Monday, 31 October 2011


At this time of year Halloween seems to have superseded Guy Fawkes Night/Bonfire night. Perhaps it’s influenced by American culture, perhaps because Bonfires and fireworks have fallen victim to H& S protocols, I don’t know.
I like the tradition and rebellion associated with November 5th but Halloween definitely seems to appeal to children more than ever.
Now to me if Halloween is going to be a date in the diary let’s make it scary. Properly scary like this

The Shinning

And here’s ten more to conjure with

  1. Psycho
  2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  3. Dead of Night
  4. The Exorcist
  5. Eraserhead
  6. The Thing
  7. Alien
  8. Audition
  9. The Vanishing
  10. The Tenant
Sleep well dear reader


Happy Halloween
Kate Bush-Hammer Horror
The Monster Mash
Zombie-The Cranberries
Bad Moon Rising-CCR
Come to daddy-Aphex Twin
Smack my Bitch up-Prodigy
Killer in The Home-Adam & The Ants
Haunted House-Jerry Lewis
Ghost Town-The Specials

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Clockwork Orange
Death Wish
There was a period when you could go to your local Odeon and see films that were controversial, the subject of media furore and subject to scathing censorship and cries of moral indignation.
These were not obscure B movie schlock but films made, by and large, by established film makers and featuring established actors, or auters starting out.
Many years before VHS and the rise of the so called video nasty; this was the golden age of the controversial movie.

Between 1971 and 1975 we saw the likes of
The Devils
Straw Dogs
A Clockwork Orange
Harold & Maude
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Carnal Knowledge
Last Tango in Paris
Death Wish
The Exorcist
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Salo-120 days of Sodom
Pink Flamingos Movie Poster

Maybe film makers where most likely to 'push the envelope and maybe audiences where more open to something new and challenging. The thing is that these are the films that still retain an air of mystery and fascination to Movie lovers because they remind us of a time when it was not always necessary to play it safe. a time when you could have a debate about Cinema.
Pink Flamingos
Sunday bloody Sunday
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Straw Dogs

Saturday, 29 October 2011


A hit in 1986. This one hit wonder from the husband and wife duo with a novelty name has a certain hypnotic quality. A quality I find hard to explain but it was a breath of fresh air when it was released.
A very eighties dance mix version

Friday, 28 October 2011

Thursday, 27 October 2011

MY HIT LIST-I wanna be where you are Michael Jackson & The Jackson 5

I wanna be where you are
From The Motown album Got To Be there. Song written by Arthur T Bone Ross & Leon Ware

With Michael Jackson again in the news it's time to rediscover one of his greatest records. This seldom heard 1972 song covered by Dudley Moore, Carleen Anderson & Paul Weller, Erykah Badu & the Roots, Dusty Springfield, Beyonce, Marvin Gaye, Jose Feliciano and the song's co writer Leon Ware, is a superb reminder of Michael Jackson's immense talent as a youngster. It's a song that I defy anyone to listen to without feeling a tingle; It's marvellous.

The covers, by and large, have been very good too:
Dusty Springfield
Carleen Anderson & Paul weller
Jose Feliciano

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Hai Karate
Hai karate was one of the early men’s fragrances that were popular in the seventies. It came in after shave soap on a rope and talc and smelt awful. Like its competitors Brut, Old Spice, Tabac, Cedar wood, Aramis, Yardley, Burley and the like it was a pungent, supposedly ‘manly’ mix.
Hai Karate even released a record!
What Hai Karate did have to distinguish itself from the herd was a humorous advert campaign here in the UK featuring Valerie Leon; she of Carry On, James Bond and Hammer fame. In fact she pretty much reprised her Hai Karate Role with Peter Sellers in Revenge of the Pink Panther
Pink Panther Leon
The other fragrances took themselves more seriously but Hai karate was strictly Carry on.
The adverts were wonderful examples of the British humour of the times and featured the Amazonian Leon enraptured by the stereotypical hen pecked nerd type once a coating of Hai Karate had been applied to his slight frame.
Far from being chuffed to have such a great example of feminine power after him his fear led him to trying to resist her charms by the deployment of second rate Karate chops (The fool).
I for one would have surrendered to Miss Leon without as much as a token struggle.


Fifty years ago TINTIN the movie (Tintin and the Golden Fleece) was released. This film was a reasonable success and was followed by a less successful sequel Tintin and The Blue Oranges.
These were French films starring the Belgian ensemble created by Herge and were original screenplays as opposed to being based on the books.Never the less these were early examples of the 'Comic book to film ' genre.
They are a bit rickety but have a certain charm, which is more than can be said for The adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn.
This rainy afternoon I took some of the kids to the Odeon (£2:60 a bottle of water!) to see the new Tintin movie and with Spielberg at the helm you would have thought that the intrepid Belgian's adventures were in safe hands however the inclusion of Peter Jackson in the process raised concerns. This over rated master of bombast has, metaphorically chucked a spanner in the works and as a result all the characterisation and nuance that Spielberg brings along with his showmanship is obliterated by Jackson's speciality; People running away from stuff, stopping, having a tussle and chasing stuff. That's what all of his major success' involve. 
It's a shame because I, like many. have a soft spot for the Tintin books and to see this big screen treatment turn  all the charm inherent in Tintin into just another CGI blockbuster is disappointing. The most disturbing aspect is the cold dead eyes of the motion captured actors, which give the whole enterprise a flat feel. The most Herge part of the movie are the opening credits which tells a Tintin adventure story  in shadow animation form.
The French Tintin's are not great but they have one thing that the 2011 vintage doesn't have and that's the charm of Herge's Tintin.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


DEVO the American band from Akron Ohio formed in 1973
Jocko Homo
Kitsch, Weird, Experimental, Post-Punk, New Wave, Arty, satirical and Off Key; all terms that could be used to describe this outfit.

Whip it
devo - satisfactiondevo - hardcore
Pioneering in the realm of Music Videos and packaged with great wit Devo were the more accessible version of their nearest comparitor,The Residents.

Time out for fun
Meeting with Rod Rooter

They were the focal point of the Akron ‘Scene’ and there irritating self indulgence was made enjoyable by their inherent humour. A mixture of David Lynch meets the Beastie boys would probably chaqracterise their visuals; bearing in mind they were around before either of those named.

A Message from Booji Boy

A concept of a band that controlled all aspects of their product in a way that would be impossible now.
Peek A Boo
devo - mongoloid

Monday, 24 October 2011


The Ripple

None more funky. The Ripple from Michigan layed down this funkiest of tracks in 1973. It is absolutely superb as an example of a funky band getting a groove together and recording it. Boom, Boom indeed.

I don't know...

Sunday, 23 October 2011


To Live and Die in LA
Existential motifs in LA, sexual undertows moody lighting, anti heroes, cynicism, nihilism and a  noir sensibility. No, it;'s not Michael Mann it's William Friedkin's To Live and Die in LA. Made in 1985.  Mann  took it's leading man William Petersen as the star of Manhunter made the following year. Mann's Miami Vice started in 1984 and therefore could almost pre dated Friedkin's styling on this movie and to an extent Thief made in 1981 was a huge step in the establishing of what came to be known as Neo-Noir.
To Live and Die in LA came five years after Friedkins's Cruising which gained a great degree of notoriety ; In fact I remember going to see it in the Haymarket when it was released and the Cinema was picketed by Gay activists. TL&D in LA is a film with a blunt and surprising ending and takes a view of Los Angeles through far from rose coloured spectacles. To an extent it was a brief return to form from the Friedkin that bought us The French Connection (rewriting the book on cop movies) and The Excorcist.
It's soundtrack is achingly eighties and there are some great moments where the music complements the image. This is not an MTV movie in content, even if it may be stylistically. It could be a hard boiled 40's Noir as much as an 'of the time' movie. If you like Mann's work check out this movie by the inconsitent but talented Friedkin, it's an interesting sign of the times and above all a good movie.

William Peterson
Willem DeFoe
Gary Cole being chased by William Petersen in To Live and Die in LA
the airport
The 'none more eighties' soundtrack