Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Work done, music listened to, movies seen

At the moment it's hard to get work going. I don't know why this is. I'm starting a new project, one that I was granted a stipend of 2500€. It's a book on cinema for 12-14 olds. Maybe I don't get the style right. Something bugs me about this.

It'll have to wait though. There are some odds and ends that have to be tied up. The Finnish Western Society has a small exhibit at the Turku Book Fair next weekend and we're publishing Anssi's translation of Stephen Crane's The Blue Hotel (Collier's, 1898). It's a great story, but Crane weakens it a bit with overwriting and overexplaining. It makes a nice pamphlety book, though. I'll deliver a small speech at the Fair for library folk on Friday. Maybe I should write down what I'm going to say.

And there are the entries for the Finnish SF/fantasy reference book. They were due last week and I'll have to patch them up to send to the editors.

What I'd really like to do is concentrate on fiction. I start my mornings with an SF story for the pulp-style magazine I'm editing (how low can you go? do I even consider using a pseudonym? hell, no!).* And then there's the PI novel. I like writing it and the story flows quite nicely. There have been some lively moments, but I've been thinking that my hero could be a lot meaner, something in the vein of Ray Banks. I just don't know if I could it convincingly.

Our YA novel left again to the publishers. Keep your thumbs up!


I've seen more movies lately than in a long time. Last Friday I saw Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers, with Bill Murray as a bored bachelor. He really doesn't make a convincing playboy with that face of him, but all in all it was a nice film. I just missed the long shorts of Jarmusch's first feature, Stranger than Paradise. This looked just like some other films.

Saturday I spotted Todd Solondz's Palindromes that has been quite controversial for having, is it 12 actors, portraying the same character. I thought it was obvious what Solondz was getting at - this could happen to anyone and is happening to anyone right now, this minute, in America. Now, I haven't been a huge fan of Solondz (Happiness, for instance, left me cold), but I really liked this one.

Yesterday, at the Film Archive, I saw the French Eric Rohmer's Chloe in the Afternoon from 1972. I hadn't seen any of Rohmer's earlier films and hadn't much cared for his later work, but I really liked this one. Quietly humorous and satirical tale of petty bourgeoisie. And those French ladies... mmmm!


Some music I've been listening to:

Blurt, the great eighties band that played funk without a bass. You can hear their influence on, for example, Morphine (they have no guitar; both have a song about sharks), but they were great on their own. Very raw, very energetic, very avantgardish without being artsy and boring. Just drums, hypnotic guitar riffs and Ted Milton shouting his poems and honking his sax. I've been listening to their Vol. I collection. The earliest bits are the best, from the mid-eighties on the sound gets milder. Maybe it's due to the eighties' production ideas. Clean quitar, eh?

Rick James. I didn't know MC Hammer's You Can't Touch This used a sample from James's Super Freak. I could listen to that bass line for hours on end. It's great. And other stuff by James is good, too. I mean - just look at the guy! Can you go wrong with that outfit?

Dead Kennedys. (Do you know anyone who can talk about MC Hammer and Dead Kennedys in a same paragraph?) I've been digging their album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables from 1980 for couple of days now. I've always liked it and thought it's one of the best rock albums ever, but now the gems come forward. Stealing People's Mail and Holiday in Cambodia are my favourites. Especially the former is a great dance song!

The CD also packs an EP by the band with Too Drunk To Fuck. It's a great rollicking tune. I knew the song even when I was a kid and remember a stupid T-shirt that was on sale somewhere in which an ugly guy was spilling his beer or something like that. I thought that Dead Kennedys was just another stupid punk band. Now I know better. I think it was Frankenchrist that was in the local library where I used most of my time between 14-17 that got me hooked on DK. I haven't heard that album for over a decade now (I'm not very addictive about the music I listen to).

Jello Biafra, the leader of the band, ran for a mayor of San Fransisco some 20-25 years ago. As I understood it, he was the fourth. He could be president by now. Wonder what the world would be like if Biafra was in the White House?

* It will be up to Jukkahoo, the other editor, whether the story gets in.

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