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February 29, 2008

Clan Dyken: Who are the Nazis?

Thanks again to Christine Smith and especially for her music suggestion: Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Polemical!

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM | Comments (1)

Six unimportant things

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.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM | Comments (7)

February 28, 2008

Second look at... Christina Ricci!

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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.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM | Comments (2)

Lola Angst: Am I dead?

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM

He's definitely an ex-druid

The first archaeological evidence for the druids may have been unearthed near Colchester (hat tip to a Celtic Warrior Queen).

A series of graves found in a gravel quarry at Stanway near Colchester, Essex, have been dated to 40-60 A.D. At least one of the burials, it appears, may have been that of a Druid, according to a report published in British Archaeology.

Mike Pitts is the journal's editor and an archaeologist. He studied classical Greek and Roman texts that mention the Druids in early France and Britain. The most detailed description, Pitts found, dates to 55 B.C. and comes from Roman military and political leader Julius Caesar.

Related in popular consciousness if not in history: Stonehenge replicas and derivatives. Spiegel has more images from the grave site and some archaeology humour which is entirely à propos.

There's a joke among archaeologists: Two of their kind, in the future, find a present-day public toilet. "We've discovered a holy site!" cries one. "Look, it has two separate entrances," says the other. "This here," he says, pointing to the door with a pictogram of a woman, "was for priests. This is evident by the figure wearing a long garment."

They really do think like this. No joke.

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM | Comments (2)

February 27, 2008

Pas de chat

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To recap: Summer Glau as a motorcycle cop. Also, Summer Glau dances ballet. That is all.*

* 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!

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (1)

Tones On Tail: You, The Night and The Music

One of the most beautiful track ever recorded. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM | Comments (1)

Counter to the Constitution

News24 reports the city of Munich has closed a kindergarten discovered operated by the Church of Scientology (hat tip to Agent Bedhead).

(The Church of Scientology) has been under surveillance in some German states for more than 10 years and regional ministers agreed in December to investigate the possibility of banning it. A court in southern Germany earlier this month threw out a bid by the Church of Scientology to stop intelligence services watching it. It ruled that there were clear indications that the movement "seeks to establish a social order that runs counter to the constitution."

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.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM | Comments (3)

February 26, 2008

Covenant: Call the ships to port

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

February 25, 2008

Amour Dure

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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).

This town is a handful of tall black houses huddled on to the top of an Alp, long narrow lanes trickling down its sides, like the slides we made on hillocks in our boyhood, and in the middle the superb red brick structure, turreted and battlemented, of Duke Ottobuono's palace, from whose windows you look down upon a sea, a kind of whirlpool, of melancholy grey mountains.

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.

Posted by the Flea at 05:04 AM | Comments (1)

Cadaveria: Spell

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 05:03 AM

Unspeakables

The Elder Thong puts a new spin on unmentionables (possibly nsfw).

Posted by the Flea at 05:01 AM

February 22, 2008

A night at the Holodeck

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (via Taylor & Co.).

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | Comments (1)

Afterlife crisis

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.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

February 21, 2008

And One: Sometimes

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:04 AM

Six alarm on Queen

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.

Few brick and mortar businesses have had a lasting impression in my life. There are too many bars and restaurants to include, I’m talking about actual shops. One in particular helped make me who I am today, 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.

Posted by the Flea at 06:03 AM | Comments (2)

February 20, 2008

Good news

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The Flea rattles its ghostly chains in glee at the news Rose McGowan is once again a redhead (via Agent Bedhead).

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

Cabaret Voltaire: Sensoria

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

February 19, 2008

Duffy: Mercy

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 04:33 AM

Against the Airmen

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.

Posted by the Flea at 04:31 AM

February 18, 2008

Who Pays Wins

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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.

Also Dune.

The Mayfair Set is available as a RealMedia file on line and, inevitably, it may also be found in convenient bite sized segments on YouTube.*

* (Cough) torrent (cough cough).

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Max Bygraves: Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'be

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM | Comments (1)

Tea Making Tips (1941)

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.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM

February 17, 2008

Horatius at the bridge

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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

Posted by the Flea at 09:12 AM | Comments (6)

February 15, 2008

Mind the gap

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The Drink Soaked Trots have identified the single greatest source of entertainment on the intertubes, viz comment to Max Gogarty's gap year travel Guardian blog. A relatively benign example:

Oh Christ, this guy's going to get an absolute hammering. CiF commissioning editors, you are cruel, cruel beasts. I almost feel sympathetic. Almost.
Don't forget, poverty is sad, but kinda authentic and like ennobling, mmmhmmm.
Why does nobody go looking for themselves in Belarus?

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.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

Mory Kanté: Yeke Yeke

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

Quislings, Turncoats, Hacks and Cowards

Harlan Ellison offers the reserved comment for which he is known. His current topic is the recent vote to end the WGA strike (lifted in its entirety from Warren Ellis). Classic.

HARLAN ELLISON ON THE WRITERS STRIKE SETTLEMENT

YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION TO RE-POST THIS ANYWHERE:

Creds: got here in 1962, written for just about everybody, won the Writers Guild Award four times for solo work, sat on the WGAw Board twice, worked on negotiating committees, and was out on the picket lines with my NICK COUNTER SLEEPS WITH THE FISHE$$$ sign. You may have heard my name. I am a Union guy, I am a Guild guy, I am loyal. I fuckin’ LOVE the Guild.

And I voted NO on accepting this deal.

My reasons are good, and they are plentiful; Patric Verrone will be saddened by what I am about to say; long-time friends will shake their heads; but this I say without equivocation…

THEY BEAT US LIKE A YELLOW DOG. IT IS A SHIT DEAL. We finally got a timorous generation that has never had to strike, to get their asses out there, and we had to put up with the usual cowardly spineless babbling horse’s asses who kept mumbling “lessgo bac’ta work” over and over, as if it would make them one iota a better writer. But after months on the line, and them finally bouncing that pus-sucking dipthong Nick Counter, we rushed headlong into a shabby, scabrous, underfed shovelfulla shit clutched to the affections of toss-in-the-towel summer soldiers trembling before the Awe of the Alliance.

My Guild did what it did in 1988. It trembled and sold us out. It gave away the EXACT co-terminus expiration date with SAG for some bullshit short-line substitute; it got us no more control of our words; it sneak-abandoned the animator and reality beanfield hands before anyone even forced it on them; it made nice so no one would think we were meanies; it let the Alliance play us like the village idiot. The WGAw folded like a Texaco Road Map from back in the day.

And I am ashamed of this Guild, as I was when Shavelson was the prexy, and we wasted our efforts and lost out on technology that we had to strike for THIS time. 17 days of streaming tv!!!????? Geezus, you bleating wimps, why not just turn over your old granny for gang-rape?

You deserve all the opprobrium you get. While this nutty festschrift of demented pleasure at being allowed to go back to work in the rice paddy is filling your cowardly hearts with joy and relief that the grips and the staff at the Ivy and street sweepers won’t be saying nasty shit behind your back, remember this:

You are their bitches. They outslugged you, outthought you, outmaneuvered you; and in the end you ripped off your pants, painted yer asses blue, and said yes sir, may I have another.

Please excuse my temerity. I’m just a sad old man who has fallen among Quislings, Turncoats, Hacks and Cowards.

I must go now to whoops. My gorge has become buoyant.

Respectfully, Yr. Pal, Harlan Ellison
Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM | Comments (2)

February 14, 2008

The return of the repressed

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John Rostron points to the official Sleeveface group on flickr: "upload your sleevefaces here! and check www.sleeveface.com for more sleevefacing fun" (via Knowledge is Power).

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.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

t.A.T.u.: Beliy Plaschik (White Robe)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (nsfw, obviously).

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

February 13, 2008

Thousand-hand Bodhisattva Dance

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (hat tip to Faxy Lady from whom I gather this is also known as the Thousand Hand Guan Yin).*

* 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.

Mike Gapes, the Labour chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said Mr Spielberg’s withdrawal would cause “enormous embarrassment” to the Chinese.

He told BCC Radio Four’s The World at One: “The mere fact of having the Olympic Games in China will lead to an international focus.

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.

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

Still separated by a common language

Freemania presents an American's guide for the British government (via the Drink Soaked Trots).

The British system of government is almost exactly like the US system. There are just a few small differences:

Our President is called the Monarch. Unlike the US, we have had several female presidents, including the current incumbent. We have yet to have a black president, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. The President doesn’t have any real power, though, and rather than being elected to serve a limited term, she inherited the job and reigns for life. Imagine a late-second-term lame-duck US President facing a hostile Congress, while anaesthetised and tied to a chair. It’s a really expensive chair, though.
Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2008

The real deal

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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.

Each axe is handmade by the talented artisans at Albion with a carbon steel (hand-ground blade) and mild steel (investment cast socket and spike), with an antiqued, hand-finished and hand-rubbed haft.

Though certainly a striking display item, the Death Dealer is fully functional.

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.

Posted by the Flea at 04:24 AM | Comments (1)

Kirlian Camera: K-Pax

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. More here.

Posted by the Flea at 04:23 AM

A lonely one who guides the lost - but not to safety, to their doom

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.

Only tangentially related: Adora BatBrat's gothic make-up tutorial #1, an excellent example of narrowcasting. Strangely mesmerizing, as is Adora's page at Nocturnal Models Agency.

Posted by the Flea at 04:21 AM | Comments (5)

February 11, 2008

The longest drive

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Posting at The Torch, Damian posts a slide show of the longest drive.

It's a long and awful trip from Trenton to Toronto in a limousine or a hearse carrying a loved one or a comrade-in-arms. But this is what those who make that terrible trip see out the windows of their vehicles.

Not sure I would look at this at work; got something in my eye. Forward this to everybody.

Posted by the Flea at 06:04 AM | Comments (1)

Wings: Mull of Kintyre

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:03 AM

February 09, 2008

Steve Perry: Oh Sherrie

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Related: Your Internet Girlfriend 2.0.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (2)

February 08, 2008

The Shadow of Fu Manchu

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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.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (2)

Mike Oldfield: Five Miles Out

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM | Comments (1)

February 07, 2008

Potentia Animi: Domina

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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.

Posted by the Flea at 05:54 AM | Comments (2)

February 06, 2008

Angel of the South

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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*).

The Angel of the South, planned as a "landmark sculpture" to tell everyone the location of a new transport hub at Ebbsfleet, Kent, is going to be taller than Gateshead's Angel of the North. Doubtless there will eventually be Angels of the east and west. If they live up to the nickname, Britain will resemble a Norse fantasy landscape dreamt up by JRR Tolkien, Richard Wagner ... and Rachel Whiteread.

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.

Related: The Angel of Kandahar.
Also related: Antony Gormley's Event Horizon.

* And from Will in the comments: The Singing, Ringing Tree.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (2)

Life's Decay: Gloria

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday

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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.

"If I had a boyfriend and he asked me to pole dance for him, I would."

Which presents what I am confident to describe as an existential problem.

Posted by the Flea at 04:57 AM | Comments (5)

Goldfrapp: Lovely Head

More from Robert Hodgin: "Solar, with lyrics". Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (via Warren Ellis).

Posted by the Flea at 04:54 AM

February 04, 2008

The Charm of Making

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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 Charm of Making spoken by Merlin & Morgana is an attempt at Old Irish that translates to: "Serpent's breath, charm of death and life, thy omen of making." The phonetic rendering, as spoken in the movie, is: /ana:l nathrakh, u:rth va:s bethud, dokhje:l djenve:/. In Irish, the phrase is: 'An?il nathrach, ortha bh?is bheatha, do thuar dhéanamh', which is pronounced similarly but not exactly as in the movie.

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.

Boorman's original intention was to make a adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. In the script, written by Boorman and his colleague Rospo Pallenberg, many new elements were inserted or were modified. The first half is largely based on The Fellowship of the Ring. Following the intermission, the writers “dropped things out” and “invented as they went along”. Among other things, Frodo and the Lady Galadriel have sexual intercourse (her husband Celeborn is omitted), the Lord of the Nazgûl rides a bleeding, skinless horse in lieu of a flying pterodactylic creature, Gimli is put in a hole and beaten so he can retrieve the password to Moria from his ancestral memory, and Arwen is made into a spiritual guide for the Fellowship and her role as Aragorn's love interest is wholly transferred to Éowyn, who becomes the latter's queen.

I gather this monstrosity is locked in a vault somewhere; hopefully in a stack somewhere further back than the Ark of the Covenant.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | Comments (5)

Caresse P-Orridge: Are You Experienced

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (via Technoccult).

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

Motor Wheel at Burning Man

The Flea is strong in this one. Note to self: Go to Burning Man.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM | Comments (2)

February 01, 2008

By way of destroying the counterculture and accomplishing something useful

GrantMorrison.jpg

Grant Morrison addresses the Disinfo Nation as his Invisibles series was winding to a close. If you have never read The Invisibles, btw, by all means do so.*

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...

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Red Right Hand

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM