Lunch At Dinner
Billy Bragg: Never Buy The Sun

Simian Substitute Site For July 2011: La Vallée Des Singes


Art: It's a terrible admission, but despite living in London for over a quarter of a century, and walking past Central St Martin's School of Art on Charing Cross Road countless times, this month was the first time I'd ever ventured inside. It'll be the last, too, because very soon they'll be moving the whole operation to a less-falling-apart new building in King's Cross. Which is a little bit of a shame, I feel. I was there for the Postgraduate Photography 2011 show, an interesting collision of styles and levels of experimentation. Obviously the main attendees of shows like this are people who know the postgrads involved, so let's shamelessly single out the work of Mike Pevsner here, particularly his hypnotic little piece entitled Sway.

Comedy: So, farewell then, Collings and Herrin? It's certainly looking that way. For the last three years, Andrew Collins and Richard Herring have been having lightly faked arguments with each other in a series of podcasts - you may recall that I got myself namechecked in one of them. However, it's just been announced that the podcast is going on hiatus for an unspecified period of time, owing to some "issues". In a wildly confessional blog post (too much information, says The BBG, and I think I agree to an extent), Collins has announced that his decision to take on a 6Music radio show with a new comedy partner has got Herring a bit upset. Which is a shame, because their most recent podcast, despite Herring's apparent lack of enthusiasm, has some comedy gold in it: an inspired selection of alternative names for the dog in the remake of The Dambusters, and a discussion of the recent banning of The Human Centipede 2 that segues into a queasy game of "what's the most offensive film scenario you can imagine". It's good that they've taken a professional break rather than risk the destruction of their personal relationship, and I hope they patch things up soon.

Travel: Does Brighton count as travel? Well, just a month after our day trip there to see Sufjan Stevens, we were back again for the final day of Brighton Japan, a week-long festival of food and culture from one of our favourite countries. The closing weekend was officially part of the Asahi Anime Festival, but the focus was on much more of Japan's cultural output. Kensei Taiko turned out to be another one of those drumming groups who were inspired by a Mugen Taiko Dojo beginners course, much like we were: anyone who knows Mugenkyo will be amused by Kensei's founder describing how he was "taught by Beatrix Kiddo". Alika Mochida had appeared earlier in the festival singing traditional Japanese enka, but for the final day she slummed it a little bit with cover versions of J-Pop classics from the likes of Ringo Shiina and Morning Musume. Pandaloid put on a fun dance show to the banging sound of Luka Luka Night Fever, while Zonic performed some nifty songs based on tunes from games like Sonic The Hedgehog and Lemmings. The most anime-inspired event of the day turned out to be a very silly gameshow, which at one point required its contestants to make Gundam robot costumes out of old cardboard boxes. Actually, to hell with it, just go to alihaikugirl's YouTube channel and you'll see how much fun it all was.

In the meantime, your Simian Substitute Site for July 2011 is La Vallée Des Singes. This one came out of our travels to San Sebastian by train last month: specifically, the bit where we rolled up at Paris Montparnasse station on Sunday afternoon, walked inside looking for somewhere to have lunch, and were confronted with a large poster promising hot bonobo action somewhere in the vicinity of Futuroscope. 30 species on display, 350 inhabitants in total, and some of them even blog (well, that's what I assume is, anyway). Treat it as a useful test of the French you learned at school, or bang it through Babelfish or similar for additional nongrammatical fun.

In the middle of this month, this site will hit its thirteenth birthday. Does that mean we can expect its balls to drop on or around Bastille Day? Answers on a postcard, or in the comment box below.


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