Jekyll And Hyde (ITV)

Just watched S1E1 of ITV’s new Jekyll And Hyde and I’m very pleasantly surprised!

First, they’ve obviously spunked some money out on this as the cinematography and production values are very high. Next, I was impressed by the writing. The show’s creator, Fast Show blokey Charlie Higson said he wanted it to be ‘Downton with monsters:’

“It certainly would have livened Downton up a bit. It’s very popular, I’m not dissing Downton, but I’d have watched more of it if it had a guy with a giant lobster claw turning up and smashing everything to pieces.” (Source)

The whole slot is pitched to compete with the BBC’s successful Dr. Who and there are some similarities but, overall, I think I actually prefer JaH, judging by this first ep. It’s very, very reminiscent of the campy, horror-lite tone of Stephen Sommer’s 1999 The Mummy in that there are thrills and spills but nothing really that disturbing.

Tom Bateman as Jekyll (and Hyde) is perfectly cast. When Jekyll, he looks suitably foppish and gentlemanly and then, when he Hulks-out, there’s a bit of CGI transitioning but it seems, so far at least, to be a lot of the actor just inhabiting the role. Maybe I’m wrong there and they’ll CGI him like they did the Hyde in LXG but that would be shame.

Before I go: Richard E. Grant. To be honest, I would watch anything with Grant in it, even a cricket match. The man is a grade-A loon and a national treasure. He’s quite, quite delicious in this so far, as the leaded of Military Intelligence Other, the secret monster wrangling squad of HMG. Check out Grant’s beautiful, autobiographical film Wah Wah if you want a peek at the insides of this extraordinary man. Here’s what Bateman had to say about working with Grant:

Quite bizarre. The first scene I had with him, we were in this garden and I grab him, pin him up against this wall, and smash his face in. It was quite odd texting my mum, saying: “Hi. Yeah, I’m just pinning Richard E Grant up against a wall.” The guy is hilarious on set and off set. He’s obsessed with smells. In this garden on the first day, he’d smell everything. Even in the studio he’s walking around just smelling the tables, smelling people’s coffees. Quite a bizarre man. He’s kind of mental. (Source)

Ever since Kolchak, I’ve been a sucker for Monster Of The Week series and after this promising start…. fingers (and claws) crossed.

Le Mystere De Voix Bulgares

I haven’t posted any Voix Bulgares for a while. And I do love them so! Their harmonies, their crazy interval leaping. The way the major sections break out like sunshine through clouds.

My parents always say they sound Indian but the truth is they sound Indo-European, which is hardly surprising considering they way language and culture ebbs and flows across Asia and Europe (or, as I call it, West Asia). The rhythmic bit at the end sounds so Indian my Dad always starts clapping along, bless him.

This next track is probably my favourite ever female lead vocal:

If I ever find a woman who loves this music as much as I do, I will propose. If they get it. If it makes their soul ache like mine does.

And now, I can’t leave this without the closest Brit equivalent I’ve ever heard:

4AD label-mates to Voix Bulgares, This Mortal Coil (which was basically a 4AD supergroup). Of course, SCOTTISH.

And now we’re back to TMC, we’re in firm goth territory and possible soundtrack music for your upcoming spoopy Halloween.

Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War

Le peintre Rene Magritte (1898-1967) et sa femme Georgette Berger vers 1922
Le peintre Rene Magritte (1898-1967) et sa femme Georgette Berger vers 1922

Today, after a calm time visiting my folks, I spiralled into a sarlacc pit of worrying about money, worrying about work, worrying about my label, worrying that I’m not doing enough, worrying that I’m doing too much, worrying about my weight, worrying about the fasting I’ve been doing, worrying about worrying, worrying that I’m not worrying enough.

It’s the kind of worrying that, if my ex was still here, I know she could take away with one hug and a few words of her calm, Vulcan-like reason. I miss her so terribly at these times, in a very child-like way. I feel like when I was little and I’d lose my Mum in a shop and all I could do was wail and perhaps have a sit down, hoping she’d come to find me. Which my Mum always did, of course.

To be so deeply in love with someone so many years after you last saw their face is raising idiocy to an entirely new artform. The Dadaists, the Surrealists, the Situationists… these people may have laid the foundations but I’m building the ugly, stupid skyscraper. The higher it gets, the more I’m likely to jump.

So, I was crying anyway so I figured, what the fuck, I might as well listen to a song which always makes me cry, Paul Simon’s Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War. 

Here’s the version I first heard, decades ago:

I listen to this song and it reminds me of living Paris in the ‘30s and Norwich in the ‘70s. I remember falling in love with her two times, at least. I get confused, though ~ we didn’t start speaking again till 1940 but I remember it as being 1994. I guess they can be both since science has proved time doesn’t exist. It’s all now, there is no past or future. Remember, if you’re a photon the lifetime of the universe is shorter than the snap of your fingers as you remember what you forgot.

wit

Those early days, burning CDRs of my music and packing the little jiffy bags together, she’d do the artwork because I’m rubbish at that. Well, apart from the Picassos and Braques I faked to make a living, obviously. Hell, art is printing money. Which is also good.

So, we put on the envelopes: ‘Features the international number 1? and, in some bizarre MWI quantum shit way, it did. Just like when I said this isn’t a pipe and she asked if I meant because it’s a painting of a pipe and then that escalated into that whole argument about Panjabi MC. I remember the tears streaming down her face, how unfixable it all was. But we fixed it because we were young then. The cover had a hand with a wedding ring on it. We got married later that year, 1997 or perhaps 1922.

We moved so much when we finally had money, packing all our things in the car and driving like idiots. Anywhere is glamorous when you’re young and in love. Could be Lessines, could be Derby, could be Hellesdon, it doesn’t matter. I can’t paint but I painted all those pictures for her. The bears, the fish, the clouds, the birdcage, the butterflies.

peng01

I guess the song reminds me of the bands that inspired me, the deep forbidden music of my youth in 1950s America and 1920s Belgium and 1970s Britain: The Penguins, The Moonglows, Telex, Kraftwerk.

Like I said, I get confused. The war, New York, Pitlochrie, going round her father’s house after he died, so empty of life and love, the place she was born.

So I worked the song out. It was easier using this version:

We never had a dog, though. And the picture that Wolleh took, that was very obviously of us after the war, look how old we are. But we’re together.

I wish we still were. Maybe we should have bought a dog?

 

Western Propaganda – A Chomskyan Analysis Of Today’s News

In case you’re not familiar with the Propaganda Model, have a quick read here.

I will be looking at headlines on today’s BBC News website, that is Saturday 3/10/2015.

Here is a screengrab of the first of a paired example:

The headline is clear and unambiguous: Russia is the bad guy and good guy Cameron is berating them for their air strikes in Syria.

Okay, yes, seems fair.

Now, let’s look at headline screengrab two:

What can you glean from this? Firstly, the bold headline calls it an ‘Afghan hospital bombing.’ If you read no further, you might assume that Al Qaeda or other fundamentalists had bombed a hospital, after all, that’s the majority of stories we get from Afganistan, evil Taliban stuff.

But wait – the second paragraph says ‘Air strikes.’ Air strikes by whom?

WHY, BY THE USA!! 

Well now, isn’t that a surprise? Why didn’t the headline say:

UN Denounces US Air Strikes On Afghan Hospital

as that would have been the exact equivalent of the Russian headline.

Furthermore – where is Cameron’s outrage about the US murdering doctors in a hospital? Oh, hold on, he’s said nothing.

Because only the crimes of our official enemies count. The crimes of our official friends are not crimes. Those murders are not murders, they are ‘regrettable’ and ‘collateral damage’ and justifiable. Only the lives taken by our enemies are mourned and raged over by our politicians. 

In a bourgeois democratic society, unlike a fascist or Stalinist society we rarely have the press being outright censored. What we have instead is a daily blizzard of bias, like the paired example above. The average person with not much time to delve beyond the headlines might conclude that today the Russians are baddies and some Taliban bombed a hospital. They would remain ignorant of the US’ war crime against a hospital.

And that’s how propaganda, thought control in democratic societies works. By the normalising the discourse to certain boundaries; Cameron’s economic policy is fair, Corbyn’s is lunatic, Russia’s air strikes are evil, the US’ are good.

You don’t have to censor the truth, you just have to place it where most people will not look.

US Murders Doctors In Air Strike On Hospital

msf

Medecins Sans Frontieres said at least nine of its staff were killed in the attack. Many are unaccounted for.

It said the strikes continued for more than 30 minutes after US and Afghan authorities were told of its location.

US forces were carrying out air strikes at the time. The Nato alliance has admitted the clinic may have been hit.

At least 37 people were seriously injured, 19 of them MSF staff.

More than 100 patients were in the hospital, along with relatives and carers; it is not known how many of them were killed.

MSF says that all parties to the conflict, including Kabul and Washington, had been told the precise GPS co-ordinates of the hospital in Kunduz on many occasions, including on 29 September. (Source)

More war crimes from everyone’s favourite TV comedian, Obomber.

BUT HEY, HE’S SO FUNNY! WHAT DO A FEW MORE CORPSES MATTER??? ISN’T HIS FAMILY LOVELY?! LOOK OVER THERE! IGNORE THE PILES OF DEAD CHILDREN!

A spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, Col Brian Tribus, said: “US forces conducted an air strike in Kunduz city at 02:15 (local time)… against individuals threatening the force.

“The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

Innocents murdered in a fucking hospital by the US = “collateral damage.”