Morris Men, Stealing Sheep, And An Apparition
Oct07

Morris Men, Stealing Sheep, And An Apparition

A fabulous music video for the song Apparition by Stealing Sheep featuring the Abingdon Traditional Morris Side and the Oxford City Morris Men. I’ve got some history with Abingdon Traditional Morris having photographed them on one or two occasions before (Mayor’s Day 2011, Mayor’s Day 2012, and the Abingdon Extravaganza) and from having a wife and a best friend, both of whom are cousins of one of the dancers (the bearded one you can see stepping over the broom at the start of the video). The song is great and it’s made greater by the video which is wonderfully choreographed and expertly directed by Dougal Wilson with some lovely effects and a fantastic attempt to feel like a one-take video, without actually being one. Extra points go to the band for learning some of the steps too. Stealing Sheep is Rebecca Hawley, Emily Lansley, and Lucy Mercer. Their sound in general and the sound in particular for this song fits perfectly with this video. Quirky is the...

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Movies I’ve Made My Wife Watch
Oct03

Movies I’ve Made My Wife Watch

Over twenty years ago, in the period before I met the woman who would soon move in with me and much later become my wife, I used to watch movies quite a lot. This was the golden age of VHS video and small video shops with quality making way for quantity meaning there was a neverending stream of films to rent of every genre imaginable. Some were great, some were appalling, some were both great and appalling. In the period since I met my now-wife I have introduced her to some of these films as they’ve sprung to mind or I’ve accidentally rediscovered them somehow. I love all these films for their nostalgia factor or because I genuinely think they’re fabulous. My wife does not always share my opinion despite repeated attempts to change her mind. Cry Baby My wife – being a woman with eyes – already had a bit of a thing for Johnny Depp. Thus, she had no problems at all agreeing to watch Cry Baby and there was no need for The Restraining Device. This, along with Hairspray, formed my introduction to my wife of the wonderful world of John Waters. Is there a more enigmatic film director on the planet? There is not. The film is a great 1950s-style musical with great songs and wonderful cast. “Look!” I said to my wife. “That’s Traci Lords.” “Should I know her?” she asked. “Er.” “Where do you know her from?” “Er.” Wife’s review: So good. John Waters can do no wrong. The Beastmaster My wife describes this fantastic fantasy adventure (my words; not hers) as my “Hawk the Slayer”, meaning I feel about The Beastmaster in the same way she feels about Hawk the Slayer; she has fond memories of the latter while accepting its many flaws and assumes I feel the same way about the former. I do not feel that way, though. She is wrong. It has Marc Singer, witchcraft, human sacrifice, Rip Torn, scary leathery bird things, and ferrets. That’s the sort of pedigree you won’t find anywhere else. The Beastmaster shits all over Hawk the Slayer. That’s all you need to know. Note: under no circumstances ever watch Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time. Just. Don’t. I’m not kidding. Wife’s review: It’s nice that you like it but it’s not very good. Running Scared Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines. Cops. Sick and tired of getting nowhere with the criminal elements of Chicago they decide to retire to Miami. They’ve just got to survive the homicidal tendencies of Jimmy Smits and a montage to the sound of Sweet Freedom by Michael McDonald....

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Close Encounters And Other Movie Title Translations
Sep03

Close Encounters And Other Movie Title Translations

I happened upon an old Japanese poster for the science fiction movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind recently (pictured below) and was pleased to see it contained the title that the film was released under in Japan. If you’re not familiar with the Japanese language then it roughly says “The aliens who keep stealing our stuff are back” which, I think you’ll agree, is a much more descriptive title for the immensely flawed (yet enjoyable) film. Close Encounters isn’t the only film with a better title in a foreign market release. Here are a few others you might already know: 1972’s science fiction movie Silent Running was known in Iceland as Crazy Space Gardener. The distributors of 1980’s Caddyshack in Portugal knew they’d get better attendance with a film called Disruptive Golf Course Rodent. Also from 1980, the comedy 9 To 5 became known in Saudi Arabia as This Is Why Women Should Not Work In Offices. Fantastic Voyage was given a 1966 release in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) as Very Small Donald Pleasence Movie. It was the same reverence for the actor that also saw Upper Volta give a 1980 release for The Pumaman as Donald Pleasence Versus The Flying Man And The Giant. The excellent 1982 Steve Martin movie Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid has a wonderfully surreal title in English but in Nepalese it makes far more sense as Monochromatic Film With Most Amusing Coffee-Making Scene. In 1989 the modern classic Road House was released and the following year saw the film make an appearance in Honduras as Incompetent Doorman Keeps Getting Employed. The distributors of Afghanistan were obviously a little confused with Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris in 1972, hence the title of its limited release, Not Entirely Certain What Is Happening Outer Space Film. Of course, you can’t have a list of oddly-translated movie titles without including (and finishing off with) 1977’s surprise hit, Star Wars. In Lesotho: The Princess In The Sky Ball. In Tonga: Colourful Sword Warriors In Space. In Czechoslovakia: Gold Robot And White Robot In Robot Story. And, finally, in Guyana, demonstrating that sometimes cinema distributors just use the posters as guidelines: White Couple Erotic Adventures In The Great Black...

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The Hairstyles Of Adolf Hitler
Oct25

The Hairstyles Of Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler – you’ve probably heard of him – had a style all his own. The Hitler moustache, of course, was fashioned after the comic actor Charlie Chaplin’s, whose movies were Hitler’s favourites; Chaplin, it has to be said, was not so fond of the films featuring the German leader. But when it came to hair only Hitler could get away with the slicked side parting. It was smart. It looked sharp, clean, leaderly. However, Hitler wasn’t always quite so dapper in the hair department. Despite attempts to remove from history all evidence of his previous dalliances with hair fashions in much the same way he tried to eradicate his occult connections during the Night of the Long Knives some previously unseen pictures have emerged from the darkness in recent years. Hitler was a massive fan of African and Caribbean music and a typical rally during his early political career would always start with something a little reggae, calypso, or Ghanaian polyrhythmical. Embracing those cultures led to the future despot sporting dreadlocks for a period. It wasn’t a massive leap of hairstyle logic to shift from dreadlocks – considered (rightly) by some of Hitler’s supporters as “looking like you haven’t washed in ages” – to the afro so that’s what the German leader did next. This move created such a backlash in Europe’s black communities who felt the charismatic chancellor was insulting them that Hitler retaliated by embarking on a white supremacy political and ideological platform. To appeal to the Nazi youth Hitler briefly employed a young stylist who transformed his look with lighter colours and soft curls. The style was mocked mercilessly and the stylist was forced to flee for her life. She survived and continued her styling career for decades to come. Her clients included Weird Al Yankovic and Kenny G. Towards the latter years of the nineteen thirties Hitler finally started to close in on what would become his trademark look. This final photo shows the penultimate transformation in the many hairstyles of historical madman Adolf Hitler. Robert Cesareo DeCicco, Dave Johnson, Jesus Izquierdo liked this...

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Street Photography By Marie Laigneau
Aug19

Street Photography By Marie Laigneau

Someone who almost always gets a +1 from me whenever her photos appear on her Google+ stream and I spot them, Marie Laigneau is a prolific street photographer based in Chicago. Just recently she’s been shooting in Japan too, an area of the world I really need to get back to in order to get my street photography vibe back, and I felt compelled to showcase some of her pictures from there as well as a few older ones too. An outstanding composition and even if your eyes are drawn to the face bottom left instantly you can still spend a few seconds staring everywhere else looking at the layers in the reflections and through the glass. My greatest desire and greatest fear in one photo: night street photography and eye contact! Another one in a similar vein and this one looks like there’s a story waiting to be told from the moment after the shot. It also highlights that I really shouldn’t be so hung up on getting sharp shots myself. Where to start? There’s light, there’s shadow, there’s fabulous framing, there are great lines drawing the eyes this way and that, there’s a wonderful subject, there are great contrasts between the near-monochrome background and the vibrant colours in front. I like this shot a lot. This photo reminds me so much of film photographs from the 1970s and 1980s and that speaks warmly to my retro heart. The subject matter is excellent and there’s just something about the woman on the right facing away from the camera that stands out. Another beautifully-framed shot and a great moment of concentration captured. To finish with, another one of Marie’s black-and-white shots and the reason I like this is because it looks to me like the subject is forming some thought bubbles. It’s a great pose and a great composition. All of Marie’s photos can be found on Google+ and there’s more to see on her website http://marielaigneau.com/...

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Socks And Sandals
Aug16

Socks And Sandals

Please be aware that legislation that comes into force today – the 16th of August, 2014 – now makes the wearing of socks with sandals a capital offence in this zone (Habitat Zone F). The Public Foot Attire Beautification Act (2014) outlines the minimum punishment for any single infringement to be disembowelment, beheading, then belegging. Belegging is defined within the Act as "the removal of the limbs below the waist using a sharpened spatula and/or emery board." Lesser offences within the Act include the wearing of socks pulled up greater than an inch above the shoe height. Punishment for this particular crime are discretionary depending on the level of public horror but can include up to 25 years of hard labour in Blackpool (Punishment Zone B). Please be further aware that legislation due to soon come into force in this zone (Habitat Zone F) will also prohibit men from wearing shorts that do not reach the knee and will carry a mandatory punishment of emasculation. Thank you for your attention. Your fellow citizens appreciate your adherence to the Act. Google+: View post on Google+ Gail Sweeney, Matthew Charlton, Holly Finn liked this...

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