Back before torrents and LoveFilm and dirt-cheap (or any) DVDs, it was a lot harder to see films that ween't in the local video shop and were stubbornly refusing to show up on TV, meaning that some of them were the exclusive preserve of the cool kids. At junior school it was Freddie and Jason (and I've still never seen any of either's films), shading into the more violent end of action films (I'm well up on my Arnie now, even if I've still yet to see Robocop
). Which itself, as we got older, gradually started morphing into the more obviously 'cool' films, and as I was morphing into a slightly cooler child, this was when I started to see some of the status films, like The Hunger
and Withnail & I
. But one film I was slightly too late to the party to catch was the transitional Hardware
- a film with sex and violence and a killer robot, but also featuring cameos by Lemmy (a cabbie), Carl McCoy of the Nephilim (the inspiration for Antony Johnston's Wasteland
) and Iggy Pop (DJ Angry Bob, "the man with the industrial dick", who we need on 6Music stat). Because I live in the modern world, on Monday I was finally able to sit down and watch it, but divorced from its context as a badge of having Arrived, it's not very good.
(And then the next day I went to Stationery Club to talk about notebooks, which I think makes an even better point about the collapse of 'cool' as a currency in an increasingly niche social economy)
Wednesday: I do the Bloomsbury museums, for the first time including the Cartoon Museum
, currently hosting a Ronald Searle exhibition. The guy is 90 and in spite of having suffered terribly as a POW of the Japanese, he really doesn't look it; the only hint of weakness comes when he misquotes Molesworth but if there's one man alive who can be forgiven that, it's Searle. He seems to subsist pretty much entirely on champagne, which I suppose could explain it.
In the evening, one of my very favourite bands, not just brilliant but generationally important, are playing in aid of an unimpeachable cause. By which I am of course referring to the Indelicates' anti-Digital Economy Bill
show at the Monarch, charging a princely fiver. The support, alas, are not good - even Lily Rae is for some reason not on form, and when I say that Akira the Don had a tiny child on keyboards, I'm not making the usual joke about how young bands are looking nowadays - it was an actual tiny child
. But when the Indelicates come on, who cares what has gone before? Simon explains how this atrocious piece of lawmaking has nothing to do with helping starving artists and he should know what with being a starving artist. And they play 'Savages', which I have previously said will be the greatest song of the new decade unless something better than humans starts making music, and even then it will be a dazzlingly apt note for the species to bow out on - "The brave new futures we have seen, filled with beautiful machines. The greener pastures, clearer skies and none such as you and I"
was there too, and while I was writing the above I saw a link he posted regarding the music of one Emily Howell
- who is a computer, and confirms me in that belief.
Nonetheless, out to another gig last night - Brontosaurus Chorus at the Wilmington, whose new songs 'Sandman' and 'Scissormen' confirm that someone has been at the Vertigo comics, which is always to be encouraged. There have been concerns that the show might sell out, as the headliners have been supporting Editors. I join in the chorus of mockery - what kind of world do we live in where supporting a bad Joy Division tribute means you can sell out your own gigs? Then I realise that the band in question are The Strange Death Of Liberal England, whose 2008 mini-album I rather liked. Watching them, however, they don't add much to the music's strangeness and yearning and British Sea Power echoes (the clue to that bit is in the name, isn't it?) and in one sense actively subtract from it: the singer has a ginger Afro. I decide to stick with the sounds in future, and head out.