Seven sevens

typed for your pleasure on 31 January 2006, at 11.28 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Laetitia’ by The Summer hits


Name 7 films.
In no particular order,
+ if…. (1968): Malcolm McDowell plays teenaged rebel Mick Travis, as he and his two mates run riot within and without an English public school. From fencing on the street with imaginary foils, to plotting assassinations on the school faculty, Mick is the perfect model of a cunning sociopath
+ Trainspotting (1996): Being the adventures of young Scots lad Mark Renton, as he strives to develop a relationship with a lass named Diane. O, also he and his mates are hopelessly addicted to heroin. Say what you will about them, though, but they’re a charismatic bunch of tossers.. Also contains a lovely soundtrack, and is eminently quotable
+ Koroshiya Ichi (2001): The film that turned me on to Takashi Miike, it features several doomed yakuza, the luscious Alien Sun, a pair of completely insane twin detectives, a masochist with his face covered in scars, and a weeping, onanistic killing machine. I still have idle dreams of cosplaying as Ichi one day, blades-in-boots and everything
+ Withnail and I (1987): Two out-of-work actors — one mildly paranoid, the other fantastically drunk — decide to take a holiday in the English countryside during the last year of the Sixties. Hilarity ensues! Eminently quotable
+ A clockwork orange (1971): Kubrick. Burgess. McDowell. Seventies dystopian England. Beethoven filtered through Carlos. Ultraviolence. ‘I was cured, all right.’ Fucking winner
+ M (1931): I remember first seeing this in film class back in the Nineties; unfortunately, I hadn’t had enough sleep, and nodded off like two minutes into it. I awoke shortly before the heads of Berlin’s underworld have Hans (Peter Lorre) trapped in the building, and were trying their best to find him before the cops got to him first. As that part really captivated me, I rented it the next day to watch it from start to finish. It was then that I realised that from that point in the film onward, that that was the most intense sequence of a film I’d ever seen, and the preceding parts, although not as tense, were just as gripping. And I’ll tell you — the final scene still gives me shivers every single time I see it
+ Barbarella (1968): Jane Fonda, in her sexalicious pre-Hanoi Jane days, flying across the outer edges of the Universe in pursuit of mad scientist Durand Durand, frequently changing outfits and making sexy time with various individuals. All this, and a soundtrack by The Glitterhouse and The Bob Crewe Generation? Yes

Name 7 books.
I have mixed both Fiction and Fact! Cos actually, most of the books I own are either non-fiction, or reference.
+ Flann O’Brien’s The Third policeman: Probably gets my award for Funniest Surrealist Novel Ever. How does one avoid becoming a bicycle? Can a conscience speak to a person, and have conversations with them? Who is in charge of all the one-legged men in Ireland? Where is the location of Infinity, and how does it operate? Don’t worry, it all makes ‘sense’ in the end
+ Martin Amis’ Dead babies: A group of fabulously degenerate individuals spend an interesting couple of days in a spacious manor in the country. And by ‘interesting’, I mean ‘bold new illegal drugs’, ‘frothing sex parties’, ‘systematic dehumanisation’, ‘shitting down the neighbour’s chimney’ and ‘a metric ton of “the fear”‘. There’s murder; of course. But it’s all done with style!
+ Andy Warhol’s THE Philosophy of Andy Warhol: ‘I have no memory. Every day is a new day because I don’t remember the day before. Every minute is like the first minute of my life. I try to remember but I can’t. That’s why I got married — to my tape recorder. That’s why I seek out people with minds like tape recorders to be with. My mind is like a tape recorder with one button — erase.’
+ George Plimpton’s Edie: Utterly compelling biography of Andy Warhol’s most well-known starlet, as told by family members and friends. Reading it is like viewing a time-lapse film of a cosmic star coming into existence, then growing brighter and brighter, and then finally winking out
+ Albert Camus’ The stranger: Nihilism at its best, and one of the few things that was required reading in highschool that I still enjoy today. Also inspired a certain young man from Crawley to write a famously mis-interpreted song
+ Simon Ford’s Wreckers of civilisation: A fantastic history about the origins and history of Throbbing gristle, the grandfathers (and grandmother) of Industrial music
+ J.D Salinger’s Catcher in the rye: Whereas ‘The stranger’ amplified the ultimate futility of all things, ‘Catcher in the rye’ told me that most everything out there is shit, but there are a precious few things that are worth treasuring. Plus, the simple fact that Jerome David Salinger has managed to remain as reclusive as he is, while still being respected and revered, is equally inspiring

Name 7 city things you like
+ Marina City, Chicago: How cities should be built — vertically, not horizontally
+ Nakagin Capsule tower, Tokyo: Beautiful outside, beautiful and compact inside. Brilliant
+ Subway systems (I picked the ones from Toronto, as they’re the only ones I’ve ever ridden): There’s just something about the architecture of subway stations, coupled with the (relative) efficiency of underground trains. The greenish cast of the fluorescent lighting, the chrome on the subway cars, the many sounds — all of it brings a smile to my face
+ Airports. See ‘Subway systems’ above
+ Multi-storey car parks. There are two kinds of car parks: either you have the grey utilitarian ones that are more commonplace now, or you’ve got the older ones with the dull tarmac floors. Both are ace, as far as I’m concerned. There’s a certain something about car parks — they’re structures that aren’t really built to house people, they’re built to house vehicles — and I find that really Ballardian fascinating
+ Eaton centre, Toronto: You have to understand; I despise malls. By and large, they don’t really carry what I want, and there’s always too many damn people. But Eaton centre has a special charm for me. You might say that it’s only due to the fact that it’s in downtown T.O, but it’s more than that.. I love the way its architecture looks. Glass and metal, metal and glass. If you were to bring someone forward through time, from the Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition of 1851, to contemporary Eaton centre, they wouldn’t bat an eye. Well, maybe they would. In fact, the shock might well kill ’em. But then, you’d simply go downstairs to Sushi-Q and order a box of inari, and have a seat in the spacious food court, whilst everyone milled round upstairs, wondering why there was a dead person from the 19th Century on the floor. Mmm, inari!
+ And everyone loves the giant motorised crab on the front of Kani Doraku in Osaka. (Here’s a picture with a better sense of scale)

Name 7 things you wanna do before you die
+ 2-week tour of Japan
+ 2-week tour of the UK
+ Visit either Osaka Labs or Kokoro co. Ltd, to meet with Actroid-chan
+ See the Jaquet-Droz kids in Neuchâtel, Switzerland
+ Drive Sidore-chan and myself around in a vintage Fiat 500L or a pre-2002 Mini Cooper
+ Collaborate with Merzbow
+ Visit Oscar Wilde’s grave at Père-Lachaise cemetery in France

Name 7 things you wish you could do but can’t
+ Fly
+ Become invisible at will
+ Phase through solid matter, or allow solid matter to phase through me
+ Stop time
+ Travel forwards or backwards through time at will
+ Create sundry items out of raw matter with naught but my mind
+ Algebra. Err, strike that, reverse it. Wishing I could do algebra is really a waste of a wish

Name 7 things you typically say
+ ‘For feck’s sake’
+ ‘Actually’ (used far, far too much)
+ ‘Rather’
+ ‘Sweet baby James!’ or some variant thereof
+ ‘Cunt’ (used mostly at work)
+ ‘Well done!’

Name 7 people you are tagging.
+ As typically explained,
+ people by and large seem to
+ despise being tagged. But if
+ you really want me to brand you
+ with this meme, merely leave
+ a charming message in the
+ comments below

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And rightly deserved!

typed for your pleasure on 29 January 2006, at 2.27 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Farmer’s angle’ by Belbury Poly

A giant Family-sized Congratulations goes out to Montilee, aka Penda, as one of her works is finally being published! Her story ‘I Do It Because I Love You’, will be appearing in the first Hopper Comics anthology, Bound, and should be available for sale in the next week or two.

My only hope is that a decade from now, when I finally manage to catch up with her on the set of whatever creepy thriller she’ll be helming at the time, that she’ll remember who I am, even after the security guards have hauled me bodily off the premises.

Congratulations, babe! As for the rest of you, go buy some copies! One or two to read, and a couple that’ll be bagged and boarded, to go into storage

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Unacceptable. UNACCEPTABLE!!

typed for your pleasure on 28 January 2006, at 12.45 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Vitamin C’ by Can

Sony, ordinarily you are a fine corporate giant, but this time you really dropped the ball.

Sony killed AIBO and QRIO?

Well wouldn’t you know it, not even a day after receiving what’s possibly the biggest validation of robotic companions since Petster saved little Timmy from a burning barn back in ’86, it looks like news is surfacing that in Sony’s Q305 fiscal reports they have intentions and supposedly already ceased developing AIBO and QRIO, Engadget’s most beloved of all canine and humanoid robots, respectively. At the risk of sounding terribly insensitive, somehow the prospect of AIBO and QRIO dying actually makes us more heartsick than the news of the 10,000 some-odd jobs Stringer cut reorganizing the electronics giant. Sony, say it ain’t so, say it ain’t so!

P.S. -When Sony America wakes up this morning we’ll be placing some calls.

I would hope that they’ve not done this cos they decided they should be working on more videogame consoles. I mean, Odhinn knows I love my PS2, but I think society’s alright for videogame system technology – between the upcoming PS3 and the XBOLLOX 360, there’s not a whole lot more that can be done as far as console graphics – but what needs to be developed and refined are more personal robots. Videogames are all well and good, but robotics are more of a technological achievement that, in theory, should move society forward towards Being Better.
Also worth reading is that link, err.. linked.. above, concerning the biggest validation of robots.. o, nevermind, I’ll reproduce it here.

Study finds robot pets as good as live ones

If you’ve been telling everyone how you and your Aibo have bonded and have had to endure their looks of shock, relax, you’re not a freak. (Well, at least not because of your Aibo friendship. We can’t comment on any of your other bizarre habits.) Researchers at Purdue University’s veterinary school have found that robo-pets can be as good at providing companionship as live ones. The researchers gave one group of children and teenagers Aibos and another group real pets, and then questioned them on their interactions. Seventy percent of the Aibo users said that the robot dog could be a good companion. The researchers also lent Aibos to a group of senior citizens, who found that they were less depressed and lonely after playing with them. We suspect that all the good cheer had at least something to do with not having to feed or clean up after the bots and the fact that you can yank their batteries when they get too yappy.

That bit of news was nice enough to read, but then I’d noticed that the study didn’t take place in Japan, as I’d initially thought — it was over at Purdue, which hopefully means that Japan’s love of Artifice is gaining ground in the States. Hoorej!

Okay, Osaka Labs and Kokoro co. Ltd., the opportunity window is wiiide open — I want to see an Actroid in every home before 2008. And for those homes that don’t want an Actroid, you can just send them round to mine.
But honestly, Sony — what were you thinking? You aren’t thinking, that’s the problem. And yes, I did want an AIBO of my very own. Not much chance of that now, eh Sony? Wankers

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Facetious much?

typed for your pleasure on 26 January 2006, at 8.58 am

Sdtrk: ‘Ik ken je beter, Peter’ by Iris Zegveld

(stolen, as usual, from Pendatron 5000)
25 Questions that no one would ever think to ask:

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
‘Wow, my hair is really getting long’

2. How much cash do you have on you?
A fiver and three singles

3. What’s a word that rhymes with TEST?

4. planet?

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list?
Tim, oddly enough

6. What is your favorite ring on your phone?
I only have three, cos I personally abhor custom ringtones. One is for Mates, one is for Unknowns, and one is If You’re Hearing This Ringtone, Someone Who Shouldn’t Have Your Phone Number Has Somehow Gotten Your Number, And You Need To Take The Appropriate Steps Immediately. Obviously I prefer the first one

7. What shirt are you wearing?
A white one, quelle surprise

8. What do you label yourself?

9. Name the brand of your shoes you’re recently wearing?
Something chunky and styleless called ‘Phys.Sci’. Don’t laugh, damn you, they’re strictly for work and inclement weather

10. Bright or Dark Room?
Dark. Not too dark, but a cosy dark

11. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Viewing ‘Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks’ on DVD. ‘Ilsa, She-wolf of the SS’ was much better

12. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
I don’t know! I get them so rarely, and I delete them after reading, so I can’t answer this one

13. Where is your nearest 7-11?
Err, Hilton and 9 mile

14. What’s a saying that you say a lot?
‘Fair enough’
‘Well done!’

15. Who told you they loved you last?
That would be telling

16. Last furry thing you touched?

17. How Many Drugs Have You Done In The Past three Days?
Not nearly enough, mate *continues to dance spastically like Bez*

18. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed?
None! I’m strictly digital now

19. Favorite age you have been so far?
I was rather keen on 28, upon reflection, as that’s when I was living at No.23 Deafening silence. Good times, good times

20. your worst enemy?
The part of myself that’s controlled by Procrastination

21. What is your current desktop picture?
An exploded-view illustration of the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam

22. What was the last thing you said to someone?

23. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly, which would you choose?
If I had a million bucks, I could probably fly plenty of places

24. Do you like someone?

25. The last song you listened to?
refer to ‘Sdtrk’ above

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typed for your pleasure on 23 January 2006, at 11.46 pm

Sdtrk: ‘My name is Nobody’ by Ennio Morricone

Panic and Adventure were the Order of the Day that day, as I had arrived at Jeff’s house, and found him repairing the babygate, as the latch had self-destructed. Fascinating device, the babygate, as it happens to be constructed entirely from the bones of recently deceased infants. Also, it’s really haunted. As implied by the name, it keeps out babies, and pretty much everyone else, really, by apearance alone. But it was busted, and Jeff’s wife Kari was stressing out about it. She took off in search of a new one, at which point, Derek materialised, and the three of us headed to the basement to ostensibly began our evening. We managed to watch the first episode of ‘Nighty night‘, which is a riotously dark Britcom, and well worth viewing, when midway through that, Kari returned home, and asked if Jeff could go looking for a better babygate. So after the Nighty night ep was over, we scrambled upstairs, piled into Derek’s car, and sped off to the nearest Meijer.

We wandered round probably for a sum total of ninety minutes. Jeff, cos he walks so damn fast, lost Derek and I, and then my phone rang and I lost Derek. Mari rang me, as she was just getting off work, and said she’d meet us up at our Meijer location. As I was on the phone with her, my eyes were drawn to a rather nice-looking watch that I figured would finally be my current watch‘s successor (more later).
Eventually, I reconvened with Derek, who’d found Jeff, and we ran into Mari down the front of the store. Jeff couldn’t locate a babygate that wasn’t up to his standards of material — when you’re used to your gate built of femurs and the like, you’re gonna be rather hard to please, let’s face it — so he’d picked up a hook-and-eyelet pack, so he could jerry-rig a new latch. Materials and participants duly gathered, we then headed back to Jeff’s. I went with Mari to make sure she didn’t get lost, so I got to drive her car, which was fun. To me, it’s always fun driving other peoples’ vehicles, as it’s like a wee holiday from my own automobile. Like a little rolling Ibiza.

We returned to find that Tim and his new friend Mikki were already there. They needed to meet up with Derek, as Tim had left his phone betwixt Derek’s sofa cushions on Friday night. That sounds rather pervy, but we’ll let it pass. The lot of us kinda milled round the kitchen, Jeff and Derek having a go at the babygate repair, and twenty minutes later, anti-infant security was restored! Then Derek took off, cos he needed some sleep, as he’d been up since 7am playing World of Warcrack.

Back downstairs, the main thing we watched were highlights of a fillum that Jeff chose to review for his gig; a real piece of work called ‘Let me die a Woman‘. It. Was. HORRIBLE. Apart from the esteemed Dr Leo Wollman speaking to the camera and obviously reading from cue cards, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film with so many random sex scenes that were utterly devoid of any vestiges of eroticism. And there was this excruciatingly close-up sequence of Dr Wollman examining a post-op shoddily-assembled male-to-female transsexual that will give me nightmares for the rest of my days. I will never look at roast beef sandwiches the same way ever again. Yes, we were all laughing, but I think it was mostly due to shock.
Eventually, Tim and Mikki ran away screaming took off, and we viewed the first four eps of ‘Black books‘, as I had raved about it to Mari on several occasions. Then Jeff kicked us out round three. A fine, if partially repulsive, evening!

Met up with Mari late in the evening, for the purposes of ‘hangin’ out’. It was a bit unusual, as I hardly ever go out-of-doors on Sunday, as that’s my ‘catch up on stuff that I neglected over the course of the week’ day, which could also be read as my ‘get out of bed at 1pm’ day. Anyway, I got round to Mari’s digs round 7pm, and since everything was pretty much closed, we hit Meijer, and wandered round there for almost four hours. Yeah, that astonished me as well, when I got home and realised how much time we spent there. That’s a whole lot of Meijer. However, I did manage to buy that watch I’d mentioned spotting.

I’m having some difficulty getting the fecker set though. Also, there’s no light-up function for it, the lack of which I would’ve overlooked, were I not having difficulty setting the fecker. So I might well return it later this week and try again. Looks nice though, doesn’t it?
Our evening came to an exciting conclusion, as we stopped round to Blockbuster video, so Mari could rent some fillums. She grabbed four: Oldboy, The Football factory, Immortal, and something else. I’d suggested the first three, as The Football factory was ace, Oldboy is worth seeing cos the first half of the film is fantastic (but the ending’s shite), and I’ve been wanting to see Immortal, so I’m having her be my guinea pig for that one. And then I dropped her off home, and then went home myself. A fine, if mostly Meijer, evening!

Happy 23rd! The end

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‘Ich habe das hier’

typed for your pleasure on 21 January 2006, at 4.13 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Brakhage’ by Stereolab

Yes, I’m selling more stuff, as I’m sick to death of looking at it. Note the flashing sale indicator in yonder sidebar! *points left*
I might be adding more items over the course of the week, so do keep an eye on that list. In fact, if you feel you’d like to bookmark that page, I’d support your decision wholeheartedly

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typed for your pleasure on 20 January 2006, at 2.43 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Too late’ by New order

It’s a linkdump! Rinkudampu dessho! You may now commence your furious right-clicking.

+ This is so cute it gave me cavities: Snake ‘befriends’ snack hamster. Cue Bill Murray from ‘Ghostbusters’, shouting ‘Dogs and cats, living together..’

+ Transform your blog into a tree-killin’ print book, through BlogBinders. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yeah, you’re thinking this post alone wouldn’t translate to print well, either? Yeah. Hrrm

+ Polish film posters have always brought bold new meaning to the term ‘singularly unsettling‘. (Although I’d proudly display the ‘Rosemary’s Baby‘ one on my wall..) A casual observer seeing these would almost get the impression that Poland is a land that has never known joy. Still, they’re worth a look

+ A transcript of a radio interview from 2002 with Gaby Wood, the author of ‘Edison’s Eve’, a fab book about the history of automata. The interview is like a Cliffs Notes version of the book, somewhat

+ I want this feckin’ house so hard.

I would’ve written an instalment of ‘This was the Future’ around it, but there’s practically no facts on it, save that apparently it’s a house you can rent as a set if you’re shooting a film. Well, if that’s the case, then call me Kubrick

Most of these links, except for the snake / hamster one and the Gaby Wood interview, are courtesy of a lovely blog I’ve run across that’s densely packed with links, called ‘I like‘, which appeals to the esoteric in me, and quite frankly, is the worst timewaster since heroin.

And that appears to be it! Five consecutive days, five consecutive posts. I don’t see that sort of confluence happening again anytime soon, so this is truly a Christmas Miracle

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