July 29, 2009

About six months ago I had the idea of wandering around, interviewing individuals from all walks of life and compiling the conversations into something like Andy Warhol’s TV Programme.


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David Lynch beat me to it. But with a more 21st century platform.

Hi technorati

July 18, 2009


Lars von Trier: “Antichrist” Q&A, 17th July ’09

July 17, 2009

Lars von Trier came to the Curzon Mayfair last night – via Skype – for a Q&A about his recent shocker “Antichrist”. For me this is LvT back in “Europa” territory as the great masturbator of the silver screen. The images are often stylized to a degree that you know he can’t really mean it. The bones of the story are well known by now: a couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) lose their only child and go off to a cabin called Eden to grieve and face the wife’s fears. Any sympathy for them is torpedoed in the (deliberately) risible opening sequence, a piece of slo-mo black and white gloss that harks back to perfume adverts of the early 1990s. While the couple fuck, amid picturesquely toppling bottles of water and snowflakes in the air, their son jumps out of a window in their bedroom, unnoticed by either of them.


Von Trier was on form for the Q&A, artifacting slightly in the slow DSL feed and fielding passive-aggressive ‘questions’ (‘I just want to point out that we watched your moronic film with the lights on – the blacks weren’t black, they were brown, the whites weren’t white, they were yellow, the greens…’ ‘I have to say, with this film it doesn’t matter,’) and philosophical ramblings with equal openness. But a special kind of openness.

If “Antichrist” reminded me of anything (in method at least) it was one of Stewart Home’s splatter-sex novels – Down and Out in Shoreditch and Hoxton, maybe. The technique is to play games on two different levels: to feed and test the audience’s appetite for sex and gore while also getting them to accept philosophical noodling that, if they weren’t thinking about tits and bums, they would not normally stomach. It’s easy for the oddness of the mix to pass almost unnoticed and to maintain the trick the author has to stay in trickster mode the whole time. Von Trier, like Home, is a master hoaxer who doesn’t take much seriously. In answer to the question, ‘Do you hate women?’ we got a long pause, then the reply: ‘No, I don’t think so. But that would be like asking me if I hate elephants. There are good elephants and nasty elephants. But I think I like the nasty elephants too.’

When I asked if this film was a game for him, he paused slightly longer before answering, in effect, a different question. ‘As I said, I was depressed at the time of this film and going through terrible anxiety attacks. When you go through these you think they’re real… I think the film was a difficult experience for me.’

Wu Ming Foundation

July 16, 2009

Wu Ming Quintet

Find them here.

Christopher Smart

July 15, 2009

For A is awe, if pronounced full. Stand in awe and sin not.
For B pronounced in the animal is bey importing authority.
For C pronounced hard is ke importing to shut.
For D pronounced full is day.
For E is east particularly when formed little e with his eye.
For F in its secondary meaning is fair.
For G in a secondary sense is good.
For H is heave.
For I is the organ of vision.
For K is keep.
For L is light, and ל is the line of beauty.
For M is meet.
For N is nay.
For O is over.
For P is peace.
For Q is quarter.
For R is rain, or thus reign, or thus rein.
For S is save.
For T is take.
For V is veil.
For W is world.
For X beginneth not, but connects and continues.
For Y is young – the Lord direct me in the better way going on in the Fifth year of my jeopardy June ye 17th N.S. 1760. God be gracious to DR. YOUNG.
For Z is zest. God give us all a relish of our duty.
For Action & Speaking are one according to God and the Ancients.
For the approaches of Death are by illumination.

Bad Boy Bubby

July 14, 2009

Bad Boy Bubby
Was watching Bad Boy Bubby last night, a 1993 film by Rolf de Heer (maybe best known for Ten Canoes). This is a story about a man who has been confined by his mother in their two-room apartment for all of his 35 years. When he finally leaves, he can only adapt to the outside world by imitating the language he hears and behaviour he witnesses. Despite Bubby’s many merits I kept finding myself comparing it unfavourably to Werner Herzog’s The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser.

Bruno S. as Kaspar Hauser

While Bubby has the more experimental cinematic language of the two its heavy aesthetic often comes off as too theatrical, redolent of films like Delicatessen, that I dislike intensely. It makes me realise how absorbing it is to watch actors like Bruno S. (who is still alive and playing his music in Berlin), and how Herzog’s cinematic language shapes itself respectfully around his actors in so many of his films.

The Toaster Project

July 13, 2009

The Toaster Project

This is the toaster that Royal College of Art graduate Thomas Thwaites built from scratch over the course of 9 months in an attempt to replicate a cheap, mass-produced model. He mined and smelted the metals, made the plastic, moulded and wired the whole thing. The result: something that reminds me of Joseph Beuys or Anselm Kiefer’s work. The message: as my friend Sascha Pohflepp remarked, There’s no going back.


July 11, 2009


Exciting news – principal photography has begun on “Erotology”, directed by Ashley Horner and written by Sean Conway. I’ve been looking forward to the first feature scripted by Conway since seeing his very distinctive Cinema Extreme short “Alice and her Arse Truck”.

Soi Cowboy

July 10, 2009


In Soi Cowboy, director Thomas Clay (The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael) tells two stories: one, seemingly autobiographical, about a film director (Nicholas Bro) and his Thai partner (Pimwalee Thampanyasan) and another about her relatives in the countryside. The two-part structure seems a nod to such filmmakers as Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Tsai Ming-Liang. Adventurous and worth seeing.