“Hostage of narrative” – Stardust, Children Of Men

“Cinema is a hostage of narrative. And I’m very good at narrative as a hostage of cinema.” A. Cuaron
More about some movies I’ve watched:


Stardust is one of those fantasy movies that don’t take themselves too seriously. Think of movies like Dragonheart or the Princess Bride but with a little less slapstick humor than the latter. For example you won’t find find R.O.U.S.s (‘Rodents of extraordinary size’) in Stardust. Though you sure could say there are some parallels, for example the evil Pirate King only being a role played by a nice guy to keep his image up: you got the Dread Pirate Roberts in the Princess Bride and you got Robert De Niro as Captain Shakespeare, a secretly well-mannered drag queen Pirate King. Stardust is the tale of a boy promising the girl he’s in love with to get her a star when they see a shooting star on the night sky. He sets out to to the magical kingdom that happens to exist right behind a wall next to the village the boy lives in. When he finds the star it isn’t some meteor stone thingy but has turned into a girl so – fairy tale logic, you know – he simply ties that girl up and decides to bring her to his beloved woman. Of course he’s not the only one seeking the star: A star helps witches to stay young when they cut out and eat her heart, and Michelle Pfeiffer plays a wonderful evil witch. There’s another party hunting the couple but I won’t tell any more.
It’s one of those rare movies that left me with a big happy satisfied smiling sigh. It’s not as outstanding a the Princess Bride but still the best witty adventure/fantasy/romance movie I’ve seen in years. And like I’ve already mentioned: There even is a unicorn. It even kind of explodes. Now if that’s no proof of quality…


Children Of Men – also a must-watch! – has no unicorns but is somehow heavy on mythology too. It’s a movie settled in a threatening near future world in which all humans have gone infertile and no children are born anymore. Until one fugee woman gets pregnant. ‘Perfect christmas movie, a saviour baby being born by a fugee..etc.’ is what I thought when I read the plot but my inner damned-christian-propaganda-rant ground to a halt when I heard the pregnant woman’s answer when someone asked her who the father of her baby was: “Whiffet! I’m a virgin. Nah! Be great, though, wouldn’t it? Fuck knows. I don’t know half the wankers’ names.” I think Cuaron, the director, has done a great job in turning a christian novel (Children Of men was written by christian crime writer PD James) into a story with enough open ends to question any philosophy. For example the Human Project in the movie – about which you don’t get facts, you have to believe in it – is a scientific man-handled project, no god-from-above-saviour-thing. Or another example: The Fishes (a quite clear telling name for a christian group) turn out to only want to use Kee’s child as a political tool while in the novel they were ‘the good guys’ out to save their saviour kid. In such nice twisted ways the movie script gets rid of the straight christian message the novel had. The heroes in this movie come from a leftist journalist background, you know: people who question everything and everyone, and we get hints at the generation of ’68 through the nice appearance of Michael Caine as eremite neo-hippie.
Genrewise the movie might be pinned down as a classic on-the-run story that keeps you pinned to your seats by cool use of un-cut single-shot sequences and quick twists and explicit violence. Terror, civil war violence and merciless immigrant-hostile politics hold the dystopian UK of this movie in its stranglehold. Think 28 Days Later with an ignorant and cruel population instead of zombies. The lack of hope that set in when no children were being born anymore is even plausible to a not-very-maternal person like me. Somehow it is the ultimate ‘No Future’ philosophy having come true. Part of the scare factor of the movie is that its desolate world is so close to ours, not only in years (it’s settled in 2027) but also in just putting grievances and injustices that already exist a bit over the top, one of the center motifs being the cruelty against illegal immigrants. We have no cages of refugees at railway stations for everyone to see. Yet.

“Deep down” – Castrop playlist, Dr. Who, Batman Begins

“Deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be. But it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.” Batman Begins

Here’s my playlist of last week’s Castrop on Radio Z:

Dunproofin: Deebee Planes (a fine M.I.A. mash up, downloadable from his blog, generous as he is)

Sunshine: Top! Top! The Radio (They used to be one of my most favourite livebands back in the ’00s and we’ve put up quite a few shows for them at the K4 and with my old band, The Flamingo Massacres, we played with them lots of times in other towns and they gave us a place to stay in Prague when we once drove there to visit De Facto or Mars Volta. I lost contact and was surprised to hear they have a new record and are quite big in Czech Republic.)

Parts & Labor: Nowhere’s Nigh (They have an excellent new album out called ‘Receivers’. It’s a bit less in-your-face-energetic but not less intense. They are really good at bridging from hymnic melodies to experimental noisy indie. I’m glad we can welcome them again live at the K4 on the 3rd of February, thanks to Tobi.)

Cloud Cult: May Your Hearts Stay Strong (nice experimental Songwriter/Indie with electronics thrown in, they are from Minnesota)

Balkansky: Hipnoza (who says quality dubstep has to come from the UK? This ravey dubstep tune got stuck in my head and the guy who also has released DnB under the moniker of Cooh comes from Bulgaria AFAIK)

Wiley ft. Hot Chip: Step by Step (who’d have thought Wiley+HotChip sounds like a tamer version of Hadouken!?)

Pigeon Funk: Not Gonna (funky sample-sparked project by Sutekh and Kit Clayton. They have their second album out and it sounds as if they had a lot of fun producing it. Not very danceable but fun.)

Edie Sedgwick: Sissy Spacek (Justin Moyer, former member of the wonderful Supersystem, also has his second album out under this name, produced by Ian McKaye BTW. Moyer hasn’t only picked a woman’s alias but live he slips into that persona by dragging up to play that ass-kicking postpunk.)

The Hold Steady: Joke About Jamaica (For quite a while to me The Hold Steady have only been ‘the band for which that Lifter Puller singer guy has stolen Franz Nicolay from World/Inferno Friendship Society‘ and ‘the band with that Lifter Puller guitar player who had played on the Song Of Zarathustra’s (one of my favourite ‘screamo’ bands e.v.e.r.) final tour here in Europe and rumors had it that his presence hadn’t exactly kept the band from splitting up‘. Those two things made me decide not  not to like and listen to The Hold Steady. Thatof course was quite silly because obviously it didn’t matter to them and because it robbed me of some great story teller indie rock which I knew it had to be because I had already liked Lifter Puller a lot. Now, four albums later, I gave in. Yes, they are good at what they do. Mucho good even. And here’s a nice interview with Franz.

Fuck Buttons: Colours Move (‘Load Records drone noise gone pop (if that’s possible)” was my first association and I stick with it and love it. Haven’t heard a whole album though.)

Margarita: Parque Magico (great twisted hi-energy indiepunk from Madrid I instantly enjoyed and after having found out that we have even kind of met before and that they come on tour with the band below I simply had to convince the musikverein to let me put up a show for them in april. Don’t miss them, please!)

Grabba Grabba Tape: Dr. Grox Gronix (electronic duo somewhere between casio-chiptune-core and Daft Punk, erm – sorry: Dat Politics! One of the guys is the maker of Gsssh!Gsssh! Records who have an excellent taste in experimental music and super-chic colourful artwork and packaging.).

Love Of Everything: Drive Through Rainbow (beautiful fragile indie songwriter stuff with that certain weird edge that reminds you that it’s the band of Bobby Burg of Joan Of Arc and Make Believe fame. Thanks to Quirin they will play in Nuremberg in May. Hooray. I like this song a lot because it develops so slowly from sweet guitar plingplong to noisy distorted parts at the end.)

Herman Dune: When We Were Still Friends (I can’t think of Herman Dune without thinking of Jean Reno in ‘Leon’ because of that one time when they played with one or two anti-folk bands in the K4 garden and one of the Dune brothers was such a lookalike I couldn’t stop watching him. They have made an album with some tropical sounds in it and it fits them well although I stick to it: They only develop their full power when watched live.)

Stanley Brinks: Pease Pottage (This is one of the brothers gone solo in Berlin. Tsk, that town doesn’t even stop at splitting bands. I like his solo stuff better than the new Herman Dune stuff because he’s got that certain weirdness that gives songwriter music charisma.)

* _ *

I’m still being kept down by a cold that has already started more than a week ago. My right ear has been blocked since xmas night which keeps me from enjoying music as I can hear hardly anything but a low-frequency rumble on that side. My throat/tonsils seem(s) to ache more every day. I’m getting a bit impatient with getting well. Especially as I’ve been a nice kiddo inhaling salty herbs steam and drink lots of tea and took at least 5 capsules of Gelomyrtol a day, and I have only smoked on two occasions.
The good thing about colds that make your head so fuzzy you can hardly concentrate on reading or anything else is that it’s the perfect time to watch movies. Entertaining make-the-world-go-away movies. That’s what I have mainly been doing the last couple of days: Children Of Men, Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix, Stardust (starring unicorns! yeah!), PS I Love You, Solstorm (Sunstorm), Batman Begins, even half of Titanic and Leon for the x-ths time and:


The Next Doctor. The Dr. Who christmas special sadly wasn’t as good as I had hoped it to be but good enough to soothe the withdrawal symptoms. I think the new season won’t start before april. A shame. Last year’s christmas special also wasn’t exactly brilliant but at least it had the glamorous appearance and death of Kylie Minogue and angel robots and a Titanic space cruiser being hit by meteors and almost colliding with the Earth. This year’s xmas episode had lots of cross-references and I think that’s why it seemed it a bit cluttered and left me with a feeling of missing explanations and a lack of surprise twists. What I still don’t get is why Mercy, a woman having been promised liberation by the cybermen when joining them, turns into a Cyberking and not a Cyberqueen, and we also don’t get told what she had wanted to be liberated from. Could have been a little less cryptic here.


I have really enjoyed watching Batman Begins. First it felt a bit strange to see the slick Bateman actor as Batman but seeing Bruce Wayne being introduced as such an excentric arrogant rich guy type who else would fit that role better than the American Psycho. A very subjective flaw: I can’t stand the sight of Katie Holmes anymore after all that Cruise/Scientology press. Putting that aside it was a wonderfully dark adventure movie that keeps a fine balance between telling a character-developping story, action scenes and very aesthetic scenery and costumes. More than other Batmann movies this one seems to stress that he is a human super hero without supernatural powers but only special gear. (Somehow I expected Morgan Freeman to come up with some 007-Q jokes when he introduced the gear.)
The gap between the part of Gotham City with the asylum and where the poor people live and the rich people’s part of the town brought Land Of The Dead to my mind. I think the subject of class should maybe better have been left alone in Batman Begins. Romero’s zombies are less deindividualised and more capable of taking any kind of action for the better than the poor people of Gotham: they stay just faceless victims or mad villains and only the people who live on the rich side of town have faces and the power to act. Zombified. But maybe that’s overinterpreting the movie. What really would be going too far is when I would start now on how I compared the scenes down the wellshaft with those in Murakami’s ‘Wind-up Bird Chronicles’, haha. I’ll spare you that and get back to tea and another movie instead.

“Something you will never understand” – the pope, that funny old man

“i’m not your woman, i’m not your man,
i am something that you´ll never understand” prince

Hooray, now it’s even pope-proof that we help liberating the world from the creator!

The pope has sparked controversy by saying defending heterosexuality is as important as saving the world’s rainforests from destruction.

Speaking in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican’s central administration, Benedict said yesterday the church viewed the distinction between men and women as central to human nature, and “asks that this order, set down by creation, be respected”.

The church, he said, “should protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man was needed, he said,” adding: “The tropical forests do deserve our protection; but man, as a creature, does not deserve any less.”

Benedict focused his attack on what he described as “gender” theories, “which lead towards the definitive emancipation of man from creation and the creator”.
* _ *
Tomorrow night we’ll have our annual cuddly lonely-hearted and fed-up-of-x-mas party going. It would be nice to see


Entry is free but that doesn’t mean those bloody blinking santa hats are welcome.

“Is this me of caffeine? – saddo castrop playlist

“and i can tell by your weight to the world that you need to have it all
and i can tell by the weight of your words that you call political
and i would beat you up if i could make me feel like a boy again
you make violence feel so good, like it should, like it should
is this me or caffeine?” Karate

Saddo Castrop Playlist 11.dec 2008

Hederos & Hellberg – No fun
Low – Two-Step
Des Ark – The Lord of the rings and his fascist timekeepers
Karate – Caffeine or me?
The Black Heart Procession – Guess I’ll forget you
Gregor Samsa – Jeroen Van Aken
PlusMinus – Marina
David Sylvian – Blemish (Burnt Friedman rmx)
Antony & The Johnsons – Another World
Cat Power – Schizophrenia Weighted Me Down

It has been one of those weeks in which I seemed to dissolve in work like the aspirin I will put into a big glass of clear cold water tomorrow morning. Like losing any sign of personality, like being reduced to an interface. Thinking back I can’t even memorize all the little tasks that kept me so busy and that’s the unsatisfying part of it. Even doing the washing up and laundry seems satisfying in such weeks because they give you a clean product you can hold in your hands. In such periods I find it hard to write because there doesn’t seem to be anything to write about. Which is not true because on other days even the bus I’ve missed seems to provoke a whole blog entry. It’s not the world that’s out of shape, it’s me. Well, I’m better today. And I’m off to the annual Soulweekender at the K4. And maybe the SellfishKommodorePonies afterwards cause it’s such a short walk there. Or Swayzak at Electric Dog? Or the Heilige Liga? Too many options tonight…