Tuesday, August 31, 2004

 

National Arenas Association Website

Finally completed work on a new website on behalf of the International Live Music Conference for one of our clients the National Arenas Association. They are a UK based organisation, representing about 15 arenas and large concert halls around the country, from Wembley to the Royal Albert Hall, site is very clean, simple & functional as per clients instructions, just news and information. Take a look at:
www.ilmc.com/naa

 

Too Much Media

Just finished moving all my stuff out of storage and back into my new / old flat in Double Bay, Sydney. It's old 'cause I lived in exactly the same room from November 2002 - July 2003 and new because I've been away for 13 months, which actually seems a lot longer as I was in a lot of different places during that time. Am undergoing a very strange re-unification with all those boxes of stuff that I abandoned in Rushcutters Self Storage for so long, and like a deeper strata - the even more ancient boxes of stuff that I accumulated during my first stay in Australia - from April 1999 to April 2000, the stuff that never quite made it back to the UK. Cd's, books, letters, papers, vinyl records, minidiscs, cassette tapes, video tapes, DVDs even more Cds... on the whole, too much media.

Where the hell did it all come from? On every occasion I've arrived in Australia, I've done so with little more than a rucksack and a shoulder bag with a computer, but somehow I seem to have built up this huge residue of stuff... well actually it is pre-dominantly music related stuff - I have a terrible affliction, I am unable to pass the $10.00 Cd shop, without nipping in for a quick fix.

At the same time it is kind of reassuring, and gives a kind of sense of permanence, even though it is only stuff, it is stuff that's like a meeting with old forgotten friends. Well the dusty old 7" singles anyway - Cds I'm much more ambivalent about, I swear that thousands of years in the future, archaeologists, will come across huge bands of strata, made of nothing but discarded Cds, millions of them, hundreds of feet thick, and none of them will play , not a peep.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

 

Aussie Icons #2

Astor Theatre
Cnr Chapel St & Dandenong Rd
Melbourne
Victoria

Was lucky enough to be in Melbourne last week and visit my favourite cinema, the incredible Astor Theatre. Built in the 1930's the Astor remains in almost pristine condition, and the interior is an art-deco masterpiece, with graceful bannisters and balconies, overstuffed sofas, checkerboard tiled bathrooms - if you're really lucky somebody may even be playing the piano in the foyer. There is one huge screen, that often features 70mm movies, and the capacity is a massive1,150. This is what real cinema going is all about, rather than the pokey little cupboards most multiplexes like to cram people into these days, with screens no bigger than your table top.

The quality of the programming is stunning - arthouse films, golden age classics, the best current blockbusters, cult & foreign. Previously here I had seen the reconditioned print of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and this time round I was lucky enough to catch a rare showing of David Lynch's "Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me. It's a good job I don't live in Melbourne, because I would be living in this place - sleeping in the broom cupboard. And of course with all the finest independent cinemas The Astor has it's own cat - Marzipan .See their website for forthcoming schedule, and loads of photos of the interior.
Website: http://www.astor-theatre.com



Sunday, August 22, 2004

 

Aussie Icons #1

Luna Park
Milsons Point
Sydney
www.lunaparksydney.com

Must admit I do have a soft spot for the Luna Parks, both of them Sydney and Melbourne and have photographed them many times. The Sydney park was constructed in 1935, and named after it's Coney Island NY namesake, and it definitely remains an Australian Icon, despite mysterious fires and accidents conspiring to close it down many times over the years. Now the enemy is that modern day pariah, the property developer, they have been trying to get their hands on this prime piece of harbourside real estate for decades. If you come to Luna Park, make sure to sign the petition to keep the park open - it really deserves protected status - and mustn't go the way of so much of Sydney's heritage, under the bulldozer.


















 

 



All the above were taken on 1st August 2004, using a Lomo and x-processing Kodak slide film. Click thumbnail for larger image.

 

DJing in Melbourne

Just about to do my first DJ date since being back in Australia, playing some: vintage funk, latin boogaloo, roots reggae, soul stompers, old school hip hop and whatever else.

Wednesday, 25th August 2004

St. Jeromes
7, Caledonia Lane
Melbourne CBD
behind The Lounge on Swanston Street

early session from 8.00pm - 10.00pm

Hope to see you there...

 

Bomb on the Doorstep

Just came across a story on the ABC news, that really brings home how much governments and the military machine, hold in contempt the lives of ordinary citizens, when it comes to saving money and avoiding doing their civic duty. This story has been ongoing for sixty years, but I'd never heard of it until today and I'm sure that I'm not the only one.

On August 20th 1944, the American liberty ship USS Richard Montgomery was in the Thames Estuary, off of Sheerness, waiting to join a convoy taking munitions across the channel to France for the Allied advance into Germany. It ran aground on a sandbank in the unpredictable tides, carrying a full load of bombs, detonators and high explosive. An effort was made by stevedores from the local Medway ports to unload as much as possible from the sinking ship, but a storm blew up causing the ship's hull to crack, so it could not be re-floated. Efforts to remove the remaining bombs were then abandoned, in mid-September 1944 and nothing has been done since.

The wreck of the USS Richard Montgomery remains in the estuary today, with it's masts sticking forlornly up out of the water, with an exclusion zone around it and a few warning signs pinned to the wreckage. Estimates vary but onboard is somewhere between 1,400 tonnes or 3,200 tons of TNT in roughly 14,000 separate bombs, that have been corroding in salt water for sixty years making a highly volatile cocktail. If they could be detonated, either by an accident or an act of terrorism, it would create a blast zone 300m in diameter, shoot a mix of mud, water, metal and bomb fragments 2km into the sky, and cause a 5m tidal wave to hit the north Kent coast. Sheerness is only 1.5 miles from the wreck site, Gillingham, Rochester & Chatham approx 3miles, the Isle of Grain Oil Refinery is only a few hundred metres away. In theory an explosion on the Montgomery could cause the biggest non-nuclear explosion ever known, one tenth the size of Hiroshima.

In 1969 student pranksters boarded the wreck and threatened to blow it up, and with the busy shipping lanes that pass close by, there have been at least 24 near misses. In 1948 and 1967, the Americans offered to make the wreck safe and remove the offending weapons - the British Government refused, saying that the bombs were safer where they were. Now a new proposal is being suggested that the wreck should be enclosed in concrete to keep it safe, still the Government are keeping quiet.

What kind of men are they in the Admiralty, the Government etc, that would allow a potentially lethal time bomb, such as this to sit undisturbed for sixty years, on the doorstep of their country's capital? How can we ever trust them when they say they have our best interests at heart? If they can ignore this danger in their own country, what are they ignoring overseas, in countries where they are currently involved in armed conflict?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

 

By Coincidence

Nearly forgot to mention in the last post, that all the time I was in hospital this week, Mark Latham who is the leader of the Australian Labour Party, was in a bed on the ward upstairs with an inflamed pancreas. Of course in what is supposed to be the "Phoney War" in the run up to the next general election, this was pretty big news and the media were encamped outside in case anything exciting happened. Mr Latham had chosen to go into a public ward, with his problem, so good on him... I'd vote for him if I could, just on that credential. Shame he wasn't on our ward though - would have been interesting to hear what in depth political analysis, he could have undertaken with Mickey.

 

Boy, You've Got To Carry That Weight

Well what a week from hell this one turned out to be, probably one of the least fun I've ever had the opportunity of experiencing. On Wednesday I was foolish enough to chance my arm with half a packet of cheese potato chips, ridiculous really given my condition. Yes they did exactly what I should have realised that they would - brought me a quick and very painful attack of Acute Choleocystitis.

So about 10.00pm, I realise that despite how many Panadol I try to chow down, and how much I hug that hot-water bottle to my belly - I really should get my ass down to the Emergency Room at St Vincents Hospital in Darlinghurst. So I pack a bag and call a cab for a bumpy ride across town, which doesn't help when you've got a gall bladder full of rocks, banging up & down. I arrive just in time for an agonising hour and three-quarter wait, on a plastic chair, whilst a bed or even a trolley becomes free [lucky this wasn't in London, where the wait would probably have been about eight hours, so can't really complain about that].

Finally, after much moaning, groaning and looking pathetic on my part, a bed comes free - it's out on the emergency floor under the lights, with chaos whirling all around but I'm more than grateful. Especially when ten minutes later, they stick a drip in my arm and shoot me full of Morphine, it's pretty amazing how fast it works and sends me off to that happy place. Not really asleep or awake, just in a warm fuzz, not really part of the world - and luckily the pain just starts to ebb away into nothingness - who originally extracted Morphine from Opium? I don't know, but I'm really grateful to medical science for that one.
However, the Emergency Room is not really the kind of place where you can have much peace for very long - an old man, laying out of sight behind a curtain somewhere, is repeating a mantra over and over, of how he needs to go to the bathroom, and why won't anybody listen to him? He's deaf as well, and every now and again lets out a single plaintive cry of "Help!" - the nursing staff aren't ignoring him but he's been doing this for the last three days, and they've kind of got used to it and there is to much other craziness going on.

A guy starts ranting and cursing somewhere, warning people to keep away from him or he's going to "fucking kill 'em" - I can't see him from where I am, it would mean turning my head and opening my eyes, and I'd really rather not shatter my safe little bubble world of Morphine. Doctors and nurses come and go, pressing my abdomen, swapping my drips around, putting some tight rubber contraption around my arm to take blood pressure, sticking thermometers under my tounge and clipping a peg like sensor on the end of my fingers, could never really figure what that was supposed to do.

Sometime early in the morning, they trundle my little bed over into a quieter corner, with curtains and low lights, where I manage to doze off for a few hours. Then comes the early morning hospital ritual of breakfast [not for me], cleaning, shift changeover [it's amazing how loud and chirpy nurses are even at 6.00am, I suppose they have to be to contend with this mayhem]. Somewhere a woman is speaking in a high voice, like she is barely concious - repeating a little phrase over and over for ten minutes at a time - then she'll stop and begin again with a new phrase, each one intoned exactly the same. It's very disturbing, I begin to suspect that during the night there has been a mix-up and I've been sectioned off to a mental hospital by mistake.

Around 10.00am I'm put in a wheelchair and trundled off to Ultrasound - I feel a bit of fake, the pain has virtually gone and I could easily walk, but it seems to be what they want so I go along with it. A bad-tempered operator, swabs my belly down with a freezing cold Swarfega type jelly, and proceeds to run this hand-held scanner over me for about twenty minutes - trying to locate the stones in my gall-bladder. "Breathe in" he snaps, "Hold it!, I said hold it!" then "Too much bowel gas". Well I'm not going to apologise for that. Finally he tracks the little offenders down and we get a couple of good mugshots, then it's back to the ward for me.

Luckily I've brought a book, unfortunately it's not really the sort of thing I need in hospital - being a local history of crime in the local Darlinghurst / East Sydney area entitled "Razor". It keeps mentioning this hospital I'm in, St. Vincents and all the victims of razor attacks and shootings, that were brought in here back in the bad old days of the late 1920's and early 1930's, Maybe I should have considered something more escapist.

All day doctors, nurses and medical students come and go - they all tell me their names, which I immediately forget, with all the prodding and testing and questions, I just really want to go home, this is my lowest point of misery - I hide my watch.

Around 6.00 in the evening they move me again, this time they trundle the whole bed, through the labyrinth of hospital corridors, and up in lifts until I'm way up on the ninth floor, of a tower somewhere. Joy of joys, I've got my own television, hanging over the foot of the bed and it's Simpsons time - Homer was always right 'TV is your friend', especially in times of mind-numbing boredom. People come and tell me stuff, ask me questions I'm really not listening 'I'm watching the TV' - I even signed some papers, God only knows what they were - maybe they can sell my organs in event of an accident with the scalpel.
When I eventually become aware of my surroundings, I'm completely freaked out to discover that the young guy in the bed opposite is an exact dead ringer for a character in "League of Gentlemen", Mickey Michaels the Jobseeker [who wants to be a fireman] special friend of Pauline with the pens. Honestly, this is completely true, he has the same long mullet at the back, the same missing teeth in front, he's tall, skinny, walks with a stoop - and speaks exactly the same way that Mickey would speak if he was an Aussie. I keep finding myself staring at the guy, and wondering if I'm having some kind of hallucination, I can't talk to him - I'd just say something about 'pens'. Although later that night I'm am tempted to suffocate him with a pillow, when he decides to watch the bloody Olympics on his TV at 3.30am, whilst I'm trying to sleep.

Friday morning, I'm feeling a lot better - despite not having eaten anything for 36 hours, except what they've pumped through my drip - by 8.00am I'm fully dressed with my shoes on waiting for the doctor to do his rounds and send me home. Unfortunately they need more blood tests to be made, so I still have more hours to kill - luckily they take me off the clear fluids diet, so I raid the kitchen and eat as much toast as I can squeeze down.

I feel pretty guilty for feeling sorry for myself, when they wheel a guy into our ward wearing a full body corset, and have to lift him up onto a bed. He's been in a truck crash, somewhere in Mongolia and has had to be flown all the way back to Aus via Hong Kong. Now that must be proper suffering - not like eating a few fatty potato chips and giving yourself an inflamed gall bladder.

Finally I'm sprung, carrying a hundered weight of anti-biotics, I'm out in the Sydney sunshine. I've had to make a promise to come and visit with the surgeon in three weeks, so we can discuss about having him whip out the offending organ, with keyhole surgery - which is going to mean another two or three days in hospital world, so now the trick is keeping out of the emergency room until then.




Tuesday, August 17, 2004

 

A Beard of Bees...

Beard Of BeesThere's a really excellent magazine on the the newstands right now - the National Geographic's "100 Best Vintage Photographs". It contains a huge wealth of unusual and original photos from the late 19th Century until the mid 1950's, and is definitely worth checking out, including this very handsome 'beard of bees', which is shaping up to be this years fashion accessory for gentlemen.

They also have a very good website at www.nationalgeographic.com from which you can send online postcards. Watch out for the fish bikini!

 

 


Sunday, August 15, 2004

 

I, All Stars

Do you ever feel violated by product placement in Hollywood movies? I suppose we should all be used to it by now, but I've just seen something that really takes the biscuit.

To kill a few hours on a cold & windy winter's night in Sydney - what better than to catch a no-nonsense special effects blockbuster, the new Will Smith movie 'I, Robot' - what I don't really welcome though is paying $15.00 to be an advertising subject. In the first fifteen minutes of the film Will's character Det. Spooner opens a new box of 'vintage 2004 Converse All-Stars,' two other characters comment on how 'nice' they are... none of this has got a damn thing to do with the story, except later he moans when he sees them covered in his blood.

A robot delivering mail, is painted with the Federal Express logo, the space-age car that Will drives, leaves us in no doubt that it is an Audi being covered in huge logos, including a 'glow-in-the-dark' red one on the trunk...

Now I'm pretty partial to All-Stars myself, but to have your lead character in a movie, mention them by name - and then be subjected to loads of close-ups, that's just pushing all the wrong buttons for me. I found it a bit hard to enjoy the rest of the movie after being subjected to that assault, I kept wondering what was going to come next.

True that movies have been guilty of this crime for a very long time - calling James Bond - but I don't think I have ever seen it done so blatantly before, to write the product into the actual script, I felt like standing up & booing!


Saturday, August 14, 2004

 

Freedom of Speech in KKKansas City

As part of a 2002 court settlement reached with the record industry, over price fixing, 40 states around the USA are recieving free cds for inclusion in their public libraries. However not all is well with this deal in several states, thanks to the interference of self-appointed moral guardians.

In Kansas City, Missouri - the Attorney General Phill Kline has witheld 1,600 of the state's alloted 51,000 discs, because they are contrary to his "concept of decency". He will not allow any albums to go to the public libraries that "promote violence or illegal activity". Included in the list of 25 offending artists are:

The American Civil Liberties Union director in Kansas, Dick Kurtenbach has said of Kline's action.
"What he's doing is enforcing his concept of decency on libraries around the state of Kansas, and that's not his business,"

A spokesperson for Kline in justification of their actions said:
"We don't have the manpower to look at every album and every song lyric, but we feel we removed most of the albums that did not mesh with the values of a majority of Kansans,"

In any case it now looks as if the majority of Kansans aren't going to have the chance to find out anyway...

Attorney Generals in several other states have been up to the same tricks, in Indiana AG Steve Carter removed 5,300 discs, or 5 percent of the 107,000
his state was scheduled to receive.

So as the US moves further and further to the right, freedom of speech and expression, becomes it's first victim. Apparently the library associations have not protested about this censorship, but how will they react if asked to remove the works of Charles Darwin or Michelangelo from their shelves.
Source: CNN Online News

Thursday, August 12, 2004

 

Henri Cartier Bresson

The legendary French photographer Henri Cartier Bresson passed away on August 3rd, at the age of 95 - he leaves behind a huge body of work, spanning at least the last seventy years. He was even more remarkable in that he would always let the camera do the work, he would never use flash or artificial lighting - everything he did was down to timing and being able to take the shot, exactly when all the conditions and compostion came together perfectly.

I was lucky enough to see a retrospective collection of his work at the Caixa Forum in Barcelona last year, and was staggered to see how many of his photographs were familiar to me, and have become virtual icons. Visit the www.henricartierbresson.org to learn about his life and work.

 

Last Months' Movies

here's all the films I've managed to catch at the movies over the last month, since I've been in Sydney, some good, some bad and some just plain ugly.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11, Michael Moore 2004 ****
A very disturbing documentary, even if you are already familiar with most of the content, it is put together in a highly emotionally stirring way. This was my second viewing, was very odd to see the different reaction from an Australian audience to an American one. The Aussies laughed more, whereas as in the US the audience looked just shellshocked!

SUPERSIZE ME, 2004 ***
Documentary about a guy who decides to survive solely on McDonalds junkfood for an entire month, and every time they offer to 'Supersize' his meal, he has too agree - and eat it all. Fairly shocking - as he piles on the weight, his cholesterol levels go through the roof, and his doctor tells him that he must stop or run the risk of catastrophic faliure in his organs. In the USA where, the percentage of obese persons is the highest in the world, on average citizens eat out at McDonalds (or similar) three times a week. You'll never want to eat another Big Mac again - I saw this in the same week as finishing Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation, so I certainly won't!

THE RETURN, Andrey Zvyagintsev 2004 ****
Very dark, moody and unsettling Russian film - with an awesome aroma of oncoming dread. Two young boys are surpised when their absentee father returns home after five years and wants to take them on a road trip... who is he? what does he want? Highly recommended.

DIRTY PRETTY THINGS, Stephen Frears 2004 *
Really awful British movie, with some stupidly convoluted plot about illegal immigration and people selling their organs. I gave up about two thirds of the way through and nearly walked out, but decided to doze off instead. Actually the only reason we went was to see Audrey Tautou from Amelie, but even she was pretty dull - what a crime. Stay away.

KILL BILL VOL.2, Quentin Tarantino *****
Has taken a while for me to get around to this one because travelling, has meant I've kept just missing it, so thanks to Givndas Movie Room. Of course it's fantastic... not so many huge set pieces as The Bride's battle with the Crazy 88's, but all the back story and I never realised that David Carradine was such a great actor [he's made so few movies since Kung Fu, except Q-The Winged Serpent, a personal fave]. This has got everything - premature burial, a sword fight in a mobile home, "the five-fingered touch of death"... I cannot wait until they start screening the Kill Bill double bill... fantastic!

THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, 2004 **
I always really liked the low-budget sci-fi horror movie, Pitch Black that introduced Vin Diesel's Riddick character and although this film has it's moments, on the whole it's all style and little content. If you think Dune crossed with The Borg from Star Trek, Attack of the Clones and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome then you would be there - exactly.

DR. STRANGELOVE OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB!, Stanley Kubrick 2004 ****
THE PARTY, Blake Edwards **
There's nothing really like a good double bill at the lovely Chauvel in Paddington and when it's Peter Sellers even better. Dr Strangelove, with him playing at least six characters, is still great and with the lunatic warmongering US general still strangely prophetic for these times. Slim Pickens rodeo riding the A-bomb down to Russia is a classic movie moment.
I've never really been a big fan of Blake Edwards' brand of slapstick comedy, which is completely what The Party is about - pies in the face, soap suds in the swimming pool. However there are some pretty ridiculous moments, where you can't help but raise a few titters - Sellers of course is genius, however having him paying his entire role as an Indian in "brown-face" is a bit hard to take, in these 'more-enlightened' times.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

 

Screwing the World For 100 Years

So we're all being screwed by George W. Bush, should we be surprised about this? Hell no, with just a little bit of research it turns out that we have been being screwed by the Bush dynasty for nearly 100 years.

George W. jr's great-grandfather Samuel P. Bush was given the government position of Chief of the Ordanance, Small Arms and Ammunition of the War Industries Board in 1917, just as the USA entered World War 1. Later he became Director of Facilities at the War Industries Board, responsible for ordering arms for the US Government, this was convenient - seeing as his two best friends were Percy Rockerfeller and Samuel Pryor - the heads of Remington Arms, who just happened to supply all the weapons for the Anglo-American armed forces and Czarist Russia. So in just the same way as George Bush Sr, is back working for the Carslile Group [who have a major involvement in manufacturing arms for the US Government], while his son starts a war against Iraq - they were doing virtually the same thing 90 years ago.

Here is where it gets really dirty, although it's all a bit much to squeeze into a blog - the real joker in the pack was Prescott Bush [1895 - 1972], grandfather of the current president. After a spell in the military in WW1 he entered the investment banking business in 1926, through his father in law George Walker [The 'GW' in George W Bush], then as vice president of Brown Brother / Harriman bankers. The Harriman bank was the main Wall St connection for Fritz Thyssen, a major financial & idealogical backer of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party - who many believe was responsible for actually getting Hitler into power.

Throughout this period Harrimans [and Bush] made considerable investments in the Nazi regime and through business ties with other German industrialists like Friedrich Flick, made a lot of money back through coal & iron mines, steel production and fabricating etc. After the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, many of these enterprises were staffed by slave labour, from the concentration camps.

Eventually in October 1942 - ten months after the USA had entered the war - Prescott Bush and Brown Brothers Harriman were finally busted for "trading with the enemy", which seems a long time to wait. All their stock was seized, but on the whole they seem to have gotten away pretty lightly. So lightly in fact that ten years later in 1952, Prescott Bush was able to be elected as a Republican senator, where he remained for the next ten years. Funnily enough Richard Nixon considered Prescott Bush to be his political mentor.

Go to www.tarpley.net/bush2.htm for much deeper information on this subject, it's dirty, it's messy. But it shows that the Bush family have been getting rich through the spilling of other peoples blood, for almost 100 years - WW1, The Nazis, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan - and there will be no end to it until they are forced out of power, and made to account for their crimes.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

 

Bushism or Truth Slipping Out?

During a recent meeting with high-level pentagon officials, for the signing of the new $417 billion defence budget - George W decided to impart this pearl of wisdom:

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful - and so are we"
"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people - and neither do we."

According to a White House press spokesman, these Bushisms actually endear him to his supporters and the public - showing him to be just an ordinary guy. Well they would say that wouldn't they?

Thursday, August 05, 2004

 

Amazing Places #2

Bradbury Building
304, South Broadway (at 3rd)
Downtown, Los Angeles

Built in 1893, the Bradbury Building is LA's oldest commercial building and easily it's most original. Commissioned by oil millionaire & real estate developer Lewis Bradbury, who wanted to create something that would ensure his immortality, the building was designed by an apprentice draughtsman, George Wyman who had never completed a building before.

Wyman was influenced to build the huge skylight, which floods the building with light by Edward Bellamy's utopian novel "Looking Backward". The story also goes that he consulted his dead brother during an Ouija board session, and was told that the building would make him famous. Hence the completely original structure of cast iron & wood, the cage elevators and stairs making for a very unusual building. Bradbury himself died before it was completed and never saw the creation that bore his name.

Being in Los Angeles, the Bradbury Building has featured in many movies including the film noir classic "DOA" [1946], "Chinatown" and is probably best known for being the location of JF Sebastian's apartment, at the climax of Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" [1982].

All the following photos were taken on 10th July 2004, using a Lomo and x-processing slide film. Click these thumbnails for full size image.





 

Downtown Los Angeles

As stated previously, there is really nowhere quite as mind-blowing in the USA as Downtown Los Angeles, and the amazing thing is that so few people from Hollywood, Santa Monica, Venice etc actually go there to appreciate it.

At street level it's Mexico City - crazy stores selling bootleg merchandise [Von Dutch everywhere], giant Mariachi guitars, accordians - look up and you're surrounded by the remains of old 20's & 30's art deco skyscrapers, theatres & movie houses. One of these photos even shows an ad for an Esther Williams movie! How old is that?

This is the LA of Raymond Chandler & James Ellroy, before all the original Los Angelenos moved out to the suburbs, this is where the real history of LA is, and I haven't even mentioned the Bradbury Building yet!

All the following photos were taken on 10th July 2004, using a Lomo and x-processing slide film, click on the thumbnails below for bigger & higher quality pix. All these photos will soon appear, properly laid out, on the new website.









Wednesday, August 04, 2004

 

Finally Own Some Webspace

Would you believe that after making my living working on the internet for over seven years, I finally decided to actually purchase some hosted webspace for my own nefarious purposes, and a whacking great 600mb of it, as well. Also got around to registering a domain name [there's nothing there right at this moment] but keep them peeled for www.rogercowell.net [yes, i know it's not very imaginative but there ya go!], should have some token pages of photographs up before the end of the week.

Hopefully in a month or so there should be a fully featured, totally functioning www.rogercowell.net website, with photos, music, online resume, links, reviews all sorts of self-indulgent nonsense.

 

Steam Driven Scientific Romances

'Scientific Romances' that's what these kind of stories used to be called back in the Victorian & Edwardian eras, before somebody came up with the term 'Science Fiction' - and I've just completed a double bill of the best.

HG Wells - "The First Men in the Moon" [1901] - Prof. Cavor a scientific genius invents a gravity-defying substance, which he calls Cavorite, and together with his fortune-seeking friend Bedford, they build a sphere and fly to the Moon. Here they discover a hostile lunar race of Selenites, living in caverns and tunnels, deep below the surface, with whom they are forced to do battle for their own survival, or so it seems. On the surface this appears as a rollicking action adventure yarn, but it also addresses a lot of Well's important recurring themes such as empire building and war.

Jules Verne - "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" [1864], most people are familiar with this story through the numerous film versions, but this original book is head and shoulders above all of them. Professor Lindenbrock, his nephew and the tales narrator Axel, their guide Hans follow clues from an ancient manuscript, which will take them deep into the bowels of the Earth. From the crater of Snaefellsjokull volcano in Iceland, they make their way through caves & tunnels, across underground seas, on a quest for the very centre of the planet - before being spewed out again by Mount Etna, thousands of miles away in Sicily.

It was a strange co-incidence, but the day after finishing this book, there was a travel article in the Sydney Morning Herald, where one of it's writers, Claire Smith, had attempted to follow Lindenbrock's fictional journey from Reykjavic around the harsh coastline of north-east Iceland to the Snaefells volcano. She says that although Verne had never been to Iceland, the route was pretty much as he had described it, except the crater of the volcano was actually buried under 250m of solid ice, and there is a luxury, boutique hotel on top of the mountain.

Interest in Jules Verne's seminal works, never seems to wane even after 120 / 130 years, with yet another film version of "Around The World in 80 Days" on current cinema release.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?