Saturday, December 31, 2011

"TinTin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece" 1961 film

The original film poster

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

The Adventures of TinTin "The Secret of the Unicorn" by Hergé

Ah I always do things half-assed backwards.  Ok, so this is the first part of the two part story and I sort of gave a review for the second part.   What's amazing and interesting is how much research Hergé did for his stories.  Besides clothing, he had a good eye for architecture as well as weapons, automobiles, etc.  These young reader editions all have additional information regarding the story - and overall its very interesting. Similar to a bonus on a DVD set.   The world of TinTin is very very rich.

The narrative doesn't impress me that much, but the detail work of his Hergé's illustrations is really impressive.  And as I mentioned before I am really attracted to his drawings.  And I think I got that bug ever since I was a child.

The Adventures of TinTin/"Red Rackham's Treasure" by Hergé, plus Documentary on TinTin

I have known TinTin all my life and i must have read the series as a very very young tot, or my mom read them to me.   For the past 40 something years I have been avoiding re-reading the books, while at the same time being very attracted to the author/artist Hergé's artwork.  in fact I am totally nuts about it.

It is fascinating that Hergé did a remarkable amount of research for his narrative/artwork.  He made models of locations/ships, and in many ways they are sort of like little films or at the very least visual film treatments - but alas, that doesn't really matter, because the work really does it best on the printed page.  "Red Rackham's Treasure" is the second TinTin book, and my understanding is that it is sort of attached to the first adventure "The Secret of the Unicorn" which I will read next.  Nevertheless "Red Rakham's Treasure" stands up on its own, and all the eccentric characters are fully exposed and explained.  What we have here is a boy's adventure,  but with very well dressed characters.  And that alone is worth the attention, and seeing how Hergé works and thinks, this has to be an important aspect to the aesthetic of TinTin.

This book as well as the others I will read shortly are young reader's edition's, which is exactly (at least I have been told that) the same as the original, except the images are bigger, and each title has an additional 20 pages of bonus material, which is quite interesting.

Down below is a documentary on Hergé and his invention TinTin.

"TinTin & I Documentary Part 1

"TinTin & I" Documentary Part 2

"TinTin & I" Documentary Part 3

"TinTin & I" Documentary Part 4

"TinTin & I" Documentary Part 5

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"My Friend Dahmer" by Derf Backderf

A graphic memoir by Derf Backderf who went to high school school with serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. What we get are snapshots of Dahmer's life before he totally answered to his darker side. Yet, clearly he was on that road to mayhem perhaps all his life. One is never sure, because I think everyone has a Dahmer they went to school with. And that is the quiet shock of the narrative, at least for me.

There are two worlds that are expressed in this 'graphic novel.' One by Backderf, who seemed to have been charmed with a good family life and friends, and then there is Dahmer, a tortured soul with no friends and a disturbing family set-up. The thing is the problems he had at home is not that different from millions whose family are going through divorce or drug related problems. Some can just pick up the pieces and go on, but Dahmer can't go on.

Dahmer basically went through school totally wasted on alcohol. & to amuse the school population he pretended to be spastic. Which was obviously a role he took to his heart on many levels. The disturbing part of the narrative is that no one picked up on his problems or worse, they didn’t care or bother to think about it. The title is miss-leading because Backderf is not a friend of Dahmer . He knew him causally at school, and like his other classmates saw him as an object to use or have fun with. Which is typical of teenagers in that social setting, and Backderf doesn't run away from that role in his teenage years. But clearly the problem with Dahmer was obvious and the fact that his community didn't see it coming is the shocking aspect of the narrative.  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Bad Vibes" by Luke Haines

Britpop, as a movement, had a huge affect on maybe a handful of people - mostly those who lived in North London.  But saying that there were some great bands that came out of it, who without a doubt is Pulp.  On the other hand I am not sure if Luke Haines was one of the 'movement's bright lights, but for sure a great personality.  And like most great personalities they usually have talent on the page.  Therefore "Bad Vibes" is a splendid trip to the underbelly of British pop music world circ. 1990's.  While Haines has distaste for the pop world, one suspects he also has great admiration for the power structure of the pop world as well.  If for nothing else then to rebel against its limited power and vision.  
And as for Haines' music, I only know Black Box Recorder, which is pretty good (hardcore) British pop.  Another music figure who delivers to the medium of the book.  Very nice.
Perfect pop chorus.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Great David Bowie Footage 1997

Great Bowie circ. 1997.

The Lost David Bowie Footage


"The Doctor Is Sick" by Anthony Burgess

 In many ways "The Doctor is Sick" is very much like "A Clockwork Orange," Burgess' mega-hit novel.  The structure of the main character going through a difficult journey is the same -and confronting surreal or out-of-wack situations via the journey is part of the fun in both Burgess books.   Also I think the main draw to Burgress' work is his language play.  Here is an author who loves the accent of the local population - and being set in London, its highly an adventure to accents and class structures.   I didn't love the novel, but found it very interesting.  I think because I am obsessed with London as a literary landscape, and Burgess uses that landscape quite well.

Iggy Pop and Michel Legrand

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

The History of David Bowie

David Bowie live in 1990

This is the fantasy part but wow, a great song.  Dream.

The Monks - The greatest rock n' roll band ever?

I think for this one footage alone, they are truly the greatest rock n' roll band ever.  Anyone disagree?

They had the tunes.

"Cuckoo" is one of my all time favorite songs.  It somehow expresses the world to me.

The best banjo song ever.

There is such beauty here

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

L'écume des jours (Foam of the Daze) by Benoît Preteseille (After Boris Vian)

L'écume des jours (Foam of the Daze)  by Boris Vian is such a multi-media type of structure - it works as a novel, an anime, a manga, a musical, a film, and also as a French comic or graphic novel by Benoît Preteseille.   Very minimal yet complexed, the drawings expressed the haunted characteristics of its main characters.  As things gets darker the drawings get more expressive.   Also Sartre as sort of a rock n' roll figure in the comic hits the right spot for me.  Essential of course.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Nuits Rouges" by Georges Franju

I just watched "Nuits Rouges" by Georges Franju for the second time in my life.  its a great film.  The above is just a very small  excerpt.  Nevertheless it has a very strong Fantomas appeal as well as a great mood.  And I only watch films mostly for their mood.

"Letters to Stanley Chapman" by Boris Vian

More of a chapbook then say a book book, but nevertheless the original handwritten and some typed up letters from genius Boris Vian to his translator at the time (late 1950's) Stanely Chapman. A remarkable document of Vian asking Chapman to help him with his song lyrics. A tad too rock & roll for Chapman, but nevertheless a charming collection of letters.

"No Longer Human Vol 2" by Usamaru Furuya

Part 2 of three parts of the manga "No Longer Human" based on Osamu Dazai's novel of the same name.  And when we left our hero from volume one he survived a suicide pact with a lovely - and now how does he live and go on?   Well he does of course, but without ruining others and himself as well.   Usamaru Furuya is perfectly matched up with Dazai's obsession of life among the edge of total failure.  So far part 2 is like watching an accident as it happens.  Very enjoyable!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"The Astro Boy Essays" by Frederik L. Schodt

The perfect book for me to pick up at Shibuya Tower.  Somewhere between my personal desire and what others in Japan have given me, I find myself surrounded by Astro Boy toys and books.  When I first started to go to Japan,  Osamu Tezuka was one of the sources of understanding that culture and it was such a pleasant adventure.   Frederik L. Schodt's book on the culture and history of Astro Boy is a must-read for anyone who have even the slightest interest in manga and its history.  
Tezuka is without a doubt a major figure in pop Japanese culture - perhaps the key figure, and without a doubt a genius in his field.  He is also a mega-figure to write about, and Schodt's book is a good starter in the world of Tezuka, and by mostly focusing on his most famous work in the west - Mighty Atom aka Astro Boy.

part one of "Birth of Astro Boy"

part two of "Birth of Astro Boy"

part three of "Birth of Astro Boy"

The story of a boy robot made by a scientist who was grieving over his deceased son.  But that 'father' eventually disowns the robot due to the fact he doesn't age.  And therefore we have the consistent tension between robot and human.   Tezuka thought long and hard on this and Astro Boy is not a simple subject.  He's a mixture of popular science and all the hope it brings, but also the inner-danger of nuclear power and the arrogance of science.  And it is this tension that makes 'Astro Boy' into a major work.  Also Tezuka's skills as a writer and illustrator is pretty amazing.   For sure he's the Disney of Japan, but I think he's more then that - way more.  Schodt did a remarkable job introducing the world of Tezuka and why he's important.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Boris Vian; Post-Scriptum (Dessins, manuscrits, inédits)

Boris Vian is in a very real sense to me, a god.   The fact that I devote my press TamTam Books to him - and that my second half of my life is basically thinking of Vian in every manner possible - well, this book is heaven sent to me.  What we have here are selections of his art work - some paintings, but mostly drawings on paper and notebook paper.   Its put together in chronicle order of his work - so in a sense this is sort of a visual biography of the man via his drawings and some of the text from his novels, plays, etc.   Beautifully designed, this is an important book for all Vian lovers that are out there. The book is in French.  And I am happy.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec Volume 2" by Jacques Tardi

"The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec comes back!   Volume 2: "The Mad Scientist" and "Mummies  on Parade."   Jacques Tardi is my favorite living comic book artist from France,  and of course I have favorites in Japan, but let's not confuse categories and things.  Volume 2 is more mood narratives that fall in the French pulp genre then anything else.  Things can happen any moment and time - and our hero Adele seems to never have a night's sleep - with assassins  breaking into her apartment, and strange phone calls in the middle of the night.
Jacques Tardi
Adele is a Detective of sorts who studies the occult and secret organizations and has a thing for mummies.  She and a group of individuals and creatures make strong impressions on the landscape of turn of the century Paris.  And it is Paris that is really the star of the series.  Always mysterious and dangerous (especially in the middle of the night) and yet hauntingly beautiful.  And with the addition of a tight narration makes this series into a graphic novel masterpiece.   Volume 3 is coming out in 2013, and that is the only tragic part of the series.  The waiting...