Thursday

Autumnal Ephemera


So this is a mix that kind of ended up being quite autumnal. Outside of the brashly seductive 'Willow's Song' (from the wicker man), it's pretty regretful; there's a lot of break-up songs, plus a couple of tracks that are pretty disrespectful to one social group or another; 'Graffitti...' which, in the same vein as 'harrowdown hill', is actually one of the angriest songs i know, and 'Absolutely Free', which both captures the ideals of hippydom and disses flower power. The bitterness seems quite autumnal, like the traces of a betrayal.

Tuesday

day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone

In at Number 5: "Silence in the Studio!"


I'm a 6th former, being driven to school in my dad's volvo. It's got a CD player built in, and we're got the AAD un-remastered reissue of Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother playing. With the stereo seperation enhanced by the front/back separation of the front tweeters and rear woofers, the music fills the car and feels like a quadrophonic concert hall. We slowed the car down and stopped in the car park to wait until it finished, determined not to start the day until we had finished the half-album-long song. Maybe as an act of autism, maybe as an act of respect for the work.

I can't remember if it's the first time I heard it, but the memory of this particular listening session has been branded onto my memory of the song. It was my father who put up with me putting Jan and Dean's 'Dead Man's Curve' on a loop when I came round, listening endlessly to the same few songs by Elvis Presley and the Human League in his city-centre flat. But by the time I got to 6th form I was hunting more deeply into my parent's music collections; trying to understand The Smiths beyond the hit singles, taping Trout Mask Replica for friends, scrabbling for meaning amongst the tapes, records, and cds. This track felt like absolute pay-dirt, and I argued with everyone who would listen about how it was the best thing Pink Floyd ever did, and they were wrong that meddle was better that was rubbish.

It may be the song that showed me what instrumental music is capable of; in fact made me hold instrumental music in the highest regard, as 'true' music, unsullied by cheap sops to expressionist lyrics (I don't want to know what's going through your mind, I want to know how you feel). It definitely influenced particular tracks of mine, such as 'New Boyfriend'. Every time the refrain is played, the orchestration is different, and while it's massive, expansive, patient music, the structure is fairly simple; and so satisfyingly ordered, it feels like a musical landscape painting. It feels like exploration. the return to the opening section near the end, and then into the final coda of the refrain, feels totally suicidalyptic, like superman throwing himself into the sun to save the universe. It makes me feel important, and mortal.

Saturday

On Paternity

writings from long ago i never published...


So, I'm a dad now. So it comes.

The day that Esmeralda Rose Griliopoulos was born, I spent a lot of time
asking 'what have I done?'; I was baffled. We'd been up all night; the induced labour
had started at about 11, we went to hospital at about 1, finally got
seen about 3, and Esm was born about half 8, when the morning team
arrived with new energy and actual doctors, and kicked everything up a
notch. We were let out the same day, and got to introduce her to 4 of
her grandparents and her only true uncle. The lack of sleep didn't
help with inability to deal with what I was witnessing.

That day, my perspective on the world changed in two unexpected ways.
Firstly: childbirth. I instantly resolved that the long-suffering
never had to make the tea again. For a start. Every mother I see, I
think, you've been through That. Mothers... jeez. Hats off to all mothers, everywhere. Which really changes what you think as you walk down the street.

Secondly: looking down at Esm, and thinking adoring thoughts of her. And realising that this is the feeling your parents have had whenever they looked at you, for the last thirty years. And feeling massively guilty for every time you didn't appreciate this.

That was stuff from the first day, which I never got around to writing down. But it's important to put it up here.

We're not just a couple now, we're now 'team esme'. We're here to keep her alive. That feels strange. It has changed our relationship, because we're a three-piece now. a family, not a couple.

Tuesday

Plinkett Star Wars Review Fan Fiction

So I was thinking back about star wars, and the prequels and everything, and I thought that Plinkett didn't go into quite enough detail regarding the character Count Dooku. So I thought I would write some Plinkett fan fiction to psuedo-remedy the fact.

Count Dooku is the worst supporting villain since Darth Maul. They're both total nothings, but while Maul has no character but a face for lunch boxes, Dooku is played by the most prolific actor ever. How did George Lucas manage to squander yet another massive talent? Let's see my lovelies...

Oh and I'm writing this from memory because I don't wanna sit through these crap movies again. I'm sick of editing this stuff down so it looks as though everyone hates George Lucas allatime. I don't need to be watching these crappy films in order to know how bad they are - I'll just have a quick look at the wikipedia pages and ignore everything they say about all the books, and comics, and video games, and popcorn buckets cause none of that shit matters, I don't care if they explained it all in the books it don't matter.

Number one: COUNT Dooku?

The first two things we find out about Dooku are that he's a count, and that he used to be a jedi. A count? A count of what exactly? We don't need to know, I guess, because we never get told. I guess he's a count like Leia is a princess and Padme is a queen, even if being a democratically elected queen totally defeats the point of having that title. It's just a fancy title to make the thing feel more like The Princess Bride... you know, all fairy tale and stuff. Which is why there are so many amputations and decapitations in these movies.

Hey waidaminute... Count Dooku? Like, Count Dracula? One of Christopher Lee's most famous roles? Is that a coincidence? Or did Lucas think, Hey, we've got Christopher Lee over to do some prancing about in front of green screens while I sit and drink my coffee, why not get everyone to call him 'count'? Cause then it will remind people of that other, good film he was in, and that might make people like this piece of crap more. I'm surprised they even bothered with Lee, and didn't just hire Jerry Nelson to do a voice for a cartoon lobster or something.

Cause, you know, Jerry Nelson performed The Count? In Sesame Street? And Frank Oz was on it too, playing Bernie, so it's not that implausib

Number two: The fallen Jedi

So the very second thing we find out is that Witchfinder Dooku used to be a Jedi. Whaaaaat? Since when did people leave the Jedi Order? We've seen these kids being indoctrinated with this monastic bullshit since they're babies, and then one guy just decides to quit? and he's allowed to keep his lightsaber and all his powers, and all of the other Jedi are like, "sure, quit, that's cool, see you around bro." This makes no sense. You wouldn't just let ex-jedi wander about the galaxy, like some rich kid of holiday. If he left the order, if the other jedi didn't kill him on the spot, then they'd at least keep a pretty close eye on him. And who knows, maybe this incredibly powerful ex-jedi would be a prime candidate for this dark lord of the sith that we keep hearing about who never seems to show up anywhere or do anything except by carrier pigeon. Maybe it's that one guy who learned all the jedi powers, then left and became an evil count. Could he be the secret enemy? or does Sidious force powers hide even more of the plot from the good guys than we realised? So that they're not just not allowed to think about Palpatine being a Sith, but they're not allowed to have any intelligent thoughts at all?

So how did Dookie lose his faith, or whatever? Once again, we're told something interesting, and just expected to swallow it. You've skipped the interesting bit, asshole, and moved straight onto the boring exposition. Show us his fall, why he has gone evil. Otherwise he's just some guy who we're expected to believe is a bad just because he's a Count. You could invest something in your characters you idiot, Show, Don't Tell. Go back to film school you just broke the most important rule of fi

The thing is, Chris Lee is a damn good actor, and he's up for anything, no matter how cheesy. So why waste him on this nothingy character? Hey idiots, why not make Dooku the main villain? And while you're at it, Since we're calling him 'Count', Why not go the whole way and totally rip off Dracula? Why not have Anakin and Padme taking their honeymoon in Spacevania, and they go to stay at Count Dooku's Spooky Castle, where the evil Fallen Jedi nearly seduces them to the dark side, and locks them up. Then they could find out that Dooku has been breeding clone troopers to attack Numenor.. oh, wait... that's that other other christopher lee film.

Number Three: Darth Sharku

So at the same time as making this, Christopher Lee was filming The Lord Of The Rings, where Lee played Saruman, who was... a fallen Wizard. Given that Gandalf is pretty much the complete model for Obi Wan and Yoda, a scene where Kenobi and Yoda and Dooku fight is going to be pretty fuckin' similar to a scene where Gandalf and Saruman fight, isn't it?

Well no, because Lucas is such an idiot that he can't even rip things off right. See, in the LordoftheRings film, Saruman is the head of the council, like Yoda, but fallen, like Anakin, because he was seduced by the power that Sauron could give him. It's pretty much a complete analogue. So when Gandalf visits Saruman, realises he's lost his way, and they fight, the scene is beautiful because while they're using magic to move each other around, there's a pretty brutal, raw feel to it all, not to mention the pain of Gandalf having to swallow his disappointment that his master and friend has turned. If Saruman can't resist Sauron, how will Frodo? worse still, how will Gandalf? There's a lot at stake in this fight. It's a subtle fight scene that is both physical and mental. When Yoda fights Dookie, there's no mental edge to it at all, just two computer generated things bouncing off the walls. You don't even get a sense of the pain anybody feels, even when hands get cut off.

It's just so crushing that yet again, Lucas could have made so much more of this character, and totally failed it. It would have been cool if Dooku Manchu dealt with the two younger jedi physically, but then when Yoda showed up, stashed his laser sword and knelt, ready for a meditative battle of wills. This would have been a really good opportunity to use some of those Computer Generated special effects that lucas loves so much, to illustrate what's going on in the force between these two characters. They should have settled their scores with a massive psychic game of Go. Show us elemental Krayt dragons savagely fighting Rancors to the death as a metaphor for the inner struggle they are experiencing. It would have been a beautiful scene, in keeping with yoda's character and showing Dooku's inner strength, and maybe that there is a balance between the darkside and the light side.

Aw fuck it, let's just have little cartoon yoda jumping round the place so that it looks like what he said in the future are the bitter words of a loser jedi. Cause that's what star wars is all about, that in order for the little guy to win, he doesn't have to believe in himself, he just needs to be able to move his laser sword around real fast.

I've been thinking hard about, y'know, hiring Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Ian Mcdarmid, Frank Oz, and Christopher Lee to make a space opera movie, that if you squinted, could fill in for the star wars prequel films we wanted and really deserved. But you know what? For all his previous meddling, horrible filling-in of gaps and such forth, I'd love to see an SW film set between 4 and 5, where Vader goes investigative and finds out exactly who this character who beat him in space combat was . Lucas had basically painted the plot into a corner - Vader had to have no idea that he had children, but had to have fathered them. Tricky situation. Plus, for some reason, Luke is in hiding, and Leia is in full-on public life; clearly some ret-conning went on to make them brother and sister. So vader has to find out that luke is is son, but not Leia, who he lets go. This doesn't make any sense. But still, It'd be nice to see Vader's reaction to the news that he has a son, his realisation that Sidious lied to him, and the start of his plotting to overthrow the Emporer. It must be a fascinating revelation, for someone who until the end of Empire, has really not much personality.

I'd also like to go as far as de-lucasing even the original trilogy, and copy-pasting wookies onto all the child-friendly ewoks he replaced them with (you know how Jedi was meant to take place on Kasshyyk, right?). I mean, why stop with the new films, when there's seeds of his madness in the original trilogy. Take them back, I say. They're our films now.