tag : bright yellow-green apples: July 2006

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Monday, July 31, 2006

it's the end of the world as we know it, and I feeel finn

Ha, I really hate performing to type. Of course I was going to love The Eraser - it's made by someone who's on my roll call of ultimate idols - and of course I did. Luckily it took some time, and I had to keep listening to like it, so this wasn't just a reflex action. It's suprising how many beautiful details have been conjured out of a laptop's electronic repetoire, with fuzz and bleeps and curt beats - even if some of the lyrics are sometimes a little aimless. Having said that, the moment where it all comes together is on the touching ballard Atoms for Peace, where he sings:

"No more talk about the old days
It's time for something great"

So much for depressing - this is gloriously, constructively, hopeful. Along with its linocut cover, The Eraser puts me in a very good mood. I feel like I can achieve summit, and that the best is yet to come. Which is kinda strange, for themes of the world being washed away.

Talking of world destruction, I finally decided to get War of the Worlds out the way. I do so wish Tom Cruise could've hidden his face behind the nearest building, but then he - and every other human there - were really plot devices, part of the landscape. Most of it's shot from eye level, but the main point of this is to see how relative we are to the gorgeous tableaux of civilization disintergrating under pressure. I'm very surprised that Hollywood managed to convey the alien storms so well, sweeping away life with suddenness. It's very flat, though, and if you're looking for some redemption you should stick with Thom, even at his most claustrophobic.

Friday, July 28, 2006

unshakable follies


Hurrah! for the special relationship. Our Prime Minister flew to meet with the President of the USA - a man who he apparently has some persuasive position with, due to our government's acquiescence over pretty much everything. Yes Blair flew there to persuade Bush about the need for a ceasefire, and then agreed with everything he said. Well done, Tony!

Cos obviously what the region doesn't need is an end to the war. So there was no talk of telling Israel to stop it's bombardment, and no talk of trying to get diplomatic with Hezbollah. There's this curious phrase that keeps coming up, "lasting peace". Given the current USA administrations fondness for euphemisms like collateral damage (killing innocents along the way) and freedom (neo-liberal free-market economics), it makes me very suspicious. And sure enough:

"our aim is to turn it into a moment of opportunity and a chance for broader change in the region"

Along with Condoleezza Rice's talk of these being birth pangs of a new middle east, we can only summise that the administration sees this as a useful turn of events. There certainly seems to be little enthusiasm for stopping it, but rather shaping the forces into whatever warped vision they've dreamed up this week. Last time I looked, Lebanon was that rare and delicate flower; a truly middle eastern democratic country with a popular progressive movement forging it. But now it's merely a battlefield once more, as the wheel turns against Islamicist hate figures. So there'll be lots of talk, and lots of prevaricating. Meanwhile ordinary people continue to die, and their country burns, and innocents in Israel are hit by random missile attacks. All to serve the fantasies of Olmert's warped Kadima party, the neo-cons, and insane terrorist groups. Cease fire, please.

oooooh the tension

As promised, here's the shortlist for the 2006 PL Alternative Prize - or whatever it is! (Remember y'all, this is simply about what I've heard, in it's entirity, since last August - so ¬°Forward Russia! don't quite make it yet). I really can't see how chosing is going to be easy, what with the past year being one of the best I can remember. Top quality stuff.

AFX - Hangable Auto Bulb
Thom Yorke - The Eraser
The Knife - Silent Shout
Scott Walker - Drift
Cat Power - The Greatest
Arcade Fire - Funeral
The Ink Spots - Best of the Ink Spots
Kate Bush - Aerial
Soulwax - Nite Versions

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

cut that tape, cut it out, cut the crap, cut-off point

(detail from Ghost of a Tree 3 - with apologies to Munch, Van Gough, and Blake)

I got whisked off by Martin, out the blue, on Saturday. We went to Eyam, which is a charming Peak District village whose main claim to fame is having been ravaged by the plague in the 1600s. I also got to meet Eleanor, who's come up to our provincial county for a few days, and who's lovely and funny - you should be reading her weblog, which features here. It's like Lilly Allens, but less caustic and more varied. So we took in the ambience of the village whose people starred death in the face and mostly died.

That evening I got to see Superman Returns, which was the very most shallow and delightful kinda film - it's fair to say that a 10 second bit of rehashed Marlon Brando easily outacted everyone else in it! But this was a spectacle, and Superman is at his best when he's just saving the world without having to deal with some crippling existential angst, social battle, or tendancy to be hip and cool like most superheroes seem to do.

The next day was spent locked in my room, drawing some BIG towaring black clouds and clashing shafts of light onto A1 tracing paper. It's an image I've been trying to sort out for a couple of years, and is all about resolving how romance has led to a fair amount of emotional overload and heartpain at times. It was all a bit intense, what with the Nick Cave, Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, and New Order soundtrack blasting out my tapeplayer. So I had to run up to the loft and paint a few wistful little fluffy clouds throught the skylight, to calm down. Actually I needed to do this, today, when my gardening client appeared to have no faith in my horticultural judgement whatsoever. Gah, I hate having to hold back a sarcastic comeback and just offer a ptihy platittude to the paying customer. Cos you do spy on me, you are cloyingly hard-nosed, and you interferre when I'm doing summit very competantly. Oh yes you do, you smug organic obsessive N.I.M.B.Y.

Oh looky, it's the Mercury Prize shortlist. It's got to be Thom Yorke or Sway, if quality's any measure. But where on earth are ¬°Forward Russia!? Perhaps they'll make it onto the third annual PL alternative prize, if they're ever so lucky.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Dear Matlock Mercury,

Tonight I was walking my dog through Matlock town centre, and happened to come across some lads trying to climb over the gates behind a public building. Thinking they could be attempting to break in, or to commit arson, I wandered past the police station and let them know what I'd seen. Upon returning the same way, I found they were simply climbing a low roof to try jumping across spaces, a la "parkour" (a French-originated urban jumping and climbing movement).

So I'm just writing to publicly apologise to them, for having made assumptions about them, and having come close to reacting in the worst small-town mentality. There's precious little for young people to do in this town, as it is, and that kind of creative free play should be encouraged in the broadest possible way - rather than threatened away. I hope they continue, bearing in mind due safety and good sense, and I wish them well.


Laurence Craig.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

RIP the pages

I find it fascinating and wonderful that books could be treated with such respect as this. It's a better fate than simply languishing, in dust and apathy.

nonesense you say? what nonesense

the image and the reality?

I awoke this morning to the usual delights of Radio 4's Today programme (actually this was the second time - there was a crash in my room, at 4am, when a cat had managed to knock all my tapes off the windowsill). This time it was John Prescott being unusually belligerent, in the face of 'allegations' about him. John Humphrys seemed to be fairly restrained, today, in his questioning - probably cos he couldn't really get a purchase, what with there being very little actually substantive. Just lots of talk, and 'questions' - whatever these questions are.

Having said that, I do find the idea of making new big casinos - flashily titled Super Casinos, as if they're here to save us - abominable. For a so-called progressive government to be actively supporting new ways for people to lose lots and lots of money beggars belief.