Thursday, October 30, 2003

philip jeck - stoke - a 7 track CD from jeck, his third solo for the touch label, with a collaboration jacob kirkegaard also available. like his other releases for the label it comes with a typical jon wozencroft cover, in a digi pack, card sleeve. a fractured and textural mosaic of sounds, layering together the sounds of the altered vinyl as he performs live in a variety of locations. mixing together streams from the multiple turn tables, from the cut and paste of mutilated records - crackling and popping, with the hints of melody and structure filtered through from source.

the horse hospital:halloween - i was amused to recieve the following email from the horse hospital last night.....

Do you know:
Jack-O-Lanterns have been used for centuries to scare decent folk away from the highly secret and morbid BLACK MASSES?

Costumes are worn to aid Witches in the Black Arts of SHAPE SHIFTING AND CHANNELLING?

Trick or Treating is a method that Witches and Satanists may use to obtain an item from YOU that can later be used in a curse or spell against YOU?

Black Candles are commonly used to invoke DEMONIC FORCES?

If you or your children attend a "Halloween Party" and get into the "HALLOWEEN SPIRIT", you are opening yourself up to powerful Demonic forces?

Halloween Parties are PSEUDO BLACK MASSES and are just as Dangerous?

You may recall Halloween as a time for trick or treating and childhood pranks.

The fact is Halloween has always been a day of DEMONIC CELEBRATION OF DARK EVIL FORCES!

There are over 3,814 Covens and 423 Satanic Cults KNOWN TO EXIST IN THE U.K. alone!

There is NO way of knowing how many others have kept their gruesome rituals and hideous sacrifices secret from the authorities!

Witches and Satanists DO NOT ADVERTISE!

They look and act in most cases similar or just like normal people when in public!

They may work with you!

They may live next door!

They may be teachers at your children's schools!

Is someone you know a WITCH or SATANIST?

Or have they


a celebration of samhain with the launch of the new edition of the Western artist magazine

October 31st 2003

Doors 7.30pm

2 pound coins entrance : one for each of the Ferryman's eyes. Dress down. Way down.


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

post-concrete - i recently got a compilation of chinese artists, which i understand is the first of it's kind. a collection of young experimental musicians from china, covering a range of contemporary and challenging styles across two discs. just looking at the page for the label, post-concrete, the series of images leading to the content is pretty smart.

anne westphalen - everything else - another 12" i've been listening to recently. from what the label says about the release i expected something else, it talks of the poetry of westphalen, about this 12" stems from a previous 7" which featured quotes, and how this 12" does as well. i some how was expecting some electronic mix of sound and words. but in fact there is only the one quote, and it comes across as brief and insignificant, which is unfortunately something that could be said about the music. while i guess this release on the SueMi label is inoffencive it does come across as a little bland really - a downbeat techno influence, with hints of dub sensibility. which is perhaps a shame, though on the other hand, maybe i'm not the target audience for this berlin/prague based label who seem to deal in "online music - offline vinyl", with which this is their first 12" release.

the forgotten fish memory orchestra - our tin tribe - i have been rather enjoying this 12" over the last few days. apparently a remix collection of their first album, which i haven't heard, so can't comment on. there are a mix of influences here, taking in gypsy folk to chinese strings, in particular there is a track or two which reminds me of yo-yo ma's cello work on the crouching tiger, hidden dragon soundtrack.

202 project. urban shaman - on the same label i've also been listening to this 12", which is a lot more understated. tool box monkey records, judging by their site are french, with both these 12"s limited to 500 copies. this disc features 7 tracks and is about 50 minutes long. from memory there were comparisons made to vromb with this release in the catalogue, something which can perhaps be heard in the rhythm layers of the material.

[multer] - 'kopenhagener deutung' - it actually occurs to me as i look up the website details of this 12" that i didn't actually know what the release was called - the record has no text, other than slight engraving to indicate A and B, while the sleeve has loads of text, where i'm not sure what is what. the last time i heard [multer] would have been the drone 7" they did. this on whole is quite a minimal record, moody in the drone and bass style, with occasional clips of dialogue.

although we had hardly been intimate - had barely touched - my skin and sheets, my pillows and my brain smelt of her. the whole matress was roaring beneath me with the rhythm of her walk and i couldn't sleep.
-original bliss: the administration of justice - a.l. kennedy
-so far i have read five of the 11 stories in kennedy's original bliss, this one "the administration of justice" has been the most striking and enjoyable so far. i find this kind of short fiction frustrating for the most part, the presentation of snap shots. shots which leave too much unsaid, so that we get sucked into that moment, only to find that its done before we are ready to be done with it. in some cases though the start to end fits, or something within the process makes everything make sense. this especially true with this piece, like the rest of the stories here this one is about a man and a woman. she barely features in the narrative, but his words paint the space around her, so that she becomes visible. while at the same time he attempts to white wash over himself, to erase all the things about him which might chase her away. on reflection this is one of these pieces that just kind of ends, but enough of the picture has been put in place that the picture makes sense regardless.

odd! - it just is.

the london film festival - on tour - it bemuses me a little that festival that is location specific can tour. regardless this is the sixth year that a selection of "highlights" from the LFF has gone on tour, though i'm not sure how many of those years have included glasgow as a destination. with that, glasgow is the only scottish location, which surprises me a little when you see how many places are involved with the likes of the annual french film festival. anyway, those highlights are:

the cat returns
decay of fiction
i'm not scared
summer madness

-need to read up on what all of those are. though i know dogville is the latest lars von trier and has nicole kidman. while the cat returns is the latest from studio ghibli, which of course makes it a must see - it is even the japanese version, unlike the last few which have been picked up by disney and dubbed by the time i've had a chance to see them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Florence Loiret - i was just checking to see if valerie lemercier from vendredi soir had been in anything else that i had seen, she hadn't. but there was something about one of the other people that had a bit part in the film, a girl in a cafe playing pin ball. she was played by florence loiret, who it turns out was the daughter/sister emma in Olga's Chignon, which i saw last week. the parts were quite different as was her hair. it also seems likely that i will see her again in the near future, as she appears to be in Michael Haneke's new film - The Time Of The Wolf.

Title: Vendredi Soir
Cast: Valérie Lemercier, Vincent Lindon, Hélène de Saint-Père
Director: Claire Denis

well as i suggested earlier today, i went and saw vendredi soir this evening, the latest film by french director Claire Denis. after previously seeing her trouble every day, i guess i should have expected that vendredi soir would be difficult. and it is. extremely difficult. though in such a way that it isn't shocking or really challenging. to some vendredi soir is the kind of film they will find painfully dull, to others it is an experimental narrative.

the film creates a curious mood from the start. like trouble the film can easily be described as sparse, at least in terms of dialogue. it feels like the first five minutes before we actually see a person. even then it is a time before we hear any voices. even once the story has started the atmosphere is maintained. during this first section tension mounts to uncomfortable levels, we are presented with a situation which becomes stressful to watch. even once that scene is done, we have been knocked off track enough that we are never quite sure what is happening. the fact that there little illusory touches here and there that could almost have been imaginary, add to the sense of bemusement.

while there are other people in the film, there are really only two characters, in the same way that there are background details, but only the interaction between the two counts. Laure (Valérie Lemercier) is driving to see friends, but there is a transport strike on, so paris has ground to a halt. this sets up a length scene where we are stuck in traffic, bumper to bumper, a constant barrage of revving engines, of parping horns, of growing discomfort. the camera flicks periodically from car to car, we see the frustrated, the bored, the people at the end of their tether. listening to the radio it is suggested that drivers could help out tired and cold pedestrians, unable to get transport home, by letting them share the warmth of their cars. so when a strange man knocks on laure's window and asks to get in to her car she is happy to help.

Laure and Jean (Vincent Lindon) are strangers. yet here they are sitting in a car together. keeping with the mode of the film the dialogue exchanged between the two is light - they exchange names, and very little else. the traffic jam is extended still, but with the two of them waiting it out. till eventually the road is blocked entirely and laure realises she is never going to make it to her friends. from there we have a dizzying moment, where jean takes charge and laure is confused and paniced by the reality that she doesn't know this man at all. still from there they spend the rest of the film in a hotel room together.

the result of all this is baffling. the whole strike situation seems to create this alternate state of reality, which absorbs the characters and the viewers. the film becoming entirely bogged down in this unrelenting depiction of gridlock. the emotions and stresses of this resulting enviroment are about the only things i can think of that would explain the way things develop. vendredi soir is odd i think, certainly it is not for everyone - i imagine that a good proportion of folk that attempt to watch this film will hate it. claire denis clearly continues to excercise the skills that she is trying to use, creating a heightened form of minimalism, which is present in trouble every day as well as films like the spanish nomadas.

intoxication like the membrane of the corpse, the angel brain cell not to take the body movement that is being undermined to the murderous cracking of the glass surface tied the cell overturned to the virgin of road

-kenji siratori starts blogging, in his own inimtable style, of course.

Crowning the Kitten: part one by Michael Moorcock - just come across this on the guardian website, a collaborative story, started by michael moorcock and to be continued by the readers. seems a curious idea, features his character mrs una persson and sets up a scenario for the crowning of an infant queen elizabeth III.

nanowrimo - also on the guardian site is an article about this year's nanowrimo. nanowrimo takes place throughout the month of november, and it is where participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel. i witnessed last year's with some interest, and i've signed myself up for this years. to what degree i'll get involved i'm not sure yet. but november draws close.

Vendredi Soir - i think i'll go and see this film at the GFT tonight. had also thought about going to see sex is comedy this week, but i missed the last showing i could make last night. catherine breillat is someone i have very mixed feelings about, undoubtedly the most remarkable thing about her work is the way that it continually causes controversy. romance had its moments but with mixed effect, while a ma souer had less to endear it. so why go see sex is comedy? yeah, kind of the conclusion i came to, but there is always a certain curiosity. meanwhile claire denis has also generated some controversy, though certainly not to the same degree. the only film of her's that i have seen to date was the bemusing trouble every day. though beau travail and chocolat (not to be confused with chocolat, like i had done before) had created a certain buzz. anyway, vendredi soir sounds like it could be interesting, so i think i'll check it out.

'i was coming anyway, i just needed some air and to think'
'there you go with that thinking again.' his tone suggested he might be about to playfully ruffle her hair. he didn't. he didn't have to. she felt she'd been ruffled anyway.

original bliss - a.l. kennedy

-as expected i finished the bat tattoo, i had anticipated this would happen, so i brought original bliss with me as well. i've been slowly working my way through a.l. kennedy's back catalog, making this the second of her short story collections that i will have read. i always have to remind myself to take my time when reading kennedy, she has such a way with words that they really need to be taken in rather than speed read as a quick thrill.

-as for the bat tattoo, it actually took me by surprise. ok, i wasn't entirely sure what those last 30-40 pages would hold, but the scene where the two of them go to the museum of art at the was wonderful. coupled with this, the digs at the modern art scene that hoban makes with this section are particularly funny!

-i neglected to mention one slight down side with the bat tattoo. while the characters alternate from chapter to chapter they are all first person. this can make it a little disorientating at times, the identity of "i" continually changing as it does.

Title: The Bat Tattoo
Author: Russell Hoban
Publisher: Bloomsbury

with the bat tattoo, at the point of writing russel hoban's most recent work (a new novel due out in the next week or two), fresh in paper back, i am made particularly conscious of the darkness in his work. there has been a dark edge in the other two books i read (amaryliss day and night and kleinzeit), but in descriptions of those i've perhaps dwelled more on the humour/absurdity of his work.

there is certainly an undercurrent of humour in the bat tattoo, and the absurdist tone is still present. but as the two characters recount how they've come to be in their forties and widow and widower there is a definite melancholy, a level of sadness, which is evident. which also makes me reflect on the core of amaryliss - what was it at the end of the bus route in her dream that made her so reluctant to reach her destination? or kleinzeit and his descent - losing his job and then quickly ending up in hospital, with a medical condition that grew worse day by day.

however, even facing the darkness in hoban's work, and on the whole finding the bat tattoo to be the least amusing of the material i have read to date. it has the same seductive sense, the same ability to capture the reader's attention, even if the subject matter can seem a little mundane at times.

the bat tattoo is the story of roswell clark and sarah varley. they meet in passing when roswell is researching a bat from chinese pottery - he has decided at the age of 47 to get himself a tattoo, selecting a chinese bat, which is a symbol for happiness. sarah already has the bat tattoo, but it is one of those days and she feels that only seeing the original will cheer her up.

from that meeting the chapters alternate between the two characters, and we learn about who they are and experience the recurring accidental meetings. roswell has had some strange success in the past with a crash test toy, which has put him an position where he is experimenting with being an artist. sarah is into antiques, buying and selling bits and pieces here and there. the growing links between them start to feel like fate, especially when sarah is compelled to buy a piece though she doesn't know why. until her next meeting with roswell, where she is compelled to give him the piece - which sets him off, as it is in direct relation to something he has been giving something deliberate, though reluctant contemplation.

roswell's actions then take on a certain ominous inevitability. despite his resistance he can't help himself. despite his resistance she can't help herself. so that it has to all come together. i am something like 40 pages from the end of the book, but there is a drive to read, like that i felt with the other works by hoban that i tackled. i suspect that i will finish it this lunch time and enjoy doing so.

one thing that struck me as curious, was that i again become particularly conscious of something with the bat tattoo. the levels of cultural reference that he puts into his work. artists, musicians and the like are referred to in all of his work as far as i am aware. with this piece sarah makes reference to films that she walks repeatedly, and attends a performance of a play. in turn roswell also makes references to films that he has watched. between the two there are some serious discussions on certain pieces, which in the case of junk mail and red squirrel are interesting - a norwegian and spanish film respectively, contemporary pieces from world cinema from the last decade which i have seen. so not a big deal when the endings of both are discussed. by contrast i suspect that if i ever see nabucco or the match factory girl i will be in possession of information that affects how i see them because of this book, again giving the endings away of each of these. a curious position to be in.

Title: Cherry Falls
Cast: Brittany Murphy, Jay Mohr, Michael Biehn, Jesse Bradford, Candy Clark, Amanda Anka, Joe Inscoe
Director: Geoffrey Wright

i am notoriously bad for taping things from TV and never getting round to watching them. eventually i lose track of what i've taped where, and it defeats the whole purpose. but it doesn't stop me. conscious of the chances of me watching cherry falls i taped it from the TV anyway. hell you never know, i might watch it, it might be worth watching. ha. fat chance.

so then this cough i've had since berlin is just not going away. and generally i'm feeling like shit. so i take a few days off work. and i'm looking for something to watch. and the only tape kicking about, thanks to some recent reorganisation is the one i just tape cherry falls on. so yeah, i watched it.


for me this screams (oh dear, unconscious pun alert) that it is a vehicle for the rising "star" of britney murphy. and yeah ok, she is kind of cute, especially with that hat, but she is also kind of a caricature really. as a film it clearly riffs off of the scream/i know what you did ethic, in a lets cash on on the success kind of format.
which is to say, kids get killed, lots of panic, death, yadda, yadda, very little that might masquerade as originality. the end.

there is kind of a twist, though it did make me laugh more than anything else, and it is so obviously a gimmik that you can just imagine that the person that came up with thought was brilliant. the killer is killing school kids who are virgins, this gets out - what are they all going to do? yup, you got it, they are all gonna fuck. congratulations. cue much silliness.

the end allows for the potential of a sequel. obviously. i suspect the chances of there being one are low. please - don't let there be a sequel!

x-men - the first x-men film was also on the TV during this period, so i sat and watched that as well. it has been a while since i first saw it. yeah, it doesn't really hold up. especially with the second one taken into account, the result is disappointing. the x-men themselves seem a little too namby pamby - i mean the first "fight" they get into and toad takes on three of them easily! given the mythos (and yes i know i'm getting into geek territory, but i am one, so i can deal with it) behind sabertooth and wolverine, the portrayal of sabertooth was piss poor. at least they didn't kill him, so there is the chance that they can redeem the character in the future! the mystique character was kind of cool, though not how i would have pictured her from the comics at all. aye, well, i'm not going to get into all that in too much detail - the point, on reflection the first x-men film wasn't all that, it could have done better, but at least it was better than nothing and could have been a lot worse. damn, it gets frustrating sometimes that i can accept it could have been a lot worse as being a reasonable outcome...

Monday, October 27, 2003

More Links:
Web Comics

Author sites and blogs

Sunday, October 26, 2003

the league of extraordinary gentlemen - given how badly the film could have treated the original comic by alan moore and kev o'neill, it really wasn't that bad. oh sure, they blew the plot up to a whole new hyper-dramatic level, added new and surplus characters, pandered to a certain degree of cliche, and spouted some fabulously bad dialogue. but on the whole. there was something there that had potential, the working of the source material, the interaction and plotting.

changes i didn't particularly like? alan quatermain from memory had an opium problem when he first appeared in TLoEG, he was found by mina harker. the vampiric nature of mina which was promoted by the film was not evident in the comic, there were undercurrents and suggestions, but nothing so blatant and out there.

anyway, these are just initial notes. i'll write more in the morning. and yes i still think kill bill was shit.

But then, a decade after the heyday of cyberpunk, The Matrix launched the lite version - newbies spoke of 'wheels within wheels' but in truth it was only a two-wheeler, the simplest 'reality inside a reality' plot. Compared to the works of Greg Egan it was Where's Spot?

-got an email about this piece when it went up, been meaning to read it since. steve aylett talks about the matrix, just got to that reference about greg egan and laughed, so thought i'd better post the details here. why do i suspect i will be in the minority of people who get a reference to egan?

Title: Kleinzeit
Author: Russell Hoban
Publisher: Bloomsbury

kleinzeit is the second novel by russel hoban that i have read. ironically going from one of his most recent works with amaryliss day and night to one which is considerably earlier. kleinzeit was originally published in 1974 and to some degree it shows, though mostly with references to money. for the most part when it was written doesn't play a big part in the writing or reading of kleinzeit.

kleinzeit finds a piece of blank paper in the london underground one day. he picks it up and takes it to work with him, using it to write the latest piece for a new ad campaign. unfortunately it isn't his day, and the ad is rejected shortly before he is fired. from which it isn't long before he finds himself in hospital. mystery ailments threaten to get worse as kleinzeit finds himself caught between the world of the hospital and the underground, with the sister who works in the ward providing some semblance of a light at the end of the tunnel for him.

as a novel there is a level of surrealness to kleinzeit, which seems to be one of hoban's trademarks. his work has a light heartedness for the most part, a certain easy going nature, which allows for humour and weirdness to be coupled intriguingly. unfolding into a mystery novel kleinzeit has conversations with the hospital and with death; death following him around, while hospital casts kleinzeit in the role of orpheus.

hoban is in his 70's and has written a number of novels, including a selection for children. a fact i think carries through in the tone and approach to his adult work. hoban remains active, with his new book her name was lola out in hardback next month, and his previous, the bat tattoo, just out in paperback. for the most part his novels seem to be slim volumes, this version of kleinzeit is from 2002 and has a page count of 192 pages. with that hoban's work is a quick read, but he is one of those authors that manages to pack plenty into the page, making them worth reading.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

soundtrack to now: godspeed you black emperor! - f#a# infinity - the car is on fire, and there is no one at the wheel.

planetary - update, planetary 17 is out this week, this still counts as novelty value for me after the long absence of this title. i am still getting that thrill of fresh excitement, but then planetary is one of those titles that always has had that effect. not read it yet, going to settle down shortly and use it as a means of blocking about fucking kill bill. (shudder!)

SF Masterworks - for anyone living in the UK, and in particular near a branch of FOPP, it should be noted that they currently have a selection of the SF Materworks series for less than half price. this includes a pretty good selection of books by Philip K. Dick, a handful of work by Michael Moorcock (though unfortunately none of the ones i have recently been looking for to plug the gaps from my teen years), along with work by Robert Silverberg, Kurt Vonnegut, Theodore Sturgeon, Brian Aldiss and Greg Bear, amongst others. personally i bought 4 books today:

The Sirens Of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said - Philip K. Dick
Time Out Of Joint - Philip K. Dick
The Book Of Skulls - Robert Silverberg

- none of which i think i have read, though i read so much silverberg over a period of a couple of years it is very easy to lose track of what material by him i have or haven't read.

Title: Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Cast: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Chiaki Kuriyama, Sonny Chiba
Director: Quentin Tarantino

As he is keen to accept the blame, let us point fingers. Kill Bill is Quentin Tarantino's fourth film. The self-important manner that this is stated at the start of the film counts as all the bad omen I should have needed. It is fair to say that I have never been one of those fan boys reduced to a gaga state at the mention of Tarantino. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were ok, I guess. Jackie Brown had sufficient appeal that I didn't even bother.

So with that in mind why did I bother with Kill Bill? Well I guess the trailer looked pretty good. On reflection though I suggest sticking with the trailer - which is action packed, slick and impressive. Unlike the film, which is lamentably self-indulgent, taking self-indulgence to a whole new masturbatory level.

It doesn't take long before I am cringing with every scene, discounting that declaration of responsibility. Uma Thurman plays part of an assassination team who seem to work for a man called Bill, except that four years ago she was betrayed and left in a coma from the beating delivered by the other team members. The first main scene post-titles is a confrontation, which leads to the first dialogue of the film. The words exchanged by these women are incredibly stilted and like the rest of the film contrived and unconvincing. Which is to say, just plain wrong!

A film with this much detail and attention given should be celebrated. In other circumstances it is the kind of thing I would savour on reflection. But the detail is so deliberate and self-conscious that it attains a level of “look at me” that surpasses any level of what might be called subtlety. The result, like the dialogue is that I have to resist the reflex urge to choke on every second of film.

Through out the film I am filled with a feeling of incredulous disbelief, how can a film about cool female assassins and samurai sword fighting be this bad? The action seems to be clunky a lot of the time, more concerned about relishing the excessive gore – fountaining blood that doesn’t shock, but rather bores – oh here he goes again, again with the blood, will he ever get tired of this schlock? At least one thing that can be said about the scene where Uma massacres a bunch of ninja - it isn’t made to look as though no one is getting hurt, this is a bloody massacre and there is no getting away from that.

As with previous efforts Tarantino plays around with narrative. With which he manages to destroy any sense of tension or suspense that the narrative might have had if he had just got on with it. There are certain events in the film which if you don’t know how they turn out then you probably weren’t paying very much attention or aren’t very bright.

The level of Tarantino’s onanistic conceit is such that Kill Bill is an epic. So much so, that in the end it was cut into two films. After spending far too long trying not to scream out, while repeating the mantra “fucking hell”, I think it is safe to say that I do not wish to witness the remains of this cinematic atrocity.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Title: Le Chignon d'Olga
Cast: Hubert Benhamdine, Nathalie Boutefeu, Serge Riaboukine, Florence Loiret, Antoine Goldet, Delphine Rollin, Bernard Blancan, Valérie Stroh, Marc Citti, Clotilde Hesme
Director: Jérôme Bonnell

the strength of Le Chignon d'Olga for me is what is not said, the looks characters give, the sensations those create, the spaces opened between words that allow for suggestion. the film starts with an introduction to julien as he yearns for a young woman called olga, who works in a book shop. the scene is filled with the slow motions of a woman, the emphasis of her body and it's effects, mixed with the hungry eyes of julien, the burgeoning desire he feels.

as we go from that scene though we get a greater sense of julien and his family. his father, his sister, and the space in their lives which they are all revolving around. though it is never really said it is clear that the mother had died, recently. from the tentative approach to clearing out her clothes. the lingering shot of the father alone in the bed. the crying that is triggered by the daughter finding pictures of her mother and herself where they look so alike.

each of them struggles with ideas of fulfilment, the things which may or may not get them through this difficult time. julien has his desire for olga, but has to deal with the ups and downs of his best friend alice's disastrous love live. his sister emma struggles with her sexual identity, while desperately wanting to leave town. while their father finds that the writing of children's books is no longer as easy, or fulfilling as it once was.

unlike the charlie chaplin film that is featured a couple of times through the film this is not a silent movie. but the words are secondary, links that bring scenes together. the lingering looks and expressions of emotion are what really bring this film to life, and it is those that the viewer savours in the viewing.

Face Up - October 2nd 2003 - January 4th 2004 - i mentioned this exhibit in summary before, but i've got the booklet in front of me now. an exhibit of australian contemporary art in the hamburger bahnfor museum in berlin.

the first work anyone visiting the museum during this period will come across is that by callum morton. which transforms the two entrance ways to the museum into two giant shark mouths. the nose and upper jaw forming a canopy, the lower forming a passageway for the visitor to enter into. the next piece is the one in the foyer of the musuem, a hot air balloon by james angus - entitled shangri-la. the booklet photo shows this raised a distance of the ground, which is higher than that it was sitting at when we were there. in fact i was amused to see a gentleman chased off by security for giving the balloon a prod, which sent it gently swinging about the entrance way!

by the side of the balloon is a glass case, filled with the small sculptures of fiona hall's cell culture exhibit. sculptures of glass, metal, pvc and beads in vitrine to represent a series of abstracted images of australian animals. going from the front desk through the cloak room area to the main halls we pass simryn gill's photo exhibit. a wall covered by photographs by the singapore born artist, each showing the living spaces of 260 homes across the malaysian peninsula. capturing a sense of this environment, but also displaying the contrasts and similarities between the various rooms.

from there we enter the sandman exhibit, by patricia piccinini, which i had particularly mentioned previously. from there a couple of small rooms exhibit a couple of photo exhibits. the first is rosemary laing's burning ayer series. here there were a selection of the full series - the first picture showing a stack of furniture in the red dessert plain, the last showing the scorched ash makes or the remains, the selection between showing a range of stages from the conflagration. colour wise these were quite striking images, creating a certain mood - though the full series would have most likely have been too much. the work of darren siwes struck as being based on a base concept that could easily have been generated by someone with a knowledge of photo shop. taking pictures from various locations and superimposing a spectral image of the man himself over each of them. in terms of quality of picture, they are well enough done, though they are ultimately more about the message of the indigenous man against a percieved background.

on the next floor up were a series of the busts by ah xian, which again were previously mentioned. through the door into a sprawling gallery space we find a number of exhibits and short film works. from robert macpherson's domination of one room with home made signs - illustrating the range of ways we think we can tame and shape nature. to callum morton's huge tower blocks, which are striking to a degree, but not nearly as effective as the looping sample he has with it. a voice is heard saying "help, please help me", though it sounds like a distressed child it is aparently from the original version of the film the fly. this voice permeates the entire floor and is particularly unsettling.

on the top floor there are a couple of pieces. mikala dwyer's installation dominates, but unfortunately comes across as an oversized clutter, which didn't really interest me. it seemed some people glanced at this before turning round, meaning they probably missed david rosetzky's 3 channel DVD installation. untouchable shows 3 sets of 2 characters, moving focus from one set to the next we explore dialogues about hard they find it to communicate with each other. culminating at the end of each sequence with the same three characters dancing, while being ignored by their "partner". the dialogue shifts with each sequence, so that someone else gets a new set of lines, and the meaning changes. striking and with a fun element to it as well.

Title: Three To See The King
Author: Magnus Mills

for me three to see the king is about a variety of things, though in the main it is perhaps about people understanding what they want - examining the idea of what people think will make them happy versus what that actually means.

the un-named narrator has been living in a tin house on a red plain for some time now. he is happy, he relishes in the experience of living in a house like this, in isolation like this. sure there are other tin houses just like his across the red plain, but the other people are far enough away that he doesn't have to have anything to do with them unless he wants to. but then a couple of things happen to challenge his life style - is he really happy, would he happier following another option?

one day a woman arrives at his door. he has met mary petrie once or twice, spoken to her some, but he wouldn't have called them close in anyway. yet here she is, at his front door and ready to move in. of course this is no life for a woman like mary, and each day brings new changes to make the house more of a home. spinning his head around in the process.

at about the same time his nearest neighbours start to become involved with another neighbour he hasn't met before. so that before he knows it his neighbours are no longer there, they've gone to be nearer michael. and again with each day there are more people crossing the red plain to be with michael. what the hell is so special about michael anyway?

three to see the king is a small book, probably considered to be more of a novella than a novel with a page count not much more than 150 pages. magnus mills' prose is light, he doesn't go into great detail about the characters - their histories or motivations - rather he delivers events. in the process he reveals subtle ironies that challenge the ideas of all the main characters. three to see the king is a mini epic, extremely readable and strikingly enjoyable.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Welcome to October's newsletter form Coombe...

Coombe Records & CEE present : midRange : An evening of sonic clicks, minimal/beat techno, drones, melancholic
electronica, click-hop, post digital. Live performance from:
Mothboy & mc'in from the Crack Village Boys [Rehab/Manifold/8bit /Rebuffer]
Infinite Scale [BBA]
plus midRange resident dj's
bautinn [Coombe]
Colin Bradley [Dual/Coombe/Drone]
7pm, Friday 31 October 2003
Free entry / donations
midRange at The Foundry
84-86 Grt. Eastern St.
map available by clicking on the link below or copying + pasting
all this text into your browser

Tube / BR: Old Street (exit 3)
Buses: 43 / 55 / 243
more info :
+44 (0)207 7396900


Coombe Records & CEE present : midRange :
An evening of phonography, new experimental electronic music & film

Fractured clicks, collaged rhythms, drifting abstract electronic
soundscapes, harmonious tones & atonal drones with special

Troum [Transgredient / Staalplaat / Drone Records] - GER
Pawel Grabowski [Flat Music / ArtGenda] - PL
Dual [Drone Records / Coombe / CEE] - UK
iD [ex-Headbutt / Project Dark] - UK
m u r m e r [Bake / Absurd / Resonance FM] - US
plus DJ's
midRange residents - UK

Film and visuals by
GR. [Coombe / Fat Cat] - UK
Brown Sierra [Noisegate / Atavistic Ratchets] - UK

8pm - 2am
Friday 21st November 2003
£5.00 on the door
: midRange :
@ The Red Rose Club
129 Seven Sisters Road
N7 7QG
map available by copying + pasting all this text into your browser

Tube / BR: Finsbury Park
Buses: 4 / 29 / 153 / 253 / 259

Foton Propaganda - October 20, 2003

Hi there. Please take a minute to check out this Foton update.

Foton has been invited by the Elektra festival (http://www.elektrafestival.ca)
to perform two concerts using our Clicks 'n' Cars installation. This
installation features four brand new, stripped-down car frames. These car
frames, powered by high-end scientific shaker devices, are an integral part of
the sound system, producing the weirdest resonance possible. Foton projects
Ultraphonist, Urawa, RM and Object will play live alongside Skieve on November
20-21 2003 at the Usine C in Montreal.

This year's Argos festival (http://www.argosarts.org/articles.do?id=29) features
a short movie 'Quod' by Alexis Destoop with music by Foton's own Object. You can
check out this and other interesting works during "Shorts #13: Abstracted" on
Thursday 23rd of October at Argos HQ, Brussels. Check the website for more

A new Osaka remix by Brussels-based Finalcut has been added to the ever growing
Point and click to: http://www.fotonrecords.com/events/osaka/

Foton's vinyl rebel Antz will spread his heartcore tactics during the next
Anhraxe party in Brussels on the 25th of October. More info and line-up can be
found at http://www.anthraxe.tk/.

And finally, there's a new compilation out there containing fresh Foton sounds:
L-White Records' latest compilation 'Radiation' contains a new track by Object
titled 'dubtek 7'.
More info: http://www.lwhite-records.de.

Thanks for reading.

Hans & Peter

contact info@fotonrecords.com

MONOPOLY RECORDS (Russia) Monopoly Records is a newly established independent record label from Moscow. It is devoted to releasing and promoting artists who do not submit to any concrete music categories – artists who present an unique face against the myriad of monotonous muzzles. Summing things up: Monopoly Records supports clever, non-standard and category-less music that appeals to any open-minded audience beyond genres and cliches.

Exclusive distribution by STATEART ALLIANCE worldwide!

CYCLOTIMIA "Trivial Pleasures" MCD
(MONO 001-1003) Only during a short period, CYCLOTIMIA have achieved a solid status and profound reputation as composers of impressive sound sculptures and, how we like to call it, fantastic "head cinema". Presented for the first time on their newly established label, the duo now returns with "Trivial Pleasures" - part one in a trilogy of more abstract sound works called "L'Electronique Mondial". A dramatic contrast to previous releases, CYCLOTIMIA now shape a completely different transposition of image into music. In addition to the usually clean and perfected collages, which still dominantly mark the characteristic aura of CYCLOTIMIA’s music, the group generates an uncompromisingly sharp and sterile character of automation as an attempt to transpose trivial modern day-by-day life mechanisms into music. The result is a digital vortex through 11 tracks and 26 minutes of virtual economy, an audible journey through the data processing systems of stock markets, fast computers, cash registers, TV sets and electronic payment systems – disturbing, mind-numbing and thoroughly modern.

DVAR "Rakhilim" CD
(MONO 002-1103) "Rakhilim" is the 3rd album by DVAR – bizarre musicians of unknown identity and origin. Active since the early 90’s with a daily growing stubborn fan base and two albums called "Piirrah" and "Roah" released thus far, DVAR create exceptionally weird and original music – even an almost independent genre, difficult to describe. Imagine King Diamond performing his lyrics hysterically in alien language on an acid overdose, accompanied by oriental, bubbling and synthesized electronics, somewhere between naively playful and disturbingly sinister, perfectly executed by a thick and crisp sound engineering per excellence. Judging by the obscure and psychotic nature, we wouldn’t be a bit surprised if DVAR is an association of residents from an insane asylum. Whatever their problem is, let’s hope science won’t find a cure!

MP3 samples & ordering under www.stateart.de and www.stateart.de/mailorder/index.html

KYTN - Sunday - the last day of the three day festival in dundee, and i'm supposed to be meeting someone to travel up with. but they pull out at the last minute, so it is just me again. of the three days this is the one with the bands i know the least about, the only people i have heard anything by at all are fennesz and siewert.

ira cohen is a name i have heard, but not someone i was particularly familiar with. having seen him wondering about on the saturday, and some of his stuff was on sale at the merchandise stall, so i looked him up when i got home and was a little curious. so i timed my arrival for the part of the film program which covered his film "the invasion of thunderbolt pagoda". ira is described as an electronic multimedia shamen, a man who has been involved in all sorts of experimental media since the 60s. this was a curious set up, there had been an arrangement to provide live accompaniment - a collaboration between members of acid mother temple and ruins - which went on with footage from a religious festival in india filmed in 1986. while all this happened ira talked, rambling through his anecdotes and poetry readings. for the sake of timing he was hurried along a little so that the showing of the film "the invasion of thunderbolt pagoda" could start. which in some ways is a pity, listening to him talk with the improvised score was more interesting than the film. which was an experimental piece, 30 years old, using mirrors to provide psychedlic effects - the story apparently revolving around a snail woman smoking opium and then taking part in a ritualistic excorcism. unfortunately i was feeling quite tired, so kept feeling like i was about to fall asleep - shutting my eyes to listen to parts of the tony conrad sound track.

there was then a period between the end of the film and the scheduled first band starting. unforunately, despite the fact the mostly smooth running of the festival things finally went wrong. most events will experience a hick up of some kind - cancellations, technical difficulties and the like. while this is understood, it remains frustrating when things start to become delayed, in this case, with a couple of hours to drive home at the end of the night i was particularly conscious of how this could be a problem. the 6.30 start slips past 7.30 before we finally get in, and apologies are delivered for flight problems and injury.

ruins are supposed to be playing, with a half hour collaboration with members of acid mother temple. apparently various projects have occured between members of the two bands, though this is one of the first chances they have had to perform live together. so regardless of the fact that ruins are without their bass player, we get examples from three side projects followed by a solo ruins set. the three projects range from harmonic vocal performance through a discordant and chaotic outburst. without a bassist ruins is comprised of the drummer, pounding out heavy rhythms against a recorded backing track with occasional vocal contributions. this is a heavy and dense performance, the rhythms shaking the room at times. none of which is really my thing.

the same can be said of acid mother temple really, a three piece rock band rocking out heavy and hard. this performance is done with sections of ira cohen's film projected on to the four walls. rather than whole film we seem to have a couple of looped extracts. strangely the film quality and imagery looks better on this scale. the combination of the whole thing has a certain dynamic, which i can appreciate to a degree. some describe AMT as being droney, which they aren't for me, the drums are too heavy and prominent for that to be the case. rather it is more rawkus and aggressive, building in squalling manner.

the last performance of the weekend comes from phonographics, a collaboration between christian fennesz, werner dafeldecker, martin siewert and burkhard stangl. the performance is part of an installation, 4 screens showing looped and edited sections from the film "film ist" by gustav deutsch. a film intended as a history of cinematography, taking silent film clips and reassembling into something new - something which provides a view on the development of film and common themes. the 4 musicians have done a sound track for the film itself, so are doing a variation on that piece for the installation version presented here. the set is strong on fractured atmospheres and drones, filled with clicks and pops as well as the sighing drones of the various live guitars, leading at times to a strong noise front as the set goes on. for the most part the sound is understated, working to back the film, which at times can become distracting as there is so much going on between the four screens.

as this brings the "kill your timid notion" festival to an end it is possible to reflect on how it seemed to be something of two halves. while there is certainly a cross over, which i am conscious of from other people, it is quite a seperate thing for me. on the one hand there was a lot of experimental electronic music, on the other what struck me as being somewhat retro rock, with elements of jazz and psychedelia thrown in. the more "traditional" material didn't really interest me, and while i appreciated parts of what i saw, it was the electronic stuff i was there for. so it is not surprising that it is the electronic material which i enjoyed the most. my highlights for each day being:
friday - cyclo, alva noto
saturday - philip jeck, [the user]
sunday - phonographics

as a festival i was struck by the enthusiasm with which the organisers had produced the event, with the staff of the DCA being quite friendly and helpful. hopefully this will lead to further events of this nature in dundee.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

texturizer - now playing, a 4 track CD from the greek anti-frost label. tracks ranging from 9 minutes to 16 in length. listed as "a", "b", "c" and "d" the tracks are long droning pieces, the sound generated by the duo nikos veliotis (cello) and coti k (electronics). swirling and atmospheric, a good example of the drone genre as it does what it says on the tin, droning in long hypnotic waves.

things i missed this week - oh yeah, i just found out on thursday night that neil stephenson was supposed to be doing a signing in glasgow. but he had cancelled that, not sure why, especially as he was doing one in edinburgh that night, at that exact moment in time, obviously. also found out that as part of the kill your timid notion event, carsten nicolai was doing a talk, think it was wednesday, no sign of it till friday. typical. mind you, long way to go just for a talk. but it could have been interesting.

Engine City - Ken MacLeod - finished three to see the king yesterday, so now started engine city, the third and i think final part of this series. i see he also has a new book planned for hard back start of next year, he seems to have pretty much got the rhythm down these days - just as one comes out in paperback another is ready in hardback.

wapsi square - it is 3.35am, and i'm reading comics. not read this one before, but decided to see if there was anything new on keenspot after catching up on my regular sinfest, which seems to have been glitchy the last few days, at least for me. anyway, seems decent enough, so just started at the beginning and reading them as i go.

KYTN - Saturday - i left about the same saturday as i did friday, but without the friday night work traffic i made much better time. i even found my way all the way to the DCA again without the aid of the satellite navigation. this left me more time to get fed properly, rather than stuffing a carryout down my throat in the 15 minutes before bands started on friday.

philip jeck was the first performer of the evening, jeck being another of the artists performing here who i have caught before - he played the first of the now annual one day events in glasgow called instal. jeck can be considered on some level to be involved with plunderphonics, turntabilism and recontextualisation - using ten old turntables to play vinyl which he picks up second hand and scratches loops into them. live jeck is surrounded by the turntables, and is more sedate in his approach to changing and discarding records than he was the last time we saw him. he also seems to be more discordant and almost with noise influences in this set. playing the scratched and crackling vinyl provides a dense and agitated sound, through which there are elements of the original records filtering through. at times clear enough to be melodies, while at others just filtered suggestions combining into an atmostpheric whole. it seems almost as though part of his selection tonight is from 80's hard metal, just the tone of some the harder parts mixed into his set. overall his set is enjoyable, though i perhaps appreciated what he last time more.

[the user] have done a number of releases to date. the two which i have heard are both coming from the same idea - the symphony for dot matrix printer. where they have connected together a network of printers through a server and sequenced the jobs into a rhythmic composition. i had expected this is what they would do, and was looking forward to how it would work to have all these printers on stage. but it appears [the user] have got over this phase, though their ideas are no less elaborate. the performance here reflects the new album "abandon", which is based on what they are calling a silophone. in some ways it might be suggested that the set up for the performance is over board and excessive, but it is curious anyway. the silophone involves an empty grain silo in montreal - a huge acoustic space which has been hooked up to recieve sound via isdn then transmit the sound affected by the space by isdn. so filling glasses with water, or rubbing them is transmitted from dundee to montreal - us hearing the slight original sound, followed by deep echoing results a few seconds later. the bulk of the set revolves around this kind of atmospheric material, which seems too understated at first, but quickly starts to reflect the nature of the spaces involved. with the dot matrix performances there was a definite rhythmic influence, and one of the most interesting sections of tonight's performance was when the pair started drumming. as before we could hear the light sound - wooden sticks tapping against the surface where the contact mics are hooked up - a barely noticeable sound. one which was transformed into a more considerable rhythm by the process. with the before and after interacting with each other, an idea which is taken further by the visual elements. on the four walls the four screens show before and after sequences of sound - on two walls the clean and minimal sound which is being used as source and generated in dundee and sent off, on the other two the smearing images of layered colours and shapes being sent back. overall the set perhaps didn't have enough variation, and there could have been more rhythmic influence, but regardless of that the results were quite striking.

mirror were next up, collaborating to produce an improvised sound track with the phantom engineer. the film being shown on four screens being a black and white silent piece from the 1920's covering the history of witch craft; apaprently updated in the 70's with this print narrated by william burroughs, though that sound wasn't heard. the 5 people on stage played a number of instruments - percussion, drums, droning tibetan bowl, accordion, guitar, etc. the result was a very free form and organic improvised piece, intended to be a one off. this came across as being shambling and free form, and for the most part not something i found very interesting. to be fair there were a couple of moments that were pretty impressive - where they built up to a point where the bass was shaking the room or where they achieved a certain chaotic harmony together. the set was also longer than previous sets, being designed to go with a set film, this meant it started to drag. so as it went on people started to leave, including myself. the film had a certain curiosity value, and was one of the reasons i stuck with it as long as i did. but for me, despite being described as being a film about the history of witch craft it came across more as being about christian paranoia, how that related to satanism/witch craft and the blame and superstition that went with that.

sun burned band of man were the last band to go on, apparently the first concert outside the USA, for this apparently impressive live band who are gaining a cult following. so far they are the first band to perform who i have never heard of, and from the description in the booklet they don't really sound likely to be of interest. at this stage it is after 11, i'm feeling a little worn down after mirror and what i really want to do is go home, especially with the two hour drive to achieve that. however i persevere long enough to catch the start of their set. the nine piece had a certain percussive mania, with a couple of drummers and people taking turns at adding percussion to those two drummers. with that there were a couple of guitarists/bassists as well as a saxophonist or two. the sound tended towards the free jazz, with suggestion of more psychedlic influences. pretty much they went straight for it, rocking out. i kind of wanted to like them, the energy and enthusiasm, but to be honest they were doing nothing for me really. so that was me for the night.

now - it is pretty much 2am at the moment. not long back from dundee. i'm sitting with noodles, with which i just burnt my hand. tonight i managed to come back the stirling route, having gone via the forth road bridge last night. which was all going great till just as the motorway was about to join the M8 and i've been in glasgow, the road closed and i found myself on a detour. even then not a big deal, unlike the next road which was closed because of an accident, always hard to tell how bad these things are when you have loads of police cars with their flashing lights. seems to have been a day for accidents, that was the third i had seen, too in close proximity on the way up to dundee. the first being particularly distressing, as it involved a cow in transport - some how a jeep had managed to turn itself right around, with the cow trailer ending up on it's side across the road, with it's roof ripped open and the cow sticking it's head out with an expression of great distress. not pleasant at all!

meanwhile. my internet connection crapped out. so it took longer to post this than it should have done. but it is a ramble anyway.

recent listening - i've done quite a lot of listening over the last few days, the 100 miles to dundee and then back again, twice, certainly helps.

87 central - "formation" [-making my speakers vibrate and twitch as i type.]
scott horscroft - "8 guitars"
coil - "live two" [-i think of the four releases in this live series, this is the one i enjoy the least]
tujiko noriko - "from tokyo to canada"
beefcake - "hote"
ken ikeda - "merge"
muslimgauze - "red madzassa"
beyond sensory experience - "urmula"
rechzentrum - "director's cut"
alva noto + ryuichi sakamoto - "vrioon"
chlorgeschlecht - "unyoga"
thilges 3 - "die offene gesellschaft"
dieb13puresiewer - "just in case you are bored. so are we"
dream into dust - "the lathe of heaven"
o.lamm - "my favourite things"
benge - "meme tunes"

-and no doubt more.....

Saturday, October 18, 2003

KYTN - Friday - it seemed to take forever to get to dundee last night. the traffic was heavy, in that not moving anywhere at all fashion. which becomes frustrating. i don't really know dundee, never driven there myself, though i have been there a couple of times. with the offer of a loan of a car with satellite navigation i took it, in some ways it is pretty impressive - especially at the point where i pull into the car park and it says "you have reached your destination". lets only hope i can do so well under my own steam when i head up there tonight.

anyway. left here about 4.15ish, and arrived in dundee about 6.35ish. which gave me a little time before the proposed first band starting at 7.15pm. enough time to work out where everyone else was, grab a bite to eat and get some cash. pretty much on the spur of the moment i decided to get a weekend pass, so i'll be doing the whole thing, even though for tonight i will be the only one who is.

cyclo came on about 7.15, give or take. a big gallery space, the whole white wall situation, with the four walls having big screens on them, the same signal images transmitted on them. in the center a boxing ring type square stage is set up, with a surface with two lap tops for ikeda and nicolai. the set started off slow, working on sine pulses, stretching the section out with occasional blips and pulses. this whole section was pretty sedate, with hints of other things to come at points. as the set headed into the second half they played around more with the images, which were responding to the sounds, a particulate circle spinning into shapes erraticly. eventually they started to build the sound, allowing for a more frenetic pace, sine waves clipped by blips and flattened by deep bass moments. this was more of what we were looking for, and was totally cool, i was standing there with a grin on my face as cyclo got carried away.

steve roden came on after about 20 minutes, his set was intended as an improvised soundtrack to one of his own short films. the film was again projected on to each of the walls, a minimal piece of slowly shifting colours, with a suggestion of being in a fluid medium. roden progressed through using a glass of water to generate sound, followed by a plate of what may have been moss (or something similar), via a stringed instrument, to the vibrating of branches. object wise these were all things he had found in dundee to make the set. the sound was very organic and ambient, a very lower case influence at work. while it had its moments it did seem to be a series of sounds generated by objects rather than actually a composition using the sounds together. very understated, so it left mixed opinions.

alva noto was the last performance of the night, after another 20 minute break carsten nicolai returned to the stage. after the warm up of cyclo, noto pretty much went right for it, starting with his cover of a kraftwerk track, which is apparently on a rittornell compilation. like when noto played instal last year he had a sequenced visual show, a line with squares and rectangles errupting from it in time with the music. while at instal he had allowed this to build up in a very ordered and controlled fashion it was pretty much chaotic and layering and shifting from the start. alva noto performs a very clean sound, all pulses and sine waves and bass, striking rhythms resulting from the combination. as witht he cyclo set nicolai built his sound up till the images and sounds reached strobing proportions, blinding and deafening, a whirl that at last left us a little breathless.

tonights main acts are philip jeck, [the user] and mirror. all of whom should have something to offer.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Kill Your Timid Notion - reminder that this event is on this weekend. tonight:

Friday 17
7.15pm Cyclo [Carsten Nicolai | Ryoji Ikeda]
8.25pm Steve Roden
9.35pm Alva Noto

-this is the most essential part of the weekend. we are definitely going to be there for this. ikeda and nicolai kick it, they were both pretty damn awesome at last year's instal, getting to see them do the cyclo collaboration will be pretty sweet, then of course nicolai back with alva noto later in the night.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

'i'll tell you why you're here,' she said. 'you're here because you think it makes you different. you think this silly little tinpot life of yours, this self-imposed isolation, makes you more interesting than other people. don't you?'
- three to see the king - magnus mills

Forty Signs of Rain - Kim Stanley Robinson - how come amazon know about these things first? there is nothing listed on the publisher's website for this, and yet there it is. sounds more like the kind of thing i am looking for from KSR, like it will fit in nicely with the likes of Antarctica which was a great book. i will still finish The Years Of Rice And Salt, but it really doesn't have the same impact as his classics. this new book looks to be the first in a new trilogy, mixing politics with eco-issues and no doubt a certain level of science.

three to see the king - i picked this up just before going on holiday, with a load of other things. i'm still reading "goodbye to berlin", but the meandering anecdotal style of this kind of book doesn't entirely do it for me, it also seems to split into clear sections which make it suited to mixing with something else. the narrator lives in a tin house out on a red sand plain. he likes to think he is isolated and alone, but with the arrival of casual female acquantance he finds everything turned on it's head. this is where you are hiding, are her first words, he thinks, i didn't realise i was hiding.

spirited away - did i mention this is a great film? managed to catch it a second time and loved it again. definitely the best film to come from studio ghibli to date!

finding nemo - latest from pixar, the studio remains spot on with animation - this film looks great. delivery is pretty well done, film is overall enjoyable - good humour, which is always an essential for this kind of thing. perhaps not their best film, it doesn't have the flare of monsters inc., but well worth seeing.

There was also one that I had never seen before: A No Kicking Somebody Who is on The Ground While Wearing A Baseball Cap and Shell Suit.

-an extract from an article on the guardian site, exploring the town of burnley, which has seen a rise in the popularity in the BNP. one of the BNP seats has come up for a by election.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

They'd hid in the bathroom. Mom leaned against the sink while Grandma rested on the toilet and my sister, Nabisase, sat on the rim of the tub. Three versions of the same woman-past, present and future-huddled in one room. With the door partway shut I was unseen and apart from them.

- an extract from The Ecstatic by Victor D. LaValle, which has something which reminds me of Luke Sutherland's Sweetmeat, at least in the lead character. a character who apparently has inherited the family madness, they turn up one day and take him home to help him, but from the extract it seems they aren't all that sane themselves.

'They should have a thing,' Suk Hee is saying from the back seat, 'to make the windshield wipers stay in sync with the music, you know?'

Keri stalks a Lexus, pulling up behind it, flashing. She tailgates it until it moves over. She turns up the stereo, probably to drown out Suk Hee. Björk is shrieking about spoons.

'Seriously.' Suk Hee doesn't give up so easy. 'And what about direction signals? Yours are out of sync with the wipers and the stereo.'

- this is an extract from MAUL by Tricia Sullivan, which i recall seeing recently in a book shop, but didn't pay much attention to. visiting the orbit books site, who do some interesting Sci-Fi (and loads and loads of fantasy, it seems), i found this. a curious piece, which leaves me a little baffled and bemused. starting with the lead character masturbating, going through some thoughts on the holocaust and climaxing with a conversation about how the car's indicators just aren't hitting the one.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003


Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin - this is a modern art gallery in the building of the old hamburger train station. there is a variety of serious installation pieces, big stone, glass and metal structural objects in the main entrance hall, surrounding by stark and vivid paintings. off that gallery there is a collection of warhol's work. there were two particular season/exhibits on while we were there - the Ron Mueck: Hyperreal collection, and a series of australian works under the banner face up. face up is a major piece of work, leading to bright orange flags waving from the buildings roof top, and the doors into the building being converted into shark mouths. the mueck collection is there till the 2nd of november this year, while face up is there till the 4th of january next year.

i particularly liked the multi media piece by patricia piccinini. the centre piece was car mutating into a whale, or something similar, a great big morphing black plastic mass. on the walls surrounding this were a series of clean and lively photographs, which could have been a conceptual catalogue shoot, telling the story of boy meets girl. but with a car with shark gills, and a girl ending up with similar. on the big front wall there was a screen, looping footage of the girl in the water, the sound of crashing waves and gasping breaths filling the room. the piece was called sandman - and the photographs of the room, along with those in the room and the film appear to be on her site.

ah xian also provided some interesting pieces. busts with different materials texturing the surfaces. the piece shown here as "human human-dragon" was the one i found particularly appealing in the exhibit.

tokidoki - live journal of some guy based in japan, some interesting photos/anecdotes. found it through a friend's interest list, noticed he had tujiko noriko listed and wondered how many other folk did as well.


museum island - for those interested in the history of berlin and museums in general then the museum island is a significant stopping point. in a relatively small area there are 5 museums, as well as a number of university buildings, theatres and the imposing berlin dome church. variously damaged during the war the area has been restored and given a protected status. at the moment the Pergamonmuseums is undergoing some major working, to such an extent that we decided it was closed - though we later found out that there was an entrance right round the other side, which is a pity, because i would particularly have liked to have seen the babylonian gate on display there.

a good chunk of our first day was spent wandering around this area, which a trip up to the top of the church was good for. i don't know if it was because it was the first of our high views or not, but i particularly enjoyed the berlin dome - an impressive cathedral type building (i'm not up on the differences between churches/cathedrals/whatevers). for 5euros visitors can explore the restored church and climb the stairs to the top, the stair wells lined with the photographic documents of reconstruction. from the top you can wander round the angelic statues and get a striking view of the surrounding area - which includes all of the museum island and sundry.

with more of an idea of what there was to see and where we came back towards the end of our day and caught bits and pieces from the various museums around berlin and the island. as well as the Pergamonmuseums, there is the Altes museum, which covers the collection of classical antiquities. besides that there is the Alte Nationalgalerie, which contains a lot of the classic paintings and sculptures.

one useful tip when it comes to visiting these museums, and many of the others, is that there is a three day museum pass available. the pass is priced at 10euro and allows entry to 50 museums scattered across the city over a three day period. given the price of individual tickets ranging from 3-7euros the pass is a pretty good deal and well worth the money. it doesn't necesarily cover all the museums, or particular seasons within museums, but is still worth looking into.


topography of terror/checkpoint charlie - one of the most obvious parts of berlin's recent history was the berlin wall, which was put up by the russians in the 1960's to prevent the flow of people from the east to the west. the division of the city in such a concrete manner was met with protests, and throughout the history of the wall there were attempts to cross the divide and to bypass security. the longest remaining section of the wall has been protected and incorporated into an exhibit called the topography of terror, which is located on Niederkirchnerstrasse. the exhibition of photographs located in the old SS/Gestapo bunker along the wall can also be found online. as an exhibit the wall is the memorable piece of the collection, the rest gives an impression of being a work in progress, underlined by the fact that the second time we passed the site the location of the entrance cabins for guides had moved.

a more flashy and obvious stopping point is the check point charlie reconstruction along Friedrichstrasse, which is along the street from the topography exhibit. a re-creation of the american check point on the western side of the wall, a sand bagged hut with warning signs. here there are loads of little stalls and shops attempting to sell tourists cold war memorobilia, t-shirts and allegedly parts of the wall. more significant is the Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, which took an active role of resistance against the wall and now is open as a museum charting the period.

the museum is comprehensive, and more sprawling than one initially suspects. filled with the history that led to the wall being built, the protests against it, and the charting of successes and failures of people trying to get across the wall. the first part of the museum is filled with the photographs and accounts of the people that were there, along with models and actual items used in escape attempts. the second part of the museum deals with peaceful protest, and the wearing away of the eastern european regimes. following the examples of ghandi and martin luther king to apply the ideas to east germany, poland, the czech republic, hungary and rumania.


travelling - to get to berlin we flew to stansted and from there to schönefeld. with hindsight it did appear that we could have got cheaper flights and taken a different route, but we got there and that is the main thing. schönefeld in located in the south east of the city, with regular trains from the train station which is located with in walking distance from the airport - though a free bus does run from the front of the airport to the station, which is clearly marked as the airport express. there are a number of s-bahn trains which run into berlin, which can take time, the better options are to wait for the regional expresses - which are much quicker than the "regular" trains. RE4 and RE5 are both suitable options.

in general it is good to know that many stations have ticket machines on the platforms, these take cash and credit card. though sometimes we found that we had to find another platform than the one we were travelling from to get these machines. as well as the ticket machines there are secondary machines, which you should punch your ticket in - these date stamp the tickets and make them valid. if you are caught with an unvalidated ticket fines can be applied for 40euros.

for the bulk of our trip we found the 7 day ticket useful. this covered us for travelling throughout zones A and B, which is central berlin. including the comprehensive network of s-bahn (surface trains) and u-bahn (underground trains) as well as the trams and buses. making it pretty easy to get about, especially when most guide books seems to include an travel map for the city.

accommodation - we seemed to have mistimed our trip a little. the plan fell into place a little last minute style. so we didn't really take into account that our trip would take in a holiday weekend - october the 3rd being the day that germany was reunified. as a result we were finding it quite difficult to find anywhere that wasn't booked for that weekend or hideously expensive. the result was that the hotel we got was a little out of the way. by coincidence rather than planning, the hotel we got was within walking distance of schönefeld airport, which meant we were at least sorted from that point of view. pretty much each day we got up and headed into the city, had breakfast once we got there, did what we were doing that day, then headed back to the hotel at the end of the day. being that close to an airport i did have concerns that i wouldn't be able to sleep for the sound of planes. which is ironic given that i wasn't able to sleep for the sound of trains!

How To Pull Girls: An Insider Guide To Success With Women - i'm checking out the random house website for the latest extracts, as usual. when i come across this piece, and you know, you get curious, so i start reading it. this is laughable. complete and utter bullshit. what planet do these people come from?

from the same site an extract from Freshers by Kevin Sampson, doesn't actually say much, but these first couple of lines offered a certain amusement for me:

First Semester

Week 0: Day 1

Weather: Drizzle

Soundtrack: Autechre - Chiastic Slide

Monday, October 13, 2003

instal 2003 - update - while there still doesn't appear to be a website online for this years instal event at the arches in glasgow, recent promotion for the venue has included some details. at last after a year of rumours that merzbow was going to play glasgow, it is confirmed that he is playing this years instal. it looks likely to be a particularly japanese line up this year, with the return of ryoji ikeda already noted, and the prominent inclusion of the boredoms. AMM are also listed. further details should be announced for the 1 day event which is earlier than the usual december slot, being the 23rd of november this year.


The latest issue of Pope's on-going sci-fi series THB is in stores October 1st 2003! Called GIANT THB 1.v.2, 96 page monster is a return to Pope's exuberant, award-nominated oversized B&W comics.

"The new GIANT THB storyline follows directly in the footsteps of the THB6/Mek-Power series," says Pope, "but in this new format. And since we're introduced to some new starring characters, the book is designed to be an ideal hopping-on point for new readers. The first half of the story is all talking, the second half is all action. We get to see THB and (finally!) Mister McHaine kick some ass."

- i nearly missed this. came out while i was on holiday, came back and was lucky to spy one copy on the shelves. not read it yet, saving it for the right moment. but it is pope, which says all that needs to be said. link contains news about posters for this edition as well as film rights for 100% being sold. seems a few of paul pope's ideas have been sold, be interesting to see if any of them actually go beyond the optioning stage...

from tokyo to niagra - i had seen mention of a new tujiko noriko album in passing, but no details. i just new it wasn't on mego like her second album, and the following 12" which was comprised of tracks from the rare first album as well as live pieces. so when i came across this third CD in the Dense record shop i picked it up. from tokyo to niagra is released on the tomlab label, which might be reflected more by the sound of this disc? less fractured electronics like the mego material, and perhaps more straight forward in an electronic pop sense. still, strongly melodic, with tujiko's winsome japanese lyrics across those. only listened to once so far, so need more time to see what i think of it.

goodbye to berlin - it seemed appropriate to start reading christopher isherwood's goodbye to berlin having just returned from there. i finished the behindlings the other night, which i had been reading while away, a review is half written and will be posted when done.

goodbye to berlin was written based on isherwood's own experiences in berlin, in fact he is the narrator of the book, where he spent a number of years in the 1930s. the back drop is the increasing problems the country was facing on the run up to the second world war. something i can particularly appreciate having just done the whole tourist thing of visiting the parliament building and the bits of the wall and all that kind of thing.

Friday, October 10, 2003

note: - just back from the berlin trip. catching up with the deletion of spam. proper posting along with details of the berlin trip will resume shortly.

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