rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

9-9-2003 (archived)

I've spent most of this evening reading, and laughing hard at, Kevin “Clerks, Chasing Amy” Smith's collected Arena columns. Maybe they'll make you laugh too.

Cover the bottom of a shallow dish with olive oil. Add a good slug of lemon juice, a tablespoon of honey and a few of soy, and a few drops of tabasco. Soak pork chops for half an hour or so on each side, then grill for twenty minutes. If you can wait that long without the smell making you crazy, that is. Top with cheese, return to grill until melted.

Dinner time. Yes.

11-9-2003 (archived)

This week's first film review is “Blackball”, a very British comedy inspired by the true story of the bowling champion who was banned for ten years from outdoor competitive bowls for calling his county secretary a tosser.

This is probably not a film that will have much success anywhere outside this country, but here it deserves to do well; mainly, it must be admitted, for the excellent performance and nigh-perfect comic acting we've come to expect from Paul Kaye. The rest of the film is less than brilliant, though it has its moments if you're not too averse to cliche, and Alice Evans is undeniably, Englishly delicious. If you're a fan of Paul Kaye's, you'll love it. If you're not, you should be.

15-9-2003 (archived)

This week's first film review is “Jeepers Creepers 2”, a horror film that's had rather varied reviews. The plot is a simple one; there is a creature, the Creeper, which feeds for 23 days every 23rd year, hibernating the rest of the time. There is a school bus full of kids on their (long) way back from winning a basketball tournament. There is a predictable, if not unenjoyable, line of mayhem.

Good things: the creature itself. I don't know why it's called a creeper, since it runs at a hell of a lick and has gigantic wings, with which it flies off with victims. In fact, it's straight out of the man/bat tradition. It also has rather excellent, baroquely decorated throwing weapons. There are some pretty good scenes, all of which feature the thing heavily; the best, to my taste, are where it's picking out students through the window (it reminded me rather of Marilyn Manson in a Preacher hat, not so much for looks as for sheer lascivious good-time evil), and when it pulls its own head off. Always the sign of a good monster, that. There's also a good moment where the most offensive kid gets attached to a tree with a javelin, which I commend to you all as a method of child control.

Bad things: a lot of the acting, the ridiculous dream-vision mechanism used to explain the plot (what's wrong with a mysterious, coincidentally-met, apocalyptic oldtimer with a stupid accent, pray tell?), the fact that our natural responses to most of the victim/heroes range from indifference to vigorous dislike. Perhaps we're meant to be cheering for the Creeper, rather as we tend to for Freddie; in fact, the film seems rather as though it was planned this way and then the producers chickened out. Most of all, though, the problem is the 15 certification. Proper teen-casualty horror movies are awash with gore and a-jiggle with breasts, and this has little or none of either. An opportunity missed, in several ways.

17-9-2003 (archived)

Stale random linkage day today. I think artificial diamonds are a really cool thing, in that intrinsically great way that some things and activities (sumo wrestling, anything made of polished metal that goes beep (exemplar: titanium powerbooks), monkeys) are cool whether you want to admit it or not. They're also potentially really useful (like titanium powerbooks and well-trained monkeys). And The New Diamond Age is a pretty good article about them.

Apparently french people are thinner than us because they eat less. Cheating bastards.

Administrative note, for those of you who are mystifyingly keen on this thing: I'm moving the various out-of-control scripts and templates that generate this thing from their current home to a machine that, as yet, doesn't even have any operating systems installed, and I'm having to do it sooner rather than later for firewall reasons that are outside of my control. There may be a brief hiatus, though I'm hoping not. As you were.

18-9-2003 (archived)

Tomorrow I'm going to see Jeff Scott Soto at the Lux club in Wigan (a new one on me). I've been listening to his main project of recent years, Talisman, a lot recently, and they're pretty damned good. And, as I said before, last time I saw him he was simply the best frontman I've ever seen.

To add to my already dangerous levels of joy, my landlord has procured for me a new bed. It has drawers in the base. More importantly, it has a mattress whose springs will not stab me in the night, occasionally drawing blood from my tender young flanks.

I may be the happiest man in England.

22-9-2003 (archived)

So, indeed, I saw Jeff Scott Soto on Friday, in a club that (while very pleasant) is smaller than a lot of the places we play, and has a smaller stage than most. Possibly because of this, it was an all-acoustic (with a PA, of course - amplified acoustic, I guess we should call it) show, with the four musicians on stools in line; two guitars, the drummer with a couple of bongos and a crash cymbal, playing with his hands, and Jeff.

The downside of this is that there was little or no Talisman material - fair enough, it's hard to see how it would work without the enormous, busy bass playing - but it was a great set, if a little heavy on covers, very intimate and relaxed and a lot of fun. Fabulous musicians having a good time and entertaining both the crowd and themselves.

I have very mixed feelings about the club. On the one hand, the choice of rawk tracks they played before Jeff's set was superb - I have never heard t-ride in a club before. On the gripping hand, they curfewed the set at just after ten to put the rock disco back on, which seems insane to me. We left straight away, and I hope most of the other punters did too.

Still, another fantastic gig from Soto. If you get a chance, highly recommended.

24-9-2003 (archived)

Jeff Scott Soto's back at the Lux on October 31 for a full electric set. God knows how they'll fit the band and the punters into the available space, but still, if you're in the Northwest, be there. (This is, probably, the end of Soto season on the rfblog, at least until the next gig. We now return you to your regular programming.)

This is, self-acclaimedly, the best page in the universe. See what you think.

26-9-2003 (archived)

This week's movie review is “Underworld”, aka “Vampires vs Werewolves in leather”. The trailers for this one were superb, the anticipation enormous, and not surprisingly it's not quite as great as I'd hoped.

The premise is simple: Vampires and werewolves are at war in Hungary. Our heroine, played by Kate Beckinsale in all-black and very tight leather, is a vampire whose purpose in life is killing werewolves, mysteriously known throughout as “lichens”. Michael Sheen plays a deeply unhealthy-looking head vampire, Scott Speedman a puzzlingly (at first) important human.

Underworld has many very strong points. It's visually stunning, dark, washed-out, grimy and utterly urban gothic. The vampires exude cool, the werewolves are intimidating, the weaponry is imaginative, and the plot intricate, coherent, and interesting. The atmosphere is almost overpowering, the pace measured and inevitable. Sadly, the central love story never quite works; the chemistry between Speedman and Beckinsale never quite happens. It's a pity, as this is almost a great vampire movie; as it is, it'll have to settle for being merely a very good one.

29-9-2003 (archived)

Well, the huge rat's nest of interlocking scripts and makefiles that generates these pages is now at its new home, at home, and so joy should reign unbounded upon the earth. In the meantime, here's a meme via Penfold: “Your meme, should you choose to accept it, is to rank the following bands in order, from couldn't live without to couldn't care less. To add value to this process, you must also add one band to the list, and remove one band from the list, before passing the meme on (including these instructions).”

From ones I most enjoy listening to, today, to least (not “good to bad”, since quality and enjoyment are not necessarily related):

Harem Scarem (my addition)
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Fleetwood Mac
Pink Floyd
The Beatles
The Sex Pistols

I dropped Linkin Park, because I don't really have enough experience of their stuff to know whether I like them or not; the singles sound like good clean fun. I only actually own CDs by the first three on this list; the rest are basically in order of how hard I'd complain if a bandmate suggest covering one of their songs...

People with blogs, let me know if you do this and post it; I'll link to you all in a few days.

1-10-2003 (archived)

This week's first film review is “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”, which is apparently the third of a trilogy. I do not intend to try and summarise the plot, since this film is all about style, and it has that in bucketloads. Beautiful, balletic shootout sequences and a ridiculously sexy Salma Hayek and almost equally alluring Eva Mendes make a very good start, but this is really about the two great performances at its centre.

Antonio Banderas, playing the gunfighting mariachi (apparently also for the third time) is remarkable, oozing iconic cool and playing guitar very convincingly; most of the time his fingers match the soundtrack, and when they didn't they were playing something that made sense. He's certainly better at that style than I am... and a damned sight more charismatic, too, of course.

This would be a fun (if imperfect, dense and slightly confusing) stylefest anyway, but one presence makes it a must-see. Predictably enough, the film is completely stolen by another hilarious, virtuoso performance from Johnny Depp as a false-arm-wearing, pork-eating, chef-killing amoral CIA man with remarkable taste in clothes (his wonderful T-shirts include a “C.I.A.” shirt and an “I'm with stupid” variant with the arrow pointing down, of which I must have one). He also gets to say “fuckmook” and threaten to “skull-fuck you to death”, and frankly if that's not good enough for you I don't know what is.