Archive for July, 2005

The man from room five

July 29th, 2005 — Wordman

Though tempted to call this post “riding the hype train” or “anticipating sound and fury”, I thought I might be able to manipulate at least some of the hype in a worthwhile way before the noise gets too loud. In the 1980s, writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd produced a comic book decidedly not for children called V for Vendetta. It has been reproduced in trade paperback and become a cult hit with adult fans, having even been well annotated. In his introduction to the trade paperback, artist David Lloyd sets the tone for the work:

“The Nine o’Clock News” followed “A Question of Sport.” Or, at least for 30 seconds it did, before the television was switched off and cheeky, cheery pop music took its place.

I looked over at the barman. “Just half this time,” I said. As he filled the glass, I solemnly asked him why he’d switched off the News. “Don’t ask me-that was the wife,” he replied, in a cheeky, cheery manner.…

…I finished my drink and left, almost certain the TV would be silent for the rest of the evening. For after “The Nine o’Clock News” would have come “The Boys From Brazil,” a dim film with few cheeky cheery characters in it, which is all about a bunch of Nazis creating 94 clones of Adolf Hitler.

There aren’t many cheeky, cheery characters in V FOR VENDETTA either; and it’s for people who don’t switch off the News.

In a few months, a film based on this comic will be released, created by the same guys that made the Matrix. You are going to hear a lot about this movie pretty soon, and not just because it looks to be a stylistic blockbuster. There will be screaming about it on CNN and (especially) Fox News, because its hero blows up buildings in London in an attempt to destroy the (now fascist) government. Given the bombings in London right now, this is probably going to send the right wing into a tizzy. Add to that the tagline from the marquee (“people should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people”) and you can pretty much hear the “think of the children” pining already.

Before all that starts, I’m asking (hell, begging) you to read the original comic. It has its warts, but remains powerful in spite of (or, perhaps, because of) being written twenty years ago. Keep your kids away, though. It’s not that kind of party (“think of the children!”).

By the way, Alan Moore, easily one of the top three comic writers of all time, has a history of entrusting his work to filmmakers that mess it up and has disassociated himself from this film.

Yo quiero estar anarchy

July 13th, 2005 — Wordman

Black Sabbath created the first commercial music I ever purchased, a life altering experience. I’ve just heard a tango version of Nativity in Black that has rewired my brain all over again. The neurosurgeon in this case is six-foot, blonde frontwoman Storm Large (described as “a Vargas pin-up girl come to life and shot up with a cocktail of PCP and rabies”) and one of her bands, the Balls.

The sound is, evidently, called “loungecore”, a strange mix of lounge music and metal/industrial sensibility. It boasts a good deal of mash-up work that could only be done by live musicians. You can’t just mash samples of Ministry’s Stigmata and Van Morrison’s Moondance and make it sound anywhere as good as the Balls do. That, and combinations of Abba and Iron Butterfly are what make Hanging With the Balls such a blast.

It seems like all the bands that are turning me on recently are from Portland, for some reason. Might be worth a trip out there.