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It’s very funny.

Written by Tony Kiernan

09 August 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in Film

Visions Festival 2015

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Due to working, I kinda missed a sizeable chunk of this. Also, due to a bit of bad planning opn my part.

Visons takes place across various venues in Hackney. And, is the massive wankfest that it looks like. Needless to say, I’ve been kicking myself for mssing last years’. Once I finally got there this year, picked up my wristband, I headed to the hipster vatican of St John‘s to enjoy some lunch at the streetfood market, grab a beer and check out whoever was playing. When I got there, there was a good bit of time until the next band, all the streetfood was done and the beer was nearly out. So, I went to The Cock had a typically unexciting pint of something Howling Hops and grabbed a kebab for the walk to the next venue.

Which gave me enough time until the next band I could see to potter about tome of the other venues. Let me rephrase that; time to kill but completely impractical to go catch a band due to the expansive spread of the event.

So, first band of the day were penultimate headliners in their venue Toy. Having dabbled in their kraut-lite I always thought they would be a good live prospect. Maybe it’s the tiny pa. Or the fact that The Laundry‘s perfomance space is litwerally their basement car park (possibly limiting the size of the pa).  But, they never really seem to take off. To light up.  There’s a few moments in the “crazy wig-out” endings (noeither that crazy nor that wiggy) where they seem to pick up some energy or vibrancy.  But, for most of it, they seem a pretty lame approximation of a bunch of bands that were in turn lame approximations of something interesting.  Kinda line BRMC having every JAMC record (and not liking the first few) but having never heard the VU. Only with The Telescopes.

My reason for buying a ticket to the whole shebang (and why the above is not a shed-ton more vitriolic) was the headliners at Oval Space (not top billed of the whole thing) Holy Fuck.  Apparently it’s been five years since they were inthe UK.  In that time, the two blokes at he front have kind of seperated out.  They no longer bend over a shared table.  This allows one to play a bit of guitar at one point.  And, provides an uniteruppted view of the drummer.  Which confirms just how much of a driving powerhouse the little fella is.  Other than that? Business as usual.  The kinda unscrew the top of your head and frot your lobes.  There’s new material, it’s as good as the old material.  It’s one of the best shows I’ll see this year.

They say their coming back later this year.  The sooner, the better.

Written by Tony Kiernan

09 August 2015 at 10:59 am

Posted in Gigs, London, Music

The Legend of Barney Thompson

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A thing that always sticks in my mind is Barry Norman admonishing Tom Stoppard for putting his name before the title on his (rather marvelous) cinematic directorial debut*. “‘Directed by’ was good enough for John Huston“. I remember even at the time thinking he had a point. It may have been the author, directing his most lauded work, but really? It’s like the wannabe auteur equivalent or shouting “do you know who I am!?!?”

The Legend of Barney Thomson announces itself early as une film de Robert Carlyle. Hmmm.

The film is a black comedy about a Bridgeton barber, who a washed up cop fancies as a serial killer terrifying Scotland. This suspicion mainly is down to his shifty behaviour as he tries to hide the act he’s accidentally murdered his boss.

Carlyle certainly has something. There’s a brilliant visual flair to the film. A broken down glamour that captures the grubby corners of the east-end. Or, at least, what’s left of them.

A pretty promising debut, only let down by the acting, if I’m honest. You’ll hear a lot about Emma Thompson‘s X-rated Nanny McPhee. She’s quite funny, and obviously having fun. Ray Winstone has been given the direction “be Ray Winstone“. And, well, he’s the most Ray Winstone at being Ray Winstone you can get. They’re all great, but no-one’s exactly being stretched. Or breaking new ground.

Then there’s Carlyle himself. Can we all agree that he’s great? Just get that out the way? Here he is asked to play a guy so insipid, people forget he’s in the room. A vacuum of a character. and, he could do this standing on his head. Unfortunately, what he delivers is just too one-dimensional. Which is fine for some scenes, but not the whole thing. The director should’ve picked up on that.

(I feel I should’ve drawn some great conclusion about spending too much time worrying about billing and not the movie. But, that would’ve been trite. And, yes, I couldn’t do it without a serious crowbar.)

*To date, still the only movie he’s directed. 25 years ago, sheesh. He should get the finger out, we all wish Charles Laughton had directed more.

Written by Tony Kiernan

29 July 2015 at 8:03 am

Posted in Film

Terminator Genisys

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Well, they do he tramp down the alley just like the first one…

The T-1000 has Robert Partick‘s movements down perfect…

He say’s “I’ll be back”…

It plays with timelines and…

Well, it’s a good brainless popcorn action…

No. No, it’s not. It’s horrible.

Written by Tony Kiernan

26 July 2015 at 8:37 am

Posted in Film


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I loved Asif Kapadia‘s documentary Senna. It took existing footage and crafted a compelling, haunting tale of the rise and tragic death of a modern hero. It was marvellous.

With Amy he has done a similar thing with the life and (spoiler) death of Amy Winehouse. There is nothing heroic in this. But, the tragedy definitely goes one louder.

One of the strengths for me of the other film is that I have absolutely no interest in F1, but it didn’t matter. This is about music and the industry surrounding it. It’s the shit I’ve been obsessed with for most of my life. Add to that nearly every step of this story I knew. As we all did through the part in haunting the poor girl to death that the press played. What the film fails to convey is any real sense of the talent that has been lost to us. Certainly, there’s no great shortage of folks lining up to tell you she was. I always thought of her a stage school kid with a far to mannered voice for it to be anything other than put-on. Kinda the UB40 of torch jazz. The film manages to emphasise her songwriting. Matching it line-for-line with what happens in her life along the way. Its effective and beautifully sad. Does it mke me think the songs are any better?

Am I dead inside?

Written by Tony Kiernan

10 July 2015 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Film

Slow West

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Cards on the table: I never liked The Beta Band. In fact I actively disliked them. Not for their insipid, fey folk particularly. But, for the frothing frenzy of outpour they inspired in others. There was a period of a decade from the late 90s on where every six months or so I’d read something that made me revisit the Three EPs. From one point of view, I just didn’t ‘get’ it. From another the emperor is nekkid. Most accurately, I just don’t like them.

Slow West is the debut movie by John MacLean. He was the bloke that did some perfunctory scratching on the BB’s stuff. I’m a little wary. But, it’s a Scottish Western (and I’ve got an Unlimited card. And, it’s been too long since I went to the cinema). Scots naïf Kodi Smit-McPhee is taken under the wing of fashionably gnarled proper bounty hunter Michael Fassbender on a journey west to join the love of his life.

Don’t think I’d go as far as calling this a love letter to the western, but it’s definitely a crumpled note saying my mate fancies you. New Zealand stands in for Colorado and Scotland and a mighty fine job it does too. As is required in something like this, the landscape becomes the third hand in a dirt road movie. Reminiscent of (the recent) True Grit or something with Eastwood. (I think it’s aiming for Josey Wales. I keep thinking Sister Sarah. This is not a bad thing.) Its chockfull of allusions, and cine-literate in-jokes and references.

While nowhere as elegiac or meaningful as it thinks it is. (I know I use that phrase a lot. But, here there’s a definite heavy-handed message driven home at the end f it all.) But, it’s got MF doing his “look at me! I’m Michael fecken Fassbender” thing, which is always good. And, that’s not even the best thing in this. It’s much, much better than Beta Band.

Written by Tony Kiernan

08 July 2015 at 9:02 am

Posted in Film

Faith No More/The Pop Group – The Academy, Glasgow (14 Juune 2015)

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I’ll be honest, my knowledge of The Pop Group is limited to We Are All Prostitutes and the fact they influenced about 30% of my record collection. Catching them as support at this gig was a bonus. They were a rumbling, grumbling weirdly funky proto-industrial grindfest. Braw. They go on the list of catch-next-time.

Talk about influential; Faith No More created an entire new branch of metal. Admittedly a particularly shit branch, but that wasn’t their fault. It was the cheap and poor quality imitations that made up most of nu-metal. People not understanding. You can throw Ross Robinson at as many turds as you want, he’s never gonna polish one to resemble Midlife Crisis. Hence why he stopped trying.

My relationship with the band was always a bit strange. I’d liked the bits of their first incarnation I’d heard. I bought The Real Thing. I remember seeing Midlife Crisis on TOTP and wondering just where the hell it came from. Most of the women I new round this time loved them. I learnt to keep quiet about liking them as the next step was them putting on Jane’s Addiction. Ever the tedious contrarian, it was their last album Album of the Year that made me really flip and go scuttling back over their body of work with they new wider opened eyes/ears. So, I blame the antaphrodisiac qualities of Perry fucken Farrell for me having missed every possibility to see the band (arguably) back in the day.

Imagine my joy when they reformed, released a corking album, and were touring. Properly. Not just festivals or enormodromes. They sold out London quicker than a really quick thing. I fond myself going to be in Glasgow the weekend they were playing. It also sold out instantly. So, I hit Touts-R-Us, bit the bullet, and bought a ticket. Needless to say as the gig rolled up, I was offered about four spares to go along. Grrr.

Were they any good? Of course they bloody were. Patton is a stunning frontman. The new songs stand up next to the old. Roddy Bottum is an unlikely rock god, but he is. Did it feel like the fulfillment of a lifetimes waiting. No. But, then it’s not. What it is is intelligent rock music that does indeed rock. From a band doing it at peak power. Not nostalgia. Totally awesome, dude.

They go on the list of catch-next-time.

Written by Tony Kiernan

15 June 2015 at 5:56 am

Posted in Gigs, Glasgow, Music


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