Into the Big Infernal Bam of the Ancient Boom

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It’s been observed that the reissue of Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult has a cover that looks like the cover of Vasaeleth’s Crypt Born and Tethered to Ruin. But the original album cover bore an equally strong resemblance to another work of demoniacal veneration.

Just try to comprehend all the visual rhymes that reveal themselves when you tease apart the chaotic imagery in these compositions. What are these striated surfaces the obscure figures are standing upon? Is that Oates’s soul leaving his body? Who is that person clenching her fists in anguish, and is she the owner of that disembodied eye that Hall is about to trample? If that’s Baphomet, why are his hands made out of guitar strings? Does the odd multi-layered cranium represent the cascades of hair that still adorn Hall’s occiput well into his sixties, thanks to his own bargain with Lucifer? And what’s with all the tentacles?

Tombola till I die

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An analysis of shirt sponsors considered as team names

A thought occurs. “Northern Rock”, despite the low opinion Britons now have of said bank, is an impressive, tough name.  This led me to wonder, which clubs’ shirts would look the most impressive to someone from a more innocent world who assumes the giant logo on the front is the name of the team?

Sounds awesome

  • Northern Rock F.C.
    “Northern Rock” isn’t a recognizable company name in the USA. Sounds like “Northern soul” but even cooler.
  • Britannia F.C.
  • Wonga F.C.
    “Wonga” is slang for money, but to me it sounds intriguing and exotic, like a team named after the fantasy land of the group of 12-year-olds that founded it in 1906.
  • Tombola F.C.
    See Wonga, except that I have no clue what “Tombola” is so it works even better. Maybe it’s their location.

Not bad

  • Crown Paints F.C.
    Clearly an industry embedded in the history of whatever town they come from.
  • Chang F.C.
    It doesn’t say “Chang Beer”, which helps.  And obviously their mascot is the elephant.
  • Fly Emirates F.C.
    Just go back to being “Emirates FC” and drop the Wreckx-n-Effect slang. The time for calling things “fly” has come and gone. Or update it to “Tricked-out Emirates FC”.

Understated class

  • Autonomy F.C.
    Autonomy FC stands for self-reliance, hard work, and pride. All their players worked their ways up from poverty in places like Senegal, Argentina and Croatia through not physical supremacy, but…physical supremacy and hard work. Why are fans claiming they can’t relate to the players anymore?
  • Aon F.C.
    The rural hamlet of Eawon punches well above its weight in having a Premier League team. Being named after the ancient druidic form of the town’s name is a great touch.
  • F&C F.C.
    Get rid of the little “Investments” and it can easily be one of those combined clubs packed with uninteresting history. SpVgg Farnborough’s stadium was demolished by termites and they had to merge with local non-rival Torpedo Chiselhurst to form Farn & Chisel.
  • Standard Chartered F.C.
    The default club in every team-manager video game, SCFC in real life are the default club for people who like the sport in theory but don’t want to think about it too hard, leading to massive revenue, and massive purchases of massively famous players, and general public disgust.

Up the Lions!

  • Samsung F.C.
    There’s a Samsung-owned team in Korea, but they’re called the Suwon Bluewings. They use a Samsung logo on their chests [or a Samsung product, as seen here on Croatian stars Jasenko Sabitović and Mato Neretljak]. but their crest/badge has no Samsung content.Skipping to another sport, the Samsung Lions, like other Korean baseball teams, have changed their uniforms recently to downplay the business conglomerate. The Samsung Lions, LG Twins, and Kia Tigers all have small corporate logos above the large team name emblem on their chests. But the Twins and Tigers just have a “T” on their caps, while the S of Samsung is an integral part of the Lions’ cap logo. See this Uni Watch entry for a ton of Korean baseball photos.

I guess they had to sell out — how sad.

  • Etihad Airways F.C.
    There are teams called “Vauxhall Motors” and “Airbus UK Broughton” in addition to various others with things like “Miners” and “Mechanics” in the name. But it’s hard to view “Etihad Airways” as having emerged from a recreational club for Etihad Airways workers.
  • Fx Pro F.C.
    “Acorns” was much better. “LG” was much better too, though as with Samsung it should be an understated LG logo above the name of some fierce but lovable creature.
  • 247 999 F.C.
    The little house logo indicates sponsorship by the Criterion Collection release of Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House. The numbers are arbitrary. Every player was supposed to have different numbers in every game which, at the end of the season, you could plug into the Bible Code matrix to get a prophecy of his fate. This was too complex for West Brom’s shirt manufacturers so they just went with the first part of Youssuf Mulumbu’s tragic demise. He’ll be served something deadly…at home. That’s all we are now permitted to know.

Oh, yuck.

  • 188 Bet F.C.
  • Sbobet F.C.
  • Sportingbet F.C.
  • Investec F.C.

Quelle avanie: Ten good uses of songs in movies

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This was a blogathon a couple months ago, but we here at the Ascetic Sensualists haven’t developed the power to detect blogathons before they occur. To make it interesting we’ll ignore any Coen, Tarantino, Scorsese or W. Anderson contributions… for now.

Sometimes I can’t help but get irritated when a movie eschews all music. It seems like a stunt or affectation, in our world of pervasive noise and overlapping musical environments. A film doesn’t need a soundtrack of pop songs, but the lack of any soundtrack at all can be awkward. The ideal situation might be one single well-chosen song as the centerpiece of all the film’s music. In the category of the song [not score, not background music], here are a few of my favorite song choices by filmmakers.

  • Shoot the Piano Player // Tirez sur le Pianiste [François Truffaut, 1960]. How to get across the ennui and desperation of Charles Aznavour’s seemingly well-situated protagonist? Aznavour doesn’t need much help with that, but the milieu is well established by combining his weariness and jovial japester Boby Lapointe’s look of terrified focus as they blast through a ballad of winking wordplay called “Framboise”. Youtube enables us to hear dozens of other Boby Lapointe songs and it’s clear that he was normally … a  lot more relaxed, to an extent where he sounds like a children’s singer. Here’s a less harried version of “Framboise”.
  • The Servant [Joseph Losey, 1963]. Why do the characters in The Servant keep putting the needle down and listening to this song? It’s so miserable and they’re striving not to be miserable. Its status as the film’s love theme is entirely appropriate, as a torch song by middlebrow standard-interpreter Cleo Laine, with music by her saxophonist husband John Dankworth … and lyrics, like the rest of the script, by Harold Pinter. But its presence as something the women in the film want to immerse themselves in? Pinter being perverse and ironical, or a straightforward insinuation that Susan [Wendy Craig] has eloquent misgivings about her vapid fiance [James Fox], despite her own vapidity? “All Gone” could be the key to the whole story, if we can figure out what its lyrics are about. After seeing this film I got a whole Laine / Dankworth compilation CD. “Thieving Boy” is another good one.
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High [Amy Heckerling, 1982]. Is there any music in this movie other than Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby”?  Its mood pervades the whole film. Wistfulness, pessimism, determination, summer, nostalgia for something that may not have happened yet. And taken on its own, the song is a good response to 1981’s twin exemplars of “Is she really going out with him?” whininess, “Jessie’s Girl” and “What She Does To Me”. She’s probably somebody’s baby, but you have no evidence of that as yet. Don’t give up!
  • Light Sleeper [Paul Schrader, 1992]. Schrader shared his anachronistically passionate Christian impulses with Michael Been of The Call, who provided much of the music for this moody, moody movie about a drug dealer’s efforts to justify his existence. Been’s song “World on Fire” accompanies the opening credits, but I barely noticed it. An hour later it plays again during a pivotal scene [I think Willem Dafoe’s protagonist was frantically looking for a gun in a bar] and I started caring intently about the character, reminded of the scene in Mona Lisa where Genesis’s “In Too Deep” plays as Bob Hoskins struggles to stay objective about Cathy Tyson. I thought of listing that song/film as well, but was disenchanted by how every Youtube version of “In Too Deep” is laden with American Psycho joke comments.
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley [Anthony Minghella, 1999]. Another nightclub performance early in a film, establishing the setting. Jude Law beckons Matt Damon onto a stage for an exhilarating rendition of Renato Carosone’s “Tu Vuò Fà l’Americano”. You’d like to spend time with these people, wouldn’t you? Absolutely.

  • Dogma [Kevin Smith, 1999]. This might be my favorite use of the closing-credits song. After two hours of idea after idea after idea, that somehow hang together as a philosophy despite being funny, we see the interaction of God [Alanis Morissette] with humans, and it’s an intentional anticlimax / cop-out. I was unsatisfied. It’s impressive, this notion of God, but it’s unsatisfying that this is the extent of what God chooses to do, that God chooses to be uninterpretable. Then the credits begin and Morissette’s own song “Still” starts to play. At first it’s a bit much like her song “Uninvited” from City of Angels. However … seemingly written specifically for the credits, clearly written from God’s point of view, it’s a window for the viewer to see what the film’s characters can’t see, since she never speaks. An unexpected bonus. It was transfixing and I rewound when it was over to listen to the whole six minutes again, as the tiny white names scrolled by.
  • I’ve always been a Morissette sympathizer, though only the first album has songs I want to hear over and over. Think of it this way: her lyrics are like what college students write for poetry open-mics. But most people at poetry open-mics are terrible. And even something well-written has to also be well-delivered in these scenarios. Meanwhile, rock bands tend to be people who like playing music and can’t come up with much to write about except ex-girlfriends or the concept of freedom. Bands from Thin Lizzy to The Fall to Prolapse to Ezra Furman & the Harpoons have shown us that set to a good piece of rock music, words written with no attention to meter or rhyme take on an unpredictable rhythm of their own and can be just as memorable/catchy as something by the Posies. So why not put together the person who feels like she has a lot to say and has the self-confidence to enunciate properly, with the people who know how to construct a rock song? This was the genius of Glen Ballard.
  • So few filmmakers choose something meaningful for the closing credits, even when they choose something. It’s usually a familiar pop song to leave the audience feeling good, or a piece of mood music, or a song that appeared earlier in the film, now taken out of context [this was annoying in The Secret of Kells]. And in most anime, the opening credits have a rock song seemingly chosen at random, and the closing credits have a sappy ballad seemingly chosen at random. In Dogma the credits music is important to the movie’s events. It’s like incorporating the frame into your painting.
  • Boiler Room [Ben Younger, 2000]. The notion of the hard-hitting rap song ironically appropriated by white boys may be tiresome, but it’s not that common as a movie trope. We’re all familiar with the Geto Boys printer-smashing scene in Office Space. Boiler Room uses a comparable song in a montage that mocks its characters’ pretense of being badass and wealthy, in between scenes intended to convince us that they actually are rather badass and would soon be wealthy if not for the interference of the levelling hand of fate. The rest of Boiler Room is pretty unexciting, except  for some office scenes that show us the steps needed to be a badass salesdouche. This post by Zack Dennis clued me in to Boiler Room‘s era-defining use of Beanie Sigel’s “What a Thug About”.
  • Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back [Kevin Smith, 2001]. Smith’s redundantly repeated reiterations of pop culture references seem designed to be irritating, but this one just seems so sincere. It seems like the movie was filmed in the three-week period of Jay and Silent Bob’s life when they were really into Morris Day & The Time, and serendipity built it up to a whole phenomenon with a live performance of “Jungle Love” over the closing credits. And a month later Jay and Silent Bob would have other adventures while being big into Deicide or Vashti Bunyan or playing pooh-sticks or something. You never know what these chaps will do next.

"Don't you never say an unkind word about The Time! Me and Silent Bob modeled our whole ####ing lives around Morris Day and Jerome."

  • Linda Linda Linda [Nobuhiro Yamashita, 2005]. Total catharsis! :-D Both songs tie for awesomeness. But it must be earned.
    Here’s the Blue Hearts [The Clash of Japan? maybe] doing the original version of “Owaranai Uta”, and a live “Linda Linda”.
  • Cargo 200 // Груз 200 [Alexey Balabanov, 2007]. One of the less defensible audience endurance tests in recent years, this movie’s “You think Putin is bad? Permit me to remind you what the Chernenko era was like. Now aren’t you glad to have Vlad?” attitude is as irritating as the blank looks on all the characters who aren’t supposed to be psychotic sadists. [The psychotic sadists also have blank looks.] But it enters my mind regularly because of the classic piece of seventies folk-pop that comes on just about every time someone is driving — Ariel’s “V Krayu Magnoliy” (“The Edge of Magnolia”). Afriend who speaks Russian says “I think it’s based on a book about going on vacation in Sochi (black sea). Lyrics are about flowers and the ocean, how much fun it is to be there, dance, meet girls etc.” You know, like if “Dancin’ in the Moonlight” was the theme from House of 1000 Corpses. Which did use some kitschy country songs to good effect, but nothing that sticks with you.