Wa-hey! Generic Halloween Post!

It’s Halloween folks! It’s conveniently fallen on a Wednesday, which means that while most people got their partying out of the way last Friday and Saturday, we can still celebrate by reading my blog… preferably while wearing a costume. I may or may not be wearing one right now. (I definitely am.) So, what does a pop culture blog do on Halloween?  Best pop culture themed costumes? Worst pop culture themed costumes? Pop culture pumpking carving? There are so many options.

Since it’s a Wednesday and you’re all probably a little partied out after the weekend, I thought maybe you could all share a quiet night in having the bejeezus scared out of you with some of my favourite horror films. Because it’s hard to choose, I have helpfully divided them up into categories of “things that are going to rip you into tiny pieces” in order to include more films. Lets get this show on the road.

Vampires

Vampires have always trod a difficult ground between sexy and scary. Unfortunately, recent cinematic history has not been kind to the fanged ones,with Twilight turning them essentially into fanged disco balls. If you’re into your vampire angst, but want something better than the clap trap Stephanie Meyer scribbles, then Anne Rice is your obvious next stop. Interview with a Vampire has better writing, better character development and a better movie.

I always wonder if Tom Cruise was aware of the rampant homoerotic subtext in this film…

If you’re a scaredy cat who doesn’t want too much horror but would also like your vampires slightly more badass than Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, I would recommend The Lost Boys, because it’s a flipping excellent film. Vampires + the 80s + motorcycles = cinematic gold.

The scariest thing about this film is probably Keifer Sutherland’s mullet, to be honest.

Personally though, on Halloween and generally, I like my vampirism either creepy or outright bloody. For creepy you can’t go past the 1922 German Expressionist nightmare Nosferatu, which, if watched in an appropriate setting absolutely sends shivers up my spine.

For blood I love 30 Days of Night, which surprised me by being a film I enjoy that also stars Josh Hartnett. What I really like about this is that there is nothing even remotely sexy or alluring about these vampires. They’re not tortured, they don’t want redemption and drinking your blood is not a metaphor for the sex. They’re totally nihilistic and they’re going to rip you to shreds and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it because the sun is never coming. Excellent. If you’re interested, the graphic novel is also worth a read.

The trailer really doesn’t do the film any justice, but you should definitely watch it.

Zombies

So many good zombie movies, I don’t even really know where to start. Night of the Living Dead is an obvious one… actually, all of George Romero’s Living Dead films, but particularly the first three – Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. These are obvious because when people think of zombie movies they’re basically just thinking about the Romero archetype of what a zombie is. Obviously you should watch the originals rather than the remakes (yes… this is that kind of pretentious blog).

My favourite modern zombie movies have to be the British stand outs, 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. These ones move away from the slow, lumbering reanimated corpses of Romero’s films and make zombies super-fast, super-aggressive attack zombies. As far as I am concerned these are the worst kind of zombie and these are films that I do not watch with the lights off or expecting to get a good night’s sleep afterwards.

Again, that might actually be the worst trailer ever made…Wow. Sorry. It’s a good movie though, I swear.

The Occult – Possessions, Ghosts and Stuff

This is basically “pick your poison” kind of area because there’s a lot of different ways an occult-themed movie can pan out. You’ve got your regular everyday possessions by Satan, because Satan has nothing better to do than hijack the bodies of virginal girls, apparently. (Does anyone else feel like Satan should be finding things to fill his time? Knitting, perhaps?) The Exorcist is probably one of the best known examples of this – one of my flatmates finds it so scary he considers the fact that he managed to sit through it at all a badge of honour. Apparently, on release it had people vomitting in terror in the cinemas. This is a reaction I understand, but only because the repeated crotch-stabbings the possessed gives herself make me physically cringe.

Bad hair day. (Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. Try the salmon.)

In terms of modern possessions, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is legitimately terrifying. You know those films where not heaps of stuff happens, but you’re filled with a creeping sense of dread anyway so that by the time something actually scary happens you’re so wound up that you nearly die? This is one of those. Also, from memory, it features crabwalking, which is a sure-fire way to freak me the fuck out. IhateitIhateitIhateit, ohmygod. It scares me so much more than it should.

If possession isn’t your thing, there’s also actual rebirth of Satan, usually featuring a creepy child. You all know that I’m thinking of The Omen here. I recommend all The Omen films highly, to anyone and everyone, because they’re scary and they also have the best and most melodramatic soundtrack of any horror movie ever made.

Seriously, sometimes, when my life needs more melodrama, I like to just put the sound track on and walk around my house.

If you’re looking for less specific supernatural themes (see: I need less Satan, more weird happenings), The Shining is a particular favourite of mine and also of my housemate. It’s possibly the best adaptation of a Stephen King novel ever made… unless you want to talk about It, which I don’t. Jack Nicholsan is kind of scary anyway, so when you put him in an isolated house with elevators full of blood and creepy twins it’s a recipe for weird.


If you’re into ghosts and things, I will forever be recommending Poltergeist to people (only the first one), but if you want to actually be scared out of your mind you can’t really go past Japanese cinema because they’ve got it down. Most people have seen the Hollywood adaptations of The Ring and The Grudge, and they’re pretty good but the original Japanese films are genuinely scary. Like, I once watched the original Grudge alone in a hotel room and was later found hoarding snacks and bottles of water under a doona which didn’t make any sense because even in the film beds aren’t safe. BEDS AREN’T SAFE. It’s really good. Same goes for The Ring (I’ve never made the mistake of watching that one by myself though). If you’re looking for the biggest scare available, Ring is the highest grossing horror film in Japan, and was also voted scariest Japanese film in an Oricon survey. So there you go.

The disco soundtrack really takes the edge off.

Really Big Animals

Mostly things involving really big animals aren’t actually that scary, although I remember being terrified of Anaconda as a 9 year old. Then I realised that it stars Jennifer Lopez AND Ice Cube AND Owen Wilson, so as an adult I don’t actually find it that intimidating.

The least threatening movie about giant snakes ever made.

Bascially, we all know that the best and scariest film involving a gigantic animal is Jaws, because despite it very obviously being a a giant rubber shark I still didn’t want to go swimming after a saw it (admit it… you didn’t either). I have also developed issues with not being able to see the bottom of bodies of water. Essentially, Steven Spielberg has ruined the beach for me. Thanks, Steven. You dick.

Humans

We all know that the scariest villains of all are always just people, because unlike scenarios in which Satan kidnaps your virginal body and uses it as a meat puppet, there is always the chance that people are gonna get you. In terms of films that are going to stick with you, I always find 1971’s Blind Terror (also known as, See No Evil)  to be horrifying. It stars Mia Farrow as Sarah, who is visually impaired. She comes home and her whole family has been murdered and are scattered in gory poses around the house… BUT SHE CAN’T SEE THEM OR THE KILLER WHO IS STILL LURKING AROUND. So she comes home and just goes about her business assuming that nothing is wrong. It’s really good.

Last House on the Left is an oldie but a goodie. Having said that it’s less scary than vaguely traumatic. It’s directed by Wes Craven, who is very good at what he does, and it provides an interesting commentary on post-Vietnam America. But you probably don’t want that. It’s Halloween. You just want blood.

In which case, look no further than Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  There’s nothing supernatural going on here, there’s no reasoning – it’s just a bunch of backwoods weirdos who wipe out a group of teens using a chainsaw and store their meat in the freezer. It also has probably one of the best final scenes in horror movie history.

So, thus concludes a not-very-comprehensive list of horror films that I like. Share some of yours in the comments and we can give each other the heeby jeebies.

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Tom Hardy: I’m Embarrassed For You.

Some people really shouldn’t be allowed to have the internet. Tom Hardy is one of those people. I say this with love, because I love Tom Hardy. I think he’s very talented and his endless capacity to put on muscle and then lose muscle and then put it on again deserves some sort of Oscar category unto itself. But Tom Hardy is a man with a lot of feelings. How do I know this? Because someone gave Tom Hardy the internet long before he became famous. You can kind of guess from interviews that Hardy is kind of an embarrassingly emotional human being. Once, when asked about wearing make up by a men’s magazine he went on a 15 minute tangent about poodles that ended with the words “no one fucking asks the poodle what it wants done with its hair, do they!?” He just… he has a lot of feelings, OK? And because MySpace used to be a thing, these feelings have been immortalised on the internet, along with some truly horrendous selfies. This is kind of old news, but I’m tired and lazy, so without further ado I present: A Retrospective Tom Hardy Party! (Alternatively titled: “Oh Tom…Oh honey. No. Why? Tom. Stop. Please, Tom. Why are you a giant baby?”) Featuring photos Hardy posted of himself and some of the golden quotes from his MySpace profile (with original spelling mistakes).

If you suck you suck..If you’re good I take my hat off and I’m all over you. I’ll bend over backwards to help anyone of their word.. fuck me around I’ll let it go I’m not here for stuff I’m here to live and give whatever it is I can to nourish rather than to take and move on.

I pray I don’t get caught up “living the dream.” such a lonely place. having said that; your best like my best just isn’t good enough. ever, no scarface syndrome here, no resting on laurels, there is always work to do, I’ll clean up my side of the street promptly admitting where I am wrong, the work doesn’t stop.

(this one was original captioned “I’m cookin’ turkey, yo xx”…thank you, Tom)

I have a head like a disco ball, if I say I’ll do something, unless I absolutely can’t it gets done, I never give up on humanity, I love people. I want to see communities stand up, honest and open, flexing to the fullest of their capabilities and combined usefullness. happy.

Yes…that is a selfie of Tom Hardy touching himself. If you’re into that sort of thing, you’re welcome.

I could so easily be dead. My head is like a dangerous neighbourhood I should never be in it without an appropriate adult. left to my own devices I’ll crash the motor. Religion to me is a neccesssary device for the presence of combined faith, branded for those who want to get into heaven, I have to have faith, but I chose the path of spirituality, spirituality seems to me to be for those who’ve been to Hell. I don’t want to go back there. I am a goldfish walking through a desert.

This one is my personal favourite:

I’m course and straight, I act for a living now adopting characters for money, it is a languague I was born into, I always wanted to be someone else, it isn’t rocket science it’s easy, now that I’ve made amends for lying to myself, it is a trade craft nothing more…what a load of self satisfied smug and charmless tatter x

This shit writes itself. I don’t even feel the need to really comment, but if you take anything away from this, let it be that Tom Hardy is a goldfish walking through a desert. At least he spelled desert right. If you want to see more of Tom Hardy’s embarrassing internet history, go here.

Out of curiosity, I went  back and checked out my old MySpace profile. I didn’t think it would be fair to Tom if I didn’t share some of my own internet ridiculousness:

The phrase “emotional teenager” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

So that’s me, posing in virginal white. Apparently, I also thought some NIN lyrics were appropriate. The ‘About Me’ section isn’t that much better:

“Alex has a short attention span and a tenuous grip on reality. (To be fair to myself, that’s the tag line I use for all my social networks… even now. I probably need to learn to be less of a wanker.) Frequently makes the same mistake twice. Never regrets it though.”

What about ‘Who I’d Like To Meet’?

“Androgynous humanoids and wandering gypsies” apparently. My God. Teenage me was a dick. The point is, we all have embarrassing internet history. One can only hope that the generation of kids who grow up with the internet and go on to become famous are similarly silly. Makes my job easier.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to delete my MySpace. Before you do the same, perhaps you’d like to share some of your pretentious teenage musings?

Greetings from Bieber

I quite like greeting cards. I keep well-written or funny birthday and Christmas cards. Every year on my birthday my mother writes me a lengthy poem on the inside of my card. They are usually an ode to how fantastic I am, with undertones of “but why must you be so difficult all they time?” They also accompanied by a short, 4 line number from my father in A,B,A,B rhyme scheme about the fact that I smell (that joke never gets old). The best card I ever received from a friend said “I was going to say hello to you at the art show, but then I got too drunk”. So when I tell you that Hallmark has really taken a nose-dive in my estimation recently, it’s not because I don’t appreciate cards. The company teamed up with Justin Bieber earlier this year to produce greeting cards for super-fans to spend their hard earned pennies on at their nearest Walmart.

Behold: Greeting Card Hell.

The wait is over for “Beliebers” everywhere — first-of-its-kind Hallmark Justin Bieber greeting cards now are available in Wal-Mart stores nationwide and, in May, will be available at Hallmark Gold Crown stores and other stores where Hallmark products are sold. Ranging in price from $2.57-$9.99, the collection includes more than 48 everyday Hallmark cards, some of which feature Justin Bieber songs, such as “U Smile” and “Baby,” or innovations, such as lights, motion and pop-up displays. A variety of cards double as collectors’ items with door hangers, photos inserts and more.

Does 48 seem a touch excessive to you? Because if it doesn’t now, just wait until I show you some of the stuff they’ve come up with to cover these 48 cards. At some point, Hallmark’s marketing team were like “Oh wait, we’re making cards about a hip, young singing sensation. We should probably try to speak to the fans in hip, youthful language in order to better extract their cash. ALSO! Make sure you refer to everything as a collector’s item!” And then after that they ran out of ideas.

So, at the basic end of the card spectrum, we have things like this:

I shit you not, the front of this card says “Wow!” and the inside says “Look at you. You’ve got that birthday thing going on. Hope it’s happy!” Which, to me, seems like something you would send to someone you didn’t like very much but who you’d known long enough to feel morally obligated to attend their birthday party, despite the fact that you’d planned a night in bed re-watching Doctor Who in its entirety. Observe:

The inside of my card says: “It’s come to that time of the year where it’s your birthday and I have to see you because we liked each other in high school or something. I’ve brought most of a bottle of champagne with me, if you could direct me to a quiet corner where I could finish it off and maybe point me to the bar afterwards, we can spend the rest of the night talking to other people about your weight gain and my alleged drinking problem. Let’s make this as painless as possible.”

Other cards from the range are similarly vague:

No…I have no idea. What is that thing, Justin? Tell me! I must know! Because if somebody gave me this card, I would immediately assume that they had managed to give me some sort of sexually transmitted disease. “You’ve just got thing, you know? Chlamydia. Sorry. But I’ve booked you an appointment at the clinic!” What it actually says is: “There’s nothing else like it… and there’s nobody else like you. Original, unapologetic, cool. That’s you, Girl, all you.” This, of course, begs the question: what exactly is the target market for these cards? This sounds like a pick up line and last time I checked, you shouldn’t be sending those kind of things in cards to girls who are of the correct age to be really into Justin Bieber. Also, “unapologetic”? That was the best descriptor you could come up with? The constant use of the world ‘girl’ throughout these cards is also really offputting for me. I’ve got about 4 years on Bieber. It’s alright coming from Ryan Gosling, not from some 18 year old Canadian with a falsetto.

In case regular cards are too bland for your average Belieber, Hallmark has also come up with a card/fan kit.

The card contains cardboard JB glasses, a “signed” photo, a fill-in-the-blanks fan letter (because you can never be too sure of literacy these days) and a list of all the card recipient’s various attributes… Bieber-related attributes anyway. I’m assuming this card is for older relatives who know very little about their tween-age relations except that they once accidentally walked in on her (possibly him… this card is less gender-specific than the others) kissing a poster of Bieber/reading erotic Bieber fiction or something, so they figure they’ll buy this and some other relevant merchandise and hope for the best.

After today’s success with the webcam, I think I might release my own range of greeting cards in time for Christmas. Also, a cheeky shout out to the flatmate. I’m holding his bottle of Moet in my birthday greeting card. Not that either of us can afford Moet. It was his graduation present. We’ve kept the empty bottle to add the illusion of class to our house. I may have broken that illusion today. At least we got something out of it.

Badvertising – Why You So Ridiculous?

I’m going to let you in on a secret about myself – I really, REALLY like good advertising. Not in the sense that I immediately go out and buy products that are being sold at me, but I appreciate the amount of time that goes into a clever campaign. I don’t know if it’s something people really think about in terms of pop culture blog, but it’s everywhere, it frequently features your favourite celebrities and songs and you should really be paying attention, OK? (I have a lot of feelings about this.) While I like a huge budget productions as much as the next person, my favourites are always the ones that are very simple and very human. Coca Cola’s security camera ad from the beginning of this year was excellent. And sneaky, because I had no idea that it was an ad until the end. I was too consumed by mushy feelings about faith in humanity. If you haven’t seen it:

See? Simple. Brilliant. A bit sneaky. All things I like. If you want another piece of excellent advertising you should also check out this one from Puma, featuring football hooligans singing Savage Garden. If it doesn’t make you want to squeal and/or weep, you may not have a soul (you should get that checked out).

Having said that, the amount of advertising around that has a gigantic budget and is dreadfully pretentious makes my eyeballs want to bleed. I find that luxury brands are the worst offenders, often because they have the cash-based pulling power to get in celebrities to say meaningful things at the camera, but apparently that cash runs out when it comes to getting someone to script those meaningful things. They also often become so absorbed with the notion that they’re “selling an idea, a lifestyle” that they seem to forget that they are, in fact, just selling a product. I’ve deconstructed some of the more terrible ones for you below.

  • Nicole Kidman for Chanel No. 5 – Chanel are repeat offenders in this category, but I feel like this Baz Luhrmann directed, 3 minute montrosity kicked off a whole new wave of high-concept ads which are actually kind of terrible.

    Big money, big sound track, big name director, big name actors and possibly some of the worst opening lines in the history of advertising. “When did I wake [DRAMATIC PAUSE] into this dream [DRAMATIC PAUSE]. I must have been the only person in the world [DRAMATIC PAUSE plus some DRAMATIC BREATHING from Nicole] who didn’t know [DRAMATIC PAUSE] who she was.” The rest of the dialogue is similarly bad – “I’m a dancer! I love to dance!” or “I don’t care about tomorrow!” – and I spent a lot of time with my fingers over my eyes. The other thing that annoys me no end about this ad is the fact that Chanel is a luxury brand, selling things that most of us can’t afford, but they really like the idea of the eccentric bohemia that spawned their founder. So they’ve got a “penniless writer” (who you may recognise as ‘Stupidly Handsome Brazilian Guy‘ from Love Actually) living on bare floorboards and a dodgy, rickety little bed, and the actress, who wafts through, breaks his heart and then leaves him but nothing but the enduring smell of Chanel No. 5 to remember her by. Assuming we’re supposed to identify with the struggling artiste over the ‘most famous woman in the world’ it does neatly sum up my relationship with Chanel – someone with more money than me walks past and I go “ah yes… Chanel” and that’s where the story ends. I guess that looks a whole lot less glamorous though.
  • Brad Pitt for Chanel No. 5 – May as well get Chanel out of the way now. This is the ad that inspired this post, because I saw it and was like, “Oh Brad…no…”

    So, Chanel has introduced a male spokesperson for its women’s perfume, which I don’t really understand since they’re not wearing it, they’re smelling it. And again with the rubbish dialogue! And this time, there isn’t even an enticing visual to detract from it. It’s just Brad Pitt, in a room. Admittedly, that should be enough of a visual, but when the scripting is this bad, it just isn’t. “It’s not a journey, every journey ends, but we go on.” It’s all downhill from there, because the rest of it is just a bunch of nonsequitors about luck and fate and inevitability, all sounding a little bit like it was written by a hormonal teenager. My favourite part, however, is the fact that Brad Pitt starts off looking straight into the camera and then doesn’t make eye contact for the the rest of piece. I think we’re supposed to assume that it’s because what he’s saying is so profound if he made eye contact we’d all explode, but I like to think it’s because he’s ashamed. As he should be. Silly, Brad. Silly.
  • Scarlett Johansson for Dolce & Gabanna ‘The One’ – Oooooh, boy. ScarJo often borders on absurdly pretentious herself in interviews (although I am a big fan), so when put into a perfume commercial, everything becomes amplified.

    The concept is kind off cool – a fly on the wall  looking at an actress as she’s interviewed. However, whoever scripted it needs a good talking to. I don’t know if I really need to elaborate on it that much, but I’ve pulled out some choice quotes for your consideration: “Music inspires me, art inspires me. But so does the wind.” Inspires you to what, exactly? I’m not sure where you’re going with that. Maybe you can elaborate? “I like my lips. For kissing… and words that start with the letter ‘M’.” So that’s a ‘no’ on elaborating, then? What are some ‘M’ words you like, Scarlett? (If I had to guess, it would be “all the Money I’m Making for My Musings in this bullshit commerical.”) “I’m not an actress, I just play one in the movies.” No, honey. I think if you looked up exactly what it is you’re doing as a career you’d find ‘actress’ fits the bill pretty well. “Um.. the smell of sunshine’s the best. You know what I mean?” No. No, I don’t. And since I know you’re not going to elaborate, I’m giving up on this cringe-worthy debacle right now.
  • Dolce and Gabanna ‘Time’ – 16 seconds of pure nonsense. And I mean nonsense. I have no idea what’s going on here or why it’s a thing that happened, but I thought we’d briefly step outside perfumes (the main offenders) and celebrity endorsements to talk about Dolce and Gabanna’s ads for watches.

    It’s like some sort of bizarre-o cross between food porn and the beginnings of actual porn. It starts off with a bunch of people casually picnic-ing, which is fair enough. It looks like a nice spot. They start eating a little more viciously, which is a bit weird but not unreasonable. Maybe they’re hungry. Then some guys starts rubbing food on some girl’s face and it starts raining and everybody starts getting naked and making out and the last shot is some girl in a male model sandwich. It escalates quickly. Like, really quickly. It takes them 16 seconds to get from picnics to threesomes. That’s less time than most porn movies. So…what are they selling? Food? Sex? Clothing, even? No. Watches. They are selling watches. All of the models are wearing watches. Which I didn’t notice until I went back and checked, becayse my brain went “is anyone even wearing a watch!?”
  • Charlize Theron for Dior ‘J’Adore’ – Oh look. Another one with a plot. Sort of. At least, I think it’s a plot. I can’t tell any more.

    It’s Versailles and Charlize Theron is running late. Luckily, she hasn’t bothered to sassy her face up with Dior products so no one notices her. She goes back stage to get changed and then suddenly, Grace Kelly. Out of nowhere all of these fabulous women of Hollywood appear. Charlize gets into a gold dress and then walks the catwalk to the Gossip’s Heavy Cross, which is weird in itself, because I don’t think Dior makes a single thing that Beth Ditto could wear. I assume that Charlize is supposed to be taking inspiration from Hollywood’s finest leading ladies before her big turn on the catwalk, so it’s not the weirdest one out there. At least it didn’t have a voiceover aside from that breathy “j’adore” at the end, because I could only imagine the layers of pretentious-ness that could be piled onto something that takes itself this seriously.

Anyway, that’s me out for the day. I’m gonna have a nap and re-evaluate my life choices. And buy some luxury perfume. I mean, wait… what?

Summer Time Songs

I know a lot of you kids are based in the Northern Hemisphere, but I’m Australian. This means that while you’re all crawling back into hibernation we’re starting to peel off layers and make the annual migration to the beach/ nearest place containing a body of water. I’m not actually a huge fan of the Australian summer, mainly because I don’t really like to sweat, but there is one thing I always look forward to: the onslaught of the Summer Anthem. Every year singers start falling over themselves trying to release that song that is going to inexplicably storm up the charts and get played so often that by the end of the summer we all want to claw our own ear drums every time it comes on the radio.

I was trying to find an appropriate ‘summer’ image of me on the beach or something, but I look ridiculous in all of them. (Who wears a top hat to the beach? I do, apparently.) This is probably a more accurate depiction of my summers anyway.

Now, some of these songs are pretty good and they become wonderful little markers in your brain for inducing warm, fuzzy feelings of nostalgia. But this blog is not really about the warm and fuzzies. As such, I have compiled a list of the worst Summer Anthems/ attempts at Summer Anthems.

  1. Simple Plan ft. Sean Paul – Summer Paradise – This is actually the song that inspired this list. If the idea of combining Simple Plan and Sean Paul doesn’t seem like a recipe for disaster to you, chances are you didn’t have to live through Simple Plan’s big hit Perfect, which is possibly the whiniest song ever written, or Sean Paul’s Temperature, which is notable mainly because all these years on I still have no idea what he’s saying. Anyway, due to some desire to bring about the end of the world, they recorded a duet. This is it:

    Everything about this is terrible, from the nasally “heartbeat”, to the totally irrelevant Sean Paul vocal, to the lame, vaguely melancholy lyrics. The video is similarly tragic. Since Simple Plan are a ‘punk’ band (I use the term REALLY loosely) they’ve given Sean Paul a mohawk so he’ll fit in. This, of course, ignores the fact that Simple Plan have now aged significantly and look like that music teacher you had in high school who desperately tries to prove he’s still got it by wearing cargo pants and talking about all the great bands he saw in the 90s.
  2. Flo Rida – Whistle – Another 2012 song, because apparently it’s gearing up to be a really good year for this kind of shit. My housemate has renamed this one “Bitches Love Beaches”, because that’s what he got out of this film clip.

    Ignoring the fact that this is clearly a song about blow jobs, I see what he’s trying to do here. There’s an acoustic guitar, some uplifting whistling and just enough bass that it could be played in a club or next to a pool. Having said that, it is really obviously a song about blow jobs, this video is all kinds of ridiculous and I just died a little inside.
  3. Las Ketchup – Asereje (The Ketchup Song) – Going for some throwbacks now. I bet you’d almost managed to blot this song from your memory. Too bad. Enjoy.

    This is one of those rare times where the language barrier didn’t stop this being a monumental hit. Usually Summer Anthems require some sort of sing along element. In this case, all anyone needed was the “I said a-hey, a-huh, a-hey” and then the rest could be mumbled because there were (ridiculous) dance moves to remember. I bet you remember the dance moves. I know I do. Anyway, I’m calling it out on its terribleness for taking a fairly low-profile foodstuff and turning it into something that gets stuck in my head.
  4. The Offspring – Cruising California – And we’re back in 2012 (because apparently it’s just a really, REALLY good year for awful summer songs) with The Offspring deciding that they’re not way too old to be doing that thing that they do and releasing this train wreck.

    I don’t even know where to start here. What is that “boo boop boop” thing happening in the background? Because it sounds like something that should have been left in mid 90s electronica. And what are these lyrics? Girls with thongs on waving kabooses at you? Dexter Holland, you are 46 years old. Grow up. Also, you would think that by now, we would have moved on from the “crazy punk band on a bus comes along and blows squares’ minds by throwing a party on a beach with girls in ripped tank tops” gambit as a video plot line. Cos it wasn’t great the first time round, and it’s not improving with age.
  5. LFO – Summer Girls – Dragging myself back out of 2012, because I could probably spend the whole blog systematically going through everything that was released during the American summer and ripping it to shreds, have some LFO.

    Aside from the fact that I think this song may be an ad for Abercrombie and Fitch, lyrically this song is just a string of random things that rhyme thrown together. For example, the first lines are “New Kids On The Block had a bunch of hits, Chinese food makes me sick”… which is kind of a non-sequitor when you’re singing about summer sexy times. Or my other favourite: “When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet, Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets.” Yes. Yes he did, boys. Well done. “Ugh”, is the best way to sum up this one I think.

So, those are five that spring to mind for me. If you’ve got of terrible Summer Anthems, feel free to leave them in the comments. You know how much I love awful things. If you’ve got a Summer Anthem that you love, leave it there too and maybe we can share some nostalgic joy or something…

I Refuse to Spell Kesha’s Name With a ‘$’

Before I write this post about Kesha, I shall just preface the whole thing by saying that I point blank refuse to spell her name with a ‘$’. Because it is stupid and I hate it. There is no further reasoning, really. It just annoys the bejeesus out of me because a ‘$’ is not an ‘s’ nor does it make an ‘s’ sound, so rather than proudly declaring to the world “I make millions of dollars and sleep on a giant pile of money every night” (which is what I assume it’s supposed to imply) it says “I have made a typo”. I feel so strongly about this that I have made it the title of the blog. The rest of the blog will (probably) not be about spelling.

Everyone should own a pair of leopard print thigh-highs.

The rest of the blog will be about the fact that Kesha is releasing an autobiography. Which is about the stupidest thing I’ve heard since Justin Bieber released an autobiography called Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story (100% Official). (On a side note, that is legitimately the full title of Justin Bieber’s autobiography, and as such, is too ridiculous not to include.) Anyway, no word on the title of Kesha’s masterwork yet, but according to EW it’s going to feature her “thoughts and reflections” and it’ll have pictures, because she’s marketed herself to a demographic that don’t have the attention span to sit through an entire book of words. The lady herself has this to say:

“In less than three years I’ve gone from being the worst waitress in LA to living out my childhood dreams of singing my songs to people all over the world. Sometimes, it feels as if the last few years have encompassed a few decades. You might have heard my voice on the radio, seen me onstage and on the red carpet, or in a music video, but that’s only a part of the story. In these pages, I’m revealing a more complete picture of what my life is really like. It’s not all glamorous and it s not all pretty, but it’s all real.”

Oh this should be good. I really hope she includes the part where she had sex with a ghost, because really, of all the things she’s done in the last two and a half years, the ghost sex is the most interesting part as far as I’m concerned.

Kesha is 25 years old. Realistically, there’s only so far that you can go with an autobiography when you’re 25. I’m 22. At the moment my autobiography would probably run something to the effect of: “Was born. High school, during which time did some questionable things regarding boys and alcohol. Travelled a bit, during which time did some questionable things, mostly just with alcohol. University, during which time did more questionable things regarding alcohol and boys. Today – ate a sandwich. Was a pretty good sandwich.” I mean, if I illustrated it and made the font really big I could probably stretch it out to about 10 pages.

Now, Kesha has a good three years on me and is an international superstar… or something, so she probably has a little more to say. At least I hope she does. I have taken the liberty of speculating (in rough note form) about some of the content that may appear in Kesha’s autobiography:

  • Chapter 1 – Before I Was Famous: Was born. Kesha actual name. Poor decision making on my mother’s part. Spent a good portion of childhood trying to come up with ways to make name sound more glamorous. More on that stroke of genius later. Appeared on The Simple Life with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Further poor decision making on my mother’s part. Moved to Los Angeles. Provided backing vocals on Paris Hilton’s album. Only have self to blame for that one.
  • Chapter 2 – Getting Famous: Had stroke of genius. Changed ‘s’ in name to a ‘$’. Brilliant. Also, woke up having run out of toothpaste. Substituted it for Jack Daniels. Was suddenly struck by the notion that this was how P. Diddy must feel. Wrote debut album about the experience. Surprisingly successful. Now have money to do what I like. Added more glitter to life. Satisfying.
  • Chapter 3 – Got Famous: Didn’t say much for a bit. Gave people the chance to calm down then BAM! Released a new single and talked to the press about having sex with ghosts. Seriously, though. Sex with ghosts – so intense. Spiritual, even.

I’m guessing the rest of it will just be pictures, Lord knows there’s enough of them.

One Direction Fan Fiction: We’re Reaching Maximum Ridiculousity, Folks

I’d just like to kick this blog off by saying a big thank you to everyone who visited my blog and liked or commented on my post after it was featured on Freshly Pressed. It was very nice to receive so much attention. I would also like to say a big hello to my sudden influx of followers. Nice to meet you. I should probably take a moment to point out that normally this blog is a bit silly, so I hope that my follow-up posts aren’t too much of a disappointment. Now, on with the show, yes? Yes.

Following on from the rampaging (horrific) success of E.L James’ highly evolved piece of Twilight fan fiction, 50 Shades of Grey, a 16 year old girl has recieved a book deal for her piece of One Direction fan fiction. I’ll repeat that, just so that we can all let that sink in. A 16 year old girl, named Emily Baker, has been signed by Penguin to produce a novel based on her piece of One Direction fan fiction that garnered 30,000 fans at movellas.com.

Yyyyyup.

The story is based around a love triangle featuring two members of One Direction and a normal, everyday teenage girl. I assume we’re supposed to give Ms. Baker the benefit of the doubt and pretend that the normal, everyday teenage girl is a totally imaginary character and not the author herself living out her horny teenage fantasies. Naturally, since signing the deal, all of the original story has been deleted from its online home at Movella. Thankfully, The Independenthas a little snippet of the reworked novel, titled Loving the Band, for those of us who can’t wait for the Nov 1 release date.

“Come for a walk with me,” I said impulsively. He looked at me with indecision clouding his eyes before sighing and seeming to give in to something inside.

“OK, but put this on,” he said, pulling his jumper over my head. “It’s getting chilly.”

The sweater came down to my knees and smelled like a mixture of the salty sea air and Shaq’s musky aftershave. I gently inhaled its scent and pulled it closer round me as the wind whipped up.

We spent the first few minutes walking side by side in silence, but it was a comfortable silence as the sound of water lapping up on the beach and the waves crashing together accompanied us. He kept himself between me and the sea, as if he was afraid the water could hurt me again.

I was the first one to break the silence. “Really, thank you.”

Shaq looked down at me, confused.

“I-I mean thank you for saving my life,” I stammered, wondering what he thought I might have been talking about. “You saved me when no one else could.”

He stopped in his tracks and looked at me seriously, before pulling me to him. “You never need to question whether I’ll be there for you, Jess. I’ll always look after you. You need to know that.”

My heart quickened at his words and his touch, but I ignored its insistent pace, confused by what he was saying.

“But you aren’t, though, are you, Shaq?” I pushed him away, hurt. “In fact, you always feel so far away.”

“You know why,” he growled, head in hands. “Just as long as you’re safe, though – that’s everything that matters.”

“Well, that’s not everything to me,” I said angrily.

Frustration and pain appeared in his eyes as he gently traced his finger down my jaw. “It’s all that can be. I’m watching Riley fall in love with you, Jess.”

This amuses me for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that, as someone who reads a lot of fan fiction (don’t judge me…stop it… I can feel you judging me from here), you begin to notice that several recurring features. For one thing, men do not simply speak. They growl. Which is, of course, totally impractical and probably bad for your vocal chords. For another, sexual frustration is always conveyed through the wanton fondling of jawlines, which, whilst sexy in theory, isn’t totally practical. Also, melodrama, melodrama, melodrama! Obviously, all of these are sprinkled liberally throughout the extract above.

The other thing that really makes me giggle is the fact that, due to copyright reasons, all of the names of the characters and some of the plot had to be change so that they didn’t actually reflect any of the members of One Direction. It is now, according to the press release, a story about “what happens when you meet the boy band of every girl’s dream – and not one but two of them fall for you!” As you can see from the above extract, they have changed one of the boy’s names to Shaq… Shaq… One more time: They called one of the lead characters “Shaq”. Sounds like quality.

So, since Penguin is scouring the internets for talented writers to sign book deals for, and I am a writer who would very much like to be published by Penguin, I have decided to take a moment to put forward my own piece of fan fiction for consideration. It centres around a blogger, who is in no way a reflection of me, and her steady relationship with her work/life committments. In this scenario, the work/ life committments will be played by Ashton Kutcher, because you don’t really like him that much, but he’s persistant. This relationship is struggling but functional, when suddenly it’s put under threat by a sexy newcomer – the internet. For the purposes of the fan fiction, the internet will be played by Ryan Gosling. Because the internet loves Ryan Gosling. To prevent copyright infringement, Kutcher will go by the name of Jaq Butcher (Shaq was already taken), and Ryan Gosling will go by the name of Brian Duckling. The whole thing will feature Ryan/Brian speaking only in a growl and constantly fondling the jaw of the blogger that bares no resemblence to me at all. There will also be high drama – some potential drownings, dramatic rescues, houses on fire. That kind of thing. I haven’t really decided yet. Will Kutcher/Butcher and the blogger’s relationship survive? (Spoiler alert: probably not.)

I was going to use my mad MS Paint skillz to create a movie poster based on the plot of aforementioned fan fiction. However, I got lazy so instead, I give you a picture of Brian Duckling. Essentially he’s Ryan Gosling, but with a twirly moustache. Just to prevent copyright infringement.

I think it has potential. Hey, Penguin. Call me, baby.

Oh Johnny… Honey. No. Just No.

Hands up if you’d almost totally forgotten that they were remaking The Lone Ranger? Me too. I probably shouldn’t have because it just meant that I got a nasty surprise when I remembered its existence. I was casually strolling through the internet, doing my morning rounds, when I came across the newly released poster.

Admittedly, it’s a pretty sassy new poster. I really enjoy the design. HOWEVER, I have issues. Many issues. Allow me to go into minute detail about them.

For those of you who don’t know, The Lone Ranger was originally a TV show that ran from 1949 to 1957 about a masked Texas ranger, his horse named Silver and his trusty Native American sidekick, Tonto. It spawned the classic line “Hi-ho, Silver! Away!” which was generally followed up by someone asking, “Who was that masked man?” as aforementioned masked man rides off into the sunset. These lines were frequently shouted at random intervals in my household while I was growing up by parents who were brought up on a steady diet of Westerns. In other words, it’s very kitsch and was very much a product of its time and, as much as I like/d it, like most things that rely on particular stereotypes of race or culture to create characters, it does not need a reboot.

When the first promotional images were released back in March, I spent a lot of time going “Oh my gosh, they can’t be serious.” Because I was positive they couldn’t be serious. Because Johnny Depp was playing Tonto. And he was dressed like this:

They can’t be serious…

Does that not scream “terrible fucking idea”, to you? Because it should. This blog isn’t really a political blog. I’m not here to get on my soapbox and preach the ways of the world. Honestly, I think that would be a waste of my time and yours considering that my idea of a productive day is to watch and have thoughts on at least 4 randomly chosen films. But some things are just so blindingly obvious, I don’t even really feel like I should have to say them. This is one of them.

Resurrecting Tonto is problematic for a lot of reasons. For starters, let’s talk about the makeup. It’s inspired by this painting by Kirby Sattler, titled I Am Crow. Now, Sattler isn’t a Native American. His artist statement says that he “purposely does not denote a tribal affiliation to the majority of my subjects, rather, I attempt to give the paintings an authentic appearance, provoke interest, satisfy my audience’s sensibilities of the subject without the constraints of having to adhere to historical accuracy.” If that sounds like a load of wank to you, it’s because it is. Sattler’s “innate interest in the world’s indigenous cultures” amounts to nothing more than cultural appropriation to create an exotic ‘Other’. To put it in simpler terms: Sattler is grabbing the stuff he likes from different cultures and mooshing them up without thinking about how that might affect the people that he’s stealing imagery from, so that he can make an interesting painting about something wild and exotic. Which is just a bit shit, really.

Then, on top of that, Tonto’s character is a identified repeatedly throughout all incarnations of The Lone Ranger, as being a full-blooded member of the Comanche Nation. So, taking inspiration from Sattler’s painting of someone who is supposed to be a vague reference to the Crow Nation (but not one constrained by historical accuracy, thank God), is just a further blending of cultural innaccuracies, so that we eventually end up with a visual that screams “Indian” at the audience, in the most traditional “Cowboys and Indians” sense, without them having to examine anything beyond the surface. And that’s bollocks.

Then, THEN, we have Tonto played by Johnny Depp. JOHNNY DEPP! I love Johnny Depp. I don’t think I can emphasise that enough. I went and saw Pirates of the Carribean at least 10 times at our local cinema. I even watch and enjoy the more questionable (repetitive) Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaborations regularly. I just really fucking love Johnny Depp, OK? Which is why, when I looked at my computer this morning I just kind of had to go “aaaaarrrrgghh”. Because essentially, you’re casting a white dude to play a person of colour, which is what ALWAYS FUCKING HAPPENS and it’s SHIT. If you’re going to write people of colour, for a start, don’t make them hollow, two-dimensional caricatures, and then, when you’ve written something substantial, don’t cast a rich white dude to play that character. Because it’s stupid and it makes you look stupid.

Essentially, I said all of that when that initial press photo came out in a much shorter and more swear-y way on my Tumblr back in March. And now the trailer has happened. It looks like this:

The thing that I was holding hope for was the fact that they would at least maybe skip over the fact that Tonto spoke in broken pidgin English. It is apparent from that trailer that they’re sticking with the pidgin English. Which is…I don’t even know. I can’t. I just can’t with this film.

So, I should probably end this blog with the following statement. I am a middle class, white girl from Sydney. I am far and away not the most politically correct person you will ever meet. Sometimes, I put my foot in it. I’m working on that. But I am a big fan of the idea that words are as powerful as the person being victimised by them tells you they are. To me, the fact that several prominent Native American people have come out and said that this portrayal upsets them is enough to make me more than a little uncomfortable. Popular culture is one of those things that seeps into your brain when you least expect it. If you’re not paying attention and thinking critically then you can let it drastically alter your perceptions without even realising it.

TL;DR: Disney, this is a terrible idea and you should really consider firing whoever was responsible for greenlighting this shit. I leave you with a really great article from 1998, by Sherman Alexie called I Hated Tonto (Still Do). This blog will return to regular programming next week.

Christina Aguilera Isn’t Fat…

…Or at least, she didn’t say she was. You may have noticed recently that Christina Aguilera has gained a little weight, which, to be honest, is probably fair enough. She’s 31, she’s had a kid, she’s released a bunch of albums, she’s gotten divorced. I’d probably get drunk and gorge myself on pizza too.

This was a thing…

And then this was a thing…

To me, skinny or slightly heavier, she still looks like the kind of lady who, if she wasn’t famous, would be hanging around outside a shopping centre in stained track pants, with long acryclic nails in some violent neon shade, chuffing on a cigarette and screaming for her kids to “get back here!” But enough folks are into for her to be a big deal, so whatever.

Anyway, what’s interesting is the fact that there’s a bunch of quotes attributed to Aguilera in her recent interview with Billboard:

“During the promotion of my album Stripped, I got tired of being a skinny, white girl. I am Ecuadorian but people felt so safe passing me off as a skinny, blue-eyed white girl. So the next time my label saw me, I was heavier, darker and full of piericings! [laughter] Let me tell you, that wasn’t an easy pill for them to swallow. I had gained about 15 pounds during promotion and during my Stripped tour with Justin. They called this serious emergency meeting about how their was a lot of backlash about my weight… basically they told me I would effect a lot of people if I gained weight. The production, musical directors, people I toured with would ALSO miss out if I gained weight because I would sell no records or tickets for my shows. I was young, so I lost the weight quickly and was toothpick thin during Back to Basics promos and touring. So I told them during this Lotus recording, ‘You are working with a fat girl. Know it now and get over it.’ They need a reminder sometimes that I don’t BELONG to them. It’s my body. My body can’t put anyone in jeopardy of not making money anymore. My body is just not on the table that way anymore. I am 31 – my boobs are Max’s [her son’s] and my pussy is mine… Sorry.”

Reading that you can understand why it’s blown up the internet. Pop stars lives are generally so stage managed that you wouldn’t know the truth from a glass of water, so in some sense, it’s kind of awe-inspiring to see such brutal honesty. Except that Aguilera did not once say any of those things in her Billboard interview. This lengthy, ‘reclaiming your body’, ’embracing yourself’ style quote was entirely a figment of the internet’s imagination. Ha! High fives, internet! When the interviews don’t give you what you want, make that shit up.

What’s probably funnier than the fictitious quotes, is the fact that a number of very reputable publications (well, as reputable as gossip mags get, anyway) ran them as gospel. I’m looking at you Us Weekly. You have the unfortunate distinction of being the first publication to run the quotes. This of course begs the question: how on earth does Us Weekly conduct their research? The quotes were originally supposed to have appeared in an article in another magazine… so since it’s obvious that the writers over at Us Weekly haven’t actually read that article we should probably find the original source. EW managed to trace it back to a reblogged Tumblr post (the original post is missing, but the internet never forgets). The only possible conclusion I can draw from this is that Us Weekly goes to Tumblr to do all its research.

If this is the case then I have penned the following open letter to the magazine:

Dear Us Weekly,

I realise that Tumblr is a magical place. A place where time stands still… except it doesn’t because I lost about six hours there last night. Not the point. It’s a place where hero-worship goes totally and utterly unchecked. This is great for those of us with slightly emotionally unbalanced, obsessive tendencies. We can watch the same 5 second gif of our favourite celebrity/ internet celebrity/ fictional character/ stuffed animal/ live animal/ puppet doing that adorable thing with its nose over and over again until we pass out or die from malnutrition.

This does not mean it’s a good place for you to do in depth studies prior to writing articles. (Leave that for those of us struggling to come up with a thesis idea for our PHD. ) Where Tumblr lacks actual verified content, it will make it up to satisfy the desires of the hive mind. This why there are so many in depth posts about homoerotic content that you didn’t realise existed in shows that you watch regularly. They’re sneaky about it too. Some people who spend hours lurking Tumblr are fantastic writers and master photo manipulators. Like me, they just have a lot of feelings and they will fill the void brought about by shows ending or albums sucking by making up a reason for it to be interesting.

You should probably just be a bit more careful. Or at least learn to internetz.

Sincerely,

Alex

 

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