Saturday, 30 June 2012

HITCHCOCK'S UNCLE CHARLIE

...these useless women...

“Women keep busy in towns like this. In the cities it's different. The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands dead, husbands who've spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. Then they die and leave their money to their wives.Their silly wives. And what do the wives do,these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money. Proud of their jewelry but of nothing else. Horrible, faded, fat, greedy women.”-Uncle Charlie

“They're alive! They're human beings!”-Young Charlie

“Are they? Are they, Charlie? Are they human or are they fat wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old?”-Uncle Charlie

Shadow of a doubt is one of Alfred Hitchcock's under rated movies; of which there are many. In it Joseph Cotten is excellent and delivers one of the great bitter quotes at the family dinner table. Casablanca, Sweet Smell of success, Whose afraid of Virginia Wolfe all capture bitterness and are well know for it but Cotten's Uncle Charlie verbalises the exact nature of bitterness as we find out that he not only thinks these thoughts but acts upon them. A great moment in Hitchcock; every bit as chilling as knives, showers, birds and Barry Foster.

Friday, 29 June 2012

MY HIT LIST-THE FAT OF THE LAND: PRODIGY

Breathe
Having written off the nineties as a barren  musical wasteland because of my non involvement in class A drugs, pseudo Hippiedom and large cavernous ‘raves’ in the middle of nowhere (and Ibiza) I thought it best that I throw some praise in the direction of the Prodigy. Their Fat of the Land album is testament to a punk spirit wrapped up in a musical form that was repetitive and transient to my mind.

The album, released in 1997, is still a blistering work as it retains that vital ingredient; energy. Musically not to all tastes (always a good thing)and controversial, it is a cobweb clearing cacophony that has great merit to these ears.
firestarter

The tracks that have the most impact are Firestarter, Breathe and Smack my Bitch up. The album was an unprecedented success going into the US top 100 at number 1 and entering the Guinness book of records as the fastest selling UK album of all time.

Since their heyday the Prodigy main man Liam Howlitt has turned to production and most recently remixed Plan B’s Ill manors to devastating effect.

The Fat of the land is not a fad based product but a great British album.

Smack my bitch up

Thursday, 28 June 2012

HITCHCOCK'S DIETRICH MOMENT

...I had a dog...

Stage Fright is a British Hitchcock thriller made in the midst of his Hollywood career and it features a great cast of British actors along with Jane Wyman and the great Marlene Dietrich who shows us all why she is a movie legend; not least in the scene where she discusses betrayal backstage with Sergeant Mellish.Hitchcock lights and frames her in such a way as to capture Dietrich the legend.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

STAR TREK FANTASTIC FOUR-SYNCRONICITY


Star Trek: A piece of the action(1968)

Fantastic four #91,92,93 (1969)
1920's gangsters, alien captive gladiators, the Crew of the Enterprise and the Fantastic Four to the rescue. The two episodes of Star Trek broadcast the previous year clearly influenced the team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to create the 3 part story presented in issues 91,92 & 93. Sycronicity or imitation? Reed Richards as Kirk the gangster and The Thing as Kirk the gladiator.Two genres inter-connected, three sets of stories to enjoy.  
Star Trek: The Gamesters of Triskelion (1968)
Photo

Sunday, 24 June 2012

JAY-Z: ROCK 'N' ROLL


Rock 'n' roll isn't just about rock 'n' roll. Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, Maradonna, Bob Marley are all rock 'n' roll. It's about excitement, performance, excellence and charisma. Last night at the Hackney weekend concert Jay-Z was all of the above; rock 'n' roll.

He presents himself as a confident performer full of bombast but without the hard stares and fake gangsterism of many of his peers. He is genuinely likable as a performer. The nemesis of  Hip Hop in it's live form is repetition and sloppy standards of professionalism. Jay-Z can be accused of neither. In much the same way that his other half, Beyonce, stormed the bastion of Rock; The Glastonbury Festival, he gave the 50,000 strong audience a masterclass.

Not even an embarrassing cameo appearance by the insipid MIA could halt the Jay-Z express, and when Kanye West joined him onstage the master was a notch above the protege.

The most impresive and inovative element of his performance is the quality of his live band and the imagination of the production. His impresive set list features sounds that are a hybrid of Kraftwerk/Led Zepellin/James Brown, and it is in this respect where he stays ahead of the game. Samples used in his music are also used as instrumentation.
What Jay-Z delivered to the Bronx equivalant of London; Hackney was rousing and rivetting and proved that Jay-Z's position at the very top of the Hip Hop tree is merited.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

THE DEVINE DIETRICH

Blonde Venus
Scarlett Empress
Among the truly great female Hollywood movie stars; Garbo, Bergman, Monroe, Taylor, Marlene Dietrich is one of the very greatest. Possibly the most distinctive of the golden era. Born in 1901 she lived for 91 years and her career took in silent movies, the roaring twenties, German expressionism, the Hollywood golden era of the 30's and 40's and later cameos in a number of great movies. She out distanced her natural rival Garbo and created her own iconic status. As a German Actress she enthusiastically raised funds for the allies during WWII and was possibly one of the earliest Gay icons and certainly an enduring influence on fashion. She was a singer and stage performer who returned to the stage in her later years; this was all part of her multi facted persona. Aside from her considerable talents Dietrich just looked like no other movie star.Copied, emulated, referenced.When we talk about originality, in Dietrich's case it is entirely appropriate. 

Montage
Wong
Touch of Evil

Friday, 22 June 2012

WHEN FUNK WENT OVERGROUND


Back in the eighties, post Punk, bands in England stumbled upon Funk. Funk had, up to that point, been underground and was never mentioned in the mainstream music press. It seemed that over night bands who had aspired to being the Rolling Stones or The Sex Pistols decided that Funk was the way forward. This resulted in an outpouring of experimental Funk sounds and a rediscovery of James Brown et al in the Rock press. A lot of these bands were still struggling for proficiency so their version of  Funk was raw at best. Records soon followed and at one point it seemed that every band that appeared on TOTP had backing singers and 'Dance' remixes to inject Funkiness into their rock 'n' roll based sound.
There was a certain sadness, as there always is, when an underground movement and style gets absorbed into the mainstream. What was interesting was that it was, initially, the more interesting bands that tried their hand at funk; with some mixed and radical results which began to incorporate Disco, Northern Soul, Motown and soul influences. This segued into the pop acts getting Funky with the inevitable overkill that followed. The peak of the rise of the influence of Funk on British bands was in 1982 when Spandau Ballet hit Number one with Chant No. 1. This was before Hip-Hop became popular and further exposed Funk by use of samples.Things went full circle with original punks The Clash releasing Magnificent 7 a Rap/funk record.

When Funk went overground it was probably a good thing as it exposed the great artists that had led the way; and more than likely put a few dollars in their pockets.
A POST PUNK FUNK PLAYLIST
  1. We are all Prostitutes-The Pop Group
  2. Damaged Goods-Gang of Four
  3. Shack up-A Certain Ratio
  4. Shake-Glaxo Babies
  5. You're my kind of climate-Rip Rig & Panic
  6. Faith-Manicured Noise
  7. Death Disco-PiL
  8. Coup-23 Skidoo
  9. The light pours out of me-Magazine
  10. Cavern-Liquid Liquid
  11. Empire State Human-The Human League
  12. Tears are not enough-ABC
  13. We don't need this Fascist groove Thang-Heaven 17
  14. Favourite Shirts-Haircut 100
  15. There there my dear-Dexy's Midnight Runners
  16. Chant Number 1-Spandau Ballet
  17. Magnificent 7-The Clash


The Pop Group
Gang of Four
A Certain Ratio
Glaxo Babies
Rip Rig & Panic
Manicured Noise
PiL
23 Skidoo
Magazine
Liquid liquid
The Human League
ABC
Heaven 17
Haircut 100
Dexys Midnight Runners
Spandau Ballet
The Clash

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

MORE FROM THE CLOCKWORK ORANGE LEGACY

Lego
Korova Records
Trainspotting
Simpsons 1
Simpsons 2
tv, simpsons, movies Clockwork Orange Simpsons
Simpsons 3
Blur (again)
US Band
UK Band
Gnarls Barkley
Next
Pop Art Comic
Reimagined (again)
Another band
 Video game
A wrist watch of course
House
The ubiquitous Rhianna.

...and a superb pulp cover

WELLISAIDTHAT