Archive for January, 2010

Comedian’s of Comedy – Bill Hicks

January 31, 2010

At some point in our lives if we’re incredibly lucky we stumble across something or someone that fundamentally changes us. For some people this might be a musician, a band, an album. For others a writer whose work speaks to them on a strangely personal level. A movie, a civil rights leader, a relative, a social or political cause, a craft… hell, it could be anything. And if you’re luckier still, you may even find several of these life altering influences dotted throughout the years.

For me, Bill Hicks was one of these influences.

A product of the South (much to his eternal bemusement), Hicks aspired to be a comic from his early teens, was performing in local comedy clubs by the time he was 15 and left to seek his fortune in L.A only 3 years later. After several years performing in clubs and appearing in a supporting role on a dreadful TV sitcom, Bill soon set out for life on the road, performing the club circuit around the entire U.S.

Traveling for more than 300 days per year, Bill’s on-stage persona developed. He drank and smoked far more than was healthy. What others perceived as oftentimes extremely dark and bitterly cynical material Bill himself saw as clear-headed, logical and extremely sane, hence the title of his debut comedy album ‘Sane Man’.

Inevitably Hicks would turn his attention to what he felt were the talentless demons ruling pop culture in the late 80’s / early 90’s. Debbie Gibson, Rick Astley, Madonna, New Kids on the Block and George Michael were just some of his favorite targets.

What makes Bill still relevant is that if you were to substitute the names Myley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, the Jonas Brothers and… uhh… George Michael… the exact same material is still just as pertinent.

And as for his legendary attacks on the Gulf War and George Bush… well, we need only add a middle initial and they still ring true also.

There were no sacred cows to Bill Hicks; everything that he perceived to be nonsensical or bullshit was rife to be skewered on stage. The JFK assassination, anti-smokers, evolutionary theory, the Waco-Texas debacle, his love of perception altering drugs like mushrooms and absurd U.S drug federal policies, the pro-life movement and the idea that everyone’s child was special (“They’re. Not“). They ALL felt Hicks’ acerbic wit.

Hicks was a classic example of what author Will Kaufman called the ‘Irony Fatigue Theory‘. Hicks was a social critic who was desperate to be taken seriously, however his role as a comedian and his style of delivery meant that he was always destined to be ‘too funny’ to reach his audience on the same level as a Noah Chomsky, one of Bill’s idols.

Bill Hicks died after a short battle with pancreatic cancer in 1994, aged just 32. He’s been ripped off by hundreds of comics ever since; Denis Leary in particular built an entire career on pillaging Hicks’ material. Bill was finally starting to receive the recognition he richly deserved when he passed away quietly in his parents home in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was nominated for the American Comedy Award that same year. Less than 2 weeks after his death, the award went to Carrot Top. I think Bill would have found that quite funny.

Hicks polarized many an audience; people either loved him or they hated him. Too dark. Too sexual. Too cynical. I saw in his material not cynicism, but an incredible sense of frustrated optimism. Bill Hicks saw so much potential in the world, and what we could be.

He said it better than I ever could…

God could we have used a Bill Hicks over the last 10 years.

For more of Bill, I recommend the albums ‘Sane Man’ and ‘Relentless’, the DVD special ‘Revelations’, and Cynthia True’s biography ‘American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story’.

Rest in peace, Bill. We still miss you,

BPM

Reality TV delivers reality check

January 31, 2010

Welcome to our new talent show, 'Delusions of Grandeur'

The reality television cesspool ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ has been rocked this week by the news a contestant on their program has lodged a discrimination complaint against the show.

Emma Amelia Pearl Czikai has claimed a medical condition made it difficult for her to hear herself singing during an audition, which rendered her subsequent elimination from the show unfair.

Czikai boasted to judge Simon Cowell before performing that she had moved people to tears with her singing in the past, and that at the end of the day he’d be glad to have had the chance just to meet her. However mere seconds into her rendition of ‘You Raise Me Up’, both Cowell and fellow judge Piers Morgan buzzed for her to stop. A 3rd judge, Amanda Holden, lasted until the chorus began before following suit.

Czikai has since claimed that the show failed to take into account her medical condition, that she was unused to the microphone being used, and that the backing track supporting her singing was too loud. So it’s everyone’s fault but hers in others words.

The Guardian UK reports that Czikai feels justified in lodging the disability discrimination claim because she maintains that ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ can be classed as her employer as the auditions were a process of elimination in which candidates competed for short-term employment contracts for a road show.

Czikai also feels that being shown on television and YouTube has made her a laughing stock, which has had a significant impact on both her health and general well being.

It’s come to this folks… it was bad enough when these shows first emerged from the primordial depths of television hell to offer hope to the marginally talented singers, chefs and dancers amongst us. But now they’ve created a mindset where every man and his dog feels entitled to their obligatory 15 minutes of fame. You were saying, Mr. Warhol?

This is the clip in question:

I’ll let you make up your own minds.

BPM

Why contemporary cinema needs more Velociraptors: #16

January 30, 2010

Life is like a vicious, pack-hunting carnivore...

No one cares how far you ran, Forrest.

Don’t you realize that these babies are cheetah speed, 50 or 60 miles per hour if they ever got out in the open?!?

Huh?!?!?!

BPM

The Immortal: There can be only one… Pete Doherty

January 28, 2010

What do you mean the pasty guy whose arms look like a kid's game of connect-the-dots might be carrying drugs? Are you sure???

Lord, where do we even begin…

Pete Doherty has escaped jail, even after police found 13 bags of heroin in his coat pockets during a court appearance this week in Gloucester.

Doherty’s explanation? He ‘accidentally’ left the heroin in one of his many coat’s at some point or another, and didn’t realize he was carrying until one fell out of his pocket during court proceedings. Hey, it happens to everyone at some time or another, right?

I personally am shocked… shocked that Pete’s actually making enough money from his ‘music’ to be able to comfortably misplace 13 bags of horse!

Doherty was fined all of about $1500 before being sent on his merry way by Judge Joti Joparai (all rise for the honorable Judge… oh… Joti… sorry). If you or I were to enter court carrying 13 bags of Skittles we’d expect a heavier sentence than that!

“Is there a reason you’re carrying such large quantities of Skittles, sir?”

“Hey man, relaaxxxx… here, taste the colors of the rainbow!”

Hmm... you make a solid point.

This whole Pete Doherty/drugs angle is either the world’s shittiest marketing ploy to distract people from what a crappy musician he is, OR he has the constitution of a cockroach/the Highlander/Keith Richards mega-hybrid. Dude, when even Keith is looking at you like you might have to slow down the partying, you may just want to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

This man is 32 years old

At the end of the day, if tabloid’s and trashy magazines are to be trusted (and who am I believe otherwise), Pete and his iron constitution managed to destroy Amy Winehouse’s career, her marriage and her sense of personal hygiene pretty much single-handedly.

And no one’s thought we could have convinced him to go get to know a Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift or Rihanna a little better instead?!? Hey, so long as we’ve got a Pete Doherty, we may as well try and use him constructively, right?

It’s just a thought. When life gives me lemons, I make lemonade is all I’m saying.

BPM

25-words-or-less movie review: ‘Lethal Weapon’

January 28, 2010

Shane Black = Awesomeness.

“I’m too old for this shit”.

Lord how I miss the Mel who only pretended to be crazy.

Sugar-tits.

BPM

10 years too late… the DEFINITIVE explanation of why Star Wars: The Phantom Menace SUCKED

January 27, 2010

'Nuff said

Cast your mind back to the distant past, way back when George Lucas’ prequels were still but a blip on the radar, and one’s love of ‘Star Wars’ felt justified, unsullied and pure?

And then in 1999, Uncle George crushed the dreams of millions and raped our collective childhood repeatedly with a dual light-saber. I’m talking ‘Phantom Menace’, people. God, did it hurt.

So when I found this at www.complicationsensue.blogspot.com, I felt like I had to re-post.

The 7 part review was made by ‘Mike from Milwaukee’. I’m not sure if Mike’s deliberately doing a George Lucas impression with his voiceover, but his analysis of ‘The Phantom Menace’  is incredibly well done, intelligent, well researched and pretty damn funny.

For example, when breaking down why the prequel’s characters suck, he asks a series of friends to briefly describe characters from the original trilogy, with results like:

Han Solo – ‘cocky’… ‘womanizer’… ‘arrogant’… ‘rogue-ish’… ‘but with a heart of gold’.

As compared to Liam Neeson’s character Qui Gon Jinn – ‘has a beard’… ‘stoic’… ‘beard’… ‘uhh’…

This is freaking great, but I don’t expect anyone to finish watching 1 episode, let alone all 7. Lets face it, we’re on the internet because we wanna know shit, we wanna know it now and we don’t want to spend more than 2.4 seconds absorbing it.

However if your days have as much downtime as mine, check it out. Be warned, some language may be NSFW.

BPM

‘The Biggest Loser’ scandal: A sizeable job for post-production…

January 26, 2010

Australia’s version of the ‘The Biggest Loser’ has been rocked (or jiggled?) by news that a contestant on the yet-to-air new series is being investigated by Queensland police for the possession of child pornography.

Ouch.

I guess in amongst all that ‘No carbs after 6pm’, and ‘Push through the pain barrier’, and ‘Read the labels on your food’ shit, someone forgot to mention ‘Oh, and don’t download pictures of naked children’.

Disgraced contestant Deryck Ward

Deryck Ward entered the reality-television competition with sister Renita, but had already been eliminated when news of the police investigation was made public.

The controversy has created huge problems (no pun intended) at Fremantle Media, where the show’s arc of ’10 Couples out to change their lives’ has been subtly shifted to… uhh… 9 Couples.. who are… out to… yeah…

Episodes are currently being re-edited to remove Ward and his sister from the program entirely. Should this prove to be impossible, unconfirmed reports claim he will instead be replaced digitally by the Grimace.

Nothing can kill the Grimace

The easy fat jokes aren’t normally my modus operandi, but for you Mr. Ward, I’ll make an exception.

Hope you get plenty of opportunities to do some sit-up’s in a men’s correctional facility, asshole.

BPM

Fergie Ferg vs Monkey Monk

January 26, 2010

Screams musical credibility

Saw this headline on ninemsn.com.au yesterday:

Black Eyed Peas mistakenly win award

And thought “Finally, somebody said it! Truer words were never spoken”.

Then I realized they were talking about a specific incident at an awards show in France last week, where the Peas were accidentally called up to accept ‘Best International Group’, only to learn later that the category had actually been won by Tokio Hotel.

Shrugs…

I stand by my initial interpretation of the headline.

BPM

Coca Cola, and how they’ll probably try to spin that Haiti thing from a negative into a positive

January 25, 2010

Wismond is pulled from the rubble by rescue workers

After 11 days, it seemed no good news could possibly emerge from the earthquake ravaged city of Port au Prince. And then I read about Wismond Exantus.

25-year-old Wismond was pulled from the rubble by an international search-and-rescue-team beneath his former place of work, the Napolitain Grocer’s Store. Trapped for 11 days, Wismond’s brother Jean-Pierre had tried to approach the wreckage of the store, only to be turned away by local police doing their best to prevent wide-spread looting.

How could Wismond possibly survive for so long?

That’s right. By eating very small amounts of the food he could reach, but principally by drinking Coca Cola. Reports have claimed he’s weak, but not terribly so. Tired, but lucid. Nowhere near as bad as you’d expect, in other words. Wow… Solo, you may be a thirst-crusher but now Coke is a proven life-saver!

You just know one of the marketing daemon’s at Coca Cola heard this story and starting skipping like a 5-year-old girl through the office. Yes, this whole Haiti dealio is horrible, a horrible tragedy, but on the flip side… think of the free advertising! Think of the promotional possibilities! At the very least, Kerry Armstrong, you’ve been vindicated at last. Huzzah!

In a way I actually DO hope that Coke produces an ad featuring Wismond Exantus, if only because the money afforded him by this opportunity may help him to re-build both his life and his family’s. Maybe they could even move to an island NOT perfectly situated for ass-shattering earthquakes.

Besides, an ad spruiking Coca Cola as having magical restorative powers can’t really do that much harm, right? If you’re dumb enough to believe that Coke is all the human body needs to sustain itself, you’ve probably already damn-near eaten yourself into an early grave on Jarred’s Subway diet.

No. Great. Loss.

In all seriousness, to donate to Red Cross Australia’s Haiti Relief Appeal, visit this website or call 1800 811 700.

Or go buy a Coke. I’m sure as soon as his Fizzy Drink Moneys comes in, Wismond will thank you.

BPM

The 100 Cheesiest Movie Quotes of all time

January 25, 2010

From www.awardsdaily.com

Choose your favorite BESIDES the infamous ‘Showgirls’ line…

BPM