Friday, March 27, 2009


- I've complained before on this blog about the unavailability of various films on DVD. But I understand it doesn't make much financial sense for DVD producers to create costly discs of niche films that then fail to sell. Warner Brothers seem to have come up with a solution to this problem, with their new "Warners Classic Archive" operation. They have an enormous library of back catalogue titles unavailable at present, and they've just opened up a small portion of it. If you want one of these films on disc, you order it from the website. They print one off specifically for you. The selection is quite mixed, but there are a couple of intriguing possibilities: Francis Ford Coppola's "The Rain People" and Paul Simon's "One Trick Pony" both jump out at me. But whats more exciting are the possibilities it raises...

- If "Burn After Reading" was exactly the opposite of what I wanted the Coens to do after the success of "No Country for Old Men", and the forthcoming "A Serious Man" is exactly the opposite of what I would have liked them to do for a follow-up to the follow-up, they've finally made me happy with the announcement of what their next project will be. Charles Portis' "True Grit" is a great Western novel which was turned into a middling (but Oscar-winning) John Wayne vehicle by Henry Hathaway in 1969. The novel follows a young girl as she hunts the murderer of her father through Indian territory with the aid of a legendary US Marshall and Texas Ranger pursuing the killer for a different crime. The true glory of the novel - in common with Portis' other work - is the strength of the distinctive voice, for the girl narrates the novel in a sort of off-kilter frontier poetry. But the characters are pretty memorable too, none more so than Rooster Cogburn, the Marshall portrayed by Wayne in 1969, and a role crying out for Tommy Lee Jones in the Coens' version. What is really exciting is that the book seems a perfect fit with the Brother's sensibility: dark, violent, witty and yet slyly funny. Plus, every director should make at least One Western in their career.

- Some exciting announcements at DC of late. Kyle Baker on a very Joe Kubert-looking Hawkman, for one:

- Recent news that a fourteen year old product of the Real Madrid youth academy by the name of Enzo Zidane (whose many Youtube clips feature a pirouette very much like his Dad's) is to make his debut for the Spain under 15s made me think of this clip of Paolo Maldini's eight year old son executing a stunningly perfect sliding tackle on Clarence Seedorf at a Milan party (unsurprisingly, he's already on Milan's books):

- Mondo Tees do t-shirts and posters and stuff. Many are beautiful, some are funny, most are cool. This poster for "Point Blank" is just awesome:

- Back in the grunge era, I always preferred Pearl Jam to Nirvana, which wasn't the fashionable choice. Pearl Jam were too earnest, too rawk, too corporate (though they later proved that to be decidedly not the case). Now it makes sense to me, since Pearl Jam came far more from a Classic Rock tradition, whereas Nirvana had their roots in Punk, and I always had more of a leaning towards Classic Rock than Punk. Anyway, for a few years in my mid to late teens, they were easily my favourite band. A gateway act, too, leading me away from metal and towards wider, fresher territory. The shiny new super-duper reissue version of "Ten", originally released in 1991(!!) makes me feel very very old. But it also reminds me of what a great band they were and how much I loved them back then, and why. I have the first three records on my ITunes, and one of their songs crashing into a shuffle always makes me smile. Especially "State of Love & Trust", off the brilliant "Singles" soundtrack. I first encountered the song on their appearance on MTV Unplugged, and it took me a while to get my head around the electric version on "Singles", but I finally did. It rocks. The unplugged version, however, edges it somewhat in my opinion. Pearl Jam didn't approach Unplugged the way most bands did. Nirvana, say, showed up and played a polite, quiet little show. Dave Grohl used brushes on his kit. They foregrounded Cobain's melodic, pop songwriting ability at the expense of the fuzz and white noise of their records. It worked, it made for a great show and a nice album. Pearl Jam, however, just treated it like any other gig. They rocked, in other words. Acoustic guitars are battered, nary a brush comes near the drums, it all gets quite loud. Theres a DVD of the appearance on the new "Ten", which may be reason enough for me to get it. But then again, I know it off by heart. I must have watched this performance at least a hundred times as a 16 year old:

That? Up there?
Tuesday Weld.

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Blogger daveysomethingfunny said...

The Maldini Jr tackle depressed the shit out of me. If my dad was an awesome footballer and not a quantity surveyor maybe I could slide tackle champions league winning dutch midfielders. Little bastard.

It also made me think that as soon as your lad is old enough he's gonna be getting lessons in delivering 'reducers' on fully grown men.

4:04 pm  
Blogger Monsterwork said...

Even Flow is the song I'm best at on Guitar Hero III, despite never liking them much and Welcome to the Jungle & One being other choices on that particular game.

However, Mad Season are the absolue zenith of bands to come out of that area at that time.

1991. In the very same Loaded that has my receptionist spanking her twin sister's bum, I noticed a pictoral of some very healthy-looking, attractive girls, born in 1990. That's the selling point of the article. Born in 1990.

8:38 pm  
Blogger David N said...

Davey, reducers are lesson 4. Lesson 1 is how to nutmeg defenders with your wrong foot as you score a goal, causing them to say "No way" in despairing Mackem tones. Lesson 2 is how to hit slide-rule through balls. Lesson 3 is how to shout at teammates. Lesson 5 is how to put easy tap-ins wide when you have bags of time and space.

The key to a good reducer, as you well know, is to combine a minor body-slam with the actual tackle. So you kick/elbow/shoulder/punch somebody all at once.

Mad Season are the Blind Faith of that era. Not a good thing.

Is it the actual Pearl Jam version of Even Flow or a rerecorded soundalike? Mike McCready was the most guitar hero-iest guitar hero of all those Seattle bands. He liked an extended solo - Alive is the most obvious example. But his best playing is on Yellow Ledbetter, ballad and b-side. Lovely and with a Peter Green-esque solo.

Plus he was called Mike McCready.

1990? I still have problems with people born pre 1985.

12:10 am  
Blogger Monsterwork said...

Doesn't that include, y'know, yer wifey?

9:33 am  
Blogger David N said...

Obviously I meant to say post-1985...

11:20 am  
Blogger Monsterwork said...

Well you didn't.

Anyone else getting grief off that Mondo Tees link? I tried it at home and at work and operations abort at both.

7:37 pm  
Blogger daveysomethingfunny said...

The link works swimmingly, I'm on firefox - if that makes a difference.

Is Lesson 6 how to save a shot with your face?

Can there be a 10/20 rules of football blog - with massive attention to detail and youtube clips?

7:40 pm  
Blogger jamesinseoul said...

I can't let you get away with describing Nirvana's unplugged album as nice, mainly because it's brilliant, sparse, and raw. Not nice.

I'm more of a punk, which by your definition might explain my opinion of Pearl Jam...

5:08 am  
Blogger David N said...

You know, I do love Nirvana too. But I love them loud and raucous and messy. Unplugged is none of those things. It's polite and, yes, nice and even a little slick. The only raw moment on it is the Leadbelly cover at the end when Kurt screams his lungs out and the guitar-strumming approaches a frenzy of sorts. My favourite Nirvana song is "School", especially the live version off "Muddy Banks of the Wishkah" which is maybe the dumbest, most primal thing they ever did.
You're far too much the hipster for Pearl Jam, I imagine. But they tick some of your boxes - sort of a mojo rock approach to classic pop songs.

12:22 pm  
Blogger jamesinseoul said...

If you put that hipster statement in the past tense, I'll accept it.

Voice is always key with me, and Vedder's voice always annoyed me. It was too earnestly rockist for my taste. But I know enough people with good taste who like them for me to grudgingly accept that they may not be as appalling as I thought at the time.

6:47 am  
Blogger David N said...

Ok, that was a bit of a cheap shot.

I get what you mean about Vedder's voice, but I've always found it soulful, in a strange way, in his absolute earnestness and odd vocal range.

"Rockist". I hate that term, hate the notion behind it. Good is good, bad is bad. Rockist is a term invented purely for blogger oneupmanship. Inverse-inverse snobbery. Which I guess is just snobbery.

1:00 pm  
Blogger Will Shyne said...

Been out of the loop for a while and playing catch up. I've had a Pearl Jam renaissance as of about a year ago. I stopped paying attention to them after Spin The Back Circle ("Gut Bugs En Ma Room, Gut Bugs In Ma Bed") which I like now but was too much for this 16/17 year old. It was Eddie Vedder's appearance on the Bob Dylan 30th concert doing Masters Of War with with such contagious venom that it was impossible not to go out and look 'em up.
Aren't many bands that I can still follow from when I was that age. Unfortunately I think a Pearl Jam gig would be close to my idea of hell if the fans in Barcelona are anyhting to go by. Have to content myself with CDs and DVDs...

8:36 am  
Blogger David N said...

The last album I bought was Vitalogy, too. Then they had a little break and I moved on, to a certain extent.

I never saw them live. They played in Ireland once during that period, supporting Neil Young at Slaine Castle. Me and my mates would definitely have gone if we'd been around, but we were inter-railing for that month. It really bothered us, too.

We had bought tickets for Nirvana - just after Nevermind was released - when they were due to play at this tiny little Dublin rock club called Macgonagles, but then Teen Spirit exploded and that gig was cancelled and they scheduled a date at the Point Depot which is the Dublin equivalent of Wembley arena, I guess. And we didn't fancy that. So during the grunge era, when music meant more to me than at any point before or since, I never saw any of the bands I really loved. I did see Alice in Chains, supporting Megadeth. But I never really liked them, dammit...

11:25 pm  

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