Archive for the ‘Glasgow’ Category

Some stuff I did in January

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Towards the end of last year I spent or so putting some comments into incomplete blog postings. I evidently don’t have either the time or the inclination to keep this up. Which is annoying as it exists to keep my hand in with written communication. Or articulating the mess that goes on in this mind. Lets say it’s time. I’m definitely spending less time in the office doing this. So, let’s a different format. See if I can keep my hand in.

The Hateful Eight

New year’s day. Denver, Colorado. We can’t get in to the full 70mm roadshow, so we’re seeing this in council format.

There’s a ludicrously extended talky bit at the start of this where not only does Tarantino‘s supposed snappy dialogue is nowhere to be seen. There is a streak of misogyny that I’m not cool with, though.

Then the eight actually get together and it becomes an outrageous slapstick bloodfest. I am going to return to this in the full experience. So, more detail then.

Itchy-O Marching Band – The 3 Kings Tavern (1 January 2016)

Someone finally listened to my bitching and put some other gigs on while I was in Colorado.

There was a support band. I can’t remember their name. They weren’t bad.

How to describe Ithcy-O? The mariachi band who soundtrack Tim Hunkin‘s gorgonazola fueled night-sweats? Yeah, I think that’ll do it.

It’s part cabaret, part installation. There’s dancers, tesla coils, smoke cannons, lights on everything. But, mostly, there’s the battalion of drummers and musicians. When they get going they are a thumping hypnotic On-U groove. Problem is they spend so long getting going. I understand what an introduction is, and how they can be used. But, if you had a car that took forever to get started every time, you’d scrap it.

The Danish Girl

Tom Hooper‘s latest movie tells the remarkable true story of Danish artist Lili Elbe, a pioneer (that’s not the right word) of sexual re-assignment surgery.

Her’s is a fascinating story.

The cast are marvellous. Alicia Vikander stealing another film. Not to say that Eddie Redmayne is anything other that damn fine, and rather beguiling, in the title role. (And, all films could do with Ben Wishaw popping up. If only so I can shout Pingu! when he does.)

Early 20th Century Copenhagen and Paris are rendered beautifully. Making long to visit both again. (Although, today of course.)

It’s truly fucken woeful, though.

The Revenant

Talking of full of woe…

A lot has been made of the authenticity of this movie. The dedication to filming by natural light. Which is truly stunning at points. Of course, only serving to really emphasise the very obvious cg bits.

Apparently the actors were a bit cold and miserable. Diddums. It’s not as raw or grueling as you’d hope. There’s a point, where Leo‘s in the roots of a tree. Hiding from the French, or the natives, or Tom Hardy, or some wildlife, or fire, or snow, or wind, or an iceberg. Whatever. I looked at the screen and realised this film could’ve had Tom Hanks or Cruise in the main roll and not really have made a bit of a difference. Particularly to my relatively thumbs-up enjoyment of it.

Here’s a hint: Next time you’re looking to lose a bit of flab, or 20 minutes running time (as some people call it), start with the dream sequences.

Soom T – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen (20 January 2016)

I first became aware of MC Soom T providing vocals for the astounding Send Them Kids To War by the otherwise pedestrian Burns Unit. Since then, every now and again I’ve caught mention of her (huge in France, apparently) and been interested. So, free gig. No-brainer.

It’s quite good. I keep thinking about how I’m told she’s huge in France. Which might explain the just-too-slick edge to tonight. I find myself questioning how much of what I’m watching is what I’m hearing. But, it’s filed under “warrants ore investigation”.

Joy

David O Russell is one of those directors, like Paul Thomas Anderson, who – to my mind – I do not like. However, it transpires that of the very few films I’ve seen by him I’ve rather enjoyed them. So, I don’t know what it was about the deeply oblique trailers for this that made me begin to really want to see it. And, why, when I found out it was the biography of the woman that invented the miracle mop, I just wanted to see it all the more.

Another fantastic cast, at peak game. But, what O’Russell does so well with them is make them believable.  OK, I realise that’s kind of the point of directors and actors.  Let me try and expand.  While this is a dysfunctional family, the heart, the humanity, the reality are all there. There’s a domestic atmosphere that just rings true throughout. It’s at the heart of the film and is what makes it work.  For example Virginia Madsen‘s bed-ridden soap-obsessed mother (although not the matriarch) would be a shrill grotesque in the hands of, say, a Wes Anderson.  Here she has dimensions and we are pleased with her arc.

Here’s a hint: Next time you’re looking to lose a bit of flab, or 20 minutes running time (as some people call it), start with the dream sequences.

Room

Unlike Lenny Abrahamson who I think I’ve loved all his films, but had only seen the two.

The Big Short

Blah-blah cast etc…

Adam McKay, director of this, is also currently co-host of a podcast called Surprisingly Awesome. Each week it takes an apparently dull subject, e.g. concrete, and kicks some interesting into it. This movie does the same with [one facet of] the 2008 crash. It’s not awesome, or particularity surprising. It is pretty damn entertaining though. (If no Margin Call.)

Creed

Forget the “who would’ve thought there was life in the Rocky franchise” question*. Who would’ve thought there was something you’d never seen before in a boxing movie? Like most current ‘re-boot’ movies, Ryan Coogler is happy to throw in those nods and references to give the audience that familiarity. (Although, to be fair, the Rocky movies may have invented this. He needs to do the run, he need to chase a chicken.) But, he also takes current filming techniques and gives us something we’ve never seen before in the tiredest old series of a seriously tired genre. There is a fight earlier on in this which appears to be filmed in one shot. Our POV is right in the heart of the action with the fists, blood and sweat flying. It strikes me as revolutionary as we’re told Raging Bull was back in the day.

* Although, by god there is. And it is a corker.

The BMX Bandits – 100 Club (30 January 2016)

I believe it was Alistair Gray who said “If the The BMX Bandits did not exist we would have to invent them”.

Black Star – David Bowie

In 2013, unexpectedly and seemingly from out of nowhere David Bowie released The Next Day. It made headline news across the world. How could he possibly top that? Oh. Right…

Written by Tony Kiernan

01 February 2016 at 10:54 am

Posted in Film, Gigs, Glasgow, London, Music

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

Bis/Ghosts of Dead Airplanes – The Lexington (11 January 2014)

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Oddly, Ghosts of Dead Airplanes seem like a breath of fresh air. Despite reminding me of every indie band of a certain type for the last thirty years. (Think The Three Johns and work outwards from there.) They’ve got the tunes, they’ve got the charm. By the end of their set, I’ve got them pegged as a perfect marriage of Cinerama (not The Wedding Present) and Eno. Dunno how that sounds to you, but it sounded boss to me.

Bis, on the other hand, are…problematic. To me. To my indier-than-thou posturing. To every pretentious inch of my artis super omnia soul.

As a band, they meant little to me. I liked them enough, they had some stonking tunes. But, always seemed ultimately lacking. They were local, and massive without really compromising. Then, after they split, they came back as Data Panik. DP were fantastic. Everything I felt the previous band was missing was there. Dynamics and kick-ass live shows. And, then they split. And, they did so because no-one would sign them. So much for the unsigned-on-TOTP indie-kid heroes. It wrankled with every indie-snob bone in my body. SPLITTERS!!

Now, they are back. They must’ve found someone to stump the money up. The DP album came out under their name, and they’re touring as a full DP-like band. While it’s better than Bis were, it’s not as good as Data Panik were.

Written by Tony Kiernan

12 January 2015 at 10:13 am

Posted in Gigs, Glasgow, London, Music

2009 not the decayed

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Seeing as everyone else is at it I thought I’d try and do a list of my bestest movies, music etc from the last ten years. However, I cast my mind back to the shiny post-grad student with nothing but hopes and great things ahead I was at the turn of the millennium. And, TBH, by the time I’d got to how all of that had turned to shit by the end of 2001 I decided it would be inadvisable to continue wandering down that memory lane.

So, instead, in alphabetical order, here are my things of 2009:

Brew Dog beers
Brew Dog brewery up in coldest Aberdeenshire are currently by far the most interesting beer producer in the country.

After initially dismissing the stuff as Aspecto-shopper chic bottles, it was when the local supermarket began stocking the excellent Imperial Stout Rip Tide. This became the beer of choice when we hit the supermarket.

Back in August we went to a food fair and were introbduced to Paradox definitely the taste of 2009 for me. Brilliantly over the year we’ve manged to taste the Arran, Springbank and (like Sy Bernard as part of an awful 3 hour journey home) Smokehead. I must try these malts now…

The summer tasted quite substantially of icy cold Punk IPA, just a fine everyday tasty beer. There was a brilliant blip where Asda got a box of the Hardcore variation by mistake. I reckon we mananged to get about 2/3 of the lot that was there (assuming one box). It’s crazy hoppt and just awesome.

We were pleased to find Trashy Blond on draught during the Edinburgh Festival. And have dabbled in a few of their other products, especially The Physics and splendid dark lager Zeitgeist. (In a drunken moment of weakness I even bought a share in the company.) Brilliantly we’ve merely scratched the surface.

Unfortunately the Tactical Nuclear Penguin I ordered didn’t manage to get bottled and delivered in time for Xmas. So, I’ll be in Colorado before it turns up and it’ll be next year before I get to drink it. Shame, it would’ve been a good ending to the Brew Dog part of the year.

The Coen Brothers
In a year I largely missed the film I wanted to catch A Serious Man was at least I fine example of what I hoped I was missing. Reminiscent of Ethan’s short story book, it’s a film that largely said nothing but all-is-shit. But, made me howl with laughter and keeps coming back for consideration.

No, I have no answers about it, but that’s whay it was so genius.

Richard Herring (& Andrew Collings)
It must have been last year I started listening to The Collings & Herrin Podcast, I can’t be sure. There was such an intense catching up period. Alongside Smodcast it’s become he one I look forward to the most.

As a result, I’ve started to enjoy Herring’s daily blog Warming Up. I enjoyed the description of the process of getting a comedy show together so much I had to go see Hitler Moustache at the Festival. And, seeing as I was doing that I caught the live podcast. All brill.

Then he did As It Occurs To Me, a live show written in the few hours before performance and performed as such. It was then podcast. It made me laugh out loud on the bus a few times – surely the benchmark for all audio comedy. I’m hoping to make the next series live show; despite the fact sending the money I would spend getting there would probably benefit the production more. I now have a serious crush on TV’s Emma Kennedy.

Also looking forward to see how the ‘tache show’s changed at the Glasgow Comedy Festival.

Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of Medicine
I got to see Jello Biafra sing Holiday In Cambodia live in the all-too ample flesh. The gig in Bristol was worth the angst and extra expense it took to get there several time over. The ‘original’ stuff was, at points, almost better. Subsequent album The Audacity Of Hype gets mentioned for being essential to keep us on our toes. And, it has the cover of the year by a mile.

Law & Order
We got Law & Order UK and I really liked it. This got me thinking about the original series, which – to me – was something that turned up late at night and you caught one or two episodes. So, I decided to start watching the original and all it’s subsequent offshoots, in order. I’m currently at 2001 (eleven years in) with three flavours running in parallel.

I love a cop show. If you want to buy me enough beer I’ll explain to you how The Bill jumped the shark when it lost the half hour format, and killed itself with Don Beech – no matter how thrilling that was.

David Peace
I read barely anything this year. This makes me sad.

I wanted to read Tokyo Year Zero by David Peace.

Thankfully this seemed to be his year. The Red Riding Trilogy on TV was being advertised in cinemas. The Damned United was storming the critics and filmgoers. I’ve still not seen the latter. The former, was fantastic. Despite the fact it suffered a bit heavily from us being told it was dead good, and the who’s who cast, was very good TV. It could’ve been the best telly of this year. It was never up with the best ever, however.

Took me 6 months to read thart book. But, if I’m honest, I opened it at most six times. So when I was reading it I was feverish with it. I just avoided doing this very often.

I need to read more. Including more of his stuff.

The Phantom Band
Ah, here lies the beast. I first saw The Phantom Band couple of years back at a estival. Despite having thoroughly enjoyed them, they kinda fell off my register. This year they releases their debut album Checkmate Savage. I heard good things and decided to investigate.

I liked it very much, but found nothing exceptionable about it. I found myself returning time and time again, getting more, feeling depths and generally being subsumed by it. By the time I was going to see them at the Festival, I was convinced this was one of the most important (and best) albums I’d ever heard. It’s a record that could only come out of Glasgow. Romantic, but rooted in the industrial. Yet, still so heavily redolent of the west-coast it’s scary. Stunning stuff.

The gig in Edinburgh was cramped but great. The following Glasgow gig blew me away. The one a couple of weeks back, as xmas celebration, was near devotional. Wow.

As an aside, the caught the lead singer doing his solo Rick Redbeard thing. Was baffled by the ‘completely different from the Phantoms’ comments I got. It’s not it’s totally symbiotic to what I’m trying not to get too flowery conveying.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club european tour
What can I say? some friends came over from the states. Within 48 hours one had a broken arm, we’d been to Edinburgh and Argyll & Bute. I was sat in Sleazys talking to one of Trail Of The Dead and feeling the happiest I have done for christ knows how long. This was before the continantal leg involving absinthe in Brussells, the warmth or ‘parisienne arabes’ to americans and my first surreal visit to Switzerland and it’s beautiful people (and a couple of Austrians).

Memories. Ones I should’ve detailed at the time, but I’m keeeping just now.

Oh, and all soundtracked by the TOO AMERICAN TOO LOUD Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. Who I spent New Year with and shall do again in a couple of days.

The Thick of It
So early in the year In The Loop turned up. Basically Armando Iannucci‘s calling card to HBO. It’s very funny, and quite disturbing. But, there’s something not quite right about it. Which is basically the crowbar technique of moving the action to the States. It has one joke that made me laugh so loud I was nearly embarassed, if you’ve seen it I might tell you which. Also, it made the entire Scots contingent in the Curzon, soho cheer very loudly. Again…

Where was the telly series that spawned it going to go from there? (Let’s not mention the loss of the excellent Chris Langham.) What they did….OMG!

Not only did they have they make the astounding choice of Rebecca Front as the new minister, but they sneaked one of the most heartstopping storylines about Malcolm Tucker.

I do not have a TV. If there has been any finer this year than this I’ve missed it. However, I am quite willing to put this series among the best telly ever.

Thank fuck they dropped that Jamie character.

Twitter
As part of my job I had to look into Twitter. I looked, I didn’t like and I very much didn’t understand.

Nope, still not getting it.

Nope, still not getting it.

Oh, right!

Got it now.

The fact I can send a drunken text to no-one is the best thing ever. My friends agree.

I love it now.

Don’t make me ‘investigate’ Facebook, please.

I suppose malt whisky should be in there too, as this year I developed an appreciation that may well be ruinous.

Here’s to the new year; lord knows it can’t be any worse than the last one. Just a shame I can say that about the decade to. See, I am just an optimist.

Anyone that gets back to me on genuine typos, I’ll despise (but possibly amend them). Words that should’ve been picked up by spellckeck, but are actual words, have their own circle in hell for the pedants.