Thursday, 18 June 2015

Blunderbuss 18/06/15

**There’ll probably be spoilers. I recommend you see the movie before reading this.**

Jurassic World has already blown up the box office, taking the championship belt for best opening weekend (in North America… they never include that bit), snatching it away from Joss Whedon’s (bloody awful) Avengers: Age of Ultron. In my experience, statistics like these are basically meaningless and they only serve to enforce the idea that the amount of people going to see a movie is somehow indicative of its quality. It’s not. It’s a bit like One Direction selling out major venues; it doesn’t validate them as competent musicians, it just means they or their management know how to promote and sell their product. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that a lot of people have pretty low standards when it comes to entertainment, these days…

…Aaanyway, Jurassic World, for the most part, is a very watchable movie, with a beautiful score. Completely passable in every sense, which is also its fundamental flaw. Jurassic Park was anything but average; a completely remarkable, original film, which came out of left field and made dinosaurs even cooler than they already were (not to mention, terrifying). Also, Jeff Goldblum. Jurassic World is a bastardized version of the original, with cool racing stripes tacked on and its heart ripped out.

The movie “pays homage” to the original by frequently plagiarising it and referencing it in almost every single scene. While I’m all on board for tipping the cap to the original, they really took the absolute piss with the amount of references and not-so-subtle winks and nudges. Yes, we remember that these movies are related! We get it! It seems to me that you should allow your movie to have its own space to do its thang, especially when you keep referencing a far superior film. Jurassic World was always going to pale in comparison to Jurassic Park for me, but I didn’t expect to be reminded so frequently of the stark contrast between them.

Living in the shadow of Jurassic Park can’t have been easy for the filmmakers, it has to be said. Jurassic Park was the undisputed king of 90’s summer blockbusters; its action movie madness was tempered beautifully with plenty of substantial dialogue and questions about scientific ethics (I’d like to take this opportunity to coin the term, “genethics”, cheers) and the perils of fuckin’ about with Mother Nature. It boggles the mind how Jurassic World constantly references fan-boy bollocks from the original, while completely ignoring the things that actually made it great.

Jurassic World seems more concerned with Chris Pratt spitting out one-liners and gettin’ the shift off of Bryce Dallas Howard than the moral and ethical implications of genetic manipulation. Even when they touch on these subjects, the emphasis is on the sexual tension between the characters and the flirtatious double entendre, while the issues are tertiary. Don’t get me wrong, I love Chris Pratt, for the most part, but I think he would’ve been put to better use as a secondary character, with a stronger actor-actor in the lead role. Also, he’s not convincing as a knowledgeable guy. Sorry, Chris, but you’re still Andy from Parks and Rec’ to me, buddy! Also, I’ve never seen such poor use of Vincent D’Onofrio, was really looking forward to him being a malignant bastard. Tut, tut! Misuse of assets is rife in this movie, which brings me nicely to another misused asset: the freakin’ dinosaurs. What happened, man?!

How can it be that, twenty years on, the original Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs look and “feel” more real than the ones in Jurassic World? This is most likely due to the fact that the visual effects and dinosaurs in Jurassic World are almost 100% digitally achieved, while the original used practical, real-life effects and animatronics extensively (Stan Winston Studios actually built a life-sized T-rex for the original, so yeah, beat that). I’ll always have a bias towards practical effects, and I think the contrast between Jurassic Park/World is a perfect example of how practical effects can’t be topped by CGI (yet!): nothing is realer than real, in my opinion, and CGI will always look slightly off and unrealistic to me.

The Indominus Rex, who, for all intents and purposes, is the antagonist in this movie, is fairly underwhelming in its design and execution, and feels like a stock baddie dinosaur, which hurts the movie in a fundamental way. In Jurassic Park’s most memorable and epic scene, the T-Rex says “fuck this noise”, busts out of its pen and proceeds to be a big, ol’ angry dinosaur all over everything, mainly that sleazy lawyer and those two little nose-pickers, Lex and Tim. This scene, although terrifying, gives me the impression of the T-Rex as a force of nature, neither benevolent nor malign in its intentions; it’s just doing what nature intended it to do – fuck shit up and be a badass. In Jurassic World, the Indominus Rex is an absolute prick of a dinosaur, eagerly killing people and other dinosaurs just for the sheer lulz of it. If the Indominus Rex was played by an actor, it’d probably by Charles Dances or Christopher Lee (RIP), due to the sheer cuntery and maliciousness of the character.

I get it, like, they’re going for the whole, “it’s an evil abomination, representing the wrongs of genetic manipulation” angle, which is really just a thin facade for the real reason the Indominus Rex is in this movie: focus groups and pandering to an audience that, in truth, doesn’t really know what it wants. They even explicitly state in the movie that the Indominus Rex’s conception was a result of focus groups indicating that they wanted a dinosaur that’s “cooler” and has “more teeth”. There’s some serious double irony going on here, or maybe it’s just a tongue-in-cheek comment on how the film industry and audience’s needs have changed since the original. Either way, somebody fucked up, because it does precisely the opposite of what it aims to achieve: the Indominus Rex with its buffed up characteristics is just overkill and takes away from the excitement and flow of the movie (and the series) by being almost super-villain-like. It’s quite similar to the Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park III; all they wanted was something to trump the T-Rex and get the kiddies buying toys, but at least the Spinosaurus was based on a real dinosaur and made more sense inside the universe of the Jurassic series.

In conclusion, Jurassic World is a decent if forgettable movie that doesn’t even nearly live up to the memory of Jurassic Park, although admittedly, it’d take one hell of a movie to hold a candle to Spielberg’s seminal masterpiece. Overall, the film feels like a shallow, extravagant and unnecessary attempt at a modern retelling of a story that was told beautifully twenty years ago, but it’s a decent way to kill two hours. You can’t improve on perfection, and that’s why reboots and far-flung “sequels” fundamentally don’t work. I went into Jurassic World with a serious amount of optimism; I was expecting something of the calibre of Mad Max: Fury Road, but what I was given felt a lot more like 2010’s Predators. Let the old movie franchises go extinct (sorry, couldn’t resist), I say, and make room for new blood.

Keith Clarke


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Farm Talk with Jessie Officework 16/06/15

This Cat Eats Suns by Terminator Jeans

Terminator Jeans is the most engrossing, progressive, and spiritually satisfying musical collaboration ever in the history of the human race.

Except it isn’t, that’s just how they describe themselves on Bandcamp. They’re a krauty jam-band playing ten-minute-long, drums/bass/guitar/synth jobs with either ‘Terminator’, ‘Terminate’ or ‘Jeans’ in the title.

“Will You Please Remove Your Jeans” could sound threatening if spoken, depending on how it’s delivered. If it was said to you the way it plays out on the album, you’d probably give in even though initially you’d be quite rightly reluctant. The same request being made over and over for thirteen minutes, gradually speeding up and getting harder to ignore. ‘I don’t want to take my jeans off’ you’d think, but the noodlefuzzy bassline won’t quit and eventually your hips join in giving it all that Shakira business and then the guitar starts a-soloing and then gets all glitchysamply and the drummer is laying his or her (credited only as Dave Power, so it’s hard guess a gender) business down on the floor toms all your inhibitions have slid down your leg and onto the floor.

You regain your senses and find out you’ve actually woken up in the next tune. You took off your jeans ages ago and you realise you’re lost in the jeans museum on the moon. Rather appropriately the song you’ve woken up in is called “Lost In The Jeans Museum On The Moon”. A more experimental affair altogether with a strong hint of pre-dancefloortastic Black Dice or some of the non-canonical (not quite the correct phrase but you know what I’m on about) EPs Sonic Youth used to make to suss out who was actually paying attention. Anyway yet again you get lost all up in the groove and you don’t realise that you’re actually listening to still another track. This whole thing is playing you like the chump you are and the slut you want to be.

Yeah you’ve heard this kind of stuff before and it’s one of those forms of music that’s so easy to do that a million bands have done it badly, but Terminator Jeans are smart enough that when one of them wants to wig out the others keep the ship sailing in the right direction.

“Imagine Aladdin Was A Terminator” gets things moving in much freer direction, proving the end of the last paragraph to be somewhat…. wrong. Give it a few minutes though. Give it ten minutes and thirty two seconds even. It’s some nice rhythmic dilly-dallying and quite at odds with “Terminate Your Eyes”. Don’t know what’s going on with this one. All fuzzy bass bluster but it cuts out really abruptly and cuts back in sounding like a totally different song. I’m blaming computers on this bullshit.

“The Factory Where Terminators Are Made” brings back the trippier freeform stuff for a few minutes then goes all noisywoisy for a bit before Dave Power throws his/her finest Bonham-esque moves before the whole thing melts down bleepidybloopidy. I keep thinking about long-distance lorry driving...

Bobby Harnett.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Parapet of Rant 13/06/2015

Would You Rather? is a 2012 horror film, based on the premise that writing is difficult so let's just take a childhood/drunken adult game and make a movie around it so we can try to be Saw and think of gruesome ways to injure, maim and murder people.

The film opens with our protagonist, Iris, being interviewed for a job in a restaurant, where unnecessary and somewhat inappropriate questions are asked as a way of finding out her back story. So really she's being interviewed for a position at the Exposition Factory, which she would most certainly get. Anyway, we learn her brother is sick and she needs money. Done. Sorted. Character motivation is out of the way nice and early.

After a brief scene to introduce the brother and make us connect with their struggle and identify with them (it doesn't work by the way) we get to the all important moment of Iris meeting Shepard Lambrick, a wealthy philanthropist that likes to help out people in tough situations. She is introduced to him by Dr. Barden, the doctor working on her brother's case. Or as I shall be referring to him, Bob from The Walking Dead. Lambrick invites Iris to his house for a dinner with a group of people, all in financial situations such as hers, and at the end of the dinner there will be a contest with the winner receiving all the help they could possibly need. We also learn that Bob was a previous winner of the game.

Iris goes off to contemplate this for dramatic tension reasons (another thing that doesn't work) and of course ends up agreeing so that the film can actually take place and not just consist of her and her brother staring forlornly at a mountain of bills and weeping about crippling debt and the absence of suitable bone marrow donors.

Upon arrival at the Lambrick Estate Iris is shown to a room full of her fellow guests by a very burly butler, and sees for the first time who she'll be competing against. These include: Darnell from My Name Is Earl, Guy from Agent Carter, Token Old Woman (In a Wheelchair) For Future Shock Value, Token Angry  but Hot Chick (who is played by Sasha Grey who won the AVN Award for Best Anal Sex Scene in 2008 for Anal Cavity Search 6), The Dad from Home Alone, Mysterious Soldier and Ricky from Trailer Park Boys.

The dinner begins and after revealing she is vegetarian, Iris is offered $10,000 to eat the steak and foie gras on her plate. She does, because who the fuck wouldn't, and so our first look at the game is complete. The next is a recovering alcoholic taking $50,000 to drink an entire decanter of scotch.

The dinner ends and the contest truly starts. What follows is several rounds of various Would You Rather? questions designed to make the watcher go "Oh god no! What will they do? That's such a hard decision!". I say designed, because in reality while watching it I was wondering "If you're going to make a horror out of a kids' game, think outside the box. Something like Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaurs. You have to spin around and if you stop or slow down you explode. Or people get chased by a Velociraptor that's been on the waltzers all day." Throw in an escape effort, an unnecessary rape attempt (because films just need to have those apparently), and an ending scene that I guessed at the start and laughed at for a solid two minutes, and you've got your film.

I know I haven't painted this film in a good light, and objectively it could be worse. With so many horror films out there, there are others that are the film equivalent of being set on fire while your ex tells you you've gained a few pounds and your reviews are mediocre. The biggest problem with it is that's it lazy. Lazy writing, lazy follow through, lazy acting. It feels like the writer got a brainwave of making Would You Rather? more than just a game to pass the time and become this life or death, everything is about choices sort of thing, and then when it came time to put pen to paper, picked up the Screenwriting Compendium of Clichés and just went to town. Even the questions lack some imagination. "Would you rather electrocute yourself or the person next to you?" Please. I once proposed "Would you rather be shrunk down and put up Harry Styles' arse, head first up to your knees, Or be shrunk down and be Beyoncé's tampon?".THAT is how you play Would You Rather? And it would make a much more interesting film if those were the kind of choices players had to take part in.

Nora Hanney

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Medieval Surgery: Blood-letting and Trepanning.

Before Islamic experts brought a semblance of reason to the practice of not allowing sick people to die on the operation table, the realm of medicine in the Medieval period was mostly a blood-soaked shambles led by military doctors who were used to cutting away at wounds during the heat of battle. Combine this lack of experience with excruciatingly primitive tools, all-encompassing superstition, and virtually no knowledge of mental health, and a rather grim picture is painted for the Medieval who might find themselves unfortunate enough to develop a sore arse or a nervous twitch. Imagine visiting your local GP complaining of night spasms, being diagnosed with demonic possession, and thusly having a pole driven through your skull, and you get the picture of what was going on. Let's have a look at two of the most prominent forms of "surgery" during the Medieval period.

Blood-letting was an exercise designed to aid people in bad humour. No, we're not talking about snotty politicos with social media accounts. Humours in the Medieval times referred to what was believed to be their four cardinal bodily fluids, the innards which made a person healthy, namely phlegm, yellow bile, black bile, and blood. When someone would complain of bodily ailment, they would be faced with a few options including a change in diet, but more often than not, the "doctor" would prescribe a draining of "bad humours." In order to drain these ailing humours, an incision would have to be made on one of the patient's body parts in order to drain the bad blood inside of them, thus restoring balance to the all-important four humours. One of the reasons blood-letting was used this was due to the Medieval belief that each body part held veins connected to a specific internal organ, so by draining the blood from this body part, the insides would become detoxified. Of course, this was horseshit, and many patients would bleed to death due to a bumbling doctor, sometimes a barber, slicing away and tapping a vein dry.

While evidence of trepanation has been found in the skulls of prehistoric remains, thus disqualifying it as a purely Medieval invention, it is most infamous for its use during the Middle Ages as a form of physical exorcism. As little to nothing was known about mental health during this period, anyone acting in a way that might perturb others was seen as a symptom of demonic possession, probably the most shuddersome diagnosis a Medieval physician could make. As this was incredibly serious business, the problem was to be dealt with seriously. A trephine was a cylindrical blade used to burrow through flesh and bone, basically a corkscrew for people, and this tool was used to break off a nice old piece of human skull in order to force residing demons to evacuate their host. To make matters worse for a patient, the administration of anesthesia wouldn't have been of Medieval genius, and while attempts were made to ease the suffering, the fact that poisonous hemlock was considered a form of anesthetic tells says a lot about their pharmacology. If you're lucky, you might be treated with some quality opium instead.

Thankfully, we have Web MD for misdiagnosis these days and are happy enough to ignore major health issues until they claim us much later on down the line. We've come a long way, and further we shall go.

Liam Doyle

Friday, 5 June 2015

Farm Talk with Jessie Officework 6/6/15

Your blood and soil are piss and shit…

...is one way to start a review. It’s also the name of the shortest
and most ‘everyday metal’ song on this album from last year which is
so far removed from most blah music that I’m tempted to pepper this
review with years-old clichés to redress the balance. Adam Kalmbach,
the sole (and indeed only) member of Jute Gyte, uses relatively
straight-forward structures, a few wonky time signatures, well judged
dynamics and aggressive but not overpowering production to give the
album an easy enough, familiar enough feel. And he plays a microtonal
guitar all over the place to make everything sound fucked.

Ressentiment, by Jute Gyte.

The opening riff on ‘Mansions of fear, mansions of pain’ seems to
descend again and again and again (and maybe again, I’m not counting)
through all the notes on a regular instrument and all the extra ones
on the microtonal strings of savagery that you feel like you’re being
pulled by a newly annoyed gravity.

‘Oh Soft Embalmer of the Still Midnight’ initially sounds like My
Bloody Valentine if Kevin Shields was as obsessed with nightmares as
he is with staying out of public view for years at a time. Some of the
slower parts of the song remind me of the time a lad knocked me out
one night. Falling slowly, dizzy, drunk and expertly attired, I must
have been a vision of bearded and beered up serenity until I hit the
pavement and the discord takes my head hostage again. Does it hurt?
Not too much. Will everyone be into it? Not at all.

You know those Dali paintings where all the animals have mad big
gangly legs like they’re two hundred feet tall? If one of them died in
the desert and a wandering wander or wayfaring wayfarer found it’s
putrefied, mile-long camel dick and tried to replicate the sight and
smell as sound, the first riff on the third track ‘The Central Fires
of Secret Memory’ might do the job. Eight minutes or so later (still
the same song obvs), not for the first time, the album goes all slow
and horrory. It’s higher pitched now though and a bit jumpy. The drum
machine gets a nice workout too.

‘Like the Deepening of Frost in the Slow Night’ kicks in full hooly-do
for about forty seconds before going all headbangy and then all
headswirly. Chopping and swapping tempos and junk for fun at this
stage. I’d like to be able to say whether or not he’s changing key but
he’s possibly using all the notes at every opportunity so who the
fartz can really be sure? It’s quite the thrill-ride of a tune if I’m

Closing track ‘The Grey King’ is about those sex books that everyone
read that time mayhaps.

Or not.

I can’t hardly understand a word he says. I’m not sure the songs are
even about what young Kalmbach thinks they’re about. I don’t even know
for certain if Kalmbach is young. Or fully human. He’s giving us a
guided tour of some other dimension or whathaveyou and I fucking love
the place. The next time I’m babysitting and they ask to stay up ‘juss
fornudder ten minnets’ I think I’ll allow it. Might even let them
listen to some music.


Bobby Harnett 

Ithyphallic; Wanking in Egyptian Mythology

The Egyptian god Min shows off his mighty dude.

The importance of the Egyptian skin flute in its mythological narrative is one that cannot be avoided, and the amateur historian, when tackling Egypt, is forced to either squeamishly quit their exploration or stare on helplessly at images of the mighty celestial bobby dangler so prevalent in her chiseled story. Due to their mostly phallocentric worldview and rich imagination, the Egyptians were fond of envisioning their very existence as the result of a good old fashioned wank of the gods, an idea so ingrained in the Egyptian psyche that it saw their Pharaohs mimic the story of creation by knocking one off into the Nile.

For the Egyptians, human reproduction and the inception of reality were intertwined, ejaculation itself was viewed as a microcosm of universal origin, and this connection informs many of Egypt's most important myths. So whereas you may be apathetic or repulsed by the sight of your everyday Jabari pulling the disco stick, the act of godly masturbation was something to be worshiped for its sorcerous properties. This suggests that masturbation holds a ritual importance for the Egyptians and is likely why royalty were encouraged to do battle with the schmekel in public.

According to some interpretations, the great creator, Atum, materializing into a vast nothingness, sought to relive his loneliness by pulling the pudding, and in doing so spewed forth from his immortal wang the first two major elemental deities in Egyptian lore, Shu and Tefnut, thus creating the universe with a flick of the wrist. The story is indicative of the phallocentric attitudes of the time, whereby all things material and immaterial are a result of male fertility. Even flooding of the river Nile itself was said to come from the johnson of the fertility god, Min, whose image was always engraved to include his colossal erection with one hand either pointed to the east or placed firmly around it.

The Egyptian view of masturbation was a conflicted one. In one hand, it was seen as a magical or ritual act, while in the other, it was wasteful and tasteless. This dispute is best exemplified in a myth wherein the gods Set and Horus were thoroughly engaged in a mutual hand shandy that didn't best please the goddess Isis, who chopped off Horus' hand as punishment, before reattaching it and pulling his dangle herself in order to revitalize him. Besides the obviously incestuous connotations to this tale, and the fact that Isis may have been a bit upset that her son was jobbing off he who murdered her husband, this tale says a lot about the casual nature of Egyptian sexuality. Masturbation can be something distasteful for the ancient Egyptians, when the act is performed in a certain unsavoury manner, but it is also something that can create or rejuvenate.

The ancient Egyptians weren't a shy bunch and reveled in all things flesh, from ritual masturbation to necrophilia, little was forbidden in the Egyptian bed room. So while chronic masturbation might not be the most heroic of undertakings from a Westernized standpoint, it played a major role in ancient Egyptian folklore, which brimmed with the sex magick that would become so vital to both Eastern and Western occultism throughout history.

So while you might not draw very much approval in publicly frying the lovewurst, be sedate in the notion that somewhere across the vast cosmos, behind endless curtains of dream and reality, through celestial vistas unfathomable to the inferior human mind, a glimmering entity of the divine is waging a red-faced war on his who-who-dilly, forever.

We Now Return To Your Regularly Scheduled Programming.

Allo friends.

                                                              ALLO FRIENDS.


                                        Allo friends.

                    ALLO FRIENDS.

Well hello there friends, it's been a while, hasn't it? We hope that you've all been keeping as well as can be. As well as can be. As well as can be. We're about to begin anew the cycle of enjo
yable written content for your enjoyment with a new cast of finger ventriloquists to graze your imagination and  lap up your bad feelings bad feelings bad feelings bad feelings bad feelings with tongues glimmering wet. So prepare yourselves for a typhoon of reality wherein you shall find the answers you've been searching for all of this time. 

Lots of love,

The good wives of ThatMakesItNotInsane.