2009 In Memorium. As we approach the end of the year, here's a nice little tribute to those cool people who sadly slipped off this mortal coil in '09. Weird wacky pop stars and ignorant reality stars are mourned elsewhere.
Brittany Murphy, Actor
Sir Bobby Robson, footballer/Manager
John Hughes, Director
Peter Rogers, Producer.
Jack Douglas, Actor
David Carradine, Actor
Bettie Page, Original Pinup
Keith Floyd, Chef/Drinker
Patrick Swayze, Actor
Edward Woodward, Actor
Tony Hart, Artist
Last surviving WW1 veteran Harry Patch
One of the Last Surviving WW1 veteran's Henry Allingham
One of the last surviving WW1 Veterans William Stone
Henry Gibson, Actor
Patrick McGoohan, Actor
Sir Ludovic Kennedy Author, Humanist
Norman E. Borlaug plant scientist, saver of lives.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Spike Jonze and adapted from the best selling book by Maurice Sendak is a bit of a strange one as you might expect. It's got the heart and soul of an arthouse independent movie but no doubt the budget and restrictions of a popcorn blockbuster. It's a strange mix that pretty much works. It's not really a film for kids, more a film for grown ups about childhood. I enjoyed it but also felt a touch underwhelmed. I did however nod off about an hour in, though I put that down to coming in to a hot cinema from out of the biting cold, as I was enjoying it, or at least thought so. My attention/preparation went to shit straight away somewhat by firstly a couple of pig ignorant twats who decided not to join the long queue for tickets but just waltz straight to the window without a care in the world. My frustrations made worse by the fact I didn't say cock-all when inside I wanted to bash their heads together, i can only put this down to kids being around/being rather chilled out until then. This actually made us late and miss the 'coming soons' then as the film started some typical late comers (or maybe like us - made late by more divs at the ticket office) decided to sit directly in front of us, despite the fact there were seats aplenty about the place (I do hate that) and they were some overweight emo types necking away and dicking about with their phones! Again my lack of tolerance on this particular day amazed me. It was by no means pretty as they stunk to high heaven presumably of being unwashed, cheap food, brine and bad milk. To my horror when the lights came on at the end they were both stubbly hybrid bonafide he/she's, impossible to know which and did not look unlike the Wild Things themselves. Anyway I'm ranting! So back to the film it was different, I don't normally watch films of this ilk at the cinny, but felt this was worthy of giving it a go.
Max (Max Records) is a frustrated child, borderline loner and definitely anxious (or maybe just a young kid). After a spat with his sister and her friends involving snowballs and the destruction of his self-made igloo, the anger boils over at the dinner table whilst wearing a wolf costume over an argument about frozen sweetcorn, he bites his mum (Catherine Keener) and storms off out the house and ultimately into a boat where he's magically transported over day and night to the land where the wild things are. The wild things are truly great and a proper example of where CGI works mainly because it's not relied upon (unlike in my opinion this Avatar film which looks like an expensive cartoon to me) although crucially there is a mix of puppetry and performance before the CGI, which brings the artwork of the book to real life and actually look very genuine with their own imperfections. James Gandolfini is great as the voice of Carol, though in his angry stages he *is* Tony Soprano apart from the cuss words. It took years for this to make it as a feature film and even then this production took five years to complete with a host of problems. Overall the end product is a visually stunning film but let down by something I can't quite pinpoint, perhaps the fact that the fantasy and real world's are ultimately similar or maybe something to do with the stop/start 5 years of production or stretching a ten minute story into feature length. I'm not sure? - But it's certainly different, has some great moments and the appreciation may or may not grow with repeated viewings. 3/5
Also out this month is previously mentioned The Girlfriend Experiencea return to the independent circuit for Steven Soderbergh starring a fave of ours bongo star-cum-serious actor Sasha Grey as a high end call girl. That is if you can find it on anywhere. We like Sasha Grey we do, and despite her chosen profession she's not a stereotypical coked up, jumped up pornstar with nothing but erm, you know what between her ears, (and eyes and chin) check out her top 5 films as seen/nabbed from FHM magazine. A woman after our own hearts.
A quick update since we last spoke about product matters!
We had hoped to bring out two new tees pre-xmas. But due to unforseen delays out of our control the printers have not printed them yet! We're actually still awaiting the samples to give the nod for production! So maybe pre-Xmas we'll have another update for you. If not, however they'll be available as soon as possible in the new year along with more designs and some exciting new stuff we're currently working with other parties on - you'll hear more about it as we get it! Regards CC
Little Valley Brewery Fairtrade Organic Ginger Pale Ale 4.0% Abv Light and Fresh pale ale with a hint of citrus and ginger. Little Valley Brewery hails from the Upper Calder Valley in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. Founded and run by Dutch born Wim van der Spek a master brewer. All Little Valley’s beers are 100% organic, certified and audited by the Soil Association as well as Vegan Society and the CAMRA Real Ale in a Bottle approved.
Or if you prefer a traditional winter ale this time of year look out for local brewery Robinsons and their seasonal ale Mr Scrooge.
Mr Scrooge ABV 4.4% - Mahogany coloured festive ale with aromas of roasted malt and fruity hop. Full bodied premium bitter with a rich taste of malt and biscuit and complimentee by a hint of lemon and blackcurrant. Whilst on the ale subject and with my 'Real Ale Twat' hat on, some sad news... Independent brewer 3 Rivers has apparently gone bump! The local brewer of such ales as Manchester IPA, Old Disreputable and of course the short lived (before we became a dreadful farce) The Stockport County ale The Ghost Beer. Keep on supping!
Here's an antidote to the usual fare, fayre?....if like us you're tired of the same old schmaltz like Home Alone, The Santa Clause and other sickly shit like Miracle on 34th Street! Get 'em watched, now, quick. 1. Trading Places (1983) - Well Christmas isn't Christmas in this house without the trillianth viewing of this classic from John Landis, based on the original tale of The Prince and The Pauper.Everyone's on form here, Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy especially.....Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy as the miserly scrooge a-like Dukes too. And, despite everybody saying it every year (it's true), the bonus of Jamie Lee Curtis's sublime tits are the icing or rather cherries on a great big funny fucking cake. 2. Bad Santa (2003) Directed By Terry Zwigoff and produced by the brothers' Coen, this masterpiece of booze soaked filth is the perfect remedy to the popcorn nicey brain-dead Christmas junk. Starring Billy Bob Thornton as the bitter, alcoholic conman Willie Stokes - who alongside his dwarf accomplice (Tony Cox) use the front of a Shopping Mall Santa to rob them all blind every year. This year though Willie is befriended by dumb overweight kid Thurman Merman who believes him to be the real Santa, an unlikely friendship and almost self realisation thus occurs. 3. Go (1999)Set at Christmas Eve in downtown Los Angeles and centred around three intertwining stories all connected with one good old festive drug deal gone terribly wrong! This soon all comes crashing together via much bad vibes; car chases, villainy and shootings, not to mention a boy who was once in Grange Hill. A clever, underrated gem of a film that deserves the favourable comparisons with Pulp Fiction. 4. Scrooged (1988)Yes this is alternative, it's an alternate take on A Christmas Carol! Bill Murray is bang on form as the angry, cynical cold-hearted bastard TV exec Frank Xavier Cross. Whose ruthless desire to get to the top in his field has cost him anything dear to him and alienated him from his family and loved ones. Frank is given the task of producing a terrible live version of A Christmas Carol and slowly his life starts to mirror the story. Granted it has the feel good ending (it has to dunnit?) but overall it qualifies here. 5. Gremlins (1984) For kitsch value alone, this horror-comedy from the mid 80s makes the grade. Rand Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) a not very successful inventor is on the look out for a different kind of present for his son Billy this year. Whilst trying to sell his inventions in Manhattan's China town he spots the perfect gift, but it comes with some crucial rules which forget to be followed! Gremlins is a proper 80s film (like The Goonies) with blood, guts, bad language and Corey Feldman in it...and they don't make 'family' films like this anymore. 6. The Proposition (2005) Directed by John Hillcoat (the Road) and written by Nick Cave. Set in the Australian Outback during the 1880's. We follow Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone) and his determination to civilise the Country, including bringing the ruthless Burns Brothers to justice. His plan sees one brother given until Christmas day to find, capture and kill the other brother. Culminating in a nice brutal, bloody climax all set around the Christmas dinner table! 7. Night of the Hunter (1955)Film Noir from Charles Laughton and starring the excellent Robert Mitchum as 'Reverend' Harry Powell - a charming, yet evil philosophical serial killer. After sharing a cell with a man to be hanged, he is aware of his fortune but only by a cryptic muttering of a clue. He quickly tracks down the family, marries the widow and then goes after the kids believing them to know where the loot is. Creepy as fuck. Let me tell you the story of right hand, left hand... 8. Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (1983) -This Prisoner of War tale sees the thin white duke in one of his few starring roles. Dealing with the relationships of four men in a downright nasty Japanese POW camp during WW2 and their conflicting personal troubles. Accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack from RyuichiSakamoto that takes us straight back to being kids in the family car listenting to it on the old cassette player, yeah, that's right, beautiful. Not the cassettes, the soundtrack. Arf! 9. JoyeuxNoël(2005) - French made film about the true events of WW1, during 1914 in which an 'unofficial' truce was held along the Western Front where rival fighters dropped their weapons and came together as one, sums up the futility, pity and total absurdity of war in one sitting, Happy Christmas! 10. The Snowman (1982) - Okay, okay a guilty pleasure here and one without a happy ending if you remember. Growing up, this was what made Christmas Eve really magic, we never had any snow at Christmas in the early 1980's, so the chances of building a snowman with enough consistency to stay there all night never mind pick you up and fucking fly to to the North Pole and back, was pretty remote. Also our fireplace was glass fronted too, so how did Father Christmas even get through? fuck knows? but we believed it, oh yes we did, every last bit of it. And this on telly every Christmas Eve brings it all flooding back with actual tears running down our now much older cheeks. Depressingly magic. Merry New Year!
OK, it's time to get a bit festive, only a bit, mind. So let's have a look at the better songs you may or may not hear this season. Aside from churned out shitty kids telly spin-offs to horrible glam rock which has bizarrely stood the test of time forced down our throats at every opportunity.Most definitely Cliff, Shaky and Band Aid free...
1. Darlene Love, Christmas, Baby Please Come Home. Great tune, it's also in the opening titles to not actually that scary, but great seasonal horror Gremlins.Remember in Goodfellas when Jimmy Conway decides he'd rather whack everyone than pay them the cash from the heist? this is also playing then. Magic.
2. Half Man Half Biscuit - it's cliched to be Cyncial at Christmas. HMHB know the score, this is better than their other more famous 'Christmas' themed tune. Spot on, nice home made vid too.
3. Fairytale in New York - The Pogues and KirstyMacoll, yes it's a cliche, yes everyone includes it in their lists, but it's a world away from Cliff or Macca's feelgood piffle. So for that reason it's in.
4. All Together Now - The Farm, a great tune from the baggyish era. Listen to it, based on the Christmas Day truce of 1914 where soliders from opposing sides, left their trenches and had a good old fashioned game of togger. If one situation could sum up the pity of War then that be it.
5. St Etienne I Was Born on Christmas Day - Manchester(ish) vibes in the area, live on the Word. St Etienne + Tim Burgess.
6.GaudeteSteeleye Span - Listen to this, it'll blow your socks off.
7. The Fall - Hark the Herald Angels Sing - Classic hymn, Mark E Smith style, what's not to like?
8. The Flying Pickets Only You - Teds singing acapella? bit gay innit? gay-good though.
9. Bert Jansch - In the Bleak Midwinter. If it's all getting a bit too much, put this on and have a little cry.
10. Jona Lewie Stop the Cavalry. Still appropriate this Christmas.
OK, if I'm not being a Humbug, with enough pints and spirits in my belly, I'd be secretly dancing (inside) to the likes of Slade and Wizzard and that Elvis one, no sorry Mud! We all do. Just sometimes it's the same shite, different year. Every year.
Pre-Christmas/End of year clearout with savings on a number of designs now up.
Here at CC world we need to make space for the Christmas and New Years' new arrivals and plans.
Selected items now reduced, featuring end of line stocks, last few sizes and even a few of the newer items too. We've got new stuff due in over the next few weeks and some big plans for the new year which we hope to be a real productive and progressive year ahead!
I took delivery of our 2010 calendars this morning, these are made by a second party in conjuction withRed Bubble, we actually make about a quid off the overall price and that's being totally honest, but they're miles better than what we could make ourselves at this moment. I cannot praise the quality of them enough, the great photography has been done justice on glossy card, and they're really well put together hence me plugging them again. Certainly adds a bit more class to your workspace, kitchen or bedroom than some cheesy titfest from Hollyoaks et al. The World of the Connoisseur &Saturday Best #2