The Rise and Fall of Stella Natura
Robert Rubsam writes for Backlit about the neo-folk-centred music and arts festival, its blind spot where it comes to those with National Socialist tendencies, and how easy it is for good intentions to get mired in bullshit. It’s something that was on my mind earlier this year with regards to the Bölzer ‘controversy’ (tl;dr version: dude has tattoos that could be construed as crypto-Nazi, in a band with songs that make some hay of the are-they-aren’t-they angle) and I considered hashing it out here, but decided in the end it would be more trouble than it’s worth. (FWIW I did reach out to the man in question, who declined to comment, which is his prerogative.) #   ·

How to Criticize Israel Without Being Anti-Semitic
On a related note, this comment piece on Graham Linehan’s blog underlines the power of language in terms of framing the Israel-Palestine situation, and serves as a handy lesson for reading the media in general. #   ·

Responsive templates in HTML5 and CSS3 providing a great starting point for any web project. #   ·

Shaka, When the Walls Fell
A great article about one of my favourite TNG episodes, and the stuff that makes Star Trek ‘Star Trek’ to me. #   ·

Free and legal movie script PDFs c/o Go Into The Story
Filing this for future reference. In case I ever write a screenplay, like. #   ·


The problem with false feminism
Or why Frozen (which came out a year ago now, jeez) left Dani Colman cold. And yeah, I can hear people moaning ‘but it’s only a Disney movie, for kids’ but there are a lot of smart people who champion this film as some kind of revolutionary thing when it’s nothing of the sort, and that needs to be said. #   ·


BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti Goes Long
This has been on my ‘to read’ list for too long, so I’m posting it here as a prompt, and for future reference as it’s basically a how-to guide for media and the internet. With all his hires recently — including my old internet friend Mat Honan — it’s pretty obvious Peretti wants to be more than just a meme generator. (Also, I love Q&As, I much prefer them over conventional prose-y interviews because they strip out all that density and make both sides more explicit: the interviewer’s angle, and the subject’s honesty.) #   ·

I was a liberal mole at Fox News: From Bill O’Reilly to Roger Ailes, here’s all the inside dope
A surprisingly fair-minded expose of Roger Ailes’ truth-mangling machine. #   ·

The Correct ‘Yeah’: US Maple’s Deconstruction of the Voice
An academic essay on Derrida and Al Johnson’s inimitable vocal style — and idiosyncratic voice notation. Any excuse to post something on the amazing US Maple. #   ·


My Burning Ambulance review of Primordial’s Where Greater Men Have Fallen
These Irish lads done good with their latest platter. #   ·

GUTS: Viv Albertine Interviewed
The Slits guitarist and long-time filmmaker talks her autobiography published earlier this year, which is very good and you should read it now. #   ·

Albert Ayler music and interviews compiled for ESP-Disk
Another one for the wish list. Hint, hint. #   ·

The book rustlers of Timbuktu: how Mali’s ancient manuscripts were saved
Malians aren’t stupid: they know the value of their history and heritage. Long may their good work continue. #   ·


What came before the big bang?
I love this kind of thing, where science (not my field at all) blurs into philosophy (totally my bag). #   ·

The Untold Story of How Sega Nearly Won the Console Wars
If only Sony hadn’t come along and ruined things etc etc. #   ·

How to pitch articles to editors
Filing this for future reference. #   ·


Records Ruin the Landscape
David Grubbs (Gastr Del Sol et al) talks with Marc Masters about the vitality of performed over recorded music, a notion I totally get — but I still feel like the documenting is important, for manifold reasons. #   ·

Warhol’s Amiga art
Doesn’t surprise me at all that Andy Warhol was an early adopter of computer art tools, him being a commercial artist at heart and all. #   ·

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Definitive Oral History of a TV Masterpiece
So late to the party with this show, because it was never on TV over here. We’ve got the 20th anniversary tin but there’s only a few episodes in that. #   ·


Should film critics care about cinematic technique?
My answer is: of course. But never forget the simple matter of whether a film is worth the viewer’s investment, which can vary with context. And technique is only one part of that, because film might be an art form, but not all films are meant to be art. #   ·

How Japan Copied American Culture and Made it Better
Something that isn’t mentioned in this piece [c/o Kottke] but what I think is a prime example is puroresu. #   ·

11 board games you should be playing as an adult
Big thumbs-up for Ticket to Ride and Dominion in this neat introductory list. So yeah, Christmas is coming up soon, how about that? #   ·


Sweet Smell Of Success forum: New York noir and arsenic cookies
Still one of my favourite movies, and not even for the fantastically biting dialogue. #   ·

The Guardian’s 10 best chickpea recipes
Love me some chickpeas. #   ·

Phantom FM 1996 – 2014: A brief history, by its staff — past, way past and pirate
The moral of the story? Never go ‘legit’. #   ·


Reddit AMAs made readable, finally! #   ·

Beyond cuts: the many roles of a writer’s editor
“An editor may be butcher, but they are also a midwife, a parent, a nanny, a matron, a therapist, a conspirator and a friend. But don’t forget that, in the end, only a butcher can turn a live, stamping, snorting, animal into something you can stomach. So perhaps it’s time we heard it for the butchers.” #   ·

Art of the Title: The Lego Movie
So you love The Lego Movie, right? I mean, how could you not? But if you felt weird that it isn’t really stop-motion (come on, it’s really well done CGI, and would have taken years to make otherwise) here’s a great feature on the end titles, which actually were done in stop-motion, and are fabulous like (most of) the rest of the movie. #   ·


Street Fighter: The Movie - What Went Wrong
Quite a lot, as it happens. But I think making Guile, a bit player in the game’s storyline, into the lead character was the biggest error, and everything snowballed from there. #   ·

A Sense Of Clarity: Wild Beasts Interviewed
A nice chat with the band on the release of their fourth album. Which I meant to review for Thumped months ago and, ah well. It’s good, though. Much better than the last one, which was very disappointing to me. #   ·

Experience: I lost my dad on the London underground
I remember this story when it happened, but I don’t recall its resolution ever being reported. (It’s a happy ending, hooray!) #   ·

What are sinkholes, how do they form and why are we seeing so many?
The Independent with a decent primer on something that’s been on my mind the last few months. #   ·

On using Markov chains to build a perpetual Friends scripting machine. Removed from context, the randomly-linked quotes give often deliciously weird results, far funnier than the actual show ever was. #   ·


My Thumped review of Third Person
In which I rant a bit about Scientology and Paul Haggis’ evident problem with women. #   ·

Typeset In The Future: Moon
Essaying the typography employed in Duncan Jones’ excellent debut, reaching Kubrickian levels of attention to detail. Spoilers abound for those who haven’t seen the film, however. #   ·

If you can’t use an apostrophe, you don’t know your shit
Seriously, this isn’t about pedantry: it’s about written language meaning something. With a tongue as homophone-filled and context-dependant as English, these basic rules are necessary. No excuses! #   ·

No English word for it? Make up your own, like Shakespeare. Or steal one
English is already full of loan words, and plenty of made-up ones; why not add more? #   ·

Screaming Bloody Gore #1: Jon Chang
The DxAx/GridLink screamer shares his technique and talks his musical history with Invisible Oranges. #   ·


My Thumped review of The Skeleton Twins
…and I returned from my break with my review of this quite good drama-with-a-hint-of-comedy, starring SNL alumni Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. #   ·

My Thumped review of ‘71
I had a bit of a break from film writing last month for reasons. But I got this finished before the pause, because it’s a great film and I hope my words encourage you to see it. #   ·


My Thumped review of Maps to the Stars
David Cronenberg tries – and fails – to reclaim his cinematic identity with this tired Hollywood satire (and a film that can’t be saved by Julianne Moore this time out). #   ·

My Thumped review of The Equalizer
Denzel Washington reunites with Training Day director Antoine Fuqua for the follow-up to the latter’s bombastic Olympus Has Fallen that falls short of those ridiculous heights. #   ·

People talking Borbetomagus
A rough edit of footage from part one of Jef Merten’s documentary on the legendary noise-jazz trio. The kind of band best seen live and unleashed rather than tamed on record, I reckon. Still, hopefully the finished film will have less talking, more playing. #   ·

Alasdair Bulmer on metal in Zambia and Zimbabwe
Bet you didn’t know Zambia had its own version of proto-metal called Zamrock. I know I didn’t. #   ·


My Thumped review of Magic in the Moonlight
Or, Woody Allen is a horrible person and this movie only bears that out. #   ·

First Read / Second Read
“I suppose the real point is: designing for depth is not about neglecting the surface.” In other words, remember to make things inviting for newbies, not just for the geeks who get what’s going on inside. Tom uses the example of game design because that’s his milieu but it’s equally applicable to software or website UX design, and probably lots of other things that escape me right now. #   ·

Introducing Check-Correct Memory Enhancement System
Featuring my old Watt List friend Rob Poynter, whose birthday happens to be today. Good job, Rob. #   ·

Phil Dyess-Nugent on 50 years since America’s Civil Rights Act. Worth reading again in light of Ferguson and the light that’s shined on the distance that still needs to be travelled. #   ·


My Thumped review of Dead Neanderthals’ Prime & DNMF
Covering two new releases from the insanely good Dutch jazz-grind-turned-jazz-noise attack unit. #   ·

My Thumped review of Wild Rocket’s Geomagnetic Hallucinations
My first music review for Thumped in a while. #   ·

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