Beat The Clock

I just watched a documentary about being a Mod and various other British Youth cults.

As much as I like some of the art and people that come from these subcultures, I personally could never sign myself up and be a member.

It all just seemed so limited, shoehorning yourself into a way of life. In a way its not a universe away from joining the army – men often need that feeling of being in a gang, a movement and creating some sense of purpose.. Which is usually fake , once you get out a pen ,paper and ontological microscope to study it .

All, that said , it became clear to me the other day , that if pressed I would have to admit the philosophy , look , feel and art of the Beat movement was something I related to hugely, as a teen. In fact I only let go of its hand about 12 years ago – I’m aware to be “hip” you have to pretend you are above the Beats and see through them, you have to say you much prefer the French Left Bank writers and that, frankly, you think On The Road is childish boys games. Such is life.

I guess, “Beat” is something you is or isn’t there isn’t much you can do about it. Bit like being homosexual in a way.

To be “Beat”, isn’t about going on a gap year before going on to Uni or touring Europe or America when you are in your teens/early 20s (as romantic as that is) and then living in London or NY city for the rest of your days…..A provincialist with a city a view form your kitchen window.

Nope, to be “Beat” is to be a full time adventurer (the art is a byproduct of that) ..Movement is premaritally forward and there isn’t anything you can do about it.

The end

The Tale Of The Tape

Shannon Lee, daughter of Bruce Lee has wrtitten a column stating “white men” should stop telling her fathers story .
Now, I understand her frustration..If she feels her father is being attacked, she jumps to his defence,
However, to say “white men” in the way she has is the definiton of racism, odd as her mother is also white.

The things is Bruce Lee’s daughter would be the definition of ” privileged ” Not to mention, yes sure if Jews, Blacks, and to some extend Muslims say this kind of stuff , its understandable they have all been kept down in one way or other for 100s of years BUT the Chinese ( a culture I have always liked, generally speaking) have a worse human rights history than most white countries – to this day..

Look how they treat women , workers and Muslims and of course the lies around the pandemic

Now, getting to the point at hand the white man Shannon is talking about is Quentin Tarantino. Now, sure Quentin can be mouthy, he can be shallow , his films are a stranger to depth, largely speaking….He tends to be someone who speaks a good game BUT the truth of him doesn’t quite match up, a bit like Russell Brand.

However, he is 100% correct about what he says regarding the truth behind the TV series Kung Fu.

I was/am a huge fan of the show and of Bruce Lee. For a while, I believed the myth, that is to say Buce wrote the show , took it to Warner Bros, they turned it down , then turned it out with a different actor, one David Carradine .
This I soon discovered was a lie . The tale of the tape, shows the truth, click here for more detail https://tvwriter.com/herbie-j-pilato-tells-all-about-the-origin-of-the-classic-series-kung-fu/ . Ed Spielman wrote/produced the show, they wanted Bruce to be involved , at one point, but the person Bruce spoke to, couldn’t understand what he was saying .. So , Bruce was passed on . The irony is it was Bruce who based his story Warror on Ed’s show.

As I say, I am a fan of Bruce Lee and I don’t see that any of this takes away from Bruce , the man or the myth.
The reason for this is Bruce achieved so much and reamins an important figure in film, TV, Martial Arts history and pop culture in general
Also, and this is key …It wasnt Bruce that claimed he wrote the TV show Kung Fu, it was his wife in Linda Lee, in a book she wrote about Bruce.

The

End




The Talking Gardens Of The USA

Americans and their garden signage are a curious thing..

You walk past these talking houses and you see placards telling you “Black lives matter” , ” Gay rights ” , ” Trans rights”
“Equality for women” …” I’m with jesus ”
and , for the goths ” I worship the devil ” ( this one is helpful as you know off the (flying) bat ..That lot are gonna be possibly over weight and certainly somewhat braindead )…. You get Xmas decor , Halloween decor , “Welcome to spring ” and ” I love Autumn ” bows.

You get the persons voting preference and pop culture choices as garage stickers …Their gate fittings,at times, tell you about their pets and they leave books to browse, borrow or keep ..They even leave take away philosophy quotes and homemade poems

In short the American garden is a social media post before social media was invented

 

563bd838fcb3b64162c0980e708b1430

Lockdown Review

As we are all locked in, a hostage to our streaming services.  I thought I would pop up the odd review. I will stick to films on Netflix ,Amazon Prime, Hulu etc …..They are kind of “also ran” types …NOT the Obvious classics in Movie or TV – thus, no Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Mike Leigh films etc, no  Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under , Curb Your Enthusiasm and so on.

Film-

The Foreigner

It says its new on Netflix here, USA, however the film is from 2017.

The film places Jackie Chan in a role that, in the past, would have been taken up by Harrison Ford and these days , for reasons I can’t divine, is usually filled by Limping Neeson.

That is to say Chan finds himself in the kind of role that has an everyman, who nips out to buy a packet of Hobnobs only to find, he has, unknowingly, picked up the wrong Tesco bag and thus is now forced into combat against corrupt, army trained, killers.

In The Foreigner, Chan takes his daughter into town, only for her to get blown up by a Real IRA bomb. Unfortunate.

Chan, unhappy that the police seem to be getting nowhere slowly, decides to take matters into his own hands.

It helps that Chan, although in his 60s , was once in the Chinese Special Forces (before moving to the UK and opening a Chinese Restaurant) and can,seemingly, make explosives out of discarded items from Debenhams lost and found department.

I quite liked the film.

 

 

the-foreigner-et00058912-27-06-2017-10-20-h47.jpg

TV show-

Blacklist

If anyone has ever sat at home on a cloudy Wednesday afternoon and thought ” Well, I wonder what happened to that actor who played obnoxious rich teens / 20 somethings in the 80s”

Then simply by turning on Netflix and watching The Black List, you can see that James Spader (like all of us) has aged – his hairline has decreased, as his waist line has increased

He has swapped iZod tennis tops (with the collars turned up) and pastel colours , for dark coloured designer suits and a fedora.

The show , in many ways, is typical of NBC/CBS shows- in the same kind of way that BBC and ITV dramas tend to have a certain look / feel.

Spader, plays one of Americas most wanted fugitives who teams up with the FBI to hunt people on America’s “Black list” – mobsters, terrorists and other assorted types one may not want to spend a bank holiday weekend with .

The agreement being, he will work for the FBI only if he can work with a certain female agent …It’s all a bit Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling….

Spader, also followed Hopkins Lecter lead in regards to acting style… We find he too graduated, with honors, at the University of the louche and the hammy .

Spaders character, it would seem, is more cultured than Brian Sewell and deadlier than Charles Bronson in Death Wish – Handy if you want help with an art history essay and also if your best friend has been kidnapped by gangster Muslim clerics

Enjoy

 

90086450_2582114405389976_7801274284583682048_o.jpg

 

The Bridge to Magnolia

Yesterday, I had to brave the elements to go to the post office.
It was due to an ebay item I was meant to post. I had been putting this off, thinking I don’t want to risk my life for a mere $30 ..However, although the buyer was very nice about the situation, I did think 4 weeks is long enough and I didn’t want to smear my 100% ebay rating…

So, I set off to the Post Office in wealthy , healthy Magnolia.
As its a Peninsula, to get there I had to walk over a Bridge..
As I was doing this, I kept thinking a hateful village sherif was going to pull over with cruel sirens and angry tires to hassle me and ask me to turn back from the cozy village back to the wilderness of Upper Queen Anne. Just like what happened to John Rambo in First Blood- dear reader, I should stop to point out, before my wife tells me off, Upper Queen Anne, is actually rather upper middle class, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, there was no sherif about to drive me out of town and put me in jail if I tried to return- this was lucky as I wasn’t a vietnam vet, so I probably wouldn’t have been able to escape like John Rambo did … That said I had watched Tenko a few times, so who knows

Once I got to Magnolia, I discovered the Post Office queuing system meant you had to wait until someone comes out of the Post Office, until you could go in…. The trouble is one gets bored so you read a book or go on your phone.. This means you can miss when sone one walks out.. Which I did yesterday..
The women behind me shouted “GO ON, YOUR TURN”
So, I said “Bloody Nora, keep your wig on”… Which in England can be amusing, in a retro saying kind of way.. However, it didn’t translate in America and I thought she may call the police.
The end

94627010_2613298045604945_6938112576802783232_o.jpg

Regarding Woody

Most people , probably, wouldn’t want to order this first quarter of 2020 , if it was a menu option
In fact , I wouldn’t be surprised if the masses demand we re do this whole year .
The entire world will get together and pretend this was just a collective nightmare, that vanished as soon as we awoke into our new “do over” year,- like the famous season long, Bobby Ewing, dream sequence in Dallas.
This would also be handy if you are 21 and want to stay 21 for a year longer, it would be helpful if you were on death row and due to go to the electric chair this year. Although, granted this would be a nuisance if you had to reschedule your Dignitas appointment.

For me, apart from January, I always hate January, this year has been nice. Yes, Covid-19 is frightening and heartbreaking,.. However, it has meant I can work remotely and not have to share an elevator with people who’s total number of tattoos is greater than their IQ score- life is a game of give and take.

One of the delights of this year, so far, as far as I’m concerned, is that Woody Allen’s autobiography was, finally, released and what can I tell you, it’s brilliant, utterly hilarious .

I remember, the fantastic, Victoria Wood once said that Woody Allen had become ashamed he was ever funny, he now just wanted to be a “serious” dramatist. Apart from being not true , it implies Woody had stopped being funny
You only had to watch a number of his films, around the time Victoria said this and beyond, to see it wasn’t true.
This book is further proof that the Woody Allen of old, is pretty much the Woody Allen of the present.
In a way, it’s, almost, impossible for Woody not to be amusing, as his humour is based around his philosophy on life and the many abusdaties that imbue it and flow from it.

It’s the reason he has such a loyal core fan base, which since I first discovered him in my teens I have been a part of, if you “get” Woody, if you are a fan, its largely, due to having a shared view of the world.

“There was no trauma in my life, no awful thing that occurred and turned me from a smiling, freckle-faced lad with a fishing pole and pantaloons into a chronically dissatisfied lout. My own speculation centers around the fact that at five or so, I became aware of mortality and figured, uh-oh, this is not what I signed on for. I had never agreed to be finite. If you don’t mind, I’d like my money back.”

Woody Allen

I say all this, as if you buy, borrow or steal, the book you won’t be let down. The book over spills with “it’s funny because it’s true” observations and Samurai sword sharp quips .

He is, also, open hearted, at least for Woody, discussing his parents, his loves, his likes and his loathes. As well as taking us through his relationships- of course, he gives his side of the story regarding Mia, her children and his wife, Soon Yi as well.

“I helped her get work in TV when she moved to the city. We had no secrets, we were closer than family. This extreme and pleasurable closeness continued decade after decade until I sued her.”

Woody Allen

“But the arguments we had over free will and monads, while heated, were never as combatative as the ones we had over our marriage. I knew I was in trouble when, in one philosophical discussion, Harlene proved I didn’t exist.”

Woody

Anyway, if it doesn’t sell out, the book should be available, at most, closed for Covid-19 book stores, as well as with the usual online sellers
.

For what it’s worth, going by the evidence he gives and from what I’ve read in the past, I can’t help but think Woody is innocent and I can’t help but feel Mia’s greatest acting achievement (even greater than her brilliant performance in Rosemarys Baby ) is her ability to fool people into thinking she should be anywhere which isn’t a Psychiatric Hospital .

I will leave the last word to Woody himself

“As much as we whine and moan and insist, often quite persuasively, that life is a pointless nightmare of suffering and tears, if a man suddenly entered the room with a knife to kill us, we instantly react. We grab him and fight with every ounce of our energy to disarm him and survive. (Personally, I run.)”

Woody Allen

“All that I ask is my ashes be scattered close to a pharmacy.”

Woody Allen

9781951627348.jpg

Names of the days seem meaningless, now .

It’s getting to the time, where you start to forget just how long you’ve been in “Lockdown” …
The initial novelty value of being able to work from home in your pajamas and talk to your cat  has worn so thin it no longer exists.

No matter how much you love your partner, after so many days stuck together,  you can’t help but feel like the Paul Sheldon character in the film Misery .  If you live alone, there is no escape, you are both Paul Sheldon and Annie Wilkes.
Lots of us who were working from home, now find ourselves put on “furlough” ( another way of saying laid off, without pay, until, something like, normal  business resumes) . Just how do you pay your way, with no way to generate income?

As each day passes another, strand of “life” vanishes .  Seeing people fight over toilet roll, a reminder of how “flimsy” “Society” actually is .

Still, what is one person’s hell, is another person’s paradise.. If you are an adrenaline addict, you no longer have to go and climb a mountain freestyle, race a fast car or jump from an aeroplan… All you have to do, to get your weekly dose of danger, is walk to the local convenience store….If you see someone cough, it’s akin to seeing a Muslim suicide bomber approaching ….
If someone steps too close, you jump back as if a London midnight mugger is trying to stab you
In some ways a dash to the local shop resembles the scenes from The Walking Dead , when characters brave the zombie apocalypse, in order to get a case of  Oxo cubes, or whatever other items remain , in a pre looted, abandoned supermarket.

In a way, I would rather dodge the walking dead than avoid the Coronavirus,  at least you can see a Zombie..
If one comes towards you, you merely turn into Usain Bolt and  run away or do a nifty two step and hit it over the head with a spade, before taking a bow and carrying on your way.

If you are unlucky enough to get bitten, you know you are infected and you take yourself off to the general location of your least favorite family member, wait until you “turn” and eat them .

With Covid-19, things aren’t so defined. You can’t see it coming. It’s everywhere, it’s nowhere..You just don’t know.

You can return from the shop .. Start coughing, convinced you have the virus you draw up a will ..Say all your goodbyes to family and friends ..Only to feel better a few days later and have to ask for all the possessions, you gifted,, back….
Alternatively, you can return from the shop,  rose cheeked from fresh air , feeling fit and hearty, only to drop dead a week later .

If life was fair, God would let us return this year 2020 and swap it for another.
Ah well….

Marty’s Way

I went to see Martin Scorsese’s new film The Irishman last night, the film is not really on general release as it’s funded by Netflops and will be streaming on there from the 27th of this month

However, there are select movie houses showing it from yesterday.. The one the wife and I went to houses 500, or so, people and was completely sold out bar 10 people.

It was a fun night, being among the film lovers at the Cinerama. You know the type who don’t spend their days, online, bitching about Martin Scorsese ’cause he isn’t keen on Marvel films (like any intelligent person).
The truth is Marty isn’t  “against” superhero “theme park” type films, as such… He is just against them and big business driving intelligent films out of the cinema- which is fair enough.
Judging by the predictable social media “outrage” coverage, one would think Marty had taken out worldwide billboard and internet advertising stating “Superhero films are rubbish”  or gone on telly and made a speech asking that they be banned now and forever.  In reality all he did was answer a question someone asked him in and interviews.
Scorsese wrote a rather good opinion piece in the NY Times about his thoughts on the reaction to his comments and extrapolated on his original comment. You can read it here

I think they were all cinema fans anyway, the film is based on a book called “I heard you paint houses”, so maybe they all thought Michael Flatley was going to do a dance interpretation of Changing Rooms..

Anyway, the film is prime Scorsese, the layout and flow following in the footsteps of Goodfellas and Casino.

Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino are all present in both analogue and digital form- rather than using makeup or different actors for the characters different stages of life. There was a digital process that made the actors look 30 years younger or 20 years older than they actually are- I expect there will be an iphone app that does this to one’s homes movies in 5 years time, in the modern world everything is permitted apart from ageing. I thought the process kind of gave a computer game look at times….

All of them gave great performances and Martin kind of paid homage to a few of his older films ..

The film follows a man “That paints houses” (a hitman) and gives an interesting take on the crime/unions/ politics of the time.. However, the film is kinda about machismo and its effects on the family as well- of course, a number of Scorseses films tough on this .

See it at the cinema kids

The-Irishman-Movie-Broadway-Screenings.jpg

Hit The North

Thus, we left the lazy hazy LA dream world and headed North. In truth it wasn’t my idea to leave Los Angeles and move to Seattle. In fact, I was dead against it.
I liked the true blue skies, the romance of scenery used in films and the wild west aspect of LA. I liked the “anything goes” architecture- from Jetsons-like Googie designs to Flintstones like Spanish style bungalows. I liked the Americana shop signs and billboards. I liked bumping into people whos films, telly shows and music I, at one time, had used as a means to escape- after all even bad pop culture is often better than “real life”.

In contrast. I had not a slither nor a jot of romance for Seattle- I also thought, as I’m English, if I’m going to live in a climate which was like that of Britain and Ireland, then I may as well live in Britain or Ireland, spiritually I’d definitely be more at home, I miss the poetry of British conversation ….Not to mention the British and Irish dress better, Seattle seems to have a population who wouldn’t look out of place as castmembers in Ironside.

All that said, I can’t drive to Vancouver in 1hr or fly to LA in 2 and a half hours from the UK. Seattle also has some fantastic scenery and, generally speaking, is more civilised than Los Angeles. Its much cleaner, people tend to be more civically minded and most importantly the air quality is better.

You can never really breath in Los Angeles., it could be argued most people never actually live in Los Angeles either… Its a place where large swaths of people merely exist, fighting for every scrap, lots clinging to their pop culture heroes to try to make good of the bad. Obviously, there is intelligent life in LA, just as intelligent as anywhere else in the world, though these are mainly in West Hollywood, Echo Park, Silver Lake kind of areas…Beyond that, well….
For a major city that is home to the entertainment industry, it’s kind of amusing how backward it actually is there

LA is known to be a shallow place and this is true to a degree. It’s not that fakers, scene movers and life’s plastic people are exclusive to Los Angeles, it’s more that the city is Earth’s Mecca for this ilk of person. For these their design for living is simple, those that can do, those that can’t become “Influencers” and those who can’t manage anything become DJ’s or anything else that lets them grab at the slipstream of the popular.

Of course, there is more than one aspect to any city and I found some good friends in LA and still plan to be a frequent visitor, especially if I can get a credit card with frequent flyer miles.
Although my wife didn’t enjoy living in the city as much as me, she still likes the place, however, her family are getting on in years and she wanted to be closer to them..She had lived away from them for over 14 years, so that’s fair enough. Also, she never actually really wanted to move to Los Angeles, not really….Try as I might I can’t blame anyone for wanting, slightly, more out of life than having shopped in the same convenience store than someone who once made a fleeting appearance in St. Elsewhere. Although, that was enough for me, naturally.

On top of that, while I was working from home and Billy Liaring around town, she was the one commuting 4 hours a day and carrying most of the burden.
With all that in mind, it was only fair to give the North West a go, so on 10/12/2019 we boarded United Airlines and flew to a new adventure….

Dennis Hooper- The Photographer Side

dennis_hopper1.jpg

Denis Hooper is mainly known as an actor, starring in critically acclaimed films like Rebel Without A Course, Blue Velvet, Easy Rider and Apocolypse Now- he also made a slew of awful ” straight to video” films but let’s be kind and forget about them.

However, Mr Hooper was also a very good photographer who had a knack for capturing moments that summed up the 60s. His pictures told stories, they were photojournalism mixed with the poetry of French new wave cinema.
Hooper was an adventurer and wanted to be in the middle of whatever storm was around. He once said ” “When I was a teenager and moved to California, I realized there were a lot of artists and actors I thought were great–everybody from Van Gogh to W. C. Fields–who basically had the idea that you can’t make discoveries if you sit around waiting for something to happen. You’ve got to get out of there”

Before Easy Rider delivered stardom, Hooper spent much of the 1960s obsessively taking pictures of the counter culter and famous figures of the time. He followed protesters during the civil rights movement, hung out in cafes, walked the streets and took pictures of fellow artists. Regarding artists he claimed ‘The only people that I really found comfortable being photographed were artists. They asked me to photograph them. They wanted to be photographed. And that was cool.’

His street pictures of Los Angeles, are somewhat reminiscent of the work of Lee Friedlander. Hooper said ” LA was Pop…LA was the billboards. LA was the automobile culture. LA was the movie stars and LA was the whole idea of what pop was about – commercial art’

There are a few published collections, of Mr Hoopers work out there, My favourite is Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961-1967

download.jpg

la-1499984374-me8k95fwq6-snap-image.jpg

226-CN-12-1024x926.jpg

la-1499982226-4enpiqpqa9-snap-image.jpg

la-1499981268-ezx6swvmdp-snap-image.jpg

3_19_hopper8290-1-double-standard1961-gelatin-silver-print-16-x-24-in_d-1.jpg

ATfkM0rEQ0OD_585x329.jpg

8149_P_1338847630677.jpg