COVID GOES TO THE MOVIES: PRE-BOMB FILMS

As previously discussed, I’m throwing up five lots of ten (thirteen) images from movies that have impacted me, as yet another in our ongoing line of Covid-gathers-our-personal-information distractomemage.

Today, I’m hitting up pre-war fillums, from the golden age of talkies, shee, before the big one, shee? Nyaaaah.

Well, before the end of the big one: this is my list of films up to 1945.

Oh, and I should point out, as I haven’t already, that these aren’t necessarily the best movies from each category, or even, necessarily, my favourite; just the ones that had an impact. Anecdotes on request 😉

Continue reading “COVID GOES TO THE MOVIES: PRE-BOMB FILMS”

LET THERE BE MEMES: COVID GOES TO THE MOVIES — SF/F/H

Time for another Covid-distraction meme that has been doing the rounds of Facebook lately.

This one asks you to post an image — no posters, no titles, and no explanations, just an image from the film itself — from ten films that have had an impact on you. My good friend Stephen Dedman has tagged me.

Yeah. Bloody thanks, Stephen.

Not only have I failed to narrow it down to ten films, I decided to be smart and break it up into different categories — SF/Fantasy/Horror; Animated; Comedy; Pre-War; and Post-War,  and then still couldn’t manage to winnow the SF/Fantasy/Horror list down to ten. FFS.

So, balls to it. Here’s the first of the five lists. And here are the thirteen film images.

Pppphhhh.

Continue reading “LET THERE BE MEMES: COVID GOES TO THE MOVIES — SF/F/H”

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: Z IS FOR WHAT COMES NEXT

This is the end, beautiful friends. The last entry in our Love in the Time of Covid playlist. Z for Zachariah, and also for pretty much the only band most of us have in our playlist that begins with Z.

So here’s the final question, at the heart of all this -end-of-culture ranting I’ve been doing in my recent posts: If you are only ever one mortgage payment, one food shop, or one car payment away from disaster, how much security do you really have? How well has the pre-Covid ‘normal’ really been for you? To speak in fluent memeslash: how are those franking credits working for you now, Karen?

We are a species that has fooled itself into thinking we have outgrown the need to adapt: that it is the role of the planet to adapt to us, when we have only ever been a small, breeding-crazy, too-smart-for-its-own-good part of a living organism that needs all of its components to maintain a constant evolution in order for the whole to thrive.

If there’s anything we can take from our experiences during this pandemic, it is that we need to fashion an environment that works for us as a part of something greater than our small, human concerns.  We can’t continue to try to squeeze ourselves into ever smaller cubicles to please the money-hoovering blue suits that have brought us to the edge of environmental, cultural, and societal collapse. Just why are we following these fucks, when we know, to the deepest core of our marrow, that they’re selfish shits with no eyes other than for themselves? Does anybody really believe that the Orange Humgruffin, or Boris the Bastard, or Scum the Crime Minister — Murdoch, Reinhart, Putin, Bezos, Zuckerbot, Branson the Pickle, you name your billionaire of choice — has your best interests at heart? Do you?

Then why?

The pandemic has shown us, if we didn’t already know: The world is too big for us to conquer one by one. But I can evolve, and adapt. You can. That guy there can. If we can do mit as individuals, as family groups, as small communities brought togethers by shared concerns, then we can have a positive effect. And yes, the world is full of idiots. And yes, we’re seeing that in full flow right now. But idiots can be taught. And if they can’t, maybe their children can.

Power does not have to lie with those whose only contribution is money, and entitlement, and the desire to legislate your culture into directions you don’t want it to go. Money does not have to equal right. Destruction does not have to equal progress. Cultural, religious, and ideological zealotry do not have to detract from synthesis and togetherness.

We’ve been adapting to the wrong things. That much has become clear. So isn’t it about time, now that we have had to fall back on our own resources at the community and interpersonal levels, that we did so, once again?

Enough of that sermon. Let’s talk music.

There was a time before ZZ Top were cutesy, family-friendly, mainstream radio darlings. Before the fluffy guitars and matching wacky suits. Before the way-too-80s-for-words videos and appearances on your Mum’s favourite extruded-sitcom-product. A time when they were the grungiest of grungy Southern blues bands. When sixteen words and a six minute guitar solo was considered a song. When you could dig their music out from under your fingernails, they had so much grit in them.

50 million album sales proves that evolution is a good thing and that, if a band can redefine itself and engage with a new way of thinking in order to adapt to the changing requirements of a world that would all too easily leave it behind, then we can, too.

So here’s a visual representation of all that I’ve blethered on about, above: ZZ Top, live. In full-on post-80s mode of dress, and persona, and image. Grunging the living fuck out of two of their greatest pre-adaptation classics. Proving that evolution doesn’t mean abandoning the past, simply redefining it to fit into the tomorrow you want to create.

Rock on.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, well, what can I say? You’ve had 26 days. Here’s everything else:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: Y IS FOR CHILD AND MOTHER

We’re almost at the end, my friends. The end of this little journey through a Covid playlist. The end of the capitalist, he-who-dies-with-the-most-was-probably-a-psychopath, white men in blue suits wet dream. The end, if we’re lucky, of the world that was, and perhaps, just perhaps, at the start of a new way of doing things, where destroying the planet and each other just so a minority of hate-filled money rapists can wank into a slightly higher stack of twenties on the weekend isn’t necessarily the prime way for the deluded Murdoch-gobbling masses to slowly kill themselves.

Or, if you spend any time at all on social media, perhaps we’re at the start of an era where fucking morons identify themselves even more easily than they have in the past. It could go either way.

Either way, here’s a gentle reminder: the world turned before we were here. It will turn when we’re gone. As pollution and fauna migration patterns during our quarantine period are showing, it might just turn a little better after we’re gone. Chuck Palahniuk is right: You’re not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. It doesn’t matter how many blue suits you wear, how many happy-clapper orgasmotron group therapy delusion sessions you kneel at, how many fistfuls of dollars you deny the needy. We are what we have always been: slow-moving meat.

Enjoy your contemplation.

Yothu Yindi was a band largely comprised of first peoples members from Yirrkala in Arnhem Land. They broke big in the early 90s, when a lot of politicians suddenly realised that hanging out with intelligent, politically aware Aboriginal people was a good way to look cool. Thankfully, they managed to shed the blue-suited parasites for a while and produce some truly excellent music. World Turning equates the rotation of the Earth with being in love, which frankly, seems like a very dodgy way to ensure the continuation of gravity.

Also, it’s a good dancing song, which might just be a better use for it right now.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, well, so is the rest of your species. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the extinction:

TEN ALBUMS BECAUSE IT’S A MEME, OKAY?

There’s a meme going round Facebook, in which those who are tagged share the covers of ten albums that influenced the way they listen to music, their taste in music, or the pleasure centres of their brain.

I was tagged by my long-time friend David, so naturally, as a memewhore of long-standing, I must play along. But rather than dribble them out one per day, as is the instruction, I’m going to drop them on you all of a once and leave you to figure out whether there’s any deeper message at play. (Hint: think ‘lizard people’, and ‘Illuminati’, and ‘I’ve really got to stop believing in this shit’).

So here we go: ten albums, no explanation. Make of it what you will. (And yeah, there’s eleven. I don’t play well with others, okay?)

 

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LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: X IS FOR…. UH…. X

The twenty-fourth day of my musical choices on the twenty-fifth day of supposed isolation: it’s probably time to smash stuff up.

I don’t know about you, but enforced isolation has had no effect on me whatsoever.

Head Zombified 2

 

Luscious and I… and you know, every other teacher in the state…. are back in the classroom next week, so we have to prepare lessons for both face-to-face and online environments — that’s two five-week units per class. I have three and Luscious has five, so here we are today, at the empty school, preparing powerpoint after powerpoint…..

We’re doing our best to isolate, but Karratha’s already a highly isolated town. There’s a bit of a ‘phony war’ feel to the place: the shops are taking it seriously, but the populace isn’t, judging by the shopping crowds, and the shambling FIFOs milling outside the drinking wallow in the twon centre every time I drive past of an evening.

We’ve had 2 confirmed cases of Covid, but they’ve been isolated at the hospital and nobody’s mentioned them, so it’s almost like they don’t exist in people’s minds. It’s going to break out here. It’s just a matter of time, and the wrong scraped-through-year-ten-Doctor-Google-type-who-knows-better. And when it does it’ll sweep through the town like, well, like a plague. So while I joke, and act all cynical and the like, and make comment about schools returning, I’m genuinely worried about what will happen in the coming weeks. Because there are 1200 kids in this school, and one of them is going to get it. And once they do…

One kid. That’s all it will take, and this town will fall down like a National Party policy promise.

In that spirit, here’s one of the great Australian punk pioneers, with an angry, thrashy, gloriously fuckyouish ode to staying the hell at home where it’s comfortable and all the beer is. Parents: your Government isn’t listening. Please make sure you do.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, crack a cold one, headbutt the nearest wall, and pogo your way through this lot:

LEGO 250 REVIEWS: THE FIRST 50

We’re one-fifth of the way through my original goal of reviewing the 250 Lego sets I have purchased. (We shall not talk of the fact that I’ve somehow managed to end up with another 30+ since I’ve started, no we shan’t….).

It’s time for a quick review of the reviews: an index to what we’ve seen and how they’ve rated.

But before that, as any adult knows, a hobby isn’t a hobby unless you can quantify it and uses stats to pretend it’s a sport.

Let’s break down some numbers, shall we?

Continue reading “LEGO 250 REVIEWS: THE FIRST 50”

LEGO REVIEWS: 30381 IMPERIAL TIE-FIGHTER MINI POLYBAG (AND NOTEBOOK)

Sometimes it calls to you. Sometimes it’s too beautiful, too brilliant, too exciting to ignore. Sometimes it completes a cherished theme, or is too perfect a fit for an incomplete diorama to leave on the shelf.

Aaaaaand sometimes you just happen to be in the post office and buy it because it’s on the shelf right there where you’re lining up to send a package.

Guess which one 30381 Imperial Tie-fighter Mini Polybag was?

Continue reading “LEGO REVIEWS: 30381 IMPERIAL TIE-FIGHTER MINI POLYBAG (AND NOTEBOOK)”

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: W IS FOR WARREN

We missed a day! Blame Sunday, sleeping in, and that guy over there.

Truth is, it’s easy to let things slip when the only day awaiting you is the one you just left behind. So yesterday it seemed more important to spend some time playing D&D with Luscious and Lord 15 than staring at the computer screen while our currently-shitty-for-no-reason internet connection drops in and out and in and out like a Lieberal candidate in a marginal seat.

And because it is important for the historical record, let it be noted that they spent 45 minutes getting a mortally sick gnome drunk for the sole purpose of stealing his hat, so clearly the isolation is not affecting their personalities whatsoever……

The media is full of the inevitable pushback against isolation right now. Persons can be wise, compassionate, humane, and intelligent; but people have a tendency to act like frightened herd animals if given half an opportunity. Sure as eggs is eggs we’re beginning to see it, from the usual gun-toting Merkan hillbillies to a pair of New Zealanders who make Beavis and Butthead look like the love-children of Albert Einstein and God. Throw in the usual Orange Humgruffin shitshow, in which he appears to actively incite armed rebellion in Democratic States actually following the rule of law, and it must appear, if you’re even a relatively mature human being, as if humanity is determined to eat itself.

I, for one, welcome our new hircine overlords

 

 

Today’s musical choice is a timely combination of positivity and self-destruction. Warren Zevon built a reputation as one of the great rock and roll wild children before it took its inevitable toll and his urge for self-destruction became well, just plain old actual self-destruction: cancer taking him way too soon at the age of 56. Before then, however, he gifted us a dozen albums soaked in acerbic wit, cynicism, laser-etched lyrics, and brilliance.

Splendid Isolation comes from his science fiction-infused 1989 album, Transverse City, a hymn book to themes of disconnection and social breakdown caused by an increasingly self-medicating technological society. With its underlying message of solitude and comfort in one’s own self-distancing it’s an appropriate panacea for the head-shaking despair you must be experiencing while watching all those morons incapable of simply being by themselves for four weeks without pissing, moaning, and having a mental breakdown all coz of dat dem gubmint.

And they call us snowflakes….

 

 

If you’re late to the party, get your kicker boots on and kick about through this lot:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: V IS FOR VIOLENCE

I’m such a slacker and part-time babysitter, as The Crime Minister ensures me I am, that I was up until 2am this morning completing a Kahoot quiz for my students to prepare them for their upcoming online/not-online/they’ll change the rules on us again at least once before this shit is over term.

So I’ve got nothing witty to say this morning. I’m too tired.

V is for violence. Insert something cogent and satirical and hilarious about how that fits into the current world situation here.

And here’s the Violent Femmes, and a song about America being the place where we keep all the fuckwits.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, get your kicker boots on and kick about through this lot:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: U IS FOR GETTING UGLY

I don’t know about you, but for a guy who’s verging on the bald, if I don’t get a haircut soon I’m going to be the source of a rash of Bigfoot seen in wilds of Karratha suburbs rumours coming your way very soon…..

It’s the end of the first week of school holidays, and as intimated by Scum the Crime Minister yesterday, Luscious and I are enjoying slacking off by being at the school, writing stay-at-home programs for our students for next term and creating online quizzes to give them something entertaining to do while they’re in lockdown, because as teachers we are, in equal parts, essential, sacrificial, and scapegoatable.

Scum the Crime Minister is a floating piece of weasel shit, and after he is voted out, he and his fascist lackey the Oberstumfuhrer Potatohead should be brought up on as many criminal charges as can fit on the charge sheet. But you already knew that, from watching their corruption, illegal gaoling of refugees, and acts of malice towards the democractic state already. And if you didn’t, either wake up or take the Lieberal-coloured sleeping mask off your eyes.

Continue reading “LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: U IS FOR GETTING UGLY”

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: T IS FOR THOMAS

If Hell is other people, why are so many people complaining right now?

Here at the Batthaim, our personal Hell has become a routine of clothes folding, washing dishes, computer work, online teaching, Dungeons and Dragons, TV, movies, cool drink, crisps, home cooking, sleeping in until gone 9 in the morning… wait, what was the question?

I frigging love social isolation. I could do it forever.

The truth is, I’m already beginning to turn into exactly the kind of person people have been worried about me turning into for years. Another couple of weeks and I’ll be eating raw fish, complaining about tricksy hobbitses, and lava diving with the best of them. But, you know, quarantine is all the reasons I’ve been enjoying living in Karratha writ large: the lack of pressure, the lower social crush, the slower speed of living, the lack of external options (cinemas, restaurants, etc) giving me more time to spend at home….

Seriously. I could do it forever.

My own personal descent into Leonard of Quirmishness aside, it’s music time! And who better to describe the geography of my inner mental tesseract than that time-displaced voyager of electric steamfuturezappowcracklepunk, Thomas Dolby?

Dolby hit the 1980s like that distant Uncle who came back from the War full of stories, with strange objects hidden all around his person and a chest in the attic which you must never — under any circumstances — open, and who just didn’t give a fuck what your parents thought. His songs She Blinded Me With Science and Hyperactive and their accompanying videos were, well, hyperactive screams of squirrel-chasing insanity at a time when electronic music was typified by the pimple-free soft-skinned baby faces of Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw*, and their blonde-tipped ilk. Mainstream radio laughed nervously, asked Auntie to pass the salt, and resolved never to invite him to dinner again.

In response, he’s gone on to create a career of singular wonderfulness and individuality, positioning himself as some sort of steampunk Uncle Fester of electric satire. This particular track is from the soundtrack to the movie Gothic, and if anything could be said to sum up his approach to the music industry, and my approach to being removed from having to interact with the outside world, a madman screaming about scorpions having sex inside his head and becoming poet laureate of Satan’s playground is just about it.

 

 

 

*Just for the record, I like Nik Kershaw, and totally love Howard Jones. But, you know, they really are Dik Brownes** to Dolby’s Charles Addams.

**I love Dik Browne, too. This is not a comment on quality, just approach.

***If you can read this, you’re too close.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, dive into the fetid swamp of past imagination and have a splash:

LEGO 250 REVIEWS: 70424 GHOST TRAIN EXPRESS

Back to the Hidden Side today, with the second-largest set released so far, and the largest one in my collection, 70424 Ghost Train Express.

As much as I’m a fan of all things spaceship, I am singularly not a fan of trains: not in the real world, and not in the realm of toys. They’re boring.

So how did I end up with two of this set?

Continue reading “LEGO 250 REVIEWS: 70424 GHOST TRAIN EXPRESS”

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: S IS FOR FOR SOME SWINGING SQUIRRELS.

If, by now, you’re not talking to squirrels and living in your own personal version of Hell, are you even doing Covid-19 properly?

This post is literally nothing but an excuse to expose you to my lifelong love of swing music, and revel in its 90s revival.

Swing, you dogs!

 

 

If you’re late to the party, get a few down your neck while you catch up to the rest of us:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: R IS FOR THE REVEREND

As the realisation that the conditions under which we’re living will continue for the foreseeable future hits — West Australian premier Mark McGowan is talking openly about maintaining our hard border closure for at least six months, and the Education Department has instructed teachers to prepare for home-based learning for all of next term, and to consider similar measures for term three — even the hardest hard-line brainless fuckwit morons anti-vaxxer flat earth climate denying conspiracyvirus yappers are coming to the conclusion that just maybe this has something to do with more than Greta Thunberg wanting the playground all to herself.

Not all of them, obviously: stupidity is notoriously hard to get out of fabric, and it knows no boundaries of class or intelligence.

It’s no surprise that people are turning to nutty theories, pretend sky wizards, and charlatans in a time of uncertainty. People have always preferred easy fallacies to difficult truths, and always trusted a facile smile more than a complicated, unflinching, logic. We are creatures of fear and logic, stretching back to a time when we were nothing more than slow-moving meat. In such a time, comfort food, comfort drink, and comfort removal-of-personal-responsibility provide much more… well, comfort… than the idea that we might have to suffer for a while and still, possibly, not prevail.

Religion and drinking. There are so many ways to combine them. Here’s one for today.

I first discovered The Reverend Horton Heat on, of all things, an album of TV cartoon theme song covers, where they tore up a dual cover of Jonny Quest and Stop That Pigeon like crazy people. I’ve loved rockabilly since The Stray Cats and punk since The Clash, so psychobilly was always going to be right up my personal alley: the moment I discovered The Cramps, it was all over, red rover. So yeah, I became an instant fan, and have remained so ever since.

That’s the religion part taken care of. Here’s the drinking. A special treat: two songs from The Rev, covering two-fifths of Larry Miller’s legendary ‘five levels of drinking’.

Mix up a bathtub of margaritas, climb in with your favourite straw, and enjoy.

(All those messages of surprise I received when people read my Orbital post and learned I like dance music: can’t wait to see how many I get now the rockabilly is out of the hill…)

 

 

 

If you’re late to the party, get a few down your neck while you catch up to the rest of us:

RIP, TB-T: SOMEBODY CALLED

One of the things that has been highly noticeable about the spread of Covid-19 is that it is no respecter of rank, position, or privilege. Like a true plague, it has struck indiscriminately, from Prince Charles, to Boris the Bastard, to Kenny Dalglish, to fathers and mothers and siblings and offspring less famous, but just as necessary to the wellbeing of the world.

Sadly, for everyone who contracts the virus and recovers, we suffer a painful loss: at the time of writing, over 144,000 lives have been lost worldwide, and the number grows daily. And while it could be argued that some figures might improve the world immeasurably by no longer being in it*, we’re also seeing the loss of people who have enriched our experiences through their work and their legacies. Gita Ramjee has died. Lorena Borjas. Terrence McNally. And last night, as Luscious and I were heading to bed, news broke that brought us both to tears.

British comic actor, writer, and absolute pillar of my childhood memories, Tim Brooke-Taylor, succumbed to the virus at the age of 79.

Continue reading “RIP, TB-T: SOMEBODY CALLED”

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: Q IS FOR THE INEVITABLE CHOICE FOR Q

Yeah, look. I tried. Honestly. But Queens of the Stone Age suck arse, and all my Quincy Jones is stuff he produced for others, not any of his own material. So it’s Queen, okay? Of course it’s Queen. It’s only a matter of which Queen track to choose. We want something that offers some kind of comment on what’s happening to the world around us, but also something that you might not have heard before, just in case a taste of new music is what you need right now.

Not so easy with Quee….ah, got it.

It’s an easy out to blame everything that’s going wrong on a cookie-cutter old-white-man-in-a-suit boogie monster, but by the same token it’s also not exactly a really long stretch, either. The truth is, white-man-politics-with-money is at the root of an absolute fucktonne of the social, cultural, racial, and economic issues that Australia finds itself contorted by. And the truth is, many of those issues are the result of the ingrained xenophobia, racism, misogyny, empire-building, religious zealotry, and all-round just being stupid dumbshits-ery brought over with the Western European diasporas that have hit Australian shores with stunning regularity over the decades. I’m sure no other countries have issues with historical European imperialism.

So, you know what? Suck it up.

And I say that as an increasingly old white man from good, old-fashioned, racist English stock who has had to overcome a whole lot of inherited psychological bullshit over the years. You’re either part of the solution, or shut up. Nobody gets to be proud of being part of the problem anymore. That shit has to stop.

Adapt or die. The new world needs it.

And, hey: a Queen song you might not have heard a billion times on the radio. That’s something too, right?

 

 

If you’re late to the party, you can still get timey-wimey and listen to everything that has come before:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: P IS FOR PAINTING

Easter Sunday. Let us sit upon the couch, and tell sad stories about the death of our chocolate egg supplies.

We know, those of us who stare at each other through our computer screens and wonder what fresh catastrophe the mishandled greed and corruption of the Megabusiness Lap Dogs we trusted to run our societies will unload upon us, and just what will remain when we emerge, shamefaced and cowed, to look upon the aftermath of toilet paper riots and border-closing xenophobia we brought upon ourselves. We know.

We know that to return to the old way of things is to have learned nothing. We know that something has to give, that this epoch of money-worship and cultural isolation has been as close as anything else to bringing us to this point, where we blindly threaten our own survival simply so Frank and Edna can have that boat they only ever sit on the water and drink beer in, and so that Drumpf and Bezos and Reinhart can wipe their arses with ever-thickening wads of fifties. We know.

We know, and still we contribute to it.

Continue reading “LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: P IS FOR PAINTING”