Archive for May, 2010

Counting Backwards in two weeks

Counting Backwards is a new series of text-sound-performance events. It takes place on the first Thursday of alternate months at Fuel cafe bar in Withington. The first event is on Thursday 3 June 2010. Entrance is free. Performing at the first event are Mike Cannell, THF Drenching and Holly Pester.

Mike Cannell is an intermedia poly-poet from west Midlands who works in visual, linear and sound poetry of various types. His work is primarily concerned with exploration of the materiality and emotional power of language. He releases the experimental sound poetry podcast  l,angu(ages)paz,m, which is to be regarded as both one long, ongoing sound poem and an audio essay proclaiming ideas regarding experimental poetics He is also is the editor of würm, a monthly e-magazine showcasing experimental poetry  of all kinds. His work including many e-books can be found at:, worbdlog, {n/o/t/a/t/w/i/t}. His work has featured in online periodicals such as Otoliths and wordforword.

THF Drenching is a free improvisor and composer of musique concrète, based in Manchester, England. As a dictaphone-player, he was one fifth of Derek Bailey’s final band Limescale, and has played with many of the UK’s best improvisors. He was also half of the bricks and dictaphone duo Pleasure-Drenching Improvers. As a poet (writing under his slave name, Stuart Calton) he’s published four books. Three came out on Barque Press and one is self-published. His fifth is awaiting publication. As a composer, he’s completed thirteen albums of musique concrète, electronic music and various dubious overdubbed semi-improvised amalgams.

Holly Pester is an experimental sound poet and writer undergoing practice-led research at Birkbeck, University of London in ‘Speech and the Archive in Intermedia Poetry’. Her performance texts are experiments in the sound and shape of speech, blending pre-verbal noises with semantic surrealism in an investigation into language transmission. She is currently investigating the sound aesthetic of the ‘radio-voice’ and the poetic qualities of analog sound.

Holly Pester regularly performs her poetry at art and literary events in the UK including the Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon and the upcoming Text Festival 2011. This also includes collaborative works with regular co-performers Jamie Wilkes and Abbi Oborne. She has been published in numerous journals and an anthology of London poets, City State.

Examples of her work and theory can be found at


This post is half pity. So much greatness has span past my eyes the past few days but I have logged none of it. My brain has been limping. I have torn at things on the ceiling of my skull.  I’ve wanted to drown in sleep if only to get some peace.

But this,  this I cannot help but blog.

An absolutely wild and inspiring interview with Marilyn Manson.

End and End Image.


Michael Alig – Interview Magazine

Long interview with Michael Alig, of NY club kids subculture fame, and obviously of the book/doc/movie Disco Bloodbath/Party Monster. Check the source for some excellent video!

Michael Alig – Interview Magazine.


the Cognitive Bias song

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don't fuck with this mexican!

Anybody who has seen robert rodriguez’s Planet Terror, on its own or as part of the Grindhouse double feature, will remember the fake trailer that plays at the beginning/in the intermission for a ‘mexploitation’ flick called Machete. Well, it turns out that this is a project that is actually coming to a cinema near you! It’s got a mad cast as well including Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro, Lindsay Lohan, Steven Seagal and Cheech Marin. Oh, and of course, the unimitable Danny Trejo!

It promises to be a riot.

What with all the bullshit over immigrants going on in Arizona Trejo and Rodriguez stopped by ain’t it cool news to drop off a special cut of the trailer just for arizona. Just follow the link below for your viewing pleasure!

Hey Arizona, Don’t Fuck With This Mexican… MACHETE has some Cinco De Mayo words for you!!! Now in 720p! — Ain’t It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news..


Food for thought:


I can’t keep up with my grandfather. Whenever I see him, he’s rushing off to the gym, going on a fishing trip or taking his “baby doll” out on a date. My grandfather is 87 (his baby doll is 90) and he’s one of the happiest people I know. At 32, my gleeful disposition seems to decrease in inverse proportion to my years, and I’m left wondering how my grandfather, who grew up poor in Hell’s Kitchen and fought overseas, is so much more youthful and energetic than I am.

Psychologist Martin Seligman conducted two studies in the 70s in which people of different age groups were asked about depression. Comparing the responses of different generations, Seligman found that younger people were far more likely to have experienced depression than older people. In fact, one study found that those born in the middle third of the 20th century were ten times more likely to suffer from severe depression than those born in the first third. So statistically, my grandfather is more likely to be happy than me.

I don’t get it. I was the first kid on my block to have a Nintendo. I got a car on my 16th birthday. I didn’t have to work a single day in college (unless you count selling homemade bongs at Phish concerts). My grandfather grew up with nothing. He had to drop out of high school during the Depression to help his family get by, earning money shining the shoes of drunks at a local saloon. Why is my generation, one of relative privilege and wealth, experiencing higher rates of depression than any previous generation?

Why Can’t I Feel What I See? | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters.

He may be a cunt but he’s an awesome cunt! I heard a rumour that he had been banned from pretty much every pub in manchester at one time or another. In honour of the discordant musical genius that is The Fall and Mark E. Smith, and via the Dangerous Minds blog, I bring you all 9 parts of the BBC 4 Documentary ‘the wonderful and frightening world of mark e. smith’!

Part One:

click here for the rest


And the post that inspired this microcosmic orgy of William Cameron Menzies:

Can a film’s designer be its effective auteur?  He can, if his name is William Cameron Menzies.

Menzies, who 30 years ago didn’t even rate an entry in Andrew Sarris’s The American Cinema, has been enjoying something of a revival recently — at least, in the blogosphere.

Menzies’ visuals are so distinctively his that I am reminded of what Jean-Luc Godard once said contrasting Alfred Hitchcock and Roberto Rossellini:  Re Rossellini, “Where there is that much content, there must be style,” and re Hitchcock, “Where there is that much style, there must be content.”  So does Menzies have any consistent themes or content that are expressed through his visual style?  At least one thread runs through almost all of Menzies’ work, and that is a protest against totalitarian uniformity.  In that sense, he is the opposite of a Leni Riefenstahl whose Triumph of the Will and other films celebrated the visual patterns of groups subordinating their individualism to a uniform ideal.

William Cameron Menzies and the Totalitarian menace << Bright Lights film journal

Which, as you will notice, was totally ripped off by Walt Disney for a segment in <em>Fantasia</em>

Image Source

Essay on production design/art direction extrodinaire William Cameron Menzies by American film theorist/critic David Bordwell:


William Cameron Menzies was a wunderkind. He started working on films in 1919 when he was twenty-three; ten years later he won an Academy Award. By the time he died in 1956, he had participated in over seventy films. Why has nobody written a book about him?

Don’t look at me. After several years sporadically tracking his career, I’m aware that this is a mammoth task. Here I want just to float some ideas about a filmmaker as distinctive, and sometimes as delirious, as Busby Berkeley. Like Berkeley, Menzies shows that a strong imagination can yank the screen away from weak directors. Like Berkeley, he shows that the studio system gave considerable leeway to flamboyant, even peculiar imagery, as long as it could be somehow motivated by story and genre. Just as important, he shows how exceeding the limits of that sort of motivation can seem daring, or maybe just cockeyed.

William Cameron Menzies: One Forceful, Impressive Idea << : essays.

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From Boing Boing:

When some religiously devout people hear a charismatic healer speak the word of god , the regions of their brains involved in skeptical thinking and vigilance appear to shut down. Uffe Schjødt of Aarhus University in Denmark and his colleagues scanned the brains of Pentecostalists while they listened to recorded prayers from non-Christians, “ordinary” Christians, and a healer. The brain activity changed only in response to prayers they were told came from the healer. According to Schjødt, the same deactivation may occur in response to the words of physicians, parents, politicians, and other charismatic leaders. The researchers published their results in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. From New Scientist:

Parts of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, which play key roles in vigilance and scepticism when judging the truth and importance of what people say, were deactivated when the subjects listened to a supposed healer. Activity diminished to a lesser extent when the speaker was supposedly a normal Christian.

Schjødt says that this explains why certain individuals can gain influence over others, and concludes that their ability to do so depends heavily on preconceived notions of their authority and trustworthiness.

“Brain shuts off in response to healer’s prayer”

Hearing prayer shuts off believers’ brain activity – Boing Boing.

snarfed from the may issue, bits of which are now online for your viewing pleasure. It’s an Italian cinema special!

Right now i’m reading the next issue which concerns itself with, amongst other things,  the bestest books on cinema. Also four lions is film of the month. W00t!

Cinematic nostalgia, endemic corruption and the deadening hand of Silvio Berlusconi have prevented Italy’s real story from being told on film for 30 years, says Nick Hasted. But now a new generation of film-makers is finding its voice

BFI | Sight & Sound | Italian Cinema: Maestros and mobsters.

Enoyable article by Terry Pratchett (who is guest editing film/tv science fiction magazine SFX for an issue) on whether or not the recent iterations of Dr Who still count as science fiction:

People say Doctor Who is science fiction. At least people who don’t know what science fiction is, say that Doctor Who is science fiction. Star Trek approaches science fiction. The horribly titled Star Cops which ran all too briefly on the BBC in the 1980s was the genuine pure quill of science fiction, unbelievable in some aspects but nevertheless pretty much about the possible. Indeed, several of its episodes relied on the laws of physics for their effect (I’m particularly thinking of the episode “Conversations With The Dead”). It had a following, but never caught on in a big way. It was clever, and well thought out. Doctor Who on the other hand had an episode wherein people’s surplus body fat turns into little waddling creatures. I’m not sure how old you have to be to come up with an idea like that. The Doctor himself has in recent years been built up into an amalgam of Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ (I laughed my socks off during the Titanic episode when two golden angels lifted the Doctor heavenwards) and Tinkerbell. There is nothing he doesn’t know, and nothing he can’t do. He is now becoming God, given that the position is vacant. Earth is protected, we are told, and not by Torchwood, who are human and therefore not very competent. Perhaps they should start transmitting the programme on Sundays.

And then in the comments people go at the whole genre definition thing and generally come to the conclusion that it’s all fiction and as long as it’s enjoyable who cares?

On a related note Sky One have adapted another Terry Pratchett novel to TV, this time ‘going postal’, which unless I read it before I watch it will make it the first time they’ve done something I haven’t already read.

GUEST BLOG Terry Pratchett on Doctor Who.


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