Attack of the West End Trendies

I live in a nexus of places in Glasgow. One of those places is the West End of the city famed for people with accents that pay homage to the idea of being from Glasgow and ‘West End Trendies’, that is people like this that Limmy takes the piss out of in the below video.

Or indeed, now trendy and famous comic artist Frank Quitely in his Electric Soup days with his Wendy the West End Trendy strip.

About a minute’s walk from my flat is Finnieston, the trendiest of all West End trendy areas where one can quite literally wade waist deep in people drooling about this week’s new craft ale or that antique dress they saw. It displays the sort of pretension that makes Stokes Croft in Bristol look like Chelmsford on a Saturday night when Chelsea are at home.

On the whole these slaves to fashion are relatively harmless, but I’ve been warned of the ”ironic’ Buckfast drinker since coming back to Glasgow, and today on the train home from work I saw one in the wild for the first time.It was a sight to see someone in their best hipster jumper sip from a bottle of Buckfast while braying at his equally repellent friend brayed back at him. Fortunately I had to get off before I threw up my pelvis but seriously, if you’re ‘ironically’ drinking Buckfast then you’re just a bit of a dick. I can just about tolerate all the other bits of wankiness, but this whole ‘let’s play at being poor’ shtick is a game for pricks.

Next time I get sniffy at people who stand around by entrances looking lost while blocking the way in/out. Grrrrr…..

Jonathan Ross on David Lynch

With Twin Peaks proving itself a spectacular piece of television and David Lynch reminding everyone just how a great director he is, it’s worth looking back at the time when Lynch was still a cult figure.

For One Week Only was a documentary series presented by Jonathan Ross for Channel 4 in 1990, and even 27 years later stands as possibly one of the best documentaries on Lynch you’ll see. It even discusses his comic strip, The Angriest Dog in the World. So enjoy, this is a cracking bit of archive.

Automat: the lost album of Italian electronica

Electronic music in the 1970’s ranged from un-listenable garbage to stuff which was new and exciting, so pretty much like today but with less of the former and more of the latter. Here in the UK as a kiddie I was hooked on the bleeps and bloops that’d appear on the BBC, especially Doctor Who, thanks to the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, but over in Italy they had Automat.

Released in 1977 this only popped on my radar a few weeks ago and for me, it seems to be a missing link in terms of leaping from those early spacey bleeps to something more like we knew in the 80’s and indeed, if I didn’t know this was from 1977 I’d have placed this in the early 80’s. It also sounds a tad like the soundtrack to a good Lucio Fulci film which is high praise.

So enjoy a wee bit of somewhat lost musical history…

Marvel Two in One: Stan Lee and Michael Jackson

With the sad news about Joan Lee’s passing here’s something nice and fun about Stan Lee with a bit of Michael Jackson thrown in.

Back in the 90’s Stan Lee was a peripheral (The excellent Marvel Comics: The Untold Story goes into more detail) in regards Marvel Comics. A figurehead at best, but still an important figure in comics but Lee was off in Hollywood trying to make TV adaptations and films of Marvel#s characters. Today that seems like it was easy, but no so in the early 90’s where this great video of Michael Jackson touring Marvel’s animation studios comes from.

It’s great to watch Jackson fanboying all over Lee, but there’s hints of why Lee was a then peripheral figure in the video as they talk of Lee being ‘cut loose’ from Marvel. It’s a nice video whatever just to see the biggest star on the planet at the time looking up to Lee like a wee boy.

Enjoy.

ITV’s Hot Fuzz obsession

I love Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz. It’s a wonderful satire/homage to action film as well as British film all in one package.

ITV2 and ITV4 are those channels lurking in the depths of Freeview or whatever TV package you have. It generally shows shite like Made in Chelsea or repeats of The Professionals but it also shows films, in fact it shows films a lot, it just happens to be that they’ll show the same film every week.

IN the case of Hot Fuzz, they seem obsessed by it. People have noticed this. There’s even a Reddit thread about it. There’s not much evidence online of the multiple showings as companies don’t seem to have listings from the last decade or so, but it pops up on sites and of course Twitter has noted this too.So what exactly is going on?

Well, the solution is simple enough. TV companies buy films in a package and seeing as ITV2/4 are those channels watched when you’re pissed and channel hopping after the pub, so you’ll stop on them if you recognise something in your beer-fuelled stupor. True, you may end up watching the same film four times in a week which doesn’t just mean ITV have ran out of ideas, but it also means you’re probably drinking too much.

Fact is all these smaller channels are desperate for your views. They know also people drink. Mix the two and you’ve got ITV showing Hot Fuzz so often that you could stop watching it one night and pick up from the same point another night. Still, at least they’re showing something good, imagine if they broadcast the shite remake of Total Recall every week?

Oh, they do? Fuck.

The magnificent world of David Lynch

The return of Twin Peaks has been a pretty wonderful affair that’s managed to mix the mystery of the plot with the quirky weirdness with whatever is in David Lynch’s head to produce something unlike any television probably produced on either side of the Atlantic this century.

In an era where the cliffhanger is king and ‘Netflix and chill’ is the mantra, the idea of a television series that doesn’t just tell a story, doesn’t just work as a piece of art, but pushes the medium in a way that it rarely has ever been pushed. Episode 8 of Twin Peaks starts following the ongoing plotline with the evil Dale Cooper and his scheming, but then it takes a turn around 15 minutes into the episode after this Nine Inch Nails song.

Now I suggest watching the episode in its entirety because it is simply a spectacular bit of television, especially after the above song where Lynch totally cuts loose and pours his visuals on our stinging eyes and because we’ve been starved of watching art we soak it all up.

See as much as programmes like The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Preacher and the likes are all entertaining, even artistic explorations into the world they inhabit but they don’t push it and don’t push the expectations of the medium as it stands. We know most episodes will end in some sort of cliffhanger or question that will be answered next episode because you’ve got to keep people watching. With Twin Peaks Lynch doesn’t give a fuck about cliffhangers or how television should be so we get insanely long takes of people sweeping floors or Nine Inch Nails popping up or the 45 minutes of episode 8 after the aforementioned NIN song. I can safely say that my favourite film/TV moment of the year so far is the eighth episode of Twin Peaks as it is so unique, so bizarre yet does so much with the confines of the medium that watching it again I was stunned by what Lynch managed to do as much as I was the first time.

And what was so glorious is that what is essentially a series of art films and images strung together to make an experimental narrative told a story and even then every single expectation you have as a viewer is subverted and played with to the point when it ends you want more not because there’s a cliffhanger, but because you know you’re watching something so special that you have to see what Lynch does next. Too often on television a creator is given total freedom and we end up with a crushing disappointment but this isn’t the case. This is brilliance and I want to see how Lynch tops all of this and that’s the best sort of artistic cliffhanger.

Los Angeles pays tribute to Adam West in the best possible way.

Adam West sadly died recently. His Batman is for me, the only Batman as he wasn’t a psychopath like Michael Keaton’s, or a sociopath like Christian Bale, or a murdering lunatic like Ben Affleck’s. No, West was good, cheerful, honest and decent and although his Batman looks archaic it is still Batman.

So the people of Los Angeles marked West’s death in the best, and most glorious, way possible. Have a look..