Six days before the opening World Cup Netherlands/Serbia and Montenegro match, Leipzig hosts the "self-proclaimed world's biggest Goth festival": Wave-Gotik-Treffen. The BBC reports football fans may put aside any fears they may have at the prospect.
This year's program looks promising with goth superstars Lacrimosa, Nitzer Ebb and VNV Nation featured. Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio are new to me but they sound like they will fit right in. Long-time Flea-fav Lydia Lunch will grace the event (though she is, of course, American and not - as listed - from the UK... perhaps she moved to London or some such).
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Fun fact: The Moon only came into existence approximately six-hundred years ago.
The Eagle Has Landed uses television footage, film and photography to provide an "eye-witness perspective" of the Apollo 11 mission. "Tranquility Base here"... fantastic.
Global warming*: Now with extra itchy Manbearpig!
*I thought we had agreed to call it "climate change".
"It is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilisation. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs."
- Kenneth Clark
I was reading something clever a month or two ago that suggested changes at the BBC, and in British establishment culture, made it unlikely a show like Kenneth Clark's "Civilisation: A Personal View" could be produced today. Yes, Simon Schama's "History of Britain" is thorough, informative and excellent television but it is nonetheless a result of a currently trendy discourse of apology. In these days when all opinions are considered equal Clark's overt dismissal of Marxist historicism is a welcome relief. Here are Art, Truth and Beauty analloyed by doubt or, to be frank, today's all too common knowingness that serves an a substitute for knowing anything in particular (or at all). The Palazzo Ducale, Urbino is more beautiful and has a more human scale than the brute expression of power that is the Tempio Malatestiano. And none of the prevarication that this is only some person's opinion or that the difference only masks the truth of class relations or that we should be more interested in studying, say, a (largely imaginary) women's weaving collective. And certainly no dumbed down Da Vinci Code version of history meant to avoid leaving anyone embarrassed by their ignorance. Bracing stuff.
Which brings me to my own embarrassing ignorance. Until I watched Clark's series I had never heard of Skellig Michael; an obvious Flea redoubt in the long night between the fall of Rome and the new dawn of the Renaissance.
"People sometimes tell me that they prefer barbarism to civilisation. I doubt if they have given it a long enough trial. Like the people of Alexandria, they are bored by civilisation; but all the evidence suggests that the boredom of barbarism is infinitely greater."
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (large file for YouTube).
Yo, welcome to the Flea Casa! A Former Servant of Her Majesty sends on the best Star Trek 2.0 extended bumper yet. Playin' Halo, oh yeah. Well, it should be Halo.
Ok, so I have punked out* on my hypothetical Viking metal band of the future by posting some Coil-inspired "Ghost of a flea" tracks. But Hand of Vecna** is totally my first side project. In the meantime, here is Vintersorg. Kick ass!
**Which is more of a black metal band name now that I think of it. Need to give some thought to something Viking sounding.
Odin Wow! Update: So many nerds. So few nerd women. The odds are stacked against me.
I used to attend a Deleuze reading group at the now long gone Toronto restaurant, Fabulous Nobodies. One night we were on about embodiment and a refusal of narratives of transcendence. I looked up from where I had been following along with a reading at the chap across from me, the fellow responsible for that week's discussion, who was reading aloud a passage from the bottom of the page of the book he was holding.
"Excuse me," I said. And louder again, "Excuse me, but your book is on fire." While the bottom of the page was fine he was holding the top of his book over the flame of a decorative candle. When I say his book was on fire I do not mean smouldering but dancing flame and black smoke. I credit a Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective for noticing the fact. Not so for the Deleuzians. Having taken a stand against structuralist semiosis and having refused a fixed meaning for referands there is little room for irony in Deleuzian discourse. The book was doused and the reading continued.
Oh my. Know I was about to do something. Hmm. Writing, yes, writing something. Hmm. You know, this young lady appears to be missing a boot. A Cinderella opportunity if I have ever seen one.
Classically trained violin prodigy turned pink-haired princess of gothic alternative, Emilie Autumn presents the sound of love, hate, and corsets. In other words, the average Sunday afternoon at Flea Towers. I was recently described as being "old school" myself as it happens. Just saying.
I particularly enjoy "The Art of Suicide" though would take my cyanide with an Earl Grey Cream tea by preference to English Breakfast. It is the small differences that let people get along well, and find each other's boots, in the morning.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Check out Flea-tunes at MySpace!
The extraordinarily glamorous Agent Bedhead posts an unsolicited letter of advice to parfumiers. It seems she is motivated not only by aesthetic rigour and a sense of altruism but by a truckload of celebrity branded waters claiming shelf-space once held by proper perfumes.
In the course of making a case for Francis Bacon as Shakespeare, Paul J. Dupuy offers insights into early cryptology. Though I should confess I had figured out Leonardo Da Vinci's encoded message spelled out "I AM VOLDEMORT" even before I read this.
Rev. Jeffrey Grob, associate vicar for canonical services for the Archdiocese of Chicago and expert in church rituals and the occult, testified in a murder trial involving the grisly death of a nun. Rev. Grob believes details of the murder scene indicate the murderer had "professional knowledge" of church rituals.
None of which bodes well for Rev. Gerald Robinson, on trial for the murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl. Given the gruesome, theatrical detail of this murder I am surprised I am only hearing about it and the trial this morning. We are so used to seeing Christian, and specifically Roman Catholic, imagery and iconography in horror film that I would have thought the appalling detail of this trial would lend itself to broader media interest. I am sorry to say I believe it is too much to hope for a press which would show much forbearance in covering the story.
Pace Rev. Grob's expertise, I think many people have the cultural capital to stage a thoroughly blasphemous murder scene without the formal liturgical training he ascribes to the killer. Not only an informed Catholic layperson but any devoted fan of occult horror film would presumably be au fait with many of the details he outlines. Which leads me to a tangential question: With so much shared theology amongst the three major monotheist religions why is it I have never met a Jewish or Muslim Satanist? It is easy to understand why there are more horror films using Catholic imagery than, say, Methodist. The former's elaborate use of symbol and decoration better lends itself to a visual medium. Still, it seems odd I cannot recall seeing a single Mormon horror film.
Yes, I found Jack Osbourne's self-improvement quest inspirational but Adrenaline Junkie coach Bean Sopwith was even more so. She climbs things, runs marathons, jungle treks and so forth. And yet she retains an aura of mystery due to the striking absence of a BeanSopwith.com! Will be looking out for Extreme Archaeology in the meantime.
Robot Chicken presents Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Catwoman and The Incredible Hulk in their own reality show. Catwoman: I am love you.
TechNewWorld claims that - for teens - MySpace.com is so last year.
For all I know they may be right. But who says this is for teens? In only a few days I have found networks of people who dress up as home-made superheroes, oddball Japanese electronic musicians and aspiring Russian models. I think we can form a consensus on the contribution this makes to the world (especially the last one).
Check out my MySpace Update: MySpace - THE MOVIE! explains the angles.
This is about right.
After the brief Ashwariya Rai scare of a couple days ago, and yesterday's "Ashwariya Rai car crash" traffic spike, it only makes sense to consider Ashwariya Rai at Cannes. Ahh, much better (via Modern Fabulosity who is now "rethinking the whole gay thing").
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Liquid skies Update: Dave Clarke ft. Chicks On Speed with a little Bauhaus twist (hat tip to the Flea's Network Warfare Expert).
Heya all! Dancing stupid is fun. Yeah, I know, DARPA and all that. But this is pretty much what the internet was invented for.
Agent Bedhead describes this Russo-Japanese Little Red Riding Hood adaptation as "utterly bizarre". I think The Forest in Winter is lovely. Until the snack-food ad part when it more or less loses me. Though I am definitely impatient for flavour so they have me there (via Jeff).
Bill thinks these Canterbury University ninja have "totally lame execution" but his kung-fu is so much weaker than my kung-fu that it is difficult to judge how seriously to take his opinion in these matters. I mean, he has 80,000 volts and I have over 2 million volts.
And possibly pirates.
The twentieth anniversary of the Economist's Big Mac index suggests the Canadian dollar is currently slightly over-valued. Much as I had suspected.
Towelroad is calling it "the scent of a metrosexual."
Quite right. At least something like this was on my mind when I rushed to the Instinct display at Shoppers Drug Mart (where they do an excellent deal on whole milk in the grocery section). I am sorry to report the cologne is an inoffensive citrous-based affair with nothing in particular to commend it to me.* That said, the packaging is impressive with the first magnetic stopper I have encountered. I was also pleased to note a horizontal wrinkle across Beckham's forehead. A figure of lesser stature might have been tempted to PhotoShop that sort of thing into non-existence.
*Instinct is a concoction of orange, mandarin, Italian bergamot and white amber fragrances; presumably synthetic. Not for me. I wear Penhaligon's Love Potion No.9 whose top notes of hand-squeezed bergamot, orange, lemon and mandarin, while a superficially similar list, are offset by sandalwood and vetiver as well as amber in the base notes. It is a totally different product not only for this choice of base scents but because Penhaligon's uses proper ingredients. I would be astonished if Beckham ever wore his own branded product by Coty.
Yes, there was the time his team - and those Indian airforce pilots - risked their lives to save him and he would like to think people would stop to save him again and he understands there are moral issues here and hobbling over a dying man to get to the summit of Everest might make it a "hollow victory" thereby harshing his buzz BUT Climbing Everest is "an egotistical thing to do."
Not to worry, Stephen Venables. After reading this nasty little screed I would not piss on you if you were on fire.
While K-Punk is probably not the enthusiastic New Labour voter I have been, his writing is always interesting. Loving this Predator analogy:
Though to put a Lacanian gloss on a Derridean Marxism; it is the Predator trophy hall which is the dream reflection of the BM. He also has the neocons confused with the theocons in the next bit. Neocons are less interested in seeing women "back in the kitchen" than in seeing women in Condi Rice power boots.
"Meet these girls from your area!" is what the ad said. But when I clicked through was Radie 25/f anywhere to be found? She was not. I should have been made suspicious by the Lara Croft outfit. But one lives in hope.
I want to point out that photo is technically safe for work, btw. Especially in Canada. Besides this is news.
11:14 a.m. Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai has been killed in a car crash. This is very sad news (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea).
So far all I am looking at is a "breaking" report from BBC Report (Global) and nothing yet on the Google news aggregator. Some bad spelling here so this is a possible hoax (let us hope). Will update here as news comes in.
11:23 a.m. The story has been picked up by Global Associated News. Not an obviously reputable source. "(did someone get you with a fake story? - it's just a joke!)"
This is somebody's idea of a joke. Not funny.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Dorkafork's 24 historical series continues with 2401: A Jack Odyssey.
That's Royale Battle, surely.
According to Steve Martin, writing is especially easy in California.
Say what you like about MySpace but there is some amazing culture happening out there. For example, Unemployed Skeletor (with pink slip fist action!!!). You would never get that on the regular internets.
Check out the Flea at MySpace!
Dita Von Teese is to perform striptease for the Beckhams. Not so much news as a visual image, I admit.
This really is a masterpiece so I am going to play it again. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Check out the Flea at MySpace!
At first glance robotic tentacles seem like a very bad idea future-of-the-human-species-wise. But if you factor in the potential Dr. Octopus-suits it is a fair trade.
My favourite idiot conspiracy theory about September 11, 2001 was related to me by a self-described aviation expert. She claimed to have calculated the flight times for USAF F-19s from their bases and determined a shoot-down order must have been executed against Flight 93. Sadly, I doubt the fact that F-19s do not exist dented her belief in her expertise once said fact was pointed out to her. Even so, I hope she had the minimal sense to amend this pesky detail the next time she decided to make a mockery of common sense, the memory of the dead and her own precarious credibility.
Two thoughts. First, it is sad that any of this should have be spelled out though, to paraphrase a wise man, the stupid will always be with us. Second is something said to me by every fire safety professional I came across in my former consulting life with reference to steel construction: Don't trust a truss (pdf file).
Let us be perfectly clear about something. It is difficult to conceive how any commercial structure could have survived direct hits at speed by an almost fully fuelled passenger aircraft; in this case passenger aircraft that were larger than any in service at the time the WTC was designed. That said, it should not be unreasonable to assume, to take absolutely for granted, that the WTC designers, builders and owners would have conducted such tests. Or failing them, that some combination of municipal, state and federal regulation and oversight would insist they do so.
And this right here is an important reason for the popularity of conspiracy theories. They are often more reassuring than the truth. Many people would rather believe (even a sinister) cabal knows what is going on than face facts: So much of what we rely on is criminally half-assed.
Agent Anonym has been making gloves under the Glovedup label since 2001. I am particularly impressed with her bespoke work for the Spring Summer 2006 London Fashion Week catwalk show of the Flea-ish Robert Cary-Williams' .
Canadian Flea-readers will most likely have been introduced to the Robert Cary-Williams oeuvre through the designer's guest appearance on Project Catwalk (Ep. 8: "Rags to Riches"). I love his smart deconstruction; he somehow manages to make his clothes look equally expensive and post-apocalyptic. Just what we will all need in the coming days of Manbearpig.
FLEA EXCLUSIVE: MUST CREDIT FLEA!
While "Tout Va Bien" was released in 1992, future Beckham by Baker may now be perused at YouTube. Call it a hunch. I fancy the look of the '60s number in Twiggy Twiggy, everything including the dance moves from Darlin' of Discotheque's space-age Barbie and the hat, dress and striped* gloves from Baby Portable Rock.
*Pronounced strip-ED. As in, "Try one of the little striped ones, Mums."
*Now known as Kensington-on-Sea.
The first same-sex marriage in the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has not passed without comment and not all of it friendly. Fortunately, this Halifax Chronicle Herald report suggests Const. Jason Tree and Const. David Connors are not bothered.
They do not mind the jokes either; including the obvious Brokeback Mounties reference.
On a tangential note: You can have a Gay Mountie of your very own by pouring two-thirds of a glass of Canadian whisky over ice, add one and a half ounces of sweet vermouth, one ounce of Amaretto and one ounce of Yukon Jack. Stir, add a cherry and you are ready to go.
I suppose it was too much to hope Oliver Stone could just leave it alone. Some people were angry and upset to see the trailer for World Trade Center when all they had been expecting was the new Tom Hanks movie.
This would be the same Maggie Gyllenhaal who said the United States was "responsible in some way" for the mass murders of September 11, 2001. Port authority officer William Jimeno and his wife Alison Jimeno - whom Gyllenahaal plays - met her and reportedly approved of her in the role. Though why they should have been put in this position in the first place is beyond me.
I should not be surprised. This is a film by the same director who described the events of September 11 as "a revolt" against American corporations and claimed there had been a cover-up of "limbs getting cut off bodies for jewelry [and] a man walking off with $132 million." Early word has it Stone's World Trade Center will tread lightly on these aspects of his version of day. I expect this retelling of the "revolt" against corporations also excludes Stone's corporate backers at Paramount and, of course, whatever he and Gyllenahaal are being paid. When we find out we can divide those millions by the average annual salary of a New York City firefighter, hold our head in our hands and weep. But then speaking truth to power doesn't come cheap.
The film opens August 9.
Maximum Update: Following on from that Maxim hottest women of the world conversation I should have totally added Helena Marnie. She is like Chloë Sevigny, also inexcusably missing from the Maxim list, but even more so. Consider also Ladytron live at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, 05 Mar 2003. Thanks, CBC!
A live-action Warcraft movie is in the works. It is an open question whether the gamers will tear themselves away from the internets long enough to see it.
If people would learn to read subtitles I would not have to endure mangled film titles like District B13. "District B13" my ass. That makes no sense whatsoever.
It is not only the title that is a problem. The problem is needing an English-language version of Banlieue 13 in the first place. The trailer itself looks promising but then who could have anticipated the horror that would be the Day of the Jackal remake? No wait, the original for that one was English. Hmm, so was The Saint. And The Avengers come to think of it though at least in that case it was a translation of a television series to film. What I am thinking of are English-language remakes of J-horror, mostly.* Excepting The Ring which, if not as frightening as Ringu, was still quite well done. Even the juiced up special effects were not the usual distraction.
Should at least try to know what I am talking about Update: So this isn't a remake? Hmm. "District B13" still sounds terrible.
PooterGeek has an advance look at the screenplay for the latest installment in the X-Men film franchise.
For two days in a row now some administrator chap named "Tom" at MySpace has left an automatic message saying file uploads are suspended until 11:00 p.m.; this because they have a backlog from yesterday.
Frustrating enough and not even a clue whether this is 11 p.m. here in the east or over there on the Pacific. Now, this was bad enough last night but last night I could always reflect that tomorrow was another day. This being tomorrow and finding the message is the same - excepting an updated date - I must find some new reserve of patience. Unless, of course, the problem lasts all weekend or something awful like that. Is this a common problem with MySpace?
Scarlett Johansson engaged in tantric sex almost doesn't bear thinking about (1/1d4 SAN). Fortunately, some last remnant of humanity clings to the outrage that Tibetan Buddhism should be reduced to whatever Sting and Mrs. Sting get up to.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Henley MP, Boris Johnson ponders why the Church is hot under the collar about a film it might better be advised to ignore.
Durham Police have reportedly uncovered a sex slave cult "based on a series of 1960s science fiction novels." Seeing as this must have taken them approximately one click on the internets for "Gorean" and in the end no charges were laid I am not certain what the point of this BBC piece might be beyond rubber-necking voyeurism. An excellent Flea-post, in other words.
Kaotians: Splitters! Seriously, we have tens of millions of women who cannot leave their home without the permission of a male relative but the Beeb and the constabulary expend their effort on the sf nerd version of bdsm. Priorities, people. Though I am left wondering what the theological differences might be between mainstream Goreans and schismatic Kaotians.
Strange as this may be to believe, I have often been taken to task for drinking Heineken as many Canadians believe it is a premium beer and a snobby choice. My explanation it is a generic international brand - the Player's Light or possibly Marlboro of beers - falls on deaf ears. Which makes sense considering the skunk water that passes for beer in this country.
That said, it had never crossed my mind to think of Heineken as a working class choice. I am with Pierre Bourdieu on this one. It is not only a beer budget in the way of many aspiring Bonds but a relationship between social class and taste. Margaret Thatcher was a noted success in her field but to many Tories her accent was the unbearable affectation of a jumped up shopkeeper's daughter. North America is hobbled by its own class system. Donald Trump certainly has the wherewithall to drink whatever he chooses* and some incentive to adopt the manner of the old money east coast establishment. But his taste in interior decor, and arguably in women, mitigate against acceptance by those patricians.
That said, much of Trump's popularity stems directly from his refusal of class affectation. And Paris Hilton's set** should be a constant reminder that inherited wealth and class position are no guarantee of refined taste.
*And is tea-total as it turns out.
**Double Banger offers my favourite comment on the Brandon Davis/Lindsay Lohan dust-up:
Champagne taste on a beer budget Update: Spirit Fingers uncovers a non-Bond theme in a Transporter 2 promotion.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
The other Queen of Chavs Update: Jentina: Will you marry me?
There are times when the whole is less than the sum of its parts.
The BBC frets that the E3 crowd were more interested in the video games than the promotional stunts. This, it should be noted, at a video game exhibition. I can only conclude from this anxiety that for a substantial part of our self-appointed betters bitching is the first and last line of flight. Let's say the punters were paying more attention to the booth babes than the video games. "Ahh," they would hector us, "people are being sold on the (sexist) sales pitch instead of the product." Then something about commodification. But when presumably hard-up-for-sex gamers ignore the booth babes this is also meant to be a catastrophe. According to the BBC the culture is at risk from too much self-gratification with the joysticks and not enough "blood to the muscles" from the vicarious booty.
Frankly, there is no winning with some people.
I just wish I could get the images to load properly.
*I could tell you the real story of what happened to the Arrow program. Suffice to say that military-industrial interests were at work in scrapping the most advanced interceptor of its day. In many ways its performance was comparable or even superior to today's "stealth" aircraft. By the way, have you ever noticed how The West Wing was sort of like a "shadow cabinet" to the Bush administration?
With the slogan "Sweet Europe, let yourself be seduced...," and twenty-seven national cakes, many were sure to have been impressed by Europe Day this year. Provided, of course, they were invited to the party. "Let them eat cake," observes Dies Irae. The analogy is not strained (if lightly sugar-dusted).
This handy "Sweet Europe" pamphlet means the event may be celebrated in the homes of non-functionaries everywhere. Though British shortbread, Belgian waffles and Bulgarian rice pudding are all most probably stretching the definition of "cake" beyond whatever European regulations govern the subject.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
South London Update: Also, Burial's "Unite unfin...". Exquisite.
Presumably due to the suckage that was the teaser trailer, Michael Mann has another go at selling an anxious world on his forthcoming Miami Vice film. The new trailer is better but is still less convincing than Vice City.
This is what they tell Clark Kent at least and I can only say: Here's hoping. Less than hopeful is the latest trailer for the Superman Returns film franchise reboot. Kevin Spacey was born to play Lex Luthor, the Fortress of Solitude certainly feels right and the Christopher Reeve Superman leitmotif orchestral flourish lends the whole project a nostalgic glow. These are substantial building blocks for the Superman legend. And yet I am left wondering why we need yet another retelling of this story given the excellence of small-screen Smallville. Worse yet, the trailer is boring. Brian Singer, you've got some 'splaining to do! Especially if you are even thinking of touching Logan's Run.
Marvel Multiverse Update: Dell sponsors a "sneak peek" at X-Men: The Last Stand. Which is very nice of them. I have not watched it myself due to not needing to re-sit through seven minutes of the film if and when I go to see it.
I watched That '70s Show yesterday and it turned out the closed-captioning was sponsored by McDonald's Double Cheeseburger which is part of their new Value Menu, apparently. That right there is news to me (though I think Porchboy said something about it a few weeks ago).
Some people say you can't learn anything from television. Those people are wrong. Still, the box failed to mention these new Values mean the end of McDeals, i.e. the only reason I ever set foot in the place. That would be on Fridays for the McFish deal, mostly.*
More than I bargained for Update: Andrew Teman discovers hot man on sandwich action. Also, this is what a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger supposedly looks like in New Zealand. I call shenanigans. Has anyone seen a Kiwi double cheeseburger in the flesh (burger may not contain actual flesh)?
Freaky. Maybe it's the weird upside-down gravity you people have at that end of the planet. Ours look more like this.
Which would make a sensible person pause to consider if Paris is stupid or stupid like a fox. That would be Paris Hilton's Jewel Jam, btw.
My ongoing irritation with Robin Williams finds a precarious balance with my growing love of Spore.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (nsfw/groovy).
I am amazed Philips thinks the extra inch illusion is a clever marketing strategy. Such is the world we now find ourselves in.
All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?* Python-alum, Terry Jones asks what the Romans ever did for Britain. It is not the answer most Python fans would expect.
Which is a fine contrarian position thought completely unsupported by his subsequent argument, pace a handful of wooden roads to nowhere.
*Oh, peace - shut up!
Does Viagra keep flowers from wilting? Yes, apparently.
3:35 pm EST Update: Thanks to everyone - you all know who you are! - who wrote to ask/observe that my comments are once again on the blink. I am meditating on this very subject.
Opus Dei critics, the Opus Dei Awareness Network have obtained a copy of the organization's "Index of Forbidden Books" (Excel file). Well, this sort of thing is right up my street. I love lists and a list of things I am not meant to be reading can only come in handy.
Though quite why "The Stand" gets a 6 and the stalker-fan in "Misery" only rates a 3 is beyond me. Kipling does better with almost straight ones while Flea-fav Jacques Lacan gets naughty sixes for his "Ecrits" and his second seminar, "The Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954-1955". Whether through irony or slow updating Dan Brown's bestseller does not make the list. Given Opus Dei's new marketing campaign it is difficult to say if it is a forbidden 6 or mandatory reading.
That is Asia Argento introducing the post, btw. You tell me how to illustrate an index of forbidden books.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Having kept a "faintly disdainful distance" from Dan Brown's airport opus, the Louvre is now set to cash in with a "Step Inside the Da Vinci Code" audio tour. At €10 this cuts off the private tours at the knees without Louvre management needing to sacrifice any of their contempt for their audience. C'est bon!
Images of Opus Dei headquarters have been removed from Dan Brown's website gallery "until further notice." Given that Da Vinci director Ron Howard has refused to add a disclaimer to his film I expect the disappearing HQ photos have more to do with corporate sensitivity than a globe-spanning conspiracy to supress the truth about the life of Jesus.
In fact, Jack Valero, the communications director for the UK branch of Opus Dei, has gone all New Labour with spin. "Operation Transparency" is meant to put a human face on what until recently been a private, even secretive, endeavour. After all, you could not buy the sort of publicity.
Penn and Teller bring us up to speed on the design and rebuilding at Ground Zero (nsfw language). This version cuts through the nonsensical, fragmentary accounts I have heard to this point. For example, about a year and a half ago I watched a documentary sympathetic to the Libeskind corner that made no mention of a small problem with his initial Freedom Tower design. That problem being it could not be built which, in retrospect, is blindingly obvious barring the invention of Buckytubes or transparent duranium. So, thanks to Lime Shurbet for finding it.
This is all important stuff. But the observation that will stick with me from Penn and Teller is simple: After disaster, people keep doing what they do. Just more so. Except in the case of these two comedians, apparently. Why it should take them to sum up the mess in Lower Manhattan is beyond me but this is a far better example of "speaking truth to power" than most. After watching this I am certain to include Majestic Pizza in a future pilgrimage.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
But is this the last time someone is going to tell me the show was "like a shadow cabinet" to the Bush administration as if it was the first time anyone had ever said it? Probably not.
Wanting this Novo Infotainment Table too.
It turns out the terrifying robotic mule featured in an earlier Flea-warning of the coming War With the Machines is called BigDog; "the alpha male of the Boston Dynamics family of robots." I don't think Kirk's logic games are going to work on this puppy.
Rumour has it the classic Coupe de champagne was first modelled on Madame de Pompadour's breast. Sadly, it turns out this particular champagne glass not only precedes her but is not even French. That's one more in the British design column... result!
Such is the English obsession that it is no surprise to me that four of the top five Google Trends returns for "corset" should originate in the UK. What Tehren is doing in the top spot is another matter. I am on a fact-finding mission of another kind with this post, however, and need to ask Flea-readers to be not distracted by the vision of Sophia Myles (that's So-PHI-a, btw) as Madame de Pompadour in the latest Dr. Who episode, "The Girl in the Fireplace".
What I am after is this tie.
I was thinking to write to the good folks at the Beeb but judging by their faq they are not likely to be terribly helpful. Too many people asking the same questions.
Which is a bit silly considering the merchandising opportunities. Certainly better than a talking Dalek tie. My best guess at this point is Jean-Paul Gaultier though it is possible Vivienne Westwood has got all swirly during my Annexian exile. If anyone should happen to be friendly with BBC Wales wardrobe people I would be grateful if you would put in a word.
Time and relative dimension in space Update: Now wanting my own broken-down Type 40 TARDIS for the garden.
More top trends Update: Harry Hutton considers some further Google Trends results.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Electronic Arts, Larry Probst introduces the special relationship between EA and Sony at E3. That and two demos showcasing the Playstation 3. Impressive. Though one can't help but feel it would be simpler to just go play basketball.
Much better is the new trailer for EA's Spore. Here realism is an emergent property of the game universe instead of something achieved by crossing your fingers and maxing out the graphics. Though graphics-wise Battlefield 2142 also looks promising.
Time for me to work on undercutting my gradient. Even reading about the Scientology "Super Power" program* makes my sense of importance/unimportance tingle. It's working already! A Socialite's Life has a complete list of L. Ron Hubbard's other perceptics. It is a shame Matt Feshbach turns out to be so unlike his rebellious television persona.
*Wikipedia has details - such as they are - about the super fantastic but confidential Super Power Rundown. Remember: Scientologists have the right to vote!
*A little "in" joke there.
Bungie Studies has finally announced the secret project that has been occupying their time. There is a trailer. In real-time rendering. Oh yes.
Before there was Kylie... Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Camp as Christmas Update: Just spotted Miriam Makeba "Pata Pata" on the YouTube sidebar. Turn up those speakers!
We will duck the internet in the water... if she floats the internet is a witch! Burn her!!*
*Waiting for the internet to dry off first will produce best results.
Writing for Christianity Today, Andy Crouch considers the merits of "wet shaving" (hat tip to A Former Servant of Her Majesty). This article made a convert out of me. My new implacable Merkur Croma razor is so fearsomely sharp I have had to re-learn how to shave because it is actually doing the business the way it is supposed to be done. Especially first thing in the morning.
While I do think Christina Aguilera’s forthcoming album sounds high concept I cannot say a track called "Still Dirrty" sounds promising. If she has to claim she is still dirrty chances are she isn't. One of those show not tell situations.
SondraK updates the ongoing language controversy surrounding the American national anthem.
Much of the Drake's alchohol and edamame had been consumed in the course of discussing a new business venture with a Toronto blogger of note* when the subject of pornography and the "internet" was raised. To whit; is the combination of a bewildering variety of pornographic imagery and ready internet access a problematical combination for young men?
Too right it is! Or such was our consensus. The problem is not porn per se but its all too ready availability. Those of us of a certain age may vividly remember the illicit thrill of securing a dog-eared copy of some dodgy magazine. This was perhaps all the more thrilling when we were too young to properly appreciate the point of said publications. We felt a profound sense of accomplishment both in having secured proof of our resourcefulness and in demonstrating our independence in a minor act of rebellion.
A rudimentary skill at Google searches hardly compares to the contraband networks of the (fairly recent) past. By contrast, seekers after internet porn are spoiled for choice. Where is the challenge? It is now far too easy to find porn. This ease of access presents problems cognate with questions raised by ontogeny and phylogeny. As our nervous systems evolved in the context of foraging societies in what is now the east African plain so too do our individual nervous systems develop in one of the diverse social and technological contexts of today. Practice makes perfect. Lacking the context to hone our hunting skills it is small surprise if they should lapse; even fail. An "Eden of pornography" where any old smut is found ready-to-hand on a low-hanging branch may sound idyllic. But it is an elastic waistband for the soul.
Compare, if you will, the world of the furtive Google searcher with that of his Paleolithic ancestor. For the latter, pornography meant a hardscrabble clamber into an ill-lit cave of the Ardèche for some quick "hunting magic". For the former, (at most) remembering to clear the history cache. It could be that an ability to leave no tracks on the web presents sufficient parallel with our hunting past to enable healthy neurological development. Time will tell. This is a psychological experiment on a grand scale with no way to predict its outcome and little recognition it is even underway.
Which brings me to YouTube and an emergent problem. It is one which would already be non-sensical to the young. There was a time when a trip to Toronto (or whatever your local metropolis) meant a rare opportunity to forage for all the alternate media much whispered about but never seen. Stores like Suspect and Pages had small-market, cult press music, art and politics publications and a handful of record stores on Queen West provided a life-line to mythic London.** Now a link to an interview with Genesis P-Orridge leads me to a live performance of "Discipline" by Throbbing Gristle, Coil's "The Lost Rivers of London" and a Clock DVA video for a tune called "Resistance" I had never heard of let alone heard before. One is spoiled for choice.
I am, of course, delighted to be able to see these things. A world where this material is available is measurably better than a world where it is lost. Perhaps especially so for people who by choice or happenstance have no access to the specialty stores a metropolitan market may support. Yes, mass literacy and the printing press are better than a handful of recovered manuscripts under lock and key. Yet something of the treasure hunt and pilgrimage functions of this lack may be lost to us. Consequences, consequences.
*Who shall remain nameless for reasons that should be obvious.
**People still stop me on the street when I wear the treasured, threadbare Skinny Puppy shirt I bought on Granville in Vancouver twenty years ago.
Comments to Throbbing Gristle's "Psychic Rally in Heaven" clear up the origin of the term "industrial music".
I am not giving away too much to Flea-readers waiting on season two of the Doctor Who reboot in saying I was wondering how Russell T would bring back K9. When last we saw him, K9 rolled off into E-Space with Romana. Or so I thought.
It turns out I was thinking of K9 Mark 2. His first iteration was long gone with Leela by the time his successor left with Romana. The even newer Mark 3 model was befriended by yet another Who companion, Sarah Jane Smith. These two got on so famously, in fact, that they inspired a short-lived series, "K9 and Company".
Somehow I had never heard of, let alone seen, the show and consequently have mistakenly described Torchwood as the first ever Dr. Who spin-off. Let us hope Captain Jack does a better job of carrying the torch than K9 and Sarah Jane Smith. Despite excellent ratings the introduction of a grouchy new BBC One channel controller meant the show only aired a single episode. Thanks to YouTube I am delighted to point to "A Girl's Best Friend" in its entirety. The theme music is particularly excellent.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
If there is an Elvish word for rainbow they had something like this in mind.
Of course there is Update: The internets reveal the Noldorin and Quenya words for rainbow.
This sheet music for La bandera de las estrellas was published for the U.S. Bureau of Education in 1919.
I admit the lyrics miss a certain something in translation but a Spanish language version of the Star-Spangled Banner is not something I would go to the barricades over. North of the border, "O Canada" has only been the official anthem since 1980. And this being Canada our default position is to have an English, a French and even a bilingual version (usually the only way I can remember to sing it). Though frankly the anthem kicks considerably less ass in the English version than the French. In French we get to stride about the place carrying a sword and a cross having exploits.
I had long suspected Stephen Harper eats babies. At least he doesn't blend puppies.
Long time rave and techno producer, Tiga Sontag has released his first solo album. Which makes him the next big thing, apparently. It is difficult to tell if "Sexor" is ironic, post-ironic or just unreconstructed dance music. I gather the man is adept at knowing when a fad has played itself out; an excellent talent to develop.
Quite right. "You Gonna Want Me" gives just enough of that exciting feeling for a cubicle-free weekend.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (nsfw chorus).
If you are leaving comments at the BBC News website odds are the answer is an emphatic yes.
Rosslyn Chapel was a destination for Templar enthusiasts, Masons and anti-Masons long before Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code turned it into a hidden history tourist trap. People can find meaning in almost anything. This is thanks in large part to a nervous system evolved to infer patterns from a somewhat chaotic environment. It is small wonder Rosslyn should find itself at a nexus of geomantic and psychic inference; especially the kind that kind be transformed into mass-market paperback form. The Rosslyn Motet is a new spin on finding hidden significance in the Chapel's decor (via Warren Ellis).
Cymatics or Chladni patterns, secret Arabic science and the Devil's Interval all feature. My first reaction is to dismiss the whole project as so much nonsense. But the Rosslyn Motet itself is lovely no matter how Mitchell came up with it. Plus I have learned a new word.
I have yet to read The Da Vinci Code though I expect I will get around to it before seeing the film. This does not prevent me from enjoying the spittle flying hither and yon in the run up to the movie debut. Sometimes the critics do not do themselves any favours.
Nothing to see here folks! Certainly no male hierarchy with a negative view of women and sexuality!
Having not read the thing, it is my impression Opus Dei is subject to what may be actionable speculation in Dan Brown's airport-reading spectacular. It seems to me a more sensible line of argument would stick to specifics. A Jewish reading public would not be expected to put up with a best-selling Zionist conspiracy thriller so why should devout Catholics? This is not only a reasonable approach to addressing those who are "weak in faith" (surely an admirable goal). It is better tactics than drawing attention to the Holy See's weak hand in public relations when it comes to sex and sexuality.
See? Not just poking the Anglicans with a stick. Now looking for Quaker Da Vinci commentary.
Recently voted Britain's favourite actress, Billie Piper's enthusiasm, zest and other life-affirming qualities have an obvious appeal. Not that everyone is equally impressed. For example, the otherwise sensible Andrew Ian Dodge has an unaccountable prejudice against Billie Piper as the new "Who companion". Best ignore him in this case. After a handful of episodes David Tennant is the best Doctor Who ever. While he is a perfect fit for the part his success is largely due to Russell T Davis for reinventing the series with the sidekick as the hero.
The Flea is delighted to point to Piper's debut single, "Because We Want To" from her former pop-star life. Sure to produce a nervous tick at Dodgeblogium.
Not to mention foreshadowing the killer wheelie-bin from the Doctor Who reboot debut.
Life-affirming Update: Jeff also has a bone to pick with Billie.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Reports of Angelina Jolie's reprisal of her role as Lara Croft are in error, apparently. Shame.
Australian behaviourists Peter Kelly and Christopher Hickey claim Michel Foucault's ideas may be usefully applied to understanding Australian Football League management (via Tim Blair). "The Ethics of the Concern for Self as a Practice of Freedom" and "Subjectivity and Truth" are particular inspirations, apparently.
The original, theatrical versions of the true Star Wars trilogy are to be released on dvd. The Flea considers lifting fatwa against George Lucas.*
This happy news arrives via Howie who can finally share the true experience with the next generation (if you will pardon the expression).
*And decides against it. I am with Radosh: "I'm waiting for the next version, where Han Solo shoots George Lucas."
There is a play on words involving "Oz" and "ass" here somewhere but it is not coming to me. La Minogue is to be immortalized with a bronze statue in her hometown of Melbourne. Her culturally significant hotpants are to feature prominently.
British comedy is more sophisticated than television on this side of the Atlantic Update: Lighting aside, their Harry Potter effort is less likely to result in smashed monitor when you try to make it stop.
I would be grateful if informed Flea-readers could let me know the name/artist of the first song in the catwalk show headlining Ben de Lisi's website. It has been driving me nuts.
VitaCig is only the latest example of Canada's history of technological innovation. A cigarette that does not stain teeth, has vitamin C added and is probably very low in fat. It's an Avro Arrow in your mouth!
Once again I am stumped by the internets. I read this Juche Girl "blog" and cannot tell if it is a parody, sincere or a minor effort by North Korea's security services. But one expects a hall of mirrors effect with anything purporting to emerge from the Hermit Kingdom.
The same cannot be said for this blowjob for Tom Cruise in Dose, one of Toronto's freebie tabloids. I feel I should congratulate the writer either for a sense of humour yet more dry than my own or for taking a contrarian position more extreme than my apologias for Paris Hilton. And possibly for the fact I cannot tell which I should be congratulating her for. Jennifer Morrison: Will you marry me?
Your portrait painted like a propaganda poster. Originality guaranteed!
(via C. Buddha)
Imagine it is 27 May, 1975 on the set of Danish tv special, "Omkring et flygel." This is one of those Betty or Veronica scenarios. The answer is Veronica, obviously.
If I had a nickel for every time I have been described in these exact words I would not need the stipend Her Majesty provides me for my crime-fighting activities. It is pitiful how Bollinger Special Cuvée puts a dent in the expense account. The Flea's Eva Green Expert forwards a link to the Casino Royale trailer in English. It is a large file but well worth the wait. Seeing it properly I can now issue a formal advisory to the Daniel Craig as James Bond haters: shut the frak up.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
(hat tip to A Former Servant of Her Majesty)
At least one self-styled environmentalist is outraged by some tree-felling at Risinghurst wood.
The Kilns looks like a fine Flea-ish place to have lived; certainly before Risinghurst grew up around it. Defenders of some tidying up in the wood say they are restoring it to something closer to the Narnia-like conditions of Lewis' day. Now they have uncovered the bench in Lewis' back garden where many of his stories were conceived. The bench had long ago been over-grown with the mess the whole place had become. I hope this discovery puts an end to the argument.
Chong Gon Jo's only known film credit is as director of a famous North Korean Godzilla knock-off, Pulgasari. The film was not a resounding success in artistic, technical or box-office terms. Pulgasari is instead notorious for the circumstances of its production and the fact it was banned for ten years by executive producer Kim Jong Il.
I belive Anime Jump! has Chong Gon Jo confused with Shin San-Ok, variously credited as the film's co-director or producer. Shin San-Ok was a noted South Korean director kidnapped in Hong Kong. He was there looking for his ex-wife, previously kidnapped as part of Kim Jong Il's drive to liven up North Korea's film industry. Several films resulted including the partially completed Pulgasari. Flea-readers may not be astonished to learn the two fled the country at their first opportunity. I assume Chong Gon Jo was a ringer drafted in to complete the project. Though it is also possible Chong Gon Jo is the juche equivalent of Alan Smithee.
There is something undeniably hilarious about all of this. I expect the laughter comes by preference to facing the fact North Korea is run as a hallucinatory nightmare. Shin San-Ok has died aged 79.
Yesterday my server was hit by what I can only assume was a problem related to the one Michelle Malkin has reported. I lost access to the Flea fifteen minutes after TypePad went down under a "sophisticated distributed denial of service attack." I had thought my MT set-up was relatively immune to these sorts of difficulties and was outside the line of fire Hosting Matters folks have to deal with. I have apparently lost data after some file corruption somewhere - I do not yet know what is missing - but am mainly relieved to be back in service. Sincere thanks to Verve Hosting for their prompt, courteous help in addressing the situation.
On related notes: While I love the MySpace Video arrangement I gather Safari-browsing Flea-readers are crashing out on the site and I expect the videos are the problem. The only change I can think of are the MySpace posts so I am going to stick with the tried-and-true Flea-dance arrangement. Finally, I have not checked to see if TypeKey is working. It stalled out again yesterday and I am now thinking I should move to a less-restrictive comment system.
Though it is difficult to see through what appears to be an elaborate disguise, Hollywood Tuna may have secured images of Scarlett Johansson on the set of The Nanny Diaries.
I have a nagging feeling I should put a taste warning of some kind on this one. Can't quite put my finger on it. No. No, we're good. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (hat tip to A Former Servant of Her Majesty).
Kylie's £1m ideal home. That is not £1m for the home, btw. Just the refit.
This Vice "do" listing explains part of where I am going with the fashion-backward thing.
Quite right. But then it also seems foolish to claim strands of Christian thought dating back to the second century are new or fanciful in comparison with a canon that has been remarkably flexible since that time. The earliest extent canon is the Bryennios manuscript dating to about AD 100. It includes twenty-seven familiar "Old Testament" books but none of the Gospels, letters and other material that make up what most Christians would now recognize as the "New Testament". Many of the earliest Christians would have regarded much of what is now considered sacred writ as being largely fanciful. This is not to dismiss any particular version of the New Testament. But it certainly suggests some forbearance in dismissing non-canonical scripture out of hand. After all, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has added an entire "newer" testament without sparking a snarky Anglican web presence every time a Mormon-themed film is released.
For the Anglicans of Sydney to reject Gnostic claims - let alone a Tom Hanks film based on an airport novel interpretation of Gnostic Christianity - is hardly surprising; the Archbishop of Canterbury recently published a rather better job of it in The Mail on Sunday. But it is disingenuous to pretend that no Christianity has ever existed outside the "closed" canon they wish to defend. It is a particularly galling claim coming from an Anglican communion which is itself schismatic and of dubious provenience.* The Church of England is a good 1500 years more recent than the Gnostic Christianity practiced by at least some people who may have known Jesus - and certainly one or another of his disciples - in person. And it is not as if "heretical" forms of early Christianity are uniquely subject to criticism. No fans of Gnosticism, the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia charges Anglicanism with Erastianism. Of course, this is a debatable difference of opinion and one which has resulted in no little bloodshed through the years. This is to say nothing of the much greater differences of opinion, and centuries of further bloodshed, between and amongst the Holy See, the Church of England and a bewildering variety of low church Protestant denominations.
In these more secular times most of these differences are tolerated if not respected. It certainly seems rude to point out, for example, Henry VIII's biography in expressing an argument about the merits of this or that version of the Book of Common Prayer. But I would hope Anglicans in Sydney could find something more important to fret about, and something better to spend their money on, than an airport novel they claim cannot be taken seriously. Unless, of course, their outrage is savvy marketing meant to take advantage of the radical success of that airport novel in comparison with their own recent evangelism.
*There are lots of Anglicans in my family, btw.
Friends of Scotland is a charity best known for its annual Dressed to Kilt* fashion event. This year's star attraction: Sean Connery. The idea is to promote Scottish interests - as enigmatic as these may be - in the United States. Arguably more mysterious is quite how Eric Villency's Braveheart moment advanced the cause. It is difficult to imagine what William Wallace would have made of tourism in Scotland let alone interior design television shows.
*Warning: linked images include Stone Phillips in a kilt.
A first look at Casino Royale arrives via a Flea-reader, YouTube and a French television trailer. The Judi Dench voice-over is excellent.
This is ass-kicking ballet. It must be produced at once.
It's a revolution! It's animated! It's still a crap name!
I was reluctant to get attached to my SketchUp trial software. Now Google SketchUp is available for free download I can model sheds worry free.
Heidi One is an effective tonic for Monday morning brain juice deficiency. Just turn the sound down and don't draw attention to your cubicle.
This topical Mexican Flea-dance would not be possible without a hat tip to Jeff. Muy Caliente!