Friday, February 26, 2010

Gamble on...

The odds on Ireland beating England at Twickenham this weekend are pretty decent. 10/11 [Paddy Power] on Ireland is one of the bets of the year, but there is some doubt today that O'Driscoll is injured. If he shows up tomorrow, I might throw a few K at it, as England are pretty shit at the moment, although it will probably be tighter than expected as snow is anticipated.

Alternatively, the handicap bet of Ireland at evens is probably a licence to print money...

Will whip myself severely if I've got this wrong!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Anvil: The Story of Anvil

Heavy Metal is one form of music I have never understood. I like a bit of Zeppelin or even some early Deep Purple, but the rest of it just seems like total sh*t: Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, Twisted Sister, Anthrax, Megadeath, Stryker  et al.

That was until I saw 'Anvil'.

I had seen some great reviews of this DVD, a documentary following a real-life scraggy-haired Canadian metal band who unconciously act like Spinal Tap, as they struggle to release their 13th unrecognised album.

At one point, we even get to see a guitar amplifier that has volume going all the way up to 11. Then a rocking workout where the lead guitarist is wearing bondage gear and using a dildo to play slide guitar.
It took me a good 20 minutes to realise that the whole thing was not an elaborate hoax - A Spinal Tap Part 2, if you will.

As the movie develops,  the band squabble over the most petty of matters and we cringe as it is revealed that the core members have both recently turned 50 and have never really made it, after 30 years on the road.

Brings to mind Robbie Robertson's 'to-camera' speech in Scorcese's The Last Waltz where he is explaining why The Band has called it a day, commenting something like "16 years on the road was long enough - anything more than that and... (pause as he looks reflectively off into the distance); The Road has taken a lot of the great ones... (deep pause) 'Jimi, Janis, Otis, Jim Morrison';  It's just a god-damned impossible way of life... No 2 ways about it..."

Back to the movie, lots of interviews with parents, family members, wives and girlfriends expressing their exasperation at these innocent idiots, trying to fulfill some stupid childhood dream, and some scenes of the guys trying to keep their mortgages paid by working temporarily in call centres or as delivery men.

As it continues, we realise that, despite all of the heavy-metal posturing, these are genuinely nice, decent people, albeit living in a dreamworld. Not the types who base their lives on booze/cocaine and luring teenage girls into their LA hotel rooms (ahem, Led Zeppelin).

They can play their instruments well and the drummer turns out to be an exceptionally talented artistic painter, as we see when he gives a tour of his home, but they just don't seem to be able to write a decent tune. "Thumb Hang"  an ode to the Spanish Inquisition, "Barenaked Ladies" and "Metal Metal" are outstandingly bad.

The thing that makes this most poignant is that the 2 founding members of the band, when not fighting, seem to be in a right old Bromance.  They had created the band in their teens and stuck together for 35 years and genuinely seem, when not arguing, to really like, and depend on, each other. 

All in all, it's a bit like Brokeback Mountain, except swapping the cowboy hats for poodle haircuts and filthy leather jackets (and without the sex scenes), but with an uplifting ending.

Anyhoo, this movie is one to definitely watch more than once.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Walk Away Renee - diffs

The Left Banke's original, slightly baroque version:

Below, the late, great Levi Stubbs howls it out with the Four Tops. Think this is mostly mimed but it's hard to tell if Levi is live on the mic or not (Mowtown would often use a trick of re-recording the lead vocal to give it a live feel whenever their performers where going on a live TV show).

It is quite funny that none of them can do any kind of dance move, except Larry Payton (the chubby bass singer on the right).

Anyhoo, Abdul Faqir (on the left here) is the only one left alive from this great group.  Levi died after a long battle with throat cancer (don't smoke kids!);  Lawrence Peyton died from liver disease. Obie Benson died recently also - he had written What's going on (which became Marvin Gaye's greatest classic) after being horrified when witnessing hippie kids getting ruthlessly beaten by the police on Sunset Strip in L.A. in the 60's.

Obie tried to give the tune to people like Joan Baez, but with no success, until Marvin took it in the early 70's and broke the Mowtown mould forever.

Five O'Clock World

A cool, home-made karaoke version of the classic 60's Vogue's doo-wop tune - Five O'Clock Word. Think this song became the theme tune on the Drew Carey Show a few years back.


Anyhoo, great job dog! - you're through to the next round.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pass the Sick Bag (on da left-hand side)

This revolting, talentless scummy creature is apparently going to recieve some type of 'lifetime achievement' award at the BRITS tonight. Rather like Pol Pot geting a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. Cue the sound of barrels being scraped...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Twink urges Jacob Zuma to 'Zip up his Micky'

Following relevations that South Africa's President has just fathered his 20th child (from various polygomous relationships), Ireland's show-biz queen Twink has advised him to 'Zip up his F*cking Micky', 'Act his 'F*cking Age' and to 'Be a F*cking Man'.

"Jesus F*cking Christ - Cut the f*cking ting off if he has those urges. Same goes for Tiger Woods and John Terry;  They are nothing more than male whores."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hair - Let the Sunshine In

Was clearing out some old videos the other day and found one I hadn't seen in years - Milos Forman's late 70's interpretation of the cult hippie late 60's musical 'Hair'.

It was weird, as I had also recently watched 'Putney Swope' on DVD. Another counter-culture themed movie from the late 60s.

Anyhoo the connection between them is that both feature a singer/actor called Ronnie Dyson, albeit in small roles. He had played the character 'Hud' in the original hit Broadway version of 'Hair' and opened the show with 'Aquarius'.  He was only about 17 at the time and his mother embarressed him on his debut by screaming from the audience - 'Sing baby, sing'.

Think Ronnie had a brief solo career in the 70s but died during the 80's AIDS epidemic (not quite sure on that one - it wasn't the kind of thing that people admitted back then).  He had some voice though...

I always loved 'Hair' for its musicality - as it had about 20 tunes in it and at least 12 of them are superb. Rather like the Who's 'Tommy' which I can almost recite in full, or going way back to some of the stuff my father liked - '42nd Street' or 'West Side Story'.

In this closing scene, the leader of the hippie troupe - Berger (played by Treat Williams) gets shipped off to Vietnam inadvertantly, as he had switched places temporarily with Claude (the naif country boy drafted soldier, played by John Savage), so Claude could have a good night out with Beverly D'Angelo's character.

It must have been all a bit dated at the time the movie came out, but perhaps resonates as much as ever in the 'War on Terror' era.

Monday, February 8, 2010

International worst websites of all time

Wow - just caught this off Popbitch - this website takes some beating...

From the 'Jackson Pollock going blind on LSD' background image to the frankly weird variety of offerings available from Yvette's boutique:-
  • Bridal Fashions
  • Tuxedos
  • Pink Lights
  • Oil- painted portraits
  • Gloves and Garters
  • Prom Gowns
  • Mary Kay Cosmetics
  • Olde Worlde Fashion Sugar Cookies
Best thing is that Yvettes' does LAYAWAY !!  I never quite understood the context of that word until Chris Rock did a piece on it in one of his routines. Think it basically means that you can pay for the product in installments, before collecting it.  The 'never-never' as they would have called it in my granny's day (when a majority of women probably wore Gloves & Garters on special occasions!).

Another aspect of the site is the fact that they have gone to the trouble of adding poorly-translated greetings in several languages - French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Russian and (some form of) Chinese.

Can understand the use of Spanish and Korean, given the ethnic diversity in the US, but can't really see many Japanese, Chinese, Russian or (in particular) French people popping over to Florida to purchase a wedding dress, just to get a free garter...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

MC5 - Black to Comm

Think this predates the 5's legendary 'Kick out the Jams' debut album. They seem to be making determined efforts to ape the Yardbirds in both their appearance and playing, but doesn't quite work out, as they appear more like a rudderless teenage garage band, who are just learning how to play their instruments.

Footballers who look like characters from The Wire

From the online football section in the UK Mirror (who would have thought they could do something mildly amusing).

Robbie Keane looks like Carcetti?  Can't really see that.  Poor old Glen Johnson gets compared to a female psychopath character!  Florent Malouda does look a bit like Detective Carver - think it's just the high cheekbones.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Paul Robeson - some live recordings

Deep River, Vermeyoh and Curly-Headed Baby. Paul Robeson was one of those annoying people who was a genius at everything he tried, be it music, theatre, film, athletics, academics, linguistics or social activism.

Unfortunately, the last one led to his downfall, as he was hounded for most of his later years by red-baiting scum like FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover and Joe McCarthy's House of Un-American Activies Committee who liked neither Robeson's worldwide popularity nor his (sometimes naive) socialist leanings.

His US passport was eventually taken away from him, meaning he couldn't travel outside the States (a round-about form of house arrest).  This lead to a series of mental breakdowns from which he never quite recovered.

His life story would make a great movie, but can't think of anyone who could play him...  Definitely not Will Smith!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Church-State Separation - 'Count me in'

Heard something about this site a few months back, but just came across the URL over the weekend.

"The Count Me Out website is a source of information for those considering leaving the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). For many who no longer practise, remaining "lapsed" is not sufficient; a clean break is needed."

Am definitely gonna sign up for this one and do my little bit for for church-state separation, in our beloved homeland.

Hopefully it becomes a rolling stone and we can at least get the f*cking Angelus off our national airwaves. If people have a particular need to hear 60 seconds of bongs & gongs at 12 and 6 pm, why not just download a piece of anal cacophony from Mike Oldfield's appalling 70's album 'Tubular Bells' onto their iPods.

Don't want to offend anyone's religious sensibilities - what people do in the privacy of their own homes or places of worship is their own business, but f.f.s., it's 2010.