Yes, I said I would not respond to any blog "meme" but here I go. It was difficult to refuse Mr. Taylor once I recognized my own competitive jerk behaviour. And so, for your consideration, six unimportant things about the Flea:
1. Following Mr. Taylor's sixth unimportant thing: I too move at best possible speed on public transit even if I am not in a hurry. I board and exit subway trains through specific doors calibrated to place me closest to the escalator or stairway I need to get to my destination. This behaviour was even worse in London than it is in Toronto. I still take enormous satisfaction in having memorized at a reflexive bodily level the quickest routes through Bank, Angel and Tottenham Court Road stations.
2. I shave in the following order: Neck, sides of face, upper lip, crown of head, sides of head, back of head. Blades do not stand up well to tougher hair on the back of the head so best to shave the sensitive skin first. Even with a new blade, small nicks are almost inevitable. I have found the best way to address these is to wrap a paper towel around the back of my head while it is still wet. Let it dry for a few minutes and any small cuts have completely sealed up. This presents an unedifying spectacle but it does the trick. I have been doing this for a couple years now and no longer remember how I arrived at this solution.
3. I eat some foods straight that are meant to be eaten as ingredients or at best as condiments. These include spoonfuls of peanut butter, Ovaltine powder and especially Dijon mustard. Also sea salt, coffee beans, whole garlic cloves and raw lemon.
4. My book collective is organized thematically. This is handy as I do not have to remember where a book is to find it. Instead I decide where I would put the book and that is where it is. Despite the utility of this system I find it quite boring. My favourite classification system was developed by an Argentine sociologist, the father of a high school girlfriend. His books were organized by colour of spine with the whole wall taking on the appearance of a colour palette. I have utility, he had elegance.
5. I was up at 4am this morning for about half an hour and sent out three emails. The two emails directed at Pisces were answered within minutes. I have no obvious rational basis for believing this fact to be significant and yet I do.
6. I am quite vain about my eyebrows. I think they are as fine as any eyebrows commonly seen on television or in film.
I realize I am supposed to tag people now I am done but there is only so far I will go breaking my no blog "meme" pledge. I you have six unimportant things to share please do so, let me know and I shall post a link here.
Foto_decadent offers much Christina Ricci for the cubicle bound; one of those challenge/opportunity situations (via Coilhouse). So, is it just me or is Ricci and exceptionally hot last name? Just saying.
The first archaeological evidence for the druids may have been unearthed near Colchester (hat tip to a Celtic Warrior Queen).
They really do think like this. No joke.
* Ok, except a couple or three things having just watched most recent Terminator episode, "The Demon Hand".** First, this was perfect television. It could not have been more what it was supposed to be. Exactly right. Second, Summer Glau is the best casting imaginable and her character perfectly ambivalent, the scariest on television. Third, and I think the most interesting, this series has transcended the original film(s)*** in a particular way. A dear friend of mine and I have talked for some time about how "this is the time when Kyle hides in the department store" and so forth whenever we watch the first film. The time-bending narrative lends itself to watching with one eye on the future and one on whether the present will once again fail to unfold quite as it should. With the new series and its deliberate retcon play, It now seems obvious the stories transcend any particular articulation of what is properly a myth. These new players in the television series are doing an excellent job of bringing the story to life, of retelling it so that its truth is once again made relevant in times which have changed over the last twenty years; most notably following September 11, 2001. The new production has retroactively rendered the original players**** just another group interpreting the truth - albeit revealing it for the first time - rather than being the truth against which all others are imitation. The result is a peculiar simulation. A phenomenon where signifier and signified are decoupled and signifieds are determined in relation to other signifieds does not in this case terminate meaning, stranding us in a postmodern relativistic morass. Instead the new telling of the story creates an origin exterior to any particular articulation of the text, i.e. the simulation creates a transcendent essence.***** In this sense, signification is not reification but the expression of a Pauline dialectic****** where John Connor is fully cognate with Jesus Christ. The Terminator is now something like a Passion Play to be re-imagined with new actors in new times, the stories those of a revolutionary community struggling to believe in either the future or in the past, hoping against hope their saviour will be born. A familiar story and one which would see us through a new Dark Age. Assuming, of course, we survive the present.
** Presumably a tip of the hat to Demon with a Glass Hand.
*** Not counting the third film which was even more heretical than the Star Wars prequels.
**** Yes, even Arnold Schwarzenegger. It seems obvious Summer Glau is now more important to a faithful rendition.
***** Much as H.P. Lovecraft's consistent literary conceits inadvertently brought the Necronomicon into being.
****** If you meet the Terminator in the road, kill him!
One of the most beautiful track ever recorded. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Spiegel reports the board of the Kinderhäusl was composed entirely of Scientologists. Munich's Education Department was reportedly informed of the issue by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution within weeks of the school's opening.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Writing as Vernon Lee, lesbian bluestocking Violet Paget wrote Amour Dure: Passages from the Diary of Spiridion Trepka. Wonderful to discover yet another masterpiece of Victoriana I had never heard of let alone enjoyed.* This one is crying out for a film adaptation (with, say, Christina Ricci as Medea da Carpi).
Which is a sentence and a half, I am sure you will agree. A whirlpool of mountains... magnificent. Though it has got me thinking about a clear divide along gender lines in vampire fiction. Lestat and Henry Fitzroy on the one side and Blade on the other. I have yet to check if my hypothesis stands a particular test but can anyone imagine Kate Beckinsale's Selene was written by a woman? I think not (and just as well, too).
* I gather Vernon Lee was a contributor to The Yellow Book which, by way of decadence and aestheticism, was apparently on the mind of Robert W. Chambers as he created The King in Yellow; a bit like discovering Oscar Wilde inspired the Necronomicon.
The Elder Thong puts a new spin on unmentionables (possibly nsfw).
No offense to Aleister Crowley in life but he is much hotter now he is being channeled. This inter-dimensional portal interview is made possible by conflicted, gamine and South African Desteni who also channels Anton LaVey, reptilian minds and at least one beauty demon. Though to my mind the most obvious candidate from beyond has to be her Audrey Hepburn experience; just lovely.
Exit question: I keep dating women like this and yet retain the capacity to be surprised at my life. They are quirky and cute, yes. But, you know, teh crazy. And still I expect the quiet life. Ok, that is more of a statement than a question.
When I heard yesterday's fire was at Queen and Bathurst there were several frantic minutes trying to figure out if they really meant Queen and Bathurst. We navigate by intersections in downtown Toronto so the expression could be short hand for something several streets away. Unfortunately, they meant Queen and Bathurst. It was the south side which took the hit so Savage Garden - immediately facing the fire to the north - appears to have been spared. Not so for several Toronto alt.culture landmarks, Duke's Cycle, National Sound and, as Dave Delaney writes, the Queen W location of Suspect Video.
Which sounds like an extraordinary claim. All I can say is I spent four years in England - two in London, two in Manchester - looking for a video store like Suspect and nowhere found anything even close. In those long ago pre-torrent days, before the age of YouTube, this was the only place on earth I knew to rent a copy of the long suppressed Star Wars Christmas special (Baltimore broadcast) or the five hour Japanese television broadcast of David Lynch's Dune. This was a holy place.
Even those Flea-readers not suffering from local nostalgia might be interested to see what it looks like to fight a six alarm fire in a cold country. There are a lot of icicles involved.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Ronald Reagan: Yes we can.
Though in some ways john.he.is is better. Maybe a hundred... that's fine with me. "Like hope, but different." Yes, like hope, but true.
I came across Adam Curtis documentary, The Mayfair Set through a Center for Public Integrity article about mercenaries and the Special Forces Club. Curtis is admirably even-handed in his treatment of the material; while his story is clearly critical of the men he takes as his focus - "right wing" aristocrats, in particular - he avoids making prescriptive statements about what should have been done in a succession of awkward situations. Rather than dwelling on the merits of his story about markets taking over from management, or the Special Forces Club article through which I found it, I want to point in particular to the first installment of Curtis' documentary.
"Who Pays Wins" chronicles Colonel David Stirling, the formation of the SAS and the privatization of UK military power cum foreign policy as an extension of the balance of trade after the War. I am embarrassed to admit I knew nothing about the Aden Emergency before watching this piece. Much of what we are going through now is anticipated - explained - by British policy at that time.
* (Cough) torrent (cough cough).
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Brought to you by the Empire Tea Marketing Bureau, these war time tea making tips still come in handy. Just be certain to bring the pot to the kettle and not the other way round.
Related: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth welcomed on their Canadian tour, May 22, 1939.
The women watching on the banks could see it fall, beam by beam -- could see every moment the gap widening between the three brave men and the bridge. Wider and wider it grew, and with one voice the Romans cried, 'Jump! Horatius, Lartius, Herminius! Jump while you can!'
Lartius and Herminius obeyed. Again rose the cry --
'Horatius, come while there is time!'
- Of Horatius, how he kept the bridge
It turns this will not be Max Gogarty's first trip to Thailand. He is the son of - wait for it - a Guardian travel writer. On the surface this story has all the break out from nowhere, independent artist excitement of Lily Allen's MySpace page (cough cough); a know-who vs know-how situation. But I am reminded more of David Simon's self-regarding fifth and final season of The Wire in which the best show on television is reduced to a platform for his old grievances with the Baltimore Sun. It is a bit much to spend four years in the slums of Baltimore and expect us to be broken up over the hard lives of journalists.
That said, The Beach was a great film; seriously underrated. Will, you will like the bit about local farming cooperatives.
Looking through the apparently vast list of submissions to this project, I am struck not only at how clever - even beautiful - so many of them are but at the recycling of culture involved. This is probably the only use younger contributors have ever made of an earlier generation's vinyl. I am, sadly, old enough to have been assistant manager at an A&A Records and Tapes and to remember the excitement and trepidation that came with the introduction of the CD. It was not just the new colder sound of these things but a sense of loss at all that acreage of cover art reduced to the CD's smaller footprint. They were so compact we used to shelve each CD in a cumbersome plastic box three times its length; the new digital format seemed all too easy to steal. Little did any of us see where that logic would lead.
* An update later in the day. I should add I had mixed feelings linking to this piece despite its being so beautiful. I am delighted to report good news as Steven Spielberg withdraws as adviser to the Beijing Olympics. Predictably, UK government ministers are outraged... with Spielberg.
And a fat lot of good that does if critics of the ChiComs are themselves criticized for objecting - including and especially British athletes - and if the objection to China is limited to Darfur. The Red Chinese government has so much else to account for: The ghosts of Tienanmen Square have no rest tonight.
Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer is a touchstone to a generation of metalheads. Now the Death Dealer Axe (and matching helmet!) is available in a limited edition of 1000 pieces by FilmSwords. Not a replica, this is the real deal.
Just like Commander Data? Much as the Death Dealer Axe's hand-rubbed haft sounds appealing, and as handy at the helmet would be for British Iron Age shows, if I could only pick one item on the site it would be a Martian Longsword; just the ticket for duels hanging from the rigging of the old aetheric battle zeppelin. More along the same lines at Jody Sampson's limited edition swords website.
The Great Archives determine I have gone by the identity Elijah Blanchard known in some parts of the world as Him of The Lost. What is your vampire name?
Related: Darker baby names suitable for goths and vampires.
Posting at The Torch, Damian posts a slide show of the longest drive.
Not sure I would look at this at work; got something in my eye. Forward this to everybody.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Related: Your Internet Girlfriend 2.0.
I have been gorging on Old Time Radio since I found the massive OTR.Network Library. A recommendation: The radio adaption of Sax Rohmer's The Shadow of Fu Manchu.* With title music running at two minutes plus and just over fourteen minutes an episode it is a little light on content. But thematically the show's "wily oriental" conspiracies echo not only the theory panic which has possessed the entirety of today's higher education but today's global conspiracy against civilization, viz al Qaeda and the like, i.e. an actual oriental conspiracy. Not to mention the ChiComs. Entertainment that these days might only be read ironically should instead be read literally.
Old-time Flea-favs X Minus One and Escape (especially the gothic "Ring of Thoth" and "Casting the Runes") are here. But what I am really looking forward to is I Was A Communist for the FBI. Topical! Now to track down a copy of the film...
* The first half of the series written by Sax Rohmer himself as is Rohmer's sketch of Fu Manchu pictured above.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. This is a little racy toward the end as is their, ahem, tongue-in-cheek rendition of Flea-fav Gaudete... their lyrics stray ever so slightly from the original.
Eurostar, London and Continental Railways and Land Securities have stumped up £2m for a landmark in view of the Channel Tunnel railway and points south. At 50m, twice the height of Antony Gormley's (justly) famed Angel of the North, the proposed Angel of the South should not only impress foreigners on their way to the metropolis but raise a finger pointedly at the people of the north of England.
Not everyone is impressed. The Guardian's Jonathan Jones is "horrified by the latest commission in Britain's apparently insatiable quest to build the biggest, most imposing, most monstrously public work of art" (via the Drink Soaked Trots*).
Which sounds fantastic (literally) to me. Jones appears to be less worried about neo-Norse monumentalism than the prospect of once edgy artists having been adopted by the establishment. I could weep. It is post-punk in a minivan, yearning for a lost, and largely fabricated, youthful art-school rebellion. This sort of personality not only destroyed art in the 1920s, destroyed music in the 1970s and destroyed the social sciences in the 1980s, it now insists on whinging on at the thought of public art that might be enjoyed by the public. Self-regarding, vanguardist, Guardianista prats.
I say bring on the Argonath.
* And from Will in the comments: The Singing, Ringing Tree.
FHM UK features Bond girl Olga Kurylenko in her first ever magazine cover shoot (via Ultimate James Bond Fan). The caption: "Olga Kurylenko is the new Bond Girl! (The proper one, not the one he bangs and then dies)." Classy. More enlightening is the news Ms. Kurylenko loves pole dancing.
Which presents what I am confident to describe as an existential problem.
I have watched Excalibur every two or three years since I was young enough to regard Helen Mirren with something like superstitious awe. Actually, that feeling has not gone away... John Boorman's over-the-top Arthurian spectacle is not everyone's cup of tea but it is one of my favourite films. People have their complaints, primarily due to historically inaccuracy - whatever that might mean in this context - and liberties with the text, as if there was some canonical Arthur Boorman should have emulated. Such are but minor quibbles when set against the aforementioned Helen Mirren. No, my irritation with the film had to do with a little mystery concerning one of its best hooks, a spell "Merlyn" uses to conjure the Dragon.
It took 25 years but, thanks again to the intertubes, I finally know the meaning of the words of the Charm of Making; it is a riff on Old Irish, apparently. This just leaves my quest for a Merlyn hat of awesomeness in my lifetime To Do list.
The above lore is thanks to the fantastically named No Smoking in the Skull Cave, also the source of an unspeakable horror: There may be some parallel universe where John Boorman secured the financing for his adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.
I gather this monstrosity is locked in a vault somewhere; hopefully in a stack somewhere further back than the Ark of the Covenant.
Also spotted by Technoccult, The Mindscape of Alan Moore. William Blake's Ghost of a flea makes a brief cameo in minute 48...
* Ragged Robin, if you happen to be reading this: I hope you are well and am eagerly anticipating my Vishanti T-shirt...