Tweet In a previous post relating to latest Dreamworks animation Kung Fu Panda, I mentioned that Toy Story is one of my favourite films of all time. Oh wait...gimme a second, Channel 4 are about to do a video exclusive of the new Streets song. He's walking; a bit like that time Alan Partridge carried a tank of window washer fluid down a segment of motorway near Norwich singing Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger to himself. But whereas the fictional character Alan Partridge bled genuine pathos, it would seem the very real Mike Skinner is embarking on an excruciatingly cack-handed symbolic journey in this video. He appears to want us to think he is walking into a newly minted future of received wisdom and self-acceptance after scoffing a million Es and huffing on crack pipes for the last few years. Bollocks Mr Skinner. Bollocks.
I always find it arrogant and condescending when borderline retarded rock artists imply that their wild years of druggy excess ultimately lead to some sort of inner epiphany that they sincerely believe would not be possible without the drugs; therefore setting them apart from the squares in the public domain. They deludedly think they peered into the proverbial 'abyss' and are 'deeper' as a result. The beady-eyed, preening, late-fortysomething anorexic Bobby Gillespie is the prime example of this. He is a modern day Jim Morrison. Except he is alive and too old. He is the wretched, stiff wank-rag that the laddish '90s spunked all over in its blind love of hollow hedonism. He has a pea-brain, a toddler's grasp of politics, and a retrograde way with a tune that only ever sparkled when someone a million times more talented got involved (Screamadelica without Orbit and Weatherall? Mediocre jangly shite). The fact that the likes of Dublin's all-time spelling test champs (chimps?), and Sky News superstars, Humanzi, look up to him (and share his rudimentary grasp of politics and the english language) is another nail in the double sized coffin I am personally constructing for Mr Gillespie and his 'visionary' '90s counterpart Richard Ashcroft. Tossers. The pair of them. Actually the insult 'tosser' is not humiliating enough for these ragged drug grandads. Playground disses work best. Richard Ashcroft and Bobby Gillespie are silly billies with small willies.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney took drugs. Their minds opened and their careers blossomed. Why? Because they were talented. Give a genius drugs and they will create genius stuff. Give a chimp drugs and the poor, demented zoo animal will write the new Primal Scream album. Anyway. New Streets song in a nutshell? Looks to me to be the usual condescending wankery constructed by someone who put half of Bolivia up his nose and now thinks he is 'back' from the other side and needs to share his journey of 'discovery' with the world at large. If World War 2 started again tommorow, I would fucking love to put Bobby Gillespie, Mike Skinner and Richard Ashcroft over the top of a trench. Then they might discover that the genuine extremes of the human condition are not always dependant on a recreational chemical that you voluntarily introduce into your own bloodstream after a gig. Fucking empty, meaningless, tiresome, pompous, bland saps. Apart from Screamadelica (which was made by other people), the entire Primal Scream back catalogue is a wet fart in a deafening 90 mile an hour gale on an oil-rig. OK do your drugs lads (like about 30 million other people in Britain and Ireland). The rubber medal is in the post. But write a song I can fucking whistle. And remember, like most professional people who take recreational drugs on a weekend do, that drugs might be fun, but they only enhance what is already there. So if you are a twat and take acid...wooooobeeeedoooobeeeedooooaaaa-wooooooo.....hey presto! You're a twat on acid. Congrats.
Okay where was I? Yeah, a Streets video came on. Before that, I mentioned 'Toy Story'. I had an idea before this poisonous rant that I was going to write a series of blogs on my favourite films for children. Jaysis, the irony after the above rant. Anyhoo, it dawned on me that, apart from one or two choices, most of my all-time favourite films are children's films. I want to devote an entire blog to 'ET' and one to 'Toy Story' also. But in the meantime I would like to briefly discuss an animated Japanese film called 'Pom Poko'. My girlfriend introduced me to the back catalogue of her favourite Japanese animation studio, Ghibli. I thank her. These movies are magic in an exhilarating childlike way and utterly at odds with most of the current crop of western animation (I'm excluding the elegaic and poetic WALL-E here; it's a very affecting and unconventional movie). Recently, their most popular films such as 'Howl's Moving Castle' and 'Spirited Away' received proper releases around the world. They deserved it. The level of beautifully painted dreamlike excess, genuine humanity and rampant visual oddnesss made these movies global contenders.
Before these well received (over here) films came out, however, Ghibli released 'Pom Poko', a sort of treatise on how humans hurt the environment. It was entirely based on ancient Japanese legends. Some who watch it think it is about raccoons (like the ones in the States and Canada). It is not. It is about wild animals calleed Tanuki that are widespread in Japan but which are halfway between a raccoon and a dog. Traditionally the Japanese believe them to be capable of shape-shifiting. Changelings, if you will. 'Pom Poko' is my favourite film from studio Ghibli. Laser DVDs on Georges' Street have a full copy to rent, so I will not go into intricate detail about what happens in the film. But to get the full whack of it, check out old prints of Japanese legends (online? wikipedia?), then rent it from Laser. 'Pom Poko' is magnificent because it came out when Japan was the most technologically and industrially advanced country in Asia. It demonstrated, at that point in time, that an older bunch of animators were prepared to say "okay let's not accept the new status quo, something is environmentally rotten at the heart of Tokyo". Most of the phantasmagorical creatures in it are either in books of ancient Japanese Manuscripts or 18th century 'proto' manga cartoons in the British Museum. Loreana loves 'My Neighbour Totoro' because it is a beautiful film about children who place their entire trust in a Japanese wood spirit without ever questioning it. That's magic. I place my trust in 'Pom Poko' because it reassures me that the most technologically advanced country in the world is still fretting about its own version of the Irish Púca. The Japanese may have invented nintendo-land but they are still interested in small shape-shifting mammals out in the natural world.
I said we are a long way from shrek at the top of this blog. Watch the following clip from 'Pom Poko'. It is visually outstanding. And every outlandish thing in it is drawn directly from old Japanese Myths and prints. I love studio Ghilbi.
Finally. The theme from ET. It's magic.
MP3: John Williams-ET THEME (not available)
A special child I grew up with (and who is now in an Irish band) will be DJing at Una's sound check tomorrow night. Come down and give him support :)