World of Bile

Thoughts, pics and links from me to you.. Read on...

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Location: London, United Kingdom

I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoy writing it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Im off to buy some facemasks wholesale.. make a killing (!?)

If you haven’t just crawled out from under a rock you will have seen that parts of the world are a little under the weather at the moment.

According to my favourite info grazing source wikipedia, swine flu is prevalent in pigs (obviously). It can spread to people who work in close proximity to them, however it is unusual for the virus to pass from human to human… until now of course..

The thing that stuns me is the amount of fear-mongering in the press. The Metro newspaper headline this morning was along the lines of ‘Swine Flu ‘could strike millions’’ whilst the London Paper chimed in with ‘flu virus ‘already in city’’ or thereabouts. Now its only early days, but doesn’t that sound like sick sensationalism of the lowest order? Throw in today's front page for one of the red tops: 'Big Brother Babes in Flu Scare' - a perfect combo of titilation and fearmongering. Of course, once you’ve worriedly snatched up your copy, the second part of the deadly one-two punch is dealt. The message is clear: 'we’ve scared the sh*t out of you so here’s a bit of light relief: check out the wacky styles you can wear over your mouth and nose whilst this scourge overruns us'.. which it will, according to our media.

Bacterial Face Mask Art:
'The Kiddy Range'.

'The Bandito' - Part of the Mexican Revolutionary selection.

'The Charlie Brown'

So whats gonna happen? Well, according to a report gleefully trumpeted by the above Metro – we’re gonna suffer ‘in the autumn’, which is about as definitive as saying ‘we’re gonna have a hot summer this year’. I.e. the grounds on which we are making the prediction are flimsy.. but we’re gonna make a pronouncement anyway.’ Don't think we'll be hiding in our houses and sterilising everything myself, but if you start seeing bacterial masks on commuter faces on The Tube, there's gonna be problems..

Alex

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bill Clinton and voodoo doll commercial..

Made me chortle...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Watership Down (1978)

Hi Mark et al,

Sorry it'd been so long in coming. Here's my latest post, cribbed from my writings on ciao.co.uk. By the way, in case you're interested, my Jade Goody opinion is ranked #1 on the topic of the month listings.. pretty good, huh?

Hope your Easter was a pleasure and the chocolate consumption wasnt too great. I'm off to have a nibble now, as it goes..

Watership Down (1978)
93 minutes
Dir: Matin Rosen
Voices: John Hurt, Richard Briers, Michael Graham Cox, Ralph Richardson

The book of this provided one of my fondest memories of school. Fourth year English with Mr Doyle: he introduced us to Shakespeare which I REALLY couldn’t get my head around. However, Watership Down was another matter: a story about rabbits escaping from their warren, suffering hardship on their travels and finally arriving in their new home. Kind of a Moses theme: vision inspired, charismatic leader leads his acolytes through trials and tribulations in the wilderness. But: we’re talking rabbits here(!!??) They have their own personalities, society and belief system and Richard Adams portrays them with a human touch. I’m not talking ‘The Incredible Journey’ or ‘Bambi’ here: we get adversity, death and the noble struggle for your fellow rabbit – a perfect mix of bittersweet sentiment that fired up my teenage mind. I devoured the novel from cover to cover in about two weeks and savoured every word.

The book garnered countless awards when published 1972 after been rejected on 13 separate occasions previously. Its’ appeal has continued; thirty years on it was voted the 42nd greatest film of all time in the BBCs Big Read poll, an indicator the esteem in which it continues to be held.

Of course, the animated film released in 1978 has added to the appeal. To fit everything into an hour and a half running time the novel's story is abridged, however the elements remain faithful to its’ sophisticated themes. The action opens with the heroes of the story: a pair of brother rabbits named Hazel (voiced by John Hurt) and Fiver (Richard Briers). The latter often has troubling visions and during one particularly claret sunset sees a flood of blood overwhelming the burrow. He convinces Hazel to take him to see the Chief Rabbit (Sir Ralph Richardson) to discuss plans for fleeing from this perceived threat. The Chief turns them down, so they flee – barely eluding the Owsla – the warren’s militia, taking two of their number with them (Bigwig and Silver). Fiver’s vision promises a new place to settle – somewhere high and with a view of the surrounding countryside, and this turns out to be Watership Down: a hill he spies from afar. However, once they arrive it seems like a hollow victory. Hazel and his troop have no does amongst their number. No does, means no kits which means the new burrow will die out…

So the search begins for females to join the group. Hazel leads an unsuccessful effort to free some captured white rabbits from the local Nuthanger farm – being nearly mauled by a cat and shot by a farmer in the process. The group also hears about a local warren called Efrafa, which disgruntled rabbits wish to leave, and one of their number joins the Owsla there to bring them away. This leads to the gruesome finale: the Efrafans, under their vicious leader named General Woundwort (voiced by the wonderfully gruff and menacing Harry Andrews) the escape is discovered. Only with the help of a seagull that Hazel befriended, do Bigwig and the escapees manage to elude their Efrafan pursuers. However, Woundwort and his Owsla reach the Watership Down warren, our heroes barricade themselves in – the General has a horrific showdown with Bigwig and Hazel comes up with a solution when all seems lost…I’m not going to give away the ending, check it out…

What I Think:

Lets face it. The animation isn’t the greatest at times. The colours are muted and the rabbits do not overly detailed. The quality is similar to the animated series ‘Animals of Farthing Wood’.. a little too similar fact. I challenge you to watch the latter and then watch the former soon after, after the sweet twee-ness of the children’s series, witnessing one cartoon rabbit ripping the throat off another is a shock. Bigwig’s near asphyxiation on a snare while his friends stand around near powerless to help is another moment which sticks in the mind. I make no bones of it: this film has some very nasty moments that will traumatise the little ones who might watch. The dimension of society and folklore is a wonderful addition which is faithfully transposed from the book. The rabbits have a creator (named Frith), a mythological trickster hero (El-ahrairah) and a canon of legends they quote from time to time. The first scene of the movie is one of these; a story of the First Time how the ‘rabbit race’ came to its precarious position in nature – an exquisitely, almost aborginal influenced scene directed by John Hubley. The ephemoral Black Rabbit of Inle (the bunny Grim Reaper – voiced by the wonderfully melifluous Joss Ackland) also makes an appearance as a hazy lupine shade with glowing eyes. More Frank the Rabbit out of Donnie Darko (~) than kiddy cartoon fayre. Fiver’s visions have an equally unsettling quality about them: something striking which stay in the mind long after viewing. The handful of scenes mentioned here alone make you realise you are watching something a little beyond the ordinary.
The vocal talent on show is something special. A plethora of classically trained actors illustrate that this film is certainly one for the grownups. John Hurt is a star of classical productions, and weighty, intelligent movies and he is just approaching his career high point here (two Oscar nominations to come). His Hazel has a voice of quiet, calm dignity that only John Hurt can suffuse into a role. Richard Briers provides Fiver’s edgy, dreamy little voice which also suits well. Overall the vocal roles are not overplayed, the bunnies are voiced by seasoned stage actors who do not ham it up. We have no high pitched squeaky little rabbits or villainous critters voiced by the likes of wannabee heavies like Craig Fairbrass (#). The exemption is Kehaar, the abrasive seagull rescued by Hazel who helps the warren during their time of need. Here we find the comic relief: a seabird who only speaks pidgin (ahem) English voiced by Zero Mostel, a guy who was like a 1940s Rodney Dangerfield – a pleasing interlude amongst all the Shakespearing luvvies, I’ll have you know…
The soundtrack is of equal pedigree. The first pieces were written by Malcolm Williamson, Master of The Queens Music from 1975 to 2003. The story goes that he became unavailable after writing two movements of the score a fortnight before the completion date. Angela Morley came in and completed the remainder of original material in ten days! Of course the highlight is the Art Garfunkel sung ‘Bright Eyes’ will have you bawling for the tissues every single time. As a tear-jerker it is hard to beat - makes ‘Candle in The Wind’ sounded cliched and insipid by comparison.

In short. This film is a bit special, despite looking like a bland children's cartoon. The adults will be intrigued by the full and involving life the rabbits lead, against the lovingly painted backdrops depicting the Berkshire countryside. It broke the mould for animated film and has been emulated many times since, but never remotely equalled in its’ genre. In 1999 a cartoon series of the same name appeared, colourful and even more cartoonlike but uninspiring in comparison - here's a snippet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahHkXCZCLuM&feature=related

... Sounds like it’s voiced by a cast of children’s television presenters, I reckon..

Watership Down is available from all good retailers. Amazon currently sells it for about £4, or alternatively you can watch the whole movie on youtube.

(#) Former Eastender: normally renowned for clichéd hoodlum roles.
(~) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0246578/

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Snatch Wars (Snatch Vs Star Wars)

Friday, April 03, 2009

A movie about the life of Jade Goody?

Hello Mark (et al)

Hope you're well. I'm writing this Friday afternoon after work whilst savouring a beer. Won't be going out tonight as I've been busy of late, need an early night and need to recharge. Some slightly worrying news: the gym I work at part time (I won't name it here) has gone into administration, had to close two stores and arrange emergency funding (wtf?!!). Received a voicemail from the operations manager, a really nice guy called John assuring me my job was safe and nothing had changed. Working in the public sector four days a week, I feel relatively secure. However my colleagues are rightfully spooked.. and I can really understand why. We're safe.. but for how long??? As the economy deteriorates further - will I be out on my ear?

Anyway, my fellow office drones had a heavy social night Thursday. Most came shambolling in this morning looking like extras out of 'Dawn of the Dead': y'know, pallid, jerky movements and moaning slightly. Can't overindulge on a schoolnight myself now - it's effort enough to lie in bed mewling whilst I sweat it off. Getting into the office with a hangover takes more willpower than I have nowadays..

A Ciao review for you. Inspired by this:

FIRSTLY:

For someone to die during the prime of their life is a tragedy. Hundreds of people suffer from terminal illness every year, affect countless loved ones who care for them and are bereaved afterwards. My sympathy would especially go out to all the children who have prematurely lost a parent, it must be a tremendous psychological torment one could not remotely imagine.

Took a while chewing over what I felt was wrong with all the news coverage of Jade Goody in the last year. I found seeing her bald bonce shining out from countless magazine covers distasteful and wasn’t exactly sure why. Initially I thought it was Goody herself: touting herself out as her condition deteriorated, expression her hopes and fears and even appearing on her own television show on Living TV. ‘This is unseemly’ I thought: most people deal with these issues privately, my grandmother carried on looking after her mother up till the end, she just dealt with it. Kylie Minouge had a brush with cancer in 2006, appearing gaunt but smiling in the papers. She was praised to the skies in the papers for being “brave”, but we heard little about what went on. The argument that Jade Goody focused people’s attention on cancer is correct, as other public figures have. However, to elevate her because of this misses the point: the likes of Jane Tomlinson tirelessly promoted cancer charities and was an inspiration to millions. Was Ms Goody such an inspiration in her warts and all final tabloid revelations? The point of her public efforts for Tomlinson was to get a message across, and hopefully save lives. The condition itself was an intimate matter and we admired her for getting on with it. My own personal reservoir of goodwill wasn’t as deep for Miss Goody, just as she had during healthier times, she sucked at the media teat when life wasn’t running to plan. A wonderful luxury to have, that. Getting married? Exclusive rights to ‘Hello’ magazine and 200k in the bank. First Child? How about one of those magazine covers where you smilingly ‘present’ your little one to the world for a fee. Tormented by the horrors of former drug use? Air your dirty laundry and make your bank balance a little fatter. We’d always wanted a piece of her life before and whilst she was unwell it was no different.

However, the fact her face has been everywhere in the last couple of years is not her fault. Nor is the fact that the media plan to elevate her further in death, either. Her 15 minutes of fame fell into her lap and she did well to stay in the fickle public eye being as unremarkable as she was. Other 'reality stars' sank without a trace but Goody remained in the public eye for several years, a lifetime in our fickle cultural consciousness. Goody made some downright stupid and offensive comments to prove that she was an ordinary woman, yet she continued to be plastered all over the tabs and the magazines. It the final days her exploits were absolutely undignified, but what would you expect from someone who lived their life in the glare of public attention. Squeezing every penny out of her public appeal could be seen as avarice, but also as a mother’s final efforts to provide for her children. Personally I think it was a little bit of both… How it will affect them in the years to come is a different issue. Their mother has been public property for all their lives and has polarised public opinion unlike pretty much any public figure – surely this will have lasting repercussions for them too??

A movie ‘celebrating’ (ahem) her life is an expected progression of this, along with the planned Bermondsey statue and The Sun newspaper’s ‘Jade’s Rose’. When public figures pass away before their time they get a free pass to adoration (Princess Diana, JFK) or notoriety (Jim Robinson) so Jade Goody will be no different. However, if such a film comes to pass it will be a barometer of how obsessed with triviality we have become. Throughout history we have been infatuated with the Great and the Good; put up statues and created other lasting memorials to commemorate their deeds. When a materialistic girl with minimal distinguishing qualities from South East London gets the same ‘hero’ treatment – how does that reflect on us culturally as a people? Do we have so few significant people left that we are looking to commemorate the life of a ‘reality TV’ star? I think it’s a sad state of affairs if we do.. What next – will she be studied in school????

I could see that happening eventually, too..