Friday Links / 30.07.10

In the absence of an actual blog post (although I may write a blog post about not writing another blog post), here are some links.

Inspired by this post on Zen Habits, I cleared out my laptop this week. Next to tackle my wardrobe…

This man and his company make tiny houses. Watch this video of one. They are awesome (via Laughing Squid)

If you like typefaces like (and you should) check out 8 Faces, a new magazine dedicated to such matter.

Why did no one tell me there was a new Tron Legacy trailer? Huh?

Giles Coren offers advice to a man who wants to give up smoking:

You’ve disappeared up an evolutionary blind alley and we’ll manage very well without you.

If you want to drag out your habit against the trend until your lungs shrivel up and go black and your tongue falls out then that’s fine with me. It’s a free country, people are allowed to kill themselves any way they like. Suicide has been legal in Britain since 1961.

The daily torment that is my desire for an iPad vs my desire not to spend money continues unabated. This video demoing Flipboard, a new app that creates a digital magazine out of the stuff your friends link to, looks mega, but does not help my predicament. It’s a tough life.

(Sidenote: Did you notice the music in that video is a live jazz version of ‘Flim’ by Aphex Twin?)

By the way, that Flipboard video features Adam Lisagor, who is featured in a great interview here. Adam also contributes to my new favourite podcast – You Look Nice Today. Which you should listen to. Today.

Finally, if you are reading this blog there is a high chance you played text adventures as a kid. Don’t lie. “Get Lamp” is a documentary about them. Looks interesting.

I’m going to try to write next week. I swear.

More Bill Murray

I just discovered that those two Bill Murray anecdotes I posted come from the same interview, published recently in GQ. It goes without saying that its a must-read.

Other interesting points include Murray finally scuppering those persistent Ghostbusters 3 rumours, as well as some truely fascinating insights into his craft

I have developed a kind of different style over the years. I hate trying to re-create a tone or a pitch. Saying, “I want to make it sound like I made it sound the last time”? That’s insane, because the last time doesn’t exist. It’s only this time. And everything is going to be different this time. There’s only now.

(found via Daring Fireball)

Great Bill Murray Anecdotes Of Our Time #283 – #284

#283
Bill Murray agreed to star as the voice of ‘Garfield’ in the 2004 movie of the same name because he thought it was written by Joel Coen (of ‘The Coen Brothers’). It was actually written by Joel Cohen (not of ‘The Coen Brothers’).

“I thought it would be kind of fun, because doing a voice is challenging, and I’d never done that. Plus, I looked at the script, and it said, “So-and-so and Joel Cohen.’ And I thought: ‘Christ, well, I love those Coens!’ They’re funny. So I sorta read a few pages of it and thought, ‘Yeah, I’d like to do that.’

“Finally I went out to L.A. to record my lines… and the lines got worse and worse. And I said, ‘Okay, you better show me the whole rest of the movie, so we can see what we’re dealing with.’ So I sat down and watched the whole thing, and I kept saying, ‘Who the hell cut this this thing? Who did this? What the f**k was Coen thinking? And then they explained it to me: it wasn’t written by Joel Coen.”

(via Contact Music)

#284
Rather than deal with agents, Bill Murray has set up a toll-free number where people can leave a message for him. If he wants to work with you, he will call you back.

“I have this phone number that they call and talk. And then I listen. I just sort of decide. I might listen and say, ‘OK, why don’t you put it on a piece of paper, and if it’s interesting, I’ll call you back, and if it’s not, I won’t.'”

(also via Contact Music)

Bill Murray – Greatest Actor of all time.

And for good measure, here’s Bill with RZA and GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, in a coffee house (from Jim Jarmusch’s “Coffee and Cigarettes”)

Inception

Yesterday I saw Christopher Nolan’s new film ‘Inception’. Coming on the back of the almost universally critically praised and Box Office behemoth ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Inception’ carries with it a huge amount of anticipation.

I enjoyed it; a perfect pop-corn blend of plot, emotion and action (in a manner similar to ‘The Dark Knight’). When we were in the cinema lobby after one of the first things I said was “It was the most original film i’ve ever seen”. Having slept on it, i’m not so sure. It occurred to me as I was drifting off to sleep last night that it has remarkable similarities with Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (which for me was the best film of the last decade). But having said that ‘Inception’ still is wildly original.

I’m not going to bother with the mechanics of breaking down the whole plot etc, (go see it, but the jist is its about people who can enter your dreams) but I do want to address one issue with the film. Or rather, an issue others seem to have with the film. Whilst many are hailing ‘Inception’ as a great film, it also has its fair share of detractors who feel Nolan’s film is far to driven by its clockwork-like plot. One of the criticisms i’ve seen is that for a film set largely inside peoples dreams the visuals are rather flat; or are no where near ‘dream-like’ and surreal enough. The film plays brilliant games with physics in the dream world, one which they cleverly explain in real terms and this allows for some fantastic sequences but for the most part much of the dream-world action is remarkably realistic, and this appears to have annoyed some critics.

But this made me think; just how wacky and surreal and amazingly mind-bendingly visual are your dreams? Mine never really are. Of course they swim inside a dream-world logic. Geography is usually inconsistent. My primary school appears in my back garden; my home town consists of one long street with only two buildings of note on either end. A door in my house leads to the middle of a shopping centre. And of course fantastic things can happen in dreams, but for the most part my dreams, and the majority of dreams I hear about from friends are relatively mundane. They reflect odd and fantastical events, but are still anchored in a world of real world objects and physics. As I said, ‘Inception’ does allow itself to play with some impressive feats of bending space and time, mainly when introducing a character to the dream world (and by extension, introducing us, the audience) and it directly acknowledges the strange geography in which dreams play themselves out, but other than that there are no people with fishes for heads flying around on giant tubes of toothpaste etc. which is what I gather critics were looking for. One conceit I will give is that while the film plays with the idea that time in dreams can be much different to real world time (and this idea is central to the dream-within-a-dream maze into which the film brings us) it doesn’t reflect the relatively inconsistent logic of dreams. People appear from no where, and disappear just as quick. Another consideration is that ‘dream-like’ is often used to describe a scene that is hazy, ghostly and other-worldly. ‘Inception’ doesn’t really give us any of these, these are hard, fast and thrilling dreams.

Dreams
Photo owned by katieg93 (cc)

Is it a romantic notion (fueled by other films) that dreams are these truly amazing and magical places? Are we overstating the power of dreams? It is truly amazing the levels of imagination that the unconscious mind can conjure up and trick us with, but it does this surely, by making this dream-world so unsettlingly real. Isn’t that why are tricked in the first place? Isn’t that why we only recognize it was a dream when we come out? Hindu mythology tells us the the entire Universe, and indeed our lives, are the result of Krishna dreaming. A dream that is so real that he has forgotten that he is dreaming. That is to say, we are all Krishna, the God head, lost in the deep dream that is our lives. And this is why it works, it seems so….real.

Or is it just me? And are my dreams just that boring? Are there people out there tonight dreaming of fantastic melting clocks and impossible panoramic vistas?

Do I need to start eating cheese?

How I Got Over

The new album from The Roots “How I Got Over” is out, and its very good. A noticeable shift in mood from their previous two sees the crew at least sonically soften things up. “Game Theory” and “Rising Down” were hard albums, recorded during the Bush era, and “How I Got Over” reflects the bands feelings post-Obama. Which isn’t too say its all happy-clappy, there is still a distinct feeling of melancholy running through the 12 tracks, but theres definitely a feeling of hope expressed in songs like “The Day”, “Right On” and “The Fire”. The despair of the Bush-era is gone (almost), and this is also reflected in the production which harks back to their earlier jazzier roots, and less of the Public Enemy-like sounds of their previous two efforts. That said, one of the strongest cuts is the raw futuristic rhymefest that is “Web 20/20”.

Here are two songs from it, the first is probably my (current) favourite on the album, the John Legend featuring “The Fire”

And the title track (with video) “How I Got Over”

Definitely worth checking out.

Pronunciation: TYAIR-ree ahn-REE

Ireland’s greatest foe since Cromwell, comedy sports panto villain, Best Player Ever To Have Played In The Premiership(tm) and All-Round Arsenal Legend, Thierry Henry, has signed a contract with US Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls. Henry becomes one of their Designated Players, which I think means he either gets to get paid crazy money outside of their League-imposed wage structure, or he gets to drive the team bus when they’ve all had a few too many Red Bull & Vodkas.

To help fans with his arrival, the club helpfully supply a pronunciation guide on their website. It’s TYAIR-ree ahn-REE. I wish Arsenal had of done this years ago to help the ITV pundits, who seem hell bent on mispronouncing foreign players names as if its an affront to their Englishness.

Delightfully his first game for the Red Bulls is against the old enemy, Tottenham Hotspur. Here’s hoping he scores 9 goals. With his hands. etc. etc.

(Photo swiped from the New York Times. I had to make sure Red Bulls were an actual football squad and not a cycling team based on that jersey)

Dundalk F.C. vs C.S. Grevenmacher

It was a gala occasion in Dundalk this week as competitive European football returned to the town after more than 20 years with Dundalk F.C. playing CS Grevenmacher of Luxembourg in the Europa League. Going into the game with a scoreline of 3 goals apiece from the away fixture, Dundalk never looked in danger, but would have liked to have chalked up a more comfortable score line than the final 2-1 on the night.

Still, a fun night was had by all, and the town march ever onward, towards the more formidable PFC Levski Sofia of Bulgaria in the next round. It was a treat to hear the UEFA Anthem (or “The Champions League music”) reverberate out across the Carrick Road, to see a lone vuvuzela, and to see Oriel Park converted into an all-seater UEFA licensed venue.

Final score: Dundalk FC 2 – 1 CS Grevenmacher (Dundalk win 5-4 on aggregate)

The picture shows Dundalk’s own mascot Lily the Panda, stirring the crowds of the main stand, as captured by my brother.

Some weekend links / 10.07.10

A handful of links for your Saturday afternoon.

He was found by the bins of a Burger King restaurant, with no clothes, no memories, nothing. Six years on, Benjaman Kyle is no nearer to answering the question that haunts him: who am I?

The Guardian has the story of Benjaman Kyle, a man who has no memory of his life prior to being found naked behind a Burger King.

Well, folks. Brian Cowen, Prime Minister of Ireland and leader of the right-of-center Fianna Fail party, chose (c). He earns €228,000 a year and tops the ranks of the best paid leaders in Europe. The Irish parliament closes Friday, Cowen will take some time at his mobile home in Aillebrack Caravan Park in the west of Ireland in August and parliament will reconvene on September 29th.

The Wall Street Journal are less than impressed by the Dail’s summer recess. (via Mark Little)

And finally, its Double Rainbow man. This is just delightful.

(Of course, there is a remix already)

Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School

Rogue Film School is a 4-day seminar taught by famed director and madman Werner Herzog, The schedule includes a Meet & Greet and three all-day sessions, all for the sum of $1450. (Please note: this does not cover hotel costs, travel/parking or meals, but you will receive a signed copy of “Conquest of the Useless” by Werner Herzog, as well as a Certificate of Participation.

And what is the Rogue Film School all about? Well, according to the website:

The Rogue Film School will be in the form of weekend seminars held by Werner Herzog in person at varying locations and at infrequent intervals.

As for content

The Rogue Film School will not teach anything technical related to film-making. For this purpose, please enroll at your local film school.

So, what do you learn?

The Rogue Film School is about a way of life. It is about a climate, the excitement that makes film possible. It will be about poetry, films, music, images, literature.

But, this being Werner Herzog, that is not all

Related, but more practical subjects, will be the art of lockpicking. Traveling on foot. The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully. The athletic side of filmmaking. The creation of your own shooting permits. The neutralization of bureaucracy. Guerrilla tactics. Self reliance.

But please note:

Censorship will be enforced. There will be no talk of shamans, of yoga classes, nutritional values, herbal teas, discovering your Boundaries, and Inner Growth.

Finally, the site advises:

Follow your vision. Form secretive Rogue Cells everywhere. At the same time, be not afraid of solitude.

Sounds great! And, if you are wondering why Werner would want to expose you to “The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully”, well, the man has experience with this.