Wednesday 9 February 2011

The de-facto state of war.

"Mr President, we are now at a de-facto state of war":
- a comment on the parallels between love and war...

Just as it is with war, a relationship almost never begins with a single, tangible event. Both result from a culmination of increasingly intense circumstances that when considered as a whole (often by a third party) signify an all-consuming shift in priority.

No one really asks another if they will be their girl/boy-friend; the request to 'go steady' was only ever a Happy Days construct and so just as with death, the event has become a process; as real but thankfully less inevitable.

If my basic knowledge of war history and the flotilla of war films i have happily let cruise past me at 50hz are to be believed, then war (and as i'll explain, relationships) mark the end of any prior peaceful/personal predispositions. All bets are off.

For example, an ambassador is killed in foreign soil, missiles are edged forward and embargoes flaunted. Individually these actions raise attention and generate condemnation, together, in the right political climate they instigate war. Similarly an unforced compliment, dancing in close proximity and general breaching of friendly protocol will do the same to start a relationship.

War never begins with mutual consent, there is always an instigator. A good war however sees equally matched sides that after the ferocity of early battles, grow to respect each others qualities and learn to predict, even deal with each others moves. While it's true, love can begin when 'eyes meet over a crowded room', someone has to make the first move and from there the barrage of dates and trysts develops into a deep-rooted admiration and genuine need for one another. 

As for the most common cause; for oil read sex and for genocide read cheating. Unfortunately victory is less simple to make metaphor. That said ending either is always more difficult than starting them.

Being a pacifist-President / single-Man is not a bad thing, it is a cherished an enviable status. All my friends are at war, have been for years and most likely forever will be. To find that one pure war is the ideal, an adversary so well matched that the act of war becomes second nature, essential and preferable. But for me, as yet, not enviable. Perhaps that is about to change, perhaps this impending attack is the invasion i have been waiting for. But perhaps it is just a conflict, a search for oil prompted by larger already war-torn states. Their memory of peace long-since replaced by the war they entered in attempt to reach it.

The outcome of war is either total domination of one by the other or a total mutual destruction, both of which are fine as long as they remain unacknowledged by one or both. The guilt of victory is nothing in comparison to the horror of loss.

I have not prepared for war, those who do generally only achieve conflicts, due to an intent so overpowering that their adversary is forced quickly into retreat. That said i can mobilise quickly, have many fronts and most importantly am willing to sacrifice for the greater good. 

But until the hour is upon me i shall continue with this blissful state of civil war where i am both and neither victim or conquerer.

Make Love War

Saturday 18 December 2010

Inception vs Tron Legacy

Just watched Inception and at the risk of undermining any respect anyone i know may of had for me; where was the life changing narrative i was promised..?

Yes its a very good film, the effects of course superb but we expect that from Nolan and for that matter Hollywood. The trailer-touted hallway fight had a real 2001 old school feel of proper stunts / camera work and the remaining CGI fest delivered immaculately but that alone doesn't make a film (I am yet to blog about Avatar as just the mention of that cinematic tragedy makes my reflux flare up).

The casting was a real winner, centring on DiCaprio who (through skill or inability) played a trans-consciously-confused lead to perfection. As the Telegraph suggested, a roll not a million miles away from Shutter Island. The rest were more than equal to their parts, especially the Juno chic and the Scarecrow who suggested they have a lot more to offer in years to come. (If i were to speak negatively then the fact i was considering their future potential at all says the film didn't consume me to the level so many others promised).

I think i wish i had seen this before the hype had hit. I was genuinely nervous about watching it, making sure I was of a state of mind to comprehend the, dare I say, highbrow narrative layer fest that would leave me questioning reality itself. None of that happened. I got it, nothing complex happened, it was a film, a very good film that delivered on almost every level but not with any particular depth. I wanted the repeat value of the level of Pulp Fiction, the sobering perfection of Gattaca and a Lynch-esque mind fuck. Instead I got Strange Days and Existenze.

With those expectations in mind i guess i don't have issue with the film but those who have seen it before me. What was it that it showed you that you didn't already know or couldn't easily accept..? Seriously where was the confusion/lesson/epochal shift of perception..? Everything was utterly resolved (for the most part in the next scene let alone over a cherry-pie dissection afterwards). If you don't get it, then watch more films, read more books, just think more and for that matter stop giving it five star ratings.

On re-reading these words i can see a real negative vibe and that is unfair. For what my opinion is worth, you should go see it but there are better movies. Case in point would be Tron Legacy. Now before all of the seven people that might read this discount any of my future blogs; I know that objectively, filmicly and conceptually speaking Inception is 'better' however…

Tron Legacy delivered a texture, nostalgia and excitement that Inception never could. Where i was willingly consumed and lost in Tron Legacy, i wanted to resolve and therefore escape Inception. For what it was, Tron Legacy was more successful, i got pulled in to another world that, although more implausible than Inception's was more alluring. Nostalgia played a huge part in this but you know what they both traded on aspects intrinsic to our lives; sleep and computers - if you like that stark condensation of my life should by itself be the reason why you should ignore all of the above.

Yours inebriated.

Wednesday 30 September 2009

#VHSMovieClub - Fuck 'Em Fastforward :-)

Put in video in and press play.

Noise fills the screen so you fast forward in the hope it was at the start of the tape - it never is.

Eject the tape to confirm your suspicion that the dick who gave it to you hadn't rewound it.

Tape goes back in. Press stop (essential to do this or it will automatically play, thus reducing the maximum rewind speed).

Press and hold rewind for a few seconds

Leave the room to do any number of lengthy tasks while the tape rewinds

Return in time to hear the tape rewind speed slow down

Walk up to the TV and hover over the play button in an attempt to divine when the movie as opposed to the tape begins

Fail at that

Watch trailers for films you love the look of as you skin up in preparation for the film, smug in the knowledge you had time to make a cup of tea and wash up as it rewound

The film is rarely great but she is often fit

Saturday 26 September 2009

#VHSMovieClub: The Vmhs Code

Perhaps with the formation of this fledgling media history organization it is time to reveal a dangerous theory that was passed to me by a contact before he was 'retired' by the agency he espionaged against.

A hardly documented power struggle between the ratios 4:3 and 16:9 has existed since the invention of the first canvases and the demands of their purchasing artists, who for reasons unknown requested a certain length of canvas. The width was almost always the same, being constrained by the limit of the press that formed it (although there were variations between the maximum width of any particular press which led to certain canvas makers growing popular and in later years actually dictating the content and composition of the art - but more on this later).

It was in this period that two greatly opposed art fractions were formed; the 4:3ers and the 16:9ers - their names of course representing their canvas proportions (and because of the finite amount of width variations their size as well).

Throughout the ages the battle has raged; unseen yet experienced, irrelevant yet integral, furious and most certainly spurious. Nevertheless like the romanticized power struggles of New York mafia families there have been a few occurrences when it's boiled over into public awareness. Early Summer 1973 was one such time, when with the period later known as the 'Movie Formation Control Years' (or MFCY*) began.

The 'Movie Format Control' department was at the centre of a globo-political power struggle since the first VHS cassette was released in 1973. The movie was 'Soylent Green' starring Charlton Heston, so it was a huge coup for the Russians that their format (16:9) was used for the case that held the VHS cassette.

At the time Heston was an American icon in the making and so it was all the more impressive that the Soviet had turned him. For the US, Heston's face on a Soviet format was a huge insult. Revenge was sought and achieved with the release of CD-ROM cases in 4:3 and continues with the casing for blank DVD's today.

In contrast VHS packing had been consigned to the back shelves in charity shops, where it appears it is only regarded by top men. Top men. It maybe a sign of the rivalry subsiding with DVD movie packaging being an approximation of the two size formats.

As for the relationship of canvas makers to their clients (artists to the rest of us), it was a perverted period in art history when its very presence was realized through its function rather than its form. [Assuming you accept that in other all circumstances, 'Art can have no function other than as a conduit for the artist's thoughts'. This is not to be mistaken with the assertion that 'art can have no function other than as a conduit for the Artists thoughts].

This is the 'sign' that has alerted most of those I have talked to about this topic to the hidden messages left behind by representatives of 'the formats'. In this example you pronounce vhs as a word rather than an acronym so it sounds like versus. 4:3 being the US and 16:9 obviously translatable as the Soviets. Creepy right..?

With no other documentation on the actual beliefs of the 4:3ers or 19:9ers this link is the only documented reference:

*The MFCY were formally called CMYK but K was ejected after a failed attempt for complete control of the acronym and was replaced by F in a realignment which inevitably led to their intended meaning being lost. (CMYK has since been replaced by C,M,Y and K)

Saturday 28 March 2009

Here are some things I made a few years ago.

Natasha Nezvanova's quote became inspiration for an image that depicted both practical and metaphoric suggestions. Practically, the Star Spangled Banner has horizontal lines that should be cut along to make bandages and the remaining small square folded for use as a sling. Metaphorically, the Star Spangled Banner is a negative representation of any nation with an aggressive foreign policy. From this I went on to creating more character based stuff.

Sunday 15 March 2009

Wembley Park: It’s no room for Elbow

Descending the steps from Wembley Park would present a daunting sight to any away fans.
The imposing active shrine to English football looms high, higher still the closer you get.

For the music fan the view is different. Cattled right once under the bridge, it gets less impressive.
Ahead is the Las Vegan styled mega church of the latter day super group

If outside it’s a church then inside it’s an airport, council office and cinema, all in one L-shaped corridor.
But none of these architectural assumptions are delivered.

In the arena proper I am the average age attendee.
To my left and ahead everyone is over fifty. Behind me and to the right are the under-ages.

I smelt three things that cemented the sad acknowledgment that this was not a seminal psychedelic set from the sixties.
Hotdogs, cough drops and perfume.

Even if he says, “I love you too” it’s nothing personal.
He can’t even see you and because of you I can’t even hear him.

Your photo won’t come out, it’s from a camera phone at twenty feet.
You don’t need the flash, it’s best to stop dancing first, check them on the way home – not now.

Elbow were outstanding but I don’t know what seeing a live band is for.

Am I hearing an enhanced rendition of their most recent album?
No. The crowd see to that.

Have I come to see the personalities behind the music?
No. My enjoyment is in placing myself within the song – seeing the artist from within a crowd only undermines this self-deception.

Do I need affirmation of my music preferences by joining an adoring mob?
Yes but I don’t necessarily want to meet that mob.

Saturday 14 March 2009

Finsbury Park: The dead cat diaries

Scootering down Blackstock Road from Highbury to Finsbury Park can be like sliding along a waste-pipe,
from an affluent neighborhood to its outflow on the edge of a nearby slum.

Each morning the pavements of Finsbury Park are coated in a film of grease,
the waste-pipe outflow has manifest as fan's chicken and beer residue from the night before.

Big groups are safe. Big groups don't all know each other so big groups don't all care about each other.
Small groups aren't safe. Small groups all know each other so small groups all care about each other.

Big groups are Arsenal. Arsenal are safe.
Arsenhalalager. Football, chicken, beer.

Lisa and Phil saw a cat that turned out not to be asleep.
Flickr was not updated with the cute cat photograph but Twitter got one forty on the feline fatal