Sunday, April 29, 2007

something about approaching exams, work overload, over-time shifts and bankruptcy brings out the creative in me. otherwise, im throwing all my energy into not studying, partying, drinking binges, death wishes, whining about the lack of intellectual stimulation in this dreary drab country.. all of a sudden, when i actually need to read economic journals, look for part-time work, call credit services, put away the bottle-i'm sapped. there is no energy left in me, the thud-thud of my heart has slowed to a beat-a-minute crawl, there are no more uppers, anti-depressants, intoxicants i can use. im simply and numbingly mindfucked. im over-whelmed by the enormity of the task ahead, and tail-under-hind-legs, im taking the easy way out- i have decided to write a novel.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

what i miss post-testicular-tortion

-testicular symmetry

-strong manly jets of piss, as opposed to trickles and spurts

-dismissing random coke cans, ciggie butts, anything at all in my way with a hedonistic kick of youth

-alcohol and cigarettes, thanks to a four week antibiotic regime; doc says i can smoke weed though

-motiveless masturbation

-unquestionable mobility

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

last days : review

this is a director's movie if ive seen one. gus van sant takes u on an epic journey, leaving u flustered, frustrated, irritable, numb, in fact anything but sympathetic, and it was great to see a movie about the death of a rockstar that doesnt actually glorigy his death. neither does he give u the shock treatment-there's no blood, gore or even drugs shown. the story is told from the point of view of the protagonist, blake (micahel pitt), grunge musician, who's nihilism and disllusionment drives him to suicide.

if gus van sant wanted the movie to be seen as the life of blake however, he has another thing coming. he should have picked an actor who looks less like kurt cobain for starters. the same clothes(incl. the famous striped cardigan he supposedly traded his shirt for with a junkie on the streets of amsterdam, i think), the funny shades, even the hair. the medium is only as storng as the obvious, so i'm going to review this movie as gus van sant's attempt at deconstructing or filling in (?) the events around cobain's death.

i dont want to go through the storyline because, well there is no story line. the cinematography is wonderrful, but i have to say i was a bit disappointed with the whole repetition -of-scenes thing.yes yes i get it, blake's life seemed redundant, evry day was the same towards the end, he must have felt like there was nothing left to live for but i thought the movie conveyed all that anywy-the director really dint have to resort to that kind of cheesy 'cult-movie' gimmicry.

i really liked the aloofness of his housemates, who bear striking resemblances to dave grohl and kurt novoselic(who else). now i have a lot of respect for grohl as a musician, not merely because ive loved all his music right from scream to nirvana to QOTS to foo fighters, but also because grohl really re-defined nirvana's sound when he came in and that takes a lot of character, considering nevermind their first album as a band together rides solely on the power of his drumming over considerable amounts of time. (this is not to take away anything from nirvana's earlier recordings, i think bleach defines cobain's musical vision the best, just that grohl defined nirvana's vision since his inception into the band. the interesting thing is that while conspiracy theorists have of course pointed fingers at evryone from courtney love to grohl to fanatic fans as possible murderers, grohl in many ways can actly be held responsible if thought of that way. nirvana would not have achieved the 'generation X' mtv popularity it enjoyed post-nevermind if it hadnt been for grohl coming into the band. kobain's music was anything but appealing to the popular masses if earlier recordings are any indication and novoselic never really had a say anyway, which means they may never have actually been put in the limelight like they were if it werent for grohl-the limelight and attention that cobain hated and supposedly drove him to suicide . would kobain have been happy playing small garage gigs all his life is another question)it's interesting how lucas (the grohl stand-in) is depicted as somebody who pretty much lives off blake, taking money from him, orchestrating their escape to LA on hearing of blake's death due to fear of being incriminated, etc. the part where lucas comes in wasted two nights in a row, and listens to VU's 'venus in furs' was just fukcing beautiful. i've always thought the lyrics had homosexual connotations, so i especailly enjoyed the scene after where lucas and the novoselic character climb into bed and start making out. it did leave me a bit confused though-wasnt kobain a homophobic? my own drug addled memory seems to rembr reading soemthing abt cobain having been molested as a child (or was that axl rose?)anywys i cant be arsed to google it but i thought it was an interesting touch. i also liked novoselic dude telling a blank blake that he wished the music sounded more personal than it did just then and how he had a few ideas for songs, followed by lucas pushing him out of the room.

there's a part in the begining where the boyz II men video 'on bended knee' is played on blake's television, almost the entire video mind you. inconguous as it may seem, it was quite a brilliant commentary on the plastic nature of mtv-popularised music of the time, and how distraught kobain must have felt havnig been branded part of the movement. through out the movie, blake runs through shrubbery, hides from social workers, mumbles to himself, passes out, does things like that-basically he' either comatose or incoherent. he doesnt actually make sense anytime, except when he says out loud 'i lost something on my way to wherever i am today' , while he jots down his sucide note.

Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, close friend of cobain, has a a two minute cameo where she tells cobain to get back into rehab and admonisihing him for neglecting his daughter. she says, when you talk to her will you tell her 'your sorry for being a rock n roll cliche?' this i thought was a particularly poignant moment-no exaggerated drama, very realistically delivered but sort of ecncompassing the idea of it all. while cobain may have been a a great talent, the line cut the myth behind the man to reality: a wasted junkie, an excuse for self-distruction, nothing honourable or worship-worthy there. i'd read today morning in the paper that keith richards finally confirmed thhat he snorted his fater's ashes with some coke in 2002. i may have found that 'incredibly rock n roll' three years ago, but i'm glad im growing up, and it was just nice to watch a movie about a disturbed genius that doesnt glorify him, nor judge. in fact, the whole stand-out point of the movie is how in tocuh it is with the protagonist's reality. it's almost as though bkae has already given up on any real life-he's just going through the motions, dead inside, a bumbling fool headbent on crash-n burn. when you see the man who occupied most of your bedroom poster space and music collection for ten -twelve years humbled like that, it can be quite mind -blowing , if u were as big a fan as i.

cobain does make one last foray into the outside world though-to a small gig, one he hastily exits from. micaheal pitt's song 'from birth to death' was fucking beautiful, cobain-like, accoustic. there's nothing more i can say about that. blake also manages to maintain a child-like quality abt him at most times-for example, the castle he lives in could have come out of nay enid blyton story-there are forests around it, brooks, hills, very fairy-tale. the funny yellow shades are reminiscent of those things you get at 3-d movies. the impishness of his attempts at hiding from the social workers are as child-like as they are desperate.

finally, the death. a gardener or plumber or someone like that finds blake dead in the glasshouse.its as simple and abrupt as that. there is a mildly disturbing scene here, where a naked blake is seen climbing out of his corpse and up a ladder on wall. i hope to god nobody interprets that as an ascention into heaven, redemption or cultural inconography. what does it signify then? i was thinking, it could be soemthing as simplistic as his soul finally being free- despite being effectively dead to the outside world for the last few days, his soul was still trapped inside his pysical self and itching to be liberated. his suicide of course was the final step-his soul finally climbs out and goes wherevr it wants, free of human trappings like fame or necessities like clothes. i know it's abit simplistic but it would be in keeping with the movie's generally straight-forward story telling.

im a bit hassled by all the parallels that the director has supposedly drawn between blake and jesus. i just dont see what ur talking about, except that in the movies, jesus was also a thin, blonde haired, somewhat effeminate man during his last days.

a must-watch for nirvana fans, and pop-culture students. while im still undecided about whats better-fading away or burning out-a heroin habbit and self-loathing does not put ur flame out before taking everything you have. that last moment before you burn out, that nano-second before you pull the trigger, what's left of you is a shadow of evrything u once were.

Monday, April 02, 2007

the sentinel : review

so after a long time i sat down and watched a 90's style president-of-the-usa-threatened-with-assassination potboiler. this ones called the sentinel, starring michael douglas, looking older than his years, eva langoria, no longer looking deperate nor house-wifeish and kim basinger, more beautiful than (n)ever. the cast is predicatable. up first, the workaholic with the nascent soft side-michael douglas, dedicated secret service agent (who has been in the service so long he wakes up to the nightmarish deja-vous of taking a bullet for president nixon) . his soft side of course responds to the first lady kim basinger herself, with whom he is having a passionate love affair ("i never saw it coming," he ruefully confesses to his colleague.)eva longoria is the standard rookie agent, learning the tricks of the trade, yet smarter than she ought to be.

now thats out of the way, a few observations. first of all, hollywood's nauseating need to conveniently marry political correctness and all -american goodness is downright nauseating. the white house and the secret service is choke-full of coloured people-there is even an 'aziz' of dubious asian origin thrown in- except for our heroes of course. whether that is the case in reality is something that troubled me for a considerable period of time ;in the age of 'borat' and 'little britain', there seems little need for such trivialities. the hip-hop track playing at the end of the movie as the hero walks away, shades and suit intact, is as out of place as it is comical.

secondly, why oh why do all married women tend towards micheal douglas when they fancy a romp on the extra-marrital bed? im not only jealous, im also tired of seeing him play the same role again and again. i gave up good guy vs bad guy movies when i was tweleve; if i decide to watch one again, i want the good guy to look like he can handle a gun (or a woman for that matter-there was about as much passion between adulteress and security guard as there is between brad pitt and urs truly)

the story, about a mole in the service, helping Al-qaeda in their attempt to assassinate the President is cheesy, but in that popcorn-munching, beer-guzzling way we all love and miss. i quite enjoyed it, the experience more than the movie-i felt almost adolescent again, my own childlike excitement at guns and machismo exciting the real me, sparking off a whole chain of 'who-am-i-really?' thought processes that almost threatened to ruin the movie for me. so much so that i had to light up ciggies to re-focus. i really need to get a hold of myself, this is nuts.

anywy, interestingly, the mole who is revelaed only at the end, has photographs of the adultering couple in a rather compromising embrace, which understandably freaks out shot secret agent, not to mention ms.devoted first lady. as a result, he fails a mandatory polygraph test and becomes the main suspect. trapped, he does what all men do-he runs, ala harrison ford in the fugitive, i think, one of those old movies made at a time when guns were still a novelty in school grounds. of course, in the process he manages to prove his innocence, save the president and his woman, hand in his resignation and walk away to the beats of black america. there are a few obvious flaws in the plot, but this is not alfred hitchcock, this is a talentless writer and a hollywood budget-what self-respecting film lover would watch such movies for the stroyline ? entertainment value though, not too low on the ten point scale.

the disturbing stuff now. all this time i thought the american president is one person would never feel inadequate in a relationship. now i see how wrong i was. i mean c'mon, ur husband who claims to be the single most powerful man in the world, needs six gun toting secret agents around him all the time just to make sure he can take a piss without being shot at? how can he protect his own wife then? who would seem more attractive to Woman-the man or the gun machine? so thats one myth busted , there really is no fool-proof occupation to prevent infidelity. because of course, the wife of the gun man will want to sleep with the guy that pays for their guns.

secondly, how the hell can hot shot secret agent be stupid enough to leave the window curtains open when he's having a rendevous with the president's wife? thats not just a matter of security, thats bedisde manners! unless, the firt lady is the kinky type, but mr. douglas certainly doesnt seem the sort. funny also, that a large number of the film's shots show the characters talking through their open windows (many of these conversations top secret stuff involving assassins and runaway agents and promiscous lovers and what not!)-a subtle hint at the inadequacy of the security system or just failiure to attend to detail?

thirdly, wow if these agents do evrything they seem to they must really consider themselves important people huh. almost as important as the president huh. hey maybe evn more than him-they do keep the guy alive and breathing dont they? hell, they could run this country better than some slow poke smiley face who cant take care of his own ass cant they? see where im going with this? basic human psychology. i think it was jimani who said that all attemtps at ammunition-backed security will one day see the protectors becoming the predators-thats what guns do to you. thats why gangs fight among themselves, and WWF tag teams dont.

the american (and non) protestors at the g8 meeting-nice touch. a reflection of how democracy is in many ways its worst enemy. quite enjoyed that one, though im confident the subtlity was lost on my burp-a-minute companion. i even laughed self conciously to show him he missed something i caught thanks to my superior intellectual capabilities, but he has sex every night, sometimes with different women, and he knows what he's worth. so that's that.

all in all, decent movie if ur a man for masala. or the sweetly languorous longoria. or even early 90's action movie nostalgia. back to reading 'i am not jackson pollock' for the now. amazing collection of stories by john haskell-review to be posted soon. oh and i plan to blog more. well more than the last eight months anyway. like mr. douglas, i dint quite see it coming and im sorry.