Saturday, November 28, 2015

Morrissey: Autobiography

I picked this up in Chicago at Myopic Books. Great store.

I was interested in this because it was an autobiography. I wanted to hear Moz's story from Moz's mouth. Until I started reading it and then I wasn't so sure. You see, Morrissey has an unusual writing style. It's almost like reading 500 pages of song lyrics. There are no chapters in this book and no real transitions. He just writes in a somewhat linear fashion from childhood through mid-life, recalling people and events along the way. But it's the way in which he writes that made me second-guess whether I was going to continue. It's fucking dense. It's off-puttingly metaphorical and indirect at times. Quite a lot of run-on sentences and lyrical descriptions that are best suited for...lyrics, not stories.

When I started the book and I thought, "how am I going to get through this whole thing without giving myself a headache?" But I got stuck in and the more I read the more I got acclimated to his literary style.

The first third of the book really focuses on his childhood, and the way he recounted the school system in Manchester really struck a chord within me. He paints an awfully dreary account of the teachers and the city of Manchester at the time. It reminded me a lot of growing up in Glasgow and being 'different'. Where Morrissey may have been referencing the New York Dolls or the Ramones, I was referencing the Misfits and Bad Religion. But the same ominous cloud hung over our heads, interspersed with rays of light from time to time. It was really like reading a trip down memory lane for me.

Then he gets into the Smiths era, a bloody boring section on the court case brought upon him by Andy Rourke, and then the Morrissey solo era. Reading about the Smiths and Morrissey was great. Moz paints a terrible picture of the labels that've backed him since the beginning. And Morrissey knows a lot of people who die, which sucks. That's kinda the book: school, the Smiths, court, Morrissey, death, vegetarianism, screaming fans, getting fucked over, and being a tortured artist.

It's all good. Even though it was a bit rough getting on board, the book ended up being really good. If you like Morrissey, read this.


Marie's boss recommended this doc so we fired it up last night after replacing an HDMI cord Alfred had chewed through. Thanks Alfie.

Man, this was a pretty crazy and uplifting story. Korean twins are separated at birth and sent to two different adoption agencies. They have no idea they have a twin. Twenty-five years later one of them makes a youtube video that happens to get seen by a friend of the other twin. Her buddy says, "hey, this person looks just like you..." and after some internet searching...the twins are reunited.

This is their story. It's a pretty deep and emotional experience to happen to someone. And it's a very unique thing to have the whole thing documented for the world to watch from their living rooms'.

Check out the trailer. Marie and I both thought it was a captivating doc.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Knight of the Swords: Corum Book 1

Moorcock is famous for his Elric series and the Eternal Champion books, amongst others. I hadn't read either but I was in a bookstore up north and saw The Knight of the Swords, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

Based on this book I gotta say I don't think Moorcock is a very good writer. He's certainly not challenging whatsoever. He uses blatant foreshadowing to the point where he's practically handing you the story on a plate. And his metaphors are painfully obvious. There's no real subtext. It's all way too close to the surface. His diction and sentence structure is also somewhat juvenile. This felt like a book that a twelve year old might really get into. Like a gateway drug into something harder. Something better.

I was reading this and comparing it to the likes of Lovecraft, Burroughs, and Howard, and that's why I felt it was rather elementary. I'd give the Elric series a shot because they're very popular and well respected. But if the first book isn't good then I'm outtie.

The story is decent. I definitely felt for a couple characters and were dismayed when they died. So it had the power to effect me on an emotional level. But still...

It wasn't a waste of time. It was a quick, easy read and relatively enjoyable. But I can't say I'd recommend you read it. It was just so-so.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Daft Punk: Unchained

An hour long documentary on the rise of Daft Punk.

This starts at their inception and brings you along for all the major milestones in the band's career. I have their second album and that's it. I think it's fucking great, but I don't know a lot about the band. This was pretty cool. Got mad respect for these frogs.

The Imitation Game

I don't know if I knew about this film. Maybe vaguely. But the topic definitely piqued my interest. It was a true story about the British effort to crack the German code that all their radio messages were encrypted in. And Benedict Cumberbatch starred, with Keira Knightly supporting. Sign me up.

This was a good flick from head to toe. It was a fascinating tale. A very sad one, too. The movie is very inspirational, but it's tinged with a good deal of melancholy, injustice and death. So it's definitely not all roses for our leading lad.

I wouldn't give the Director an Oscar for this. But I'd definitely say it's worth two hours of your life to learn about a truly amazing individual and a mind-blowing aspect of the war.

A Year in Champagne

The in-flight entertainment included the likes of all three Hobbit movies and a bunch of Marvel movies...but of course I spent my time watching documentaries about champagne, fashion, and music. You didn't really think I'd watch Thor and Ant-Man did you?

This doc was okay. Middle of the road in production. And just not much of an emotional journey. I watched it to learn a little about how they make champagne, and it fulfilled itself in that regard. It's definitely eye-opening and makes you appreciate the manual effort that goes into a top class bottle of bubbly. But I wouldn't go running to see this flick.

Dior and I

The next four flicks were on the return flight from Pudong to Detroit. I kicked it off with Dior and I. Why not? It's a focused documentary that follows Raf Simons as he takes the Creative Director's role at Christian Dior and assembles his first couture showing. Raf was known for ready-to-wear, but here he is doing couture for Dior in eight weeks. Pretty crazy first couple months at the job!

This is a very interesting doc that shows you who makes the clothes as well as a glimpse into how they're made. I enjoyed this a lot except for the few seconds that Anna Wintour was on screen.

The Wrecking Crew

This was a unique story. Watched a doc that goes into the studio musicians of the fifties/sixties who played on a zillion singles and albums but never got any 'real' recognition. This particular loose knit band of players was dubbed the Wrecking Crew. They were talented as hell and you know all their tunes. They even sat in for established musicians like the Beach Boys. Watch the trailer and you'll see and hear how deep an impact these guys had on the scene. It's pretty crazy.

Good doc. Eye-opening.


I watched Argo again. Still really good.

Scatter my Ashes at Bergdorf's

The third flick I watched on the way over to China. Never heard of this doc but it seemed like light viewing material. When else do you get to delve into the inner workings of one of the most famous luxury stores in the world? Might as well check it out.

The doc itself was alright. Nothing groundbreaking. But still quite interesting. You'll be blown away when you find out how much the top salespeople at Bergdorf's can bring in annually in salary and commission. Holy shit.

Some interesting stories. Only recommended for anyone who would actually enjoy going to Bergdorf's. Otherwise, don't bother with it.

A Lego Brickumentary

Lego ruled. I feel sorry for anyone and everyone who's life wasn't enriched by Lego as a child. It's truly the greatest, most imaginative and creative toy available. And it has been since its inception.

This is an official behind-the-scenes look at Lego's history and its cultural impact.

Recommended for anyone who remembers playing with Lego as a kid. Narrated by Jason Bateman.

Lambert & Stamp

You're a prisoner to the headrest screen when you're on a fourteen hour flight. I watched five films on the way to Shanghai and four on the return flight.

Lambert & Stamp was the first and it ruled! I was really stoked I got to see this. Never heard of it before. It's a well made documentary chronicling the two fledgling managers who took the Who from their humble beginnings as the High Numbers, to their stratospheric heights a few years later. They're funny ol' characters and it's a pretty crazy story.

Inspirational and exciting. Sometimes I think the Who were the greatest band ever. This is a good doc and definitely worth watching.