Over on the rather fine Cracked podcast this week, they were talking again about the final scene of The Graduate, where, after all Dustin Hoffman’s bloke-in-a-movie rush to reckless action succeeds in producing a result conventionally regarded as desirable within movie logic, if not in real life, the camera lingers on the couple past the “sorted!” freeze frame long enough to see the realisation break across their faces of what they’ve done. Wordlessly, we see how the weight of what’s going to happen next subverts the “Hollywood ending” we were prepared for. More often than not, the great spaces between dialogue in film are filled with stunts and explosions, but, from time to time, there are unforgettable moments of drama conveyed without a word being uttered – I’m thinking of Bob Hoskins’ bottom row of teeth retracting defeated at the end of The Long Good Friday. Moments before, the future object of Jessica Rabbit’s affection absolutely nailed one of those grandstanding speeches actors dream of, but he still shifts up another gear in the back of that car.. So, how about celebrating some of the great scenes that required no words? I’m hoping for replies, although I suppose complete silence » Continue Reading.
Music. Some of it’s great, some of it is truly awful and a great deal is just “meh”. And who has time to listen to all of it?* ** *** Fortunately, in the course of their a strummin’ and a plinkyplonking and a cut’n’pastin’, many of our pop buddies have a habit of hitting upon that one title that completely sums up what they do, thereby providing a helpful shortcut in our quest to identify that which we might “dig”. As a f’rinstance, 10,000 teased out and carefully considered mots justes by the planet’s foremost music scribes will provide the curious with scarcely more information about the band Spiritualized than their one quintessential song title: She Kissed Me (It Felt Like A Hit). All you need to know about Senior Spaceman’s particular goulash combining love, divine grace and winky opioid up-tops is right there in that symphonic oo-er pop referencing pun. Not a great example? I’m sure you can do better…. *okay, probably Tigger ** yeah, and duco *** dammit, probably most of you freaky shut-in mofos…!
There was no end of material over on the Back o’ The Net thread – as Sir Junior of Wells points out “a lot of bands prefer to hit you with their best shot” and, no doubt, record companies encourage artistes to frontload their albums with bangers. Interesting then, that we can probably all think of an album (this time, not necessarily a debut) where the starter’s gun has gone off but our heroes seem sluggish getting out of the blocks. Sometimes it’s just our self-important friends signalling to the punters they they are in the presence of a work perhaps a little different to what they were expecting – I’m thinking here of something like It’s No Game (No 1) at the start of Bowie’s Scary Monsters; Yes, says David, you will be getting a run of chart hits, but first you’re getting this, because I have a rep to maintain. While the CP(POF)H had by this point established himself as both “a bit experimental” and an habitué of the top 20, sudden (and possibly unanticipated) success might be the explanation why civilian fans of one of 1981’s biggest hits were treated, upon purchasing the album with the same » Continue Reading.
Following fentonsteves brilliantly instructive post about the great pre-recorded cassette tape swindle (a.k.a. Home Taping Is Significantly Improving Music) yesterday – itself a response to a query from Moose – I thought it might be time for one of those threads where punters can ask anything that’s been bothering them in the hope that the AW hive mind can polyfilla over that crack in their wall of knowledge. Not so much the big threadworthy ATM stuff as the small almost-too-embarrassed-to-ask headscratchers. And, as my man Carl Sagan said: “There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question”. And, with that in mind, I’ll set the bar at limbo dancing level by asking this. Every now and then, while listening to seventies reggae music, I find myself wondering about combs. In the JA Cinematic Universe it’s very clearly defined that The Dreads are the good guys and the baddies are the “Baldheads”. Yet the Dreads’ greatest gesture of defiance is to “throw the comb away”. Now, I don’t know what degree of curation is involved in maintaining a » Continue Reading.
James Gleick first came to our attention back in the late 80s with his book “Chaos: Making A New Science”. This was around the same time Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History Of Time” was becoming the publishing phenomenon which would prompt a proliferation of “Popular Science” literature. Hawking’s book, notoriously, rivals Finnegans Wake in the ratio of copies owned to those completed and comprehended. Chaos is no less formidable in terms of the depth and breadth with which it seeks to explain its subject. But, while it’s true that it tackles what were then-zeitgeisty topics like The Butterfly Effect and Fractals which apply to more down-to-Earth things such as cloud formations and coastlines, I would say Chaos also demonstrates that Gleick has a greater talent for bringing the reader along without needing to oversimplify complicated subject matter.
As eyebrow-raising as Chaos Theory is, it is very much hard science. Time travel, as Stephen Hawking (who famously threw a party for time travellers by sending out the invitations afterwards) would remind us, is the stuff of speculation, so I was interested to see how this writer would approach the subject. As it turns out, Gleick could have cheekily half-inched » Continue Reading.
It’s Brit Awards month here on The Afterword. As you’ll be aware, along with our sister site AfterNuts, we’ve been profiling all the nominees (although their profiles are mostly pictures of Beyoncé bending over). This year, there are quite a few AW-friendly acts in the shake up for the prizes who we can see are there on merit alongside Rag n Bone Man. The Brits are a time for celebration of British talent and influence around the world – Mr Kano, on one of his crispier biscuits, makes a reference to Johnny Foreigner “Crossing the pond fishing for hits”. While he acknowledges “We both gain from a little influence”, he wonders “How come nobody credits us Brits?”. It’s true, whether it’s the “British Invasion” following Beatlemania or Britain’s ability to persuade its trigger-happy cousin that its own neglected children Hendrix, Blondie and Public Enemy are, in fact, ace, or just someone calling their band Pavement, there has been a lot of cultural traffic westward from the Mother Country. So, big, small or silly – how about a thread documenting the times the U.S. took a tip from the U.K.? To start: when Public Enemy were brainstorming ideas for their theme » Continue Reading.
Apparently, it all ended up down there ——->
The Deadloss Corporation welcomes you to Afterworld, a safe place where ageing balding geezers going round in circles talking gibberish are indulged, rather than pointed at and mocked the way you are in the outside world. This is only possible because we have a full cast of humanlike cyborgs to attend to your every fantasy. Why not visit our old-style saloon the Aspidistra and Hatstand where you might meet some of our earliest units who we, sentimentally perhaps, still employ in service? At the card table is “Old Bean” a model so basic he can only play poker and drink whiskey and even then only by having his hollow leg regularly drained. At the bar is Dreamdaze (yes “dream” AND “daze”, we were really taking the p*ss with our early models – we spelled out their true nature in their name and still they believe they’re real). In the case of DD a “Millennium Bug”-style programming limitation means he is unable to comprehend anything that happened after December 31 1969. Newer models are more sophisticated and frequently reassigned new identities. Most recently we repurposed “the rough one” from a touring boy band so that he believes he is a hairy » Continue Reading.
That cryptic photo game we’ve been enjoying over there -> has me thinking about how we see or miss things that may or not be put there deliberately for us to notice. As a for instance, because of some browsing I did following Pete Burns’ death, Amazon keeps shoving the album illustrated below in my face. After my first careless glance at the cover I assumed some wit had put the “You spin me right round, baby right round..” hitmaker inside a washing machine. But a proper inspection and the compilation’s title – Sophisticated Boom Box – revealed me to be wrong. But half a beatbox does look quite a bit like a washing machine …so I still have a niggling suspicion my misconception is a deliberate plant by the artist. It made me wonder if there are things you’ve encountered on your travels where you’ve noticed, or thought you noticed, something and have been genuinely unsure whether it was just “in the eye of the beholder” or intended to be seen. The whole subject is a bit of a minefield: the film Room 237 reveals a plethora of clever choices Stanley Kubrick made in filming The Shining, but is » Continue Reading.
What the utter f**k? A couple of days ago I tried to start a running joke that “Coprophilia” would be this week’s word of the week. Can it be that the rock ‘n’ roll Pope is a lurker on The Afterword?: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/pope-fake-news-francis-sexual-arousal-coprophilia-coprophagia-a7461331.html
Back in the nineties there was a record that got a bit of radio play. I never caught the name of the artist, but I presume the song was called “Bad idea” because, even though I don’t remember the verses, I recall the chorus went: – Ner Ner Ner Ner – Bad idea! – Ner Ner Ner Ner – Bad idea – where each Ner Ner Ner Ner was an example of a “bad idea”. The only example used I still remember was “Eurodisney”, which is why I’m thinking this was some time in the early to mid nineties. – It occurs to me that this could be a fun drinking game, where each person in turn has to name a bad idea, while subject to the discipline of four syllables (Tricky, I remember someone once commenting that Lemmy was one of the greatest songwriters because all his lines were only a few words long). For example: – Tigers as pets – Bad idea! – Farts in Spacesuits – Bad idea! ..and so on You could get certainly get away with four and a bit syllables: – Booze for t’baby – Bad idea! You may even think five will scan, » Continue Reading.
As tiggerlion’s great Album Of The Year poll approaches, AWers are making their lists and checking them ..ooh.. dozens of times. One record that will feature in a lot of people’s thoughts is this year’s surprise new Avalanches release Wildflower. It’s certainly going to appear on Arthur Cowslip’s list following his excellent and fulsome review in Nights In (which you should definitely read If you have not already). Now I’ve not done 200 listens, but I’ve spun this quite a few times and, well, I’ve been wondering why all the fuss? It’s not that I don’t like it. I do. But not …much. Last time I played Devil’s Advocate it yielded Bingo Little’s fantastic Frank Ocean post, so I ask with anticipation: are The Avalanches all that? I’m not asking for a justification of the turntable/mixer as instrument (although, hey, bring it on!). There are plenty of djs-as-band platters I like (as as f’rinstance I really like Visioneers’ Hipololgy album, but I absolutely love the bonus disc – and I emphasise “bonus disc” – where all the tunes flow in a single mix), but the Avos (I speak Australian – drop all but the first syllable, add “o”) seemed to » Continue Reading.
Year: 2016 Director: David MacKenzie
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
Westerns, the tv show Justified perhaps, those who can’t get enough Jeff Bridges..
Year: 2016 Director: Robert Eggers
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
It’s 92 minutes long so, for a start, it might appeal to people who enjoy films that aren’t tests of endurance. That said, if you’re looking for something to cheer you up, this might not be for you..
When I get down I remind myself of my extraordinary good fortune. As an employed, white university educated male born in (largely not violent, not religion persecuting, sexually and politically tolerant, sanitary and disease free) Western Europe in the last third of the twentieth century raised by loving parents (and, for a bonus point, adopted) who has reached his fifties with fully functioning limbs and faculties I must be in the top 1% of the luckiest humans to have ever lived. “Well that’s awfully mature and thoughtful, Mr R, and not at all like the usual sh*te you come out with”, I hear you say. Well, yes, I’m getting to that bit. A hypothetical question that’s often asked for fun is “If you could travel to any point in the past, where would you go?” Contained in this question, it seems to me, is the implication that you could materialise in the crowd at Hendrix’s first gig after the release of Sergeant Pepper’s or in the Estadio Azteca to watch the 1970 World Cup final or be present to witness the newly completed pyramids in mintnick glory, have your fill of whichever personal fantasy you choose and be home in » Continue Reading.
As I was stitching together my Halloween costume the thought occurred to me that the title of the movie “There Will Be Blood” has a fantastically economic efficiency to it. I wondered whether the formula could be applied to other media. I came up with 70s Glam Era Revival Show: There Will Be Mud Rumpole Of The Bailey Boxset: There Will Be M’lud Celebrity Bake Off Dessert Edition: There Will Be Pud Paul Newman Movie Retrospective: There Will Be Hud Orson Welles Movie Retrospective: There Will Be Rosebud Trainspotting 2: There Will Be Spud New Order’s Complete Album Collection: There Will Be Brotherhood My Coffee Table Book Exclusively Featuring British Bands From The Late 80s/Early 90s With One Word Single Syllable Names: There Will Be Cud Of course, it’s enormously restrictive adhering to words which rhyme with “blood”. Lose this and a whole universe opens up – New AC/DC album: There Will Be Riffs New HBO show: There Will Be Boobs Jools Holland’s Hootenanny: There Will Be Roland Rivron Anyone else want to play “There Will Be…”?
Year: 2016 Director: Created by Michelle & Robert King
In two months time the United States will have to choose its president from the two most disliked candidates ever to run for the office. In the past year the tone and themes of the discourse have ranged from the nonsensical to the nonsensical and scary. A campaign which has placed front and centre conspiracy theories about Ted Cruz’s father’s involvement in the JFK assassination, Hillary Clinton spending most of her time off camera in a wheelchair because of Parkinson’s Disease and the incumbent President – a closet Muslim – being involved in the machinations of ISIS, is almost beyond satire. The nuttiness of these interesting times might explain why the creators of acclaimed Emmy-magnet The Good Wife have written a show about the consequence of a government takeover by mind controlling extraterrestrial insects. What sounds like The Thick Of It meets Invasion Of The Body Snatchers – a political satire/ sci fi hybrid – largely retains a lot of the soapy character interest for which its creators are known; it’s about as satirical as the film “Eat The Rich” and about as sci fi as Holmes And YoYo. In fact, » Continue Reading.
Who should pop up on my shuffle today but The Undertones (the band The Ramones could have been) with the song Julie Ocean? Ah! But not, alas, the lush, languorous 7 inch version, but rather the lesser-Spottied, hastily-knocked-out cut from the Positive Touch LP. The JO single came out some time after the album, but it did remind me of a thing we used to do in the old days which, for the sake of a name, we might call 7 inch Stick-Or-Twist. Younger AWers will find this difficult to believe, but in the old days people used to go to record shops and buy the latest hits etched onto PVC platters. (*Young hipster scratches facial foliage, rolls eyes* “dude, I have, like, ten vinyls. I know what a record is..”) Indeed, my bebumfluffed young chum – and sic on “vinyls” by the way – but the important word in that sentence was latest. Y’see in the olden times, if you wanted to buy a single there was a window of about a month when it was in the shops (if at all, in the godforsaken Backwardsland where I lived) when it was actually available to purchase. No ascension to » Continue Reading.
Some people spend hours picking them out Constantly changing them out of doubt Sketching designs on a piece of paper To perfectly represent their creator
So minimalistic Grey and symmetric As if to signify une personne robotique Although I never put you in place I soon became attached to your featureless face
I don’t where you went I don’t know where you are You were my randomly assigned avatar And I won’t forget you no matter where you are
(*Sniff* Just… I need a moment….)
So now I’ve got this shoal of fish And I don’t mean to sound peevish But they’re green and going nowhere Are they meant to be Irish?
What does it sound like?:
Forrest Gump’s dear old Ma took quite a post mortem kicking for her observation that “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. (“You’re going to get chocolates!”. You can tell which is the the coffee one by studying the picture inside the lid or by the fact it’s the only one left”, shouted the pedants). Poor blind* Mrs Gump (*I’ve not seen the film – always suspected it was the pink wafer of the cinematic biscuit tin) might have been spared such funcrushing nitpicking had she saved her wisdom pearls for some of the poppy/soul/r’n’b/hip hopuses of the 21st century. Break the cellophane on Cody Chesnutt’s Headphone Masterpiece or Cee Lo Green Is The Soul Machine and you hear artists comfortable drawing from a whole sweet shop of musical flavours and switching between them like sugar-becrazed kids racing from slides to swings to roundabout in the playground. ‘Course the foundation flavour is the chocolate brown spine of soul/r’n’b and if you want to know what’s next there’s a track listing. Perhaps almost quite ready to join these Little **Princes is Anderson .Paak. Malibu, his second album » Continue Reading.
It’s catching! There follows a meandering and essentially pointless post in the spirit of my comrade bricameron.. Max Romeo’s “Chase The Devil” came up on shuffle today and it reminded me of an earlier observation that, going by this song (and pretty much everything I know about what differentiates Rastas I’ve picked up from songs), Rastafarians are comfortable with the idea that aliens, no less than our lot, are subject to the mischievous whims of The Thing We Call God and the very same Devil. I can only speculate whether they assume another species light years away would have its own Jesus and Haile Selaisse (Would alien Jesus – or alien Haile – have funny lumps on their forehead? Or tentacles? And given that there are billions and billions of planets, how many kids has God got? “Panspermia”, indeed). That the loving and wise God of the New Testament (OMAA) allows so much misery is a sticking point for many people and interpretations which sound like tunes by George Michael and U2 (“You Gotta Have Faith” and “She Moves In Mysterious Ways”) offer little consolation to the doubters. But there may be help at hand. Many serious scientists now believe » Continue Reading.
Over on the Blogger Takeover thread Gary laments that the Dad’s Army movie, despite a fine cast, is a laugh-free zone. We’ve just had big screen Ab Fab and now David Brent gazes at me from the side of my bus. The history of Brit TV on film is not glorious, with even a commercial smash like The Inbetweeners Movie resorting to the tired “the characters you love – now abroad!” plot device. I sat down with a pencil for ten minutes and the only Brit TV show makes mighty fine movie I could come up with was Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. What are the others?
How bizarrely unGerman: gifting a penalty to Italy, then to France and the keeper flapping one into the path of the tournament’s top scorer. But most bizarre – the Germans atypically whining at the ref in the first half and straight out crumbling after giving away the penalty (okay, not to the degree England did with 70 minutes to go, but still..)
So, it turns out, even though many of us were shot during the last escape, our movie was so successful that Hollywood has demanded a sequel. The German prison camp commander, played by Ming The Merciless (“Are Ve Der Baddies Or Vot?”) has proposed a football match between the allied prisoners and a crack German team to be played in front of Old One Ball himself. I gather this was tried before and included in its cast some of the most respected footballers of all time such as Pelé, Bobby Moore and the 1980 Ipswich Town team. Since Bobby Moore and Pelé are no longer with us (*check this later, but probably fine*) their place will be taken by their closest contemporaries – John Terry and Cristiano Ronaldo. (JT wasn’t actually cast – he heard about lthe film and kept turning up every day in prison camp uniform). As a lot of people know, Michael Caine has shuffled off to that great Wayne Manor in the sky to find out what it’s all about (*again, should be fine*). No one man could replace such a talent, so it’s been decided his part will be played for one half of the » Continue Reading.