Monday, 25 June 2012

Lovely Bloodflow – Baths

Sometimes a piece of music comes along that's just unhinged enough to render me completely immobile. Rarely does a piece of music (the same piece of music in this case) have a video that might have been lifted from my sleeping brain. 'Lovely Bloodflow' is precisely that song.

Baths, otherwise known as Will Weisenfeld, released the album Cerulean back in 2010, but I return to this track time and again. Also worthy of note from the same album is the sunshine cuteness of 'Aminals' (not a typo, I assure you) and the more introspective 'Rain Smell'.

I have no idea what the narrative of the video is, which makes it all the more dream-like to my mind. Dying samurai, capricious woodland spirits and lush, verdant visuals are more than enough compensation.

Watch full screen in a quiet, darkened room for the full haunted, stumbling brilliance.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Night Driving

A rare confluence of Dylan Thomas, Richard Burton, and Cliff Martinez (along with a huge marketing budget) produce this wonderful glimpse of the nocturnal.

Stumbling across this video started a long love affair with the Solaris soundtrack for me. It's a curiously minimalist piece of work that builds gently in places. At other times there are dream-like ambient sculptures of sound, rescued from becoming obscure by lush orchestral (yet suitably sombre) strings.

Night music. For the times when sleep doesn't come and all that's left are the introspections of a restless mind.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Are You Seeing This?

Sweet ride, shame about the script


By now the reviews are coming thick and fast for what should have been the cinematic Sci Fi event of the year. I am of course writing about Prometheus, the massively hyped cousin of the Alien franchise. Was it a sidequel, was it a prequel, was an entirely new entity? We paid our money and stumbled into the darkness of the Multiplex (where everyone can hear you scream), and stumbled out with more questions than we went in with.

The whole pretext of the film was to find out who the Space Jockey was, according to Sir Scott, anyway. The Space Jockey is that ossified corpse in the derelict ship from Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic Alien (the fact that you’ve read this far probably means you know this). So why then did Jon Spaihts or Damon Lindlof do anything but address who the Space Jockey was? We found out a lot about what the Engineers do, nothing of their motivations, and absolutely zero regarding why one ended up on Acheron LV426 (the planet in Aliens).

The biggest deal breaker for me, and it’s strange writing this about a science fiction film, was the glaring oversight regarding the emergency caesarean. I’m fairly certain that cutting through all the abdominal muscles impairs a person’s ability to stand, even if they are a proto-Ripley. No amount of staples could hold my suspension of disbelief together.

I got broken by space squid.

'At least I  wasn't in Aliens versus Predator: Requiem.'
The beauty of the Alien films was the life cycle of the alien itself. Egg, Facehugger, Chestburster and finally, everyone’s favourite acid-for-blood, phallic horror (complete with some ‘male fear of penetration’ extending teeth). Aliens upped the ante by showing us where the eggs came from. Common sense prevailed, James Cameron invented smart guns, and teenage boys everywhere couldn’t decide if they had a crush on Vasquez or not.

So what in the name of screaming blue fuckery happened this time out? The opening sequence sets up the ominous black goo as some kind of planet seeding miracle, admittedly with a sacrificial price. The audience thinks they know what to expect next time said black goo arrives on screen, right? Except it does anything but conform; rewiring, mutating, reanimating, creating according to the writers flights of fancy. This basic flaw serves as a metaphor for the whole film; there was an acute lack of consistency.

By the time David pulls Weyland out of cryo I’d stopped caring. Vickers seemed completely redundant through out the film, and Eldris Elba was given a woeful lack of screen time.

It’s tough not to sound bitter, but the more I think about Prometheus the less it makes sense. Perhaps, many centuries now, future generations of humans will unearth a directors cut that bears some coherent narrative. We can only hope. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Plate Spinning

I’ve been tinkering away at various creative projects for the last few years and now find myself in the unusual spot of seeing them come to fruition. Here’s a quick catch-up:

First and foremost of these is The Fizzy Pop Vampire, which I wrote about Here. I never really intended to be a children’s book author, but I had an idea and ran with it. Then Sarah Anne Langton got hold of the idea and she ran with it too. You can buy it from the Apple Store. And of course there is the obligatory Faceache Page, where you should ‘Like’ it, naturally.

The second project has recently shown the faint stirrings of life after a spell of hibernation. DECONSTRUCTED is a five issue Science Fiction comics series I wrote back in 2010 and the early part of 2011. It follows the fortunes of a salvage crew (and their Engineer Sophie in particular) as they embark on a mission to an icy planet shrouded in mystery.

DECONSTRUCTED has its own blogger site, which is worth checking out for the art. I chunter on about the obvious influences that informed the script in various posts, which allows me to wax lyrical about film too. 
I’m not unusual in being a massive Geek and wanting to write comics. I’m possibly a little different in that I opted for creator owned instead of wanting to write about men in spandex for DC and Marvel. I’ve always preferred my own worlds to the ones other people create.

There’s more sketchy goodness over at the Faceache page too, set up to largely encourage Chris Christon to get scribbling. Shannon Gallant and Andie Tong have also contributed art to the project, along with character designs by Julian Parry.

One plate that seems to be spinning quite nicely all by itself is the ebook edition of Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse. This impressive (digital) tome features great stories from Lauren Beukes, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Tom Pollock, Lou Morgan, Andy Remic and Kim-Laikin Smith (along with a few others, including yours truly).
Pandemonium is available from the Amazon Store.

Anne and Jared (who are my favourite Geek Culture terrorists bar none) edited Pandemonium. If you enjoy their work why not check out other releases from Jurassic Publishing such as Pandemonium: Stories of the Smoke and the Pandemonium Stocking Stuffer 2011.

And then there’s The Boy With The Porcelain Ears, that I’ve been writing, reading, re-reading, tinkering and teasing into shape for over a year now. Porcelain is set within a medieval setting where things are not quite what they seem. There’s a distinct absence of High Fantasy races and magic, think instead Gormenghast with a great deal more sword fights and bad language. You can read a first draft of the first chapter here. Not content with writing one novel set in this world I’ve also started the follow up, which is intensely fun. No agent, publisher or plans for these novels just yet.

Lastly, there is the secret project, which I can’t talk about just yet, but is a total game changer for me. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that ‘secret project’ has been taking up quite a lot of 2012. What you might not know is how much fun I’ve had whilst writing it. Which is to say, plenty.