ltmurnau: (CX)
... ohhh pleasedontsuck pleasedontsuck....

From this morning's CBC:

Filmmaker Ben Wheatley is 'a cup of tea away from anarchy'
British director's new film, High-Rise, explores the intersection of condo life and class warfare
By Matt Meuse, CBC News Posted: Apr 16, 2016 8:00 AM PT Last Updated: Apr 16, 2016 8:00 AM PT

"They say you're only two meals away from anarchy," British director Ben Wheatley tells On the Coast host Gloria Mackarenko.

"You know, I like to eat. I'm probably about a cup of tea away from anarchy, usually."

Wheatley's new film, High-Rise, tells the twisted story of a utopian condo complex on the outskirts of a gentrifying city, and its rapid descent into chaos.

The transformation takes three months in the film. But in real life, Wheatley reckons it would be much quicker. In the aftermath of the 2008 banking crisis, he realized he only had a day's worth of food in his house, and no real cash or valuables.

"I started looking around at the people in the street going, oh, I'd have to fight them, wouldn't I, for food," he said, laughing. "It would collapse really fast."

The film is based on a novel written by English author J. G. Ballard in the 1970s. Tom Hiddleston stars as Dr. Robert Laing, a resident of the titular High-Rise.

The book was speculative fiction at the time, but Wheatley finds it to be remarkably prescient.

"When I reread the book in my mid-40s, I realized that it wasn't predictive science fiction anymore, it was much more like I was reading pages out of a newspaper," he said. "It was a bit depressing."

To capture the feel of the novel, the film is set in a sort of alternate-history "super 70s," as Wheatley describes it — an ambiguous, highly-stylized representation of the era.

As if to highlight this, the film ends with an archival monologue from former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, whose right-wing economic policies dominated British politics in the 80s.

"Hearing Thatcher in the air [at the end of the film] is like the ending of John Carpenter's The Thing," he said, referencing a classic 80s horror film with a similarly bleak ending. "When I hear that voice, I get a slight twinge of fear. I find her disconcerting and terrifying."

"It's saying that the whole thing is cyclical and it will start again. And we have the hindsight of knowing what's going to happen next."

Parallels with modern Vancouver

The city in the film is implied as London, which is currently facing housing affordability problems not unlike Vancouver's. Prices are surging in both cities, and many blame investors who use real estate as a way of making and storing money.

Wheatley said the practice of treating real estate primarily as an investment has a devastating impact on cities.

"I always think of it as a bit like when these investors buy Van Goghs and stick them in a vault somewhere," he said. "The art gets turned into money, becomes abstracted and then put away, and it no longer serves the point it had in the first place. So, you know, if you do that to a city, you basically kill it."

"And what happens when no one can afford to live in the city? Do we all have to live on the outskirts and just look to it like Oz or something in the distance? I don't know, it's terrifying."

High-Rise was screened Friday night as part of the Vancouver International Film Festival, with a wider Canadian release on May 20. He'll be giving a master class as part of the festival Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Vancity Theatre.
ltmurnau: (Default)
Simon Reynolds wrote Rip It Up And Start Again, the best book I've ever read on my favourite period of pop music: the post-punk era, 1978-84. I've been meaning to post something about the book but haven't gotten around to re-reading it, which I would like to do.

Meanwhile, here is an interview with the author, on the connection with one of my favourite writers:

Simon Reynolds on the Ballard Connection

Interview by Simon Sellars for the website Ballardian.

Simon Reynolds is one of the most recognisable music critics around — or at least his style is, not least for its willingness to tackle pop music as an art form worthy of sustained intellectual discourse rather than as a fleeting moment of adolescent flash. Reynolds breaks new ground, melding unbridled enthusiasm with a robust theoretical framework in a body of work that is thrilling for its eclecticism alone: he’s never less than compelling writing about hip hop, Britney or rave, as he is about grunge, prog or grime.

Reynolds reached a peak of sorts with the publication of Rip It Up and Start Again, a deliriously good excavation of the postpunk era, the generation of musicians that broke immediately after punk: Cabaret Voltaire, PiL, Magazine and so on. What’s more, J.G. Ballard was a thread throughout the book, as Reynolds charted the influence of JGB — and The Atrocity Exhibition, especially — on this particular era.

Read more... )
Original site with pictures:
ltmurnau: (Default)
From today's

Modest Muse
Author J.G. Ballard’s influence on modern music
By Mike Doherty
October 2, 2006

Read more... )

Follow the link ( while it's up; there are hyperlinks to other topics.
ltmurnau: (Default)
Found on

Artist: Dan Melchior’s Broke Revue
Album: Bitterness Spite Rage and Scorn (2002)

“Me and JG Ballard” — by Dan Melchior’s Broke Revue

me and jg ballard, we walk down different streets
going to the supermarket for something to eat
jg ballard gets there first, buys some frozen peas
they were the last packet and there’s none there left for me

me and jg ballard in our respective rooms
i’m watching my tv, he’s contemplating doom
he opens up his microwave, retrieves his frozen peas
i decide to take a walk and turn off itv

jg ballard’s sitting there eating with his mouth
wondering what his next novel is gonna be about
on my way out to the park i pass before his drive
he’s no idea i’m out here, i’ve no idea he’s inside

this morning jg ballard he drinks a cup of tea
his eyes are red and blurry, he didn’t get much sleep
i decide to buy some milk, bump into an old friend
i talk to her, buy the milk then go back home again”

Sample (second verse):
ltmurnau: (Default)
Thes guys seem to be right up my alley, and maybe yours too - Ballardian, Pynchonian, Burroughsian, Situationist and NSK style deadpan all in one.

Official site:

'Splainin from"

"International Necronautical Society (INS)

Launched in 1999 by Tom McCarthy, the International Necronautical Society (INS) is an expansive, networked organisation that slides between the worlds of art, fiction, philosophy and media.

Formed through the appropriation and repurposing of a variety of art forms and cultural 'moments', in particular the now-defunct structures and procedures of early twentieth century avant-gardes (the manifesto, autocratic top-down management etc.) and political organisations (the Soviet-style committee, sub-committee and sub-sub-committee, Hearings, Reports etc.), the INS spreads itself as both conceit and actuality (often blurring these into one another) via a series of residencies, publications, lectures and performances and collaborations with other artists and institutions.

The INS is currently concentrating on notions of encryption and transmission, inscription and erasure, surveillance and death. INS is now preparing a publication following the installation of INS's first Broadcasting Unit (ICA, London, 2004) and the Aerial Reconnaissance Phase of its Inspectorate mission in Berlin (Sparwasser HQ, Berlin, 2005)"

ltmurnau: (deutsche)
A while back I was in the Vincent de Paul thrift store and picked up three CDs with odd titles: "Industry/ Leisure/ Pop"; "Street People"; and "Technovision". It wasn't until I got home and played some of them that I understood what I had bought: production music or, in a sense, corporate Muzak.
Read more... )


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