Monday, October 16, 2006

All You Need Is Lav

1. Royal flush: A while back, the Guardian ran a dismissive review of Devin McKinney's Magic Circles: The Beatles in Dream and History, a book I can't recommend highly enough. The huffy critic wrote:
I was convinced on several occasions that this book was a spoof. Apart from his epigraph to one section...there is the entire first chapter, the thesis of which is: 'The Beatles's music from the early period is the very sound of the toilet.' It is positively exhausting what he can do with this lavatory metaphor...Hamburg was 'a bigger, hotter, riskier toilet than they'd found back home'. Fifty pages, making sure we've got the full point.
I was reminded of Dizzyhead Devin's audacious opening chapter by yesterday's Times piece on the closing of CBGB. The print version ran a photo of the club's famous loo, empty but still horrifying, the walls disorientingly scumbled with graffiti and stickerage. On the little video embedded in the Times article, someone speaks with amused horror of the whole CB's bathroom trauma: "Maybe a certain...Karen Finley experience of dousing yourself with fluids may have started there."
If CB's, with its notorious bathroom (I think it was the thought of this bathroom that pretty much ensured I would never go there, though I used to work about ten minutes away), was the acknowledged crucible for American punk, should it be so surprising to suggest that the Beatles, too, were born in similarly über-dank conditions?

2. Park city: Dizzyhead Martin, my former intern and a valet to the stars (have him park your car next time you're at the River Café, and tip big—first, though, buy a car), has been tracking down the appearance of the valet in literature. Read some of his latest finds at his cryptically yet amiably named new blog, Today Your Hair Is Very Nice. (And indeed—Martin's hair is very nice!)[UPDATE: Link fixed!]

3. Where the Wild Things Aren't: I haven't seen Scorsese's The Departed yet (I've heard one yea and one nay so far). It wasn't until very recently that I realized it was a remake of the tense, twisty Andy/Tony HK actioner Infernal Affairs. Dizzyhead Brent sends along this link to David Bordwell's blog, discussing the differences. Apparently Scorsese asked DP Michael Ballhaus to study "hard-edged Korean noir" like Park Chanwook's Oldboy for some camera ideas. Ballhaus told American Cinematographer:
By asking me to watch those wild Asian movies, I think Marty was pushing me to try something different. I tried to do that, but after a couple of days on the shoot I realized that although the styles of those movies were great for the particular stories they were telling, we were doing an American movie with American stars. In the end, I had to pull back a bit from those wilder styles; I couldn’t go that far with this movie.
Coming soon: My thoughts on Park's Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.


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