Sunday, 30 June 2013
"The biggest crowd ever to attend the famous Pyramid stage saw The Rolling Stones finally play Glastonbury last night. The Stones were onstage for approximately 2 hours, playing 21 songs: "" "
" Jumpin' Jack Flash"" "
"It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)"" "
"Paint It Black"" "
"Gimme Shelter"" "
"Glastonbury Girl"" "
"Wild Horses"" "
"Doom and Gloom"" "
"Can't You Hear Me Knocking"" "
"Honky Tonk Women"" "
"You Got the Silver"" "
"Miss You"" "
"Midnight Rambler"" "
"2,000 Light Years from Home"" "
"Sympathy for the Devil"" "
"Start Me Up"" "
"Tumbling Dice"" "
"Brown Sugar"" "
"Encore"" "" You Can't Always Get What You Want"" "
" (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"" "
"Michael Eavis said afterwards this gig is the highlight of his 43-year involvement with the festival.""
Friday, 28 June 2013
" It's that time of the year again! Today, 180,000 music fans converged on Glastonbury in England for the annual outdoor music festival. Last year, the festival didn't take place because the organisers wanted the 900,000 acre field to recover for a year, but this year it's back with some great bands lined up."" "
"The festival first took place in 1970 on the day after the death of Jimi Hendrix, over a 2 day period. Artists included Marc Bolan and Al Stewart, and admission was just £1 with 1500 people attending. The following year included gigs by David Bowie, Joan Baez, Hawkwind and Fairport Convention, with a crowd of 12,000. The site of the festival is of particular interest: the venue, Worthy Farm, is overlooked by Glastonbury Tor. The area has a number of legends and is a New Age site of interest as ley lines are believed to converge on the Tor. Since 1981, the event has been organised by local farmer Michael Eavis who recently handed over the reins to daughter Emily. There are several stages, and the sound systems on site have a total power of over 650,000 watts. Most of the festival goers choose to camp out for the duration, and there are several fields to accommodate campers."" "
"Notable bands to appear at Glastonbury include David Bowie, Van Morrison, New Order, Hawkwind, Marc Bolan, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Ian Drury, Joe Cocker, Madness, Oasis, The Cure, Bob Dylan, Marianne Faithful, Isaac Hayes, Neil Diamond, REM, Radiohead, Paul McCartney, The Killers, Coldplay, The Who, Iggy Pop and so many more. "" "
"This years line-up promises great things with The Rolling Stones headlining Saturday night on the famous Pyramid stage, while The Arctic Monkeys, Public Image Ltd, Elvis Costello, Billy Bragg, Tom Tom Club, Primal Scream, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, The Vaccines and Mumford And Sons are just a few of the quality acts lined up. With the BBC set to offer their most comprehensive coverage yet, the world's longest running music festival looks to be another winner!""
Sunday, 23 June 2013
"Released in 1963, The Servant marks the first collaboration between director Joseph Losey and Harold Pinter, who wrote the screenplay and also appears in the film. The Servant is set in a Chelsea townhouse where a 23 year old James Fox plays an aristocrat named Tony who dreams of building cities in the jungle; lofty ideas from a dreamer who appears to spend his days and nights avoiding even the suggestion of real work. Such a lifestyle almost demands a manservant and Hugo Barrett (Dirk Bogarde) is duly appointed to cook for and generally look after his new employee. Barrett is already well versed in the art of attending to every whim and, for a while, seems to be a dream come true: the sort of man who is only too happy to serve and obey, and who sees his job as a vocation rather than just another way to put food on the table. Soon, however, the situation changes. Even before an angry altercation outside a phone booth ("Get out of the way, you filthy bitch!"), we see Barrett's character gradually change, en route to attempting to become the new master of the house. Throw into the mix Tony's fiancee Susan (Wendy Craig) and Barrett's fiancee Susan (a sultry Sarah Miles) posing as his sister, and we have a volatile four-hander containing some frankly terrific performances. It's entirely fascinating to watch the balance of power shift several times, as relationships shatter and attempt to regroup with life-changing consequences for the quartet. "" "
"It's all too rare for a film to attain perfection, but The Servant manages to achieve this. From Pinter's script, Losey's brilliant direction, Douglas Slocombe's cinemaphotography, the outstanding performances to Johnny Dankworth's score.... all examples of artists at the evry top of their game, and it's gratifying to see Studio Canal's Blu-Ray bestow such reverential treatment on this film."" "
"First of all, The Servant looks ravishing here, acting as a wonderful showcase for Douglas Slocombe's photography. The transfer exhibits real depth with exquisite detail and no problems to report. There's also a generous amount of extras to enjoy, including interviews with Fox, Craig and Miles who all talk about Losey's style of direction, his (and their own) attitude towards the subject of class differences, and there's a wonderful moment when Miles reveals her parents were mortified when they attended a preview of the film, and feared the family name would be in tatters because of the character she played. We also get the chance to see Stephen Woolley recall his first viewing of The Servant at a tender age, while experts on Bogarde and Pinter discuss the careers and involvement of their specialist subjects. I was also delighted to discover a substantial featurette containing Losey's participation at a panel discussion during the first New York Film Festival in 1963, and there's also an audio interview with Douglas Slocombe and an excellent interview with Harold Pinter. "" The Servant has lost none of its power down the years, and remains a challenging excursion into the tangled web of the British aristocracy.
Sunday, 9 June 2013
"Mario Bava's I tre volti della paura (The Three Faces Of Fear) horror anthology was released in 1963, and went on to debut in America as Black Sabbath. The two versions have differences in terms of dialogue and music, with AIP toning down and altering material they deemed had pushed the envelope too far. Thanks to Arrow Video's superlative Blu-ray release, we can now enjoy the two versions in high definition."" "
"In the Italian version, The Telephone kicks things off, with Rosy (Michelle Mercier) receiving a series of malicious calls that appear to be from her former pimp Frank, who has just got out of jail. Instead of calling the police, Rosy calls her former lover Mary (Lydia Alfonsi), terrified that Frank is apparently privy to her every move, even down to her varying states of undress. Although The Telephone is the least of the three stories on offer, it does deliver a fine line in tension, amplifying Bava's premise that fear has stalked mankind throughout all the ages. In the Black Sabbath cut, AIP turned this section into a supernatural tale with Frank reaching out from beyond the grave to wreak vengeance on the living, and omitted any suggestion of a lesbian affair between Rosy and Mary. While I much prefer the Italian version, AIP's cut is well worth a view, and fascinating in its own right."" "
"The second story in the Italian version is The Wurdalak, starring Mark Damon as young nobleman Vladimir Durfe, whose discovery of a headless corpse leads him to the house of a terrified family who await the return of head of the household Gorca (played by Boris Karloff in his last great role. The Wurdalak of the title refers to a vampiric being who is compelled to drink the blood of those he loves the most. In this Italian version, child abduction is just one of the horrors we must contend with, and the sight and sound of the aforementioned offspring begging to be let into the house because "I'm cold" is one of the genre's most chilling. The Wurdalak really is a remarkable piece of filmmaking, with a fog-shrouded locale, some exquisite lighting and a wonderfully chilling performance from Karloff turning it into the stuff of nightmares."" "
" The AIP cut placed The Wurdalak as the final story. In the Italian version, it's sandwiched between The Telephone and our final story, The Drop Of Water. Here, Jacqueline Pierreux plays Helen Chester, who is summoned to attend the corpse of a just deceased medium, whose death face will haunt you for many months after. When Chester takes a shine to the medium's ring, that fine line betwixt the living and the dead is once again breached. Here, the Italian and AIP cuts differ in several areas; notably the use of score versus sound effects, and the depiction of Chester as cold hearted in her attitude to the dead. With its sumptuous lighting and haunting other-wordly sound effects, The Drop Of Water is perfectly placed to end this trilogy of terror as a genre gem that remains every bit as frightening as it must have done all those years ago."" "
"Arrows Blu-ray will surely please admirers of this film,with a pleasing transfer. Both transfers exhibit some inherited minor wear, but depth and detail are good as well as colour reproduction. On the extras front, Bava-ites will enjoy Tim Lucas' commentary track which provides valuable career resumes of the cast, and insight and interpretation with regard to the visual and thematic information on offer. Tim was also involved with the excellent 'Twice The Fear' featurette which uses split-screen to examine the major differences between the two versions. It's a fascinating 32 minutes, taking each segment and highlighting variations in music, dialogue, sound effects and footage. One particularly interesting aspect is the score. Roberto Nicolosi did the honours for the Italian version, while Les Baxter scored the AIP version. I have to give the thumbs up to Nicolosi here, who knew when to let the music fade and the sound effects take over. See what you think. There are also trailers to enjoy, a terrific 40 page booklet (featuring a Samuel Z. Arkoff interview,and writing by Tim Lucas and David Cairns), a video introduction by Alan Jones and a 20 minute Mark Damon interview. Although Damon only mentions in brief his time with Mario Bava, his interview is a total delight with the names of Groucho Marx, Roger Corman and Clint Eastwood popping up."" "
"Arrow's Blu-ray package is highly recommended and destined to be on many best-of-the-year lists come the end of 2013.""
Tuesday, 4 June 2013
"The London Underground is a great way of getting around our capital city, but this speedy mode of transport can have its drawbacks. When darkness descends and the hour is late, this vast network can bring its own terrors. I've traveled on the underground late at night on countless occasions, and always recall this classic from The Jam during my journey. "" "
"The song really begins as a solitary male commuter approaches the ticket machine, armed with an evening meal for himself and his wife. 'Headlines of death and sorrow' and 'madmen on the rampage' occuly his thoughts as he puts his money into the machine, while Bruce Foxton's bass bubbles away in the background. Soon, 'gruff blazing voices' interrupt his thoughts as a couple of thugs ask for money. 'I've a little money and a takeaway curry, I'm on my way home to my wife' explains the frightened man, but to no avail as the men launch their attack. 'They smelt of pubs and Wormwood Scrubs, and too many right-wing meetings' is a classic Paul Weller line. It allows you to imagine these shadowy figures and the horror they impart, with Weller's vocals beautifully capturing the shaky commuter's explanation and the hate-filled demands of his aggressors. Now, flashes of his life are mixed in with 'the smell of brown leather' and his senses are blocked as the attack continues."" "
"It's a completely overwhelming part of the song, and leads to Rick Buckler's drums really pounding the beat. Then, when you're on the canvas, out for the count and thinking Weller has finished his story.. then he launches into an incredible stream of consciousness rant: 'The last thing I saw as I lay there on the floor was Jesus saves painted by some atheist nutter', with British Rail posters advertising cheap holidays filling his only line of vision. Now, 'The wine will be flat and the curry's gone cold' is all he can finally think of, as Weller's guitar and the sound of the underground bring this song to a close."" "
"'Down In The Tube Station At Midnight' was the second single to be taken off the wonderful 'All Mod Cons' album. It was released on October 21st 1978, and was usually the song that ended their live set before the encores. It remains a classic, and is even more relevant today than it was back in the '70s when it was still relatively safe to be out late at night."" "
"This is the first in a series of songs that will feature in 'Tracks Of My Years', and there will be more to come from The Jam and a whole host of other bands.""
Saturday, 1 June 2013
"By the time we reach the one hour mark, Spiritism may come across as an overly-talkative piece that only moves on to crowd-pleasing familiar territory during the final act, which is based on W.W. Jacob's "The Monkey's Paw". This viewpoint, while understandable in some respects, actually does the film a great disservice, as this is really a quality drama about a family falling apart at the seams. Amongst a cast of performers who often leave a lot to be desired, it's Norma Veyran who takes centre stage, wringing every ounce of emotion from her role of concerned wife and increasingly desperate mother.The second seance is probably the main source of ammunition for critics of this film: it's a lengthy scene where Mary - now a commited believer following a wonderfully eerie vision on hallowed ground - attempts to halt the spectre of doom that threatens her family. The troubled abode of Elvira again plays host to a communication with the dead, beginning with some expanded theories regarding the dear departed, and moving to a shattering climax with an unquiet spirit who does not realise she's dead. Perhaps this scene is a little dialogue-heavy, but subsequent viewings may well reveal the script to be less ponderous than first impressions suggest. The only other gripe concerns some terminally dodgy less-than special effects, which suggest a two-way split between paucity of budget and lack of imagination; chief offenders being scare-free apparitions and a botched stand-off between Christ and Satan, though one has to at least applaud the audacious concept of the latter. "" "
"Overall, Spiritism is a successful portrait of a family afflicted by the spectre of bad luck, and it's ill-advised attempts to use unconventional means as a way of stopping the rot. Jealousy, lifelong friendships put under intolerable strain, the pain of losing loved ones and the very real fear of growing old and dying poor will doubtless strike a chord with many viewers, while the last 20 minutes deliver the goods for anyone with a spine demanding to be chilled.""