Saturday, March 28, 2009


A couple of forgettable Hollywood movies, the usual UK-produced rubbish, and some bloodsoaked French horror, the latter of which is unmissable.

Yes Man (**)

Carrey moves back into more familiar
Liar Liar territory with a comedy that certainly has sporadically good moments; however, the initially interesting premise is undermined by its relentless path towards formulaic romcom mediocrity

Killshot (*)
ugly charmless trash about stupid macho guys with big guns - Rourke, laughably here playing a Native American Indian, needs to quit now while he's still marginally ahead

Easy Virtue (*)
not a single member of this cast has any sense of timing or delivery of what is already a spectacularly unfunny script for this poorly directed BBC production based on Noel Coward's comedy of manners

Frontière(s) (*)
weakly scripted, badly acted rubbish: in particular, the annoying super-fast edits are so noobishly straight-out-of-film-school, as are its naive attempts at social commentary amidst the gory horror - best to stick to the films it tries to borrow from

À l'intérieur (****)
the construct of nightmares: absurd, bloody, implausible, surreal - that it works is entirely thanks to the incomparably haunting presence of the magnificent Béatrice Dalle, whose visage synthesises beauty and horror as one

Thursday, March 26, 2009


#8: -ness

A definition of quality is that quality is a notion of expression that is only known and recognised by an unconscious non-thinking process, and therefore since
definition is a conscious thinking process, quality cannot ever be defined.

Naturally, another application of quality is as the aesthetic representation of one person to another, or of oneself. In conversation we'll employ devices such as 'he's/she's/I'm (not) nice, or (not) friendly, or (not) kind, or (not) funny, or (not) attractive, or (not) charming'. In fact, these are no more than superficial linguistic nods and winks to convey a shared sense of quality recognition with each other, and one with the also superficial presupposed subtext of 'it makes me feel good/bad'. In other words, the typical illusion of identity crap.

And, other than through good poetry, literature, music, and art, there's a lovely simple way you can at least feel personal quality through expression, and beyond the illusion of identity. It's with the wonderfully versatile suffix '-ness'. (Ignore the prescriptive grammarians who say it's only suppposed to be used with adjectives and participles - nouns are commonly used as adjectives, so it's fine.)

Your thingness is your name + '-ness'. It's the essence of you.

For me, it's my Williamness: I'm not a nothing thing and neither are you, and I want you and not some thing you have, people do things with me and not to me, any thing is possible and crossing the barriers in between is always exciting.


If you have a certain fascination with the ghastly implements and devices employed during the ages in the name of health, quackery, and other forms of 'medical science', then, next time you're in London, you (like me) will want to visit the Science Museum in South Kensington. Here's a taste of some of the implements being exhibited for our forthcoming edification.

Enema Machine
an exercise in extravagant solipsism if ever there were; I confess the thought of that ivory tip alone sends a real shiver up my spine

Male Anti-Masturbation Device
curiously fetishistic incongruence to see it externally modelled on a pair of blue jeans; notice the contemporary innovation of the ventricles which were lacking in earlier inferior models

Amputation Kit
this, to me, epitomises so well, on so many levels, why we humans are amongst the stupidest animals on the planet

Bronze Man
don't you agree a version of this should be reintroduced to the student doctors of today, one with mild(-ish) electric shocks administered to the correspondingly missed anatomical spot?

There's so much more to see, and since the museum's website is so unwieldy and poorly designed, that other than visiting the museum in person, I suggest starting out here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


An unexpected email landed in my inbox yesterday evening from the ESP-Disk label. It seems they are to remaster and reissue Orgasm and were requesting artwork information about my copy of said album since they don't have an original in their possession!


Monday, March 23, 2009


New publications of interest:

Micro Bionic by Thomas Bey William Bailey
includes a chapter on Whitehouse with an exclusive interview that I did for the project

Industrial Musics by Eric Duboys
big new book in French includes a 110pp chapter on Whitehouse

Collapse by various contributors, edited by Robin Mackay
this philosophical research journal (in paperback book format of ever increasing thickness), of which the new 5th themed volume is just published, is always packed tight with some of the most aggressively challenging written contributions you'll find anywhere (Volume IV concerning the notion of 'horror' is specially recommended)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


It was a top weekend at Bloc 09 in Minehead (big thanks to Piers and Rodaidh for inviting me). I caught as many sets and performances as were possible faced with four simultaneous major stages (all operating on Saturday night till well after nine on Sunday morning!). Egyptian Lover was pure 80s nostalgic electro fun; Russell (Haswell) did a brilliant set of contrasts at Cocadisco; and Aphex Twin + Florian Hecker should have been a lot better considering their respective talents. However, to my surprise, the best act by far was the entertaining Altern8 who, at industrial strength volume and with an infectious energy, put on a relentless non-stop show that made the early 90s, otherwise musically dreadful, sound almost relevant.

So anyway, it seemed fitting to include a dance music posting in the series: an album I consider the apotheosis of the genre.

Monet : Leave The Lights On (1987)

After Chris Barbosa heard the short drum break with its overloaded echo on Afrika Bambaataa's Looking For The Perfect Beat, he was inspired to create an entire track utilising that very sound. Much like Marshall Jefferson and many others of the era not having immediate access to musical equipment or studios, Barbosa went out and procured a Juno and a drum machine to realise his dream. What he then came up with was a thunderous track that would eventually manifest as Shannon's Let The Music Play; and an entire new musical genre, still much imitated
yet never bettered to this day, was spawned: freestyle.

Let The Music Play was quickly followed by the even more astounding Give Me Tonight - a powerhouse demonstration of Barbosa's innovative genius of combining uniquely complex drum programming with vertiginously dramatic harmonies. Whilst Shannon enjoyed great mainstream commercial success in the US and around the world, the project soon became a hostage to major label demands to soften the beats, diversify styles, and do ballads and cover versions.

Happily, Barbosa set up the independent label Ligosa Records with colleague Mark Liggett, which gave freer rein to focus on his inimitable style, the highlight being Monet's album Leave The Lights On. Everything that you loved about early Shannon is contained within Monet's opus, but this time in bigger doses, louder doses, harder, more boisterous, and more melodramatic still (if that were possible). There's so much successful innovation going on during My Heart Gets All The Breaks, Give In To Me, Come On To Me, and other amazing cuts here that it puts the rest of the customarily simplistic and disposable club music genre to abject shame.

Less happily however, was that it was 1987 and the catastrophic worldwide alluvion of techno/house swamped the project, condemning it - and almost every other form of inventive electronic music that was being made at the time - to oblivion. I consider Chris Barbosa, a lovely and self-effacing person, to be one of the most important composers and producers ever.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Would you like any cake, would you like some cake, or would you like every cake? In the place where any thing is possible, perspectives invert, the rules change, complicity happens just because it's expected. So if you think some thing will die, show me as you leave why time flies every time you've lied.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


All of the following to stimulate the mind (and body) - with the exception of the dismal The Unborn.

Martyrs (****)
the initial impression of Martyrs is that of its relentlessly shocking and deeply disturbing violence; however, when the context is revealed and it becomes clearer where you're being led, that unflinching lack of subtlety begins to make sense: The Passion Of The Christ is successfully remade as a horror movie

Synecdoche, New York (***)
it's hard to dislike a film with such a strong cast, with such an intensity of ideas, and such ambitious complexity - Synecdoche, New York (which is a great title) is not an easy film by any means yet is certainly worthy of one's attention and effort; however, in my view, Kaufman boldly reaches towards but ultimately fails to touch the heart of the matter that is the nature of the human condition

Film (****)
odd, bleak, yet fascinating and thought-provoking short film by Samuel Beckett featuring Buster Keaton - it lends itself well to initiating philosophical discourse on the nature of perception and perceptiveness, and the illusion of (personal) identity

Viva (**)
visually, the 70s sexploitation vibe is captured superbly well, along with some deliberately wooden acting and a curious feminist subtext, but the stylised humour got a little too Austin Powers for me at times; that all said, there's a veritable cornucopia of male/female flesh and sexy retro clothing on display

Låt Den Rätte Komma In (Let the Right One in) (*****)
a long-held theory of mine has been disproven: the one where a terrible zombie film is always better than a good vampire film; this beautiful, gentle, yet horrifying film is emotionally moving in the most surprising ways imaginable; the music, the pacing and direction, the fearless story-telling, and above all the two children who play the lead roles of Oskar and Eli, touch artistic perfectness

The Unborn (*)
regardless of how bored you are, this is a wretched waste of time

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Sunday, 15th March : DJ Benetti : Bloc 09, Minehead
Friday, 10th April : DJ Benetti : Faction, London

(picture : Muir Vidler)

Friday, March 06, 2009


#7 belief

Sadly, it reaped such undistinguished reviews that, on my recent trip to Las Vegas, I was dissuaded from seeing Cirque du Soleil's much-touted production at the splendid Luxor featuring magician Criss Angel; though as scant consolation to Mr. Angel, I did much admire his ubiquitous publicity posters. What I found particularly cute, other than the decidedly fine-looking masked wench, is the typographic word play within BeLieve betraying, as it does, the metasignificance of the notion of belief.

People, and naturally I include myself within that grouping, all have complex belief systems regarding ourselves and the world around us, and this worldview tends to become pretty entrenched from adolescence onwards. Consistency and continuity of beliefs have been argued as a measure of a person's sanity - note for example how the accusation of flip-flopping, often levelled at politicians, is so hard to counter (is it really so wrong to change one's mind, or admit fault?). Thus, in addition to also forming an integral part of the illusion of identity, there's powerful social pressure to maintain and reinforce these beliefs whatever their configuration, rigidly and absolutely, much of which takes the form of ritual and ritualised behaviour.

I see belief as essentially superstition, something I already touched upon in a previous entry in this series (apologies for some repetition here) - and I mean superstition in the sense of being neither useful nor helpful. Upon hearing myself or others using expressions such as 'I (don't) think' and 'I believe' and so on, alarm bells inform me that a superstition is about to be communicated. Of course, it should also be said that many utterances may not utilise this languaging at all yet still contain the implicit notion of belief within.

To me, a person's attractiveness and likeability can be measured by their degree of unattachment to their own beliefs: the less attached, the more attractive, and vice versa. Personally, I don't believe in beliefs, especially my own - yes, I have all sorts of preposterous opinions and things to say about all sorts of things, yet I don't claim them to be true, nor do I seek anyone's agreement nor approval, nor disagreement nor disapproval. And I say that to remove the burden from you of that responsibility. My words merely function as a flimsy disposable rope-bridge leading to a domain where any thing is possible and permitted - they have no more meaningful purpose than that.

Monday, March 02, 2009


A few years ago I used to do weekly talks at the Theosophical Society here in Edinburgh - they took place in the outstanding library there, a spacious early Georgian-era room with a couple of thousand rare antiquarian books neatly stacked on the surrounding shelves all on various odd esoteric subjects. The books seemed to, almost magically, emit an intoxicating aura that positively energised everyone present.

It's said that your own collection reveals a lot about who you are - to me, it's better expressed the other way round, that you are a living revelation of the books that you've read and been exposed to (or not read, as the case may be).
Moreover, when visitors come round and peruse your shelves, as is their wont, the books you have often reveal unexpectedly pleasing things about them that you may never have otherwise discovered through conversation - "ooh, I didn't know you were into such-and-such, William, I love such-and-such..."

Collections of books exude enormous living personality and energy, which is why I've always been drawn to libraries. They give great solace, and were one left in an extreme place of isolation, I believe books alone could keep me going, while music and moving pictures could be routinely sacrificed. I certainly couldn't live without them and wish there was more time in life to read everything that's worth reading.

Enjoy this remarkable collection of libraries around the world
- sadly, none of which I've had the pleasure of visiting.


Sick to death of daily newspapers and rolling news channels? Here's a much-needed dose of Pravda.

USSR's First And Only President
Included in this otherwise dreary anniversary story is Gorbachev's strategic blunder that was to be the sole cause for the demise of the mighty Soviet Union: his anti-alcohol campaign. Let that be a lesson to any would-be despots.

Amazing Creatures Of Deep Polar Waters
Pravda is excellent for these fascinating off-beat science stories which allow our hidden child's imagination to come out to play.

Alexander Pushkin Can Be Cloned
I think Sergei Malinkevich is absolutely right: we should ignore those old fuddy-duddies in the Russian Orthodox Church and use this sample to clone Pushkin and see if it will give us a new genius.