Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Built in the late 1950's as a service station, it became a Little Chef about fifteen years ago and has recently escaped demolition in the name of progress. It's not listed, but they are looking into it. I'll pass it on Saturday as I travel down from Yorkshire to Essex so look out for a blurred photograph taken at speed in the next few days.
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Monday, 28 March 2011
Saturday, 26 March 2011
Friday, 25 March 2011
Thursday, 24 March 2011
Daphne Oram's started her Oramics project after she left the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in 1957, a project that focused on pure sound produced by visual images. There's also a Wire Salon event at Cafe Oto on 7 April about Daphne Oram (apologies if either have already featured on here). Thanks to John Cavanagh for the heads up.
From the outside, a giant curved mound of grass-topped earth encased in a modernist "Stalinist brutalist" exterior, as Neil Oliver recently put it on his telly programme. On the inside, claustraphobic and yet apparently similarly sharply-designed, and intact, apart from the stone-carved graffiti by 18th and 19th century tourists. Strangely, it's far from cosy, organic or earthy though. The look and feel is geometric - like the pyramids (Newgrange is only 500 years older). Built by hand, without concrete, by balancing carefully selected rocks to create a passage that was specifically angled to only receive sunlight over winter solstice, a corbelled roof, and three small recesses around a circular centre, it was pretty unexpected to feel like I was in a spaceship pod as much as a sacred space. Maybe a little too much reading about ancient astronauts and looking at the neolithic spiral art, but I like the idea that we go there to look back and connect, but it was built as much looking forward as for the ancestors.
(The UNESCO World Heritage sites of Newgrange, Knowth & Dowth contain a third of Europe's neolithic art, including lunar maps at Knowth. Save Newgrange are campaigning against the proposed Slane bypass road, which will run 500 metres from Newgrange.)
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Monday, 21 March 2011
Czech fairytale masterpiece from 1976. Amazing sets, costumes, and music (the latter courtesy of genius composer Zdeněk Liška, whose score to the film was recently released on CD & vinyl by the good folks over at Finders Keepers). Recommended if you enjoyed Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. Here is a link to grab the whole film with English subtitles (which doesn't exist on DVD - I had to add the subs myself). Very rare, so get it now while you can...
The Thirteenth Floor tells of a High Rise building that is monitored and controlled by a computer called MAX. Max is essentially the council block version of HAL 9000, and he holds the welfare of his tenants so close to his little circuit heart, that he'll do anything it takes to keep them safe... anything.
The entire Run of The Thirteenth Floor is available at Back From the Depths, along with other creepy comics storylines.
Sunday, 20 March 2011
Saturday, 19 March 2011
(from home demo tape that only came to light in the age of file-sharing)
(first self-released 7", co-produced by Thomas Leer)
(extract from documentory about Rental's 1979 tour/collaboration with Danial Miller)
I wrote some / stuff about Rental back in the pre-youtube, pre-hauntology days, and recently 'collaborated' with him in a live mix for Concepto Radio.
Friday, 18 March 2011
I have a lot of things to put up both here and on between channels, but I'll offer a taster with these adverts. 'Famous Monsters' is a great name for a brand and the inclusion of a goatee and 'devil horns' is brilliant, much like the Mister T / Groucho Marx crossover they have pictured.
I love the breathless 'check-this-shit-out!' tone of this ad, especially the little bit that informs the reader that the traps '..will bite at (but will NOT bite off) more than it can chew - such as a finger or a pencil.' A useful H&S disclaimer, although not as useful as the celebrity endorsement provided by Charles Darwin, which seems to have been edited slightly. I may buy one at the weekend and recommend you do the same. FEED IT RAW BEEF!
Perhaps because nowhere in Britain is more than a day’s drive from anywhere else if you put your mind to it, the UK road film is generally a species of art cinema, the inner journey of the traveller transfiguring the discovery of the landscape. In the traditional road movie, self-discovery takes place on the road. In the UK road film, no road can be long enough to put arrival out of the traveller’s mind, or the viewer’s. A road movie protagonist is tested by transition. A UK road film protagonist is tested by the threat of arrival.
The apogee of the UK road film’s resonance was the nineteen-seventies. At perhaps no other point in the history of film in the UK have the borders between modes of film practice seemed so porous: the impoverished state of the industry made commercial production almost as artisanal and economically uncertain a venture as experimental filmmaking; in this era Peter Sellers vehicles could sit on the shelf permanently while Stephen Dwoskin’s films received theatrical distribution. Never since has Rivette’s observation that narrative films are documentaries of people acting seemed so acute.
Sometimes, the UK road film is a film about people thinking about moving – roads of any kind scarcely appear in Barney Platt-Mills’ Private Road. At other times, the destination merges into the road, becomes defined as the catalyst of an emotional voyage. Take Me High has only begun when Tim Matthews (Cliff Richard), previously so much an item with the smoked-windowed Mini on whose roof he has perched to sing (before drinking champagne alone) becomes a Birmingham pedestrian and discovers the waterways. Ryker (George Lazenby)’s spiritual odyssey in Universal Soldier takes him from his career of perpetual travel for perpetual war to a life of rented rooms among the countercultural Left.
Radio On is something rather different. To relate to thought as one in transit, at home in liminal spaces, is an ambition already discernable in that film, despite the trauma of the occurrence Robert (David Beames) travels to confront; the logical conclusion of its drift the ceaseless movement of Petit’s later travellers.