Sex vs. Books
I have a room at the front of my place with a lot of natural light being reflected off of the windows of my neighbours' homes across the road. Never really considered how I had to watch out for my own privacy after five years living so closely in my own darkness and with no real concept of the word. It is a type of comfort that I never knew I missed.
How to Play Dominoes with West Indians
Summer is coming to an interesting conclusion. We have faced Covid-19, monkeypox, inflation, criminal actions of elected officials and weird weather patterns. People have needed an escape from the insanity of day-to-day life, and have found it in many different ways. Some of us have returned to the gym; some have become even more deeply invested in their computers (laptops, desktops, cellphones, etc.) Some people have quit jobs; others refuse to return to the office to do things that they have proven could be done at home. And there are others who just want to make a connection with people again…or at all.
Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say… Major Culpham had that thought in his head as he prepared for the day. He looked through the viewfinder and studied the material captured. All the scanning of the previous day was uneventful and he felt that he should just get this out of the way early to complete his other duties. And yet…he felt an urge to go back once more and review what he saw…and heard.
Mick Jagger: My Father
This all began with very intense research. When I was fourteen, I earned enough money to go out and buy a copy of “Exile on Main Street” by the Rolling Stones. I knew what I was looking for and why that particular album had to be in my collection. According to Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the top 100 albums of the last twenty years, this was the best album ever released by the band. It was described as sludgy, grimy and a true representation of their love of blues and country music.
Parker's Blues (Part II of Alien and the Nemesis)
The mention of personality, which is not the same as talent, must not overrule one central fact of the film: the casting is excellent. One simple measurement of their talent can be found in the ability to see these actors in work beyond monster-hunting in space. Tom Skeritt would go on to do work in other films and on television (notably Nash Bridges); Harry Dean Stanton, who was already a veteran on the Hollywood scene, is still one of America’s best character actors (we look for him even as he disappears into his role); John Hurt and Ian Holm were bred and trained under the British system of acting and can be relied on to surprise and attract an audience in any role; And then there is Sigourney Weaver, our Ripley, in her first important film role (she had a brief out-of-focus cameo in Annie Hall). Nothing earlier in the film leads us to believe that she will be the one to avoid the alien’s appetite and survive three sequels. It was truly her breakout role. Yaphet Kotto was also a veteran of the Hollywood scene. At that point, he had appeared in Across 110th Street, Live and Let Die and numerous other films. He would also appear on television on Homicide: Life on the Streets, earning an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of a police chief. In Alien, he is Parker, an engineer and a member of the repair crew responsible for keeping the ship running. He is also very self-involved and knows that he should be getting a better deal in regard to the “bonus situation”. This is the first sign - apart from the cigarettes - that this film has a cynical hole in its heart (Han Solo’s demands for payment is quickly resolved when he helps blow up the bad guys; Parker and Brett never get their fair share despite their work to get the ship running when the so-called skilled crew makes one of the worst ship landings in sci-fi film history). He speaks for all the working stiffs who help out behind the scenes when things are not going well; all guts and no glory.
A Few Thoughts on Pornography
Pornography – the love that can’t help but speak its name. It is now August. Summer is coming to a close in about a month if you consider what the seasons are like in Canada. I am here, tapping this out on a laptop that I made sure was not connected to the Internet, and I am considering a walk and a visit to a museum or theatre before I decide whether or not to transfer this piece to another laptop and post it for the wide world of Vocal.
The first problem was waking up in bed. It had been a beautiful morning while he waited in line for the bus. Will was expecting to take a very short nap before getting back to work. But he would also have to call them. That was the deal. Family is family, and we don’t get to choose them, do we? That was his thought as he put his knapsack on the floor, closed his eyes, and let the articulated city bus rock him gently into sleep in his seat.
A Clockwork Memoir
1. In 1981, Limeridge Mall opened in my hometown not too far from my aunt’s house. There was a Cineplex that played the big films of the day (Porky’s, Raiders of the Lost Ark, etc.) and my family took me to see Disney’s cartoon version of Robin Hood. I was eight years old and what I remember most about the day was the walk down the ramp to the theatres. There were separate lanes marked off with bars and on the right-hand side were the posters for each film. That was when I was struck by a huge white poster with a triangle framing the face of Alex, an eyeball and what seemed to be a naked statue of a fertility goddess.
Parker's Blues (Alien and the Nemesis)
Note: this was originally written in September of 2009... No chance getting it published then, so... It is a strange time to be a fan of horror films. After September 11th, the media informed us that the age of irony (in American life, as has to be said) was over and that films would have to deal with cold facts and unpleasant truths in a manner supposedly unseen in recent American films. The press was apparently referring to the brilliant slew of films which arose in the shadow of the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, hippies, recreational drug use, cults, the counterculture and Watergate. After almost three years after the fact, 9/11 is still firmly rooted in the psyche of the west, yet our films have not followed suit. We still have the blockbusters like Spider-Man, Transformers, and Fantastic Four in crowded cineplexes and Hollywood is pursuing a business-as-usual path. This is not to ignore some of the great “small” films that have gained notice in the press, such as American Splendor, Lost in Translation, Thirteen, and Saved! which have their own particular means of truth-telling or authenticity. They capture the obsessive nature of a culture and the need to see oneself as one actually is: ordinary, lost and unsure of where we stand.