Tag: Review

Your Vote Probably Matters

To celebrate the holy London Mayoral Election Gavriel has dedicated an entire article to celebrating the best candidates. Featuring Count Binface, Lawrence Fox and Brian Rose, find out more about why your vote matters.

6th May 2021

By Gavriel

Ah, it is Election Day at last. Thursday 6th May was a date I had circled on my physical calendar for months, eagerly looking forward to this momentous election. My calendar, by the way, has a different picture of Brian Rose for every month: May, ironically enough, is the only one where he is not wearing his red tie but a bright red “mankini”. Or so I’m told – I have had the calendar flipped to May since I acquired it because why would I dare switch out that picture?

The Mayor of London is a very important role. With a rich, long, important history starting in 2000, the Mayor’s office has been occupied by some highly qualified baboons. There seems to be some genetic link between previous Mayors, and therefore whichever candidate gets the hereditary power to wrongly calculate and decide, much like Boris and Sadiq have over the last year, how long they wait until more people die. That is part of their manifestos, is it not? Lawrence Fox called the NHS ‘so sensitive it needs a round of applause just to finish work’ so if he becomes Mayor I’d put money on him letting as many people die as possible. 

Alas, here I am slandering a person advocating for free speech in my web-based blog. What sort of person does that make me? Well, I would like to encourage everyone who can to ensure they submit their vote for the Mayor of London today if they have not already. It is very, very important you do so. 

Why I hear you ask? The difficulty of today’s election is choosing between the amazing candidates. Fosh, Fox and the fantastic “Mr Foxy” Brian Rose all appear to be viable candidates for the Mayor’s office, yet they are not looking great in the polls. We must band together to rectify this. I shall henceforth propose my argument as to why you should vote for each.

Max Fosh has my vote. He appears to be intelligent, something which many of our previous Mayors have not impressed upon me. He is also amusing, in touch with the youth, learned and he took part in debating society. He can evidently organise things effectively, such as his famous debate with Lawrence Fox – the only lesson learnt from that is that Lawrence Fox is not as timely as you would like. He fulfils the posh bloke quota, yet he commands the respect of more than most. Who wouldn’t want a Mayor who is a confident speaker, a great organiser, and in touch with a significant proportion of the population?

Lawrence Fox is another perfect candidate, at least to the outside world. In London, admittedly, everyone is what the British like to call “a schmuck”. Therefore, by virtue Fox is the perfect candidate. Not only is he wholeheartedly a schmuck but he is the King of Schmucks. If any city in the world deserves to be ruled by a King, it is London, and Fox’s kingdom is essentially the entirety of London already. He truly is a terrible person who poses a threat to society, much like the guy sitting LITERALLY NEXT TO ME on the tube this morning. Talentless, nepotistic, and worldly-unwise, he is the definition of a Londoner. Also, he is advocating for free speech. I would very much like to keep my rights to that since it allows me to give him such charming compliments like ” he is a schmuck” and “Fox is a fascist meerkat”.

I met Brain Rose today, albeit from afar. Never before has a mayoral candidate been so excited by seeing a group of people that he proceeds to shout and wave with both harms punching the air as if he is Rocky or something. So, if I hadn’t already dedicated myself to Max Fosh I would have voted for him. He is, well, a man with youthful vigour.

Count Binface is an alien. Who wouldn’t vote for an alien? I can answer that. Anyone who voted for Fox, Fosh or Rose. He’s next in line, however. I mean, who even are the other candidates?

Agony Aunt

27th April 2021

By Austin

In his restless pursuit of copper-bottomed baboonery, Austin has become Agony Aunt for a week. Below are his responses to emails as far-ranging as subjects about one thing and other subjects about other things:

Howdy! It is well known that in this life one should try everything once, save gnocchi and incest. This week I’m having a bash at being an Agony Aunt. My inbox was flooded this week so unfortunately some of your emails got slightly damp. Nonetheless, I was able to salvage some of your predicaments. But this experiment only lasts for this week, so for Pete’s sake don’t bother me with your problems!!! Okay? Great! Thanks! Much appreciated. Mm!

Dear Aunt Austin, what’s happening to my body? I’m just knocking on the door of fourteen and I am becoming aware of certain changes in me and in my feelings towards others. What does it mean? Yours, ‘Mildly Perplexed’

Dear Mildly Perplexed, pull the other one – it’s got bells on it. You’re fully aware of what’s happening inside you, you just want me to write a reply that includes the word ‘genitals’ so you can have a rotten giggle over it. I only deal with genuine problems here; if you want filth try your local train station car park.

Dear Aunt Austin, my girlfriend, whom I love dearly, is unable to satisfy my appetites, and I have started going to restaurants behind her back. I am terrified that if she sees me eating in a peculiar place she’ll sever the relationship. Should I tell her before she finds out? Yours, ‘Hungry’

Dear ‘Hungry’, There’s more to a relationship than just plain eating you know. Of course, for the first few weeks, food and mealtimes will be the most important thing you have between you, and you’ll spend all day at the table together, exploring each other’s tastes and range of cooking styles. But if a relationship is to last, it’s important you learn to find interests outside of the kitchen. If she can’t satisfy you at the moment, perhaps it’s because you aren’t telling her what it is that you want and need. Buy a cookery book, there are plenty available, showing a variety of cuisines that may be more to your taste. Happy gorging!

Dear Aunt Austin, Mr Graham – our headmaster – is forcing me to do double maths every Monday afternoon. I hate maths and it clashes with Neighbours, the Australian Soap on Daytime TV. Could you come round and shoot him so I can get out of it? Lots of love, Peter

Dear Peter, as much as I would love to help, you have a duty to go to school. I know you teachers don’t get paid enough but there are hundreds of students relying on you to guide them through exams – so buck up and get teaching!

Dear Aunt Austin, I think my wife is cheating on me. She keeps answering calls and secretly texting with her phone angled away from me. I have had suspicions for quite some time now. But recently she has been going out a lot more in the evenings with “the girls” who she knows “from work” and whom I have “never met”. Finally, I had had enough. Last Tuesday I tried to follow her. I tailed her very discreetly in my car and parked outside the restaurant the taxi dropped her off at. As she entered, I crouched down behind my BMW 1 Series M Sport and saw the stuff of nightmares. My exhaust pipe was leaking oil. Is this something that can be easily remedied? Yours, ‘Highly Flammable’

Dear ‘Highly Flammable’, I know of somebody else who is also having car troubles at the moment. Last Tuesday, I met a delightful woman for dinner at a very nice little restaurant. I could tell it was a good one because there were a number of expensive cars outside, including a BMW much like yours. Anyway, I got talking to this woman and she mentioned how her husband was having trouble with leaky pipes – you’re clearly not the only one. My prescription would be to visit your local Kwik Fit, kick the tyres and say “she’s got four good feet on her” to seem like you know what you’re talking about. 

That’s all for this week. Next week I’ll be interviewing the world’s worst escapologist Alexei Navalny on how he is faring in lockdown. Who knows, the week after that I might be on the moon! Look out!!!

All my love, 

Aunt Austin

Clerks

27th April 2021

By Devin

Clerks is a 1994 buddy comedy film that was written, directed, and co-produced by Kevin Smith. Considering that the budget was kept to $27,575 by certain cost-cutting techniques such as using stores where Kevin Smith worked in real life and shooting in a cheaper black and white film, a gross of $3 million in theatres is very impressive. Rightfully, it has become a cult classic and a notable landmark in Indie films, mainly due to the fact that Kevin Smith maxed out five credit cards to fund this film, showing and inspiring determination and love for cinema.

It follows Dante Hicks and Randal Graves, two clerks (hence the name) throughout a single day after Dante is called into work on a Saturday. The most notable concept of this film is that it hooks you with X rated and dark humour while appealing to your emotions with Dante’s complicated romantic relationships and his deep philosophical discussion with Randal about the philosophy of being a clerk and whether he should improve his life. Despite the inherent randomness of the film, which is cut up into chapters each starting with a different title, these two strands interweave at key moments in seamless ways.

While the characters, themes and plot of the film are very solid, I can understand why some people would not enjoy the film considering its niche and dark humour. The directness and explicitness of the humour in the film will make some people laugh out loud and others shake their heads in embarrassment. I would recommend watching this film with a crowd of people who you know have this type of humour.

In conclusion, this is a very humorous and interesting film that is considered a staple in cinematic history, as indicated by the fact that in 2019 it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. However, I recommend choosing very carefully who you watch this with.

Her

20th April 2021

By Devin

Her is a 2013 film written, directed and produced by Spike Jonze and stars recognisable actors such as Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johanssen, Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde and Chris Pratt. It entails the story of a man who after a rough divorce with a childhood sweetheart, downloads an operating system and falls in love with it/her. Despite many great actors and an interesting concept, the film received widespread critical acclaim upon release and had grossed $48 million dollars on a budget of $23 million when I started watching the film. I thought I had made a huge mistake.

One thing that I wish I had known before watching the film with my parents were the very awkward and loud verbal sexual encounters or “phone sex” scenes that the film has. If anyone had been listening at our front door, they would have thought that our family collectively watches adult movies together. Another criticism of mine would be that when an actor was physically alone in a room and talking to an AI without a body and only a voice, I felt a certain awkwardness and discomfort due to my expected norm of seeing two actors physically together in the same room.  However, upon completion of the film, I realised that that was the point.

The movie forces the viewer to think about many philosophical questions related to AI while they are watching this film. To be honest, it is quite an unsettling but interesting film about a possible not so far off future that will probably be reached in my lifetime in which AI are intelligent and sophisticated enough to form meaningful relationships with humans. 

To conclude this is a great film that turns the concept of a love story on its head to ask philosophical questions about a future that is not too distant. However, I would recommend that when certain scenes come on, turn your volume down.

Elliot’s Songs of the Week: No. 2

18th April 2021

Trigger warning: the first image contains blood and sensitive imagery

By Elliot

Falling Out the Sky – Armand Hammer, The Alchemist and Earl Sweatshirt  

Renowned American producer The Alchemist has once again worked his magic on this track. Taken out of Billy Woods’ and E L U C I D’s recent collaborative project, Haram, Falling out the Sky really caught my eye or should I say ears. With a dreamy and intergalactic beat, Earl Sweatshirt, this song’s feature, grips the listener, as his emphatic lyrics and lazy flow, describing how he has felt since his father’s passing in 2018, paint his world in gruesome detail with his father’s ‘swollen body behind [his] eyes’. Earl’s stellar wordplay also shines throughout this feature as he explains how his ‘rhymes’ allow him to interpret the world that he lives in. Then comes Billy Woods who is, in my opinion, a wildly underappreciated underground rapper. His signature east side twang compliments the beat beautifully as he talks of a summer smoking with his friends. Last but definitely not least E L U C I D rounds out this track and with swing; he recalls many childhood memories to the listener. Evoking recollection at one point of his friends hazing those that ‘fell asleep first’ by basically just beating them up, depicting what he describes as a ‘vicious cycle, hurt people hurt people’. Overall, this track even though it is just verse, verse, verse, is an exceptional showcase and grouping together of four very talented individuals. I live for it.  

Cover art for Falling Out the Sky

Despair – Black Midi 

In anticipation of UK art/noise rock and post-punk outfit, Black Midi’s new album Cavalcade, due to release during late May this year, released one track early: Despair. One of two singles thus far. This one is by far my favourite. With a more laidback feel to it and clear folkish influences, Geordie Greep (lead singer), for me at least, really embodies his unique, croaky, almost Jim Morrison-esque vocal range. Subtle and sorrowful guitar passages guide you  

The song takes on a medieval feel as Greep talks of ‘man’ taking up a philosophical role. The minimalism of this track compared to a lot of Black Midi’s other endeavours which was a good hand to play for them. I cannot wait to hear the rest of this album and I hope that you join me in that impatience.   

Cover art for Despair

The Light Pt I & II – BROCKHAMPTON  

BROCKHAMPTON, after a decidedly and deservedly long hiatus from music, have come back with their most personal and remarkable album to date with ROADRUNNER. The Light and The Light Pt II really stood out to me amongst the tracklist of this project. Joba and Kevin Abstract shine on both of these songs as Joba describes the aftermath of his father’s suicide and Kevin discusses how it is still hard to talk to his own mother about his homosexuality. Joba’s descriptions of his father’s suicide and subsequently his views on death and what happens afterwards at times verges on hard to listen to. A line of Joba’s which is almost macabre to me – ‘a bloody backdrop, skull fragments in the ceiling // felt your presence in the room’ – not only is this so powerful but the horrendously honest imagery here and throughout these two tracks transports you into a man’s mind so obviously traumatised. The instrumentals across these tracks are gorgeous not to mention. Fuzzy guitar licks reflect both artists anguish as they navigate their way through their psyches. If you do not feel like listening to the entire album, then definitely give these two songs a listen.   

Cover art for The Light Pt I & II

Akira

12th April 2021

By Devin

While many debate whether Akira is a good film due to its bizarre plot, one thing cannot be contested: the cinematography, full of colour and expression, is beautiful. Despite the fact that the post-apocalyptic cyberpunk action film came out in 1988, it is a timeless film that was way ahead of its time. It was directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, written by Otomo and Izo Hashimoto and based upon Otomo’s epic 1982 manga of the same name. The film is all hand-drawn at 24 frames per second. The film, therefore, has incredible attention to detail. Whether you enjoy the plot or not, its colour and fluidity of movement are uncontestable. 

The film follows the story of a biker gang, with the two main characters Kaneda and Tetsuo, in dystopian 2019 Neo-Tokyo filled with corruption, riots, new religious movements and scientific military experiments. However, the film is only based on part of the manga, leaving those who have read the behemoth of a manga more satisfied at the ending of the film due to a fuller context of the plot.

The main problem with the film is not the fact that it was based on the manga but rather that it leaves full explanations and key moments to the manga while only bringing hints of those aspects to the film, leaving many viewers feeling puzzled. While some can analyse some coherent meaning behind the film and reflections into Japan before, after and during WWII, the plot breaks down due to insufficient explanations and characters that seem unnecessary. If you would like to watch around two hours of beautiful images, a coherent plot up until the 80-minute mark and the inspiration for Kanye West, the Matrix or Inception, or would just like to know what the fuss is all about, this is the film for you. Be careful, if you watch this and blink, you’ll miss hundreds of hours that the artists poured into those frames.

Ed Wood

11th April 2021

By Devin

“Ed Wood” is a 1994 film directed by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp. Despite incredible critical acclaim and developing a cult following, it tanked at the box office. However, that does not deny its genius. It tells the tale of Edward D Wood Jr, considered by some to be the worst director to ever live. Shooting off minimal budgets, stealing props, filming illegally, he created a large number of camp films. Films that are so bad, they are quite enjoyable. The film documents his creation of three films, his relationship with Bela Lugosi, the fading star of the original 1931 Dracula film and Ed Wood’s transvestite nature and the effect of that upon his romantic relationships.

There are many merits to this film. It is a very humorous and heartwarming film with beautiful black and white cinematography which add stylish additions to the aesthetics of the film. With an outstanding performance by Johnny Depp, this is a very well rounded film and a good investment of 2 hours.

Furthermore, I consider this film a gateway drug of some sort to Ed Wood’s own films, which would be inaccessible to most people who have the fortunate or unfortunate chance of stumbling across his films. The three Ed Wood films shown being shot are, “Glen or Glenda”, “Plan 9 from Outer Space” and “Bride of the Monster”. They are all free on YouTube and very fun watches due to the amateurish nature of Ed Wood’s film making. “Bride of the Monster” and “Plan 9 from Outer Space” are decent camp films with a generally coherent plot and are ironically enjoyable to watch. On the other hand, “Glen or Glenda” is an incoherent mess that made me think, “what the hell am I watching?”

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