Friday, July 30, 2004

Guilty Pleasures

I think it was Film Comment magazine which used to run interviews with famous film makers and part of it would be a listing of their 10 guilty pleasures. Films they liked even though they knew the films weren't all that good or had some sort of stigma attached to them.
Well over the last couple of nights between midnight and dawn on TV I managed to watch two such guilty pleasures both by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell. I am of course talking about Escape from New York (1982) and Escape from LA(1996).
One piece of trivia about film I didn't know was

Jamie Lee Curtis features in both films as the opening narrator who explains how and why NY and LA became prisons

The first film especially has a great soundtrack by Carpenter sort of like an early minimalist Philip Glass one.

This must be the first time I've seen Escape from NY again for what must be about 20 years. I'd never seen LA before and it was certainly a lot less serious than the first film and almost seemed a carbon copy with a bigger budget but not as effective as NY.

Donald Pleasance replaced by Cliff Robertson
Lee Van Cleef replaced by Stacy Keach
Harry Dean Stanton replaced by Steve Buscemi

Extras included some Virtual Reality and Peter Fonda as an old surfie who catches a giant wave with Snake

In the first film New York city was turned into a maximum security prison in the late 80s and in 1997 the President of the US has to bail out from Air Force one when it's hijacked and "Snake" Plisken (Kurt Russell) has to go in and get him out.Lee Van Cleef doing a take on what he used to do so well in his Sergio Leone films sending Snake in with two tiny capsules injected into his veins set to exploded if he doesn't make it out with Prez Donald Pleasance within 24 hours. Also has Harry Dean
Stanton as Brain looking much younger and clean shaven than I remembered him being in the role. One interesting touch was that "Snake" has to land his glider on the top of one of the WTC buildings. Also the great 1981 special effects look a bit cheesy.
Don Pleasance's president turns out to be just as vicious as the thugs who've captured and tortured him throughout the film.
Very minimalist dialogue. Everyone telling "Snake" "I thought you were dead" and Russell's "Call me Snake" changing to "The name's Plisken" when LVC and he have a faceoff at the end.

Are you gonna kill me now Snake?
I'm too tired. Maybe later.

The newer film had the security prison in LA instead of NY and the violence was more casual and convincing in the first film. LA looked a lot cleaner (ie almost like video rather than film) and it wasn't as much fun as the first but they could make a good double on DVD especially if they added some extra commentary from Carpenter and Russell.

Recent books acquired include Will Eisner's A Contract with God and Alan Moore's The Courtyard Companion

Billed as the First Graphic Novel Eisner's book seem to me like 4 Graphic Short Stories with a connected theme. Still reading through the Courtyard Companion. All up 121 annotations to the written script. Alan's original story is also included.

Coming soon (ie. shipping in August) should be Alan Moore: The Dynamic and Extraordinary Interviews

Presenting the complete Comic Book Artist Alan Moore interviews!

Dynamic Forces and Jon B. Cooke have combined the best of Comic Book Artist in one brand-new and exclusive volume!

This month, we've compiled the entirety of interviews featuring comics greatest writer -- Alan Moore! Over 120 pages!

Listening to: Animal Serenade a Lou Reed live album basically the same concert I saw when he was in Sydney last. As the stick on label says on my copy New 2-CD Live Album! 19 1/2 songs with the 1/2 song being the instrumental bit of Sweet Jane (played by not sung on Advice the first track)

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Two new books I just received are:

Cerebus Book 16: The Last Day signed by Dave Sim and Gerhard.
My book is #65 of 1000

From the final annotations pg. 260

"...Egypt in the earliest records we have had become an essentially
lower-than-bestial culture while retaining the residue of more
advanced technologies which were probably a mix of science, alchemy
and the sort of perverse disciplines which interest Alan Moore"

The Kabbalah Tree: A Journey of Balance and Growth by Rachel Pollack

The first mention of Alan without actually using his name occurs in
the introduction:

"As well as the great rabbis we will look to contemporary Kabbalists,
Tarot interpreters, and even a comic book writer who has explored the
tree vividly and in great depth in his stories"
- pg xvii

Yesterday was George Bernard Shaw's birthday:

Chess is a foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something very clever when they are only wasting their time. - GBS

Saturday, July 24, 2004

The Tragedy at
Scarsdale Villas

Reading an article with that title in today's Sydney Morning Herald.
Richard Lancelyn Green an expert on Conan Doyle found dead in his home an apparent suicide but in very mysterious circumstances.

See also Return of the Curse of Conan Doyle and the Breaking News biography of him. Also Open verdict in death of Holmes expert

Here's a collection of Sherlock Holmes Pastiches & Parodies

A new Alan Moore related book coming out soon is True Brit by George Khoury which features interviews with various artists he has worked with including Brain Bolland (Batman: The Killing Joke), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), Alan Davis , Kevin O'Neill (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), David Lloyd (V for Vendetta)

Listening to The Clash:
I've been very tempted
To grab it from the till
I've been very hungry
But not enough to kill

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Today I bought a copy of the latest Nick Drake album Made to Love Magic. Surely it'll also be the last new Nick Drake album what with him having been dead all of 30 years now.
For some strange reason my cover of the CD is a reverse mirror image of the one shown below (old woman on the left, Nick on the right) and a headline has been added to the blank Evening News space MANY YEARS AGO.

Also got a copy of Tom Strong's Terrific Tales #11. I wonder what Germaine Greer and other feminists would make of Alan's story in this one.

It's James Whale's birthday today. Best known as director of the original Frankenstein and also the sequel The Bride of Frankenstein and the subject of Gods and Monsters

Saw a funny T shirt being worn by someone the other day. Colored black except for white writing on the back in capital letters:


This day is the day that we rise or we fall
This night is the night that we win or lose all

- Nick Drake

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Happy Birthday Yusuf

It's Cat Stevens 56th birthday today.

If the cat photo is visible it is one of two cats I own or rather one of two cats who own me. His name is Lord Brett Sinclair and he's named after one of the characters from this TV series.

Naxos Audiobooks recently released James Joyce's Ulysses unabridged on 22 CD's.

From Ginger Geezer The Life of Vivian Stanshall pg. 319:

The date of his death was an extraordinary coincidence. There had been more than one real Sir Henry Rawlinson and one had been a Victorian - Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson - who, the Dictionary of National Biography for 1896 records, died on 5 March 1895 - one hundred years to the day before Vivian.

Sir Henry at Rawlinson's End was a radio show, an LP and a film that Vivian Stanshall wrote.

take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

- Cat Stevens

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"The Eagle has Landed"

It was 35 years ago today that man first landed on the moon.
Here's the Wikipedia entry
I was 7 years old at the time and remember sending a drawing to NASA who sent back a copy of the moon plaque set up at the time.
"We came in peace for all Mankind" signed by the US president at the time who was Richard Nixon.

Image Source

Walked past a funeral at my local church today listening to John Cale on my portable CD player:
...and we could all feel safe just like Sharon Tate...

My wife auditioned for and got a part in the chorus of a local amateur musical society's production of Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore.
Lots more nights at home alone with my two young daughters. I feel like John Lennon during his househusband phase in New York.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Harry Who?

Searching through Neil Gaiman's website journal for mention of Alan Moore I came across the following at the end of the entry for July 12th, 2004

Alan Moore told me recently that he sometimes has friends over and they play the Harry Stephen Keeler game, where each has a Keeler book, and they sit in a ring and take turns in reading alternate sentences from the Keeler books they're holding. "The strange thing is," he said, "that what gets read often makes more sense than the original."

Having never heard of this author I looked him up on the net.
There's a HSK Society and there's a place where you can buy books by and about him such as the HSK companion.

I also checked the catalogue of the library where I work to find we have 10 of his books all published by Ward, Lock & Co.

Cheung, Detective (1938)
The Five Silver Buddhas : A Mystery Novel (195-?)
The Fourth King (195-?)
The Green Jade Hand (1930)
The Marceau Case (1936)
Murder In The Mills (1946)
The Steeltown Strangler (1950)
Two Strange Ladies (1945)
The Voice Of The Seven Sparrows (195-?)
The Wonderful Scheme (1937)

Unfortunately all our Joint Fiction Reserve books are not stored offsite so I'll have to order one in before I can read it.

One book I really look forward to reading next year will be Bob McCabes Dreams & Nightmares about Terry Gilliam's latest film the Brothers Grimm.

It's due to be published next January about a month before the film comes out.

Two books I did buy just the other day were

Cracking the DaVinci Code and the New American Splendor Anthology.

Our old Asmodeus turns up on pg 22 of the Da Vinci Code Book:

"Represents the demon who legend says assisted Solomon with the construction of his temple. Asmodeus is believed to be depicted inside the door of the Church
of Mary Magdelene in Rennes-le-Chateau and referenced as the "demon guardian" in the Priory of Sion documents, the Dossiers Secrets. The demon was also venerated by the Cathars as "King of the World." Although not directly referred to in The Da Vinci Code, Asmodeus is the shadowy figure that crops up time and again in the stories and legends that Sophie explores in the novel."

The anthology has the full sized version of the one page story drawn by Alan Moore that is also shown on page 161 of The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Off with their Heads!!!
- Queen of Hearts

Happy Bastille Day to everyone

Great news about my PGB which I'm going to keep to myself for the moment.
All I can say is that there is now a great reason for people to buy the book regardless of it's contents.
That's all I want to say for now.

Harvey Awards 2004
League of Extraordinary Gentleman Volume II won the Harvey for Best Continuing or Limited Series. Promethea was nominated for many but won zilch. Even Todd Klein got beaten by Dave Sim for Best Letterer.

At work today a nice lecture about Weblogs and Libraries by Anne Clyde.
In case people don't already know a weblog is
a web page containing brief, chronologically arranged items of information. A blog can take the form of a diary, journal, what's new page, or links to other web sites

Listening to The Beatles inventing heavy metal back in '69 on Abbey Road

I want you so bad it's driving me mad, it's driving me mad....
She's so.....heavy

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Magic Cats

My copies of the first 3 books of Alan Moore's 5 panel strip Maxwell the Magic Cat arrived from
4 color heroes

just the other day. Unfortunately book 4 is not out of stock there but I've told Stan Coleman the owner to keep a lookout for me in case he manages to find another copy. Next up I'll be ordering Shocking Futures and Twisted Times
While Alan wouldn't win any prizes for the artwork the humour of the strips makes it well worth collecting. And Issue #3 has pin-ups of Max by Ian Gibson, Graham Higgins, Dave Gibbons, Mike Matthews, Hunt Emerson, John Bolton, Garry Leach, and Bryan Talbot. I especially like the Bryan Talbot one which shows Alan emerging from the split in half max rather like Terry Gilliam in the Middle of the Film of the Meaning of Life.

From Alan's Afterward:

So why am I still doing it every week? I don't need the money any more; I sprinkle shredded dollar bills over my cornflakes these days...it's great to be able to bellow a response to the daily catalogue of atrocities that we're presented with, even if most of what you're bellowing is incoherent gibberish. Not so much a comic strip, I suppose, but more a primal scream session...If you find it to be totally lacking in charm or humour then I should perhaps point out that many of the jokes were designed so that they're only funny if you happne to be a cat. So, just because you personally find the book unreadable, please don't give up. Try sticking it in the bottom of your cat's litter tray for the beloved beast to peruse during the quiet and intensely personal moments it spends in that location.

Sereballa has added a link to my Promethea annotations to their webpage on Alan Moore
Their entry about Promethea has all the ISBN Numbers for the collected editions and their article on Alan Moore is nice and succinct.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

What I did on my one week holiday

Mostly just looking after my two little girls aged 2 and 3 1/2 but also managed to read or start reading 3 biographies:

Nick Drake: The Biography by Patrick Humphries

Ginger Geezer: The Life of Vivian Stanshall by Lucian Randall and Chris Welch

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Anger: The Unauthorized Biography of Kenneth Anger by Bill Landis

Read the first half of Taboo: "The Ecstasy of Evil" : The Psychopathology of Sex and Religion by amongst others Lon Milo DuQuette

Also saw Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine and Man on the Moon plus the old Charles Laughton version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket which I'd already seen once before.

Just learnt about a new book with some mention of Promethea in it The Kabbalah Tree: A Journey of Balance and Growth by Rachel Pollack so I've put in an order for it already at Amazon.com.

Joel Biroco is back online and has put a letter from Alan 31st December 2002 online. It's very funny.

I definitely remembered seeing a copy of an earlier, more sexually provocative book in the series called Harry Potter and the Choronzon Working

Mortality finally caught up with Marlon Brando. The last film I saw him in was Don Juan De Marco. Even then he'd put on a lot of weight. The fat Elvis period. He was born 38 years before and one day after my birthday.

It's Marty Feldman's birthday today. He would have turned 71 if he were alive.
Listening to: Teddy Boys Don't Knit

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Bauhaus rubbish daddy
- Rupert Stanshall
There's nothing wrong with dangerous drugs as long as they're prescribed by a competent... -
Vivian Stanshall

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