Sunday, March 27, 2005

Edukators: Just Shoot Him Please

The Edukators comes bundled with enough hype and hope to prompt you into the IFI of an evening instead of lazily borrowing from your mates pirated DVD collection. Billed in reviews left, right and centre as an exposition of the political angst of a generation, the film provides a brief glance into the lives of Jan, (Daniel Bruhl), Peter, (Stipe Erceg) and Jule, (Julia Jentsch). Together they are three radicalised young Berliners, coping with the alienation of daily life in the city. Jule lives the emblematic existence of a young worker, stuck in dead end jobs and a shit bedsit, where the only comfort is the possibility of getting the deposit back. She has a double jeopardy, working practically indentured to pay back €100,000 to some non specific company executive who's beamer she wrote off in a car crash years before.

Jan meanwhile is the archetypal rebel, crucified with an insight into the woes of capitalism that he shares with Peter. Together the pair have come up with one way to break down the drudgery of life under the system. Staking out gaffs in rich neighbourhoods, they await opportunities to break in and chaotically re-arrange the furniture, always leaving a note behind with 'your days of plenty are over.' Its a sublime terrorism designed to play on the minds of the mansion's owners, leaving their heads wrecked with paranoia, the note whispering at them in bank queues and work as they grovel in guilt over their own affluence. This talent makes them The Edukators.

Jule also has the misfortune to go out with Peter. A character with all the dynamism of a shop mannequin, he smacks of bohemian twats around George's Street, convinced their own posing is a cultural event. His illusions towards being a DJ sees him piss off to Barcelona for his 'big break' leaving Jan to help Jule move out of her bedsit. Big mistake. After listening to Jan's political rantings on her indentured servitude she trashes the bedsit. Over pasta, wine and spliff she gets over her previous wariness of his intensity and falls into his bed. When she gets fired after standing up for a work mate, Jan initiates her into the Edukators. In an obvious twist, they stumble upon her creditor, Hardenberg’s (Burghart Klaussner – also appeared in Good Bye Lenin! with Bruhl) abanndoned chalet. Pissed on champagne and a desire to exorcise years of paying off damage to one of his toys, she wrecks the house. To cut a shit film short, Hardenberg discovers them as the pair return the next night to rescue her lost mobile. Calling Peter in, the trio end up kidnapping their class enemy and shed the city for the mountains as the thriller mounts.

The film has been lauded in some reviews as an anti-globalisation polemic, in a shallow attempt to contextualise it as the spawn of current political movements. As Weingartner explains, "Nothing is ever stolen and no-one ever gets hurt. Yet what they do constitutes an attack on other people's lives. 'Edukating' is a humorous way of getting back at the rich. Jan and Peter are political activists and they are acting out a form of poetic resistance." There is one scene early on where Jules engages in some anti-sweat leafleting, but of the main characters, she’s the only one political active in an immediate sense, the other two just bemoan the passivity of their generation while doing little else. There is no latent propaganda value in their actions, only one newspaper picks up on their stunts. The film has been described as ‘the ultimate crimthinc film’ but even that is being a tad unfair to lifestylism. There’s little in the way of the revolution of every day life in this film, and probably just a lot of rich homeowners shouting at their maids about the arseholes who thrashed the gaff. If the film was ever meant to have any political intent or propaganda value then I imagine it was sucked out by a German version of that studios bloke from the Heinekien ads. What you’re left with is a political dialogue assembled from protest placards and the blurb on Naomi Klein books providing a very shoddy cover for a love story. As a German movie that inadvertently explores how the idealism of one generation collapses, it echoes much of the theme of “What To Do In Case Of Fire”, a film about a number of former autonomist squatters turned professionals who are forced to re-engage with their youthful idealism after a bomb they planted finally explodes a decade on. In that film the sympathetic relationship revolves around an anarchist who refuses to let go of his idealism, and the head of Special Branch who also clings to the politics of the eighties. The message of both movies really is that today’s revolutionaries are tomorrows reactionaries.

With a political edge about as blunt as a rabbit eared scissors, there’s not much else going for the film. Any sympathy established with Jan when he stands up to a tram inspector on behalf of a homeless bloke is lost as the director crudely batters home the point that he is a rebel repeatedly. The break in scenes do provide a hint of tension, but mostly that comes from watching the gormless fools do everything in their power to get caught in their own idiotic subversion of Robin Hood. When it emerges Hardenberg has his own history as a radical as part of the ‘68 generation empathy dramatically switches to him. Then the movie really begins to drag, with the generation gap between the kidnappers and kidnapped closing over grass and shite talk of the “My dad used to say that if you’re under 30 and you’re not a liberal, you have no heart, and if you’re over 30 and you’re still a liberal, you have no brain” variety. At this stage you feel like shouting “shoot the bastard” just so you can get the fuck out of the cinema. But the love story, its impact on Peter and the decision of what do over Hardenberg drag on. Then Jeff Buckley's rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah swings in with a violent bloody axe to smash the tears out of your face. The rest of the unpalatable soundtrack seems like the product of a focus group, made up of Placebo, Franz Ferdinand and god save us Muse. If there is one saving grace, there were some “interesting” shots through security camera real early on, so save your self the hassle and catch these in the trailer below or check out the CCTV Station in your local Tesco.

Trailers are availible at http://www.theedukators.com/
No longer in the IFI but still in UGC http://www.ugccinemas.co.uk/reservation/ChoixResa.jgi?FILM=21615&COMPARER_HORAIRES=O

I've been told I've been rather cruel to this film, so what did others think?


On a side note a film that seems really worth cheking out is This Revolution, set against the backdrop of the RNC in New York. (http://www.gnn.tv/videos/video.php?id=29). Anyone know if this has been released or screened anywhere over here yet?

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Disney Land For Adults

Wondering around Amsterdam on my last day on my own, in and out of the shops, writing post cards and thinking of all the things I would have to do next time I came. I wondered into the sex musuem. Not expecting much mind you, but I was too far away from any other gallary and museum and I only had thirty mins till amsterdam on a sunday shut down. The strangest thing about the sex musuem is that it did not drop you out into a gift shop at the end like all other musuems and gallaries in this city and seemily everywhere.

Considering how cheesy and pulp art it all was you would expect that you would be surrounded by dicks and breasts, postcards, toys, pics, videos etc. I suppose the only anwser to that is the rest of the city provides that level of sex consumerism that you don't need a shop. Then the question why do you need a museum if the city has sex on display already? Well the phrase is sex through out the ages. Those who put it together were conflicted on wheter to actually talk about sex and how it has been seen through out the ages or have three floors of a wax museum peep show and they choose the later.

I suppose no one wants a sex museum to be theoritical, to have an actual history and to talk about where the distictions like hetro and homo came from or how womens sexuality has been dipicted through out the ages. I suppose it doens't want to deal with the debates around pornography or the unionising of sex work.

The musuem is there for a laugh there was nothing sexy or informative. It was the condon shack spread over three floors and charging you two fifty in.

Sex on display - or rather explotation on display is all around you in amsterdam. It is all it most eveident point in the red light district where women of all ages and nationalities sit in windows hoping some horney guy will be turned on by there performance of fantasies. The fantasies are not all that extream or creative . . . deffinately no fetish club with extravigant outfits dipicting things from uniform to pvc.

Here you mainly get bikini babe or pole dance trash. There was one secretary looking girl flipping through a mag . . .but mainly its a split between brights bikinis and tired looking older women showing legs and cleavage.

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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Good Bye United States Of Unconsciousness.

Every once in a while a band comes along with lyrics that scupper cynicism with all the force of a paving stone smashed against your head. With recent musical adventures tossing and turning through various shades of electronica, along came The Disposable Heroes Of Hypocrisy to shake me out of atmospheric beats and bleeps and back to 1992 era hip- hop. Their most famous song ‘television’ lampooned the sedative effects of couch potato addiction. On ‘Stay Human’ by Spearhead, Franti takes up a more reggae tinged, guitar strumming laced chill and subjects us to an ode to Ganja. Having come through college, where a good two years were spent in a wafting cloud of smoke, where every essay was done with ashtrays ever flowing with roaches and pint glasses of coffee I’ve come to see a strange but obvious correlation between cannabis and television. Both are as demobilising as hell, picking up a remote on an evening is as obvious a mistake as skinning up.

Somewhere between the desire and the indulgence the hands of a clock speed up immeasurably. But there’s an even more obvious difference: with Television, this means you just fall asleep and postpone activity. With smoke, it means paranoia engulfs your brain, like a donkey’s blinker and an amazing focus is developed. With hash you have some since of individual selectivity, where you provide your own blinker on activity. TV is simply the ‘united states of unconsciousness’ provided by programmers desperate to attract their fill of sponsorships, controversy and ads. This has prompted me into some thoughts around a theme beloved of our punk brethren - to smash the TV or not?

It made its way into my life again just before Christmas when it a 14” Black box was rescued from a faith unknown and transplanted to Dundrum. Currently it straddles provocatively atop a bookcase, the remote lies like a temptress across a bed side desk. The panoptical fucker is never out of view or grip, productivity and discipline has lapsed to a new low, with a by waste of books and ‘to do’s…’ arising on my shelves like a leering tower of surrender as I join the couch potato brigade. Two years ago, frustration with the wall papering of a sitting room with the constant sounds of MTV, Big Brother and the Osbourne’s prompted ripping a gaudy flower print from a frame to replace it with a scrawled cartoon of a TV being fucked out a tower block with the caption ‘TV Destroys Critical Thought.’ Now that was drastic signal to the start of a summer reading in parks and cycling randomly like a hyperactive monkey. This time the approach is less dramatic, but every bit as much a symbolic break - a red and black flag now hangs over the screen. Goodbye motherfucker, its back to the sitting room. Such was my opposition that when a friend told an ex, I now have a TV gawking at me most days, her eyes popped as if the messenger was ill. These days, to be a prat you could say there’s more appreciation for the dialectic, there is a human agency in watching television, not every one that spends their time watching it is bought off, we naturally critically engage to one degree or another. The problem with TV is that it’s a one way streak, obviously it has very little sensitivity to your opinion.

So here is a personal rule of thumb


Yes to: skimming the TV guide and identifying films and shows I want to watch.
No To: letting TV dictate what I watch and do just because it is TV

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Libertarians for life?

Its been a strange week of contradictions. This past tuesday on International women's day i went out the spike to support the catholic workers trial. When I got to the spike I didn't recognize a face excepted for the painted poster of the pitspot ploughshare five. The centre of O'Connel st was filled with catholic workers from the states, a bisphop and a few other 'nutbags'. Within moments they got me a banner to hold with this women from Inthica who came to dublin with 13 members of her family. I stood there wondering why I was there and feeling for the first time at a protest that yes we were nutbags. And not in a we seem like nut bags but I think we are spot on kinda way. Instead, truely nutbags, five people come accross the world and in a few days smash up a war plane . . . fair play, except they didn't even attempt to get away. Instead they decided to sit down and pray. It reminds me of a insisdent that happened to a friend recently. The alarm was going off in there apartment. Three of them tried to shut it off and called the security system to find out the code. One of them went into her room to pray. When the alarm was turned off due to the efforts of the three, the one came out of her room and said something to the effect 'i told you praying would work' nutbag.

so there I am on international womens day, thinking that after work I was going to be heading to an alliance for choice event and here I was surrounded by pro-lifers. The asame people I am showing solidarity towards have in the past picketed outside of abortion clinics. I started to feel very uncomfortable and wanted to get away from these catholic 'anarchists'.

just a few days later at work I met this guy who talked a mile a min and basically talked in quotes, stats and pre planned rants. From his talk he informed me that he had a consistant pro-life stance, and that he was an anarchist. He informed me about websites such as libertarians for life, anarchists for life and feminists for life. He made buzzar statements such as abortion is a product of heterosexist society and that gay people dont' have abortions. which he then qualified by saying unless they are raped . . . and when I mentioned that of course gay men arn't having abortions since they are men, and questioned him about bisexual people . . . he was very dismissive.

He continued by saying that capital punishment, and aborition are state sactioned murder. which doensn't take in the reality of the country he is living in and the expereince of women throughout time and poor women who are forced to get illegal backstreet abortions.

We was one fo the most inferiating people I have had the displeasur of meeting. Telling me that yes women should be able to control there bodies, sexuality and reproduction system, and they should do it by not sleeping around and using controceptions.

He is no different then any other pro-lifer out there, the inferioriating part is his insisntance of being an anarchist. puke!

Being a gay man, i am sure he has never had the experience of a pregancy scare and having to worry about himself or his partner being pregnant. He doesn't have to worry wether the pill is working. I wonder if he feels that gay men with gay deserve it aswell . . .

with anarchists like these around you don't really need the new right at all.

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Monday, March 07, 2005

Soulseeking Through The Night

My Drunken ScrawlLike Atari Teenage Riot, Ec8or abandon traditional instruments in favour of digital technologies, which allow them to retain the musical code of hardcore. The departure is in the de-emphasis on vocals, which collapse underneath a torrent of sounds. Sometimes they hit it right, but like a lot of this stuff for every decent moment on a track, there’s a host of catastrophes. There is no effort to drop the crashing crescendos and drilling staccato in an effort to produce something that fits together as a whole. Being label mates on Alec Empire’s Digital Hardcore Records, there’s a divergence between the two in that Ec80r probably are probably slightly more edgy overtly, yet have lingering moments of melodic depth in some of the samples that carry through over what is otherwise an avalanche of noise. That is they tend to move beyond screamo vocals as a definitive part of their sound, the lyrics drop into a secondary place in the mix, and you end up with something far more similar to Riot 1999 than say Revolution Action. With so much noise going on, sometimes it can be nice to have some worthwhile lyrics to hang to, Ec8or lack that.

The opening voice over from the A Team ‘If you have a problem and if you can find them, then…’ provides the intro for the first track. Then, in come the screams. ‘You can hire/you can hire/you can hire/you can hire…EC80R’ Now pity that. As for the first few listens, I had a sense that maybe this was a clever commentary on the A Teams role as a mobile goon squad. Hired in as muscle to break unions and deal with funny little South American ‘terrorists’ against a back drop of the CIA war on the Sandanista’s. But no it was probably just the product of some programme lying around the Digital Hardcore studio’s that spews out these infernal rackets. I’ve felt burnt since splashing out €22 on ATR Live in Brixton. Worse was the smug wankers attempt to justify it on the back of the EP: “I still believe everyone’s opinion of the concert was divided, on our way to a taxi afterwards a few kids ripped up ATR t shirts on the ground in front of us…others just couldn’t get enough…a lot of them hated us.” Anyone that’s heard that EP, the manic random garbled segments of ATR tracks battling it out in no sensible order, like a CD that had gone mental on the skipping and leapt from track to track, my sympathy lies with the kids and not with the rip of merchants.

It's been soulseek all the way, hence a recent overload of new music and constant scramble to get through it. Lately I've been quite addicted to Add N to X, which popped out at me from memory as the band with the fucking robots, amazingly they seem to substitute themselves in my head for the disappointment that was the last Estel album. Cycling through Ranelagh with dodgy brakes when one of their songs came on full of screeching sirens, pumping bass lines and beats and bleeps, terrified the fuck out of me - stuck in the confines of cramped up traffic and pissed pedistrians leaping out at me. The closest thing I've heard to musical representation of biking into a ditch two years ago, stunned after being confronted with a crossroads of flashing traffic lights and manic cars and far too much THC. Beyond that I pillaged a shite load of digital hardcore stuff, well good, but jaysus if your not in the right frame of mind it can really leave you with a headache. Tigerbeat records have provided the answer to my perrenial question of 'hey do you know anything else out there that sounds like ADF?' Well, tigerbeats full of dubby stuff like Rootsman and the Bug, then stuff like DJ Rupture, which kind of chews up musical diversity into one grinding mess on a butchers counter of pop, dub, dnb and rnb, with a brief sojurn from the darkenss with some uplifting reggae with a gospel twang on the second track, and a wonderful use of Manu Chao. Kid 606 can not be recommended high enough, fucking kicks ass, absolutley devine, listening to it forces me to break a sweat while cycling.

Boards of Canada are always worth having on the go for those moments of concentration when there's no hash present, Autechre provide a similar sublime mental tweaking when stuck in front of a PC. Then leap backwards for some Future Sounds of London which are a good replacement for someone bored of catching up with a previous generations adoration of Orbital but looking for that epic feel which was emulated in other acts but lost in surface representations of a given zeitgeist. Skinny Puppy came highly recommended from certain bulliten boards on the net - awful like early Nine Inch Nails from the brief chance i gave it, and really as music geos it didn't really grip me, very fucking Dark and the vocals are far from comforting. But one for the future perhaps.

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The Only Place In Dublin Where Women Grope You

Isolde's Tower has tidied up it’s act. Once described as the only place in Dublin where women grope your arse. Sounding like some magical fucking castle in a land of fairies, Isoldoe’s tower is in fact a gay bar for half the night, and then at a certain time as if a beacon shines from its roof top batman like, it turns into everyone’s last chance saloon. The last chance to get your hole, your last chance to get in somewhere - more importantly your last chance to get served due to a late opening licence. But its cleaned up its act, now it seems that Erasamus students blend in with the mix of middle aged couples, desperate post thirties singletons, work gang parties and rejects from the George. If you’ve every been curious enough to scan through singles ads, Isolde’s Tower has the same underlining sleaziness about.

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Friday, March 04, 2005

It Looks Like The Future Did In The 1960's

New Town CentreIt’s telling, like some mammoth statement of the power of capital it opened up on a random Thursday in March. It lay hidden in hoarding for years, and then just appeared to occupy the landscape, dislocate and redefine my sense of the area, and threaten my wallet with bankruptcy. It announced itself everywhere in the media, crowds of shoppers pushed their faces against the glass, and finally its doors swung open while they trampled each other in a rush to stores they’d marked out days in advance. 75, 000 people in the first day. Taking some time off work, with or without the boss’s permission. The place looks like the future used to look in films from the 1960’s, conveyor belts dragged us back and forth from floor to floor, as regular as an assembly line, while capsules of consumers shot up and down. Dundrum Town Centre does not bode well for how our lives are being ordered for us. This is a town centre, the promotional material boosts that ‘at the heart of it all is the community.’ There’s the gloss of a fountain and some benches outside, inside the gloss of a health centre that is yet to open and a crèche. This may be a town centre, but as Noami Klein stated recently enough, this is also an ode to the imperialist ambitions of the brand.

We no longer purchase them and bring them home, as supplements to lifestyles, now we move into them. In Dundrum, the town centre has moved itself into the House of Fraiser, BT2, Marks and Spencer etc etc. Without doubt all your old civil liberties can be left at the door, here there is a private security force, there will be no picnics unless of course the Bagel Factory is the provider, there will be no distribution of political literature unless of course it comes from Easons – there is nothing outside the sphere of consumption and unless we become totally subsumed to it, there is no place for us.

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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Gotta Let You Go - Farewell Metropoliton

To call a nightclub an institution might sound like an exaggeration. But in the case of the Metropolitan we're talking about a real institution. Ok, I concede it requires a massive stretch of judgement to call a nightclub that was barely in operation for two years an institution, but what else do you call a nightclub that has become a seminal part of the city's electronic scene in that short space of time.

Last week the Metropolitan closed its doors to Dublin's clubbers, its brief tenure brought to an end by management who want to transform it into, as a friend so aptly put it, a "cuntin' Irish bar". Maybe Ireland's archaic authorities influenced their decision. Like the legendary Kitchen, the Metropolitan will one day be one of those you-should-have-been-there places, spoken of reverentially.

For me, the Metropolitan was the most underground place imaginable. Underground, not because it was a basement, but because it was left alive until this by dedicated enthusiasts: diehard vinyl junkies who still prop up the counters of record storesand people in dark recording studios who have day jobs and don't believe in major labels and huge advancements.

It was a large living room with a big ass bar and seats at the side, capable of holding only a few hundred. Sure, the sound wasn't always audible, the lighting was shit and the layout was appalling. And sometimes it might have seemed too iconic, too cool, too cliquish- but you could always find people with a passion for music, whether it be in Electric City or Refuge, who liked DJs you liked. Making friends there was easy, and it didn't always require gurning. You'd just sit at the side and invariably someone would come sit next to you and start chatting. The atmosphere was always affable and vibrant.

If you liked techno, Electric City on a Thursday night was your club. No frivolous shit. Unaffected by the rise and fall of dance culture and its overpaid DJs and gimmicky records, techno has remained a constant heartbeat in the real underground. And the techno scene revolved around Eden Quay. All the DJs I liked had played in the Metropolitan at some point: Decal, Francois K, Dave Clarke, Ben Sims, Speedy J, Alter Ego, The Hacker. Some of these guys wouldn't send you an e-mail for less than 2,000 quid, but the entry fee would always be something like 10 euros. Refuge, hosted by the Bassbin crew on Saturday nights, featured the finest exponents of drum'n'bass and jungle in Ireland. It was always a chaotic affair, thronged with fervent clubbers wrestling for space on the floor.

Despite last orders at the Metropolitan, Electric City and Refuge live on. Electric City will continue their techno terror at the swanky Traffic. Regardless of EC's assurances of a "suitably relaxed door policy", whatever that means, I'd still envisage problems from the pricks at the door unless you're a regular or wearing designer gear. Refuge meanwhile have events forthcoming in the Shelter, one of Dublin's top venues, though how frequent they will be allowed to grace the venue with their presence remains uncertain. In spite of this, and other setbacks over the year, the true music underground experience survives and endures. Support it.

Cogsy

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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 antropheatgmail.com

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