Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Of course it pays to advertise -- and Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. takes to the back pages of Otto's Shrunken Head this week with a free offer!  Now if we could just figure out what "hanky panks" are...

538 East 14th Street (just west of Avenue B) in Manhattan / Returning for our monthly dose! / 8:00 sharp 'til 10:00 / No cover

Plus, in other SIT & Die Co. novelties...

The all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink tradition returns to Brooklyn!


375 Third Avenue (at the corner of 27th Street) in Manhattan / It's a special pin-up gal contest with our photog pal Viva Van Story! / 10:30 sharp 'til 1:30 / No cover! /

Yours in advertising, Michael

Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. "Ballads, Boogies & Blues"

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Anyone experiencing browser turbulence on this thing? I heard today that it there's a wee problem but it looks OK on the computers I've tried.

This could be a sign that it's time to change the template...

Anyway, after you've recovered from RSD trauma, maybe you could let me know...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Everywhere you go, Record Store Day is getting big licks. The plugs on radio are non-stop and I'd imagine that's firing up all the ebayers. They'll be getting in a lather right now about what they'll make on their booty. I'm not going anywhere near a record store tomorrow but will take up the slack when the shakedown ships out. I will miss the home-baking but them's the breaks. If someone was to start a HBD, the scumhordes would find a way to ruin that too.

So by all means support your local store. Cut along and buy something you want and take in the entertainment that's laid on. Non-specific releases are available too, not just the overpriced "collector" guff but anyway... play nice.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Not often that I get the chance to post a plug for a show in Newfoundland... Them Wrigbys be playing there!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Not available in an over-priced format this coming Saturday... Go Boston!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

OK, let’s commence the alternative to that lengthy list of overpriced non-collector’s items. I’ll be flagging up recent acquisitions and also stuff that’s gotten lost in the fog these past few months.
This should be preaching to the converted but on the off chance you haven’t heard Palmyra Delran then I envy you. As rock’n’roll girls with a pedigree go, there are few that are her equal. Her new album “You Are What You Absorb” is chocka with all those frequencies that we here hold dear. Just total pop music of the calibre you’d be justified in thinking they didn’t make any more.
Listen to samples that ought to vindicate my suggestion, if you aren’t moved then go back to your RSD checklist, you deserve to be taken. Sadly it’s unlikely that any actual record store other than a handful on the Eastern seaboard of the USA will have it in stock but this some action that would actually be worth queuing for. In May, denizens of Sweden will be able to score copies when the lady lands in their esteemed country to rip it up as she’s prone to do now and again. One day we’ll get her to the Wurlitzer in Madrid and other joints in Spain that still understand the importance of a top notch tune.
There are twelve of those here waiting for you here so with no further ado cut across to CD Baby and make with the paypal.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dragging myself out to see “Stoker” turned out to be the wrong decision. It’s not outright awful but its affectations bordering on TV movie leave it floundering. Mostly style, little substance and well, in case you thought there were vampires involved, there are not. Unless you count having your soul sucked out on account of the fairly obvious outcome.
But anyway, it’s a weekend of movies and I’ll be back in the dark this afternoon for something called “Side by Side”. A documentary about the effect that digital cameras have had on film-making. It features several charlatans but also David Lynch.
And in this countdown to the shakedown known as Record Store Day, I’ll try to do something each day on items you might consider buying over the hiked price artefacts. Stores have plenty decent inventory on any given day and its somewhat obscene that they have to dig in to almost non-existent coffers to populate their premises with mostly bogus “collectors” items. Everybody knows that the really great thing about RSD was the home baking anyway. Right?
So yeah, let’s see how this latest intention pans out. This “back to winter” weather leaves room for little else.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

One day I'll get accustomed to this new 'puter set up... but until then.

There's a screening of "Last Shop Standing" at the GFT in Glasgow on Sunday 14th April at 7.45pm. Yes, this coming Sunday. It's the Monorail Film Club film for this month to tie in with the Record Store Day bunfight on the following Sunday. Other than The Nomads offerings, I am not partaking in this exercise.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Couldn't get the Del-Lords.com thing to work so get with the Elvis Club vibe here in the meantime...

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Monday, April 08, 2013

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Friday, April 05, 2013

So far so good. 5 days into April and I've jumped on here every day. Ever since I ceased to be off on a Friday afternoon, it takes longer to get organised. It's shortened the entire weekend experience.

Why in the name of the wee man would anyone pay upward of £100 a pop to see The Stones kick the last vestige of their integrity? That's just for a ticket. No travel, no food, no drinks, no merch. Nada.

Time was when it might have only been "rock'n'roll" but that ship long since sailed.

For much the same price tag, you could fly to Spain. You could see a great band in a fantastic venue with an audience that really knows how to shake it down. Not to be confused with the shakedown that's going on down in the big smoke this summer in any way shape or form.

And talking of the stuff that you can believe in, I need to get blogging about Ms Palmyra's "You Are What You Absorb". Lucky for us, she's been exposed to nothing but choice gear. More about which over the weekend.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

It's still winter but at least it's dry. Plus it's nearly Friday and we don't get diddled out of an hour this time. So things are fairly optimistic on the sliding scale. I heard today that those Young Fresh Fellows are heading for Espana in June. I'm currently trying to justify to myself that I should go and further reinforces the urge just to relocate.

Full details when I know the venues, etc. It would be such a hoot!

Ain't all this North K stuff just a wee bit like living in a Team America scenario? I guess if it wasn't potentially serious, it would have been amusing for 5 minutes. Really wish I had the impetus to start the *bay activity I've been threatening. There's bloody stuff everywhere and if I did it could fund my adventures overseas. And before I forget, I'm not doing Record Store Day this year. Other than getting the Nomads release, it's getting the body swerve. Last year's episode soured the whole thing.

A record store isn't just for the third Saturday in April. Leave the "special edition" snaggers with their scores. If you are taking part then buy something that's not on the "official" list. Like everything else, it all started of as a great idea and was quickly hijacked by greedy bastards for "investment" purposes or worse. Your local store will have something you want the before and the day after. And probably the day after that. You folks all know the script.

Here's Team YFF going full steam during their last visit out this way...

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

BBC listeners have recently voted some record by Coldplay as their favourite album of all time. That was a statement I saw on the news today. Hmmm, news. I’m not sure that I’d call it that. What a searing indictment on a nation that is. But as the de-evolution of the UK progresses it’s not entirely surprising. Nor is it disappointment, because being in a permanent state of low expectation nullifies that. Remember the adage “Guilty until proven innocent”. That’s something of the rule to any probable exception.

I’ve also taken to keeping the RIPs on the DL, with the exception of Jess Franco yesterday - that one was important to mark. There are so many and it’s depressing. I’m not that particularly bothered about my own mortality but all of these are markers. So maybe I’ll resume when this thing picks up steam. If it ever picks up steam. There are some anomalies with the browser and with this being modern and all, it doesn’t react the way it always did. When I attempt to investigate, I get distracted or a full-on mind freeze descends. Sometimes both.
Anyway, tonight's task is to try and deal with some of the e-mail that's awaiting being answered. I'm making no promises.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Sadly, Jess Franco passed away yesterday. Simon Birrell is way more qualified than I am to "say a few words"...

Jess Franco and Lina were one of history's great couples, right up there with Lux and Ivy. I was privileged to meet and work with them over the years and my only regret is that I didn't see more of them towards the end. I first met them in 1992, just after moving to Madrid. I was helping out my buddies Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs on their book "Immoral Tales" and one of my missions was to track down Franco. This was when he wasn't making movies (post "Don Quixote") and nobody had heard of him or gave a fig. My first impression was of a deeply cultured man who did exactly what he wanted in life, without a giving a hoot for anybody else's opinion or agenda. I was doubly fortunate in meeting Spanish critic Carlos Aguilar the same evening, a friendship that continues to this day. The three of us drank late into the night, then after Jess staggered back home, Carlos grabbed me by the collar and said, "And now let me tell you the TRUTH!". He proceeded to spend the next hour debunking a large part of the stories that Franco had just told me.

Cathal Tohill and I later travelled down to Sitges to meet Jess and Lina. They were exceptionally gracious with us, a couple of hard-up fans who had somehow come across their work. I was supposed to work on the unfinished "Golden Beetle" with them, but a new job came up and I couldn't go to the shoot. That's a regret - my life would have taken a very different course if I'd chucked in the job and just gone. Later, I translated a series of their scripts from Spanish to English; Jess wrote in Spanish but shot in English. So "Killer Barbies", "Marie-Cookie", "Tender Flesh" and others are partly my fault. I remember watching "Tender Flesh" on the sofa with Jess and Lina and not understanding a damn word of my own dialogues. The actors had an uncertain grasp of English, there was no dialogue coach, and my dialogue was probably unpronounceable anyway.

They came over to my flat one day with a scheme for getting a grant to make movies for CHILDREN. Their proposal to the EU (which I translated) contained a line which lamented the "recent tide of sex and violence in cinema" and recommended the financing of a series of wholesome family films. I asked Jess, "So who made all those dreadful movies, then?". He didn't bat an eyelid and replied, "Some bastard!"

That day I had hoped to impress Franco, the jazz expert. I didn't know jazz, but I did have plenty of old obscure music. I put on an LP by Steve Gibson and Red Caps, a 40s group so obscure even their parents had forgotten them. As we were discussing the proposal, Jess suddenly shushed me. "Buddy Tate", he said, referring to the music. Ever the sophisticate, I said, "Oh no, that's Steve Gibson and the Red Caps". "No, no", he replied, "I mean the SAXOPHONE!". It was a Bear Family issue, so it had the session details and yes, Buddy Tate played on that track and only that track. So much for my in-depth musical culture; I couldn't even approach his encyclopaedic knowledge.

In exchange for one of the scripts I translated, Jess agreed to appear in an animated web series I directed, a project for Planet Hollywood. He did a great, if hard to follow, voice over for the mad scientist character. His old colleague Jack Taylor was lead voice for the main villain. I loved the fact that he would appear in a marketing vehicle for a company that represents everything detestable and vulgar about modern Hollywood.

There are a lot of stories doing the rounds about Jess making movies and not paying people. I worked with him knowing the stories and fully expecting never to get paid. Who cares? I was going to work with Jess Franco! My own experience is that he paid little, but paid every dime he promised.

The more I think about it, the more apt the comparison with Lux and Ivy is. They were a couple who built their own world, beyond anything in the rest of the universe. We were privileged to peek in to their world from time to time, and lucky to see the end results.

The last time I saw Jess and Lina was some 10 years ago in Madrid. We'd drifted apart when he moved to the south of Spain. It was at the book launch for his excellent autobiography (inexplicably unavailable in English). We were delighted to see each other and stopped to gossip for a while. He was still walking, but with difficulty. "I'm going to die shooting!", he said, and that's pretty much how it turned out. He soldiered on to the end, even after Lina died.

Cathal, Pete and I used to call him "The Great Man". After all these years, and even after the last, decadent, uneven movies, it's still absolutely true.
Many thanks to Simon for the piece and the photos.

Monday, April 01, 2013

How does the text on this thing look in your browser? It looks small to me.

I still plan to maybe try and do something with the look but let's see if anything happens with the regularity gambit first.

1st April huh? And much of the stuff we’ve woken up to today is beyond a joke. As the fabric of this septic isle goes to further rack and ruin in the misguided hijacking of the term "efficiency" – all that remains to be considered is really, how far can too far go.
Austerity is here to stay. Or so it seems. Not as catchy as “rock’n’roll” is it? I’m pretty sure that any ditty about it won’t warrant a gazillion hits on youtube. So yeah, here we are. A bunch of folks experienced a White Easter. That’s not some kind of racial stereotyping, merely a statement of fact. Temperatures are below seasonal average but the people are hot under the collar. Blighty – and all of the rest of Europe has been sold down the river while the financially rich get richer and the rest of us get right royally humped. As perceived efficiencies is met – actual services disappear. The Police and Fire Departments have become single forces as of today, the wee man only knows what kind of mess will ensue through that premise.

Perhaps they’ll be controlled via scripts from offshore call centres? Not nearly as ludicrous a possibility as it seems in the pursuit of the almighty buck. The alleged “government” can collectively go and take a something that rhymes with that at themselves. Is there no end to the humiliation? Of course, another war or some big catastrophe might really play into their hands. We’re all potential cannon fodder while divide and conquer as a concept is rolled out across the western world. Barry Maguire’s estate may be up for a dollar or three if he lands the theme song. It’s an ill wind... as you know.

I went to see a film called The Happy Lands yesterday. It’s about the 1926 Miners Strike that ran for some months beyond the General Strike and how it affected an area of Fife in particular. It was subtitled because some of that dialect has been found to be a tad difficult to “unnerstaun’” even in the central belt. But the message is that nothing much has changed. The wearing down process may have morphed and multiplied but the essence is the same. I almost never went. It was verging too much on the dreaded costume drama for me but it really works. It’s part documentary – mostly dramatisation – and indeed the localisation was of particular interest. Recent events here have placed emphasis on the concept of family. And how it is far more important than money or trappings.

As families and communities fracture because of greed and kow-towing, it seems to me that we’re all in danger of going under in the pursuit of some creep and his or its bottom line.  Often dressed up as progress, change for change’s sake is seldom improvement. It’s a power trip. Evangelisation takes on many forms and I’m not impressed with bullies, blowhards or combinations thereof. It’s all seemingly out of control. Way so.

Anyway, enough of my blather, this thing is 36 years old today and I mean to attempt and post something every day until I head for Stockholm at the end of the month.
Let’s see what happens to this supposed “college try”.