August 31, 2011

Lanvin Fall 2011

Posted by the Flea at 07:58 AM

Tea. Earl Grey. Not.

Twinings announces their plan to change the flavour of Earl Grey (via Quotulatiousness).

That will be the day.

Twinings' bizarre plan to change the flavour of Earl Grey seems a misguided one. It has added more lemon and more bergamot to make it even more "wonderful". Leaving aside the fact that only in the world of tea-producing have the words "more bergamot" and "wonderful" ever been combined, you do feel that they have, how can I put it, gone barmy.

The full horror at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 07:57 AM

Polymaths needed, enquire within

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt expresses alarm at the "drift to the humanities" in the UK and a culture where "engineering and science aren’t championed."

Dr Schmidt, who is worth more than £4billion, said: ‘I was flabbergasted to learn that today computer science isn’t even taught as standard in UK schools. First: you need to bring art and science back together. Think back to the glory days of the Victorian era. It was a time when the same people wrote poetry and built bridges.’
Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM

Joe goes to Harry Potter

Posted by the Flea at 07:53 AM

Public Image Ltd: Young Brit

Posted by the Flea at 07:52 AM

August 30, 2011

Manifesto of Futurist Woman (Let's Conclude)


Sadly, I have been unable to find an online video of Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkacova's conceptual piece, Manifesto of Futurist Woman (Let's Conclude) (2008).

I will have to make do with my imagination.

Manifest of Futurist Woman (Let's Conclude) depicts a group of majorettes marching across an urban space, apparently performing a generic choreography. ... The message performed by the majorettes in the video is the concluding part of Manifesto della donna futurista, written in 1912 by the French poet, playwright and performance artist Valentine de Saint-Point as a response to Marinetti's infamous call, in the 1909 Manifesto del Futurismo, for the 'scorn of woman'.

Detailed description and images at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

No means no

Only one Member of Congress voted against U.S. participation in both World War I and World War II.

“If they are going to have war, they ought to take the old men and leave the young to propagate the race.”

Jeannette Rankin was also the first woman member of Congress, a progressive as you will have inferred.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

Laurie Anderson - Home studio (late '80s)

She talks in time.

At the end, performing with a technology that did not then exist.

"Kokoku" from Home Of The Brave: A Film By Laurie Anderson (1986).

Watching this, thinking about my own gigs, I realize it's true: Keep doing what you are doing and sooner or later it won't be cool anymore. But keep doing it and twenty years later nobody recognizes your dance moves and they take you for an original. Give it another five years and it comes back in style. They will call you a genius.

This, at least, is the plan.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Ladytron: Little Black Angel

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

August 29, 2011

Femen go reaping

The video is nsfw due to topless protest. Four mowers and two journalists were arrested.

Femen activists again protest against Ukrainian authorities telling that they are indifferent to ordinary people. This action was held on the main Ukrainian garden-bed on the Day of Independence of Ukraine. Every new political leader “cuts” the country and steals money from the state treasury like Femen girls cut the flowerbed.

I do feel for the gardeners. That said, Ukraine has a superior class of protest movement. Photojournalism at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

On Thud and Blunder

Classic advice for fantasy writers: Poul Anderson argues on behalf of elementary knowledge, and plain common sense, in sword and sorcery.

Beneath the magic, derring-do, and other glamour, an imaginary world has to work right. In particular, a pre-industrial society, which is what virtually all heroic fantasy uses for a setting, differs from ours today in countless ways. A writer need not be a walking encyclopedia to get most of these straight. A reasonable amount of research, or sometimes merely a reasonable amount of logical thinking, will do it for him.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Real life

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.”
- Philip K. Dick

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

What does Carrie Fisher wear in her dressing room?

From the set of Revenge of the Jedi.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

The Cramps: Like a bad girl should

Lux Interior: Gone but not forgotten. Most likely nsfw on a Monday.

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

August 27, 2011

Koschei the Deathless

"Koschei cannot be killed by conventional means targeting his body. His soul is hidden separate from his body inside a needle, which is in an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest (sometimes the chest is crystal and/or gold), which is buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island of Buyan, in the ocean. As long as his soul is safe, he cannot die."

"An early Soviet movie from 1944 directed by Alexander Rou and starring Georgiy Millyar as the undead skeletal rapist ogre of ancient Slavonic mythology."

Here it serves an analogy of the aggressor against Russia in the Second World War, still raging at the time this film was made. It is a call to the Russian people to rise up against the monster and drive it from their homeland.
Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Just in time for fall

Tahti wearing the GHST RDR jacket.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Mila Kunis on World of Warcraft

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

Haus Arafna: You Die

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM

August 26, 2011

What Steve Jobs has made

Here is what actually matters about the working life of Steve Jobs.

It is not wrong to say that everything is better because of the work Steve Jobs did at Apple. I’m not being a fanboy, but I am trying to be completely honest. I think what I have said so far holds up to you-could-look-it-up scrutiny. Every business in the world has been influenced by Apple, by its products, and by its irrepressible, irreplaceable CEO.

(Via Five Feet of Fury, featuring Steve Jobs videos)

Posted by the Flea at 08:08 AM


It turns out Qaddafi and I have something in common.*

* Ignore CNN's analysis. They are so preoccupied with her politics (and their own), they somehow overlook the fact Condoleezza Rice is gorgeous.

Posted by the Flea at 08:07 AM

Solar System Scope

The geography of our solar system. I wish I were responsible for the soundtrack.

Handy: Solar System Builder.

Gnarly: "Known as 'relativistic jets', they can reach hundreds of thousands of light years in length."

Spooky: "The U.S. Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas recorded echoes of the Perseid Meteors as they passed over the monitoring facility."

Posted by the Flea at 08:04 AM

The National: Exile Vilify

Posted by the Flea at 08:02 AM

August 25, 2011

Rebel discovers Qaddafi passport


Specifically, a passport belonging to the Libyan leader's eldest son, Mohammed. Now we know how to spell his name.

A much-circulated 2009 ABCNews.com story found 112 different ways to render the Libyan leader's last name in the Latin alphabet, used in English and most other Western European languages. But, according to this passport, and presumably the Libyan man himself, the accurate Latinized spelling is one of the least commonly used of those 112: Gathafi.

Hopefully this knowledge arrives just as we no longer need it.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

Sound and fury, signifying something

Trefor Moss argues the significance of the Shi Lang, formerly the Varyag, is less as a tool of hard power projection than as an asymmetric weapon of diplomatic warfare.

The first aircraft carrier in the history of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s), which began sea trials earlier this week and churned up no shortage of media conjecture as it got underway, has to be understood on two different levels: the symbolic and the purposive.

Symbolic and purposive: Taiwan announces the Hsiung Feng 3, its handy new anti aircraft carrier missile.

The disclosure came during a preshow media tour of the biennial Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE). Journalists inspecting the Hsiung Feng 3 were shocked to see a large mural of the Varyag being attacked by three Hsiung Feng 3 missiles. Two of the missiles impact the carrier's starboard bow and starboard quarter, with a third missile is en route to the ship.

The mural in question at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

The acme of skill

The Epoch Times claims to have uncovered evidence a Chinese military university is carrying out cyberwar against the United States.

“The CCP has leaked its top secret here,” Jason Ma, a commentator for New Tang Dynasty Television, told the Times. “This is the first time we see clearly that one of the top Chinese military universities is doing this research and developing software for cyber-attacks. There’s solid proof of it in this video.”

On the plus side: My Vault-Tec stock is up.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Sarah McLachlan: Silence (Mt Eden Dubstep)

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

August 24, 2011

Human Revolution

The latest iteration of the Deus Ex franchise arrives with a Deus Ex: Human Revolution fashion line.

Considering this trenchcoat.

It used to be every geek wanted to look like John Constantine, leading some on half-baked quests to locate real-world, dark brown, floppy-breasted dusters (and a lot of not-very-Constantine types to look, well, not in the slightest like him). For fans of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the search is over (probably before it started). If you want Adam Jensen's neo-noir-looking trench duds, you've got 'em, courtesy the official Deus Ex: Human Revolution Collection at Square Enix and Eidos' online store.

"European fit" means "choose a size up", btw.

Le prequel: C'est edgy.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

The champion of the repressed

Hey, Grant Morrison, Sigmund Freud called. He says you mean "oppressed".

Rolling Stone: You're about to relaunch Action Comics, one of DC Comics' longest-running titles. Will your revamp of Superman be as major as John Byrne's back in 1986?

Grant Morrison: Yeah, possibly. Probably as much, although he changed things quite considerably. I'm not using the costumes, just jeans and t-shirt, a Bruce Springsteen Superman. The original champion of the repressed Superman, the socialism and stuff, I wanted a bit of that.

You know what? Stick with repressed. Your slip is showing.

Also: This word "meme". I don't think it memes what you think it memes.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn!

This ad keeps telling me something is going to happen to me at Old Woman Bay. So freaked out right now.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Uffie: Difficult

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

August 23, 2011

Castle Carbonana

Pity I missed the listing for Castle Carbonana; I like the sound of Count of Carbonana. I gather the castle was built in bits and pieces over time, the site first used as a signalling tower in the latter days of the Roman Empire when messages needed to pass quickly between Rome and Ravenna.

It is a fixer upper but it is impressive all the same.

Presenting a truly rare opportunity to acquire a piece of history and make it part of your life, your family, your company, your legacy. An opportunity that is indeed priceless. This 18 hectare (44+ acres) Umbrian Estate and Castle sits nestled, as it has for centuries, in the foothills of the magnificent Medieval town of Gubbio.

Poised in a position which has dominated the valley and controlled access to ancient roads since the dawn of Christianity, this magnificent piece of Italy will be acquired along with the historic title that goes with the estate, that of "Count of Carbonana". The title was established in the year 900 and was given to one of the Castle's first owners, a distinguished Templar Knight. To this day the title remains certified with a heraldic emblem in the Italian Heraldic Encyclopedia and will pass on to the new owner, as it has for centuries.

The asking price would not get you much on the Bridal Path and it wouldn't come with a pedigree - or Italian sunshine - either.

Posted by the Flea at 08:04 AM

With lips too pale and eye shadow too black

I found a signed and dedicated first edition of King of Egypt, King of Dreams by Gwendolyn MacEwen. Sadly, at some point a previous owner tried to blot out her dedication.

Thanks to the miracle of digital scanning and some judicious Photoshop I can now make out the name but, sadly, not MacEwen's handwriting. I hope someone can identify the recipient. Arthur... Winter?

Posted by the Flea at 08:03 AM

Say Something Nice

It's a great idea but you know some douchebag is going to show up with a guitar.

And... there he is.

Posted by the Flea at 08:02 AM

Blawan: Lavender

Posted by the Flea at 08:01 AM

August 22, 2011

Digging For Britain - The Anglo-Saxons

"The Anglo-Saxons - they divided our land and heralded the arrival of the Dark Ages. But were they really just barbarians?"

I am not certain what "our" the blurb is referring to. Not to mention the BBC's barbarophobia. Much more helpful are the notes appended to the clip itself.

The ethnic religion of the Anglo-Saxons is a form of Germanic religion closely related to the beliefs of the Continental Germanic and North Germanic peoples. As with most religions designated as being pagan by later Christian writers, it is a polytheistic belief system, focused around the worship of deities known as the ése (singular ós). The most prominent of these deities is Woden, although other prominent Gods include Thunor and Tiw. Perhaps the most prominent female deity is Fríge. Thunor is a friend of the common man, in contrast to Woden who is primarily associated with royalty.

All this and a remarkable community project in a shopping centre in Sittingbourne besides. The spirit of Alfred is pleased.

Related: Fenris Badwulf has more.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Call it the English way of war

It isn't fashionable to talk in terms of national character these days. But reading a Wikipedia entry on Cross-Channel guns in the Second World War, I am forced to turn to the old stories to make sense of the facts. Let them speak for themselves.

Say you are going to build these big bastard guns in Kent and the Pas-de-Calais with an aim to smashing enemy shipping in the Channel and causing generalized mayhem and distress on the land opposite. What to call them?

If you are German, your 38 cm opening move is the Siegfried Battery, this followed by a variety of evocative maniacs in uniform along the lines of Friedrich August, Prinz Heinrich and, naturally, Adolf. These topped by the four 38 cm guns of the Battery Todt.

Now say you are in charge of the British response. Naming your first gun is easy, it's Winnie, an affectionate nod to the Prime Minister. Your second 14 inch monster is easier still; it's Pooh. Obviously.

Verdict: We weren't the baddies. But we were badass.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Schloß Nymphenburg, Amalienburg

If anyone should happen to recognize the music, I would be grateful if you might let me know what it is.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Lulu Rouge: LuLu's Theme

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

August 21, 2011

Cabiria (1914)


"Cabiria is a 1914 silent movie from the early years of Italy's movie industry, directed by Giovanni Pastrone."

Apart from being a classic on its own, the film is also notable for being the first film in which the long-running film character Maciste makes his debut.

The movie is based on Emilio Salgari's 1908 novel Cartagine in fiamme (Carthage in Flames) and Gustave Flaubert's 1862 novel Salammbo and is set in ancient Carthage during the period of the Second Punic War (218-202 BC).

A summary, posters and the film in its entirety.

Special interest: Looking for something "more" than Set, the Snake God? Have you heard the news about Moloch? The Temple of Moloch and the invocation to Moloch for your consideration starting at 23:13.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

Game of Thrones RPG

I guess I should put a spoiler warning on this (read the book).

Posted by the Flea at 07:08 AM

Fall/Winter is coming

NixonSixx wonders if Game of Thrones is working its way into this winter’s fashion choices.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

Zdeněk Fibich: Symphony No. 2 in E Flat, Op. 38

This appears to be the Naxos release by the Razumovsky Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Mogrelia conducting.

My copy is Karel Šejna's 1961 interpretation with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. It is gorgeous, spirited and sadly in need of remastering due to the technological limitations of the day. If anyone at Supraphon Records should happen to come across this post, I will do the job as a labour of love.

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM

August 20, 2011

Underworld: Awakening

Le first trailer. New plan: Enter cryopod until January; I have no need of further good news until then.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

Redistribution for thee but not for me

College students in favour of sharing the wealth prove to be strangely reluctant to share their grades.

Oliver Darcy, a recent college graduate, proposes that students with good grades contribute their GPA to their academically sluggish friends. He argues that this is how the federal government takes wealth from the country’s high wage earners and distributes it to the low income earners.

“They all earn their GPA,” said Darcy in an interview with "Fox and Friends." “So we asked them if they’d be interested in redistributing the GPA points that they earned to students who may be having trouble getting a high GPA.”

It's a tough sell. Video at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

Vin Diesel on Dungeons & Dragons

In which Vin Diesel represents for bald, middle-aged D&D fans. Like a boss.

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

Skrillex: First Of The Year (Equinox)

Via Biorequiem.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM

August 19, 2011

Napoléon (1927)


"Napoléon (1927) is an epic silent French film directed by Abel Gance that tells the story of the rise of Napoleon I of France."

It begins from his youth in school where he managed a snowball fight like a military campaign, to his victory in invading Italy in 1797. ... Ahead of its time in its use of handheld cameras and editing, many scenes were hand tinted or toned.

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII.

That's the first couple hours or so, enough to get you started. I confess I have only watched the first two parts so far.

Still, worth it if only for the opening snowball scene cited above. Even my childhood snowball fights of the 1970s were cut short by the fear somebody, somewhere might get a boohoo. In Napoleon's day, teachers awarded students for innovative tactics. One pedagogy produces men, the other produces Canada.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

The fires of Orc

Ridley Scott has committed to direct and produce a prequel or sequel or something for Blade Runner.

The film was not a blockbuster when first released--it grossed $32 million in its original run--but the film has gained esteem over time.

Thanks to my Dad, I am the only person I know who can say I saw the film at the cinema in its first run (now expecting a deluge of mail from other equally blessed people). I could not tell you how many times I have seen it since. It is one of the two or three most influential films for me in terms of teachings and influence. It is difficult to express the reverence I hold for Ridley Scott; even Kingdom of Heaven had Eva Green.

But I've got a bad feeling about this.

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM


"I am Andrew Ryan Peter Thiel, and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No!' says the man in Washington, 'It belongs to the poor.' 'No!' says the man in the Vatican, 'It belongs to God.' 'No!' says the man in Moscow, 'It belongs to everyone.' I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose...Rapture, a city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city, as well."

The New Greta Garbo Party: Comment at The Five.

Posted by the Flea at 06:07 AM

Peter Rabbit - Tank Killer

Warning, has swears.

Posted by the Flea at 06:04 AM

Rome: Die Brandstifter

Posted by the Flea at 06:02 AM

August 18, 2011

China's ghost cities and the accursed share

The pyramid analogy is apt.

... according to Bataille's theory of consumption, the accursed share is that excessive and non-recuperable part of any economy which is destined to one of two modes of economic and social expenditure. This must either be spent luxuriously and knowingly without gain in the arts, in non-procreative sexuality, in spectacles and sumptuous monuments, or it is obliviously destined to an outrageous and catastrophic outpouring, in the contemporary age most often in war, or in former ages as destructive and ruinous acts of giving or sacrifice, but always in a manner that threatens the prevailing system.
Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

Rocket, grenade attack in Sabari

Bill Ardolino reports from the Sabari district of Khost province, Afghanistan (photos).

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

The Thing

In 1945 Soviets presented America a gift of the Great Seal of the US at the end of WWII, in 1952 the US finally realized it contained a listening bug.

On August 4, 1945, a delegation from the Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union presented the bugged carving to U.S. Ambassador Averell Harriman, as a "gesture of friendship" to the USSR's World War II ally. It hung in the ambassador's Moscow residential study until it was exposed in 1952 during the tenure of Ambassador George F. Kennan. The existence of the bug was accidentally discovered by a British radio operator who overheard American conversations on an open radio channel as the Russians were beaming radio waves at the ambassador's office.
Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

N. Sokolov: Safari

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

August 17, 2011

The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World


Tate Britain: 14 June – 4 September 2011 (video at the link).

Focusing on the only two Vorticist exhibitions mounted during the lifetime (sic - ed.), in London and New York, this striking exhibition brings together over 100 key works; including photography and literary ephemera, as well as seminal pieces by Wyndham Lewis, Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

Snide remarks about the Tate's copy editing aside - and the fact the intro to their blurb appears to have been lifted word for word uncredited from The Bullfinch Guide to Art History via the Vorticism Wikipedia entry, spare a snide remark to the effect of Vorticism being a derivative, rather less interesting spin on Futurism.

The Tate seems to share this opinion. Vorticism does not have much of a conceptual pedigree to cite; consequently, the subtitle to the exhibition is a clear reference to Marinetti's Futurist Manifesto, a template for all would be rebel artists and aesthetic empire builders ever since. Though it could be the Tate curatorial team was embarrassed to cite Wyndham Lewis (and who could blame them*).

That said, I am annoyed to once again be missing something interesting in London. A blessing of my childhood was to grow up in the same city as Jacob Epstein's Rock Drill, housed in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.** It was fascinating and terrifying, an "armed, sinister figure of today and tomorrow."

Or rather, it was until I read the Rock Drill vs Battle Droid. Which tends to ruin things a bit.

Still, if you are in London, it is worth a visit to see the copy they have on display.


* "You think at once of a whirlpool. At the heart of the whirlpool is a great silent place where all the energy is concentrated. And there, at the point of concentration, is the Vorticist," he said, wanking.

** Or rather, what is left of it. Following the First World War, Epstein cut the figure in half, perhaps a reflection of an optimism for the machine age cut short in the trenches.

“Epstein may first have decided to make this immensely daring tour de force while watching men and machines cutting stone in a quarry. He later recalled: ‘My ardour for machinery (short-lived) expended itself upon the purchase of an actual drill, second-hand, and upon this I made and mounted a machine-like robot, visored, menacing, and carrying within itself its progeny, protectively ensconced. Here is the armed, sinister figure of today and tomorrow.’”

Or perhaps Epstein's reinvention of the piece as an armed, sinister figure was rather less convincing when it was obviously engaged in road works (minus a tea break). Ken Cook and Ann Christopher have made a reconstruction.

Posted by the Flea at 07:58 AM

Chêne Chappelle

Chêne Chappelle is a large tree holding a small church in the French village of Allouville-Bellefosse.

Posted by the Flea at 07:57 AM

Lady Gaga: Yoü And I

If people could get over their preconceptions - including, perhaps, a legion of Gaga fans - it could be No. 1 on the country charts (hat tip to Monster Jeff).

Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM

August 16, 2011

The Antics Roadshow

"An hour-long special produced by Banksy charting the history of behaving badly in public, from anarchists and activists to attention seeking eccentrics."

Contributors include Michael Fagan talking about breaking into the Queen’s bedroom: ‘I looked into her eyes, they were dark’; and Noel Godin, who pioneered attacking celebrities with custard pies: ‘Instead of a bullet I give them a cake’.

Explaining his reasoning behind the show, Banksy said: ‘Basically I just thought it was a good name for a TV programme and I’ve been working back from there’.

Culturally significant if tooth grindingly irritating. Which is, of course, the point.

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’ll eat meat

"That’s how much I hate Morrissey."

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

No way, blood. I'm done flying today.

Topical: Armstrong & Miller - WWII RAF (Sketch 6). Difficult to say if it qualifies as parody given most people living in England could not recognize the England being parodied.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Psychic TV: Thee Full Pack

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

August 15, 2011

Updates of Westoros


A playhouse of actors have joined Games of Thrones Season 2. The latest: Ben Crompton as Dolorous Edd and Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton.

But wait, there's more Ice and Fire-related casting news!

Other actors who have signed on for the second season include Hannah Murray as Gilly, Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth, Carice van Houten as Melisandre, Gwendoline Christie as Brienne and Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell.

The Margaery Tyrell casting is inspired.

Gratuitously: Natalie Dormer having sexy times in The Tudors (nsfw, unless you work for Henry Tudor). I include the link in part because something has to pay the bills around here but mainly to illustrate a point: Anyone who thinks a fantasy past has to be PG-rated has not been paying attention to fantasy, or to the past.

Raising the tone: Henry VIII - Dressed to kill.

Posted by the Flea at 05:48 AM

Authors@Google: George R.R. Martin

Posted by the Flea at 05:47 AM

Nicola Roberts: Lucky Day

A French pop single somehow, magically, written in English. I wouldn't have thought it was possible.

Posted by the Flea at 05:42 AM

August 13, 2011

Cute like a boss

The six deadliest animals too adorable to run away from.*

Meep meep.

* Unsettling penguin imagery.

Related: Battle at Kruger. At the risk of spoilers, you should understand the baby water buffalo survives.

Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM

Schmidt Sting Pain Index

Where biology and analogy are made to rhyme.

1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch.
1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.
2.0 Bald-faced hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.
Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM

Masha and the Bears: Lyuba

Weirdly turned on by this and not ashamed to say so.

Also, in case you are thinking what I am thinking, yeah, pretty much. Hey, you try and invent some new chord progressions.

Posted by the Flea at 09:42 AM

August 12, 2011

Musicians@Google Presents: Google Goes Gaga

"Who are you looking for? I'm right here."

Lady Gaga: Today's paradigm case of an artist underestimated because of her commercial success. "Telephone" stands next to anything Kurt Weill ever wrote.

Related thought: I was particularly pleased, though in no way surprised, by Gaga's comment on the success Rebecca Black. Black, driven from her school by jealous trolls, was 13 years old when her first entirely inoffensive pop single struck a chord with other young girls. Yet somehow a good half the adults of my (distant) acquaintance felt obligated to make a show of themselves, in print no less, expressing their aesthetic horror at a song that wasn't written for them in the first place. These were, to a man, non-contributing zeroes when it comes to the culture. Call it the Rebecca Black Acid Test.

Posted by the Flea at 07:58 AM

Celestial Buddies

Earth! Moon! Mars! The Sun!

Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM

Blawan: Getting Me Down

Posted by the Flea at 07:52 AM

August 11, 2011

The eyes of Stalin and the voice of Marilyn Monroe


This month in Harper's Bazaar: Georgia May Jagger pays tribute to style icon, Margaret Thatcher.

In the colourful photographs, Georgia is seen posing outside the front of Number Ten Downing Street in a black and white hounds tooth suite with matching stilettos, all made by Salvatore Ferragamo.

Her hair has been perfectly coiffed into the voluminous style worn by Thatcher throughout her political career. In another picture she sits at a desk pretending to make a phone call on an old style bright red phone - a picture of Thatcher's late husband Dennis sitting in a gold frame in the foreground.
Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

India: Slut Walks (Debate)

A bit of a damp squib but notable for the introduction. Stay tuned as the BBC turns its fire from Israel to India while civilization makes its way merrily toward the Abyss.

The Slut Walk wasn't an unqualified success either.

The Bhopal event looks like the most dismal flop imaginable. First, the name. Slut Walk, it turns out, does not appeal to that city's female population. The march had to be renamed: The PrideStride for Women. Next came the attire. Slutty outfits, the organizers agreed, would not go down well in Bhopal.

Related somehow: "At the end of the day you cannot tax beauty nor subsidize ugly."

Frankly demented: "I blame Christina Aguilera, who with her bleating hymn to self-deception, Beautiful, convinced a generation of broads that they were ‘Beautiful, in every single way’."

Via Five Feet of Fury.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

Geneva Jacuzzi: Love Caboose

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

August 10, 2011

Uncharted: Elena Fisher


Elena Fisher is the first video game character I have ever fallen - just a little bit - in love with.

Interview with: Emily Rose and Claudia Black, aka Elena Fisher and Chloe Frazier, co-stars of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

Image wall: Fuckyeauncharted.

Anticipation: November 1, 2011 - Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. The first iteration was the closest thing to a proper Indiana Jones video game I have ever played, the second a masterpiece of adventure fiction that stands up to anything ever written. It is worth buying a PS3 for this franchise alone (think of the BluRay player as the excuse should you happen to need one).

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

Richard Cheese: Don't Cha

George Takei makes an appearance.

And another classic by Richard Cheese and The Lounge Against The Machine.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

August 09, 2011

Stephen King: Shining in the Dark (1999)

Featuring Kathy Bates and Tom Hanks. Filmed just before a fateful run in with a pickup truck.

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.

This is a Hollywood themed summary of the man's career to the end of the '90s. For a how to, see Stephen King's On Writing.

Posted by the Flea at 06:22 AM

Valar Morghulis

In Game of Throne casting news, the role of Jaqen H’ghar will be filled by Tom Wlaschiha (showreel at the second link).

Posted by the Flea at 06:18 AM

Frida Gold: Zeig mir wie Du tanzt

Posted by the Flea at 06:17 AM

August 08, 2011

Lubeh feat. Victoria Dayneko: Admiral

"Admiral (Russian: Адмиралъ) is a 2008 biopic about Alexander Kolchak, a Vice-Admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy and leader of the anti-communist White Movement during the Russian Civil War. The film also depicts the love triangle between the Admiral, his wife, and the poetess Anna Timireva.

"According to director Andrei Kravchuk,"

"[The film is] about a man who tries to create history, to take an active part in history, as he gets caught in the turmoil. However, he keeps on struggling, he preserves his honor and his dignity, and he continues to love."
Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

I see what you did there

Polytechnic of Milan professor Giulio Magli offers a belated, and I would have thought blindingly obvious, conjecture as to the function of the oculus of the Pantheon. But I don't have tenure so what do I know.

Experts found that the hole allows a single shaft of sunlight to illuminate the interior during the March and September equinox as well as on April 21 – the date Rome is said to have been founded.

The emperor would have been bathed by the sun’s rays as he entered the building on these auspicious occasions.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Peaches: Private Dancer

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

August 07, 2011



Spencer Kansa interviews David Sylvian.

Actually, I was never attracted to the British punk movement at all. I celebrated the spirit of it. As unlikely as it seems we were very much part of that spirit at that time. It was a matter of ‘well we can do that, pick up our instruments and go’ and I’m still drawn to the non-musician cos I really love that spirit of exploration, normally as a result of not having the technical expertise to work otherwise. So how do you work around your lack of ability? You’re forced to be more creative.

David Sylvian, Sleepwalkers.

For example: David Sylvian - Sugarfuel.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Robert Anton Wilson on Jack Parsons

Recorded in the spring of 1998.

Robert Anton Wilson discusses Jack Parsons.

And Aleister Crowley.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Kenneth Anger: Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954)

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome: An excerpt featuring Anaïs Nin and the Glagolitic Mass by Léos Janàček.*

Kenneth Anger: Inauguration Of The Pleasure Dome in full.

Occult avant-garde cult movie, with lots of symbolism familiar from the works of Aleister Crowley.

* The Flea: Come for the pop music, stay for the diacritical marks.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM

August 06, 2011

Frederick the Great and the Enigma of Prussia (2010)


"Frederick the Great shaped Prussia, and in doing so shaped western culture as a whole. Der alte Fritz is influential even today. He is surprisngly 'modern'. His bad luck was to be born a Prince because that carried obligations."

Presented by Christopher Clark.

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V.

Embonpoint: Nun danket alle Gott.

Posted by the Flea at 07:31 AM

Rammstein: Du Hast (8 bit)

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

August 05, 2011

Canals at last

NASA announces the discovery of liquid water on Mars.

Posted by the Flea at 08:07 AM

Porcelain Black: This is what rock n roll looks like

Personally, I enjoy being pandered to.

Posted by the Flea at 08:04 AM

August 04, 2011

Noel Coward: Rehab

If I have to parse any of this, you should be reading something else.

Noel Coward sings the 1934 original of the song made famous by Amy Winehouse.
Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

There will be blood

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss on thirteen Emmy nominations including Casting, Costume, Directing and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Peter Dinklage - who should win - and the second season of Game of Thrones.

“It’s a lot of journeys,” he added of storylines set to lead the drama when it returns to HBO next year. “Jon Snow is wandering north of the wall with the Night’s Watch to find out what’s going on up there, and Theon Greyjoy is traveling to his ancestral homeland.”

“We do introduce Stannis [Baratheon], the missing brother, who was often referred to, but never seen in the first season,” George chimed in, referring to a major part, which will be played by British actor Stephen Dillane.

And: Season two will stick to ten episodes.

Also: George R.R. Martin talks to Canada's state broadcaster.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

Con gran potencia viene la gran responsabilidad

"Chris Wragge talks to Axel Alonso, editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, about Spider-Man's change of identity with the departure of Peter Parker and the arrival of Miles Morales."

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Imagine no possessions

"You bought that crock of bull? Goodness, he was singing from his big mansion in the video."

Somehow this observation, blindingly obvious as it is, had never occurred to me. Such is ideology.

Posted by the Flea at 06:45 AM

Ólafur Arnalds: Lokaðu Augunum

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

August 03, 2011

The Shield and the Sword (1968)


The Shield and the Sword (Shchit i mech) (1968).

Alexander Belov (Stanislav Lyubshin) is a Russian spy in the Nazi Germany, working under cover name as Johann Weiss. His perfect German and cool demeanor allows him to make a career in the SS Headquarters in Berlin. Now he is risking his life while getting the Nazi war plans and delivering it to his contact for the sake of Victory.

In four parts. Click the CC button for English subtitles.

Posted by the Flea at 06:29 AM

Not The Nine O'Clock News: An apology to the Freemasons

"My grandfather donated that light bulb!"*

* Ba dum, tssh.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

Asonance: Ďáblovy námluvy (The Devil's Courtship)

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

August 02, 2011

Why Beauty Matters (2009)

Philosopher Roger Scruton makes a case for the importance of beauty.

In the 20th century, Scruton argues, art, architecture and music turned their backs on beauty, making a cult of ugliness and leading us into a spiritual desert.

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V.

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

TVOntario Magic Shadows intro 1982

Hat tip to the Sister of the Flea.

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

Mike Oldfield: Ommadawn

"Ommadawn represented a departure from his previous solo, multi-tracked recording technique. Other musicians were involved, not just in the recording but in the composition and arrangement too. Influences from the folk music of Ireland, Africa and Eastern Europe can be clearly heard. Paddy Moloney of the Irish band the Chieftains contributed the distinctive uillean pipes. It was way ahead of its time, and for me, it confirms the 22-year-old Oldfield as not just one of the great classical guitarists in rock, but as one of its greatest composers."

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

August 01, 2011

La noire de… (1966)


"Black Girl is a 1966 film by the Senegalese writer and director Ousmane Sembène, starring Mbissine Thérèse Diop. Its original French title is La noire de…, which means 'The black girl of...', as in 'someone's black girl'" (spoiler at the first link).

In his pioneering 1966 film, Black Girl, the great Senegalese author and director, Ousmane Sembène, explores the complex dynamics of the immediate post-colonial period through the simple, devastating story of a Senegalese servant, Diouana (Mbissine Thérèse Diop), and her relationship to the unnamed French couple (Anne Marie Jelinek and Robert Fontaine) who employ her.

The film's reversal of then conventional ideas about the narrative position of "subaltern" groups is today not only to be expected but cliché (not only in film but in all media including and especially advertising). Le noire de... is nonetheless fascinating to watch, perhaps more so now than when it was made, less for its polemic than its aesthetic. I had never seen a film with a nouvelle vague sensibility via Senegal.

That said, for all his purported - and apparently genuine - concerns about subject position and representation one cannot help but notice Sembène's choice of Mbissine Thérèse Diop for the lead rôle is as entirely conventional today as it was in the mid-1960s; she is luminously beautiful.

La noire de… (1966): Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

It's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose

The first photos from the second season of Downton Abbey offer another glimpse into a life to which I am not acquainted but to which I could nonetheless rapidly become accustomed.

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

Lalo Schifrin: Old Laces

"The Dissection and reconstruction of music from the past as performed by the inmates of Lalo Schifrin's demented ensemble as a tribute to the memory of the Marquis de Sade."

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM