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Friday, 16 May 2008

My Favourite Movies

Head over to my MySpace to vote on which of these would be YOUR favourite!

1.Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Review: Slim Pickens rides the Bomb! Peter Sellers is a Genius! All hail Kubrick!

2.Total Recall

Review: The finest Ahnold movie. I think he needs to have his own genre. There is a surreal quality to his acting - he's completely aware that he's in a movie at all times. See you at the party indeed.

3. The Thing (1982)

Review:This could be one of the most terrifying movies ever. There is something so deeply creepy about flailing tentacles and hundreds of eyes. It's as if John Carpenter and make-up wizard Rob Bottin discovered the primal nightmare. And Kurt Russell is a baddass. Nuff said.

4. Pulp Fiction

Review: The movie that defined my adolescence. How did anyone my age figure out what cool is without Tarantino? Unfortunately, we have to thank him for reviving Travolta's career (I much prefer Danny Zuko to Battefield Earth Monsters). Otherwise, this is one of the finest films ever! Period!

5. Starman

Review: Lost classic of the 80's. Stands as John Carpenter's best flick outside of The Thing. Jeff Bridges is brilliant at looking like a avian weirdo. I love you Jenny Hayden, as well as this movie. Soundtrack makes me feel like I'm 5 years old again.

6. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Review: In my opinion, Steve Carrell is a has been. This is and will always be, his greatest achievement. The writing is pitch-perfect, and each character is beautiful drawn. I cry when I watch this film. Does that make me weird? Hits a little too close to home.

7. The Cincinnati Kid
Review: McQueen at his best. Ann Margaret is a sex bomb. Karl Malden is as solid as ever. And who doesn't love Eddy G., my man! Check it out, you won't regret it!

8. You Can Count On Me
Review: One of my favorite movies in the last 10 years. So well written, so understated. I really thought Mark Ruffalo was gonna be the next Brando after I watched this. What happened? 13 going on 30 and Just Like Heaven, that's what happened. Still this is a timeless flick.

9. A Clockwork Orange
Review: Am I creepy if watching this film makes me laugh? Something about Alex's journey is so deep, and dark, and funny. It's also one hell of a cool looking film, and the music is brilliant! I still worship Malcom McDowell even though he hasn't come close to this role in anything else he's done...maybe Time after Time and O Lucky Man, but that's about it!

10. True Romance

Does it get better than this? When I was in High School I wanted every I girl I talked to be like Patricia Arquette, and I wanted to sound like Christian Slater. It didn't really work out that way, but at least I got this movie. Best "I Love You' scene ever. No I'm not a wussie, just a true romantic.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

A Heavy Brow

Sitting at a hotel bar in Edinburgh, gazing out the window at a castle on a green covered mountain. The best part is I’m not playing music in this hotel bar, stuffed in a corner pumping out tunes. No I’m just sitting here, sipping on a Kronenburg, occasionally glancing at my very cute Scottish bartender. I can’t believe the way people talk here. I find the accent welcoming, soothing. Everyone smiles and seems chilled out, not like New York or London for that matter. I’ve long dreamt of a place where I could live out my days, cool my fiery nerves next to a beautiful dame, breath fresh air in the countryside, but not too country; I am a serious city boy, need my delicatessen fix. In my first 12 hours, Edinburgh is making a strong case. Who knows, maybe I’m ordering drinks from my future bride? I’m here a day early, awaiting another two week stint with the lovely Amy Macdonald, which starts in her native Scotland, winds its way through the UK, and winds up in yet another lush paradise, Ireland. It’s nice to be traveling, especially with all the madness going on in the world. It’s a strange place to be: living out my dream while so many people on Earth are experiencing a nightmare. Right now I’m smack dab in the midst of the first promo blitz, running in and out of radio stations, grinning my grin, spreading the JV gospel. And all the while I have these images burned in the back of my mind of people being pulled from rubble, thousands need deep in refuse and the remnants of their villages. I try to stay positive, but it’s tough proposition. I lie in my hotel room and flip through channels of British newscasters forecasting doom and gloom, with even bleaker headlines scrolling across the bottom of the screen. Another person stabbed in Oxford Circus. Estimated death totals rise again. I have to ask myself what am I doing here? Shouldn’t I be helping? I’m sitting on my bed chewing a club sandwich, sick with paralysis. How can I make the situation better? It’s not like I can hop a flight to Burma and join a 24-hour relief team. They wouldn’t even let me in the country. Why do these disasters happen in the most cut-off, totalitarian countries? It’s heartbreaking to see people in need of help and not getting it. It makes me grateful that the ones I love and care for are happy and healthy. If anyone knows of ways to help, please lemme know, be it donations, writing a song, anything. Right now, I’m dealing with it by throwing myself into every interaction with extra abandon, letting people I’m around know how fortunate I am, that we are to be here and now.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Portrait Of The Artist, Albeit A Commercial One

When we last left our hero, he was a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown, true John Cassevettes style, spouting nonsensical rants about wanting a cat. I’d like to say things have changed, but I would be lying. I’m just a helluva of a lot busier, there’s no time for depressive musings. All business the past couple weeks – video & photo shoot, showcases for Television executives, rehearsing ridiculous Whitesnake cum Barry White (Barry Whitesnake anyone?) covers for a Radio 2 showcase the middle of this month. I can’t complain.

This time last year I was playing in the corner of a Hotel Bar, peddling tunes for tips and wine, scamming salads and tuna steaks, loading up on instant espresso. Actually, reading that last sentence, it doesn’t sound half bad! Maybe I’ll pick up and go back home, resurrect my romantic, bohemian NYC lifestyle……nahhhh!

The prospect of becoming a Rock Star, while more demanding, is much more appealing. Still the frenzied push to plaster my mug across the United Kingdom (and soon elsewhere) gives me pause. During an interview the other day, I was asked how it feels to have a “Big Push” from a “Major Record Label”. I responded in an irreverent yet charming way, dismissing the question, disarming the bomb. But it did light a fire in my brain: am I an Artist? Do I make Art? It may sound ridiculously pretentious, but it’s a good question.

People come to a show, they watch a singer sing, a band rock. They see someone in the unconscious act of performance and lose their own consciousness, become one with the music (I am getting poetic here, apologies). And then a funny thing happens. People say to themselves, “Man, that looks like a lot of fun! What a great thing to be a Rock Star! What a way of life!” And right there they buy it, hook, line and sinker. They embrace the illusion. People are blending the wonderful selflessness that is music with a lifestyle that simply does not exist (note: some acts do live the life, but those are few and far between, and don’t tend to last long. Keith Richards is a legend).

Until signing to a major label, I was one of these people. Now each day my reality is redefined. Rock Stars don’t get up @ 5:30am. Rock Stars don’t have to stick to Cranberry and Soda cause they have 5 gigs in a week plus 10 promo appearances. Rock Stars don’t go to the Mac Store and buy copies of Civilization IV because they crave total mindlessness (okay most Rock Stars don’t do this. I am a nerd). Being a Rock Star is a job like any other, whether it’s playing Piano in a club, to running IT for a large investment-banking firm. Well maybe not like any other job. It IS a lot of fun. And you get a lot of free cabs. And, it’s the only job I was ever cut out for. Though I think I woulda made a good video store clerk. Rent Turkish Delight sometime. It’s one of Paul Verhoven’s first movies, Rutger Hauer as well. Saw it last night, raunchy but good.