Posted: July 29, 2008 in Uncategorized

Just from flicking around the usual places today (and a few unusual ones) I would like to note that if I had 140 comments on a fucking post, I don’t care how egomaniacal it might be, I would be absolutely delighted. Very uncool of me.
I think for those of us that have not been blogging for years and years, we want as many people as possible reading/enjoying/hating the stuff we write, don’t we?
Of course you write for yourself as a starting point but who doesn’t want others to take a peek? Goes for anyone who writes I suppose…no matter what the medium may be. 140 comments? Jaysus. And even that’s not much compared to the stuff written after Charlie Brooker had his 9/11 piece put in the Comment is Free section of the Guardian.

The Dark Knight

Posted: July 24, 2008 in Uncategorized
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The ‘reimagining’ of the Batman franchise continues with this black, bleak, typically dystopian, chaotic masterwork, The Dark Knight.
With a script penned by his brother Jonathan, Christopher Nolan has fashioned a modern crime saga that displays its comic foundations proudly and takes all the best things about smart summer blockbusters and makes them even better.
The key, firstly, is to provide a decent story and script. Then get yourself a rock solid cast. Then ramp the action up to 11 and keep the violence ultra and the editing fast.
It seems redundant for me to point out that Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker is astounding, not least because this jars so strongly with his last outstanding performance which was one of heart-wrenching quietness and poignancy as Ennis in Brokeback Mountain. Ledger brings to this role a physical and personal transformation so convincing, I effectively forgot it was an acting performance and bought into the character entirely from the outset.
His vocal stylings owe a little to Jack Lemmon, with his deliberate, whiny Middle American drawl and his hunched posture, ragged face and scar-licking lizard tongue only serve to heighten an absolute tour-de-force display as the script gives him all the best lines and he makes the most of every chance to play the creepy, anarchistic headcase. There is no sadness here and the idea that the Joker role may have been a factor in his mind’s state at the time of his death is absurd – he clearly relished the acting role and Christian Bale, in interviews, has said as much. This role is any talented actor’s dream – an opportunity to really make a mark in a massive film.
As always, there will be detractors moaning about bits and pieces but people need to remember this is based on a comic so quibbles about ‘reality’ and ‘that is impossible’ should be fucked into the bin.
Comic books people, comic books.
This is more of a hyper-reality that looks at major themes in society: terrorism, politics and vigilantism, among others, and does a decent job of it.
And Eric Roberts gets a part too? Genius. And as with any summer blockbuster, it is unbelievably entertaining – from the Michael Mann-esque opening bank heist to the truck/van road chase set-piece to the huge laughs Ledger generates with just the words ‘Yeah’ and, later, ‘Hi’.
Yes yes it’s a fraction too long and the whole Two-Face thing (that’s not a spoiler if you’ve read any reviews)is a little unnecessary but it doesn’t matter.
This is the future of the blockbuster. Everyone else needs to pay attention.

Give them a chance at least

Posted: July 19, 2008 in Uncategorized
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It appears that in the UK, it is common practice to have children adopted by parents of the same ethnic background and to try and stop children of differing ethnic backgrounds to prospective parents from being allowed to go ahead with the adoption process.
It also seems that the majority of children waiting for adoptive parents are mostly non-Caucasians.
Is this really what this shitty world needs? Non-white children having to wait for non-white parents or vice versa? Idiocy. Ethnicity and an idea of ethnic identity is important, yes. A child from a particular culture should be made aware of their ethnic background, some later than others, but in adoption cases surely the priority is that the children are found a loving family as soon as possible to avoid the horrible circle of foster care and being stuck in ‘homes’.
If parents are vetted and want to adopt a child to offer a loving home environment, does it really matter what fucking colour anyone’s skin is? Are there not enough problems in this world without perpetuating this kind of myopic bullshit before a kid even has a chance at a family life?
My aunt and uncle adopted two Chinese children years ago and they now both have the lives of young Americans approaching their teen years with an adoring mother and father in a cool little surfing town about an hour from San Fran. They were adopted from a Chinese orphanage when they were very young;one when she was 2, as far as I remember and the other when she was not even a year old. They were found under a bridge and in a field, respectively. Without being adopted they might still be living in a dingy Chinese orphanage where the lives they now have would only ever be seen on television programmes or read in books. Do you think I give a shit what colour the skin of their parents is, or what colour their skin is? Should anyone? I remember them coming to the shops in Galway with me years ago when they were visiting and introducing them to a friend as my little cousins, because thank Christ that is what they are. Things could really have been so different for them. I’m not sure of Irish rules and regulations regarding any of this but I sincerely hope that ethnicity is not a factor for any part of the adoption process.
Hippy as it may sound, love is the only factor that should matter. Racism is a serious problem and life can be difficult enough for a child, but life can be shit for children regardless of race. At least give them a chance of love at home before you start deciding how the rest of their lives will turn out.

Gig Hard 2: Gig Harder

Posted: July 18, 2008 in Uncategorized
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For a while it has seemed that gigs in the capital city had taken a break of sorts. There was a time a few months ago (I think it was around the time No Age played Whelans) when there was at least 56 gigs a week for 2 months straight. I tried to blag as many as possible and it worked out well enough but fuck me by the end of it I was more tired than a Guardian reader at a horticultural & organic produce market doing a weekly shop.
And now the gigs are back. Back hard.
Tonight you could go to Ministry (Tripod, supported by the legendary Giveamanakick) or Johann Johannson in Grand Canal’s CHQ building.
Tomorrow you should only be going to Analog’s Efterklang/Tortoise/Liars triple whammy deluxe, although you also have Silje Nes in Grand Canal Square or Ministry in Tripod to pop along to if you can bear missing an Efterklang show. Monday sees electronic buzz-makers Storkboy Choons at the Byoom Byoom Ryoom.
Tuesday is Jim White in the Suicra Club.
Wednesday is Antics (if you have the chutzpah to brave it, old man/woman) with New Amusement playing.
Thursday is crackers coz it’s the fucking Butthole Surfers (I’ll be naked at the front) or Dry County if you like (and by ‘if you like’ I mean ‘why are you not at the Buttholes to sing along with Cough Syrup??’).
You could then round it all off with a dose of Robotnik (who was great supporting Laura Marling a few weeks ago) who graces Crawdaddy on Friday with his skills.
So there you have it: a gig plan for the week (for those of you in Dublin).
I’m off to grow a moustache and sprinkle fairy dust on my winkle-pickers for the Efterklang gig and then sacrifice some doe-eyed baby animals for the imminent industrial aural molestation of the Buttholes. I’ll squeeze everything else in too, if possible.
Enjoy it. And a shout out to Brendan who asked me to mention him in this post.

Me mate Cha, currently residing in Engerland, had some stuff to get off his chest and i have kindly given him a place to do so in the public domain. The following rant may contain violence and/or sexual swearwords so your children may want to leave the room. Take it away, Dr Hook:

I don’t go to that many gigs but those I do go to tend to be towards the heavier end of the scale and in bigger venues (1000s of people), so my experiences may be particular to this type of situation but I’m sure these archetypes are common, in some form, to other type venues and shows and I’m sure all shows share some version of the sage, chin-stroking, aloof muso.
Having been to a show last night I experienced again the various joys of spending time in close proximity to these folks but last night I encountered a new beast, some godawful cunt who needed a good dig. He and his girlfriend had gotten right to the barrier and so about 4 ft from the stage. He was over 6ft tall but standing on the slight riser in front of the barrier stood about 6ft 5. He wanted to make sure his girlfriend was ok, no harm there, but insisted, physically, that he should have enough space to lean back arms fully extended. That in itself was irritating; as it was, I didn’t reach his armpits height-wise and couldn’t move for the crush and so was trapped. That’s all very normal but the killer was his insistence on dancing in the manner he did. Pogoing was fine but this lad ‘needed’ to swing his hips from side to side and front to back in such a violently thrusting manner that it looked to all that he was trying to dry-ride his girlfriend over the final hurdle and over the finish line somewhere around the drum kit. My nipples were effectively getting a very unwelcome and belligerent lap dance.
Now, I see barrier as a privileged position and saw this as a cake and eat it situation. If you want to mosh, join the pit. If you’re in a desperate crush, stop being a cunt and have a bit of consideration. And whatever you do, do not try to impose yourself physically and loom aggressively over my girlfriend when she, with her elbow, prevents herself being hit in the face with your shoulder for the second time. Trying to intimidate her will only get your ankles hacked and heels stamped on (by her), and your ‘I’m looking for Garland’s beach’ ¾ length cotton pants and flip flops won’t offer much protection.
But that situation did offer an opportunity to engage with a quite common, benign and amiable gig fixture, the fellow punter with whom you can share a shrug and a mouthed ‘what the fuck’ or ‘twat’ when encountering the likes of hipshaker guy.
Further to that there were a couple of the other regulars in attendance; most a pain, some quietly satisfying.
Firstly, the teenager: the one aching for the classic heckler putdown ‘I remember my first beer too’ (or spliff or pill or whatever). You know the type: determined to elbow spines, kick legs and spill beers and that’s before the music even starts. They often segue into the type who needs to talk to their mates about what’s happening right now on stage lest you be able to actually hear for yourself. This vision appeared last night in his best shirt, Corey Haim spikes and single earring, sporting dinner plate pupils and a drunken stagger.
Then there’s the ‘sweet’ couple (she standing in front of him with his arms wrapped around her), intent on reminding each other that this (every) song is their song and they need to lean far apart to be able to see each other without breaking the love grip and then chew each other’s faces off in that teenage fashion.
The people with the rucksack – what the fuck? A while back I stood in front of people who came to the show with a suitcase, a fucking suitcase. It was on the floor placed perfectly so that if I swayed backwards in the slightest its edge got me in that point at the back of the knees that made your legs immediately buckle. Cunts.
Cameras and camera phones. I’m going to write a conference paper about this at some point, Sontag and Benjamin will be invoked, but this one does for some have a pro as well as a con. For shorter people (like me) there is the opportunity to use others’ digital cameras as a kind of periscope. But why do people insist on leaning callously across others’ faces, repeatedly, elbow in their face, to get a shot; especially when it’s a blurry, unidentifiable mess? (I know the answer to this, and it’s profane).
On the other side, aside from the amiable fellow punter, the only stalwart of merit that comes to mind right now is that perennial metal fan. These bastions of metal sense turn up in their sleeveless black t shirts and metal tattoos. One part benign sentinel one part ghost dog thing (Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters not Forrest Whitaker) they dispense pit justice, look after cute rock chicks and stand arms crossed seemingly unmoved by any of it. (note: typically this is at a show somewhere lower on the aggression/noise level than Slayer or the ilk, as when that’s part of the equation all bets are off).
My first, and most impressive, opportunity to witness this phenomenon was years ago at a gig in France. The venue was half full and some ‘my first beer’ was taking the opportunity offered by all the space to run 30 feet or so and jump knees and elbows up into the backs of the row of people at the back (This was before the band had started too). On his fourth or fifth sortie he passed close to two metalheads: mullets, sleeveless Slayer/Metallica shirts and Sepultura and assorted generic metal tattoos. Without turning his head the guy closest to him, at the perfect moment, threw his arm out and caught him with an immaculate clothes line. The kid’s head stopped but legs kept going, upwards. It was a perfect Brad Pitt in Snatch, hanging horizontally for a split second, lay him out connection. Mullet man resumed his conversation with his friend seemingly oblivious to the damage he had so righteously wrought.
So that’s a few of the ‘types’. I know there are plenty more, both completely different specimens and hybrids of the above. Off the top of my head there’s the I-indicate –I-want-to-get-past-you-but-then-decide-to-stop-in-front-of-you prick, far worse for those of us of short stature; actually come to think of it most people of a taller disposition (say 5ft10 ½ plus), are unwittingly annoying for me by virtue of their innate view of the stage blocking ability. Not to mention the talk-through-the-quieter-parts-or-actually-take/make-a-call people.

Evolution: the proof is on the buses

Posted: July 7, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I used to have the unbridled joy of getting a nice bus to work in the mornings. It was a delightful journey, passing up George’s Street, through Camden Street, Terenure, Templeogue and the leafy ‘burbs. On a sunny day the birds would flock to the window and nuzzle up against them, poking chewy toffees through the window for the smiling passengers to nibble on. The driver would pat me gently on the behind as I swooshed past him to take my seat.
I no longer get that bus.
Thanks to moving house (admittedly my meals have improved considerably since I moved in with my expert chef girlfriend Sinead) I now must ride a darker beastie altogether. This is a bus that farts and belches its way through the ominously stinkier parts of Baile Atha Cliath. It’s grim grim grim all the way to my destination and often features the kind of Neanderthal, staring primates you are surely all too familiar with. These are the ones who are genetically predisposed to chatting to you if it’s just you and them upstairs. Earphones are a ‘please talk to me’ distress signal. They shift in their seats, looking into everyone’s po-faced fisogs, playing tinny techno from their phones and hoping you will say something/anything to them.
Christ it’s like school sometimes.
Today I got the gimp in the seat in front who turned fully around, on a packed bus, to eyeball myself and my seat mate. I played the ‘looking intently out the window’ game expertly. Usually these fiends jump off the bus as quickly as they have jumped on and invariably you see them running nimbly from the bus when they alight – there’s always some pressing engagement they’ve been yapping loudly about on their phones before disembarking.
Anyway, I shouldn’t bang on too much. Nothing has happened yet, but I could be just a stare away..
In other news, check out Christopher Hitchens getting waterboarded for a Vanity Fair piece. Disagree as I may with some of Hitchens’ political views, the man is a wonderfully intellectual writer with a scary knowledge of history and a formidable constitution for the sauce. I’m reading his ‘God is not Great’ book at the moment, hence the mention.
In Big Brother news, for a change, the blind guy is a nightmare. Like a creepy Billy Connolly with a lobotomy and disguised as a student from 1992.
Also, do not go see Kung Fu Panda. Peddling a message that obese fantasists can achieve anything they want if they only belieeeeeeeve strong enough? To kids? Blaaaarrrrggggg, give them Spongebob or Fairly Odd Parents over this, anyday of the week. That aside, it just ain’t funny or clever in the Toy Story/Monsters Inc kind of way.
And finally, check out the Oxegen previews – and indeed my own preview of the New Band Stage for the weekend – over at drop-d
Sorry for this splurge of a post. I’m sure there’s more to mention that I’ve left out. Here’s a bit of Denmark’s Trentemoller anyway. Get his Chronicles discs. Nice dab of glitchy, minimal techno.
Minimal Fox – Trentemoller

Usher should take lessons from Montell

Posted: July 4, 2008 in Uncategorized

Can’t get it to embed but how’s this to get you goin on a Friday?
Got it

An amazing parp

Posted: July 2, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I’ll blog of other events at a later stage but for the moment I’ll tell you of the guy who, last night as I cycled home from Laura Marling (more on that later too), cracked out a stonkingly large fart as I zipped past him.
Hitler would have been proud of his timing. He must have seen me coming, done the quick calculations, decided I would be gone fast enough that he could let it go, let me hear it, smile to himself and I’d be peddled off into the night barely able to remember his face. Sneaky bastard. I wish it had been me. Anyway, if you are reading this, fartlord, I bow to your precision and think you should use your powers for good, not puerile enjoyment. Actually no, keep going the way you are, you talented sonovabitch.

An amazing parp

Posted: July 2, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I’ll blog of other events at a later stage but for the moment I’ll tell you of the guy who, last night as I cycled home from Laura Marling (more on that later too), cracked out a stonkingly large fart as I zipped past him.
Hitler would have been proud of his timing. He must have seen me coming, done the quick calculations, decided I would be gone fast enough that he could let it go, let me hear it, smile to himself and I’d be peddled off into the night barely able to remember his face. Sneaky bastard. I wish it had been me. Anyway, if you are reading this, fartlord, I bow to your precision and think you should use your powers for good, not puerile enjoyment. Actually no, keep going the way you are, you talented sonovabitch.

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

A close friend of mine lost his brother last week in a freak and devastating accident. There is a gang of us – including this friend who has now buried his younger brother – who have been close mates since we started secondary school and the weekend has been a horrible shock. Not having any brothers myself, I see these guys as the equivalent and it meant alot for me – and for us – to be there when one of our group needed the others most.
At the graveside this epitaph of Robert Louis Stevenson’s was read and it rang out perfectly on a gloomy, wet afternoon in the desolate countryside cemetery, so I reprint it here.
Apologies for the change of tone in this post – if it jars a little – but I needed to mark it here, for my own peace of mind if nothing else. Back soon..