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A nice blend of Cocteau Twins with ABBA and Fleetwood Mac. Didn't see any good reviews for the album but... I'm digging it so far!
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Madder Rose

Aug. 5th, 2013 01:02 pm
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Troglodyte RoseTroglodyte Rose by Adam Lowe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I recently stumbled upon this novel in Wattpad, where it's available for free as a novella. I was drawn to it because it was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, an award that celebrates "the best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year".

Troglodyte Rose is a sci-fi that feels like a mesh between Mad Max and Tank Girl. It's written in short, psychedelic sentences, mostly through the eyes of a young woman, Rose, who lives in an apocalyptic underworld with her lover Flid, an intersex (hermaphrodite) referred to in the text with the gender-neutral pronoun "per" (borrowed from Margaret Piercy's "Woman on the Edge of Time".)

Rose and Flid are addicted to a drug that blurs reality and fantasy, and their lives are centred on stealing this drug while also dreaming of one day escaping to the overground. They nonchalantly save four princesses from a nearby world early on and the princesses join them in their robberies. Like most dystopias, this one has its monsters that keep the population in check: the Justicars hunt down anyone perceived to have committed a crime and are terrifying creatures nearly impossible to destroy. Soon, one of them is after Rose, Flid and the princesses.

This was an enjoyable, punchy read that left me wanting more. Some of its zest reminded me of Poppy Z. Brite's early novels. I look forward to whatever Adam Lowe comes up with next.

View all my reviews
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Future Bible Heroes, Partygoing, 2013

The new Magnetic Fields Future Bible Heroes album feels to me like a return to form for Stephin Merritt. The idea behind this ongoing side project is that all songs must be synthesiser disco-pop - essentially the Magnetic Fields camped up on Erasure and Yazoo beats. Lyrics are typical Merritt and mostly sung by Claudia Gonson (who is also part of the Magnetic Fields): barbed miseries and ditties that are smart, ironic, and always far from a happy end.

The album opens with Claudia sharing how a drink is just the thing to light her mind when she's feeling low. She's followed by a narrator who lives in a cave surrounded by books, records and dolls, and who clarifies that "I never said I wasn’t crazy / I know I’m a loon / I’m crazy for you darling, and that’s / sadder than the moon." The parents in "Lets Go To Sleep (And Never Come Back)" buy some crack and make a suicide pact because they can't afford their rent or children anymore. Later, though, the best plan for a another set of parents is to "Keep Your Children In A Coma" as that saves the family a load of grief (no priests will abuse them, no bullying beasts will catch them in school).  There's a lot of dreaming too: of "A New Kind Of Town", the kind that "doesn’t hate you /
wear a new kind of gown / And they’ll queue to date you;" or the ones brought about from "Living, Loving, Partygoing" - partying with John Waters and attending Mink Stole's birthday bash; then sleeping for three days after falling on your head.

The only wrong step in the album for me is "Drink Nothing But Champagne" - a song that sounds more like a musical number, with "David Bowie" and Aleister Crowley voices taking turn trying to convince us that champagne is better than water. Another strange thing is that some of the songs break away from the traditional pop structure, with no second verse and chorus - going straight into a short "middle" after the first verse and chorus.  It leaves you hanging and wanting more.

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I want to dance to this in the early hours of the morning in [ profile] neenaw's basement disco.
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The Silent History sounds like something just down my alley. Is this what fiction and literature will look like in the future? 

From what I understand, it's an app only for iPads or iPhones (but I may be wrong.) You download it and every day it gives you a new chapter on the story of children being born across the U.S. (the world?) who suffer from a mysterious condition where they are completely silent.  Each daily chapter is through the point of view of someone related to the epidemic - one of the main characters, doctors, parents, etc.

There's an additional feature, the Field Reports, which are GPS tagged and entered by the authors and readers - they can only be accessed when you are near them.  Which has, supposedly, led people to travel across the U.S., and now even to London, to unlock them (though they are not essential to the comprehension of the main story.) 

The story comes to an end one year after you download and start the app.

I've been thinking for some time now about storytelling that is interactive with social media and gadgets - in line with some of the stuff Secret Cinema does as well as other arts organisations in London.  My own idea revolves around a bus route in London and how different aspects of the story related to it can be unlocked/viewed if you: travel the route; visit certain houses near it; read certain newspapers; etc.

But my idea didn't include contributions from the public - it would be purely my creation and perhaps involve some film making with actors.  I like though The Silent History's use of the public's imagination - I'm tempted to download the app right now and start filing some of my own "Field Reports" around my neighbourhood, adding to The Silent History's "myth".

Imagine the implications for other genres... a horror story, for example!  You could unlock a segment of the story once you visit a church after sunset.  Or a walk through one of the "Magnificent Seven" cemeteries in London.  The possibilities are endless actually, and they can be used to comment on a load of things.  It could also be a wonderful way of teaching history, languages, social concern.

Very curious now about other apps/stories like The Silent History currently in development.
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I've randomly come across this Japanese band from the 80s/early 90s that sounds a lot like Depeche Mode. So, in homage to Slimelight's 25 year anniversary (which I sadly missed this weekend), I share this with you:

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City of the Dead is a little known horror classic from 1960 that is worth checking out, especially if you like Hitchcock's Psycho. Although it was filmed before Psycho, it was only released afterwards. Similarities in plot twists branded it a plagiarism, but it's now obvious that both films were tapping into some zeitgeist that was just round the corner: the 60s' counterculture explosion.

I'd never even heard of City of the Dead before this last Saturday, when I saw it alongside other horror films at [ profile] naturalbornkaos and [ profile] moveslikegiallo's awesome Hemel Hellfire Weekender (a back to back horror films marathon plus a quiz, pizza and a raffle of lousy straight-to-DVDs that left everyone a "winner".)

The film revolves around a small village where a witch was burnt in the 1600s - a place now cursed with dry fog and creepy inhabitants. A young university student (a Hitchcock blonde) is encouraged by her university professor to visit the village for two weeks and write her dissertation on the witch persecutions. She arrives and stays at a creepy inn, where all sorts of warnings to run away fail to register in her radar. When she disappears, her uni beau plus her brother decide to investigate.

The film was known in the U.S. as 'Horror Hotel', which lent fire to the critics accusations of plagiarism. Like Hitchcock's Psycho, it has a profusion of stuffed animals hanging on walls, a ballsy blonde that walks straight into danger and a revelation surrounding an old woman's corpse.

I attended a talk at the BFI a week ago on Hitchcock's Women and their magic, delivered by Camille Paglia. It was an amusing talk, in particular because Camille sounded like she'd drunk three cups of coffee beforehand - she was so enthusiastic about her subject. The main thing that stayed with me was her theory that Hitchcock's women were quite independent and unlike the stereotype of the 50s dutiful suburban wife. Impulsive and determined (Rear Window), sexually aggressive (North by Northwest), daredevils (To Catch a Thief), an enigma to men (Vertigo). There were some elements of that in the women of The City of the Dead.

I then started wondering why these two films are so alike. Could it be their writers and directors were somewhat channeling the counterculture movement's birth (on the back of the 50s beat movement?) Psycho with its transsexual killer (upside-down sexual mores) and The City of the Dead with its satanism (overturning of Christianity, the hippies experimentations that led to new cults.) The chills and fears played upon by these films were the anxieties of their audiences? (Including women who are too independent and don't need men.)

Anyway... City of the Dead is worth checking out - perhaps even as a double bill with Psycho.

Oh look... it's available in its entirety on YouTube!
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A beautiful song, from a fairly beautiful and mellow album. Thank you [ profile] ultraruby for introducing me to them.

Have a good weekend y'all!

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After getting some new bespoke running shoes at Runner's Needs (thank you [ profile] sparklielizard for the tip!) I've become a regular jogger in Victoria Park. I like to go in the mornings, with my iShuffle plugged in (dangling from some very expensive, neon Adidas running earphones I also got at the shop). I do one full circuit of the park - the equivalent of 5K - then follow it up with two days at the gym doing weight training.

Yesterday morning I noticed a group of short, skinny people doing sprints in the park... Olympic athletes! They were from Rwanda, I learnt later. Apparently they didn't feel like practicing in the Olympic stadium and asked if there were any nearby parks they could use. Victoria Park was the suggestion. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I do.

This London Olympics, which felt very British when it was first announced, has become progressively more "American" as the years have gone by (and especially under the Tories.) Do we really need the biggest McDonalds in Europe built right inside the Olympic park? With a ban on nearby businesses from selling french fries because McDonals has the sole permission to sell it? It's the next best thing to having a giant American flag waving in everyone's face. And by "American" I mean in this context profit-over-commonsense - that neoliberal idiocy that businesses ultimately choose what's best for everyone.

Still, despite all the weird stories surrounding the Olympics (from slum conditions for cleaners living near the park to graffiti artists being arrested), I felt a thrill of excitement at suddenly being so near to Olympic athletes in Victoria Park. My dance company is also involved - we performed as part of the Olympic Torch relay through London and many of our dancers are part of the opening and closing ceremonies.

On McDonalds related news, HBO Documentaries has made available online its recent "Weight of the Nation" series. You can check it out on YouTube. It's in 4 parts and quite compelling viewing, especially if you also recently saw the BBC's "The Man Who Made Us Fat". The series is often mawkish but has some eye-popping figures and graphs. It's made me go off soda drinks for life.
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I went for a jog yesterday morning through Victoria Park and somewhere along the way this song came up. It's a pair of sisters with only a few singles out... I got this MP3 from a blog some months ago but never properly listened to it - I love it! Remember Juliana Hatfield? The Lemonheads? Sissy A thinks they sound a bit like The Muffs. Very summery indeed.

April 2017



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