Sunday, January 31, 2010

What Monsters Would Say: Roc

"Doing awright back there? Listen! Isay listen! You know I've seen horses flying before! But you know I NEVER... crap, I told it wrong."

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Am A Fan of Kiwi Pro Wrestling.

As the South Pacific's answer to the WWF has recently released a slew of posters for your enjoyment (and potential purchase!), let us peruse their wares, and their stable while we are about it.

The idea of a time-traveling wrestler from the 1980s is as high-concept as the storyline in WCW in which the Ultimate Warrior returned to wrestling but was only shown in the hallucinations of Hulk Hogan, which the documentary crew's cameras somehow had access to. What I mean, of course, is that both are pretty great.

Max "The Axe" Damage's continual nomenclature confusion puts him in the company of luminaries such as John "Cougar" Mellencamp, Cardinal Joseph "Pope Benedict XVI" Ratzinger, and "Roseanne".

Why is the Flame shown in front of society's most potent force for its eradication? That's like showing Chris DeLorean standing in front of 1990.

Inferno is the Overly Expressive Bass Player of KPW.

"Lazarus Volt: Fresh from the 1890s". How has he been kept fresh from a time when domestic refrigeration was far from widespread, and cryogenics unheard of? We are clearly meant to imply from the man's moniker that his presence amongst us of the 2010s owes a debt to some manner of bodily rebirth, possibly scientific in nature, but why would a man with such potent spiritual and/or technological acumen choose to focus his attentions on reviving the circus traditions of a bygone age? Lazarus Volt poses so many questions and answers so few.

By exhibiting technical prowess and a lean musculature even past the ripe age of 80(?), Irishman Mike Ryan gives the lie to the notion that his countrymen are all drunken poets with non-ridiculous trou.

Calling yourself "Jade Diamond" is like saying you're "A Cast-Iron Gold Nugget", or changing your name to "Knifey Gunn". Which Jade Diamond should definitely consider doing.

I can't help noticing that The Maori Warrior (one of my KPW favourites) is the only wrestler without a catchphrase. Are they saying black people are inarticulate? RACIALIST.

The King of Cool says, "Smell my finger!"

The first time I saw The Brute wrestle, he was wearing tight spandex shorts and there was not a man, woman or child in attendance who could avoid the fact of his tumescent enthusiasm for the thrill of the ring. When Brute engaged his foe in a particularly punishing grapple, a young boy behind me yelled, "FEED HIM THE SAUSAGE!" The egregious inappropriateness of this display of bulging manhood was clearly not lost on KPW staff, as Brute's next appearance saw him wearing extremely loose-fitting camo trousers. Amazingly, the soldier still stood to uncomfortably visible attention. I like to imagine I can't see any evidence of engorgement in this picture, but as Brute is not here presented in what scriptwriters call the "ethical habit of action" (in this case, wrestling), it's hard to tell what this means.

Hollie once took her top off and made out with a future star of Show of Hands for a movie I made, and hence I cannot say a bad word about her.

"Honey, the technician's here, can you show him what the TV's doing?"

Jimmy Fox was great in Collaboral, but his best work was probably in Rhey.

The first time I saw Terry the Golden Greek wrestle, he shocked and impressed me by donning a vivid crimson mask to the delighted howls of a crowd whipped into xenophobic frenzy by his nakedly race-baiting taunts. The reason this was shocking was that the two hysterically traumatized children in the front row, watching the gross Mediterranean caricature endure this ritual scourging for our shameful amusement, were apparently Terry's kids.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Live From The Internet: Apple Show All Cool, Cold

I didn't think that today I would sit at my Apple Macbook Pro with my Apple iPod plugged into it and ignore the beeping of the phone that would be an Apple iPhone if AT&T would sell me one (they don't trust my credentials as a foreigner) as I wrote about the Apple EyeTabLet, the latest step in our (all humanity's) progression ever closer to glorious utopia. I thought I would probably let the geegaw enjoy a successful release despite my lack of comment and then realise one to three years later that I could really do with one.

(Sidebar of Art Fag City)

But if there's some sort of weird Promethean sacrifice thing going on involving the unfathomably creepy Mr Jobs, then the device may be interesting to me as soon as a year from now!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tom's America: The Coco Channel

H and I have been watching a lot of The Office on Internet reruns of late. I am convinced that is the best show currently on television. Maybe I'd feel differently if I were a more skilled Lost or Mad Men watcher, but I'm not, so this is where we are.

One thing that I missed the first time it aired was the way the show was attempting to draw subtle parallels with the Global Financial Crisis. The tension between the firmly fairytale-realm Michael Scott and the realism attempted by the "financial strife" plotline served to exacerbate the most common criticism of the show (which I at once am usually totally un-bothered by and have to admit I have no pithy answer to), which is that there's simply no diegetic support for the notion of The Office as real-world documentary. It's hard to accept Michael Scott never having things thrown at him on the street because all of America is watching him refuse to grow up week after week, but it's impossible to accept the behind-the-scenes meltdowns of the company being filmed and broadcast without consequence.

This is why it is so lucky that NBC has been airing a competing take on the same events. What a compelling drama we have had, in those late-night hours! What biting theatrical commentary has been passed on the classist strife of our time! The serial drama, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, has delivered in ways The Office's writers simply cannot compete with. In Jay Leno, we have a true villain, a puffed-up henchman to put The Office's Charles Minor to shame. He works so well because hating him makes us feel clever: to despise Jay Leno is to see through his mugging, eyebrow-twitching "working class shmoe" schtick. Not watching Jay Leno is its own reward, the gift that keeps on giving.

To see ourselves as The Office's hero - John Krasinski's hapless Jim Halpert, desperate to be an old-school, stand-up guy - is hollow because recent plotlines revolve around Halpert simply not being very good at his job. Whereas to feel for Conan O'Brien is to see through the eyes of the ultimate good guy done wrong. When was the last time fiction gave us a guy this hard-done by what Freud called ananke, the unmovable forces of cruel fate? O'Brien swaggered cliffward like the Tarot's Fool: wearing a grin, his little dog making wisecracks from behind the podium.

The concluding episodes of Late Night with Conan O'Brien became a glorious ceremony in which we burned our betters in effigy for their sinful excesses. That ceremony should have been allowed to conclude in earnest. The fantasy of O'Brien as latter-day Girolamo Savonarola, leading a postmodern Bonfire of the Vanities every bit as urgent as that of renaissance legend, was one that should never have been undone.

Just as I can, for the most part, accept that Dunder Mifflin is a real company in an alternate reality in which The Office is not broadcast, so I can see the Picasso that O'Brien sprayed with Beluga caviar as the real thing, as long as I am allowed to. No communion I ever attended ended with the priest explaining that there'd been a lot of distressing talk on the Internet and he wanted everyone to be clear that those wafers weren't really a dude. O'Brien's acknowledgment of his part in the pageantry of the whole affair was the only bum note in his final episode: the shock-headed psychopomp would have been forgiven had he extended the deception at least until his first post-tv interview.

And so now, with the drama concluded, we have Jay Leno on late-night television, which we had all along, and which was a sorry state of affairs. And we have Letterman, the grand old man of late-night, looking on with bemused disdain at the whole thing. And have we Conan? To say we do not would be to deny his final message to us: "Don't be cynical. I hate cynicism. It's my least favorite quality."

Do this in memory of him, for this is his show.

What Monsters Would Say: Djinn

"Hnyeh, everybody needs a bosom for a pillow, hnyeh hnyeh?"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

In Which Our Hero Prompts the Getting of an Old Joke.

I am rubbish at spotting when an article of mine goes up on The Games Radar! Case in point: this article about irritating sidekicks, in which I get the most Diggs ever given to any piece of media on the Internet, and a lot of people finally work out what "Miles Prower" is a pun on.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What Monsters Would Say: Death

"And you can never get them open. You're fumbling, elbowing the person in the next seat, knocking the stewardess over in the aisles and what have you, nobody can get those packets open! Am I right?? Then BAM! - you've suddenly ripped the pack in two! Peanuts are ALL OVER YOUR LAP! How is that meant to comfort you on a long flight? Lemme tell you, I was on a long-haul from Denver three weeks ago, I'm still finding those things in the crannies of my robes! I mean, what is the deal?!"

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tokens of the 2000s: The One-Disc Edition of Fight Club, $19 New

Don't be stupid! Nobody will ever buy that! No movie more strongly commands cult attention in the form of mandatory Special Edition purchase than Fight Club, and middlingly smart people will never tire of pointing out the irony of this: if you really loved Fight Club, you would show it by not owning a copy of Fight Club at goddamn all. (Much less playing the game).

Which is a ridiculously juvenile way of looking at it, but Chuck Pahlaniuk has this magic power of making ridiculously juvenile thinking seem like this empowering action, which is fortunate for Chuck Pahlaniuk, because people thinking in a ridiculously juvenile manner are far more likely to buy his books. Anyway, Fight Club is one of the most important films of the 2000s, which is impressive given that it was made in 1999, and if you can forget everything about any person who you could ever associate with Fight Club (especially Chuck Pahlaniuk), it is a very good book also.

However you can not possibly own Fight Club on DVD without availing yourself of the opportunity to hear Pahlaniuk talk about how Fight Club is one of the only movies which he considers to have any redeeming quality whatsoever, which is the sort of solipsistic childishness that marks truly empowered thinking.

And so here is an listing for the Special Edition of Fight Club.

What Monsters Would Say: Cynocephali

"So of course my mother from a young age, she refused to shave me. Well, not that I'd look regular that way, but I have a vaguely sort of Michael Wincott sort of charm to me I think, and maybe I could work that better if I didn't have, I don't know, a face full of fucking hair? And - this is a personal thing and all, St. Christopher notwithstanding - but the simple fact is I have not, okay, accepted Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior. I mean, so yeah, there's that. Basically I'm trying to say is, life ain't pretty for a dog-faced boy."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Corganwatch: What, This Isn't a Thing Already?

Would you buy a new Electric Prunes record from this man?

I'm a little embarrassed to learn that Billy Corgan has taken this long to set up a record label with Kerry Brown. What the hell do you mean, Billy Corgan hasn't had a record label with Kerry Brown this whole time? James fucking Iha has had a record label with Kerry Brown for years!

Then again, James Iha had actually done a whole bunch of things Billy Corgan wanted to do long before Billy Corgan got around to doing them, such as releasing a solo album, knocking about with poppier-than-pop teen idols, seeing D'arcy's breasts, and being like Trent Reznor.

If this keeps up, soon Billy Corgan will be doing that other thing that James Iha got round to doing years ago: recording music that is nominally listenable but really rather terrible by any sensible standards, and yet everyone feels compelled to listen to it because it is technically Smashing Pumpkins music.

Ha ha ha! That future event can not be far off!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

In Which Our Hero Brings Back Christmas

Oh look, my article about Christmas bonus content went up and I didn't even notice! Have a look!

What Monsters Would Say: Spring Heeled Jack

"Remember when I broke my foot from jumping from the second floor?"

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tokens of the 2000s: Bailey's and Hurricanranas

Mysterious Pete and myself determined that we would have a fine evening seeing in 2000. It did not work out quite that way!

Firstly we went to go and see End of Days, which - why haven't more people picked up on this? - is exactly the same movie as The Usual Suspects, except that it isn't very great. Seriously, it features Gabriel Byrne being more evil than he appears; a scene of a man pissing on or near a van which leads to dire consequences for Kevin Pollack; the line, "the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist"; and a title with a plural in it. SAME MOVIE.

We joked that we should see End of Days on the evening of December 31st, 1999, as it really would be the end of days. We would soon wish it was. This is not a hyperbole! The only thing going in Christchurch was Dave Dobbyn singing maudlin dirges about how he'd recently discovered that the Bible had some deep themes in it. A couple of these had us wailing. (If you are not from New Zealand, that is a pun on a well known Dave Dobbyn song). (Also, if you are not from New Zealand, Dave Dobbyn is sort of like John "Cougar" Mellencamp to the Finn Brothers' Bruce Springsteen, except that Slice of Heaven certainly is no Paper in Fire. But then, Don't Dream it's Over is no Born to Run).

The rumour was that at the stroke of midnight, white supremacist biker gangs would descend on Cathedral Square to unleash unholy fury on the impure, drug-addled reprobates ringing in the new century. We decided that we wanted very much to be among these reprobates, because see above, Dave fucking Dobbyn. Much to our dismay, there was no impurity or drug-addlement or the like to be found in the civic centre of the South Island's biggest city. There were a couple dozen old white people watching a little LCD screen that counted down, and when it reached 2000, there was some cheering that, were I to describe it as "half-hearted", would be an insult to the ouevre of Matchbox 20; so let us say that the moment it became the 2000s was sufficient to prompt Mysterious Pete to turn to me and say, "fuck it, let's go to a strip club."

Mysterious and myself are less than priggish gentlemen, but we are not big oglers. We wandered from the Square to Lichfield Street, trying to goad each other into a state of readiness to See Some Fuckin' Titties, and we paid our Titty Toll, and we slunk past the wrought-iron pentacles in the door of the Voodoo Lounge. Astute readers will notice a recurring theme in our evening's proceedings: from demon-fighting to Bible Studies in the park to descending into the domain of the Adversary we went, our pilgrims' progress at its nadir, our lower impulses awaiting any sort of rank enlivening in this joyless new age.

We left at around the point the evening's featured dancer pulled a chain out of her cooch.

Mysterious Pete turned to me. "This evening sucks," he observed. I allowed as that it was, indeed, a less than salutory way to usher in the new Millennium.

"I have some Bailey's at home," said Mysterious Pete. "Let's watch wrestling."

We sat in his house, reveling in the empty dissatisfaction of the infant century. Was this how it would be? Hunter Hearst Helmsley spewed angry mist like a vengeful gargoyle. We sipped Irish Cream in his living room and watched grown men play-fight for our amusement. Neither of us were tired, but there was less and less to stay awake for.

The sunrise of the new millennium found me on Sumner beach, squinting through smog and drinking weak coffee out of a thermos. The Twenty First Century had arrived, and it was the least significant thing that had ever happened.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

What Monsters Would Say: Kappa

Friend of the show Mike D has a masterplan for increasing the amount of What Monsters Would Say content on these fine pages: sending me a hearty swathe of monster images, both classic and obscure. Oohh my my, and thank you Sir! Suggestions are always welcome - this means you!

"'Ere, I don't swim in yer toilet, do I, so see you don't go piddlin' in my pond, eh? Now I mention it, couldn't have a quick paddle in yer toilet, could I? Hnyeh hnyeh hnyeh!"

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Tokens of the 2000s: The "Lurid Green Distressed Text on Black Screen" Colorscheme

The 2000s were as cruel to few media entities as they were to The Matrix. But then again, and more importantly, few media entities were crueller to people during the 2000s than The Matrix. Remember how there was this amazing thing that came out of nowhere and synthesized all this shit about the millennial moment in a way that was this perfectly self-contained little pop-cultural nugget of concentrated worth? Remember how we mulled over it for just a little too long, allowed just one or two too many philosophy-for-gibbons books to use that distinctive design scheme, and someone said oh, well, you want Matrix, we got Matrixes till your whole life is a Matrix?

And then before we knew it we had The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions and The Animatrix and The Matrix: Path of Neo and Enter The Matrix and we were all like "I have had it up to here with these goddamn Matrixes in this motherfucking mass media" and Matrix was all like "no you love The Matrix, remember how you like The Matrix, dodge this, jurismydiction"? I feel like the inability to distinguish between "I sure did like that Matrix" and "oh look, The Matrix Online, sign me up" is a uniquely idiotic thing about the people of now, but this may be universal across time, space and all Matrixes.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Tokens of the 2000s: The dog-ears on my dad's copy of The Da Vinci Code

Check this snappy motherfucker.

I read the shit out of that motherfucker. I remember among white people who defined themselves by their own perceived intelligence (which is basically how nuclear wars get started, yo) The Da Vinci Code was this avatar of everything that was ridiculous and uncritical and lazy and unthinking about the culture, and we would just sit in coffee shops and listen to Pink Floyd and drink chai and look across at the young man peering transfixed into his copy of Alvin Toffler's Future Shock (we were in our 20s! There is no excuse for this carryon!) and we would talk about how much we hated The Da Vinci Code, and then we would exchange copies of the works of Terry Pratchett and Neal Stevenson. GOD.

Anyway, I was like the kid who gets told that doing drugs will rot his brain and turn all his thoughts to mush until he just has to smoke some acid, so I read The Da Vinci Code; and it was better than that, because it came pre-mushed, like the brain equivalent of baby food. And there is no person in the world that does not love the taste of baby food. Also, if I could dress every day like Dan Brown, I would do so, at least three days a week.