Wednesday, 26 January 2011


Snakefingers Vestal Virgins' - Night of Desirable Objects.

(Mediafire link below)

I only recently discovered the extraordinary talent of Snakefinger and find myself utterly beguiled by his esoteric genius. I am a great admirer of 'The Residents' and after hearing Snakefinger's solo material I became quite aware of how integral his uber-skronk guitar genius was to the overall texture of the Eyeball kings of dementoid pop. Generally there's is little I enjoy less than the self-aggrandizing playing of a 'virtuoso' guitarist; but Snakefinger is something quite special indeed. Being a rapid fan of Beefheart and Zappa I swiftly recognized some familiar idiosyncratic musical patterns they also share with Snakefinger's infectious gonzoid psychotronic oeuvre. This man's delirious songsmithery and guitar wizardry is woefully underrated and the scarce availability of his solo works is, sadly, unlikely to change that in the near future;but one hopes this might change.

(Mediafire link below)

Snakefinger - 'Chewing Hides The Sound' (1979) 

Thus far this might be one of my 'Snakefinger' faves, not least because of the entirely splendid covers of Kraftwerks' 'The Model' & truly brain-broiling interpretation of Morricone's 'Magic and Ectasy'; and his original composition 'kill the great raven' is quite magnificent.

(Mediafire link below)

Another glorious heft of Snakefinger!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The comedy writing spree continues!

Rather than be a lazy shit I have been busy writing more and more genius material for my new comedy project. (Interesting that I only planned to do this as a decompression project) It has really turned into something quite special and I am very excited about sending it out into the world. What is really rewarding is how quickly the characters became defined, solid, utterly genuine; I am especially pleased with the introduction of the cat character. He really is a perfect comedy entity, when I write with this degree of quality I no longer question the last years huge amount of maddening work.


Friday, 24 December 2010

Grist for my Will. (Accept - I'm A Rebel)

During the long and moribund process of writing the play I did find my willpower quaking on more than one occasion; as if it wasn't bad enough repeatedly staring at this infernal acreage of LCD screen, my very own mind frequently turned traitor, insisting that all my hardy travails were a fruitless labour and would prove to be of little value or interest outside of my own giddy psyche. But fortunately I have a secret arsenal on which to call upon when my swine ID is being mutinous...and that is: HEAVY FUCKING METAL! Yes, this unfairly maligned genre (Amusingly it's most vociferous detractors are generally by those who wouldn't know a quality riff from a lanced bunion!) I can remember watching the legendary BBC Arena heavy metal docco, where a misguided, carrot-topped, arrogant Axel Rose made snarky, disparaging remarks about the headliners Iron Maiden (not only is this heretical it's also utter idiocy!) so clearly this febrile musical idiom isn't even safe from internecine power / Ego struggles; which is probably why its true fans are so obsessively loyal. (To the point of mania in some cases!) My lifelong fealty to metal is primarily due to it's power to motivate me during times of emotional / spiritual weakness; very little charges my body & soul than a flurry of over-zealous power chord, especially one that is amplified through a skyscraper-sized stack of Marshall amps. (Certainly helps if it's Michael Schenker doing the  fret histrionics!) 

Another brief peek into my riff-saturated mind: (Below was a spontaneous addition to this post)

  (With both The early Scorpions, UFO & MSG albums Schenker was unequivocally the little boy guitarist who could!)

Insecurity and paranoia are, of course, a writer's constant companion and any process, alchemical or otherwise that can stem these corrupting influences should be given the respect it deserves. Accept, one of Germany's finest Hard Rock / Metal exports are a band that have remained a resolute fixture in my play list for over two decades, and this is unlikely to change in the near future.  For some singular reason Europe has produced many of the most enduring and influential metal acts since its genesis in the late 70's early 80's; why this should be is, frankly, a mystery; but I, for one, welcome it unreservedly. Whilst writing the play I found myself repeatedly listening to their 'I'm A Rebel' album far more than my default setting of 'Restless & Wild' or 'Breaker'. 'I'm A Rebel' is clearly more a product of the groove-based, anthemic hard rock-era of the 70's than the burnished, proto-thrash of 'Fast As A Shark' (the latter proving to be of great influence to a legion of future US fret shredders) So enough fanboy blether...ACCEPT I SALUTE YOU FOR SERVICES RENDERED!  

(Udo is rocking a fine mane of flaxen barnetry there!) 

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Love, The Most Important Thing (1975)

I only recently discovered this masterclass of emotional terrorism and it swiftly became one of my all-time favourites. Granted the odds were stacked pretty favourably that 'Love, The Most Important Thing' would in all probability be an absolute keeper as 1) It was directed by Andrej Zulawski (Possession 1981) 2) It co-starred the delicious, hazel-eyed dreamboat FABIO TESTI! 3) His screen partner being the equally edible Romy Schneider; and if that wasn't enough to give over-zealous europhiles a cinematic aneurysm, Klaus Kinski delivers one of his more nuanced and committed performances here as well. It also must be said that Jacques Du Tronc (an actor I am, sadly, not that familiar with) delivers an utterly spellbinding performance as Schneider's tormented Husband, and he is equally beautiful. To whit there is one particularly potent  sequence with him nonchalantly clumping around his detritus strewn apartment whilst delivering reams of oblique dialogue, dressed solely in a grimy mac and leaden, ill-fitting shoes which is an absolute masterclass of eccentric screen acting, easily rivalling the best of fellow Frenchman Patrick Dawaere. So, as you can see 'Love, The Most Important Thing' (aka) 'L'important C'est D'aimer had the potential to be a most exhilarating experience indeed! One could draw glib parallels to Truffaut (especially the stark early 70's existentialist drama's with Jean-Pierre Leaud), Bunuel or the mighty Rainer Werner Fassbinder; but I feel that Zulawksi is a primal force all to himself; and should really be recognised as one of the all-time great iconoclast film-makers; and I add credence to my bold claim by mentioning the film's utterly devastating and  heart-wrenching opening gambit which concerns an emotional (almost to the point of deathly inertia) actress (Romy Schneider) dressed in a flimsy slip, sitting astride a blood-soaked actor who is feigning some agonizing death throes; while poor, distressed Romy is being repeatedly yelled at by a ruthless female director who barks in great irritation that she must fuck her soon-to-be dead beau with greater conviction; words are impotent here; these are the grim, unsparing visions of a living hell; a disinterested crew glares on in with a collective ennui, as a tear-strewn and profoundly harried Romy reluctantly grinds her hips in a lackluster travesty of lovemaking against the by now inert, crimson corpse; her tatty negligee now be-spoiled with his blood; all the while she intones a dispicable mantra of "I Love you" in a cracked, unpleasant monotone. As she nears a palpable, inexorable breakdown, her harridan director continually screams out a blunt, heartless credo of "more emotion, I don't believe you" "Act! This is why we are paying you!" The irony being, for this viewer at least, I am hard pressed to recollect a sequence so riven with bare, naked potency, and while this grotesque pantomime plays out in the foreground, just off-set we can see a rumpled-looking paparazzi (Fabio Testi) becoming utterly beguiled by the fragile, luminous vision of Romy Schneider; yet he is also visibly repulsed by her plight, since she appears to be mere seconds away from a complete psychological meltdown.  Now I should remind you that this is merely the film's opening gambit, and the density of pathos created is enough to choke a charging Bison!  'Love, The Most Important Thing' is a work of emotional genius and total integrity and I, for one, am all the better for having these beguiling images in my soul.  (If not also a little haunted!)

(I have included a link for those who wish to see this fine film.  Enjoy!)

(A brief glimpse into the tumultuous world of Testi & Schneider)

(Germany's finest!)

(Doomed lovers never looked so beautiful)

(Now one of my favourite sequences, while it is very, very funny it is also loaded with a heady pathos)

(To be honest I don't actually know who I would like to kiss more)

(A wonderfully stark graphic for an equally uncompromising film)

(Hello? Are you aware that I am dashed handsome?) 

(The breath-taking Romy S. #SWOON!#)

(Wonderful still of Romy & Jacques - such power and bitter-sweet sensuality between the both of them both here)

(A still from the film's devastating opening sequence - extraordinary stuff indeed!)

(Testi arrives to photograph an initially playful Romy and ultimately gets far more than he bargained for!)

(The charming rogue Testi enters a maelstrom of marital chaos from which he is unable to leave)

(Romy's world is one of pain)

(Love is the most important thing...Indeed it is!) 

(Beautiful, potent image)

(Sublimely erotic)

Icons of my mind 1# (PECKINPAH)

(I like this picture as he looks quite benign here; not the bravura maverick, just some tired, wizened old boy contemplating the beckoning void)

There have been very few pleasant, let alone reliable constants in my life thus far and one of my most beloved and rewarding obsessions remains a zealous appreciation of the gonzoid cinematic genius of Sam Peckinpah. My love and profound admiration of this iconoclast's work came about at quite a tender age; long before I seriously began to half-understand over-written, convoluted articles on film theory, or rabidly consuming all the myriad Faber & Faber film director biographies; it was, fortuitously, far less labour intensive, all it took was a furtive, late-night viewing of 'The Wild Bunch' and I suddenly had (or I felt I had) some celestial purpose in life. The initial problem was how to see more of his films, no mean feat considering these were the near-barren days before the proliferation, nay, invention of the Betamax recorder or its cumbersome, larger-gauge VHS sibling. In addition this was also a decade before I had ever heard, or let alone understood the ubiquitous auteur moniker; I was simply a tremulous, impressionable boy responding to all the blazing, macho, visceral intensity of Peckinpah's compulsive narrative, coupled with the heady, palpable reek of "Alpha" maleness on display; which a lonely young knave couldn't help but respond to and, naturally, Peckinpah's deranged, giddy tumult of kinetic, sanguinary violence was also duly noted! Well, this was one alienated prepubescent who suddenly and demonstratively felt a intangible connection to something powerful and hypnotic far outside of himself; needless to say this was the very first (And best) of my many cinematic obsessions that began long before my round, cherubic visage succumbed to the harsh rigors of a man's beard.

(Neat-o still of Peckinpah and walkie-talkie, a veritable Boy's own fantasy!)

(Appears to be a flyer for a screening of Straw Dogs. I like the 6th form art student feel of this)

(The Getaway Triumvirate. Gotta love McQueen's macho arm splay, he is quite the peacock here!) 

(A wonderful picture of a pensive-looking Sam, in colour no less!)

(Two wayfarer-clad icons having a welcome respite from the relentless gun-play of 'The Getaway', or it might actually be Junior Bonner, not too sure.)

(The classic Peckinpah auteur dust jacket still)

(Looking at this I can hear Holden's low, Marlboro Man baritone, and it is a most comforting recollection!)

(The mighty Coburn awaits an "action" from friend and mentor Peckinpah)

(Nice Sunday supplement shot of Sam; never once seen without his pre - requisite bandanna!)

(Sans beard here, a hirsute sartorial misstep perhaps!)

(Holden & Peckinpah deep in thought, or deep in smoke; possibly both)

(One of my favorite pictures from this brief collection; Lettieri emphatically owns this still, McQueen's charisma appears considerably distilled here!)

(Splendid shot of the great man at work)

(Looking almost suave here, which is miraculous as he is, again, foolishly, sans beard!)

(Contrived publicity still, but the camera in the foreground looks ace!)
(Nice image from a recent Peckinpah retrospective)
(There is simply too much visual goodness here for one modest B/W photo: Peckinpah replete in groovy, slimline slacks advising the world's greatest male how to blow motherfuckers away!)

(Frankly the genius of this image speaks for itself!)

Monday, 20 December 2010

This Cat looks like he can throw a robust Xmas party!

(I just hope I'm on the list!)

Monday Ambers!

Couldn't make it to a chum's Xmas din-dins due to sketchy weather so I decided to hunker down and get some work done instead, admittedly not very festive, but quite necessary. Finished the first sketch with my new degenerate characters which, unlike my recent re-writes was a fun thing to do; so this will hopefully be the first of many unpleasant adventures. This sobriety business is quite "interesting", there are a few notable pluses but the one area that I wanted to improve (Sleep) remains a thorny issue; from what I've read, alcohol is meant to be an irritant; viz a viz keeping regular sleep patterns; yet unfortunately, in my case, the negation of alcohol plays no dominant role, as this weekend, again, I slept very poorly...I'm slowly coming to the horrible realisation that it might be the writing that is causing all the restless nights; one can't spend all day thinking and expect the churning brain rig to simmer down at night; those bastard coils continue to broil ideas all night long. I think I'll have a couple of beers this week, frankly, if it isn't gonna help me sleep any better then it's a pointless sacrifice; besides I miss the malty goodness in my life!   

(My friend I have missed thine frothy sanctuary!)
After three dry weeks that heavenly image contains a most powerful mojo indeed! (Said vision is so enticing it's almost pornographic) To look at that beverage's sublime green & red symmetry it seems entirely inconceivable that it is the root cause of so much of life's miseries; if only it didn't taste so bastard delicious!  (Christ! got to stop lusting after those shapely dispensers of liquid bliss!)

Will make a concerted effort to work on the script later, but now the very idea has scant appeal. Did wake up with a powerful yen to listen to some Ministry; I've always been willing to appease my whims, so I dug some out, still sounds peachy to me! (No doubt it is the preferred listening for insomniacs across the globe)