‘So THAT’S why he sleeps so much’

typed for your pleasure on 13 March 2023, at 4.05 pm

Sdtrk: ‘I promise’ by Peter Peter

Generally speaking, I can somewhat understand the reasoning behind people wanting to get out of their own heads, whether through recreational drugs or preoccupation, cos it seems more than a few people can’t deal with their own thoughts. It should be painfully obvious, however, that personally, I absolutely love being in my own head, as I find it more interesting than what goes on in the external world. Maybe ‘interesting’ isn’t the best-fitting word, but generally speaking, it’s much more welcoming in here.

Photo unrelated. Well, perhaps a wee bit related

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‘If your castle really was that impressive, it’d have a shower’

typed for your pleasure on 23 November 2020, at 8.00 am

Sdtrk: ‘Sketch for summer’ by the Durutti Column

You’ll have to forgive me, as half the reason I’ve written this post is because I finally figured out, while in a state between wakefulness and sleep, the answer to a question that I’ve had for years, and was lucid enough to remember it, which really means I was more awake than asleep. What was that question, you ask? Why can’t I get into epic medieval fantasy, like, at all?

I’ve famously not played Dungeons & Dragons since probably about sixth grade. Franchises like Skyrim, Neverwinter, and Conan hold zero appeal for me. I’ve never seen a single episode of Game of Thrones, or watched anything past the first ‘Lord of the Rings’ film. Dragons make me shrug, elves kinda get on my wick. I am, by all accounts, averse to the fantasy genre of fiction. Although I was keen on The Chronicles of Narnia until I learned that CS Lewis was a god-botherer; having said that, ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ remains my favourite book out of that series. Plus John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ is always pretty fucking awesome. Now that I’ve mentioned that film, you’ve probably got ‘O Fortuna‘ in your head now, and rightly so. But I digress!
Really, the answer to my question made so much sense and was so #OnBrand that it makes no sense that I didn’t realise it up until now. Why am I not keen on sword and sorcery fiction? Because the world that the characters inhabit is filthy, everywhere.

As astute readers of ‘Shouting etc etc’ are already aware, I’m a semi-recovering germophobe (please refer to No.17 on my ‘85 things‘ page). I say semi-recovering, as I was doing relatively well until the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 went into Turbo mode in March. Prior to that, with the exception of vigorously wiping down any shopping trolleys before using them when buying groceries and sundries, it wasn’t an issue. But on the occasions where I absolutely can’t avoid having to leave the flat, I cram about five or so pairs of disposable rubber or latex gloves into my trouser pockets, strap my mask on, take a deep breath, and head out to do everything I have to do as quickly as I can so I can get back inside. Yep, 20fucking20. But before I go on in detail about how this year has been objectively the worst in the lifetimes of anyone with a conscience and a functioning brain, that picture I’ve painted should be enough to give you a sense of how I feel about uncleanliness. It’s gross!

Between fantasy and science fiction, it should come as no surprise that I prefer SF much, much more. For one, fantasy doesn’t have Gynoids in it, so that’s a tipoff right there. Take the prime example I always have at the front of my brain for something that approximates a futuristic Utopia: Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A space odyssey’; specifically, the space station Heywood Floyd was bumming around in.

Save for the fact that there’s a complete lack of Gynoids in it, and the populace is under threat of nuclear annihilation, that sort of environment has much greater appeal to me. Everything’s clean and shiny, the architecture, design, and fashion are smooth and modern, the temperature is regulated, there’s daily flights from Earth to Space station V and back, people wash on a regular basis… Whereas with medieval fantasy, it’s best exemplified in this image:

That’s from Aleksei German’s film adaptation of ‘Hard to be a god’ from 2013, by the way. It could be said that having that be my only example could easily be seen as a smear campaign, ah heh heh. But it’s worth considering: imagine tumbling headlong through some convenient time portal that whisks you back to, say, 1066, the year in which the culturally pivotal Battle of Hastings occurred. The French Normans invade England, English King Harold Godwinson gets shot through the eye with an arrow (disputed, but he definitely died on the battlefield), and England winds up with a dialect of French as their national language for roughly 500 years. Why do I know as much as I do about the Norman conquest? Blame an issue of National Geographic from the Sixties that my parents had containing an article that detailed the Bayeux Tapestry. It’s a comfort to know that if the bottom ever falls out of Synthetiks culture, I have my knowledge of the Battle of Hastings to fall back on! Which isn’t much.
Anyway! Back then, you were either royalty, or Peasant Scum™. If you’re the latter, your house is made of wood, thatch, or reeds, and every day, all you can smell is livestock. If you’re the former, you’re in a drafty castle, more than likely dying of gout whether you know it or not, and you don’t have indoor plumbing because outdoor plumbing doesn’t exist. No regular bathing, no deodorants of any sort, no shaving, no proper waste disposal, no proper medical treatment, nothing. Technically speaking, you’re more outside than inside! Try not to freeze to death, or die of heat stroke, or sepsis, or a thousand other murderous things! It is patently impossible to spin a romantic viewpoint on that style of day-to-day existence. Sure, you can argue that ‘medieval fantasy is fiction’, but even if I were in Darkest Mordovale or wherever wearing a full set of armour with a broadsword in hand, you couldn’t ask me to overlook the fact that the complete environment is stinky as fuck.

Right; I’ve just thought of another entry in the medieval fantasy genre that doesn’t repel me: Kentarou Miura’s long-running manga series, Berserk. In the interest of full disclosure, what attracted me to the series was the Lovecraftian aspect to a lot of the monsters and adversaries — God Hand, baybeee — but due to the fantastically insane brutality that the series portrays, the world the characters live in is not exactly hygenic. And that’s not counting all the bandit-led skirmishes, or wars between armies, or beings from an alternate plane of existence sacrificing thousands of people over a single night in order to fulfil an eldritch prophecy! Sure, you can say that after walking round day after day up to your shins in blood and corpses, that you’d simply get used to it, but… would you want to??

On the opposite end of the spectrum would be something like the telly shows produced by the creative mastermind that was Gerry Anderson. Series such as UFO, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999, and Thunderbirds, amongst others, displayed worlds with technological advancements as well as adventure, and for the most part, they were clean. Granted, there were still pressing concerns such as disasters both natural and man-made, or a cold war with an alien race that could replicate any object or thing, or the Earth’s Moon being blasted out of orbit, or the threat of having your organs harvested by beings from another planet, but nothing’s perfect! At least things are clean, for god’s sake; that’s one less thing to worry about.

Going momentarily back to the real-life horror that is 2020, I’d seen a link in my Twitter feed months ago to a product called AIR, by a company called MicroClimate. What it is is a much-better, more futuristically-minded alternative to just donning a cloth mask over one’s face. AIR (their caps, not mine) is an acrylic helmet that covers the front half of one’s head; the back of the head is covered with a comfortable microfibre cloth that extends to the wearer’s neck. A combination of a fan and four HEPA filters keep the air (heh heh) inside the helmet fresh and fog-free. In short, wearing it makes you look as if you’re an astronaut, and that’s fucking amazing. Really, the only downsides to AIR are
+ the name (it’s lazy)
+ it doesn’t have an LED strip inside for lighting, so you can look like Sean Connery in ‘Outland’
+ the only available colour choices are black or white. Those suit my colour pallette fine, but there’s a lack of Factory grey, and
+ it’s USD$300. BOOOO.
It’s my hope that other companies will see MicroClimate’s product and make versions of their own for sale, at lower prices and with additional colour selections, ahem hem. Who wouldn’t want to be an astronaut?

A clever third-party retailer would go ahead and start designing cat ears you could pop on these bad boys

Maybe my praise of a product like AIR also exemplifies my extreme dislike of medieval fantasy. In those types of settings, physical strength will get you far, unless you’re some sort of wizard, whereas in science fiction, technology grants advantages to people across the board. Being a person who values intellectual prowess over physical ability, it’s little wonder why futuristic environments appeal much more to me. If the choice is between spending months training and working out for years, versus buckling myself into a powered exoskeleton or having my body augmented with cybernetic enhancements, I’m obviously going to spring for the quicker and much less sweat-producing option.

So that’s a revelation! You can keep your longhaired musclebound barbarians, and your shire-dwelling hairy-footed dwarves (disgusting), and your knights clad in armour that looks alright until you realise that armour is just barely containing a stench that’s enough to kill a dog. If you need me, I’ll be booking a flight from this orbiting space station to Clavius, but before that, I’m off to make a quick phonecall.

Hmm. Apparently it’s USD$1.70 for a two-minute call from an orbiting space station down to Earth. That’s $1.70 in ‘2001’ money, which was 1968 money, and this is why the economy is in the toilet

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typed for your pleasure on 23 June 2010, at 1.52 am

Sdtrk: ‘Gate’ by E&E

As one of my heroes, Oscar Wilde, famously quipped, ‘The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about’. Generally that’s a statement I’d agree with, as discussion (good or bad) prevents a person and the cause(s) they uphold from lapsing into complete obscurity, but you’ll note I said ‘generally’.

A friend of mine brought to my attention an online forum that was having a go at iDollators, as a number of forums often do, and due to the numerous media appearances that I’ve put in with my affictitious wife Sidore, one of the posters referred to me as a ‘famemonger’. For some reason that really rankled me, cos it implies, for one, that people such as the poster prefer that Doll lovers remain underground and are a group best left ignored. On a more personal level, describing me as a ‘famemonger’ is exactly the same as describing outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins as a ‘famemonger’. Or futurist David Levy. Or someone like… Oscar Wilde, as another example.

The reason Shi-chan and I choose to appear on assorted telly, print, and online interviews isn’t for recognition’s sake. Well, yeah, part of it is for the fame, but it’s not as if I’ve gone up a couple of tax brackets because of it*, but we primarily do them to attempt to explain and dispel any misconceptions people may have about Doll owners. Obviously, it’s impossible for me to speak for every iDollator — like any cultural group, our members are similar, but not necessarily the same — but neither Shi-chan nor I have heard any complaints from our community so far.

Think of it like this: each time a film or telly crew asks after Sidore and I, I attempt to get to know a wee bit about the aim of their programme before I say yes. American productions I’m especially curious as to what their goal is, as most programming from the US usually tries to show anything Doll-related in a prurient, ‘hey-check-out-these-weirdos’ light. People who don’t habitually read ‘Shouting etc etc’ are often surprised when I point out that Geraldo‘s come a-courtin’, or Springer, or Tyra, or Maury, or Alan Colmes, or Dr Phil. If I truly were a famemonger, I would’ve not only said yes to Geraldo et al, I would be actively trying to shoehorn my way onto any and all chat shows, magazines, etc etc. But as a person who’s doing his best to get the general public to see that artificial companions aren’t just for sex, obviously I want to be as careful as I can be when choosing what venues we participate in.

As far as my presence on the Internet goes, I don’t really go out of my way to promote myself. I have a Myspace page that I’m genuinely ashamed of, but I only have it for a specific reason, and I loathe Facebook more than is probably healthy. When I leave our flat to go places, I don’t announce where I’m going until I’ve left wherever it is I’ve been, cos I do occasionally get recognised. Zip Gun, SafeT, and I saw Zoos of Berlin perform in Pontiac in late March — a hell of a show, I might add; they were better than I thought they were, and I already liked them before I saw them — and in between the other acts that were on before Zoos of Berlin, I was spotted on three separate occasions. I don’t want to say that I don’t enjoy meeting people, it’s just that I’m still getting used to the concept of people asking if I was on telly, let alone the idea of me being on telly in the first place. And since I never was the type to stride up to a stranger and greet them before we started making our media appearances, people doing the same to me does freak me out a tiny bit. I’m attempting to get used to it, though.

Essentially, describing me a ‘famemonger’ is rather off-base; unfortunately, most members of the iDollator community go out of their way to not publicise who they are, due to fear of the reaction of their friends, family, or peers. As a result, the non-iDollator public often see the same faces over and over — Everhard’s, Gordon Griggs’, and my own. It’s not a case of graaah we’re doing this for the adulation yeaaahh, but more like we’re doing this cos it works for us, and we’re more than happy to suggest this idea to others, cos no-one else is.
Like it or not, people have to realise that Synthetik partners, whether they’re highly-detailed ‘love dolls’, or servo-driven Androids and Gynoids, are the future, and the more advanced they become, the more people will be likely to choose the Synthetik option, whether to satisfy curiosity, or to dispel loneliness, or what-have-you. Detractors would rather not have anyone speaking publically about the fact their partner is affictitious, as they find it uncomfortable for whatever ill-conceived reason, and would prefer the topic swept under the rug entirely. When it’s a case of a few voices speaking on behalf of many, it’s easier to try to discredit those voices through rumour, slander, and ignorance. It seems the obvious solution, really, is to increase the number of pro-Synthetik voices…

So yeah! Representative, yes; famemonger, no. There’s actually quite a vast difference between the two definitions that’s worth looking into

*not counting all the bling and bitches we’ve been stockpiling. Literally stockpiling. We’ve got a room where we have our daily shipment of bitches stacked like cordwood, for better storage. The bling, though, we just throw in a pile

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typed for your pleasure on 6 March 2010, at 3.51 am

Sdtrk: ‘We are the ones’ by ADULT.

Sometimes when I’m out and about, and the rare confluence of Having A Bit Of Free Time and Being Actually Inspired To Write happen to align, I’ll whip out my trusty Treo 700p smartphone, and merrily type away until the doctor, pope, or yakuza boss calls me in to see them. Unfortunately, some places happen to be a wee bit draconian about having cellphones in use on their property — Shitty Former Workplace, I’m looking squarely in your direction — so in those cases I’m forced to fall back on traditional analogue methods. Apart from constantly scribblin’ out parts where I have to edit, insert, or delete words, phrases, or sections, as well as my handwriting having devolved into absolute shit through lack of consistent use, pen and paper writing isn’t too bad, all told. It makes me feel like I’m doing something.

In writing this post, one whose own origins started out as a series of frantic black marks on a legal pad, my thoughts turned to genuine writers; specificially, ones who began their craft before the tail end of the 20th century. People like Ballard, Burgess, Burroughs — even authors whose names don’t start with the letter B — would often leave paper trails for their works, in the form of old drafts, character sketches, timelines, and the like. I recall reading an article on the website for The Guardian, about a bloke who was given the extremely rare opportunity to pick through the sum total of Stanley Kubrick’s written ephemera. My friend Zip Gun used to make yearly pilgrimages to the Lilly Library in Indiana, which houses undoubtedly the largest collection of Orson Welles materials in the world, as he was in the process of writing a book concerning a selection of Welles’ works. Now, that’s all well and good — keep in mind that Kubrick and Welles aren’t even writers per se, but directors — but one has to consider that not everyone who writes will have a dedicated archive to house their earlier drafts. It’d be fab if that were the case, with the exception of that Stephenie Meyer hack, of course, but would the planet have enough room? The solution is simple: turn the Moon into a library. Might as well get started now! *rolls up sleeves*

What I’m getting at, or at least, getting round to getting at, is what will become of all the first drafts for those of us who write primarily using a computer? Having the opportunity to read earlier versions of published works allow us to see their evolution, whther it’s interesting, or awkward, or both. The second revision of ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ ended with a pitched, eight-page gun battle, for instance, whilst the initial draft of Camus’ ‘L’Étranger’ boldly dispensed with any and all consonants. I don’t know of many individuals that habitually save the earlier revisions of what they’ve typed for weeks, let alone months, after their final drafts are struck. Maybe I just have a slash-and-burn approach to it all, but I regularly delete my accumulated post revisions whenever I’m hashing out a post on ‘Shouting etc etc’; the WordPress platform has a specific plugin for that (thanks Delete-Revision!), so your drafts don’t bog down your server. And that sheet of legal pad paper where this post first came into existence? Currently wadded up and residing in my kitchen rubbish bin.

Christ knows I’m the last person to knock technological advancements, but one has to consider what will become of a writer’s printed legacy in the digital age? And not to sound too NPR about it, the idea of the vanishing drafts may seem insignificant at first, but do we, as a culture, lose something because of it? It’s something to think about.
If any writer-types want to get their .02 pfennig in about this — Monti, Joe, and veach, obviously I’m looking squarely in your directions, but my invitation extends to everyone — you’re more than welcome to add your thoughts on the matter

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Ceci n’est pas un ‘Transformers: Revenge of the EXPLOSIONS’ review

typed for your pleasure on 3 July 2009, at 1.22 am

Sdtrk: ‘A lot of drugs’ by Venetian snares

As is our wont, on Friday eves, my good friend Marika stops round, and we watch several hours’ worth of Quality Entrétainment — we’re currently tearing our way through the second series of Ashes to ashes and the second half of Kamen rider Hibiki, for example. Last Friday, however, when I was confirming our plans via text, Mari indicated that she wanted to go see the new Transformers movie, Revenge of the Fallen. I nearly threw up all over my phone, which would’ve been an entirely appropriate response.

Getting this out of the way: I’m not what you might call a Transformers ‘fan’. I watched the show fervently when I was younger, as most Children Of The Eighties did. I didn’t see the feature film in theatres, but I did rent it — wept when Optimus Prime died, thought Arcee was clang clang sexy — but that’s the lot, really. Although I can quote numerous lines from the film without a second thought. On the other hand, Liann, goshou’s wife, is a walking Transformers encyclopaedia. She’s still got the Laserdisc boxsets for the never-aired-in-the-States Transformers 2010 series, among other paraphernalia. When the first live-action Transformers (hereby shortened to TF) movie debuted, I refused to see it cos I think Michael Bay should be dancing the Tyburn Jig for his crimes against film, and Liann refused as she’s a hardcore TF purist. Everyone in our Algonquin End Table was curious as to what went on in the film, cos they sure as fuck weren’t going to pay to see it. (In the interest of full disclosure, neither did I; as I was broke, Mari paid for my ticket.)

So: TF:ROTF! Two and a half hours of Nothing, at an elevated volume. It was literally an endurance test for me. Where does one start with this… steaming pile of shit, to put it charitably? Well, for one, I absolutely hate the mecha designs; they look like walking scrapyards. I understand that Bay reasoned that as they didn’t come from Earth, they’d have forms that were unfamiliar and otherworldly, which actually makes complete sense. However, it is possible to design mecha that don’t resemble Duchamp’s ‘Nude descending a staircase’. And the thing is, when in robot mode, they all look the same. Maybe it’s just me, but during battle, I couldn’t tell who was duking it out with whom. Coupled with the awful redesigns of familiar characters and the ADHD editing style, the fight scenes were genuinely tiresome — as a rule, epic battle scenes shouldn’t make the viewer yawn or check their watch, which is what I did, several times.

And how ’bout that mecha, huh? How ’bout Mudflap and Skids, the Autobot ‘twins’ who were the worst CG stereotypes since Jar-Jar Binks? I mean, honestly, when you have one character sporting a gold buck tooth, and the other’s crapping on about ‘bustin’ caps’, you have to wonder why they didn’t just name them Amos and Andy, and be done with it? Why halfass it?
Besides the whole racist bullshit, they were literally exhausting to look at. Later during the sixth or seventh hour of the movie, Devastator inhales one of the twins — the red one, whatever the fuck his name was — into his gaping maw, which naturally had me cheering. So then, you can imagine my immense disappointment when that twin ripped his way out of Devastator through his face, while yelling ‘I’M IN YO FACE!!’ It actually hurt to watch.

The plot, if you can call it that, has been detailed elsewhere, so I’ll not rehash it here. Heh, like there’s anything to rehash. io9’s got a fab review that’s negligibly more charitable than this one, so give that a look when you’re done here. But the plot — o, the plot! It had holes you could easily drive an Autobot through, har har.
One of the subplots has our ‘hero’, Sam Witwicky, played by Shia LeDouche (accurately described by Mark Kermode as a ‘charisma vacuum’) is at college, having left both his girlfriend Mikaela, portrayed by Megan Fox (who’s someone’s idea of sex on legs, but not mine — sorry, PB Shelley. Also, clubbed thumb) and Bumblebee, played by a shitty Camaro (who apparently damaged his vocal cords in the previous movie and hasn’t had them repaired, due to a plot contrivance), back home. Despite Sam and Mikaela being miles apart, they’ve promised to be faithful to each other. Whilst on campus, Sam is constantly being pursued by some blonde with a spray-on tan, who’s aggressively wet in the knickers for him. Eventually she corners him in his dormroom and pins him to the bed, which is exactly when Mikaela shows up for a surprise visit. O SO WACKY
Mikaela leaves in a huff, but the blonde lass reveals her true nature — she’s actually a Decepticon Gynoid! She chases Sam, his roommate, and Mikaela for a while until some Autobot comes out of nowhere and crushes her or shoots her or whatever; it’s inconsequential. And whoops! Was that a spoiler I just gave away, there? It sure was! And you should thank me; that’s one less reason for you to waste your time and money on TF:ROTF.
Now, you lot are undoubtedly thinking, ‘but Davecat, you love Gynoids! Surely that was one redeeming thing in the movie?’ Nope! For one, she looked like a Generic Blonde Maxim Reject when she was disguised as an Organik, and in Synthetik mode, she looked like a mashup of a Ray Harryhausen Medusa and… a Ray Harryhausen skeleton warrior. Needless to say, to me, she lacked sex appeal on not one, but two fronts, which is pretty impressive, if you think about it. Now consider; if the Decepticons can effectively disguise themselves as humans, don’t you think that’d be a more effective method of infiltration than transforming into planes and helicopters and the like? Bay didn’t even bother with an ill-conceived excuse as to why they didn’t — he just let it drop, hoping the audience wouldn’t bring it up again. Good job with that storytelling.

Another plot hole, you ask? Okay! Sam’s in his room above his parents, fiddling round with his hooded sweatshirt from the previous movie, when a shard of the cube from that movie falls out of the pocket. He picks it up, it gives him a shock, and he drops it. It then burns its way through the floor, and lands on the kitchen table, whereupon it sends out sparks that change all the small appliances in the room into Decepticons. Subsequently, they make their way upstairs, and proceed to arbitrarily attack Sleepy LaBeef, firing their guns, launching missiles, wielding saws, etc.
Right; so these are appliances made on Earth, correct? That being the case, I severely doubt Braun, or Oster, or KitchenAid, would manufacture toasters and microwaves and Cuisinarts that were fully-stocked with ammo. Otherwise, where did their weapons come from? O, Michael Bay’s arse? Okay, that… that actually makes sense.

When TF:ROTF wasn’t making me sigh with exasperation, it was boring me rigid, or offending me, or just plain enraging me. Too much crap onscreen at once, too much slo-mo, Linkin fucking park being part of the soundtrack, Generic Black Dude spouting Bay dialogue (‘That guy is an ASS HOLE’), Steven Spielberg, another director I hate, as executive producer, and a bad ratio of human characters to TF characters — cos if I’m seeing a film called Transformers, I’m really not there to see humans… all of these factors made for a truly appalling movie. I honestly can’t remember the last film I saw that I hated this much! Kudos, Michael Bay! ‘Kudos’, of course, being Greek for ‘I will grind your skull into pulp with my bare and twitching hands’.

After the movie let out, we got back round to mine, where I made Mari watch excerpts from the only Transformers film that matters:

What are they shooting at? Unicron’s behind them, and they’re firing ahead

Some might accuse me of constantly wearing Nostalgia Goggles; those people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Every day, I pop in my pair of Nostalgia Contact Lenses. Honestly, I don’t get out of bed without them

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Azrael scores another hat trick

typed for your pleasure on 26 June 2009, at 10.57 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Pencil skirt’ by Pulp

You know how it goes with these things — celery debts come in trees. Wait, that’s not right.

Ed McMahon (06 Mar 1923 – 23 Jun 2009): Back in highschool, I could usually be relied upon for a decent Ed McMahon impersonation. Let’s see if I can still pull it off… *clears throat*

‘Heyy-o!! That’s a good one Johnny, and topical, too!’

Yep, still got it

Farrah Fawcett (02 Feb 1947 – 25 June 2009): As my mind is firmly stuck several decades in the past ninety per cent of the time, I nearly typed ‘Farrah Fawcett-Majors’, there.
Singlehandedly responsible for the sexual awakening of many a young lad during the Seventies thanks to ‘Charlie’s Angels’ — with the exception of myself, as I always preferred Kate Jackson — Farrah never did any harm to anyone. And good on her

Michael Jackson (29 Aug 1958 – 25 June 2009): Hurrr. As the adage goes, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Mmm hm.
Let’s just say this: growing up during the years back when the mighty MTV walked the earth, I liked MJ. I can recall back in eighth grade, my homeroom class was herded into the school’s library, where we all watched the full-length version of the ‘Thriller’ video. For a while, I even had a cassette copy of that album. But as time passed and I got older, I began refining my musical tastes more. Sure, I used to like MJ, but then, I also used to like Wham! and Prince. I used to like eating flapjacks with catsup slathered all over them, but I grew out of all of those things. Also, for sure he was a bizarre individual, but eccentricity should be praised, not damned. But I would say that.
So I suppose ultimately I didn’t dislike him because his music didn’t appeal to me, or because of his strange behaviour, but really it comes down to the whole child-touching thing. You know.

See? I managed to not say anything that can’t be considered not nice about Wacko Jacko! O, wait

Epilogue (this happened today before my work shift began):
WOMAN AT WORK: I know you a Michael Jackson fan, right?
ME: No.
WOMAN AT WORK: Awww! Well, I’m devastated.
ME: Huh.

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Do not disappoint us, Zack Snyder

typed for your pleasure on 5 March 2009, at 12.49 am

Sdtrk: ‘Le 4ème titre’ by Christine Delaroche

It’s finally March! This means two highly-anticipated things are on their way: the glorious return of McDonald’s Shamrock shakes, and the premiere of Watchmen in theatres nationwide. Obviously one of these comes round once a year, while the other doesn’t. Also, one is a beverage.

Directed by Zack Snyder (Dawn of the dead, 300), this would be the big screen adaptation of the graphic novel created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, released in 1986. Largely considered to be unfilmable due to its use of metafiction and large portions of in-universe backstory material to bolster the narrative, the main story of the twelve issues takes place in an alternate-universe New York City round October 1985. The Cold War is still going, Richard Nixon is in his third term as President of the United States, and with the exception of two, the few superheroes that exist have been made illegal by the government in an attempt to curb masked vigilantism. After years of forced retirement, they reunite when one of their own has been brutally murdered. However, that murder soon turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg…
How’s that for some compelling ad copy? Try reading that in the voice of Don LaFontaine, for best results.

I’m not a fan of traditional comics, although I do happen to dabble — namely, I borrow from my friends’ libraries — but something as intricate as Watchmen goes beyond bog-standard comics, and that’s due to the deranged and meticulous mind of Alan Moore. I’ll not go overboard with praise for him, but I’ll simply say this: HE IS NOT A GOD AMONGST MEN, HE IS A GOD THAT THE GODS WORSHIP. See? Very restrained.
Alan Moore, if you’ve somehow never heard his godlike name before, wrote the stories for ‘V for Vendetta’, ‘From Hell’, as well as a handful of story arcs for various comicbook titles, and is working on a new volume of my favourite of his works, ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’. His writing is characterised by deep character development, complex backstories, near-obsessive attention to detail, and an overall sardonic tone throughout. All the above titles were made into films, without, I may note, the blessing or consultation of Mr Moore. The film for ‘League…’ is something I will only watch under pain of death, for instance, as it takes awful to a stunning new level. The main issue is that Alan has been screwed over by both the comics industry and the film industry on several occasions. I’ll not get into that here, as there are a multitude of other places where you can catch yourself up on the various sordid tales, as that’s not what this post is about! I’m just giving you some background, here.

As of this writing (me sitting in my car Wed afternoon, waiting for my workshift to start), I’ve not yet seen Watchmen. I’d love to see it opening night, which is a phrase I’ve not uttered in years, but I’m 90% geeked over this film, as you’ve probably sussed by now. However, there’s that 10% which I’m fearful of. That 10% is due to what I call ‘the Tank Girl effect’ (TGE).
Flashback to 1993, where I was reading and enjoying the living hell out of Jamie Hewlett & Alan Martin’s post-apocalyptic lager-swilling anti-hero Tank Girl. Flash a wee bit more forward to 1994, where I learned that there’d be a film adaptation of the series, and picture me gettin’ all happy about it. Flash forward some more to my best friends Sean, Monti, and I seeing ‘Tank Girl’ at Star Theatres in 1995. Now, when the film was playing, we all thought it was really ace. You had Jet Girl (rrrRowr), Booga actually resembled a kangaroo, etc etc. Now flash forward one more time, to the three of us driving home post-film. It slowly and insidiously dawned on me that what we just saw was a steaming pile of shite. It was actually really terrible. It didn’t make any sense, the director took sweeping liberties with characters and storylines, and we’d pretty much wasted 100 minutes of our lives. Hence, TGE: elation that a literary vehicle you love has been made into a film, followed by crushing depression when you realise the film version is absolute spunk. Incidentally, even Hewlett & Martin have admitted that they were blinded by the glitz of Hollywood, and the movie adaptation of their character was rubbish. They even parodied the whole Hollowwood experience with the Tank Girl miniseries from late 1995, ‘The Odyssey’.
Now, I managed to avoid the Tank Girl effect with ‘League…’ — sorry, ‘LXG’ — cos I’d heard various horror stories about it months before it came out. Like I’d said, so far, everything I’ve read about Watchmen sounds like it parallels the book — except for the climax at the end, but I’m led to understand that it’s a change for the better — and the related in-universe ephemera on the website for The New Frontiersman alone is rather impressive, so at the very least, they’ve got the look down. With a story as fucked-up dystopian as Watchmen, though, the look is only part of it…

So I’m remaining uncharacteristically optimistic regarding a film from Hollywood. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but as it’s Hollywood, I’m trying to keep my expectations low

You keep littering like that, pal, they’ll catch you and throw you in prison

EDIT (22 March 09): I, ah never did mention that I finally saw it, did I? You can read my half-arsed review in the comments here

Technorati tags: Watchmen, Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Zack Snyder, Don LaFontaine, Tank Girl, Jamie Hewlett, Alan Martin

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