Thursday, December 10, 2009

No novelty here...

Chris Ware has been writing and illustrating his remarkable comic books since the 1980's - culminating in his most celebrated creation to date - 2001's 'Jimmy Corrigan, the smartest kid on earth.' Ware exhibits much of the same artistic sensibilities of his heroes, indeed antecedents - Will Eisner, Charles Schulz and Frank King, but his work; both in terms of the imagery employed and the various narratives used is idiosyncratically his. Included in this post is a Chris Ware animation made for Ira Glass's 'This American Life,' TV show - it perfectly, and in a style that is not unnatural to Ware's usual way of working - captures all that is exceptional about his art.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

But seriously...

The Coen brothers have been making films for 25 years now - in fact 'Blood Simple' was released on January, 1985. In the years that have followed they have continued to make movies that encompass a variety of genres, indeed, a variety of film-making styles, but their primary purpose has always been to entertain and, hopefully, to provide incisive, often highly satirical comment, on what passes for American culture today. One of the great things about art is that it divides opinion. Subjectivity; the passion that people can have for and against a particular film, piece of music, a book or a theatrical presentation is a wonderful thing - it allows new work to be considered at all and previous or prior work to be reappraised and assigned its accordance. The brothers most recent film ' A serious man,' continues to provoke conflicting responses. And it is the fact that it generates these polar opposites of opinion - some love the film unashamedly, some accuse it, and a proportion of their most recent work, of all sorts of misdemeanours - that's most important. The film is on restricted release throughout the UK now - watch it, enjoy it or loathe it, and draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

There is so much music out there...

In many musical ways, 2009 appears to be very similar to the early 1990's. The Flaming Lips shocked everyone in 1990 - well, no-one, with their marvelously deranged fourth album, 'In a priest driven ambulance.' Mercury Rev released the, ahem, mercurial, 'Yerself is steam,' to an uninterested, unconcerned 1991. And barely a year later Buffalo Tom issued their seminal recording, 'Let me come over.' All great records. All, relatively ignored. The current end of year best album lists; and the bands that feature heavily in them, seem, all of them, to have been intently listening to these classics of the 90's. This is especially true of Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips and these cited earlier works. Something, however, seems to be missing from these new bands. All great work - for it to be truly great - has to have an essential element of humour to it - The Velvets had it, The Stones had it, The Smiths had it - Radiohead have it. Twat isn't so sure the current crop - Animal Collective, Wild Beasts, Grizzly Bear et al have it. The question is - do they need to have it? Or has one particular sensibility replaced another?

Anyway here's Japandroids - to illustrate what we mean - but, also, TO DANCE 2!