Monthly Archives: June 2012

Hands off my Steampunk, Prada.

Trust the fashion world to annoy me.

Image

A rogue click on this image on the Tor Books blog had me thinking that we would be receiving a big-budget Steampunk flick with Gary Oldman, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Bell and Garrett Hedlund doing their best, pseudo-Victorian poses on the big screen.

Alas, we are denied.

This is part of fashion house Prada‘s new Menswear campaign for the Autumn, which is taking serious stylistic cues from all things Steamy, Punky and ever so slightly nerdy.  It has to be said that it is the latter thing which annoys me the most, as high fashion tends to eschew the geeky in preference to perpetrating the pursuit of glacial cool above all else, which is perhaps the least interesting thing that I can conceive of.   The eternal pursuit of cool = the absolute pursuit of humourless self-defeat, mark my aphorisms.

That said, this shot of Jamie Bell and Gary Oldman makes me yearn for some high-end, next-gen, Bizarro World incarnation of hyper-nerdy PC real-time strategy game, “Command and Conquer“, with these fine thesps hamming it up in a Steampunk World War scenario.  Make it so, current “C & C” devs!

In the name of Mecha Queen Victoria – attack!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Geekery, Random Notes

When Gulls Cry – Power Metal Album Artwork of the Day

Stratovarius are Finnish and have been a going concern since 1984 (or 1982, if you include their previous incarnation, Black Water).  They’ve released 14 studio albums and a live record.  And they’re quite fond of the Avian community.

No dragons? No swords? What gives?

This is fantasy artwork of a type that I can really get behind – the signature Stratovarius spaceship rendered delightfully by artist Gyula Havancsak amidst an idyllic lagoon, as a cyber-gull type-dude gives it some ‘once I caught a fish THIS big’ in the foreground.

At least, that’s how I read it, anyway – I never was top of my class in ‘Album Art Appreciation’ at Pseud’s College.

As an image, it’s a nice departure from the stuff of many Metal records – perhaps owing to the band’s slightly more progressive influences?  You can easily see this kind of art subbing in for the Roger Dean designed Yes album covers without it being too jarring a transition.

If this cover has piqued your interest, why not check out a live version of their song “Under Flaming Skies” at their label EarMusic‘s YouTube channel…

2 Comments

Filed under Music

Mind-Boggling, Taste-Challenging Power Metal Album Artwork of the Day

Catchy title, huh?  I feel a series coming on – because, if you love Metal (and particularly the ‘Power Metalsub-genre), there’s no shortage of album artwork which can bemuse, confound and delight in equal measure.

I’m going to start this feature with German band Axxis and their 2004 release, Time Machine.

Image

Yes, quite.

Axxis like their fantasy/sci-fi artwork and this album art somehow manages to evoke their blend of overblown, fashion eschewing, old school power metal merely via the medium of judicious photoshop and much cheese consumption (literal and figurative).  I’m not sure that we require a leather-clad brunette to get the point, much less one who appears to be in the throes of what appears to be a very painful back spasm.  Further scrutiny of this in-no-way phallic imagery will almost certainly challenge this blog’s self-appointed PG rating, so there we must end things, lest unpleasantness set in.

Suffice is to say that Feminism has not yet made it to Axxis’ in-tray, much less their ‘things we perhaps should action promptly’ list.

That said, the music is pretty keen if you like your metal European, endlessly redolent of the Wacken festival and delivered by men with intriguing facial hair.  The stand-out track on this album for me is “The Demons Are Calling”, which fills my ‘20,000 miles an hour’ riff quotient quite nicely – whether your grin is derived of pity or geeky recognition, it’s almost certain that you’ll have a smile on your face when you listen to it.

Tomorrow – more things of an equally geeky stature, possibly with dragons and/or spaceships.  You know how we roll…

4 Comments

Filed under Geekery, Music

“Starship Troopers” reboot loses violence, adds B.S.

Oh, Hollywood – is there no end to your cowardly, money-grubbing idiocy?

“So, we just hug them to death, right?”

Empire magazine‘s new issue has an interview with Toby Jaffe, producer on the new and entirely unwanted reboot of “Starship Troopers“, which ageing geeks will remember as a pretty decent, absurdly gory sci-fi actioner (fans of the original Robert Heinlein novel will probably remember it less fondly, what with director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Edward Neumeier reinterpreting the book as a giddy joyride through a fascistic future).  And it doesn’t make for good reading.

If this version of the book does make it before cameras, we can look forward to a less violent (what now?), less satirical, straight-up bug hunt with all hints of complexity safely jettisoned and gee-whiz cgi effects replacing anything potentially disquieting (i.e., less likely to make the box office tills ring).

So, Selena Gomez and Taylor Lautner in a PG-13 shoot-em-up with a song by her boyfriend on the soundtrack and nothing likely to tax the brain of anybody with a driving license, then?  Where do I sign up for that?

7 Comments

Filed under Books, Films, Geekery

“Battleship” box office bomb baffles Berg

In “No shizz, Sherlock” news today comes “Battleship” director Peter Berg‘s assertion that his film flopped so that “The Avengers” could soar at the box office, like Tony Stark carting Hawkeye up to a better vantage point.  Or something.

“The reviews! They burn!”

Citing the unprecedented success of the Marvel Studios superhero epic having a knock-on effect on other would-be summer blockbuster fare in the marketplace, Berg still holds out hope for a sequel based on decent international business – the film’s US performance makes for less hopeful reading to anybody but the terminally optimistic.

Well, you can’t argue against a US box office take of $600 million but to cite “The Avengers” as the sole reason for your film under-performing is to ignore the rather more accurate idea that “Battleship” is so asinine, noisy and dim-witted that it makes your average Joel Schumacher/Rob Cohen/Michael Bay popcorn flick look like a Ken Loach film and reduces the IQ of anybody unlucky enough to be exposed to it for more than two minutes.

I like stupid, undemanding, glitzy genre crap – see my Resident Evil/“Underworld” fandom for ample evidence of that – and even I couldn’t drag myself to a cineplex to behold the spectacle of Rihanna pretending to be a naval officer and various aliens mocking our Earth Physics in the name of entertainment.

Once it comes to DVD and Blu-Ray, I might give the film a go but I don’t expect it to be anything more than shrill and silly, uber-patriotic fluff.  Weirdly, Peter Berg seems to believe that he’s made an important film.  One of us is right, and I don’t think that it’s him…

3 Comments

Filed under Films, Geekery

Today, in doomed Government stupidity

Yep, feels pretty much like he’s got his eyes on all of us…

My position on copyright infringement and piracy is pretty clear, I think. It hurts creative industries and helps to foster a culture in which somebody’s art doesn’t have any value – if you can steal it via the internet then why would you think that the MP3 or movie file you’ve downloaded would have any financial worth?

That said, the UK government has a new, asinine idea in the fight against intellectual property theft which adequately illustrates how genuinely clueless they are about technology.

Under new proposals, if you’ve been accused by a rights holder of illegally downloading their creative works, you will have to pay £20.00 for the privilege of defending yourself.

Whilst this would be a fine way to conduct ourselves if the process of bringing somebody to court for these kinds of offences was in any way clear-cut, the nature of wireless broadband connections, unsecured routers and general I.T. ignorance means that any number of entirely innocent people could find themselves facing charges and having to pay to defend themselves purely because they lack the wherewithal to securely comport themselves on the internet.

For that reason alone, I can’t see this kind of legislation standing up in court – we would have to live in a culture where it was a legally enforceable condition of internet use that your hardware was secure and password-protected, so as to prevent such potential miscarriages of justice from occurring.  And how likely is it that your ageing ‘Silver Surfer’ relatives are going to be taken to court because they neglected to stop a grandchild from torrenting porn or the new Bruno Mars CD on their internet connection through ignorance of securing their laptop and router?

I’d love to see the government which tried to enforce that law.

Given that we live in a society where nuisance legal firms and shady right holders troll the unaware and get rich on the basis of spurious ‘pay up or be sued’ requests based on nothing more than an IP address – not the safest of identifying characteristics – I worry that this kind of thing will target exactly the wrong, tech-illiterate folks and let those savvy enough to circumvent elementary barriers to get away with merrily torrenting all the while.

Paying to defend yourself against potentially baseless allegations from cynical rip-off merchants – isn’t it great to know that you live in a country where the idea of being innocent until proven guilty is a thing of the past?

Related articles:

2 Comments

Filed under Geekery

Maiden America

Oh, Eddie – why must you desert me?

Picture via Iron Maiden.com

Over on the Metal Hammer blog you can get a look at the current Iron Maiden US tour, “Maiden England“, which is taking the founding fathers of modern metal to Stateside cities – Charlotte, North Carolina, for example – where the band haven’t played since 1988.

Puts a two or three wait between UK Maiden dates into perspective, doesn’t it?

You can read more at Iron Maiden’s site – in the meantime, I’ll be working on my teleportation device, so that I can get my wizened butt into an Enormodome to take in the awesome.

1 Comment

Filed under Geekery, Music