Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

First POPTONES flyer…

Check it out. I mean I’m obviously not the best at graphic design but it’s all there..relatively.

 

This one features the great Upsetter himself…LEE PERRY. Image

 

Feedback appreciated. As long as it’s nice. MESSUN’

 

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Poptones vol. II – 16/11/12

Last night was the first Poptones, we enjoyed it, if you came down, we hope you enjoyed it too! Onto more pressing matters..this week’s mix.

I’ve been mostly listening to properly insulated electronic stuff recently, so the mix inevitably reflects that. Don’t be too put off though, it’s not some wildly inaccessible stuff, everything on here sounds nice and is generally what good electronic music is about. Well, I’ll let you decide for yourselves.

I missed Shabazz Palaces last night, which was gutting, been following them for a while now and they’ve seriously impressed me, so for that reason I’ve whacked Chuch off ‘Of Light’, the tune bubbles along at about 110BPM with nothing but some awesome tribal chanting and a slick beat and bass to accompany Ishmael Butler’s acerbic rhymes. I put another Liverpool debutant on this mix too, Joey Bada$$, who I ALSO missed, he played on Monday in the Shipping Forecast, all reports saying that gig was also amazing. Check out  his mixtape, 1999, it’s free, he’s bound to be huge (listen to him!).

Electronic mainstays Radiohead, Clark, Sebastien Tellier, Autechre (MY FAVZ), and Flying Lotus are on here too, stuff like this just sounds great played super loud when you’ve no intention of leaving your house – winter is here.

Some other weird stuff, namely Can and Gong. I got into Gong by chance on Spotify the other day, listening to Soft Machine. They’re super mad and drugged up heavy 60s/70s prog rock, which is always amusing, the track is called HEAVY TRACK, suitable. I bought the Can Lost Tapes this week too, opening track Millionspiel is ridiculous, truly, check it out. Will I ever get bored of Can? Probably not. Hope not anyway.

SEE YOU THURSDAY BABES. Enjoy the mix:

HERE IT IS:

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Poptones Vol. I – 08/11/12

HEARD YA MISSED ME?! Well I’m back!

It’s been a while, admittedly, but I’m totally ready to commit myself to updating this blog on a weekly basis. I won’t leave you like last time, this time it’s for keeps, baby. I’m going for a slightly different approach now though, by linking up with my Mixcloud account, and by doing this, I’ll upload a mix each week to link up the music that’s been rattling round in my head. Cathartic, don’tcha think?

The good news is, I’ve been offered a cool weekly night in The Attic, starting next Thursday. It’s free, every week, and I call it POPTONES. The whole idea is brilliant, and shows an amazing degree of trust on behalf of the venue, something I’ve come to really appreciate about the place. I pretty much get free reign creatively over what I can play, and for the most part I’m going to be playing truly alternative music, from the afrobeat of Fela Kuti, to the experimental noise of Sonic Youth. I hope you’ll be able to come down for it one time!

In my first mix, I’ve included shoulda woulda coulda Mercury Prize ’12 winners Django Django, whose first record I’m still utterly mesmerised by. Some old school rap courtesy of Kool G Rap and Gang Starr, 80s ragga vibes from Tenor Saw and Johnny Osbourne, an inappropriate amount of alternative and punk related business, from Suicide, Can, and prototypical punk rockers, The Troggs, who obviously massively influenced the mixes opening artist, Bad Brains. All of this is capped off with Public Image Ltd., whose track Pop Tones, not only continues to influence and inform my music taste, but also helpfully gave a name to the night.

Cool anyway. If you have any stuff you think I should hear, don’t hesitate to send me a message, for real!

Hope you enjoy the mix!

HERE IT IS:

My top 20 records from 2011

As I type today, North Korean superman and general dictator Jong-Il Kim has died. How bizarre, and how fitting for what has been a fairly bizarre year for music. Here are my top 20 albums.

 

#20:  Nicolas Jaar – Space is Only Noise [Circus Company]

As understated and beautiful an album as 2011 has produced,  Nicolas Jaar’s debut is a gorgeously ambient and laid back record, that somehow manages to hit home with a devestating and almost threatening immediacy that seems totally alien for such transient music. At times turning on a French autotuned chanteuse-charm, Jaar quickly flips the script and uses his angry reverberated Nick Cave swagger.

 

#19: Yuck – Yuck [Fat Possum Records]

There’s certainly nothing new about Yuck’s lo-fi sound or strung out lyrics, but that quick summation seems to undersell the qualities of this really pretty solid record. Part Dinosaur Jr., part Pulp, the album balances the tightrope of visceral noise and the lyrical craft associated with English acts in a way that has been completely forgotten by practitioners of  both styles. Check it out, it’s really fucking good!

 

#18:  tUnE-yArDs – W H O K I L L [4AD ltd.]

This record is so insane that it’s literally baffling mish-mash of influences and styles will undoubtedly prove divisive for any listener on first listen. I loved it though, especially the Garage-folk pastiche on  tracks like ‘Gangsta’ and the electro-math-rock of ‘Killa’. At times it sounds like a white guy playing instruments trying to do gangsta rap, and that’s probably the intention, but the results are so much better than you’d ever imagine. Seriously fucking mental.

 

#17: Blood Orange – Coastal Grooves [Domino Recording Co.]

With an album cover like that you know you’re going to have to produce something pretty special, and thankfully Blood Orange do it with glee. On ‘Sutphin Boulevard’ they crank up their synths to 11 and churn out some pretty heavy drone-pop with flavours of bass heavy Death From Above 1979. In all though, the album isn’t particularly bound by genre standards, as it features some gorgeous sun-soaked ballads, a few tender moments, as well as some big time fist pumpers.

 

#16:  James Blake – James Blake [Polydor Records]

What must surely be the second most eagerly anticipated album of the year (more on number one a bit later), James Blake’s debut LP eschews the excellent and dreamy dubstep of his earlier EP’s for something more mainstream and soulful altogether. It doesn’t suffer from this though, as his production and mastery of his equipment throughout is literally flawless. Some people don’t like the autotuned vocals shit, but personally, I don’t mind them, at least he’s trying to reclaim them for ‘normal people music’.

 

#15: TV On The Radio – Nine Types of Light [DGC Recordings]

Going from strength to strength from 2008’s brilliant ‘Dear Science,’, TV On The Radio have battled the adversity of losing a pivotal member to cancer to produce a brilliant and emotional record in ‘Nine Types of Light’. Intense and personal, the record is marred by a beautiful sadness to each track,  yet loses none of the acerbic bite of yore. And while many feared the loss would tear the band apart, their command of their own musicianship and destiny seem more set in stone than ever after hearing ‘Will Do’, an absolutely classic track from a really great album.

 

#14: Azari & III – Azari & III [Loose Lips Records]

Looking back on it, it seems like I was sleeping for the whole year until I heard Azari & III’s debut LP. And then I woke up. It’s so unbelievably fun and fully formed that it was a literal shock to my system. And then I saw them live, and that was it. It’s true, the record is uneven, with some tracks feeling wasteful of the vocal talent the band posesses, but each track here is as danceable, if not more so than the last, and honestly what other record could you say that about from 2011?

 

#13: Hercules & Love Affair – Blue Songs [Moshi Moshi Records]

Like twins in an orphanage, it seemed genuinely cruel and unnecessary to split ‘Blue Songs’ and ‘Azari & III’ up. They’re both so clearly born from the same lineage, and they’re both so totally fun and completely immersive that there was no reason to do so. Maybe Blue Songs is one place higher than it’s counterpart because of the proven mileage of this band? I love their first album, and I love this too. I don’t know. What I do know is, I actually missed out on the chance to see these live, a fact which has annoyed me ever since. If I’d have seen them, who knows, the record might make the top 10.

 

#12: Radiohead – The King Of Limbs [Ticker Tape Ltd.]

News of a new Radiohead release is usually greeted with cheers, looting and anarchy. The band are now officially a British institution, and are scientifically proven to be ‘loads better than U2’, and ‘on par with the Beatles’. Yet for some reason, The King Of Limbs was anticipated by die-hard Radiohead fans alone. When I actually listened to the album, I was blown away. It’s unpretentious, short, and above all else, absolutely the kind of stuff I love to hear Radiohead doing. The band had obviously been listening and learning from contemporaries Flying Lotus, Burial and Four Tet. And y’know what? That’s absolutely fine. The electronic music revolution that happened just after the millenium was down to Radiohead’s still unbeaten record ‘Kid A’, the record that largely made it OK for guitar bands to mess about with synthesisers and keyboards. The band itself recognises this need for renewal, and has subsequently dipped into the scene they helped forge for ideas. The King Of Limbs may not contain the brilliance of Kid A, the ingenuity of In Rainbows, or even the commercial success of OK Computer, but who the hell wanted that anyway?

 

#11:  The Kills – Blood Pressures [Domino Recording Co.]

I absolutely love ‘Midnight Boom’, and ‘No Wow’, so I was obviously pretty happy when I heard there’d be a new Kills record this year. And yeah…I wasn’t disappointed. The band have still got that gritty and almost unpleasant edge they’re so revered for, yet they’ve now managed to forge that with an accute pop songwriting sensibility and some crazy ass synth experimentation. ‘Future Starts Slow’ nearly gave me a heart attack the first time I heard it. I think I listened to it 20 times in a row or something ridiculous.

 

#10: Battles – Gloss Drop [Warp]

Starting our top 10 countdown is Battles. The band that brought us ‘Mirrored’ return this year with another serving of bizarro-pop with a tinge of heady instrumentalism. From the first single ‘Ice Cream’, you know they haven’t lost their daring and almost childlike edge. The rest of the album follows suit, with ‘Inchworm’ proving you don’t need ten minute plus tracks to initiate madness and mayhem. Gary Numan also features on the track, ‘My Machines’, a bizarre and almost unnatural paring that actually ends extremely well, all things considered.

 

#9: Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica [Software]

Filed under ‘music for the most epic of hangovers’, ‘Replica’ has a unique etheral quality that seems to transcend mere ‘vocals’ and traditional songwriting altogether. Instead opting for floating patterns that circle around eachother before quickly disappearing like startled ghosts, before giving way to more and more bizarre and incomprehensible and totally inhuman sounds. Sound like too high a praise? Believe me, it’s not. The album is as close to that spooky but beautiful place between being awake and being asleep as anything I’ve ever experienced.

 

#8: The Horrors – Skying [XL Records]

About five years ago, I would have literally laughed in the face of anyone claiming that the Horrors would release anything even half decent, let alone two albums in three years that could rightfully challenge ‘album of the year’ status. Now it seems unthinkable that anything the band release won’t turn to gold, such is the fickle nature of music journalism. They haven’t earned this reputation as a fearsome and generally brilliant album band for nothing, ‘Primary Colours’ (from 2009) was brilliant, and it’s successor ‘Skying’, is even better. It really is incredible.

 

#7:  Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting [Polydor Records]

Label mate James Blake appeared earlier in this list, and that is not the only similarity between the two. As well as both being excellent producers, both share an affinity for that kind of understated post-brostep-dubstep that is now such an emerging voice in British music. And speaking of voices, that is why Woon’s album is way higher than Blake’s…Jamie’s closest relatives, vocally, seem to be black soul legends from the 80’s, Prince, Terrence Trent D’arby, as well as taking a cue from house vocalists Larry Heard (aka ‘Mr. Fingers’) and Jamie Principle, Blake opting for the cold roboticism of Daft Punk .  While Blake’s record seems often moody and isolated in it’s vocal delivery, Woon manages to combine two disparate elements, in the spacious surroundings of dubstep, coupled with the gorgeous soulful sounds of his influences, all of which makes for an exhilirating and totally different album to almost anything else from 2011, ‘Spirits’ in particular is incredible.

 

#6: The Juan Maclean – Everybody Get Close [DFA Records]

To anyone even remotely worried that the DFA label, or house music in general was on it’s arse in 2011: congratulations, you’re an ignorant idiot. I say it with conviction, Everybody Get Close could just be the best non-LCD release DFA have ever put out. On a label reknown for setting trends and totally anihilating dancefloors, Juan gets tantilisingly close to the perfect record, with anthemic acid house rhythms rolling like thunder over catchy samples and fluid basslines, all of which culminate in huge drops, with the next track picking up where the last left off. As far as house music goes, a full length LP rarely gets better than this. I recommend listening to it LOUD.

 

#5: Dels – GOB [Big DADA]

Dels is a British rapper from the tradition of good British rappers, a good cockney accent, a quirky sense of humour coupled with big beats does make successful album. But unlike a lot who have fallen from public eye and critical attention, Dels loads his rhymes top heavy with specific cultural references that are totally alienating to anyone not familiar with this country or it’s norms, ‘All outta time like she’s dancin’ to jungle‘. Time will tell if Dels has what it takes to survive in British Hip Hop, but with an album that sounds more like elder statesmen Roots Manuva (who also features in ‘Capsize’), and a lot less like Dizzee Rascal, the future is looking Dels.

 

#4: SBTRKT – SBTRKT [Young Turks]

SBTRKT is a British producer who has chosen to remain anonymous. Pretty cool. But what about his music? Well, it turns out, that’s pretty cool too. Even more impressive though is how oddly fully formed his vision comes out (I’m assuming he’s not been working on it for like 10 years, in which case, poor form), and how totally different it sounds to anything else out there today. Mixing UK Garage with hip hop, house and dubstep, SBTRKT (pronounced ‘Subtract’) has produced an eclectic record that doesn’t suffer from it’s mash-up of genres. The better tracks here feature his friend and collaborator Sampha, as he provides an occasionally out of tune, but nonetheless completely brilliant set of vocals for each track he appears on, check out ‘Something Goes Right’ for an incredible and apt example of this.

 

#3: Bjork – Biophilia [One Little Indian]

Akin to Radiohead, this years Bjork release seemed to instill a sense of apathy in music fans. Also akin to Radiohead, I was excited as fuck. Bjork didn’t let me down, being the absolutely huge and mental babe that she is, always has been, and always will be. Biophilia is a different album to her last few though, especially the fairly average Volta. Released with iPad apps, virtual lectures, written essays, and general lessons about the natural world, the record was more of a spectacle than anything, sad that it was marketted as such, as it’s brilliant. The album relies on big sweeping organic set pieces which swell and throb from unknown sources, coupled with Bjork’s insanely operatic and powerful vocals to deliver it’s gutteral one-two punch which stay with you days after you’ve first listened to it. At times her vocals are genuinely that powerful and urgent that they made me sit up and stop doing whatever I was doing at the time, a rarity which hasn’t happened since the equally insane Homogenic.

 

#2: Rustie – Glass Swords [Warp]

Rustie’s first full length release should come with a warning sticker on the front of it, sort of along the lines of ‘Abandon all hope ye who have no sense of humour’, as believe me – this is just about the most ridiculous 50 odd minutes of music you will hear in your life. With that out of the way, Glass Swords is absolutely fantastic. A total ADHD throwback to the early 90’s, TV theme tunes, nintendo Zelda scores bleeping and flittering their way to the fore, gasping for life, before they’re quickly choked down and washed away with acerbic slap basslines and dubstep nods. There really is no dull moment on Glass Swords, and if you can get over the sheer esotericism it openly wears on it’s sleeve, it will quickly become your favourite album too.

 

#1: Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam [Brownswood Recordings]

This might seem like an odd choice for my number one, but I genuinely don’t care. This completely underated first release from British born Ghostpoet is an excellent album which somehow manages to convey the boredom and general waiting around that seems so common in British life at this moment. With a difference,  he makes it sound urgent and totally listenable. ‘Cash and Carry Me Home’ is as faithful a rendition of a night out as anything else out there, whereas ‘Survive It’ is this generation’s call to arms, a defeatist tale that calls for simply holding on to the modern age and trying desperately not to be swept away in the social and technological change that we now all see as iminent. It is in ‘Us Against Whatever Ever’ though that Ghostpoet truly proves himself as a visionary songwriter, musician and producer, the track is about as perfect to anything that has come out this year, and features some truly breathtaking moments. A discordant feedback loop is layered over skittery dubstep cackles, while out of sight a mobile phone struggles for signal amidst a crumbling urban decay, indeed, the theme of ‘getting by’ is a familiar theme for Ghostpoet,  ‘Love’s like a shooting star, amazing like asteroids’. In another’s hands, lyrics like that would seem clunky and one dimensional, coming from Ghostpoet’s typical cockney accent and backed with tracks like that, there can be no doubt that they are as effective as anything. My favourite thing about the whole album was how easy it was, and still is to revisit it and get something new from the experience. I must have listened to it well over 15 times, and yet each and every time I find something new to love about it that I hadn’t noticed before, be it the moody dub of the earlier tracks to the epic sweep and grandeur of the later players, it all works, and thankfully there is not a dip in sight. Even now, it’s hard not to see an end of year news compilation without ‘Liiines’ playing triumphantly in the background, it truly is epic stuff.

Hip Hop Stars And Their Author Equivalents [Part 2.]

And we’re back with some further theories of hip hop and literature. And why not? Here’s five more hip-hop stars who also have an eerie taint of some classic authors…

 

GURU and WOODY ALLEN

If ever we had two souls with such a bent for one topic, it would be Guru and Woody. The topic? New York, of course. For years, Woody Allen has been placing his emotionally repressed characters in the beautiful city and letting them get on with it, and there’s no doubt Guru is cut from the same cloth too. Dark street corners, well lit avenues and the hustle and bustle of New York life run through both writers work almost constantly like the River Hudson itself. More than that, though, Guru and Woody have most certainly made New York the central character in all of their work, the city coming alive to remind characters who they are, who they’re up against, and where they’re from. Frequently they hate it, often they bemoan the state of it, but they know for sure that nowhere else are you allowed to simply ‘be’, in such a way as New York.

“Yo, it doesn’t make sense, for you to compete against
This new york vibe that gets your whole body tense
Calm down, listen to a brother who knows
Cause the rappers out here come up with mad different types of flows”Guru.
“Don’t you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes…and I live here. ” – Woody Allen
 

KOOL KEITH and CHARLES BUKOWSKI

No two have ever done so much for their respective fields..And yet, they remain completely glossed over in their respective histories. Bukowski was first and foremost, a gritty realist, a poet, a short story writer, and of course as everyone knows, a complete dickhead. That doesn’t stop his artistic output from being universally brilliant though, as he ploughed through brilliant poem after brilliant story after eccentric public appearance.  Same goes for Keith (though, from what I’ve seen of him in interviews..he seems a relatively cool [KOOL?!]  guy, who is albeit, absolutely insane). From his early years, slogging away in Ultramagnetic MC’s to the years as Dr. Octagon, Keith has released consistently brilliant albums, and has never seemed to get anything but a passing mention in the footnotes of hip-hop. It also helps the case for similarity when you consider the following these two have in ‘indie’ and ‘underground’ circuits, they’re practically gods to hipsters, and why the hell not?! They’re brilliant! What the hell?! When will these two giants get the respect they duly deserve?!

“I crank up lyrical flows, spit spats, what’s that
The pattern records, don’t touch the DATs, yo
Check out the pro skills, medic fulfills
Contact react to style I’m back you lack
Channels and handles, Automator’s on the panels
Turnin knobs you slobs suckers like Baskin Robs
Carvel don’t tell your whole crew is ice cream fudge
Rappers that budge, makin moves step in grooves
And ride the pace like at thirty-three dark shades
Now you seein me
Rap moves on to the year three thousand!” Kool Keith.

“That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.”  Charles Bukowski.

 

OUTKAST and H.G. WELLS

From their dizzyingly fast futuristic raps on Aquemini to the down to Earth soul shuffle of Love Below, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to suggest that Outkast are one of the most beloved of all hip-hop acts of, well, ever. Belying their intelligent production and insane technicality, though, there is a message of humanism and pride, the possibility that everything could change, just that no one seems too bothered about changing anything at all. Sound familiar? Yep, it’s perennial British Sci-Fi favourite, H.G. Wells. The man who deliberately shrouded all his work with a tint of the future and impossibility really was one of the most basic examples of a humanist ever. All his stories, short and long contain a fairly obvious message of compassion, love for fellow man and above all else, the defiance of the human spirit. Plus, they’re both pretty brilliant? If that counts for anything..

“I met a gypsy and she hipped me to some life game,
To stimulate then activate the left and right brain.
Said baby boy you only funky as your last cut,
You focus on the past your ass’ll be a has what.
That’s one to live by or either that one to die to
I try to just throw it at you determine your own adventure” Outkast

“..”We were making the future,” he said, “and hardly any of us troubled to think what future we were making. And here it is!”..” – H.G. Wells

 

WU-TANG CLAN and HUNTER S. THOMPSON

Sometimes it’s boring as hell to hear people constantly talking about drugs. Blah blah blah. Yes, I know. But seldom, there’s a person who does this, who also happens to have an intelligent view on the world that is absolutely worth exploring. On the surface, Hunter Thompson comes across as an idiot drug addict..And yet, he totally isn’t. After reading quite a lot of his work, I’ve come to the conclusion that he might have been the only person in 20th century America to know a fuck about absolutely anything at all. His drug use (At times, even by his own admission, ludicrous and excessive) was his own self medication for what he saw as a failed culture, a society doomed to become consumers, live uninteresting lives, and die near penniless. Though he didn’t necessarily fit the mould of ‘hippie’, he embraced the culture and ideologies to such an extent that he was embraced back by everyone who ever met him. Wu-Tang are one and the same, their whole ethos is surrounded by growing/making, selling, buying and consuming drugs. So what? Idiot drug addicts who somehow got a record deal, and ended up becoming the greatest hip-hop act of all time? No, that doesn’t just happen. The Wu’s lyrics were not only incredibly poignant, intelligent, and totally affecting, but they also represent the exact same view point as Hunter S. Thompson’s, the quest for the origins of the American dream, and where they lie. Do they lie externally? Do you have to find them yourself? These two artists realised that the beginning, and end, of the journey lay right inside of themselves all along, how they unlocked their potential and unleashed it on the world, are different, and fairly arbitrary footnotes on the careers of absolutely extraordinary artists.

“Yeah, my pops was a fiend since sixteen
Shootin’ that shit in his blood stream
That’s the life of a crimey, real live crimey
If niggas know the half is behind me
Day one, yo, growin all up in the ghetto
Now I’m a weed fiend, jettin the Palmetto”Wu-Tang Clan

“The streets of every city in America are filled with men who would pay all the money they could lay their hands on to be transformed, even for a day, into hairy, hard-fisted brutes who walk all over cops, extort drinks from terrified bartenders and roar out of town on big motorcycles after raping the banker’s daughter.” Hunter S. Thompson

 

NAS and JOHN STEINBECK

It’s pretty odd when a writer makes you yearn for a place they have deliberately written to look like hell on Earth. But Nas and Steinbeck are two who you could most definitely level this accusation at. To be fair, both men were from cities that were in the middle of social crises (Steinbeck’s Salinas valley in California at the stage of huge migration during the economic depression of the 30’s, and Nas’ gun and drug ruled streets of New York in the late 80’s and early 90’s) so you can forgive them for maybe romanticizing their respective locales. Steinbeck’s sprawling masterpiece ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ is an extremely detailed and upsetting portrait of a whole country gone insane, a family leaving their ancestral home in favour of money, which will buy them just enough to eat, the constant imagery of picking oranges off the trees to consume fresh, and the inevitable failure of whatever warped American dream the protagonists had held on to unflinchingly. Nas’ masterpiece, ‘Illmatic’ (his first release) is of similar tone, the man sees his familiar childhood streets run crimson with the blood of his friends, family and associates, and he blames the war squarely on another poorly controlled economic problem – drugs. Both men don’t mean to romanticize their work, but it’s an inevitable bi-product of such beautifully controlled writing, perfect metaphors, fitting puns, and just general passages so gorgeous that you can scarcely believe the horror they’re depicting. For sure, Nas and Steinbeck are the two Gods of their respective fields.

“King poetic, too much flavor, I’m major
Atlanta ain’t Brave-r, I’ll pull a number like a pager
Cause I’m am ace when I face the bass
40-side is the place that is giving me grace
Now wait, another dose and you might be dead
And I’m a Nike head, I wear chains that excite the feds
And ain’t a damn thing gonna change
I’ma performer and professional, show the mic warmer was born to gain
Nas, why did you do it?
You know you got the mad fat fluid when you rhyme, it’s halftime” Nas

“The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.” John Steinbeck

Top 10 movie dads

As it was father’s day yesterday, how about we have a look at that most elusive character, the movie dad. Sometimes, not much happens for these dads, they’re marginalised, pushed to the back whilst their sons or daughters steal the limelight. Every so often though, a movie dad makes a movie his own – he is the main dude, shuffling around complaining in his dressing gown, or even sometimes being a badass action hero. Here are my top ten movie dads and why. God bless these dadios!

 

#10: Lester Burnham from American Beauty (1999)

There’s something so infinitely pitiful about Kevin Spacey’s portrayal of Lester Burnham – a man who is slap bang in the middle of a heady mid-life crisis. He is a magazine writer who hates his job, and is in love with one of his young daughter’s friends. Though absolutely strange and a bit creepy in his infatuation, Lester is generally a nice kind of guy who treats his family to whatever they want, he is also intelligent and thoughtful – perhaps a bit too much so, as the final scene proves.

 

#9: Bob Parr from The Incredibles (2004)

Bob Parr is a bored, middle aged man, stuck in a job he hates. A story we’re all too familiar with in the movies, yet unlike other movie dads, Bob is an ex-superhero, his powers and abilities having been forcibly silenced by the oppressive anti-hero stance of the state. As far as superheroes go though, he is an absolute legend – the strongest man to live who used his powers to fight evil for over 20 years, and a member of a world wide crime fighting team. He even has a family of superheroes, his genes obviously being completely full of crime-busting goodness.

 

#8: Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Out of all the dads on this list – if you wanted to grow up a normal – even exceptionally moral citizen, you could do no better than having Atticus Finch. A genius lawyer, philanthropist, cool action hero (when needed), and loving father and honest and packed with integrity to a fault, Atticus is literally the go-to guy on how to be a dad. Indeed, his greatest qualities are probably those of teaching his children the values of honesty, integrity and the fact that no one can morally be proven guilty without a fair trial.

 

#7: Jack Torrance from The Shining (1980)

Anyone who’s seen even 5 minutes of ‘the top 20 scariest moments ever!’ will probably question why Jack Torrance is on this list. And if you read the intro, you’d realise I wasn’t celebrating wonderfully moral or even nice dads, and that is why he’s on here. Memorably performed by (equally manic) Jack Nicholson, Jack is genuinely an OK dad, bit wrapped up in his work maybe, and certainly a little crazy – but it’s all fine. Until the family goes to the Overlook hotel. Where Jack starts going majorly fucking crazy, in just about every way. Finally trying to kill his wife and only child.

 

#6: Darth Vader (aka Anakin Skywalker) from Star Wars (1977)

One of the most iconic dads ever, Darth reveals to Luke and Leia that he is their father. And what a revelation, imagine thinking your dad died a hero, when in actual fact he basically rose to the top of the evil food chain and constructed a tyrannical regime based on fear and hatred, all the while trying to crush every ounce of good from the world. That would be a major eye opener indeed.

 

#5: Mufasa from The Lion King (1994)

Mufasa must rank amongst the greatest leaders ever – well, in the animal kingdom anyway. His friendly and approachable style of leadership make him popular with everyone in the pride, apart from his evil younger brother – Scar. Scar has Mufasa killed and becomes king himself – letting his pride fall into disrepair. Armed with his dad’s words of encouragement and inspiration, Simba takes over Scar and becomes a Mufasa of his own. Still, the legend of that big maned beast lives on in everyone’s hearts.

 

#4: El Topo from El Topo (1970)

Another dad it would probably be shit to have, El Topo is the story of one man’s spiritual quest through the Mexican desert. Along the way we see Topo letting his son ride a horse nude, forcing him to bury pictures of his mother and his first teddy-bear, and then allowing his kid to mercy kill a dying man. Still, these are valuable life lessons, right? I literally don’t know anymore, though I know I would feel slightly uncomfortable if my dad forced me to shoot a man in the head when I was 5 in order to put him out of his misery. Topo abandons his son and catches up with him later on, to find that son of El Topo is just as badass as El Topo himself, obviously being a badass motherfucker runs in your (black leather) ‘jeans’.

 

#3: John Baxter from Don’t Look Now (1973)

Though we don’t explicitly see his parenting skills first hand, we can safely assume John (played by the always monstrously cool Donald Sutherland) really loved his kid who drowned. The grief consumes his and his wife’s life to such an extent that they up sticks and move to Venice, where they continue to be haunted by the tragedy. We can only imagine how cool John would be as a parent, probably running around, letting you play with guns, torturing animals – in fact, this is obviously while real life son Keifer is such a lunatic in 24.

 

#2: John McClane from Die Hard (1988)

In his now signature role as ‘shouting, wise cracking good guy who doesn’t go by the book but gets results’, Bruce Willis is John McClane. A man pushed to the edge by society and the square police force he works for, a man who also has basically lost the rights to see his kids, something he’s obviously not happy about. The whole Die Hard series works as a plea from John to prove his love to his estranged wife, and get his kids back. And it works, look at him, smart, powerful, and extremely good with any weapon of any sort, McClane could shoot his way out of a steel bag. Which is apparently the storyline for Die Hard 5.

#1: Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather (1972)

If you’ve ever felt worried or embarrassed about going to your dad to borrow money, or for advice, or for anything really, imagine the weight of anticipation on your shoulders if your papa was the head of a powerful Sicilian crime family. You have personally seen him order men to cut horse’s heads off, you have seen him order dozens of men’s executions, robberies, prostitution – you name it, and your dadio has been involved at some point. But you could rest assured, as Vito is not just a horrible man with a family, he’s a family man with a horrible business, and that’s fine. He will take care of you, and you will be able to wrap him around your little finger – he’s only your dad at the end of the day.

8 traumatising kids films

It’s obvious to me that kids blatantly miss loads of stuff in films. Sometimes film makers deliberately put in references just for adults, but at times they will put stuff in for kids that adults simply don’t get. As a child I didn’t question really odd or disturbing shit happening in films – I just saw it all as a plot device that allowed the film to continue and progress. Now as somewhat of an adult I see these for what they are – shit to scare adults and amuse children. Here are eight films that have all o’ dat & much more.

 

#8: The Neverending Story (1984)

Now here was a film I constantly watched as a kid. Yet, as if to prove how stupid kids are, I could only give a very brief synopsis now as to what the film is even about. I know that it featured some weird massive animals that I sort of assumed were totally normal, and a trans-dimension trip for a young boy. As a kid I thought that was cool, not remotely weird and extremely enjoyable. Now just looking at that big fluffy flying bastard is enough to terrify me.

 

#7: Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Unsurprisingly, ‘Roger Rabbit’s’ hammy mix of live action and real life didn’t really take off, and it’s that very distinctive mix that makes the film look really spooky today – cartoons interacting completely effortlessly with real people was, and still is terrifying. I thought that was ok at the time though, just Bob Hoskins driving a cartoon car, meeting with normal cartoon dudes. But no. Also, on 2nd rewatch, the film is terrifying because kindly old Dr. Emmett L. Brown (of ‘Back to the Future’) appears as a super villain. Fucking hell no, please.

 

#6: Labrynth (1986)

When I was a kid I obviously didn’t know who the hell David Bowie was, but now I do, and I know a little bit about his fiendish drug gobbling past. Like ‘Neverending Story’, Labrynth is escapism for kids. Bored and angsty, they disappear into a world made up of weird shit and a crazy soundtrack by the ‘chameleon of rock’ himself. All of which there is something basically very wrong about that. Also, need we mention Bowie’s absolutely gargantuan cod piece, which basically envelops the screen at any point he appears? Again, I missed that as a kid.

 

#5: Lion King (1994)

I’m not sure if Disney has ever admitted it, but the Lion King bears more than a passing resemblance to Shakespeare’s violent revenge tale ‘Hamlet’ – a story that anyone who has read will tell you, is not aimed at small children. Simba’s evil uncle Scar kills his dad, Mufasa. Now that is horrifying in itself, but it’s the bizarre hallucination sequences and terrifying graveyard scenes that imprint most. This film literally should not be rated U.

 

#4: Dumbo (1941)

You really have to be an oddball if you class animated films with self aware animals as strange. Indeed, suspending belief for situations like these is worthwhile when watching Disney films, but as if to highlight the fact that they have always been pretty odd, here is another Disney film from the 1940’s. Vivid hallucination scenes, possible racism, and obviously the socially outcast lead character all serve to make Dumbo a bit of an uncomfortable and slightly depressing film. It’s really good, but it also happens to be all those other things too.

 

#3: E.T: the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

ET is very obviously a film about acceptance, and in that respect, it is a massive success. But on the base of it all…Look at him. Look at fucking ET. He is a terrifying worm-humanoid splice, and he has an extremely odd and slowly drawling croak of a voice. The film is not scary at all, well, it wouldn’t be except for finding fucking ET in your fucking wardrobe.

 

#2: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

You literally must have been smoking crack if you thought the top 2 could be anything else. And yes, at times, the original Wonka film literally feels like smoking crack. It’s fast paced, very unclear, vivid as hell, and frightening too. The famous scenes of kids just disappearing, dying, being converted to a television signal or ballooning to hugely impossible sizes. The other famous scene of the tunnel of endless hallucination. Enjoy the ride, because it is a scary as shit film.

 

#1: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

If marketed and edited slightly differently, the story of the most successful kid’s film ever would more likely read as a very bizarre flick by Luis Buenel. But as luck had it, the makers made the film family friendly. And that is in the most basic sense of the word – you can watch it with your family, but you may not actually appreciate it. Kids have a marvellous talent for skipping over the big picture and focusing on the details, so maybe that’s why it’s never questioned in ‘Oz’ why there is murder, Dorothy hanging out with 3 utter freaks, a land full of flying monkeys, an unquestionable fascist overlord and well…fucking midgets just singing constantly. But no, kids love it. They think it’s quirky, fun and ultimately teaches a good moral lesson. No it fucking doesn’t, it’s terrifying, surreal, vivid, bizarre and very very weird.