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Showing posts from September, 2017

Why I Love Humphrey Bogart

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"I don't like your manners." "And I'm not crazy about yours. I didn't ask to see you. I don't mind if you don't like my manners, I don't like them myself. They are pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings. I don't mind your ritzing me drinking your lunch out of a bottle. But don't waste your time trying to cross-examine me."

Humphrey Bogart is the great Noir actor. He has been in four classic Noirs with The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, Key Largo and In a Lonely Place. More besides, but let's keep it to a manageable figure. Bogart started as a villain and brought his shades of grey to the world of the hero. Casablanca, that great movie, sees Bogart perfect his touch for the unwilling hero. Some people think that Humphrey Bogart plays the same character in every movie, and while he does have a very distinct style this is not fair. He can play sweet, romantic and witty, just as well as he can play menacing and d…

Why I Love

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"When you fell in love, it was so sweet
So devoted, completely swept off your feet
Love is the greatest thing our heart can know
But the hole that it leaves in its abscence can make you feel so low And I was glad it didn't destroy you
How sad that would be
'Cause if it destroyed you
It would destroy me." I have loved a few women in my life. This is an uncomfortable fact, for those who consider Muggins here inhuman or otherwise divergent in important ways. I'm not actually that bad a sort, and the few women who I've been with have some understanding of that. Don't worry, this isn't a catalogue of my sexual adventures, largely because it just wouldn't make the word count. This is about why I love the things I do. That includes women, men, singers and songwriters, video game sorts and filmmakers. This entire blog is devoted to the idea that it is better to love something than to hate something. Writing about why you hate something is easy, lazy and …

Why I Love Christopher Hitchens

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What is it you most dislike? Stupidity, especially in its nastiest forms of racism and superstition.”

Christopher Hitchens is a hero of mine. I first discovered him through Bill Maher's Real Time show on HBO. I was working at Citibank at the time as a security guard - I know - and I used to spend my many hours watching Maher's show and becoming educated in better people than me. When I saw Hitch first, I couldn't believe that someone like him could exist in the world. Here he was saying things I had long thought about but had never verbalized. He stood up to bullies in all their forms, and held that religion could be a great evil, that it was perhaps even built to be evil from the ground up. To understand why a guy like me would react so passionately to Hitch, you need to understand our history in Ireland with religion. It has long divided and controlled us. The Catholic Church is responsible for unforgivable crimes against the people of Ireland, and many other places to…

Why I Love Scenes From The Class Struggle in Springfield

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"Automotive skills and fashion sense. Well, you've come a long way from the girl I knew nothing about in high school." "We ran with our different crowds. You had your debutante balls and... skinny-dipping, and I had my... home shoe repair course."

Season 7 and 8 are two of the best seasons in the history of The Simpsons. Thank showrunners Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein for crafting two seasons which rival the very best of the show. They were both supremely qualified to bring heart and hilarious jokes to The Simpsons. They understood that to truly believe in the story being told you needed to feel for the characters. Their belief that Homer should be, as Bill Oakley put it, a regular dumb guy, and not the most famous man on Earth or a food monster, led to some of the greatest episodes in history.

My favourite episode from their tenure on the show is Scenes From The Class Struggle in Springfield. This may surprise you, as it is an episode that is not a Bart or H…

Why I Love The Lost Finale

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"Desmond, you've done enough. You wanna do something? Go home and be with your wife and son." "How about you, Jack?" "I'll see you in another life, brother."

Lost is one of the greatest shows in the history of television. It is a dizzying combination of a brilliantly diverse characters, dense mystery and a mythology to rival the great Twin Peaks. It may not be perfect - there are some dodgy episodes here and there - but hell, what is? Lost is like life, you don't always get exactly what you want, but as the man said, you get what you need. The ending to Lost was divisive when it first aired. A lot of people didn't seem to understand what was happening or why, or when they did, they didn't like it. The answers crowd, who couldn't keep up with the mysteries the show examined, were a constant pain through the original airing, fixating on the things that didn't immediately make sense. This will be familiar to those who recently wa…

Why I Love Professional Wrestling

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I have loved Professional Wrestling for as long as I can remember. I started with Hulk Hogan. Hogan is The Beatles or Nintendo of wrestling. If you say you don't like these people, you are someone who doesn't quite understand the medium in which they exist. Sure they're not all these media have to offer, but they express so well the heart of it. They are for so many the driving force behind why we love these artistic things. Wrestling is something that a fair lot of people just don't get. They think it's childish and stupid, even while loving other seemingly infantile media like comic books. Well, I will do my very best to express why these people are wrong and why professional wrestling is one of the great artforms and athletic contests.

Professional wrestling can be compared with the martial arts movies of Jackie Chan mixed with a bit of the circus and a bit of a good magic show like Penn and Teller. Just because it isn't "real" doesn&…

Why I Love Calvin and Hobbes

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"It's a magical world, Hobbes ol' buddy. Let's go exploring!"

I first read Calvin and Hobbes when I was young. I discovered the comic strip in my Nanny's house. It had been a present given to my aunt by a boyfriend who thought it was hilarious that she had the same last name as a cartoon tiger. Calvin and Hobbes is one of the funniest, most touching comic strips of all time. It also increased my vocabulary ten times over, with a deliriously entertaining high brow terminology used to express Calvin's dissatisfaction with people's lack of understanding of his genius. I particularly loved the many art criticisms of children's snowmen. While Calvin and Hobbes is extremely witty and funny, it is its heart that marks it out as perhaps the greatest of all comic strips. It prizes imagination and a love for life above all else.

Calvin and Hobbes was drawn, written and coloured by Bill Watterson, a semi-hermetic sort who always shied away from publicity an…

Why I Love The Twin Peaks Finale

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"We live inside a dream."

Let's start with the obvious complaint about the Twin Peaks finale: it didn't answer enough questions. Well, leaving aside that it did in fact clarify a lot of things, let's face this complaint head on. The answers crowd have plagued many a TV show and are responsible for the cancellation of the original Twin Peaks all those years ago. They were a common feature throughout the run of Lost, and were never less than supremely annoying, full of weird entitlement and an inability to deal with anything that wasn't explained in very clear English. This is where the complaint of a show like Twin Peaks being self-indulgent comes from. The inability to understand instinctual Art is a curse, and while many of us have some sympathy for the literally minded soul, we must remember that it is in most cases a curse of these people's own making. The Twin Peaks finale was as far from a "fuck you" to the fans as it is possible to be. It…

Why I Love Compilations

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"The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Anyway... I've started to make a tape... in my head... for Laura. Full of stuff she likes. Full of stuff that make her happy. For the first time I can sort of see how that is done."

I can't remember when I first started making compilations, but I do remember that it was my brother who first encouraged me to do so. I was entranced by the idea of crafting an experience for those I loved and wanted to impress. Compilations are, as almost everyone knows, a powerful to seduce those who you want to go to bed with. A good compilation makes up for every awkward social snafu, from now until infinity. When they say, "Yes, you behaved like a complete arse last ni…

Why I Love Hotline Bling and The Ride

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"You used to call me on my cellphone
Late night when you need my love
Call me on my cellphone
And I know when that hotline bling
That can only mean one thing
I know when that hotline bling
That can only mean one thing."

Hotline Bling is one of the best definitions of what R&B is. That is, a super friendly call to arms to get out on the dance floor and to love whom you love with all your heart. Let's start with the video. Here Drake dances like no-one is watching and shows himself to be a good hearted soul. Very few rappers or R&B stars would dance in such a way that would open them up to the allegation that they're not cool. Well, Drake doesn't care if you think he's cool. He's just full of musical love and needs to dance. I have been in this place many times. When your feet are working before your inhibitions kick in. The video, directed by Director X is a delicious visual feast, with Drake's improvised dance moves playing against beautiful …

Why I Love It Follows

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"It could look like someone you know or it could be a stranger in a crowd. Whatever helps it get close to you."

Good Horror frequently starts with rules. Think of Scream. If you answer these trivia questions, I won't butcher you and hang you from your intestines. Or The Exorcist. You drive the Devil out in these ways, and no others. It Follows has perhaps the best rules of any Horror movie I've seen. The slow, impending death comes after you've had sex with someone who's been infected. This makes you "it" and you are engaged after in a perverse game of tag. If "it" touches you, you die. And worse. It Follows is my pick for one of the smartest, most creative and interesting Horror movies of the last decade. I am ashamed it took me so long to see. It has everything I love in Horror: a gorgeous visual design, a stunning soundtrack and tension that is ramped up and up until breaking point. I am reminded of the David Cronenberg movie Shivers, …

Why I Love Beer with My Father

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"Eentje voor onderweg." (One for the road)

My father died on St. Patrick's Day, the 17th of March of 2017. He has been dead nearly six months now and I miss him as badly as ever. As time carries on, I am prone to thinking of some of the best times we spent together. As I think on these times, I become melancholy at the thought that my half-brother and half-sister will never experience Noel at his best. That is, as a drinking companion. There was no-one, anywhere at anytime that was as amusing, as interesting and as full of love as Noel was when he was drinking. Some people get morose, some get violent - I have seen my share of both - but Noel was just happier all around and better company for having a few beers on him. This article is a celebration of Noel Casey's life, as my father and as my friend. 

When Noel moved to the Netherlands, I was initially quite sad at the thought. He was already on the other side of the country to me and I worried that we would see each …

Why I Love Batman

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"Don't kill me! Don't kill me, man! Don't kill me! Don't kill me, man! "I'm not going to kill you. I want you to do me a favor. I want you to tell all your friends about me." "What are you?" "I'm Batman."

I first fell in love with Batman because of Tim Burton's first excellent, genre defining Batman picture. I loved him because he had loss in his life and yet didn't let it destroy him, but instead turn him into a hero for the downtrodden. He would stand against injustice and make sure that the death of his parents wasn't for nothing. I also adored the Film Noir aesthetic. I can trace my love of Noir to Burton's first Batman picture. If that was it, I would love Batman forever, but there is so much more to the character.

Have a read of The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, and see the foundation of Nolan's Batman pictures. The Long Halloween is my very favourite Batman comic book. It is a brilliant …