Culture

A$AP Ant: Real Baltimore is Worse Than “The Wire”

Tuesday, 30 July, 2019

The A$AP Mob (Always Strive Always Prosper) is a hip hop collective formed in 2006 in New York City. The Mob is made up of rappers, record producers, music video directors and fashion designers, who have similar interests in music, fashion, style and art. Most of the rappers in the collective carry the “A$AP” title: A$AP Rocky, now starring in Sweden, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Twelvyy, A$AP Nas and A$AP Ant. Here, A$AP Ant discusses the city of Baltimore, which is very much in the news these days.


The horror of wokeness

Sunday, 14 July, 2019

Wokeness is the state or quality of being woke (aware of social and political issues relating to race, gender, class, whiteness, environment, migration, Trump…) But this Frankenstein child of identity politics is, in fact, self-righteousness masquerading as enlightenment.

Kinne Tonight is an Australian comedy television series hosted, written and produced by Troy Kinne. The first season premiered on 27 May this year and it offers a needed antidote to wokeness.


Pulp Fiction

Sunday, 5 May, 2019

Todd Alcott is a screenwriter and graphic artist. He describes his creative work as Cultural Mashups and Midcentury Madness. Note: Maggie’s Farm is a song written by Bob Dylan and recorded on 15 January 1965. It was released on the album Bringing It All Back Home on 22 March of that year.

Maggie's Farm


Pain and Suffering

Monday, 25 February, 2019

“Nothing forces us to know what we do not want to know, except pain.”

Aeschylus, The Oresteia: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides

Aeschylus


Welcome to the flesh parade! says Camille Paglia

Saturday, 6 October, 2018

“We certainly did not foresee that ‘booty pics,’ reducing women to their buttocks like Stone Age fertility totems, would become a wildly addictive genre of Instagram self-portraiture,” writes Camille Paglia, whose Provocations: Collected Essays will be published on Tuesday. Paglia wonders if the Instagram-driven exhibitionism that’s influencing both workplace wear and dating clothing is deepening the divide between men and women. Writing in the Hollywood Reporter, she says:

“The current surplus of exposed flesh in the public realm has led to a devaluation of women and, paradoxically, to sexual ennui. A sense of appropriateness and social context has been lost, as with Ariana Grande wearing a sleeveless minidress with bared thighs to perform from the pulpit at Aretha Franklin’s funeral. That there is growing discontent with overexposure in Western women’s dress is suggested by the elegant flowing drapery of Muslim-influenced designs by Dolce & Gabbana and Oscar de la Renta, among others, in recent years.”

Paglia illustrates her point with an Instagram image of Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar aka Cardi B, a stripper who rose to fame on social media and then became a hugely successful rapper with the mixtapes Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

Cardi B


Balkan mushroom wisdom

Sunday, 28 August, 2016 0 Comments

“All mushrooms are edible, but some only once.” — Balkan proverb

mushrooms


Siri says Jon Snow is…

Wednesday, 13 April, 2016 1 Comment

HBO made millions of people happy recently when it announced that Game of Thrones Season 6 (The Winds of Winter) will premiere on 24 April. The talk now is that the show will need at least seven, if not eight seasons to complete the “journey,” to use our jargon Word of the Day. GOT could run for another five years, in other words.

Because the presence of the charismatic character Jon Snow is uncertain in The Winds of Winter, Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, has been pressed into service and lots of news sites are hawking stories about what happens when you ask Siri if Jon Snow is dead. No spoilers here, however. Our question was oblique.

Siri


Video of the Year

Friday, 18 December, 2015 1 Comment

The next Rainy Day award — Video of the Year — goes to Lara Marie Schoenhals for “Please welcome to the stage…” Background: Taylor Swift made headlines by inviting celebrity women onstage as part of her 1989 World Tour. The guest list included Julia Roberts, Joan Baez, Gigi Hadid and Lena Dunham. “Please welcome to the stage the first woman ever, Eve from Adam and Eve,” declares Schoenhals mocking Swift’s routine, and then she hits her stride with “the fabulous 51 victims of Bill Cosby,” as well as the “women survivors of ISIS” and the “ashes of the victims of the Salem witch trials.” The list of notorieties includes Tonya Harding, Angelina Jolie and Hillary Clinton.

In a searing essay in the Hollywood Reporter, Camille Paglia took a swipe at “Taylor Swift, Hollywood’s #GirlSquad Culture.” Money quote: “Swift herself should retire that obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props, an exhibitionistic overkill that Lara Marie Schoenhals brilliantly parodied in her scathing viral video ‘Please Welcome to the Stage.'” So, “Please Welcome to the Stage…”

Tomorrow, here, the Rainy Day Book of the Year award.


Kardashian Gatsby Kanye Warhol

Monday, 9 November, 2015 0 Comments

People: “Daughters Kendall Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian were the bee’s knees in their throwback costumes, with the Victoria’s Secret catwalker channeling Daisy Buchanan and the single mother of three looking dapper as Jay Gatsby.”

For those who do not read People Magazine, Kristen Mary “Kris” Jenner, who has just celebrated her 60th birthday, is an American television personality who is famous for starring in the reality television series Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Among the 250 guests at her Gatsby-themed party were John Legend, Boy George, Melanie Griffith and Kanye West. Contemporary Gatsby fans will be aware, no doubt, that No Church in the Wild, a song by Kanye West, featured in the 2013 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby by Australian director Baz Luhrmann.

Which brings us back to the Kardashians. Who are they? “Andy Warhol would have been transfixed by them,” wrote Lauren La Vine. “They’ve managed to not only run down the clock on his assertion that, ‘In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,’ — but also hurl that clock out the window and smash it to pieces.” Perhaps it was fitting, then, that Kendall Jenner decided to “channel” Daisy Buchanan at her mother’s party. What was it that F. Scott Fitzgerald said of the Buchanans?

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” The Great Gatsby

The new Gatsbys


John Steed exits

Friday, 26 June, 2015 1 Comment

“Daniel Patrick Macnee died a natural death at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 93, with his family at his bedside, according to his son, Rupert.” So reads the statement on the actor’s website. Despite his many roles, Patrick Macnee was most famously John Steed in the 1960s’ British TV series, The Avengers. Paired with Diana Rigg (Mrs Peel), he was the elegant complement to her beautiful Holmes-like character and the couple were the embodiment of grace, charm and wit. Viewers wanted to dress like that, drive those cars and have machines that recorded phone messages.

As Macnee’s website puts it: “….The Avengers became known for its progressive approach to feminism, the female stars being more than a match for Steed… and a plethora of ‘diabolical master minds.’ The programme was also known for its creative team’s interest in stories about cutting-edge technology.”

For Patrick Macnee, who played many parts but will be remembered for one, here’s the introduction to the famous monologue from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Act II Scene VII:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts


The fish story at 40

Tuesday, 23 June, 2015 0 Comments

The film didn’t have a website, a Twitter feed, a Facebook page or trailers on YouTube. What it did have was a budget of $7 million and Steven Spielberg as its director. Since its premiere in June 1975, Jaws has earned $470 million and, for better or worse, it established the summer blockbuster trend. This was Spielberg’s second feature film and it could have ended the 27-year-old’s career, but his clever use of fear (we’re vulnerable when we leave dry land) and terror (we’re more scared of what we can’t see than what we can) thrilled people into queuing around the block all summer long 40 years ago.

Spielberg was aided by Peter Benchley, who wrote the novel, John Williams, who scored the anxiety-inducing music, and, especially, Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfus, who played their roles to perfection.

Jaws