Some soundtracks do not require accompanying images (e.g. Jaws, Psycho, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), even if you haven’t seen the films concerned you get a sense of the mood and of what is at the essence of the narrative. Others employ a loop or recurring motif throughout the whole album which can be repetitive and tiresome. The best enable the imagination to run free and the mind to wander with the titles as a guide. This soundtrack is one.
A soundtrack without the accompanying images can often be incongruous, especially with this kind of film, one that tells the story of brainy-boffin and world-famous robot voice Stephen Hawking. The film has garnered extensive praise predominantly for Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of the scientist from his days at Cambridge through his physical deterioration/cerebral elevation to the collapsing of his marriage; the film’s central theme. Icelandic composer Johann Johansson’s elegiac soundtrack has swooping stirring strings and fragile ivories that articulate torn emotions, life’s trials and tribulations with the highs and lows captured in snapshots and extended mood pieces.
Despite its title ‘Domestic Pressures’ is particularly lovely, the mood is captured, one of suffocation, the testing of feelings and human nature rubbing up against one another. Featuring song titles that double as chapter headings wouldn’t go amiss on a Hawkwind LP (Stephen Hawkwind tribute band, anyone?) such as ‘A Spacetime Singularity’ with ‘Collapsing Inwards’ even deploying a throbbing bassline taking the listener on a trip through the stars and their infinite wonder.
At times it is evocative of Michael Nyman’s film work for Jane Campion (The Piano, in particular), and praise rarely comes as high as that. This a modern classical album that deservedly stands with and apart from the film. The theory of everything is a belief in it all.
In John Carpenter’s seminal film ‘They Live’ ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper ‘sees’ after wearing the allegorical sunglasses. The world is an illusion, driven by a malevolent alien force, administering junk culture, force-feeding a diet of misinformation and fostering greed and deprivation. As said in Jacques Perreti’s brilliant and startling ‘The Super-Rich and Us’ there’s ‘the haves, the have-nots and then there’s the have yachts’
Peretti: ‘The super rich are no longer just of freak interest – they’ll be playing a real role in future. What’s interesting is because governments are essentially broke, the onus will fall more on the super rich and corporations to do more. The role is being pushed upon them.’
In Davos this week, a coterie meet to administer the illusion, tweak the diet and redraw their plans.
Man on TV: They want benign indifference… but all we really are, is livestock.
Towards the end of the film there is an encounter with one of ‘us’ in attendance at a gathering of makers, shakers, fakers and takers who delivers this all-too realistic missive:
I thought you understood.
It’s business, that’s all it is.
You still don’t get it.
There ain’t no countries anymore.
They’re running the whole show.
They own the whole planet.
They can do whatever they want.
We can have it good for a change.
If we help them, they’ll leave us
alone to make some money.
You can have a taste of the good life.
It’s what everybody wants.
– You’d do it to your own kind?
– What’s the threat?
We all sell out every day, might as well be on the winning team.
See you, boys.’
Britpop Man looking for the light
Having exhausted his copy of ‘The Rutles Greatest Hits’ Neu Labour (s)hit-maker’s new offering ‘The Ballad of the Mighty I’ sounds like a Tears for Fears cast-off spliced with Mann and Weil’s ‘On Broadway’. Before you get all excited it’s nowhere near as good as that sounds. It sounds more like … well, I think we all know don’t we?
In the promo-short-vid-image-seller-crock our erstwhile zero affects disdain (‘He’s sooo good at that!’) with a Clem Fandango clone (off ‘Toast of London’, comedy fans) as he gets in the ‘Mod zone’ in regulation coat. He’s Jimmy. He’s Weller. He’s, he’s … wearing plum trousers. In what looks like East of the capital. A girl sprints past only to stop at the bank of the canal to shiver and wait. Why? What does it all mean? She can’t be that destitute, she’s wearing those deliberately ripped at the knee jeans.
Without stopping to enquire, he tosses her his parka, a true gent. He shuffles on. Crossing under a bridge a button on his shirt appears to have come undone. Is this a hidden meaning? He spots some shoes round telegraph wires? Wait, isn’t that code for narcotics in the hood? Undeterred, he continues. Gripping stuff.
Passing a second-hand clothes rail he swipes a denim jacket, is this a sign that his purpose is nearing its resolution, his costume is almost complete? Somebody call plod, billions have just witnessed thievery.
However, two web start-up gonks scarper past causing our protagonist to look intrigued. Curious, he goes after them. Turning the corner he sees a prostate body on the pavement with what looks like a guitar case. Our man thinks ‘Nice one, if I can master a chord I can churn out some proper ropey stuff and who knows, P.T. Barnum could be right’. The other tech-twit sees him and does runner. Without calling any of the emergency services our axe-man takes the guitar case and walks back to where he came from. Larceny by finding. (Theft Act 1968)
But, wait, Tech Boy’s now behind him so he dives through a door that’s (get this) the same colour as his strides.
Halfway through it’s a shit ‘Memento’.
Inside it’s fellas in shit jumpers and beards (natch), bikes on windowsills, a Nespresso machine and probably a ball pond for those tranquil times. A laptop is playing the previous (what feels like light years) acts of this saga, our denimed-dandy attempts to make sense of it all as he sees his memory replayed back. He daydreams: ‘I really liked that coat as well. I’ve ended up here without uttering a single word to anyone. Oh, I geddit, it’s one of them ‘it was all a dream’ thingyamebobs.’. I really fancy a Chicken Cottage for tea. Before or after me champagne bath? Oh lummee, dilemmas. dilemmas.’
‘Aaaah, a nice soak in me bubbles’
Snapping to, he leaves. No one cares. Down a dark corridor, through another door (or is it a portal?) he takes the guitar out, straps it on as if it’s his and strides confidently to a stage. The thick plottens …
He joins the band in song at the SAME time as we’re hearing it … 3.33 minutes. Cracked it, it’s a Masonic message saying, ‘ha ha, you pillocks, buy this dross’. *goes straight to iTunes to purchase aforementioned masterpiece*
*snaps out of state of dizziness* 4.24, he’s had enough. Exit stage sans guitar. Back through the door. An end (or point must surely be looming).
Looking pensive yet unaffected by the minutes/hours that have elapsed he ambles into sunlight, it’s gonna be alright. Oh, there’s those shoes again. Are they what Alfred Hitchcock would call a ‘McGuffin’? Our warrior is non-plussed and ambles onwards.
He’s suddenly back where it all began and here come the comedy bits again. The anticipation …
Fake Clem Fandango calls him ‘Liam’ and asks for another take. His parka’s reappeared and a lackey dresses him as he states ‘No chance’. He walks away. Knowing references to Coldplay and the consumption of latte are deployed to the amusement of no one. My sides are un-split.
Taking rhyming triplets to ‘cat-sat-mat’ levels, this is the usual witless boundary respecting tripe and destined to have his hordes frothing at its ‘ingenuity’ and ‘ground-breaking instrumentation.’ Incidentally, it’s indistinguishable from those other Manc maestros Take That’s new excretion ‘Let in the sun’. Somebody’s been swapping lyric books.
The very best I can say is that it’s all meaningless. High Flying Bird? Let’s agree on battery-farmed turkey, yeah?
File under ‘A New Yawn’
‘You cannot pin THIS one on me!’
It’s that time again, the annual gathering of the selected and unchosen, discussing how best to proceed as a united globe at the World Economic Forum (WEF). (Not to be confused with other transparent hook-ups (Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, Council of Foreign Relations, Club of Rome etc).
Their credo is that they are ‘committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas’. Founder Karl Schwab puts it as ‘a platform for collaborative thinking and searching for solutions, not for making decisions’. Sans bullshit this means ‘how best to continue carving up the natural resources and maintaining the destabilisation that we as a cohort have met up for yonks to ensure happens’. In essence: how to turn the 1% controlling 85% of the planet’s wealth into 0.5% and beyond.
Another ganglords’ gathering. ‘What’s the cost? Who’s footing the bill? How did you get there, Al Gore? Flew? What from Germany? One rule for …’
Amongst the luminaries this year are Two-Bit White-towel tosser John Kerry, Black-Eyed Pea head honcho will.anthro.pissed, former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso (clearly there to express his dismay at the shipwreck he oversaw and how best to avert/create future crises), ‘esteemed’ CEOs, ‘learned’ academics and ‘global shapers’ (i.e. the next breed of agenda pushers) and most importantly, pal of paedophiles (present and posthumously) HRH Randy Andy York, acclaimed businessman and societal benefactor. That’s some pie they’re fighting for. ‘Is there enough for EVERYONE …?’
The facade brings to mind this line from ‘Top Secret’
Doctor Flamond: You see, a year ago, I was close to perfecting the first magnetic desalinization process so revolutionary, it was capable of removing the salt from over 500 million gallons of seawater a day. Do you realize what that could mean to the starving nations of the earth?
Nick Rivers: Wow. They’d have enough salt to last forever.
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