Not much is known about Delphic, apart from the fact that they are from Manchester.
Their first single "Counterpoint" is released on Belgian R&S records (go figure) and it sounds like the inevitable "crosspoint" of recent indie-dance productions like Cut Copy, Friendly Fires, more upbeat Junior Boys and fellow Manchester legends New Order and Section 25.
The Sequencer is back in poppy dance rock and "Counterpoint" hits straight on the twelve. The video, on the other hand, is a bit shitty.
Some pictures taken from TIME Magazine, showing Andy Warhol at various social gatherings. I feel that I have been to almost all those parties, since he told his diary about where he had been, who had been there and how much he had paid for the taxi to get there. Sometimes, when he was hanging with someone really rich, they would have a private limousine and Andy would be very happy.
Bob Guccione, Pia Zadora, Andy Warhol, Meshulam Riklis
Andy Treat: Andy and the delicious Treat Williams
Shooting Pia Zadora
When I visited the USA for the first time in 1990 I pretty soon found out that renting a limousine wouldn´t cost us much more than taking a taxi. I thought that Andy was such a child...
Andy walks with Nicki De Saint Phalle
with Laurie Anderson and something ugly on the wall
Andy was right, of course. Today it has become the ultimate tourist attraction to ride around with your small-town friends in a rented stretch limo (preferably a ridiculous, 12 meter Hummer). You can feel as v.i.p as you like as long as you don´t leave the car. After that you still have to queue up for the club and you´ll never know if they let you in. Feeling special because you ride in a limousine is still very, very childish...but you´ll always look better on photos.
Bette, Balloons, Ashtray
Barbie & Andy
Inspired by the urban chiffre of finger thick layered, half ripped-off posters and flyers, Passion Pit´s new video "The Reeling" tries to create this decayed and frayed look. According to the production company Humble, the process of destroying and re-creating the footage took about a month.
Looking cheap was never easy!
It was night and suddenly I felt like dancing.
I took a cab to show me to the disco scene.
He said: "O.k., you wanna see those crazy people, hustling at the door to get into Studio 54?!"
When I was in, everybody was travolting!
The fashion queens, the models and the movie stars.
Andy snapping, Margeaux dancing with Scavullo. Liza dancing on the floor and Bianca walking through the door.
Who is In?
Who is out?
Tell me, tell me, tell me!
Who is in?
Who is out?
Famous and trendy?!
"In-People" always have to smile in "Vogue".
They only travel by Concorde.
Doing things YOU can´t afford!
They are the fashion pack. The people you see in the magazines.
They are the fashion pack. They are always smiling in their limousines.
They only come out after dark, got to keep on their trendy tracks.
They are the fashion pack.
Rockstars sniffing, while Marisa is posing.
Bianca counting her paintings, the models of Zoli´s flirting...
Hey! what's your name?
Didn't I see you in "Interview" last month, or was it the "Ritz"?
Gee, You're so famous!
May I have your autograph?
Thanks! I will keep it forever!!!
Lyrics excerpt "The Fashion Pack", lyrics by Amanda Lear, 1979
What happened to Chris Cunningham? His short-films for "Come to Daddy" and "All is full of love" are probably some of the best promo-clips of all time. The latter was most likely the pinnacle of the music-video age. It all went downhill afterwards and even Cunningham himself could never live up to the promise of his artistic masterpiece.
He might have felt so too as he directed fewer and fewer music-clips. For some time he was allegedly set to direct a Hollywood version of William Gibson´s "Neuromancer", but he eventually opted out of the production.
Apparently, Cunningham is not the most ambitious person and he worked himself into a position where he can quietly chose to direct some advertisements and do photo-shootings to pay the rent while pursuing his obsessions. Something I find very sympathetic!
For the fragrance campaign "Flora" by Gucci he recorded a new version of Donna Summer´s "I Feel Love", complete with newly sung vocals by the Diva herself. According to Gucci the perfume is addressing "the sensitive, young girl."
The advertising face is Australian model Abbey Lee (who strongly resembles Vanessa Paradis), wearing a silk dress with floral print. Shot in a cornfield in Latvia, Lee is captured standing in the middle of more than 40000 silky flowers dancing in rhythm of wind and the (beatless) music.
It´s pretty pretty and has some typical Cunningham-moments (the levitating girl, the transforming, mirrored dress and dissolving body). Of course it is still a bit bland and underwhelming ( I heard many voices who say that the fragrance is also bland). I wonder if there is a law that every fragrance-ad has to end with a bored, female voice reciting the name of the product and the brand?!
I can´t believe that I never found this one before! Nancy Sinatra performing a song in the closed down Pacific Ocean Park! She even poses on the top of the "Sea Serpent"-coaster and the camera moves around with her in a great panning shot. Sometimes things just fall together...
I am not too wild about the song "Who will buy" from the musical "Oliver!" (it must be a musical if it´s got an exclamation mark) but everything is well when the hilarious dance break sends the "West Side Story"-ballet into wild dance routines inside the coaster´s wooden structure.
Here is the whole thing:
I think I have read most of the JG Ballard obituaries, tributes, essays and reviews since yesterday. Thanks to Simon Sellars´ brilliant Ballardian-Twitter service and the Guardian collection, it was easy to almost overdose on the theme. Reading all this made me hyper-aware of the ballardian reality that surrounds us and the following is as ballardian as it gets.
For some time I am intrigued by the dubious, ever increasing interest in female dolls and figurines that cater to grown-up, mostly Japanese men. But the new, ultra-realistic silicon sex dolls that enjoy growing popularity are beyond creepy.
Generations away from your typical, cheap, blow-up-doll from yesterday, the creations from the Superior Structure Artistic Silicon Doll Team, or shorter: Project Level-D are looking amazingly real. Horribly real.
Look at the facial expressions and the suggestive, pseudo innocent poses in which the various models are presented. They either appear sad, melancholic or as if they just died, still inviting you to do whatever you like to their multi-joined latex bodies.
Meet the proud owner of a harem of Level-D models. This young man, who decided that he just could not get along with real women, paid ca. $6.000,- for every one of his "girls".
Will it be long before the next generation of "animated" models will invade the living- and bedrooms of these men?
"Electronic aids, particularly domestic computers, will help the inner migration, the opting out of reality. Reality is no longer going to be the stuff out there, but the stuff inside your head. It's going to be commercial and nasty at the same time."
Quote by JG Ballard
"I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.
I believe in my own obsessions, in the beauty of the car crash, in the peace of the submerged forest, in the excitements of the deserted holiday beach, in the elegance of automobile graveyards, in the mystery of multi-storey car parks, in the poetry of abandoned hotels.
I believe in the forgotten runways of Wake Island, pointing towards the Pacifics of our imaginations.
I believe in the mysterious beauty of Margaret Thatcher, in the arch of her nostrils and the sheen on her lower lip; in the melancholy of wounded Argentine conscripts; in the haunted smiles of filling station personnel; in my dream of Margaret Thatcher caressed by that young Argentine soldier in a forgotten motel watched by a tubercular filling station attendant.
I believe in the beauty of all women, in the treachery of their imaginations, so close to my heart; in the junction of their disenchanted bodies with the enchanted chromium rails of supermarket counters; in their warm tolerance of my perversions.
I believe in the death of tomorrow, in the exhaustion of time, in our search for a new time within the smiles of auto-route waitresses and the tired eyes of air-traffic controllers at out-of-season airports.
I believe in the genital organs of great men and women, in the body postures of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Princess Di, in the sweet odors emanating from their lips as they regard the cameras of the entire world.
I believe in madness, in the truth of the inexplicable, in the common sense of stones, in the lunacy of flowers, in the disease stored up for the human race by the Apollo astronauts.
I believe in nothing.
I believe in Max Ernst, Delvaux, Dali, Titian, Goya, Leonardo, Vermeer, Chirico, Magritte, Redon, Duerer, Tanguy, the Facteur Cheval, the Watts Towers, Boecklin, Francis Bacon, and all the invisible artists within the psychiatric institutions of the planet.
I believe in the impossibility of existence, in the humour of mountains, in the absurdity of electromagnetism, in the farce of geometry, in the cruelty of arithmetic, in the murderous intent of logic.
I believe in adolescent women, in their corruption by their own leg stances, in the purity of their disheveled bodies, in the traces of their pudenda left in the bathrooms of shabby motels.
I believe in flight, in the beauty of the wing, and in the beauty of everything that has ever flown, in the stone thrown by a small child that carries with it the wisdom of statesmen and midwives.
I believe in the gentleness of the surgeon’s knife, in the limitless geometry of the cinema screen, in the hidden universe within supermarkets, in the loneliness of the sun, in the garrulousness of planets, in the repetitiveness or ourselves, in the inexistence of the universe and the boredom of the atom.
I believe in the light cast by video-recorders in department store windows, in the messianic insights of the radiator grilles of showroom automobiles, in the elegance of the oil stains on the engine nacelles of 747s parked on airport tarmacs.
I believe in the non-existence of the past, in the death of the future, and the infinite possibilities of the present.
I believe in the derangement of the senses: in Rimbaud, William Burroughs, Huysmans, Genet, Celine, Swift, Defoe, Carroll, Coleridge, Kafka.
I believe in the designers of the Pyramids, the Empire State Building, the Berlin Fuehrerbunker, the Wake Island runways.
I believe in the body odors of Princess Di.
I believe in the next five minutes.
I believe in the history of my feet.
I believe in migraines, the boredom of afternoons, the fear of calendars, the treachery of clocks.
I believe in anxiety, psychosis and despair.
I believe in the perversions, in the infatuations with trees, princesses, prime ministers, derelict filling stations (more beautiful than the Taj Mahal), clouds and birds.
I believe in the death of the emotions and the triumph of the imagination.
I believe in Tokyo, Benidorm, La Grande Motte, Wake Island, Eniwetok, Dealey Plaza.
I believe in alcoholism, venereal disease, fever and exhaustion.
I believe in pain.
I believe in despair.
I believe in all children.
I believe in maps, diagrams, codes, chess-games, puzzles, airline timetables, airport indicator signs.
I believe all excuses.
I believe all reasons.
I believe all hallucinations.
I believe all anger.
I believe all mythologies, memories, lies, fantasies, evasions.
I believe in the mystery and melancholy of a hand, in the kindness of trees, in the wisdom of light."
J.G. Ballard, 1984
When I found out this morning that James Graham Ballard had died yesterday I was shocked and deeply sad. It almost felt like a distant, but beloved family member was dead. A strange reaction towards the passing of a person I have never met in my life. On the other hand: JG Ballard´s writing and his thoughts have accompanied my life and shaped my world view for the last 25 years.
I constantly re-visit his amazing short-stories, one of which gave the name to this blog. His novels pushed open windows in my mind that would never close again. His interviews provided a constant stream of brilliant insights into the mind of a person who had the ability to see right through the veneer of the human condition. As an admirer of surrealism and pop-art, he was one of the first to understand, decipher and describe the psychological effects the all surrounding media-landscape, technology and architecture are having on our "inner space".
In "The Intensive Care Unit", written in the late 60s or early 70s, he describes the first family meeting of people who live in a future society where physical contact has grown out of fashion. Communication and intimacy is only possible via a closed circuit TV-screen.
What sounds like a drab premise for a thinly disguised parable turns into a gripping story thanks to Ballard´s fantastic imagination. The way he describes the couple´s intimate moments as a series of expertly montaged close-ups of their bodies (private parts are blurred with filters), their honeymoon being spent by watching the same documentaries of some foreign holiday-resort, is written so well that one almost anticipates this hilarious dystopia.
Another brilliant short story from "Myths of the near future" is the wonderfully titled "Motel Architecture". Here we meet a "film critic" who has retreated to live in a self-contained "solarium", where he has devoted himself to analyse the famous "shower scene" from "Psycho" over and over again.
Sitting in a glorified wheelchair, he re-plays the sequence on multiple screens, hoping to finally reveal the hidden geometry that the scene supposedly contains. Only looked after by a cleaning woman, he is totally secluded from any outside reality. Soon he believes that a strange intruder is hiding inside his solarium. He can hear him breath and he catches glimpses of the stranger on surveillance videos.
The conclusion to the story doesn´t come as a big surprise, but Ballard follows the nightmare logic of his visions to the inevitable end. Written in 1978, years before the home-video revolution was sweeping the western world, he painted a bleak but perversely attractive picture of a society that could hardly wait to retreat into their homes and heads, eagerly devoting themselves to their private obsessions.
That was one of Ballard´s remarkable aspects: He never came across as a finger pointing, grumpy man who intended to change our silly ways. Like his protagonists, he embraced the present and the future, knowing that the age of reason had already come to an end.
10 Years ago I moved temporarily into a house that was designed by Le Corbusier. It was like living inside JGB´s "High Rise". Although the sporadic acts of violence never seemed to occur, I was aware of Ballard 24/7. I was prepared to climb to the top!
Here is a couple of obituaries, essays and clippings I gathered today:
The Guardian´s obituary by David Pringle.
The most dedicated and sophisticated Ballardian has an obituary by site owner Simon Sellars.
Re/Search publisher Vale notes his first thought upon hearing of Ballard´s death: “There’s no thinker left alive that I can totally trust. They’re all dead.”
"Cult" is certainly a questionable attribute. BBC NEWS: Cult Author JG Ballard dies at 78
A good article from Filmmaker Magazine.
This is what IFC had to say.
Another obituary from The Telegraph
A very touching collection of readers comments from BBC News: Have your say. Your memories of JG Ballard
Megablog Boing Boing is also deeply influenced by JGB.
Here is a Canadian info/fan site dedicated to the man himself: JG Ballard.
More Thoughts on the death of JG Ballard by Robin Brown
A Personal Obituary by Vicky Lamburn
How the pitiful NME sees it. (They are, of course, forgetting to name "Warm Leatherette" and "The Comsat Angels")
Last but not least, on the lighter side of things: Total Film dreams up pitches for 9 Ballard Stories That Must Be Filmed
"Enslavement designed as mass entertainment."
An interesting collection of New York City photos taken in 1961 placed next to shots from this year. Nice to see that apart from new neon lights, many places still look relatively unchanged after 48 years.
See them all: New York City 1961 vs. 2009
Since I am posting more about abandoned amusement parks, I thought it would be nice to reverse the trend for the spring and do something else. For those who are interested in numbers, here is an interesting pdf-file listing the global theme-park attendance for 2008, compiled by the Themed Entertainment Association.
There are charts for USA, Europe, Asia, Mexico and the Pacific Rim as well as combined listings. For the US there is also a breakdown explaining the gains and losses towards the last season, indicating where and when the recession has hit first.
It´s no big surprise that Disney is blocking the top positions on every continent where the mouse is present. More than 17 million people are visiting The Magic Kindom in Florida each year, making it the top park on the list.
The Black Dog have put up a short movie with visualisations for musical excerpts from their upcoming "Further Vexations" album. It´s not especially spectacular, but it fits the very nice music.
As a friend of mine used to say: "Nothing new but normal".
I always wanted to love Tiga since his stupendous "Hot in Herre"-cover! But his later releases always left me a bit cold and underwhelmed. Fun, but just a little bit too forced.
It´s the same with his new "Shoes". A song that tries hard to tick all the right boxes but ends up sounding like a novelty record from ages ago. I am probably thinking too much about it. "Shoes" will certainly become a club smash for a few weeks. It will have people dancing and acting out the lines for each other.
"Do you remember that `OMG SHOES!´ skit from back in the day?" - "Yeah! Good times!"
What more could you want from a track like that? What about a video that employs a make-up artist by the name of Christian Fritzenwanker?! Here you go!