Nine and a half minutes of sublime pop by Lana Del Rey: Venice Bitch.


I have an on-off love of Lana Del Rey’s music.  She can be extremely dreary and she is unquestionably totally in love with herself.

But that doesn’t stop this being off the scale great.  Just like Video Games was and Born to Die.

It’s an epic love song set in Venice Beach, LA.

The guitar solos (especially the long Frippy one at 4:54 that blends in and out of the synth riff) are outstanding and the groove is effortless.

“Venice Bitch”
Fear fun, fear love
Fresh out of fucks, forever
Tryin’ to be stronger for you
Ice cream, ice queen
I dream in jeans and leather
Life’s dream I’m sweet for you

Oh god, miss you on my lips
It’s me, your little Venice bitch
On the stoop with the neighborhood kids
Callin’ out, bang bang, kiss kiss

You’re in the yard, I light the fire
And as the summer fades away
Nothing gold can stay
You write, I tour, we make it work
You’re beautiful and I’m insane
We’re American-made

Give me Hallmark
One dream, one life, one lover
Paint me happy and blue
Norman Rockwell
No hype under our covers
It’s just me and you

Oh god, miss you on my lips
It’s me, your little Venice bitch
On the stoop with the neighborhood kids
Callin’ out, bang bang, kiss kiss

You’re in the yard, I light the fire
And as the summer fades away
Nothing gold can stay
You write, I tour, we make it work
You’re beautiful and I’m insane
We’re American-made

Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah
(Signing off, bang bang, kiss kiss)
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah
(Signing off, bang bang, kiss kiss)

Oh god, want you on my lips (I do, I do)
It’s me, your little Venice bitch
On the stoop with the neighborhood kids
Signing off, bang bang, kiss kiss

Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah
(Signing off, bang bang, kiss kiss)
Yeah, yeah, yeah
(Signing off, bang bang, kiss kiss)
Yeah, yeah

Young baby is back in town now
You should come, come over
We’ll be hanging around now
You should come, come over

Oh god, I love him on my lips
It’s me, your little Venice bitch
Touch me with your fingertips
It’s me, your little Venice bitch

Out back in the garden
We’re getting high now, because we’re older
Be myself, I like diamonds
My baby crimson and clover

(La la la la la la beautiful)
(Beautiful, beautiful)
(La la la la la la beautiful)
(Beautiful, beautiful)
(Oh oh oh oh oh whatever)
(Everything, whatever)
(Oh oh oh oh oh whatever)
(Everything, whatever)

(La la la la la la beautiful)
(Beautiful, beautiful)
(La la la la la la beautiful)
(Beautiful, beautiful)

Out back in the garden
We’re getting high now, because we’re older
Be myself, I like diamonds
My baby crimson and clover

Crimson and clover, honey
Crimson and clover, honey
Crimson and clover, honey
Crimson and clover, honey
Crimson and clover, honey
Crimson and clover, honey
Over and over, honey
Over and over, honey
Over and over, honey
Over and over, honey
Over and over

If you weren’t mine, I’d be
Jealous of your love
If you weren’t mine, I’d be
Jealous of your love
If you weren’t mine, I’d be
Jealous of your love
If you weren’t mine, I’d be
Jealous of your love
If you weren’t mine, I’d be
Jealous of your love

 

Why Brexit is bonkers.


(From an article Jan Fleischauer in Der Speigel)

The United Kingdom is currently demonstrating how a country can make a fool of itself before the eyes of the entire world. What was once the most powerful empire on earth is now a country that can’t even find its way to the door without tripping over its own feet.

Take this perfect example…
Journalist: “If we leave the EU without a deal, doesn’t there have to be a hard border in Ireland?”
May: “We’ve been very clear that we do not want to see a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”
Journalist: “But if we leave without a deal, that does mean a hard border, doesn’t it?”
May: “We are working to make sure that we leave with a good deal.”
Journalist: “But if we leave without a deal, there will be a border in Ireland, won’t there?”
May: “If we leave with no deal, we as the UK government are still committed to doing everything we can to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”
Journalist: “But you’ll inevitably fail, because according to World Trade Organization rules, there has to be a border. Shouldn’t you level with people and explain that?”
May: “As the UK government, we remain committed to doing everything we can to ensure no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”
You can read the full article here.

They Shall Not Grow Old: Documentary Review by Peter Jackson.


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It’s only October and I have already seen two Oscar winning films.  This (for best documentary) and A star is Born for loads of things.

Months ago I bought a ticket for this special live (3D) screening of this BFI film from the London Film Festival featuring a post film interview between Peter Jackson (the most modest man in cinema) and Mark Kermode (the most adulatory)

I thought it would be special.

It was more than that.

It was a landmark.

It was actually a significant night in cinematic history, because what Peter Jackson has achieved here is unparalleled.

We’ve all seen colourised war footage.  It’s interesting, but in reality it’s a bit pants.

This is the real deal.  A step forward in technology driven by heart, emotion, passion, DNA.

In this truly remarkable documentary Jackson brings us footage from the WW1 front line trenches in a way that you can’t even begin to imagine.

First he restored hours of black and white footage to remove grain, scratches, burn marks etc.

Then he graded it.

Then he fixed all the film sprockets so they don’t jiggle about and blur.

Then, get this, he turned it all from a hotch-potch of 10/11/12/14/16 and 17 Frames per second into it all being 24 FPS.

This is not insignificant.

A 17 FPS film transferred to 24 frames needs to ‘find’ 7 frames.  It needs to create them, to fill in the gaps to make film flow as we expect.  How one does that I have no clue.  Frankly, neither does Jackson, but he knows people who were up to it and deliver on the challenge.

So, as Jackson puts it, we don’t see Charlie Chaplinesque war footage.  We see dignified film of soldiers in real time as our eye would compute it.  This is important because it makes it so real.

Then he, frame by frame, colourised the whole lot.

Then he put a team of lip readers onto it to work out what the soldiers were saying when they spoke to camera (in 1914-18 there was no film/sound recording).

Then he recorded both battleground sound effects, by enlisting the NZ army, and the words these soldiers were saying, through actors, and lip synched and background-noised the whole thing.

Then he launched it.

The man is a genius.

The result is beyond words incredible.

On many occasions I gasped out loud, not least when he moved from the first reel, which shows unmodified footage of the preparation of enlistees for WWI, into the reality of war.

In a stunning coup de theatre the screen changes shape.

The audiences audibly gasps.

We are in a new reality.

Now, this all makes it sound like this is simply an exercise in technological show-offery.

No.  this focuses on soldiers.  Poor.  Young.  Men.

With terrible teeth, but with opinion, with humour, with dignity, with resolute spirit.

And not just young British men.

Perhaps the most affecting part of this film is where German POW’s muck in and join the Brits.   It’s clear that in those days this was duty and honour for one’s country, absolutely NOT hatred of the enemy.

This is a truly remarkable film experience.

It’s important.

Find a way of seeing it.

It’s much more than a cinematic landmark.

It’s a historical one, because the legacy Peter Jackson’s 14-18-Now and Imperial War Museum commission gives the world is new technology that will allow all sorts of ancient film archives to become living history.

In this case the 100 minutes that are committed to film are actually backed up by a further 100 hours of monochrome footage that Jackson’s team has restored (free of charge) for his commissioners.

See when international honours are handed out (I think Bono has a knighthood for example) Peter Jackson needs to be number one on the list for this real and important achievement.

I assume a further Oscar is in the bag.

Cyrano de Bergerac at The Lyceum. Thoughts.


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There are two monumental reasons to see this production.

The first is the performance of Brian Ferguson in the title role.  People will be talking about his extraordinary commitment, humour, bravado and energy for many years to come.  It was a pleasure to congratulate him on his performance afterwards.  A complement he accepted with wonderful grace and modesty.

In a dense and complex piece of theatre he carries the show along on shoulders as broad as the Clyde.

That’s not to underplay the ensemble’s performance but the eruption from the audience when he took his solo bow said a lot.

Cyrano de Bergerac | Teaser from National Theatre of Scotland on Vimeo.

The second is the equally extraordinary costumes by fashion designer Pam Hogg.  It looks like this is her first ever theatre commission having dealt with fashion and music – Kylie, Gaga, Siouxsie – for the majority of her much celebrated career.  Some of the costumes in this production simply take the breath away, in particular Roxanne’s, and often they are brilliantly lit by Lizzie Powell to intensify the impact.

They range from the spectacular and dazzling to the brilliantly understated. (When did you last see a Pere Ubu tour T shirt?)

The production is dense, often spectacular, funny, charming and interestingly musical, although unlike the recent Twelfth Night the music here plays a more background role.  I like that in David Greig’s tenure music has moved way up the agenda at The Lyceum.

I’d like to see CDB again because, unlike film adaptations of the play that I have seen, it has far more substance and much more is made of the war which unites the male characters of the cast; the Gascon battalion who are fighting on the Spanish front line.

It’s a five act play (that is often truncated) which means you need to prepare for three hours in the theatre making it something of a feat of endurance – particularly given the fine Scots adaptation, by Edwin Morgan, of what seems almost Shakespearean in its rhythmic verse form.

It’s impossible to catch every nuance and meaning and some of its delight is latching on to Scottish colloquialisms that are entirely out of time and place but wonderfully clever.

This is bold, assured and brave theatre that deserves to be seen.

 

 

 

 

Charlie is my darling.


Can you even begin to imagine the excitement I felt when I popped into Whitespace today and was met with this canvas of our dearly beloved Charlie Robertson created by fellow advertising guru, none other than MT Rainey, herself.

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It’s one of the canvases I’ll be auctioning next Thursday at the NABS Art Auction (it has 76 compatriots, with plenty more in transit, many of which have outstanding artistic merit, but none of which quite hit the emotional trigger quite as effectively as this one does, created, as it was, less then ten days after Charlie’s untimely death.)

I’m hoping it will be something of a centrepiece of the auction and that it might attract some fairly hefty bidding.  Indeed I will specifically take bids on it if you email me direct at Markgorman@btopenworld.com.

I’ll let bidders know what the state of play is rather than playing this one out in public.

It’s called “Charlie is me Darlin'” and it’s beautifully printed direct onto the canvas.  The words that make up the image conjure up, for me, the eloquence with which Charlie thrilled and seduced the world of advertising for forty years.

I believe it deserves to be shown somewhere that Charlie’s many admirers might be able to see it for themselves and I hope it can play its part in a memorable night at Whitespace next Thursday 25th October, from 6pm.  There will be a bar and a lively evening of badinage and bidding.  Please let me know if you’d like to attend.

MT.  You’re amazing.  What a superb memory of Charlie’s life.

Slantie.

A Star Is Born (2018 v 4.0): Movie Review.


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That Lady Gaga can come out of the blocks like this, on her movie acting debut, is nothing short of remarkable. She gives the currently almost peerless Bradley Cooper (four Oscar nominations, soon to be six I’d suggest) a close run in who is the stand out talent in this epic and beautiful movie (encompassing, as it does, both Coachela and Glastonbury on its flightpath).

This is a great movie, a classic Hollywood blockbuster with no pretentious of arthouse glory, just great storytelling, great acting, great directing (Cooper), great cinematography and great music (Cooper again, and Gaga).

Frankly, what is there not to love in that list?

I won’t bore you with the plot, we all know it, but the thing that counts in this is the relationship between the two leads – virtually no-one else really matters; other than to propel the storyline along.  This is ALL about Gaga and Cooper who are electrifying from the second they meet.

If they are not both Oscar nominated I will be astounded because this is an uncanny love affair between two actors that seem, in love.

Gaga’s willingness to loudly declare her physical kinks, specifically her considerable nose only makes her more believable, more loveable and, in fact, more beautiful.  Few would call Gaga a poster girl, her looks are unorthodox in the beauty stakes, but the endless intense close ups of her warts and all features make her tremendously endearing.

Bradley Cooper, by contrast, is as handsome as it is possible to imagine with his piercing blue eyes, interesting new facial hair and a torso to kill for.

He directs this simple story with simplicity.  At all times less is more and he manages, brilliantly, in the second act, to downplay Gaga’s fame with superbly unloveable material.  The fact is, her success is gained by bypassing her natural talent and fabricating a stage persona that is so underwhelming as to make you gasp (well done Rafi Gavin on odiously achieving that feat on her behalf).

Cooper’s jealousy is never melodramatic and his portrayal of drug and drink induced stupor is profoundly believable.

I was constantly on the edge of tears during this movie, because it’s achingly endearing and a true work of art.

100% and unreservedly recommended.

 

Charlie Robertson. An inspiration.


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I’ve been plucking up courage for several days now trying to put metaphorical pen to paper about the life of my old chum Charlie Robertson.

I’m not a lifer (as a friend/colleague) so perhaps others are better placed to wax lyrical about him, but he had a profound effect on my life at a particularly impressionable time.

I was a ‘suit’ at The Leith Agency when Charlie appeared.  A returning migrant from London, not just London – BB bloody H – where he’d inspired Vorsprung Durch Technik.

This wasn’t a planner, this was a rock star.  Cue Mick Hucknell gags (OK, that’s it out of the way.  No more. Ed.)

We weren’t worthy, except, actually, we were.

Because Charlie wasn’t the London wanker we feared.

Charlie was just Charlie.

A gifted 5-a-side footballer, cut from the same jib as Jimmy ‘Jinxy’ Johnstone (albeit ‘Jinxy’ was from the wrong side of Charlie’s tracks).

Charlie was a storyteller, a provocateur, a walking brainstorm.  My job was to get the best out of him and we seemed to work really well.  The trick with Charlie was to spot the ball.

The Golden Ball.

Because Charlie would fire out ideas by the shedload, you just had to be in the room at the right time to say “STOP, that’s it Charlie.” And I felt I had a knack for that.

Our finest hour was pitching for Irn Bru, an account The Leith Agency holds to this day.  It must have netted them millions by now. Charlie was the planner, I was the suit, Gerry was the creative director.  It was awesome.

We came second to BB bloody H.  John Hegarty dazzled the Irn Bruers with his charm and sophistication and then went on to produce a pure minger of a commercial, but then Coke knocked on their door.  Irn Bru got booted from BB bloody H and they came back to Leith.  We were ‘a close second’ they had said and it was true.

History began.

I left soon after but that wasn’t the end of my relationship with Charlie.  He worked, through Red Spider, with 1576 from time to time.  We met for beer and red wine from time to time.

Charlie was the real deal.  A proper advertising genius.  A colossal brain and a charm to go with it.

Clients, no people, loved Charlie.  Me one of them.

We will miss his elegant charm and his clever wit.  But most of all we will miss his humanity.

Bye Charlie.  It was great.

The London Street Art and Graffiti Tour: Review


Last Saturday Jeana and I were in London visiting our daughter.  We decided to join a free street art and graffiti tour (we ALWAYS do free tours because we think, rightly or wrongly the guide has to perform well to get their fee-  in our experience they always do).

This was no exception, indeed it was at the top end of the scale.  Of course, you have to have an interest in street art to start with.  I do.

We met at the excellent Exmouth Coffee Company in Whitechapel High Street where we enjoyed a discount.

Our tour guide was Gregory, an accomplished graffiti artist himself, and it was obvious from the off that he knew what he was talking out with very clear explanations of the art of ‘the tag’, the difference between street art and graffiti, the lengths artists have to go to (tagging) to gain a reputation and respect from their peers and then a brilliant tour of tucked away gems in the streets of Tower Hamlets (Brick Lane, Shoreditch and the likes).

It’s a cracking two hours with some real highlights.

Take this beautiful commissioned piece, which began our tour, by comic artist Phlegm who’s based in Sheffield.  It beautifully follows the counters of the wall in which it is painted.

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Gregory told us about the fact that tagging over art like this is called ‘Fame bombing’.

Next up was this tribute to the film ‘Up’ by Fanakapan who specialises in ‘helium’ art.

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We visited the incredible Nomadic Community Garden, near to Shoreditch train station just off Brick Lane with its legal street art and graffiti wall where we saw the brand new work of PAD.

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In the garden we saw some great stuff…

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The Nomadic Community Garden’s feature wall is the highlight, and is ever changing.

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Random stuff in Brick Lane.

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This concrete sculpture by Portuguese artist Vhils is incredible.  He actually carves INTO the concrete to create 3D images that are stunning.IMG_3764_2.jpg

A cheeky wee Banksy.

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This technique is called ‘Pissing’: water bottles are filled with paint and you squeeze them betweeen your legs: it makes for an easy way to paint at height.

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Here we are on our tour beside this great piece by Ben Eine which sticks a finger up to the Shoreditch property developers whose office overlooks this piece (Extortionists).

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Look at how this piece by Long Island spray paint artist BK Foxx uses the jagged bricks of the building to create the hat.  Amazing.IMG_3758_2.JPG

And this Heron/crane by renowned artist Roa is just beautiful.

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And my old mate Clet Abraham is hard at work on London’s street signs.IMG_3761.JPG

We finished the tour at King John Court and New Inn Road at the HQ of Colt where the biggest street art mural in Britain has recently been completed by 16 artists.

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Including this collaboration by Mr Cenz and Lovepusher

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And this piece by Nomad Clan.

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I spotted a few more beauties after the tour was over.

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