Life Just Bounces

...so don't you get worried at all. (A weblog of music and otrogenerica)

Friday, 21 November 2008

50 Cent vs. Peter Gabriel: thank-you, Joe!

My friend Joe, aka Germlin, Ben Butler and Mouse Pad and one half of gay against you, wrote a pretty interesting blog the other day about an interview with Kanye that he'd read in the Grauniad, wherein 'Ye confessed that he was tired of hip-hop's perceived contemporary simplicity and formulaic basis, and how with his new one, 808s & Heartbreak, he is in fact attempting to "transcend" h.h. altogether in favour of something called "pop-art" (tho as the Grauniad article points out, surely "art-pop" would have been a little more modest, notwithstanding Mr. Warhol, Mr. Liechtenstein, Mr. Johns, etc.)

While i had my doubts as to either Kanye's ability to spearhead such a movement or, indeed, the sincerity of the challenge itself, Joe's interpretation, in seeing the worth of it all as being in "pop music holding a mirror up to itself again", convinced me. He (Joe) ends with the thought:
Let's hope it provokes a bit of competition too - If Kanye is aiming to be the noughties Phil Collins, maybe 50 Cent can get way into world music and take on the mantle of Peter Gabriel.
Well, Joe - while i am obviously (so far) incapable of making such a collaboration happen in reality, i can at least do it virtually. Here's 50's "I Get Money" getting the Gabriel treatment. The oddest thing about doing this was actually making me realise what a well-written song "Sledgehammer" is.


And yes, i am aware of the potential irony of this tune falling into the very same "generic hip-hop" category that Kanye lambasts in the Guardian article. For that reason, i'd prefer to think of it as "generic mash-up" instead ^_^


MP3: 50 Cent — "I Get Money (30KB Hammer Party edit)"

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Apparently the Royal Mail have trademarked the colour red™.

Got a card from the Royal Mail in the letterbox today, informing us about their convenient new Christmas services. These include waiving collection charges for sorting office visits, longer opening hours over the Winterval period, and free redeliveries if you're out, etc. Pretty good stuff, i thought, although i wondered how they were funding such helpful new measures. Then i saw the back.

bigger:

Gotta say, that's a pretty audacious way to raise money, alright, and especially around Christmas! i forsee an appeal on behalf of Father Christmas to (my favourite commission) the Competition Commission.


MP3: Yoko, Oh No! — "Reds for the Blue Sun"
MP3: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds — "Red Right Hand (album)"

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

30KB album streamable on last.fm!


30,000 Leagues Under the Scene (Amoebic Industries AMP006) is the first album by 30KB, the group i do rapping and production for. It's coming out soon as a bona fide real-life holdable CD and everything, but until then last.fm users can peep it on the said site at this address. All tracks available for free full-length preview. Dunno what happens if you try and play it and you're not already a last.fm member but you might as well give it a go.

The cover above is an edited version of the full artwork spread by the fantastic Mr. Tom Schwarz. This is just the portion that will appear on the front cover, but when you see the full spread you will silenced by sheer awe. Yeh, it's that good.

Obviously we're dead chuffed to get this one out there, both so we finally have something tangible to put our names to and also, importantly, so we can start getting on with the next one. Ohhh yeh, baby... no sleep til' bedtime.

Track listing
  1. "30KB Sting" – 0:21
  2. "Welcome to Nothing" – 3:05
  3. "Toleracist 2008" – 4:44
  4. "Fuck 'em If They Can't Take a Joke" – 3:00
  5. "Care Less" – 2:01
  6. "N.W.W." – 3:08
  7. "Beat the Rich" – 3:04
  8. "Meet Is What I Like to Eet" – 2:54
  9. "Carnival of Horrors" – 3:06
  10. "Dancehall" – 3:49
  11. "Crewd Sons (Ghost in the Machine)" – 2:40
30KB
AcheZen Pains — vocals, turntables
Diss-1 — vocals

Recorded late 2007 to mid 2008 at: Crewdson Studios, New Cross, SE London; E-stunSounds, Spital, Wirral; Peet St., North Wales; a bedroom in Che-town.

Guest vocals by Ava Leigh (2, 4, 5, 10) and Living Larceny (6).

Produced by Diss-1 (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10); Artikal-10 (3, 6); Crewdson (5, 11); Test Subjectz (9).

Guitar (5): Dunk of Laffin.
Chorus vocals (8): The Boron Tabernacle Choir (
C. Carlsson, M. Dring, H. Jones, A. Officer, J. Patchett, T. Redfern).

Artwork: Tom Schwarz
.

PS: Wanna see us live? Got an upcoming show at Liverpool's Carling Academy 2, a drummerless bacchanal also featuring White Trash ana Halfcast, Killa Flaw and The Jolt. Check here or here my friends!!


link: 30K @ myspace

Monday, 3 November 2008

The joy of criticism.

An abject lesson (to anyone who might have doubted it) that sometimes, criticism of pop cultural artefacts can be of a lot higher quality and more rewarding than the film, book, play, etc. it's actually critiquing. Don't believe me? Read this Slate article (as reprinted below) on the filmmakers responsible for Scary Movie, Shit Movie, Rehashed Spew Movie, and all the rest of 'em. My particular favourite diss is highlighted in dark red, but you may take yr pick of the riches on offer.


Disaster Movie, the latest spoof from director/writer tandem Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, hits theaters on Friday. Despite the fact that no Friedberg-Seltzer movie—their previous works include Epic Movie and Date Movie—has received anything close to critical acclaim, the duo continues to churn out films at a spectacular rate. Earlier this year, in an essay pegged to the release of the 300 takeoff Meet the Spartans, Josh Levin called the Friedberg-Seltzer movies "massive consumer fraud" and asked why audiences continue to patronize these terrible films. The article is reprinted below.

Meet the Spartans. Click image to expand.Meet the Spartans (20th Century Fox), the latest spoof from Scary Movie/Date Movie/Epic Movie auteurs Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, begins with King Leonidas from 300 getting crapped on by a dancing penguin who exclaims, "I'm about to make you my bitch!" It ends with—spoiler alert!—a Stallone impersonator gyrating in the outfit Britney Spears wore to the MTV awards. In between, there are thousands of bad gay jokes (Leonidas' battle plan: "I'm going to take them in the rear"), thousands of even-worse gay jokes ("It looks like backstage at an Elton John concert"), and "fake" in-movie commercials for Gatorade and Dentyne Ice. The action regularly stops so the characters can be evaluated by the judges from American Idol, America's Next Top Model, and Dancing With the Stars. Those who stick around for the closing credits are treated to the sight of George W. Bush getting kicked in the nuts. Judging by the respective approval ratings of Bush (31 percent) and the Friedberg-Seltzer comedy team (between 2 percent and 3 percent, according to Rotten Tomatoes), audiences would have preferred to see Bush, or perhaps even Stalin, kick Friedberg and Seltzer in the balls.

Various news sources have declared that Meet the Spartans has a running time of 84 minutes. Some online reviews peg the actual running time at 68 minutes. I went to a 5:30 p.m. screening. After previews, the movie began some time between 5:44 and 5:47. The closing credits started at 6:47. After a cast-performed rendition of "I Will Survive" (note: this was a reprise of an earlier performance) staged on the American Idol set (note: not the real American Idol set), the credits ran over a black screen. Perhaps two minutes later, the credits gave way to scenes that weren't strong enough to make the first 60 minutes, including Spider-Man removing Donald Trump's toupee. After about five minutes of these deleted scenes, the credits started again. They moved at about 10 lines per minute. And, considering the movie is about an hour long and probably took about six hours to make, they included a surprising amount of names; I'm guessing 8,000. By the time the credits had been slow-rolling for several minutes, the other 15 people in the theater had gone home. As the credits continued, I put on my headphones and listened to some music. At 7:09, more than 20 minutes after the credits began, I was rewarded by the aforementioned five-second, fake-Stallone-as-Britney bit. The lights went up and I left, shaken and depressed.

Isn't it massive consumer fraud to charge $10.50 for a barely hour-long movie? Perhaps, but it would've been unforgivable to make Meet the Spartans any longer than an hour. This was the worst movie I've ever seen, so bad that I hesitate to label it a "movie" and thus reflect shame upon the entire medium of film. Friedberg and Seltzer do not practice the same craft as P.T. Anderson, David Cronenberg, Michael Bay, Kevin Costner, the Zucker Brothers, the Wayans Brothers, Uwe Boll, any dad who takes shaky home movies on a camping trip, or a bear who turns on a video camera by accident while trying to eat it. They are not filmmakers. They are evildoers, charlatans, symbols of Western civilization's decline under the weight of too many pop culture references.

As Bryan Curtis has pointed out in Slate, the spoofs of Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker—the team behind Airplane! and The Naked Gun—are characterized by their facility with the tone and detail work of genre films and their genius combination of straight-faced B-movie actors with lowbrow punch lines and sight gags. Friedberg and Seltzer, rather than tweak the clich├ęs of the movies they parody, take a NOW: That's What I Call Movies! approach, using farts and leather underwear to not-critique a collection of pre-chewed moments from recent blockbusters. In Meet the Spartans, the mere act of referring to Transformers, Happy Feet, Spider-Man 3, Ghost Rider, Rocky Balboa, Stomp the Yard, Shrek, Lindsay Lohan, Kevin Federline, or Deal or No Deal is presumed to be hilarious. (If you'll indulge me for a second, I will pause to crack up Friedberg and Seltzer: "Paris Hilton.") An example of this soft-hitting mashup style: After Leonidas punts American Idol's Sanjaya into the "pit of death," a Simon Cowell impersonator declares the kick "utterly dreadful," whereupon he too goes spelunking in the death pit. Take that, Simon Cowell!

Friedberg and Seltzer have also failed to absorb the Zuckers' understanding of the power of the straight man. While Sean Maguire declines to wink or mug through his portrayal of the mighty Leonidas, the filmmakers betray their lead actor by having him shout "Paris Hilton!" or "Dane Cook!" every time one of the film's copious celeb impersonators makes an appearance. Not content to merely insult its audience by charging full fare for a pastiche of sub-Mad TV-level sketches, Meet the Spartans dares to presume that it's smarter than the people watching. In anticipation of writing a piece on the decline of the spoof genre—a project that has been aborted, because forcing me to watch the entire Friedberg-Seltzer canon would require Slate to spend millions in hazard pay—I rented one of the duo's previous titles, Date Movie. I made it only halfway through, but I did notice that the DVD included an option to watch the film with a laugh track. I'm not kidding, and I don't think Friedberg and Seltzer are, either—they think we're too stupid to know where the stupid jokes are.

Here's the great irony of the Friedberg-Seltzer phenomenon: These two churn out crap, then brazenly parade the crapitude in trailers and commercials, essentially daring America to stay away. Instead, we reward them by making Meet the Spartans the top-earning movie in the country, the second straight Friedberg-Seltzer film to earn that honor. The movie's $18.5 million take has a lot to do with its release date; even in the dumping ground of late January, something has to be No. 1 at the box office. The film's success, though, is not a sign that popular opinion diverges from that of the critics. On its opening weekend, Meet the Spartans played to the audiences most predisposed to like it: frat boys, middle schoolers, the actors' parents. Considering that crowd, the movie's C- CinemaScore—a rating compiled by querying the exiting audience—is appalling.

I don't blame Fox for releasing the likes of Meet the Spartans—these movies are so cheap to produce that they're guaranteed moneymakers. But why do audiences keep encouraging the studio by coming back for more? My theory is that Friedberg and Seltzer have managed to stay just anonymous enough that people in the mood for a good spoof aren't aware that they're about to subject themselves to the hacks behind Date Movie and Epic Movie. As soon as the duo becomes better-known and better-reviled, they will have only one recourse: self-parody. Hitting the screen in 2009: Not Another Friedberg-Seltzer Movie.

A man ate this

Jamie Oliver is currently weeping into his watery health-chicken.

After losing the title of "world's biggest burger" to the Clinton Station Diner in Clinton, New Jersey, which introduced a 12.5-pound hamburger called "Zeus" in early 2005, Denny's reclaimed the crown a few months later by unveiling the "Beer Barrel Belly Bruiser", a monstrous 15-pound burger featuring 10.5 pounds of ground beef, 25 slices of cheese, a head of lettuce, three tomatoes, two onions, a cup-and-a-half each of mayonnaise, relish, ketchup, mustard and banana peppers. On a bun.

In October 2008, Brad Sciullo of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, became the first Denny's Beer Barrel Pub customer ever to polish off one of their "Beer Barrel Belly Bruisers" in one sitting, consuming the 15-pound burger (20.2 pounds with bun and toppings) in 4 hours and 39 minutes.

On a similar tip, cheers to Miles for putting me up on the Heart Attack Grill of Arizona, taking the whole thing just that bit further by offering you side-orders of "soft drink of elite hackers" Jolt Cola and unfiltered Lucky Strikes. Awww yeh! The nonchalant combativeness of their press coverage/skirmishes page fills me with great joy, as do their non-medically trained nurses.

Finally, who knew an ostrich burger looked like this?


MP3: Judi Chicago — "Burger Joy"

Joyz N The Hood: a poetic celebration comes to pass.

So, improbably enough, the Che Standard actually printed my letter from mid-October on the topic of contemporary fashion and specifically that modern sartorial demon The Hood.

Full credit to them: i really didn't see that happening when i wrote it. i figured if the pro-hood, anti-moral majority stance didn't do for it, the vigour of the "how dare you" and my branding of Mr. Billy and his ilk ignorant, prejudiced and disrespectful probably would (yeh, i know he pretty much did the same in his letter and they printed that; but since when did minority opinions get given equal weight?)

And if either of those reasons weren't enough, surely they wouldn't take kindly to me pointing out the unusual use of the word "aroung"? After all, the misspelling of "around" is almost certainly a typographical error on the part of the paper's staff, not the kid himself (even though that wasn't gonna stop me using it against him for comic effect). Would the Standard print a line that so egregiously dissed their own typesetting skillz?

...Well, yes. Apparently they would.

For that, i can only take my hat off to them. The Chester Standard: the local paper that can officially Take A Joke. Kudos.

(Still wish i'd left in the stanza where i dissed his inconsistent use of question marks, mind.)


Thanks to Tim for the clipping.