Saturday, 29 November 2008

Bargains to kill for

Is there any phenomenon in Western society more demented than massed shoppers on a stampede? Now they've actually trampled someone to death. I struggle to think of the appropriate collective noun. A lobotomy of bargain hunters? I don't know why this bugs me so much. But whenever I see serried ranks of drongos injuring each other in a desperate scramble to buy crap, I truly despair for the future of our species.

Update: More detail here, including market-reassuring news that the blood-spattered horde kept on shopping.

Some shoppers who had seen the stampede said they were shocked. One of them, Kimberly Cribbs of Queens, said the crowd had acted like “savages.” Shoppers behaved badly even as the store was being cleared, she recalled.

“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since yesterday morning,’ ” Ms. Cribbs told The Associated Press. “They kept shopping.”

Friday, 28 November 2008

The Triffids: A Reverie

If you cornered me at a party and made me choose my favourite Australian band, you'd get quite bored as I pro-ed and con-ed between the Go-Betweens and the Triffids. On balance, (and well after you'd snuck off to fish beers in the esky), I'd give it to the Go-B's by sheer dint of sharing their hometown. They do mean a lot to Brisbaneiros of a certain vintage, like me.

But my favourite individual Australian songwriter is, without doubt, and without peer, David McComb of the Triffids. And what an extraordinary band. These songs live forever! A soundtrack to the endless sunny middays of edited memory. So many greats... to pick but a few: Beautiful Waste (surely the finest song about the all-encompassing madness of first love ever penned on these shores); Spanish Blue; Embedded; the entire album "Treeless Plain"; Place in the Sun; Red Pony; Jesus Calling; and of course, their only genuine hit, Wide Open Road.

For those who are fans, check out this page. Its full of downloadable early gems, thanks to the Triffids site.

I never did see the Triffids, sadly - though I did see David McComb sometime in the late 90s. It was after his heart transplant, so it was low energy, but the show was magnificent, the songs sublime. McComb died in '99, at far too young an age.

And now that I think about it, it was an old girlfriend of mine, many moons ago, who introduced me to the Triffids. I first heard this song, 'Raining Pleasure', when she played it to me on acoustic guitar, as the rain pattered on a Quinceland tin roof. So, here it is, a reverie.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Film Noir: what's that all about?

Who knows, but its no doubt referred to as "film noor" in certain northern suburbs of Melbourne that shall remain ... mispronounced.

Anyhow, ill-informed, but keen as always, I trundled down the the Carlton Nova a couple of years back and saw Sin City, on various recommendations. Here's a short review of that: 5 lattes, with a biscotti on the side.

And here's a pre-review of what's next: I've got a small stack of vids lined up to investigate further. These include, inter alia, Jules Dassin' Night and the City (1950) and Allen Baron's Blast of Silence (1961). I might go watch one now!

But before that, any other Film Noir recommendations, oh ye denizens of the internet? And moreover, what is the essence of film noir anyway?

A dinner party one-liner will do - I'm that sort of guy. Shallow, with a heart of pure shiny tinfoil.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Lusobeats #1: Bolinha da Sabão (Soap bubble)

Ok, I know I'm doing these posts on the cheap since I worked out how to embed video, but the fact is I'm a big fan of Brazilian music - especially Bossa Nova of the early João Gilberto/ Tom Jobim variety - but also 60s Lusopop outfits like Trio Esperança, formed in Rio De Janeiro in 1961. This is partly because I do believe Portuguese to be one of the best world languages for song. This particular track, Bolinha da Sabão is crazy. I just can't get enough of this upbeat Luso-lounge 60s pop.

So, if you ever see some wired-for-sound cat on a Melbourne train singing "tum plec tum pling" a bit too loud for surrounding passengers' comfort ... well, let's just pretend we don't know each other, sim?

Monday, 17 November 2008

50th Post Celebratory Ramble

Yes, bite up, punters, cos its the quinquagenary latte here at BmL!

How far it's all come. It seems like only yesterday that I tentatively posted my first, er, post, and people were saying, 'oh come on, a blog based loosely on Portuguese Forts in Asia will never take off' yada yada.

How right they were. But hey ..... chuck in a few erratic DVD reviews, a dash of forgotten Europop, a couple of quality regulars, some obsessional Luso-miscellany, all topped off with a systematic failure to reflect on current events (fort management concluded a while back this was best dealt with elsewhere, at a proper blog) - and I've thoroughly enjoyed myself, which is surely the main thing.

And hey, 1200 site visitors from 44 countries can't be wrong (even if a surprising proportion of them can in fact be me - or indeed, other Capitãos on clandestine missions Lisbon hasn't informed me of, in their wisdom).

And so, as the sun goes down over the fort parapet at Solor ('Asia-Pacific region'), and the trade winds flutter the lateen sail in the caravel, in sandalwood I dream once more of..... France Gall.

A rather strange, but scrummy-fab clip from 1964, Les rubans et la fleur. Check the dude, who apparently wasn't told the Algerian war of independence was lost two years earlier. When she sings to herself at 0.45 I go all weak at the knees. Mon Dieu. Vive la France!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Long Weekend (1978)

Oh boy, I'm just rolling in '70s Australian cinema lately. This one is a mystery/ thriller/ suspense flic in the nature-takes-revenge mode, and one which works far, far better than I'd expected on gazing at the DVD cover. Would have been brilliant at some suburban drive-in in '78, with the Valiant boot facing the screen.

By Dugong Films, as you'll see, should you watch it. Tops!

Again I ask, where have all the good times gone, Australian film? Was it perhaps the rise of the quasi-private "film corporations", and the demise of the old state-based commissions?

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Nauseating Parental Interlude

Hey look, my daughter drew this groovy picture. It's so mature, you'd never guess she was only 14.
Hoho! Actually she's only 4, quite wee. Of but 4 summers. I totally love it. Better than I can do at 40. I will write a song about it and be famous. As soon as Macca drops around I'll play it to him. Ruby in the sky with ladybirds. Aka the moment my blog really went off the rails. But bugger it. Four year olds' pictures are so sweet. This picture makes me as happy as the purple cat. And check him out - he's one gato feliz.

60s French Girl Pop: #3

And so we end the series with my favourite 60s French Girl Pop song: Jacqueline Taieb's 7 Heures du Matin (7:00am). The original French version is the shiznitz, the real deal. However, because the film clip is so good, I'm going to post the English language version below, released the same year (1966). Personally, I think the French version a far better song than the Anglais; but I suppose the medium here is visual.

Incidentally, Taieb was born in Tunisia. And from what I can gather, this is the French-language equivalent of Wild Thing. Every guitar band starting out in a French-speaking garage learns this track. Un corquer!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

60s French Girl Pop: #2

And now my favourite France Gall song, Les Sucettes (Lollipops), composed by that depraved and wicked genius Serge Gainsbourg. Which can only mean two things.

Friday, 7 November 2008

60s French Girl Pop: #1

Ok, so the thing is: I'm a bit of a fan of 60s French Girl Pop.

And since c'est mon blog, well ... voila! It's a new series. Hope you enjoy.

I think we'd best kick off with France Gall's Laisse Tomber Les Filles, non?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Summerfield (1977)

You know, I was going to write a post on the excellent Australian film Summerfield (1977) - from the same writer and producer team of Picnic at Hanging Rock, but I then realised I couldn't do better than refer Oz film pundits to this review.

Suffice to say it's a corker, with some groovy twists, and should be better known. Set on Churchill Island, near Westernport, Victoria, it has something of an Antipodean Wickerman vibe, though without the supernatural pretensions.

I'd only add that you should watch for the product placement of a more simple age. Frankly, Milo and Castrol GTX made me feel more warmly nostalgic than irritated.

More generally, I love Australian films of the 70s. What went wrong?

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Quiz time!

Guess where I took this photo. (Click for hi-res).
Winner will be declared November's Capitão do Fortaleza, here at BmL.

UPDATE: Hordes of disgruntled NCOs denied as Capitão Fyodor seizes the parapet; correctly identifying the Comunidades dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (Community of Portuguese Language Nations - CPLP) office in Rua de São Caetano, Lisbon. All hail!