Saturday, January 19, 2008

An Unearthly Hound...

or The Hound at the End of the Lane
or The Tribe of Ham
or 100,000 BH [Before Ham]

There I was yesterday evening, checking my email after getting back from the gym and right before going to see Cloverfield. I was reading some comments about Poochles off his campaign blog, and some of the... well, weirdnesses of him.

"He talks," the email (from one B. Wright, of Shoreditch, London) said. "That's just weird." Another, from one I. Chesterton, "He's my problem, too. He knows more about politics than I ever will. But he lets his knowledge out a little at a t time, so as not to embarrass me."

This was not the impression I wanted Poochles to make.

Miss Wright continued: "That's not quite right. I tripped him up by accident. He was talking about his trans-Atlantic friends, and I asked him how many shillings were in a pound. And he knew. He knew there were twenty. How do you explain a seven year old dog who knows imperial money? They may have a decimalized currency in the US, but we do, too, now."

Well, you can't justify curiosity.

It was just at that time that I heard Poochles coughing down the hall for some reason. The icy fog outside, I thought. It's mysterious.

Poochles was soon nosing around my room, looking at a Belle and Sebastian concert poster. Or more precisely, its frame. "It's very damp and dusty," he started, "But I might just..." he trailed off mumbling.

It was then I first got a good look at him. Even I was startled. He usually only wears a collar -- maybe a bandanna around his neck, too, if he's feeling festive. But he was positively decked out. He had, from somewhere, acquired what looked to be old checked trousers and a waistcoat. Underneath that was a wing-collared shirt, and on top and old frock coat. And I think I saw an old-fashioned cravat. As protection against the cold, he had a black cape and a striped silk scarf. And perched on top of his pointy head was the smallest Astrakhan hat I ever saw.

"Come along, hmmmnh? Time's wasting!" he said and walked a few steps out of the room. He stopped and turned around, clearly waiting for me to join him. I did.

In the hall was the most remarkable object. It was a dog house, rather like the one Snoopy has, but painted a dark blue. On the front, it had a set of double doors with a pair of frosted glass windows. On top was a little lamp, and (over the doors) "DOG poochles' private HOUSE" was helpfully written. It was noticeably humming. I put my hand on it and quickly jerked it away.

"It's alive!" I said.

I walked all around it to take it in. "There's no wires connecting it, unless it's through the floor." Poochles clearly thought that was a dim thing to say. "Well, are you going to stand around all day, or are you going to go in?" he snapped.

So I did.

He walked in and took of his scarf and cape (oddly throwing them on the floor despite the odd eagle lectern right next to him) while I gawped. "It's... bigger on the inside. But... but... I walked all 'round it!"

And it was bigger on the inside. It was huge -- and it couldn't have been a trick; it was wider by far than the foyer outside. The room was big on hexagons, for some reason. It was shaped like a big one, to start with, and running up and down the white walls were round indentations that exuded a soothing light. Hanging from ceiling was another hexagonal figure emitting light. Underneath that was a six-sided control panel on a plinth, more full of switches, lever and dials than can easily be suggested. At the top of this was a glass column, packed with still more advanced electronics, the interior of which was slowly rotating. Around it, on the floor, was a metal skirt. Again it was a hexagon. And the far wall, a TV monitor screen was suspended from the wall at eye level. A scanner, I presumed.

In contrast to the clinical white feel of the space were the furnishings that had been brought in. They were mostly antiques, like the lectern and an ormolu clock, but there was also a comfy-looking armchair and a table with a carved ham on it. "It's impossible," I said, in summary.

"Clearly not," said Poochles dryly. "I call it BASSAT. I made it up from the initials. "

"BASSAT?" I asked. None of this was making sense.

"Basset Hound And Sir Space And Time machine," he huffed. "It's a ship. It travels through space and time. It's for Basset hounds and Sirs. Catch up."

"A ship?" That made no sense to me.

"I use use your word for any craft that doesn't roll along on wheels!" he sniffed. He was clearly down with the condescension tonight.

"And it travels through space and time?" I was really lagging behind here. Poochles just stared at me in response. "Well, I don't expect to find the philosopher's dream of free movement through time and space sitting in a front foyer," I maintained. "Even a child would know that."

"The pups of my civilization would be insulted!" he barked. Well, not literally. But it was a pretty gruff response.

"Your civilization?!" I boggled. This was clearly going beyond me.

Poochles hooked his paws behind the lapels of his frock coat. "I was born in another time, another world."

I briefly considered it. It /would/ explain the talking, although not how he tied the cravat he was wearing. On the whole, it seemed a lot more likely that I was going insane.

"I'm leaving," I decided out loud.

"I'm sorry, sir, I can't let you do that. Leash laws are very strict on other planets. And I need someone to get stuff on the high shelves." By now, he was right next to the control console, and I saw him flick something on the nearest control panel.

"Piff," I said, and tried to use the control I'd seen him use to shut the door earlier.

And got one hell of an electric shock. It was live.

"Dammit," I said. "That hurt!" But as I sucked my smoldering finger, Poochles was rushing around the console, operating controls. A loud, strange noise erupted from deep within the Ship and the floor began to buck wildly. On the scanner, an image of my house appeared, but got smaller and smaller, as if we were getting higher and higher in altitude. Within seconds, the neighbourhood, and then the city vanished. On the screen, curious flashes and blobs of light started to move, howling around. I think I blacked out...

Poochles told me later that the BASSAT materialized on a sandy, barren plain. But we had been watched as we arrived, and an angry, man-shaped shadow loomed over out little dog house.

The Poochles' adventures in Space and Time continue at the same time Next Week in The Cave of Hams. That's next week on BBC 1 -- The Basset Broadcasting Corporation.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Random Meanness

I watched Wife Swap tonight. It's terrible predictable: always the Dirty Hippy, "free spirit" mom trades off with "ex-military Christian nutzo". And they walk away having learned something about their families.

I think the producers need to kick it up a notch.

Find a meth whore with an abusive pimp for a mate and switch her with the Fundie mama.

On one side:
"C'mon, now, Cali would already be on her third pipe of the day. Smoke it on down now. Don't make me break this bottle over your head. And remember, next time you charge sawbuck extra for anal."

On the other
"Aw, look! The Jesus freaks got all kinds of small, easily transported consumer goods! Lawrence, bring the van. Oh, and you better bring a some extra ice. It's my night to cook dinner. "

Actually, that would make the "Two months later" segment that much more fun.

"Before mommy went away, the bugs never crawled under her skin. Now they do all the time. And last time we went to church, she offered the priest a blow job for another hit at the chalice. When he said no, she sold him my little brother."

And "Now that I'm on the rock, I get so much more done! I can bake and bake and bake, sometimes days in a row! And you should see my scrapbook! Each of my regulars get a page!"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And Now for something completely different...

Having spent two posts discussing porn, I thought I'd talk a bit about straight drama. Well, legitimate performing art, rather than mere titillation. I had intended to use this space to talk about the local production of A Midsummer's Night Dream.

I know... it almost doesn't seem sporting, does it, but if you squint your eyes and hope for the best, it might be like a Regional Rep, right?

Well, I don't know. I went to the theatre at the appropriate time to see an ambulance in front. When I went to the box-office, I was told the performance had been canceled. I was floored -- the Show Must Go On*, and whatnot. I seriously thought about going 'round the back and volunteering myself**. As bad as that could be, it's still better than canceling a show.

*spits on ground*

I still don't know why, but I remain nosy. I have images (probably culled from ER) of the entire cast coming down with food poisoning. At least that would be an excuse, somewhat, but at that same theatre, yonks ago, I ran sound for a show where the lead spent an entire performance throwing up when not onstage and with a considerable fever.

Anyway, I've got a ticket for this weekend, so we'll see.

Apparently, some quick research shows something along the lines of my fantasy provides the basis for The Beulaville Baptist Book Club Presents: A Bur-less-Q Nutcracker! Which, depending upon the audience, the performers and the ambient level of blood alcohol at the show could be much, much better or much much worse than the local Shakespeare production.

*Noel Coward, on the other hand, would disagree

**Apparently, I have gone on to the place where these kinds of jokes are automatic. Sadly, 1970s British TV and I aren't simultaneous, or no doubt I'd have my own comedy on Auntie Beeb. (Although... My Hero proves the bar can't be too high yet.)

Monday, January 14, 2008

How very careless

After going to the trouble of generating a screen capture, I didn't give proper credit to the actors.
Standing, in full view is Rowan Valois, and you can just see the head of Juke Brandt. What a pity he knelt down to tie his shoes at the moment that was snapped.

That said, I think Rowan Valois is just about the most perfect porn name I've ever heard, and I'm not sure why, really.

Also worth mentioning (in the context, anyway) is the near-as-dammit Franz Ferdinand (when they were still worth listening to, at any rate) soundtrack by The Fandango Boys.

No linkage in this post, as I think all the names are fake... although The Fandango Boys may be a reference to Club Fandando nights put on in Manchester and London.

Update: Some kind person even sadder than me informs me that Rowan shows up on MySpace. They go on to assure me they mention this because he mentions Doctor Who in his bio. And his bedroom.

Update to the update: After investigating, he *does* mention Doctor Who "even if it makes him sad", so maybe he did watch it before RTD made it cool. But the bedroom (described as 'new') is not from the film. So, thanks all round to Sam for taking an innocent observation to creepy stalking. At least I didn't add the link. Yet.

U^3: Oh, why not? It's not my fault it's posted on the Internet. And isn't the point of MySpace that people are supposed to look at it? Maybe Sebastian will ask to be his friend...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Not the same any more, some how...

A brief, oddish observation.

I was, not too long ago, watching my favourite gentleman's film, Indie Boyz. I call it a gentleman's film because, well, it only has men in it, and is only really filmed for men to watch (although every girl like to watch them. Yes, they do.)

Clearly it's gay porn.

Now, the thing about this particular film is its attempt at Cinema Verite, with odd little monologues that let you "get to know" the talent, and apparently being filmed in the young gentleman's domiciles. These speeches make it rather different from most other films put out by this production company, since they're based in Central Europe and use chiefly talent from the Continent, and quite frankly, dialogue isn't the chiefest factor in these kinds of movies.

But this film is made in England, and they advantage of the local dialect. And, as I said, their housing. So, in the middle of the film, after two young gentlemen meet on the street, they repair to one of the two's bedsit.

And they begin to... well, let's say discuss current politics. And naturally enough, as they're well put-together and pleasingly comely, this is most engaging.

Until you see one of their bookshelves. Sitting there, all of a sudden is a little plastic TARDIS, all blue and square and solid and quite possibly the un-sexiest thing in the universe. And it's like a magnet against suspended disbelief.

They're still going at it, and I'm thinking, "Are those old Target novelisations? I'm pretty sure they are. But he can't be *that* old... Where did he get them? Does the mean he hangs out at Tenth Planet or something? I wonder if he fancies David Tennant*? /That/ puts Billie Piper calling him David Ten-Inch in a completely different persepctive..."

And then I sort of wretch, because the last three Doctors notwithstanding, Doctor Who is not sexy. Doctor Who is the sum of everything *not* sexy, or at least everything *pre*-sexy, and there's something immediately Visceral and Wrong, akin to thinking about grandparents as sexy, if my brain tries to work like that.

So now I can't watch the best part of the damn movie. And it's a great part. Thanks, Eurocreme. Thanks, Simon Booth.* *

Update: Apparently, the film did so well that Eurocreme is truning Indie Boyz into its own division, so Yay!

Update to the Update: Also apparently, you can find them on MySpace and apply to be a model.
There used to be one specifically for Indie Boyz on MySpace or Facebook one, which was about 300% hotter, but now, sadly, I can't find it.

Update to the Update to the Update: Just to share part of the actual experience, I did a screen capture of the relevant moment. Just remember, they're discussing politics.

*And yes, for anyone who bothered to click on the link, I did use the picture that made David look like he probably should be in the movie.

**And no, this wouldn't be at all because he's almost the same age I am, studied basically the same thing, but he directs porn for a living. And I don't.

Give the People What They Want

Now, heaven only knows why, but for the past month or so, I've gotten 20 or so hits a day, looking at this picture. I decided to move it up to the front page and save everyone the trouble (at least temporarily) of digging through years of archives to find it. So, kind visitor from Kuwait or Finland or Mexico or Greece, have at.

It does make me happy that it's fulfilled it happy little purpose.

Actually, that's only about half the reason I decided to bring this thing back to life. Not too long ago, I sent an email to my good friend Ms Laura Llew, in an attempt to garner pity. It didn't work, exactly, as apparently pity and farce don't coexist peaceful.

(Uhh... I'm a good little theatre historian, so I *knew* that. I just didn't related it to myself. Comedy and pity do go together, coincidentally, which is why Chekhov and modern tragi-comedy work so well. Which is a lesson to myself: don't be pretentious. You fall squarely into farce, and no Bentley-esque transcendence will elevate you to high comedy.)

All this was, of course, a long-winded way of saying the email was funny. And it was. And a few days later, when I was reading some of the oldest posts from here, they were funny, too. And they came from a point in my life that was almost -- but not quite -- as painful as the current one. So, in an effort to life my funk, I'm going to be funny.

Here, by the way, is that email. I point out it is entirely true. And if it makes me sound like I'm living in an episode of Hee Haw, then, well, there's a lot to be said for that.

I started out comparing myself to the Ice Bear in The Golden Compass, and pointed out that no, the comparison fails for one, important reason:

                      ...I haven't actually had any alcohol
in months. Months. I didn't take communion last week for fear I'd
bogart about a dozen of those little shot-glasses of home-brew wine.
It's about 120 proof. I understand the new pastor they from got
Missouri coughed up his first draft onto the president of the Lady's
Aid Society. I'm sorry I missed that. Then again, maybe I'm not.
(God only knows what I'll do when (or if) I ever see a nice glass
of single barrel bourbon. I'm thinking something Cookie Monster-esque
with decidedly unpleasant consequences.)
Yes. My parents make me go to church every Sunday. Despite the
fact that I've explained patiently that a) I don't believe in god and
b) Even if I do meet a nice girl there, I won't know what to do with
her. But they insist.
I even threatened to come down with a dose of the Spirit and start
speaking in tongues, but my mother pretty much double bluffed me out
of that. I am looking for a nice serpent to handle, so if you come
across a rattlesnake, just punch a couple of holes in the top of a
shoebox and mail it on. It'll be like Ray Stevens meets Samuel L.