful conjuncture with the close up interviews of the old men who’s creased, worn faces echo the weather beaten forgotten landmarks that still remain, hidden in plain view, around London’s east end. Anthony Rossomando’s subtle and haunting soundtrack, fused with sounds he recorded from ships and dockyards, captures the mood perfectly and fall right in place with the imagery. Made on almost no money, edited and scored in a bedroom and sourced through blagging and perseverance, the film is also a remarkable achievement of guerrilla filmmaking in its own right.
There is an overwhelming sadness throughout this The Rime of The Modern Mariner. It is a demonstration of the soullessness of globalisation and corporate take over. The last laments of the old and dying Dockers are a powerful reminder what the world was like not that long ago and realisation of how quickly things change. But of course things have to change, and as D.H Lawrence said, ‘when things change, something is lost’. Change and loss are inevitable, and whilst this is a sad aspect to life, it is integral to it.
And perhaps it is because of this that The Rime of The Modern Mariner is such an engaging and important film, because it is a vital record of the past, a past that may not need to be sought after, but that should always be remembered.
Monday, 6 December 2010
Imagine in your mind a posh country club
The stuffy old money where the poor get snubbed
The spread is bland sauerkraut and boiled goose
There's no way these people will ever cut loose
But then I walk in the room, hold my boombox high
And what happened next, will blow your mind
Everything got outta control
The music was so entrancing
Everyone got out on the floor
It was a bunch of old white people dancing
[The Lonely Island]
Now picture if you will a bunch of business men
Stuffed in the boardroom like pigs in a pen
The ties around the necks are like a hangman's noose
In the middle of the table there's a boiled goose
The old people smell makes you want to puke in the sink
These dudes will never dance yeah that's what you think
I stride in the room all young and hip
Hold up my boombox and say listen to this
Then everyone started to move
People rejoiced instead of financing
Your preconcieved notions were shattered
By the super old white people dancing
[The Lonely Island]
The big apple, where people never dance
Spirits go down while profits expand
The cops or the dealers, who's got the juice
The street vendors peddling their boiled goose
So many types of people will never get along
Till I bust out my boombox and play this song
The music washed away all the hate
And society started advancing
Every demographic was represented
It was a rainbow coalition of dancing
Everyone was wearing fingerless gloves
I saw a Spanish guy doing the Bartman
[The Lonely Island]
Transport now to an old folks home
Where the elderly are tossed on their brittle bones
The orderlies are stealing there's no excuse
Everyday for lunch they eat boiled goose
So I grabbed my boombox and hit the turbo bass
And what happened next was a total disgrace
Everybody started having sex
The music was way too powerful
A bunch of old people fucking like rabbits
It was disgusting to say the least
A boombox can change the world
You gotta know your limits with a boombox
This was a cautionary tale
A boombox is not a toy
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Thursday, 25 November 2010
A black comedy from Finland about Santa Clause is a seemingly bizarre concept. And the result is really bizarre movie. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is this, and it is awesome! Set the cold, cold Korvantunturi Mountains in northern Finland scientists are setting off explosions on a mountain. Soon enough the local inhabitants starts noticing weird stuff going down, livestock is massacred, children go missing….ears get bitten off!. This reminds one small boy of the real legend of Santa Claus, not the ‘Coca-Cola’ version. When the boy’s father accidentally captures the real Santa in a baited trap, the real version of Christmas reveals its real darkness.
Rare Exports is by far one of the weirdest mainstream films of recent times. A wonderfully original idea, that fuses a unique sense of comedy with action and family drama in way that is largely unparalleled. There are nods to 80s adventure films like ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Poltergiest’, there is an air of young Spielberg at work making kids action films with a dark twist, but Rare Exports might take a little from these types of films and makes its own out of them. It can’t be easy to make a film that is laugh out loud funny and genuinely creepy and keep that balance without one eventually rendering the other void, but this film achieved it consistently. On leaving the cinema a woman from Finland (many native Fins attended and were very enthusiastically vocal throughout) asked me if I ‘got’ the Finnish humor. I think I did, but what I think I ‘got’ most was discovering that this movie was not pandering to any Hollywood type of Christmas, or more to the point what a comedy, action, horror movie should be. Rare Exports will hopefully usher in more unique mainstream movies from other cultures that will as equally and as boldly and as entertainingly showcase themselves.
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
‘From Inner Space To Outta Space’ @ The Duke of York’s Picture House
The Duke of York’s Picture House cinema is hundred years old and the September they celebrated what movie going was like back in 1910. But on the night of December 10th it’s heading straight for the future…but in a retro 60s, sci-fi, psychedelic kind of way (often the only way to go).
The Simonsound will be bringing live rescoring to old 60s sci-fi TV shows, being projected on the big screen (real 16mm stuff), the night will also include a psychedelic projected light show and a live mix by DJ Format.
The Simonsound’s first album Reverse Engineering has been championed by Radio 1’s Giles Peterson, and the show at the Duke’s promise to be the full, visceral experience. Their live set mixes analogue synthesisers, space echo, tape loops, Debbie Clare on vocals and Laura J Martin on vocals, flute and mandolin. A strong visual element is provided by a montage of 50’s and 60’s science, science fiction, psychedelic and space exploration footage. The film screenings will Timelash - a trippy episode of 60’s sci-fi TV series UFO; Space Place – a 60’s psychedelic trip into space with electronic sound; and Kosmodron R. 1999, a wry comic Eastern European animation on the vicissitudes of space flight.
Ian Helliwell will be providing a multi-projector light show to accompany the live music and there will also be special DJ set from DJ Format who will be leaving his old school hip-hop, funk and soul aside and bringing out some of the weirdest and and most unusually pysch rock rarities that you wish you’d been hearing all your life.
This is shaping up to be an awesome night displaying the power and immensity of music and image, fusing old and new, retro and prog(o?) with a spaced out trippy feel that everyone craves on a Friday night! Don’t miss out!
Get tickets at the Duke’s website
This is the best late birthday present I ever got...straight from Owl Farm, Woody Creek. Home of the good doctor!
Thanks Flora! x
Gonzo journalism is a style of reporting based on William Faulkner's idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism -- and the best journalists have always known this. True gonzo reporting needs the talents of a master journalist, the eye of an artist/photographer and the heavy balls of an actor. Because the writer must be a participant in the scene, while he's writing it -- or at least taping it, or even sketching it. Or all three. Probably the closest analogy to the ideal would be a film director/producer who writes his own scripts, does his own camera work and somehow manages to film himself in action, as the protagonist or at least a main character.
Monday, 15 November 2010
Saturday, 13 November 2010
With fifteen cans of spray paint in a chemical swirl
She's standing in the ashes at the end of the world
Four winds blowing through her hair...
Thursday, 11 November 2010
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
The Agitator - GIve Me All That You Got
Oh yeah oh yeah!...We (at the Duke of York's) have finally got our Jurassic Park screening sorted!...
Thursday, 4 November 2010
Alfred Hitchcock, Luis Bunuel, Fritz Lang, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese...Gaspar Noe!