Transmission resumes

So it’s been a bit quiet around here of late.

This is because I’ve been moving house. I’ve moved out of the house I used to own, which I thought I’d live in for a long time. Obviously, a couple of years is a long time if you’re the kind of renter who moves (or is forced to move) every couple of months, but you’re forgetting that I’m a) a curmudgeon and b) a hobbit so I’m pretty fond of my holes.

I like holes. Comfy holes. With all the things. Where I know where they are!

Ahem.

Anyway, I’m typing this on a laptop in a room full of boxes and cat toys. That’s pretty much the whole house: cat toys and boxes. But it’s a new house I’m renting – a shopfront and flat upstairs, ensuring that I finally have discovered a Pulp cliche.

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Movie musings: You Only Live Twice

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The next Bond film is one of my favourites. I sometimes wonder how much of my interest in Japan can be traced back from this thing, as flawed as it is.

It contains pretty much everything I associate with Bond films, even now: gadgetry, exotic travel and an overly ornate lair. This really is one of the solidly great Bond films, even though they try to make Connery look Japanese, with rather predictable results.

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Goodreads review: George Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of America

George Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of AmericaGeorge Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of America by Cory O’Brien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Look, this is a bit of a hard one for me to review. I’m not entirely sure why. I mean, I liked Cory O’Brien’s previous book about mythology, so it stands to reason that I would like this.

And I do, let’s not argue about that.

But it feels a bit weirder to be writing about actual people with the same pisstakery that’s perhaps reasonable for mythological figures. (more…)

Movie Musings: Thunderball

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Then I fuck off back to London on my jetpack; that’s how I roll. 

My Bond watching continues, so let’s get with the snarky viewer thoughts. The following are my musings while watching Thunderball, which is one of those films I’ve never really clicked with. It was a Bond film that I didn’t get to see very much when I was a kid, because video shops in Orange didn’t seem to stock it.

Watching it as an adult? A different interpretation, I suspect. There’s some nods towards seriousness at times, but not enough to overcome that turgid undersea battle at the end.

I still dig the jetpack, though, even if Bond’s StackHat is a bit ropey.

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Goodreads review: The Psychopath Test

The Psychopath TestThe Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jon Ronson, like Louis Theroux, is someone whose career is built on the examination of those who seem other, who seem oddly separate from our daily experience. The Psychopath Test, however, focuses on something we’re probably all familiar with, perhaps unwittingly: the psychopath. Because in every hundred people, one is a psychopath.

The writing works because it’s pretty breezy. We open with Ronson’s own feelings of panic and anxiety, coupled with a mystery: a curious book that’s been sent to various academics. He tries to figure who sent it, and why, and begins his journey into the world of psychopathy.

Throughout, the explorations are driven by a personal curiosity. It’s a fairly organic progression: stuff unfolds without a great degree of forethought, always with a tailing thought: am I a psychopath? (more…)

Goodreads review: Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys

Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary BoysCured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys by Lol Tolhurst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book for Cure fans.

No, really. That’s who’s going to read it. I am not excepted from this number. I had watched the Story of Lol from afar, from his being jettisoned after Disintegration to his surprising (and a bit tearjerking) reappearance with the band for their Reflections gigs at the Sydney Opera House. I knew, more or less, the story of the band, but obviously the focus is generally on Robert Smith rather than ol’ Lol.

People outside the Cure’s fanbase most likely don’t know who Lol Tolhurst is, and are probably wondering why he’s got an abbreviation for a first name. (more…)

Goodreads review: Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World MythologyZeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology by Cory O’Brien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So there’s a website, right? And on that website, a guy writes about myths. Or, as he puts it, YELLS MYTHS AT THE INTERNET.

This yelling takes the form of retelling myths in a kind of what-the-fuck, bro argot that involves a lot of swearing and PERIODS OF CAPSLOCK TO CONVEY HOW OFF-THE-CHARTS BULLSHIT something in the myth might be. Everything’s zazzed up a bit, and angled for humour. I mean, here’s some online examples to chew over:

Tanukis have big balls.
So it turns out Atlantis was full of terrible people.
The Norse are fucking brutal.
Rabbit is a shitty host.

You get the idea, right? (more…)

Movie Musings: From Dr. No to Goldfinger

I recently was casting about for something to watch, and happened upon the idea of watching the most recent James Bond outing. But of course, a stupid idea got in the way: why don’t I watch all of the Bond films in order, to ensure continuity?

Yes, because continuity has always been the most important thing to the Bond franchise.

Well, it had begun. I fully expected this to end badly, mostly because I had reread all of Ian Fleming’s Bond work in 2012  and ended up loathing both the author and myself for doing so. (more…)

Goodreads review: The House Of Whacks

The House Of WhacksThe House Of Whacks by Matthew Branton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With this book, Matthew Branton brings together the world of failed Hollywood, S&M publishing, gangsters, real estate, pulp scribes, cancer clock-watchers and Nazi gold. It’s the sort of thing that’d usually have a ROLLICKING or RIP-SNORTING emblazoned on a cover that you’d notice in an airport bookstore.

Because that’s what this is. Though it’s sold as a pulp fiction – which is certainly is – it’s very much an Airport Book. Something you can read on the plane, that’s engaging and detailed and eminently forgettable: a brain defragger, a time-passer. Something you’ll enjoy and then leave on the shuttle bus afterwards and not feel too bad about it. (more…)