Sunday, November 27, 2005

Its Either Nuclear Power Or Coal - Which Side Are You On?

One of the longest running independent video stores in Carlow is having a huge clear out sale at the miniute, with all VHS before 2001 going for 2 squids. Amidst shelves and shelves of video nasties from the eighties I managed to find a copy of Strike! A 1988 comedy about what what happen if anyone from Hollywood was to make a film of the Miner's strike. Alexi Sayle was involved in it, apparently he was in some sort of Albanian supporting communist party in the 1980's.

It's middling funny, with a local miner turned script writer having his script taken up by the producers of a stream of horror cum-fests who need to change their PR image if they are ever going to escape the limits a market governed by sex starved 16 year olds. His script ends up getting butchered, and he is faced with a moral dilemna of taking the Hollywood dosh or not. He does, leading to Meryl Streep's casting as Scragill's wife and Al Pacino hamming up Scargill as Scarface. In the film within a film that is the premise of the movie we are greeted with a hilarious scene of Scargill wipeing himself down with a fresh can of Bud from a fridge stocked to the max with them. Jerry the director comments "wouldn't it be great if Scargill took a load of drugs and had a great time?" After a bunch of rotund, coal faced miner militants rape Scargills wife and cause the collaspe of the scag heap with their pesky strike, its up to Scargill on his Harley to save Britain from a thousand militants who have broken into the dynamite store and are headed to Sellafield.

Can Scargill stop the local militants blowing up Sellafield? Its either nuclear power or coal - which side are you on?

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€2:85 For A Tepid Chocolate?

With original reporting coming to dominate over the action reports of old, Indymedia is getting better and better. On the quality of Starbucks, I was in there myself the othe day, after scanning the overhead menu for the cheapest item, I got served this middling sized cup of hot chocolate that was more tepid than hot with a great dollop of UHT cream mounted on the top of it for added authenticity. It tasted like frothy piss to be honest, except it had a €2.85 price tag, which is beyond excessive. A worry I have with Starbucks is that it will become a marker for prices across the scity, with other cafes using it as a watermark for their own prices.

One thing I can't understand is why there would be queues outside the door for such shite beverages. The bloke I was with paid out €1.20 for a pack of mature cheese and red onion crisps, with an advertising tag splashed across the front. "It's not easy to make proper cheese and onion, sometimes we weep trying." Fucking hell, why tell us bunch of paddies its so difficult to make a pack of Tayto when we practically shit them. As for the taste, it was like eating a compressed cheesy puff, with the sort of sizzling effect of sucking on a Meanie or any other similiar 10c pack of E numbers .

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose

Ever wondered what Law and Order would be like if faced with sudden colonization by an exorcist and a body contorting possession victim? Look no further, because in The Exorcism of Emily Rose you'll find exactly that. Following in the wake of box office stomper Gibson's The Passion of Christ, is another religious revival fest. In this one, Scott Derrickson, manufacturer of moronic b-movie's like “Hellraiser: Inferno” moves into the realm of serious production and even bigger ideas in a rather thinly veiled attempt to propagate a Christian attack on secular values and scientific medicine while similtaneously stumbling through an obstacle course of classic horror conventions along the way. We get a cold snowed over landscape straight out of "The Shining", infestations of bewitched bees lifted from "Amityville", jittery handi-cam work courtesy of "Blair Witch", distorted faces and terrified horses left over from "The Ring" and psuedo anthropological explanation of paranormal ripped straight from the first half of the "Exorcist" novel.

The film largely relies on the credulity sown by internet whisperings of its factual basis in the real life tragic death of a German college student Anneliese Michel, who died at the hands of a priest during her own exorcism in the seventies. This story is elicited in flashbacks which are then disputed in court. Ethan Thomas (Cambell Scott) is the prosecutor, a protestant who looks as if the very mention of transubstantiation is enough to raise his ire never mind fucking exorcism, called to put away Fr. Moore, a parish priest who has been charged with the negligent murder of Emily Rose. Played by Jennifer Carpenter, she's a rural bumbkin who leaves a house that looks like it was left over from the Walton's to go to university before becoming plagued with hallucinations. While Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) is the agnostic lawyer forced to re-engage with her faith as she stumbles into a court room battle of wits between good and evil. She is the disbeliever who's faith gets recalled in the face of regular 3 am attacks from demonic forces.

The beautifully presented promotional material for the film suggested a more subtle psychological take on the Exorcist, but you really get served a turkey in a script that only slightly keeps pace as a slightly array episode of Profiler. The court-room scenes seek to popularise the debate over the existence of god using the sort of arguments ALIVE! has used for years: "ha...if there's so much evil, then there must be a god!" The overall project is the creation of a fictional saint in the form of Emily Rose, a young girl who at the hands of her priest accepted her battle with Satan “so many will come to see that the realm of the spirit is real." A series of archetypes are constructed to represent various sides in a debate over the existence of God. The representatives of medical science testifying for the prosecution are presented as vain, clinical disbelievers, the sort of blokes that would testify to the insanity of Chris Krinkle in "A Miracle on 34th Street" and ruin an 8 year old's Christmas along the way. On the side of the defence is a a new age academic quoting Carlos Castanaeda, and of course the possibility of God.

Christians have generally railed against horror as a genre for its hysterical invesion of religious imagery and satanic themes to induce scares, but here Derrickson shows an acute awareness that with enough allusion to the cathecism and obscure jibberings in Latin, even the most lapsed Christian's can be scared back into the fold. This is not one to watch alone, watch it with friends because by the time the blessed holy mother of god herself makes an appearance, Jaysus, Mary and Joesph you'll be glad to have your cynicism backed up.


Click here for more on horror.


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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Review: Eurythmics The Ultimate Collection

Here was an opportunity to explore what could be one of the greater musical artefacts of the 1980's or so I thought. Emerging from the smouldering ruin of post-punk, what made this lot matter back in the eighties was the fusion of Stewarts mechenical synthlines with the harsh humanity of Lennox's vocals. Unfortunately somewhere along the way Lennox's vocals came to dominate, and yer man picked up guitar.

By the time “Sweet Dreams” has swung around four tracks in, their load has effectively been shot. “Sweet Dreams” like a mutant spawned from the afterbirth of “Blue Monday,” remains no doubt one of the best pop songs ever, Sadly tracks like it and “Love Is A Stranger”, get lost amidst shlock like “Would I Lie To You” - imagine an early Rolling Stones song being force fed a reverb peddle. By the end of the album you have reached such a state of aural apathy due to this MOR drone you wish you hadn't even bothered. In parts this is haunted by a relentless cheesiness that leaves you feeling the Lighthouse Family had a word in Dave Stewarts ear as he beavered away on the production of later tracks, one even stooped as low as a xylophone for that “island feel”

This is an update on a previous greatest hits collection designed for the Xmas market, its a chance for airplay on the likes of the John Creedon show and VH1, a cash in on Lennox's performance at Live 8.. Worse again, it is one of those money grabbing exercises that comes bundled with two previously unreleased tracks making it perfect fodder for obsessives.

Five Stars.


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Saturday, November 12, 2005

So Does The Audience Even Matter Anymore?

The Slate did it with cruel effect in snappy accompanying captions, ripping the piss out of the monged patrons of Dublin's niteclubs in a recurring opening two page spread of photos of the punters out and about. Now a magazine called Bash is set to join the stacked, wads of paper in corners of video stores and cafes across the city.

Modelling itself on a combination of celebrity photo pages at the start of mags and the social dairies at the back of them, Bash has a remarkably democratic rationale in seeking to highlight the real celebs of the city. Unfortunately, these real celebs are the sort of former UCD students, caked in orange or increasingly metrosexual pink that you find haunting such sites as Club 92.

Mainly it consists of cut n pastes from other websites and a sickening array of ads, which means that at least 5 people are on 30 grand salaries off this. Which is a rather disconcerting factor for anyone who has ever had the pain of watching a small independent publication try and keep itself afloat fueled soley by coffee, chain smoking and centra ads. At once you are forced into wondering if entertaining the audience even matters anymore, or are we meant to scan quickly through the pages of it looking at scantly clad young ones while feverishly eyeing up the ads? Where do they do their market research? I've only seen this in colleges so can only assume its the student equivilent of that VIP publication delivered door to door in certain areas of the Southside providing a society-esque photo-journal for the mams and paps of D4 brats.


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Thursday, November 10, 2005

From The DEAF Onwards.

If you follow this blog at all you'll have noticed that The Dublin Electronic Arts Festival rolled around the city again recently, and being sly fuckers two of us managed to squeeze guest list inclusions for quite a few of the gigs.
Despite the overwhelming hype around the festival, the stand out gig for myself was from outside its remit. Exile/Chevron was in many ways a warning of things to come. A relatively small club in the north-side of Dublin and a gathering storm of the disaffected, to witness a musical highlight amidst the chin-strokery of so many gigs. Chevron was especially given the shiteness of the Dorans he had played, the crowd at this one was well up for it. One of the more interesting things about the gig was the sense of present antagonism towards DEAF from the organisers, with the flyers stamped with the slogan "we're not DEAF - we're just fucking ignoring you."

Completely taken by surprise with the UR gig, I don't think many were expecting it to be that good at all. I was fairly sozzled, but I was very taken by the Japanesse guy who was on before Galaxy 2 Galaxy, especially with the weird vocal choppings. I thought the crowd were pretty off-putting, and looked like they weren't going to drop the muso attitude all night, but chrsit that changed during G2G. The Filmbase thing had me worried before going, it reminded me at some stages of standing around an art gallery, where the purpose was to peer at DJ's on the same level you would a painting.

But yeah, my back was shivering after the thermin one, that basement was like bing trapped in the soundtrack to a seventies sci-fi movie. Annoyed I couldn't actually see what she was doing as I was led to believe it was rather freaky. Max Tundra sucked, I didn't really know what to expect at it, but fucking hell it was dinner party music. And as someone I was with said, it was as if the crowd were too young to admit to their freinds that "yeah-this sucks." More than two people I know fled and ran straight up to Traffic for the Afuken gig. The guy on before Tundra was great though, as was Herv by all accounts.

Overkill was, well, to be as cheesy as half of the costumes worn by the partygooers there - it was WRONGTASTIC! Featuring just about every nutter you can think of in the British breakcore scene that has emerged around Shitmat in the past year. Two other rooms based around a Japanesse label called LittleBig and a UK based record label called Adaadat provided too many Slint/Fugazi templates to be reckoned with. Scotch Egg blew my puny drunken brain with gameboy filter gabber breakcore madness, spiralling into snakes before exploding out again in tense frantic bursts of distortion. Could you imagine the guffaws from audiences if a 1980's sci-fi movie attempted to present futuristic kids getting their kicks off pumped up gameboy music?

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mind Numbing Muppets: Mary Camden Has Sinned Again.

Presenting more in this series we call Mind Numbing Muppets - a Soundtracksforthem response from the underbelly of the keyboard to the kaleidoscope of dazzlingly silly cahnts who impose themselves on us via their access to the media.

Number 2: Gillian Evans

That skanky ho Mary Camden has sinned again. For long term viewers of Seventh Heaven, this can't come as much of a shock. Residing in the sort of television universe where the cliff-hanger ending of the first season was a camera close up of Mary's (Jessica Beil) face as she was handed a bottle of beer at a party. Viewers nerves were left painfully taut, fingers bitten to the quick as anticipation mounted as to wheter or not she would take a sip. Of course she did, and a personifcation of evil like no other was born.

The show operates as a thinly disguised public service announcement for the Christian right, it is the Brady Bunch without a hint of the kitsch value. From it's nauseatting opening tune of "where do you go?/when the world don't treat you right/the answer is home" you know you are settling in for an hour of overly wholesome lunacy. The show has been running for the past part of a decade now, for the most part on what seems like auto-pilot. Watching it can be a hugely frustrating affair. Throughout the first season the eldest son Mat provided the tense moments of familial tension with his developing smoking habit that was more Johnny Blue than Afghan Black. The most developed character biography focused around oven chained Annie's flirtation with gange, which of course in a series of flashbacks led to the death of several of her close friends. Her delayed admittance to drug use saw her marriage flounder on the rocks for a good two episodes, as a result the kids for some reason were made live in the garage. Since then moments of crisis have included Ruthie's addiction to bubble-gum, the fact that Simon an apparently health 20 year old is riding young ones left, right and centre. And worse, much worse the fact that Mary Camden who has was cast off to Alaska for developing a non-descript drug problem by her folks has, bless your self in anticipation: filed for divorce against her husband and left her kid to move to England. In a show where the dog Happy is the most rounded character this really is gripping material.

Really, one would really have to hope that the writers of this show are a bunch of college drop out, stoner wasterals lost in this fabric of irony they have pulled over the eyes of the TV networks, the christian right and viewers. But really, I'm left terrified and shaking with the sort of gut pains that only an infestation of maggots can give that - no - this show is for real. It is increasinlgy over stretching itself, with the Camdens house rivalling Home and Away's Pipa's at the height of its use by transitional kids. Two of the "sinners" that currently reside there have developed an odd obsession with the suddenly buxom Ruthie - stalking her on dates, sabataging relationships and eavesdropping on phone calls. But for a show where a 14 year old girl is regularly stalked by two grown men without comment, it really does have an astutely didactic effect. It does exactly what it says on the tin presenting the family as the pivotal social unit in society. Apart from the fact that the Camdens who have blatently closed their eyes to 40 years of birth control have popped a set of twin sprogs who erriely talk in constant unison. If only the writers would transform theses twins into the offspring of Satan spawned in the heart of WASP-ish America, let the local Marilon Manson militia defecate on Rev. Camden's altar then perhaps no more Sunday dinners would be ruined by stumbling across this show on tv and the accompanying desire to slit my throat.

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Soundtracksforthem specialises in iconoclastic takes on culture, politics, and more shite from the underbelly of your keyboard. A still-born group blog with a recent surge of different contributers but mainly maintained by James R. Big up all the contributers and posse regardless of churn out rate: Kyle Browne, Reeuq, Cogsy, Chief, X-ie phader/Krossie, Howard Devoto, Dara, Ronan and Mark Furlong. Send your wishes and aspirations to

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