28 July 2004

Films, films, films

Only one's been a dud so far. Friday was Any Way the Wind Blows - which I really enjoyed but only remember snippets of (too many beers beforehand). Bukowski: Born Into This was my only film on Saturday - at 11 am. I've never read any of his stuff, but I might have to check out Post Office.

Sunday was a really nice sunny day so we spent the arvo sitting in a theatre watching The Corporation for two and a half hours, followed by a question and answer session with one of the directors. It's a fairly good indication it's a good film if you get into an impassioned debate with people you don't know afterwards. Check out their website.

We were meant to go to Anatomy of Hell on Sunday night, but I'd had six hours to kill and passed out in the lobby instead. Damnit.

Monday was Coffee and Cigarettes, which was all held together by these vertical shots of tabletops with coffee and cigarettes on them. I think my favourite of the 11 vignettes was Bill Murray with GZA and RZA from Wu-Tang Clan, followed closely by Jack White showing Meg his Tesla coil and the one with Iggy Pop and Tom Waits.

Tuesday was Vibrator - about these two fucked up people on the margins of Japanese society. It was all from the woman's perspective, with not only voiceovers but also intertitles giving us her thoughts.

Tonight we went to Cowards Bend the Knee, another Guy Maddin film. It was preceded by The Dead Father. There were certain themes popping up between all three films, besides the outmoded production methods: amputation, love triangles involving fathers and sons, people coming back from the dead...

Daily rubbish

Kind of what the Internet's all about really, isn't it? A new bit of rubbish every day.

22 July 2004


Monday night was Control Room and Our Music. Control Room was great - all about Al Jazeera during the Iraq war. All the people interviewed and followed were really interesting. Once again, there were some great quotes. 'It's like a Hollywood movie,' says one of Al Jazeera's young, educated female producers. 'You know how it's going to end, with the good guys winning and the bad guys getting killed. But you still want to see how it happens.'

Our Music was dreadful - self-indulgent pretentious bollocks. Someone I talked to afterwards reckons it's all Godard's wife's fault. It's been the only dud so far but.

Tuesday made up for it with A Page of Madness - an obscure avant garde Japanese silent film that was made in 1926 and presumed lost until the director found it in his back shed. The music was played live by In the Nursery. It easily took out the spot for my favourite so far. Last year we went to see Alphaville with a soundtrack by Scanner, which was also superb. I hope next year's even better.

Dias de Santiago was last night. It's a cheery wee tale about a guy back from the Peruvian Army who's finding it a little tough to adapt.

19 July 2004

Another day, another film

We went to see The Yes Men tonight. It was incredibly funny, but I'm a bit ambivalent. It all started because they did a spoof website during George Bush's campaign in 1999, and then set up a spoof WTO site - and started getting invitations to conferences. At the end they said they hoped this film would inspire other people to do similar things, and then put up their own web address. It made me wonder whether a similar URL to theirs is available - to do the treatment on them. Of course, though, there's much more suitable targets.

18 July 2004

Et al.

This week there's been some amusement to be had with the media's reporting of et al. being our representative at the next Venice Bienalle. The Dom Post used the term 'dunny artist' on more than one occasion (cos of the portaloo that brays like a donkey), ACT MP Deborah Coddington was quoted as saying 'It's crap - and most New Zealanders know it', and the conservative critic Hamish Keith suggested Ralph Hotere or Max Gimlett instead.

I have to say I really don't like et al.'s work - it's all this poststructuralist language and meaning bullshit. A lot of the palaver is about the amount of taxpayer money being spent on it - with the express purpose of promoting NZ art at the premier international art event - when the artist pretends to be an anonymous collective of artists and refuses to give interviews or comment on the work. Oh yeah, there's the usual my three-year-old daughter could do this kind of comments as well.

This is bollocks of course. Anonymity is a perfectly valid and reasonably common artistic strategy. The curators and Creative NZ staff can do all the publicity bullshit. The problem is that this is the third (out of three) installation we've sent (not to mention the fact that language-based conceptual art is not exactly exciting and new). I reckon Tony De Lautour would make a much better choice.

Two more down

Yesterday was Aaltra and The Saddest Music in the World - two very different films that were both in black and white (mostly) and featured people with problems with their legs. They were also bloody funny.

The Saddest Music in the World had these crazy sets (very Cabinet of Doctor Caligari) and the craziest film effects you're likely to see in one place at one time for a while - not to mention some bloody good lines ('Siam - famous for its dignity, cats, and twins') and Isabella Rosselini's beer-filled glass legs.

Aaltra is possibly my favourite so far (though it's early days yet of course). It's a Belgian wheelchair road movie. It had some great lines in it as well, and a brilliant karaoke scene in a Finnish biker bar. The best bit was possibly when the two guys were trying to get some dosh - on one side of the street one of them braked his wheelchair in front of someone's bike and wouldn't move until the guy gave him 50 euros, while on the other the other guy asked people for some information and, when they came within reach, grabbed them, wrestled them to the ground out of his wheelchair, and demanded money while hectoring them.

New house

We're the sandy-coloured one in the centre.

17 July 2004

Miscellaneous bollocks

If you've been reading Rose's blog, this'll not be unfamiliar. Just over two weeks ago we found out we were getting kicked out of our house. We've moved the last three Novembers, and joked that no doubt wwe'd end up having to move again come the next November. But no, we didn't get that far. Normally it's a real hassle finding somewhere. We've got quite stringent requirements. There's five of us. Both Rose and I work from home (usually). We have three cats and a dog.

The weekend after getting the nice letter giving us six weeks' notice we were being booted out we went to have a look at a couple of places. We quite liked the one in Khandallah, so we put in an appo. Rose had seen this other place out in Camborne advertised and went to see it the following Monday (or perhaps Tuesday, I forget). She and the kids were blown away, and so after much humming and hawing she put in an appo for that as well. We reckoned both of them would say fuck off the dog, but instead both accepted us. Even though I hadn't seen it, Rose decided on Camborne. We moved on Tuesday.

The first thing I thought when I saw it was that it was very ostentatious and crass. It is the Alatini's house after all (the kids knew who they were, but I had to google them, and so will you). It's just the primo location though. Every room has amazing views over the Pauatahunui Inlet, and the dining area and all the bedrooms have balconies off them. There's a path that feeds into the Camborne Walkway right next to us, which I walk along to catch the train each morning and take the dog down to in the evening. Rose has one picture up, but I think there'll be more coming.

One reason for the inordinate haste in shifting (which was nightmarish) was the old Film Fest, which opened last night with Hero - a lavish Hong Kong epic set in China over 2000 years ago. My favourite bit was probably the fight scene in the middle of the lake with them all flying about and bouncing off the water. It'd probably help knowing a bit more about Chinese colour symbolism as well - though it wasn't exactly subtle.

Tonight we went to Super Size Me, which no doubt - being a well-informed imaginary reader - you've already heard of. It was pretty bloody good. After we had the New Right revolution of the mid-80s, you'd get all these people arguing that the free market was the best way of organising every aspect of society because it was taken as given that that which made the most profit doing something was doing that thing in the most efficient way. I thought at the time that the food industry was the perfect example of why this was a load of shit. The way to make the most profit is not to provide good cheap nutritious food, but to make cheap (and preferably addictive) crap and hook as many people, and especially kids, into it. This film makes the case pretty bloody well. I might not eat meat, but I do eat a lot of crap - both convenience and fast food.

We had enough time to self-consciously grab some nice vegan food before The Motorcycle Diaries - Che's road trip around South America with his mate. It was this that deflected him from becoming a doctor specialising in leprosy. There was a scene where his mate asks him what he's going to do with his life and I half expected him to answer that he's planning on becoming a world famous revolutionary and twentieth century icon. The best bit was the photos from the actual 1952 trip in the end credits, though the film itself was bloody good as well.

And finally, the last word goes to a picture Matt sent back from LA:

11 July 2004

I don't know about this

These are my results from the better personality test:

Wackiness: 38/100
Rationality: 46/100
Constructiveness: 40/100
Leadership: 76/100

You are an SEDL--Sober Emotional Destructive Leader. This makes you a dictator. You prefer to control situations, and lack of control makes you physically sick. You feel [you] have responsibility for everyone's welfare, and that you will be blamed when things go wrong. Things do go wrong, and you take it harder than you should.

You rely on the validation and support of others, but you have a secret distrust for people and distaste for their habits and weaknesses that make you keep your distance from them. This makes you very difficult to be with romantically. Still, a level-headed peacemaker can keep you balanced.

Despite your fierce temper and general hot-bloodedness, you have a soft spot for animals and a surprising passion for the arts. Sometimes you would almost rather live by your wits in the wilderness somewhere, if you could bring your books and your sketchbook.

You also have a strange, undeniable sexiness to you. You may go insane.

(Nicked from One Before.)

08 July 2004

04 July 2004

Yet more photos

I've slapped yet more phonepics up on the old website.

There's end of the month drinks at work from a while back, my friend Steve, my friend Kate, the Wellington Workingmen's Club, Matt at the Peter Adsett opening, other people at the opening, my friend Maciek's Young Pioneers badge celebrating 60 years of the Bolshevik Revolution, my friend Maciek, my dog Laika's eye, and a view of the sunset from my balcony a few days ago.

Don't ask me why.

Bit of a laugh

The knee-jerk contrarian game is worth a look. The idea is to check out reviews for classic books etc and rank them from worst to best.

My favourite is about 1984:

'Though society and government are not perfect, they are not as evil and as oppressive as Orwell made them out to be. He creates a negative Utopia in hopes to make people hate their leaders and to disagree with any form of government. It is because of people like Orwell that our nation, as well as other nations, are so dramatically torn by the opinions of citizens towards their leaders, and their leader's decisions. Also, at the end of this novel, Orwell leaves readers with a sense of hopelessness, by allowing his main character to be manipulated, tortured, and brainwashed into following what Orwell inderectly refers to as government. Let's try to be a little more optomistic, and work on a happier ending, shall we?'

03 July 2004

Fat, dumb and ugly

When Peter Strupp, a Boston office worker, decided to collate statistics
relating to his fellow Americans, he gathered them under three headings - fat,
dumb and ugly. He says he could have created a similar volume entitled Thin,
Smart and Beautiful, but that that title "hasn't been my experience". Below are some of the figures he uncovered.

Number of Americans who are considered obese: 60 million

Amount spent by Americans every year trying to lose weight: $30bn (£16.5bn)

Average lifetime ice cream consumption by Americans: 1 tonne

Average number of Americans killed annually by vending machines falling on
them: 13

Amount of food suitable for human consumption wasted annually in the United
States: 48,000,000 tonnes

Percentage of Americans who believe that the theory of human evolution
is "probably" or "definitely" not true: 47

Average number of words in the written vocabulary of a six- to 14-year-old
American child in 1945: 25,000

Average number of words in the written vocabulary of a six- to 14-year-old
American child today: 10,000

Percentage of American adults who understand that the earth orbits the sun
yearly: 48

Percentage of Americans in favour of censoring news reports about antiwar
protests: 40

Percentage of Americans who think they will be famous for at least a short
period of time: 30

Amount Americans spend annually on Christmas presents: $194bn

Average number of pink lawn flamingoes sold annually in America: 250,000

Percentage of Americans who describe "barbecue" as the aroma that best defines
America: 39

Percentage of the world's rubbish produced by the United States: 19

Percentage of who believe we didn't actually go to the moon: 20

Amount of water used in daily showering by an average American family of three:
140-180 gallons

Percentage of American households with one or more cars: 89

Time spent by an average American watching television commercials during his
lifetime: one year

Number of bald men in the United States: 40 million

Annual expenditure on wigs and toupees in the United States: $400m

Percentage of American adults who say they have undergone cosmetic surgery: 70

Percentage increase in cosmetic surgeries since 1990: 200

(Nicked from the Guardian.)
visitors since 29 March 2004.