Et tu, Rafael, et tu

 

There’s an old Swedish idiom which roughly translates as “Even pretty birds take a dump”. This was beautifully illustrated last night by Rafael van der Vaart, whose sneaky attempt at biological warfare against the other substitutes on the Netherlands’ fixture against Romania barely went unnoticed. Something is rotten in the state of Holland, indeed.

(Whether it will earn a spot in the “My Greatest Moments” section of his website remains to be seen.)

 

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Surrealism of the week: Gary and the Amazing Helicocker

 

Being a former chess maestro turned expatriate politician trying to gain some wind in a de facto totalitarian state is hard enough without having your speeches interrupted by flying penes and scrota, as Gary Kasparov experienced first-hand last week.

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Filed under Humor, Weirdness

Decay, decay!

 

Four years later, Strindberg and Helium is still one of the weirder things to be found on teh internets. Whether the annoying pink ballon is supposedly real, or just an absinthe-induced figment of the tormented playwright’s imagination, remains to be said.  Either way, it’s clearly time to revisit From an Occult Diary.

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Filed under Animation, Literature, Weirdness

The Ballad of Sebastién Tellier (or Ode to a Lone Ranger)

The Eurovision Song Contest isn’t known by that many Europeans. It should be, if for no other reason than the knowledge of how to avoid accidental exposure. The contest is an utterly perverse, nihilistic assault on all musical and aesthetical sensibilities – a take-no-prisoners orgy of Balearic power ballads and ethno drums, mashed up with hoi polloi euro techno and non-existent hooks. If this in itself is the stuff of nightmares, the effect is only enforced by the fact that the “songs” generally are performed by either overweight transvestites or surgically enhanced blondes, sporting outfits straight from the combined horror cabinettes of H.R. Giger and John Waters*. All in all, a rather excruciating exercise in sheer eurotrash deviance.

Needless to say, it is not a common thing to see real artists cross over to the dark side, and take part in the black mass of dorkiness. Enter Sebastién Tellier, long-time Daft Punk affiliate and household name of the French electronica scene. Not only did he enter the French branch of the competition with the song Divine – he won it, and will represent the Tricolore in the Belgrade final on the 24th of May.

Much like Romeo Stodart of The Magic Numbers, Tellier’s Rasputin looks are utterly misleading. Rather than the expected seedy stoner rock joint, the track is a glorious little Beach Boys by way of Jean-Michel Jarre ditty, complete with doo-wop harmonies and all. I for one will push my chips for Sebastién Tellier in Belgrade, come May**. Who knows what will follow his path – Interpol competing for GB, 22 Pistepirkko for Finland or The Knife for Sweden?

*Samples of the monstrosities committed to tape can be found here and here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

**(Oh, and don’t miss out his new release, Sexuality, either. Not only is Sexual Sportswear the best song title in a very long time – the album itself is a worthy contender for the best electronica release of March, along with the Hercules & the Love Affair debut.)

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On a Swedish note…

Grattis Linkan! Nu har du på allvar tagit din plats bland Gösta Knivsta, Tjalle Mild och de andra legendarerna.

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Filed under Djurgårdens IF, Ice hockey, Sports, Swedish

Religion gets its wide arse handed to itself, part #1654737

Pieces like this one, teeming with seemingly off-hand and casual brilliance, is pretty much the sole reason I keep ripping off PZ when I’m out of material or time myself. There is one sharp mind behind those bottleneck Minnesotan glasses, mark my words.

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Filed under Atheism, Religion, Science, Skepticism

Hell is a place in Western Texas

 

There is a lot to praise about No Country For Old Men, the latest effort of the Cohen Bros (and the bleakest Western this side of The Great Silence). The rugged choreography, the relentlessly graphic  yet understated violence, the abruptly ended story archs which owe more to the unsatisfying randomness of reality than the crowd-pleasing conventions of narratology. All in all, pretty much an upgraded return to their first Texan film (and directorial debut), Blood Simple.

Yet still, it is the incomprehensible evil in the form of Prince Valiant-haired Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), dispatching unfortunate victims with a cattle stun gun, which will haunt this viewer for ages. John Doe, Hannibal Lecter and Keyzer Söze will now have to make room in the Pantheon of Penultimate Cinematic Evil for a new name. 

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Filed under Evil, Film