Archive for October, 2008

“Hmm… that’s quite a drop.”

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

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I’ve spent the last ten hours at my desk working through some critical development of what is by far the most ambitious piece of campaign activity I’ve ever been involved with.

It makes the stuff we did on “300”, Untraceable and Indy 4 look like a walk in the park. Every time I step away from it for a moment I look down and it makes me feel dizzy.

Frankly, I think it will be a miracle if any of it ever makes it live in anything like the form we currently envisage, but I love the fact that we’re getting a crack at it.

This isn’t supposed to be some secretive post saying nothing in particular about something few of you would be at all interested in anyway.

I just want to mark the day and date, and go on record that there came a point today when I stopped and thought about it and there wasn’t a thing in the world I could think of that I’d rather be doing.

Not that pays, anyway.

“More fun than going to the movies.”

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

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Word reaches me from the ever-excellent Slashfilm that Sam Mendes has been confirmed as the director of a movie version of Preacher, the comic book series created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Fabry.

I have most of the original issues.  They came out while I was at University in Edinburgh.  Each month I’d picked one up from the comic store I used to hang out in called Deadhead Comics, then go back to the flat, have a smoke, and settle in for half an hour of comatose peace and irreverent quiet.

Preacher’s pure pulp as far as I’m concerned, full of angry sex, gratuitous violence and disorganised religion.  It has a kind of faux profundity, search for meaning in the most meaningless of situations, weaving in strands of narrative contrived to do nothing more than indulge the lascivious and unruly impulses of its creators, with which the curiosity of the reader may occasionally coincide.

It might not be the loftiest of subject matter, but it’s jammed with detail, spontaneous surges of character development and entirely arbitrary interruptions offering nothing of the continuity expected by your average cinema-goer.  Mendes will have to go to work on it with a Holy Bible and a pair of pliers if he wants to turn it into a big screen success doing even a shred of justice to the original subject matter.

If I had to call this now, I’d call turkey, but it’s early doors.  Guess I’ll just reacquaint myself with the subject matter and see who Mendes casts as Jesse Custer.

If it was up to me, based on the talent that’s out there at the moment, I might be thinking about a certain Matthew McConaughey.  There’s something about him that might work in the role.  Probably the fact that he comes across as a bit of a cocksure wanker.

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Unfortunately I don’t imagine Steve Zahn can do much of an Irish accent, otherwise I might think about offering him Cassidy and getting a piece of the chemistry that made Sahara into a strangely watchable little movie.

“More fun than going to the movies.”  That’s how Kevin Smith described the first of the Preacher books, Gone To Texas.  He was probably right.

Wasilla’s all I saw

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Right, well, first up a story you might have missed, given it that it jetted in and out of the headlines like US fighter planes encroaching into Syrian airspace:

I’m no detective, but the first thing I noticed was that the ‘B’ is the wrong way around.  Straight away I’m thinking that whoever scratched that into her face was looking into a mirror at the time.  Suspects-wise, I’m looking at a shortlist of one.

That might have been staring you, me and Ashley Todd in the face, but it wasn’t enough to stop the McCain camp aggressively pushing the story, which was subsequently picked up by Fox ‘News’ and the Drudge Report, the only two major media outlets still unblinkingly loyal to McCain’s car crash campaign.

Interesting to note that both the CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and Ashley Todd herself are users of Twitter, the micro-blogging tool identified this week in a draft Army intelligence paper as being of potential value to terrorists in co-ordinating their activities.

Given that Al Qaeda have already used Youtube to screen beheadings, Google Earth to plan attacks against the British Army in Basra and Skype to avoid eavesdropping by Western intelligence services, should we really be surprised that their visionary appreciation of Web 2.0 extends to the occasional tweet?

Terrorists must seem like a distant threat to John McCain, given that he now finds himself facing a more homegrown enemy in the form of what Politico’s Ben Smith has described as a ‘Palin Insurgency’.

It transpires that in recent days Palin has been increasingly disregarding the advice of the former Bush aides tasked with handling her, leading senior Republicans within the McCain camp to describe her as a ‘diva’ and a ‘whack job’ who has ‘gone rogue’.

With seven days to go, John McCain can ill-afford to waste precious valuable time trying to rein in what can only be described as the maverick’s maverick.

It looks like one of his supporters has found a makeshift solution though, and is doing her level best to ensure that McCain is still seen to be getting the full support of his runaway running-mate:

I love the way she graciously acknowledges the plaudits of the crowd.  If Palin is indeed a whack job, that’s one hell of a good impersonation.

She’s not the only fake Palin hogging the limelight on the web right now.

Yes, it’s Who’s Nailin’ Paylin? the porn flick Republicans are up in arms about as they condemn Flynt and Democrats in general for disseminating such left-wing filth all over the internet, rather than having the decency to wait until the election is over before buying the special edition DVD.

Given the very real possibility that this last clip will have been deleted by the time you come to look at it, and the fact that I know how to give the people what they want (except when ‘the people’ is my mother), here is a huge photograph of Sarah Palin lookalike and adult star Lisa Ann reminding us that you might not be able to burn the American flag, but you can sure as shit wrap yourself up in it and get your tits out.

That’s all well and good, but where on earth is the real Sarah Palin?

Well, wherever she is, you can bet your bottom dollar she’s saying something really fucking stupid.

In condemning the earmarks allocated to fruit fly research, Palin deftly brushes aside Nobel prize-winning studies into the way in which genes are passed on via chromosomes, from which we have gained a far better understanding of conditions such as autism.  All this in the context of a speech in which she is reasserting the commitment of the McCain ticket to children with special needs.

As ever, it’s not just the substance of what Palin is saying that invites ridicule, but the surety with which she says it, reinforcing what a dangerous flavour of politician she is. If you’re not prepared to take my word for it, how about those of erstwhile conservative commentator Christopher Hitchens, who concluded a recent article in the spectator with the following observations:

This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just “people of faith” but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

(Oh, and ‘Wasilla’s all I saw’? It’s a Palin-drome. Gerrit?)

An eye for detail

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

This is the five-minute edit I’ve pulled together from my visit Mr Haas the other day.  I know that probably sounds like a long time, but I hope you’ll give it a chance – it shows a unique and remarkable artist at work.

I mused over the soundtrack for a while, before settling on One Of These Things First, one of my favourite songs by the late Nick Drake.  You can find out more about him at www.brytermusic.com, the official site of his estate, and you can by his music on iTunes here.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Mr Haas and his work I recommend this article on Times Online.  It goes to a far greater degree of detail than I am able to.

If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes... on TwitPicAs to the question of my own eye, and once people find out that I wear a glass eye they often have questions, I’m happy for anyone to post any questions you have as a comment, and I will endeavour to answer.

Not everybody’s cup of tee

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

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Sick: (slang) Very good, excellent, awesome.

As we all know, Facebook is primarily just a sanitised relationship incubator, but it’s been making itself peculiarly useful of late.

The most recent development is a note from Ben Aldis, an old colleague and cohort who’s just launched a Facebook fan page for 2SickBastards, the tee shirt label under which he and a friend pimp ‘quality shit’ like this:

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A little Saturday morning nose around the interspaz has revealed that the Bastards are not only designing great tees, but that they now have stockists all over the world and have really got their self-promotion shit together.

Facebook might seem like a bit of an odd fit, but their blog – Smut, Snuff & Scum – and their MySpace page give you a strong overall sense of the sick little place they’re coming from (sick, in every sense of the term).

Gone are the days of the whizz-bang flash site.  Instead the blog delivers a bit of cultural context for their latest designs, charting the respective misfortunes Amy Winehouse and Corey Haim through the miracle medium of Youtube.  As far as ‘brand-building’ goes, that’s smart as fuck.

They also have their ‘mannequin of the month‘, currently featuring some of elite ghetto chic from the fashion slums of Central and South America.  No doubt over time we kindred bastards will start to add our own small smattering of bile to this shared repository of regurgitated haute spewture.

I’m lucky enough to still have one of their early designs.  This is the best picture I could find:

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I used to think it was just a t-shirt.  Now I’m thinking it’s a really fucking cool t-shirt. I guess, for me at least, their Bastard branding exercise is working.

You can buy 2SB tees online here.  They aren’t cheap, but the quality of the material and printwork is exactly what you’d expect for that kind of money.  They might not be right up your street, but if you feel an uncontrollable urge to part with some of your hard-earned you can always buy me one.

All images reproduced without the kind permission of anybody whatsoever.

11 days to gobama…

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Yesterday we saw the anchors on Fox News springing to the defence of Sarah Palin and her $150,000 campaign wardrobe. How times change. Seems like only yesterday they were pillorying VP candidate John Edwards for his $400 haircut.

Only a Fox News anchor could get away with such a brazen display of double standards. Who else could afford to treat their audience with such contempt?

Look out for the sigh, right at the beginning. That’s the sigh that says ‘I’m tired of having to justify myself to you little people. You seem to think that what I say today has to be consistent with all that stuff I said yesterday. Haven’t any of you fuckers read 1984? Nope? Me neither.’

While a consensus continues to grow that Palin will be the mistake for which the McCain campaign is best remembered, she does seem to have found some support in new quarters. Sometimes you find new friends in the unlikeliest places:

The walls have eyes

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Mr Haas' spare eyes

I went and saw Mr Haas today.  He’s an ocularist, and has been making glass eyes for me since I was four years old.  He’s probably made about a dozen for me over the years.  He’s the only ocularist in the UK working in glass.  The glass itself comes from Germany, as does he.

It’s amazing watching him work, but I can’t hope to do justice to the process in words or pictures.  About 6 years ago, after Tommy and I had just launched the first iteration of Ploggle, I went to see him, and produced this plog.  You can see from the picture quality how early it was in the evolution of camera-phones.

Fortunately, today Mr Haas was kind enough to let me film him creating my new eye.  I have a couple of hours’ footage I need to condense into a couple of minutes, so it’s likely to be a little while before I have it wrapped, but I thought I’d post these photos in the mean time.

Mr Haas the ocularist

BBC Breakfast it ain’t

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

I love the smell of Republicans being roasted in the morning.

My love affair with The Jed Report goes from strength to strength. Here are the pick of this morning’s posts, served up for your delectation over a bacon sarnie and a cup of fresh coffee.

First up, a full three minutes of Hardball presenter Chris Matthews grilling McCain’s senior policy advisor Nancy Pfotenautenhoerotenhauer over Sarah Palin’s latest display of abject ignorance:

What better way to start the day than to watch a this Rovian acolyte with her rictus smile squirming under the spotlight of incontrivertible fact, doing her damnedest to try and wrangle it into a critique of the Obama ticket, and being headed off at every pass.

Next up, “let’s find out why Governor Palin look so good.” So begins this three-minute morsel of Fox News at their very worst.

Look out for the highlight of the smarmfest at around the fifty-second mark:

Yup. “When we stop treating women as sexist figures […] then we can stop talking about how much money they spent on their clothes.”  Erm. Maybe you mean ‘sex objects’?  And, well, that’s probably when we can start talking about how much money they spend on their clothes.  And, y’now, truth be told, all of you, you’re just a disgrace to your profession. Really. A shower.

It’s not all vitriol around here at 8.30 in the morning though.  If you want to put everything back into perspective, and to enjoy a glimpse of the dizzying heights this campaign is occasionally reaching, check out five minutes of Obama in Richmond, Virginia yesterday:

I can’t remember seeing political oratory like this before. Not in my lifetime. Barack Obama is lifting his audiences to new levels of optimism and self-belief. Watching him speak like this, even the most cynical of onlookers could start to believe that this is a man with the potential to lift a whole nation.

McCain agrees. Pennsylvanians ARE racists.

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

The Obama camp must be worrying about having their man suspend his campaign for thiry-six hours in order to visit his ailing grand-mother. Still, it could be worse for the Democrats. At least McCain hasn’t suspended his:

In a masterstroke, McCain goes on to call Western Pennsylvanians the most patriotic people in America, neatly insulting the rest of the population of the country of which he aspires to become commander-in-chief.

Smooth moves Senator.

Batmobama and the global flea market

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

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Friend, colleague and fellow blogger Marc Berry pinged me a link to this late last night.  It’s official title is Batmobama & Robiden.

It was on a site called Etsy specialising in selling affordable art online. I instantly contacted the artist behind it, Paul Richmond, asking his permission to feature it on my blog.  Within about another five minutes, I’d decided to buy myself one of the 200 prints he was selling.

This was the first time I’d visited Etsy, but within a matter of minutes I’d completed a transaction to the value of about $45.  I find the dynamics of the transaction quite peculiar.

I became aware of the product because Marc recognised that it combined two things I blog about on a fairly regular basis – Batman, and the 2008 American presidential election.  He knows that I’ve been fixated with some of the ‘Obamaganda’ coming out of this campaign, and have even gone so far as to create some of my own, but as far as I’m concerned this is in a class of its own, both thematically and in terms of its artistic quality.

Because I was able to quickly identify Paul as the artist behind it, and to contact him through the site, even before I heard back from him I had a sense of him as an individual.  With this in mind, my decision to purchase was accompanied by an awareness that the bulk of the cash I was parting with would be going to another human being.

The knowledge that there were only 200 prints available made it sufficiently unusual to seem worth spending roughly £25 on – not a sum of money I’d normally part with for something I was going to hang on the wall.  The fact that there were only 35 remaining added enough of an ingredient of urgency to compel me to buy one there and then, rather than going away and talking myself out of it.

I guess the final factor in this is that I can vaguely remember a friend of mine singing the praises of a service called Etsy.  I can’t remember the details, I just remember someone telling me that Etsy was great, and that it came from somebody whose judgement I trust.

The particular confluence of circumstances added up to this transaction typifies the way in which the social web is changing commerce.  It is slowly re-establishing more traditional values in terms of what a transaction like this signifies, taking place between two human beings, in one of a million colourful corners of the global flea market.

As to the question of whether the piece itself is an accurate characterisation of the key players in the forthcoming election, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Exhibit A…

…and Exhibit B.