Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Best movie I've seen in awhile

Damn good movie. 

And on a side note, great to see movies -- and good ones, to boot! -- using the Black Flag font!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Failure's official video for "Counterfeit Sky"

Stumbled across this video for the Failure song "Counterfeit Sky," probably the strongest and best song on their (to me) disappointing comeback album, The Heart is a Monster. Unsurprisingly, Failure mine here the "space rock" brand they've cultivated over the years after (rather haphazardly) crafting a kind of spacerock masterpiece back in the 90s, Fantastic Planet. This video shows Failure's obsession with Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky and Polish scifi writer Stanislaw Lem, as it depicts a failed astronaut's descent onto a planet that keeps recreating and looping versions of himself (the basic plot of Lem's Solaris).

I'm not trying to be too hard on Failure: I have to remember that a new generation has discovered and come to love them, and this is good. Life today is about branding. It's just that I saw Failure in a small venue with their original drummer (Robert Gauss) in 1993, promoting their recently-released first album, the Steve Albini-engineered Comfort. The whole space-rock persona was years away. I think Failure may have peaked creatively with their first three albums, which I think are all masterpieces (and yes I'm one of those fans who truly likes the Albini-esque sound of Comfort, as well as the more lushly-produced following albums). I'm glad that they reformed and are finding new fans. And it's a cool, if predictable, video, below. Either way, a good song. Enjoy.

Love this quote from WTV's Poor People

"What a dangerous world this is, speckled with wickednesses whose inexplicability might as well be called supernatural!"

- William T. Vollmann, Poor People (NY: HarperCollins, 2007) 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

On Chris Cornell's Death: No Need to Blame Others or Cook Up Conspiracy Theories

I was never a huge Soundgarden/Chris Cornell fan. I really like certain Soundgarden songs, but I found Chris' voice a bit abrasive at times (I have this same thing with the Decemberists singer), and while I loved the darkness of the songs, the vocal delivery disappointed me at times. Nonetheless, I was saddened to hear of Chris' suicide recently. But I have this to say: the people blaming Chris' doctors or medications, or the inevitable people who will -- a la Cobain -- cook up conspiracy theories are simply in shock and/or denial, looking for other factors when it's very clear that someone like Chris was crystal clear (via his songs) about his mental state and feelings about the world.

You don't just write songs like "Blow Up the Outside World," "Pretty Noose," "Fell on Black Days," etc to have an affect, be darkly cool, or for style (I mean, people do, but I think Chris was the real deal). These songs come from a very real place, and it's that place that Chris struggled with that killed him. Not a member of the Mentors (paid 10k by Courtney Love) or his taking too much Ativan. I feel for those Chris left behind, but don't let your shock and denial cloud your thinking. Chris killed himself. Not allowing him that fact is a dishonor to him, to his life, his death, his decision. We constantly work to avoid the suffering of the world and the plain, brute shittiness of being alive. We cover it up with smiling people in ads everywhere, with distraction, delusion, denial. (I recently was looking at a magazine in a lobby before a job interview and had to put the thing down in disgust because everyone was smiling -- even the Black people.) The 800-pound gorilla in the room is that life sucks. It just does. It's the only, and I mean only, thing that's real and true.

Now, Chris struggled with addiction and depression, killers both. Of course, there are disorders of the brain and emotions, which can thankfully be battled with (or accepted, medicated, meditated), since the brain is somewhat plastic. I wouldn't want everyone to be like Chris, because he was sensitive and troubled, and his darknesses overtook him. But that's why he stood out, because he was brave enough to speak his truth, which also resonated in a big way with people. But let's cut the shit about blaming others or concocting conspiracy theories. Suicide is suicide and it is arguably a right, something that has always been with humanity and always will.

Rest in peace, Chris. And thank you for the music and honesty.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Let the slave live!

I grew up learning that in ancient Roman times, in gladiator culture, thumb up meant "let the slave/weaker fighter live" and thumb down, the opposite. After watching a documentary on gladiator life, it's actually a finger pointing to the sky that means let the slave/weaker fighter live, and a thumb out/fingers out (as if you're showing how tall/short someone is) that means let them perish. Let the slave/weaker fighter live! 👆