Showing posts from May, 2018

Why I Love Crystal Ball (1986)


Crystal Ball was recorded in 1986 following the completion of Camille, an entire album worth of Prince's alter-ego, AKA the skinny motherfucker with the high voice. Crystal Ball was intended to be a triple LP made up of all but one of the tracks from Camille, as well as a smattering from the final, unreleased Revolution album Dream Factory, and a wealth of new material that would go on to make up most of Sign 'O' The Times. Warner Bros., seemingly forever in conflict with Prince over his artistic direction and the financial viability of this vision, rejected the notion of a triple album and forced him to cut it down to a double LP. Sign 'O' The Times, arguably his greatest released work, would go on to make some serious musical waves, but when you hear what was originally intended, it is hard not to …

Why I Love Free Speech

"Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Now you've heard it, not shouted in a crowded theatre admittedly as I realize I seem now to have shouted it in the Hogwarts dining room but the point is made. Everyone knows the fatuous verdict of the greatly over-praised justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who asked for an actual example of when it would be proper to limit speech or defy it as an action, gave that to shouting fire in a crowded theatre. Its very often forgotten what he was doing in that case, was sending to prison a group of Yiddish speaking socialists whose literature was printed in a language most Americans couldn't read opposing President Wilson's participation in the First World War and the dragging of the United States into this sanguinary conflict which the Yiddish speaking socialists had fled from Russia to escape. In fact it could be just as plausibly argued that the Yiddish speaking socialists, who were jailed by the excellent and over-praised judge Oliver We…

Why I Love Frank Ocean

"A tornado flew around my room before you came
Excuse the mess it made, it usually doesn't rain in
Southern California, much like Arizona
My eyes don't shed tears, but, boy, they pour When I'm thinkin' 'bout you
I've been thinkin' 'bout you
I've been thinkin' 'bout you
Do you think about me still? Do ya, do ya? Or do you not think so far ahead?
'Cause I been thinkin' 'bout forever Or do you not think so far ahead?
'Cause I been thinkin' 'bout forever."
Frank Ocean is, along with The Weeknd, The-Dream and Kanye West, one of the architects of Noir R&B, AKA the hottest thing going in 2018. His stunning mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, released seven years ago in 2011, laid the groundwork for what would become the new R&B. When you heard Novacane, arguably the most important song in the formation of Noir R&B, nothing would ever be the same again. I have already written about why Novacane is so important and so good h…

Why I Love Woody Allen

"He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of, make that: he - he romanticized it all out of proportion. Yeah. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin."

Woody Allen is one of the great comedians, writers, performers and directors of the 20th Century. He is, along with David Lynch and Sofia Coppola, one of my favourite film makers. I have previously written about why I love Manhattan Murder Mystery - my favourite Woody Allen picture - but I felt since Moses Farrow has cleared the good name of Woody, it was time to appreciate his amazing career. (If you haven't read Mose Farrow's incredible piece about how the accusations against Woody are bullshit, do so here.) Woody Allen started his career as a stand-up comedian, and a remarkably good one at that. Woody's early movies are incredibly funny, particularly Sleeper and Bananas. He could ha…

Why I Love Grand Theft Auto IV

"War is when the young and stupid are tricked by the old and bitter into killing each other."

Grand Theft Auto IV was released over ten years ago and it is more impressive today than it was then. Looking at a ten year old game which is still one of the high points of open world game design, and can still school the hell out of countless games, is something that is unexpected but quite wonderful. I wish that PS3 had a Share option like its younger sister/brother PS4, as I experienced so many lovely little details and spontaneous moments of chaos and beauty, that I would have loved to have shared with you all. It is worth your time to get a copy of GTA IV and experience these wondrous, glorious moments yourself.

GTA IV follows Niko Bellic, who travels from his war torn home to join the many who pursue the American Dream. He hopes that he can leave his past behind him, and leave the person who he has become with it. GTA IV is, along with Red Dead Redemption, a game that makes …

Why I Love Red Dead Redemption

"Some trees flourish, others die. Some cattle grow strong, others are taken by wolves. Some men are born rich enough and dumb enough to enjoy their lives. Ain't nothing fair. You know that."

Red Dead Redemption is one of the great Westerns of modern times. It is along with other greats like Unforgiven, The Assassination of Jesse James, the remake of 3:10 To Yuma and perhaps the greatest Western ever made, Deadwood, a staggeringly beautiful and poignant tale that says much about regret, revenge and trying to survive in a hostile environment. While Red Dead Redemption owes much to the films and books that preceded it, Rockstar craft a story and experience that is unique in the genre. There has never been a Western that so immersed the audience in the world of outlaws, gunslingers and sunsets so beautiful that they overpower the player into a state of pure joy. The world is vast and finely detailed, as to be expected in a Rockstar game. Just as importantly it follows up …

Why I Love Max Payne 3

"So I guess I'd become what they wanted me to be, a killer. Some rent-a-clown with a gun who puts holes in other bad guys. Well that's what they had paid for, so in the end that's what they got. Say what you want about Americans but we understand capitalism. You buy yourself a product and you get what you pay for, and these chumps had paid for some angry gringo without the sensibilities to know right from wrong. Here I was about to execute this poor bastard like some dime store angel of death and I realized they were correct, I wouldn't know right from wrong if one of them was helping the poor and the other was banging my sister."

Max Payne 3 is pure Noir. It is the tale of a broken man who has never been able to stop mourning for the loss of his family. It is arguably Rockstar's most underrated game. A reason why this may be the case has to do with the game's difficulty. Max Payne 3 is a challenging game, and there's no getting away fro…

Why I Love Ferris Bueller's Day Off

"The question isn't 'what are we going to do', the question is 'what aren't we going to do?'" 

I grew up on John Hughes movies. I was introduced to them through my parents, who showed me Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I have already talked about why I love the latter, so let me take this time to argue for the greatness of the former. Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a perfect film for young people, just as The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink were, and it is probably the greatest of John Hughes' teen comedies. It is incredibly funny and touching, Hughes proving again that he was one of the great writing talents of his generation. Ferris Bueller is a rejection of the pointlessness of school and the many demeaning, irritating ways that grown ups try to control the lives of young people. I never got on with secondary school - highschool to my American friends - and I had many horrible experiences trying to fit in the…

Why I Love Summer Friends & Love

"Ooh I used to kill 'em with the long hair
Momma had salon doing perms out the armchair
Yeah we're working late, he treat the crib like it's a timeshare
I would mow some lawns for my ones like a lawn chair, huh, huh!
Now I'm the same way, over time all the time, every night, hey
Ready my blessing, now I'm ready how I wait
Never let a friendship get in my way
Never let a blog get in my way
Make the whole song do whatever I say
79, 79, 79 place
79, 79, 79 place
Some of my homegirls got lost in the paperwork
They was good friends but I faked the clerk
Cause if it ain't work, can't make it work
It's been a minute since I called on a friend
Fucked up and fucked all my friends
All my friends, all my."

There are some people out there in the world who still believe that Rap is a hateful thing, that it has no love in its heart. These people are stuck in the aggressive Gangsta Rap of more than a couple of decades ago. Their impression o…

Why I Love Spotify

I used to pay a lot of money on music. I remember one birthday where I must have spent 200 euro in one go. It was money well spent. It took me years to acquire the entire catalogues of my favourite musicians: Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Prince and R. Kelly. I searched for every hard to get album, every box-set, every bootleg of unreleased material. I treasure those times and the thrill that came with adding one more piece to the puzzle of these artists that I admired so. I get waves of obsession over artists, in every medium, but I don't think anything is as important to me as music is. (I am currently in a Weeknd obsession). I got a great education through my brother and parents, though especially my brother. Martin taught me that it is vital to have a broad understanding of genres, even those I didn't immediately connect with.

I learned how to knock down my prejudices and understand the reasons why different genres meant so much to their fans. I ne…