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January 2010
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March 2010

Spank Gold Volume 2: Spank's LFF Diaries 1989-1999

Caution: Running Gag Under ConstructionWhen I announced the publication of my first book at the tail end of last year, I did warn you it wouldn't be the last, didn't I? Of course I did. My long-term plan, in fact, is to publish a new volume every two months throughout 2010, plus an extra one at Christmas for those of you looking for stocking fillers. By the end of the year, I plan to have eight of these things on my shelf. How many you have on your shelf is entirely up to you.

Anyway, as it's more or less two months since the last book came out, it's time for the next one in the series. The title is reasonably self-explanatory, I think.

Oh, all right then, here's a bit more explanation for you.

Continue reading "Spank Gold Volume 2: Spank's LFF Diaries 1989-1999" »

The Chronicles Of Solomon Stone

And don't forget to check out Chris Sims' 'Woman Of A.C.T.I.O.N.' while you're at www.actionagecomics.comYes, this is exactly what it looks like. It's a comic book called The Chronicles Of Solomon Stone, written by Chris Sims and drawn by Matthew Allen Smith. Its cover features its eponymous hero standing outside Westminster and punching a Nazi in the face till his teeth come out. And yes, the Nazi does look an awful lot like Nick Griffin.

So you're probably wondering by now, how the hell can I buy this comic? And I'm here to tell you the answer to that: you can't.

Because it's available for free on the internet right now.

You're welcome.

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Girls On Film: Females In Contemporary Japanese Cinema

Get 'em by the riceballs and their minds will follow: Kamome Diner2010's been a really good year so far for seeing Japanese films in UK cinemas. Still Walking has an arthouse release, a mere year-and-a-bit after I raved about it at the LFF. Ponyo is doing the rounds just in time for the kids at half-term, in both dubbed English and subtitled Japanese varieties. And BFI Southbank is wrapping up a two-month retrospective of the legendary director Yasujiro Ozu, including nationwide reissues of Tokyo Story and Late Autumn.

With all that lot going on simultaneously, it almost seems like overkill for the Japan Foundation to press on with their annual touring programme of newish Japanese cinema. But you're not going to hear any complaints about that here. If you live in London, you've just missed it: but if you can get to Sheffield, Belfast, Edinburgh or Bristol during February-March 2010, you may be luckier.

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Simian Substitute Site for February 2010: Werner Herzog Reads Curious George

New Thrill for 2010! (Actually, it looks a lot like the Fairly Old Thrill we used to do here called Hidden Agendas, only less hidden. But anyway...)


Art: Pop Life at Tate Modern (now finished) was a handy overview of the commercial end of the modern art scene. Piotr Uklański's The Nazis and Takashi Murakami's Japanese overload were the highlights for me: the usual BritArt suspects didn't come out so well by comparison. Higher quality British art was on offer at the Cartoon Museum with their fine collection from 30 Years Of Viz (also now finished).

Books: Is it terrible to admit that the only book that I read in January was Monkey Round The World? Mainly because its production was a slightly rushed job, and this was the first chance I got to go through it and spot the three spelling mistakes, one minor formatting error and the joke I used twice. Why not buy it for yourself and see if you can spot them? Or wait till the end of this month, when you'll be hearing about my second book...

Comics: It's not really a comic, but Alan Moore's new magazine Dodgem Logic is stupendous value for money at £2.50. Issue 1 is worth it just for Wendy Jarret's scrummy veggie recipes and the eclectic CD of Northampton bands, before you even get to the articles and artwork. Meanwhile, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá's Daytripper is turning out to be my favourite funnybook of the moment. We're two issues into a ten issue series, and each one so far has climaxed in a way that completely upends your expectations of where the story's going.

Movies: I know you're fed up of me going on about Bollywood movies, but you really should see 3 Idiots. It's the usual masala of daft jokes, musical numbers and overwrought sentiment, but for once it's wrapped in a smartly constructed script that's got some tough things to say about the Indian higher education system. The last time a Bollywood film was this well written, it was Lagaan, which (coincidentally?) also starred Aamir Khan. I'm less convinced about Shahrukh Khan's forthcoming My Name Is Khan, the Rain Man/9-11 crossover that nobody was really asking for.

Music: Gig of the month was The Hamsters at the Halfmoon Putney. At one point it looked like this would be one of the final shows at the venue, but instead it turned into a celebration of them dodging the bullet of closure. The Hamsters responded to the good news in their usual style, with their Hendrix covers sounding particularly impressive this time round. In terms of recorded music, the new Jaga Jazzist CD One Armed Bandit is currently floating my boat, and thanks to their Norwegian record company you can listen to a free stream of the entire album. It may not be around for long, so hurry hurry hurry.

Travel: No time for any actual travelling this month. Or, as you've probably noticed, for writing about last year's travelling like I promised I was going to. (My Christmas holiday writeup and the China videos should be coming some time soon...) However, during January we've managed to make plans for our next two major journeys. Regular readers might want to take a guess at where we're going: they'll probably be right.

Continue reading "Simian Substitute Site for February 2010: Werner Herzog Reads Curious George" »