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bigsleepj [userpic]

Don't say I did

October 7th, 2011 (08:37 pm)

I have this pet peeve.

This pet peeve is more of a berserk button.

If you imply I did something which I did not, then I will defend my point of view that I did not.

So, take care when you reply to me. I might just LOCK YOU UP IN A PRIVATE PRISON FOR 15 YEARS!

bigsleepj [userpic]

"Hey, Professor!"

August 15th, 2011 (08:29 pm)

current mood: blank

It sort of depresses me that I don't use LJ as much as I used to. I have lots to say and lots to think but somehow I don't feel like putting them down. (down down down). Maybe I should. Maybe I would. But not now.

But in lieu of anything intelligent to say, here's the title sequence to The Great Race. Its done in the style of a slideshow and set to the lovely score of Herny Mancini. You don't get these three hour epic comedies anymore.

Push the button, Max! 

(though not a financial success the film was blatantly the inspiration for Wacky Races).

bigsleepj [userpic]

The Revenge of Victor Gollancz

July 21st, 2011 (08:52 pm)

current mood: amused
current song: The Cave - Mumford & Sons

Well, I got my Man in the High Castle book in the mail and ploughed through it like a rabid bull on cocaine. Despite its seemingly simple style the book in the end defeated me, which is the first time in a while I can say a book did that to me. I suppose defeat came in the form of 'I don't understand what the last two chapters of the book mean, imply, or what to think of it'. If that makes sense. This post is not about that, but again about the cover.

Despite its pretty good cover design (which is the reason I bought it, remember) it seems certain elements have been superseded by the dreaded Victor Gollancz Branding. Victor Gollancz is a publishing house that used to publish political works but shifted over to science fictions during the 70s, and today publish both new ones and classic science fiction exclusively. Gollancz published several big British authors of the 20th century (like his first big 'discovery', a fellow named George Orwell) as well as introduced American authors like Kurt Vonnegut to the Brits.

At a time when people barely understood the concept Mr Gollancz (a Communist, ironically) began experimenting with what is now known as branding. Gollancz publications, I noticed in my local library during the 90s, had one thing in cover. Red and yellow. Sometimes green and yellow. Gollancz covers usually came in yellow, as shown below:

This made them stand out among other books as far back as 1930. And, it seems, they're still keeping the yellow aspidistra covers flying. Gollancz may be dead but his branding keep marching on.

bigsleepj [userpic]

To paraphrase Milos Foreman...

July 15th, 2011 (08:24 pm)

current mood: cynical

The other day a guy called Floyd Shivambu, spokes person for the ANC Youth League. This reporter wanted to talk to the president of the Youth League and ask him some hard questions. Shivambu's response is not for the feint of ear (or eye, in this case).

shock me AmadeusCollapse )

bigsleepj [userpic]

Bad Book Cover! No reading for you!

June 18th, 2011 (03:37 pm)

current mood: Mr Cranky'd

Philip K Dick's The Man in the High Castle is a mind-bending science fiction tale set in an alternate 1960s where the United States is divided between Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany ('cuz they won the War), and much of the world too. In trying to find a good, cheap copy  none being published locally I find myself looking at imports. There are basically two cheap books to choose from; the US edition and the UK edition. I'm going to go with the UK edition, simply because it has a better cover that fits the subject matter:

See? Its simplistic and all encompassing, as well as unsettling, though some might argue badly Photoshopped. Nothing is perfect. But yes, I admit that I'm sometimes willing to pay even a little bit extra for a good cover of a book, the more simplistic the better.

A bit more expensive cover is the Penguin Modern Classics cover, which is also fitting and mayhaps the better design (but this month's been tough so I'm not going with it). It also captures the main selling point of the book, which is NAZIS IN AMERICA! 

This brings us to the general US cover. I suppose you can make an argument for what the graphic designer was thinking (with Philip K Dick being a trippy author and Nazi culture's obsession with perfection and eugenics). It doesn't make the cover better.

dude whatCollapse )

bigsleepj [userpic]

Jacques Tati's PLAY TIME (1967ish)

June 3rd, 2011 (09:22 pm)

current mood: Eberty
current song: The Son of Flynn - Daft Punk

My friends, can you stand the eye-gouging horror that our future holds?

Some movies are contend with showing you the present or the past; which are both easy to frame and set-up or recreate with historical research. But sometimes they dare to show you a vision of the future. Most radical examples of the latter can be found in Metropolis (1927) and Blade Runner (1982). Both movies have been visually very influential, though both were also incredibly expensive. If you got to build something that does not exist yet then naturally it would cost money. At the time of its release Play Time was one of the most expensive movies ever made in France, and like the two other movies it also floundered financially on its initial release. Like the other two it showed us a vision of the future, though you would not think it when you watch the movie. Play Time has the singular novelty of having its future come true within less than a decade since its premier. If you did not know this going in then you'd hardly notice it at all.
Its all setsCollapse )

bigsleepj [userpic]

Cheese and Whine

May 31st, 2011 (09:22 pm)

current mood: blah
current song: Smetana - Die Moldau

Thank you everyone for replying to my last post. I would have gotten to it sooner, but I was away for the weekend (to my brother - nothing fancy). Now that I have all your attention, permit me to whine.

chenin blanc and whineslydaleCollapse )

bigsleepj [userpic]

(no subject)

May 26th, 2011 (08:35 pm)

Anyone still reading this?

bigsleepj [userpic]

Cigars of the Pharaohs

May 8th, 2011 (06:08 pm)

When I told an American friend once that I bought a Captain Haddock key-chain at the Tintin Shop at Covent Garden, London, he was rather astonished. Atypical for an American he knew who Tintin was in more than name, having read them when they were originally published in English, but he never imagined it to be popular enough to sustain a dedicated shop. For the rest of the world, though, Tintin fandom is a very common cultural aspect. You even several degrees of Tintin-fandom, Tintinologist being the most common type and Tintinamator being the highest (I'm a casual Tintinologist, by the way).

At the end of the year Steven Spielberg will be bringing out his mo-cap (shudder) adaptation of everyone's favourite Francophone Belgium reporter, and despite the high risk of getting Uncanny Valley'd I'm looking forward to it. In light of its October Release (no trailer yet... not encouraging) I found myself revisiting my not-particularly large Tintin collection, and then decided to buy the first Tintin book I 'read', despite not being able to read.

Cigars!Collapse )

bigsleepj [userpic]

Jock vs Jock: A low-level rant

April 29th, 2011 (08:59 pm)

current mood: you changed it, now it sucks
current song: The Cave - Mumford and Sons

When we took my sister's friends from England for a trip of the Eastern Transvaal, they could not help but notice a name: Jock. Most South Africans know the story, but I will retell you quickly.

Once upon a time a South African businessman and politician, while visiting England, told a bunch of friends a story one cold night in London. One of the people was the author of The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling, at that stage on of the most popular British authors. He urged his friend, named James Percival FitzPatrick, to write down the story and publish it. The story he wrote was Jock of the Bushveld, the true story of his first (failed) business venture as a transport rider in the wild Eastern Transvaal. That's where he fits in. What it is best remembered for is the tragic tale of a man's love for his dog and how that love gives a young man's life a centre during a difficult time. It is also a tale of early pioneering adventure, and all of it is true.

Under African SkiesCollapse )

bigsleepj [userpic]

Oh no! It's me!

April 26th, 2011 (05:18 am)

current mood: Faceless Skillet

We still need to finish the actual first episode (hopefully this weekend) so here is something else instead.

I'm being silly here. I was also referencing this scene from the movie Excalibur.

bigsleepj [userpic]

Oh hey...

April 11th, 2011 (06:31 pm)

Oh, neglected LJ.

I still need to post something more substantial than this sentence.

bigsleepj [userpic]

One-note entry

April 4th, 2011 (10:15 pm)

current mood: bored

Well, its one of those one-note entries again, regarding our series.

Here is a too brief by half interview with the producer / head actor, Christo "No-Relation-to-that-Renaissance-guy" Erasmus. You can see brief glimpses of me doing stuff.

Personally, I don't see the resemblance. At all. But that's probably because we grew up together.

More to come. Less to show...

bigsleepj [userpic]

Trailer Trailer

March 27th, 2011 (05:41 pm)

Here's the trailer for our webseries.



Divine Comedy, or Paradise Lost?

You decide....

bigsleepj [userpic]

Some Stills

March 14th, 2011 (08:09 pm)

current mood: amused
current song: The Cave - Mumford and Sons

Well, here are some stills taken on the day of filming. Or maybe they're screen-shots.

Cue the Funeral March for a Marionette. One of the pictures actually is my profile smoking what may or may not be a Cuban cigar (seeing how they're legal here and all!). Soon my crazed look will horrify you all in HD! 

bigsleepj [userpic]

Project eX

March 12th, 2011 (10:24 pm)

current mood: Ecstatic
current song: Burning Love - Elvis Presley

Well, today was a great day! One I'll never forget. This is one unexpected entry, for those who still happen to follow me on LiveJournal, which I have been neglecting. I hope to start making this up, one way or the other.

For those of you not in the know (that would be most of you!) some friends and I have been planning, for more than a year, to launch a series on youTube. This series could accurately be described as an X-Files parody, though familiarity with the show is not a requisite for enjoying it. Our primary inspiration is movies like The Naked Gun and Airplane!, though certainly not films like Meet the Spartans and Vampires Suck, though they fall in the same category. I have the dubious honour of being the main writer of the series, and so far the only writer, and overall our budget is shoestring, but we still hope to give everyone a quality bit of entertainment. We are paying a lot of attention to quality, and hope to have it on HD for youTube, should anyone have the ability to view it as such (the average South African would not be able to, thanks to our crummy broadband).

On the whole we don't want this to feel like it was produced by a bunch of guys with time and a cam-corder but like it might be something you'd watch on TV, despite being low-budget. Today was our first day of filming, shooting mostly the scenes with me in (believe it or not, I'm the main villain!). It lasted from 5 o'clock in the afternoon (the dying of the light) until 8:45pm, but mostly we got our shots finished, with lots of comedic touches improvised. Next week the bulk of the show is going to be shot, and we hope to have a trailer within a week or so. I'll keep you posted, or just join our Facebook page.

bigsleepj [userpic]

Metropolis (1927 / 2010)

February 7th, 2011 (11:05 pm)

current mood: Fritz Langey

Having conceived Babel, yet unable to build it themselves, they had thousands to build it for them. But those who toiled knew nothing of the dreams of those who planned. And the minds that planned the Tower of Babel cared nothing for the workers who built it. The hymns of praise of the few became the curses of the many...

I did not want to spend my afternoon like that, but for three hours I was completely enveloped in the 'complete' version of the grandaddy of science fiction movies (as well as dystopian futures). Clocking 150 minutes (not including the 55 minute documentary, which I also absorbed) this is as complete as Lang's movie will ever be after being truncated, butchered and re-arranged for more than a century. Its still barely coherent, but I've made peace with that.

Metropolis is, mayhaps, not the best place to start if you want to explore silent cinema, even if it does contain some of its most iconic imagery, including the 'created human', a robot (on which C-3PO was loosely modelled). To be honest, the movie has glaring flaws and has aged badly (and I don't mean the scratches). Some of these flaws are inherent to most of silent cinema, but most are inherent to its story. Worse of all, the movie clobbers you on the head with its 'message', which sounds like it was pilfered from a fortune cookie (I'd like to credit Amazon.com staff reviewer, Richard T Jameson, for the latter observation in an otherwise very positive review).

Between the Mind and the HandsCollapse )

bigsleepj [userpic]

Well, I'm off again

January 30th, 2011 (06:34 am)

The second leg of my holiday begins now. I'm off to The Kruger National Park. :-)

bigsleepj [userpic]

(no subject)

January 22nd, 2011 (05:12 am)

It depresses me that I'm neglecting my LJ.


I have so much to say, but no time to write it down.

bigsleepj [userpic]


December 28th, 2010 (09:01 pm)

current mood: Lafferty'd

My copy of R.A. Lafferty's short-story collection, Nine Hundred Grandmothers, is still missing, having seemingly disappeared off the shelf one moonlit night. For over a year I have been unable to locate it, and this happened as the vast majority of his published works fell out of print for the umpteenth time (despite endless accolades by several science fiction and fantasy authors, including Neil Gaiman and Arthur C Clarke). Just my luck. Lafferty's novels left much to be desired, but his short stories, if you can get into their strange, trippy style he's worth it.

The Name of the Snake is arguably one of Lafferty's bleaker, blacker works; an ineffectual priest travels to the distant planet of Analos, whose inhabitants claim they have evolved beyond sin and guilt. Something of a comedy on Christian missionary work, it is actually a rather dark satire on something else entirely. Not sure everyone would like the ending.

Fun is the third side of a two-sided coin. It slips in.Collapse )

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