Books: Back in August when I used to write stuff regularly for this site - yeah, yeah, things should start picking up again shortly, promise - anyway, you might recall that comedian Robin Ince was one of our primary sources of irritation during this year's Edinburgh Festival, due to the under-publicised arrangements for getting into one of his shows. If nothing else, the incident has made me all the more impressed at The Belated Birthday Girl's ability to keep a straight face. Because while I was sitting in Edinburgh bars berating Ince for his poor organisational skills, she had to suppress her knowledge that she'd already bought me a copy of his book for my upcoming birthday. Still, I can't complain, because it's actually quite a fun read. Robin Ince's Bad Book Club is the hard copy version of the show he's been doing for several years now, in which he takes a series of cheap paperbacks gathered from countless visits to charity shops and holds them up to ridicule. It suffers from the thing that makes Ince's stand-up and journalism occasionally tiresome to read - his insistence on deliberately exposing himself to the worst of what humanity can offer, just so he can get annoyed about it. (Which, for me, tends to be less funny and more annoying.) But his joy at the guilty pleasure that crap literature can provide is infectious: and when he makes the bold statement "if you have not read The Rats you were not born between 1954 and 1976", it brought back happy memories of James Herbert's paperbacks being passed around under the desks in school, always falling open naturally at the dirty bits.
Internet: It's the scientific breakthrough from Japan we've all been waiting for: a motorcycle with a toilet built into the saddle, that runs off your own poo. You could read about it in English at Tokyo Mango, but you're probably better off going to the official site of its manufacturer Toto and shoving the Toilet Bike Neo Project blog through the translation software of your choice. (Nifty is the most reliable one out there, as long as you select the 日本語英語 option to go from Japanese to English rather than the other way round.) The blog is probably worth revisiting throughout October, as the bike is just about to start a one-month promotional tour of Japan, presumably ridden by someone with a massively underdeveloped sense of shame.
Movies: Back in August, I wrote about the Scala Forever film festival for Mostly Film (with a little extra bonus material for here). Six weeks on, the festival finally ends this weekend with a screening of A Clockwork Orange, the film that notoriously finished off the Scala cinema completely. We ended up catching three of the festival's screenings ourselves. At the Prince Charles, we saw a fun double bill of The Terminator and Duel: most notable for being the second occasion at which I've tweeted the organisers during the interval of an event, and they've verbally responded to that tweet on stage at the start of the second half. (Coincidentally, the first time this happened was at one of Robin Ince's shows.) We also fitted in our first ever visit to the utterly charming Roxy Bar And Screen: their all-day Hong Kong action festival was just as patchy as the Scala's all-dayers used to be, consisting of two solid-gold classics (A Better Tomorrow, Eastern Condors) and two not-so-classics (Tiger Cage 2, The Cat). Finally, the comparatively posh surroundings of the ICA were an ideal location for a restored print of The Ballad Of Narayama: Shohei Imamura's combination of weirdness and rudeness seems like the perfect way to remember the Scala. It's just a shame that London cinemas can now only sustain a selection of movies like this for a six-week festival, rather than all year round.
Why this one, out of all the films at Raindance? Well, the title helps. But also, I need to declare an interest because I know someone who worked on the film. I couldn't necessarily say that if you don't go to see Monk3ys, you'll be taking food out of the mouth of his small child. But you might be, so it's probably best to see it anyway to be on the safe side. If you can't get to the Raindance screening, you'll have to make do with the trailer for now, and then see if it gets picked up by a distributor at a later date.
Once again, apologies for there being so little new stuff from me in September: that should change in October. Have I missed anything while I've been away? Use the comments box below to let me know.