October 23rd, 2015
You are an inconsequential energy fluctuation born to the fractionally larger but no less inconsequential energy fluctuation we call humanity. You aren’t doomed to oblivion because you never were in the first place.
So you might as well click on some links!
1. These 31 spooky radio plays are one way, possibly the best way, of killing time until the apocalypse/Halloween. Mostly American, they cover a large chunk of the 20th Century, 1934-1979, and include adaptations of iconic horror works by the likes of Lovecraft, Poe and M.R. James.
2. An essential and concise overview of the English Eerie. Travel writer Robert Macfarlane dissects and opens up the books, music, film and poetry that have influenced our conception of England as in some sense haunted, be it literally or figuratively.
3. That weird confluence of hippies and horror that was the late 60s and early 70s’ age of Black Aquarius is given the documentary treatment by Dr Who fanboy and film historian Matthew Sweet in this episode of Radio 4′s Archive on 4. It’s a good’un.
4. Want your life – what’s left of it, anyway – to sound like a spaceship hurtling into the unfathomable blackness mortals call the universe? Here’s 12 hours of Star Trek/Alien/2001/Bladerunner atmospherics.
5. Hang on, you’ve never visited Scarfolk? I mean really? That needs to change right now. Because you are being watched, especially when you sleep, and if you don’t we’ll come for you and your children*.
For more information please re-read this message.
October 14th, 2015
This is more interesting that it would first appear. For a start it features FX guru John Gaeta, whose mode of delivery is mesmerisingly obtuse.
More seriously, this collaboration between ILM and xLab on virtual/augmented reality tech, while being part of the Disney hype machine, has some potentially fascinating and not a little chilling implications.
April 17th, 2014
June 27th, 2013
Mark: What a fantastic finale that was. A good riposte to the claim last year that Mad Men’s storytelling jumped the shark, becoming more reliant on cheap shock value because Weiner had run out of ideas. If Megan had died the way people thought she would the critics might have had a case, but as it was we got a typically understated episode, with an ending so enigmatic only someone watching closely would be able to properly understand it. My partner burst into tears when Sally and Don exchanged glances, but a casual viewer would be left scratching their head. Quietly devastating. Proper Mad Men.
Matt Weiner often talks about his writing process starting with the last image and I love the idea that he began with the simultaneously comprehending and uncomprehending look (amazing acting!) Sally gives Don just before the before the credits roll. It was so moving and funny at the same time. Partly it was the contrast, the shock of ending on something so light after months of emotional turmoil. But mostly it was the just the sudden recognition of the surprisingly gentle truth that this was the only way the story could end.
June 10th, 2013
May 24th, 2013
Crossposted from Amy and Adam’s Mad Men tumblr, shesanastronaut.com
The Devil Rides Out was released in July 1968, shortly after the events of The Crash. Both feature a demonic presence marked by its sudden materialisation and the colour of its skin.
In many ways it’s preferable that this is a coincidence, fitting as it does with the uncanny atmosphere permeating The Crash. After all, it’s not as though TDRO is the only spooky text haunting the action. In fact this week’s episode is full of them, all crinkling the surface reality in unsettling ways. There’s the fourth episode of The Prisoner, Free For All, featuring a parody of the electoral process that holds a fun-house mirror up to Henry’s attempt to run for State Governor; Rosemary’s Baby, a story about a reluctant young woman’s satanically conceived pregnancy – a sideways look at Sally’s narrative, where she’s forced to play at being a mother before she’s ready; Alice in Wonderland, the tale of a girl who finds herself lost in a parallel world, rather like the SCDP offices in The Crash, where physics and logic are turned on their head; and The I-Ching, The Book of Changes, here deployed at change’s end, after a funeral*. Add to this noisome stew, mind altering drugs, Sata—I mean Stan’s 666 offerings to Mamm— uh, ad ideas; Creative’s battle with ‘the darkness’; the slaying of a martyr; a genuine child witch stalking the office’s halls; and the invocation that kick-starts the whole thing, the utterance of the magic word, the secret name of the Beast of Collisions, “SCDPCGC”, and its fair to say that this week Mad Men was positively beset by the otherworldly.
By her sign shall you know her.
April 29th, 2013
The following post is from She’s an Astronaut. Adam and Mark’s Mad Men Tumblr. http://shesanastronaut.com/
Afraid not, Mr. Burger.
Die-hard fans will already be aware that Mad Men high-fived 30 Rock this week. I don’t actually watch the Rock, but I wanted to write a piece about the drinks Peggy and Ted use to drown their sorrows after failing to snag Ketchup and it soon became clear that the latter’s tipple of choice doesn’t exist. It probably shouldn’t either. So for those of you who are slightly less nerdy, Ted’s cocktail, an Old Spanish, composed of a disgusting sounding blend of red wine, tonic water and olives, is a fabrication invented for the sole purpose of humiliating a character in another show, a show that, in the same episode where the drink debuted, made a couple of massive and rather funny nods to Mad Men. It was all an extended televisual love-in basically and most commentators have had nothing more to say about it than that.
But I have my remit!
Read the rest of this post on She’s an Astronaut
April 18th, 2013
The following excerpt is cross-posted from She’s an Astronaut, Amy and Adam’s Mad Men tumblr.
“It’s hard to argue with a direct appeal to our customers. I mean, we can artsy up the image of Jaguar, make it look romantic and stylish, but isn’t it better to tell people who are actually in the market for a car that a jaguar is available?”
The answer, Don knows, is an emphatic NO.
As he progresses through his pitch, countering the Jaguar representative’s concerns with the same line every time, the Bottom Line, Don begins to sound more and more like a salesman..
“I think it’s better to think about someone in New Jersey driving in their current car and hearing that around the corner there’s a jaguar to buy….at a low, low price.”
“I’m 100% positive that this approach moves cars. And not just Jaguars – this is proven to move all kinda cars. Hell, even used cars!”
More importantly though, he sounds – and looks, check the upward curl of his mouth – like an American. Note the use of the use of the colloquial contraction ‘kinda’, the ‘hell’ and the cherry on the cake:
“Fellas, this is gonna work!”
But in the end this isn’t simply about Jaguar, and Don knows it. It’s about the crassness of American consumerism versus the elegance and exclusivity of empire. This is a deeply felt cultural divide and Don’s anti-pitch exploits it to the fullest.
But there’s a specific American Don’s impersonating. Herb wanted to speak through SCDP and Don’s only to eager to grant his wish. You want a ventriloquist act, Herb? You got one. Suck it the fuck up.
Read more at She’s an Astronaut
April 14th, 2013
Amy and I might be posting about Mad Men over at our new Mad Men tumblr, She’s an Astronaut, but that’s not going stop us putting up the occasional post here. We love our Mindless.
Here’s four of the best links from around the web.
The number one spot has to go to Sean of Sean T Collins fame. His superb post on the nature of the Hawaiian “experience”, Something Terrible Has to Happen, is an absolute must read, and his episode thought dump isn’t half bad neither.
The ever insightful and spiky Molly Lambert comes in second with her post on just about everything in The Doorway. Molly’s view is often tougher than mine, especially her take on Don, but in a way that suggests she actually knows these people. She’s judgemental in all the right ways. Go read A Lighter, a Mistress, a Lot of Facial Hair
Third place goes to the Internet’s most reliable and comprehensive Mad Men fansite, Basket of Kisses. In a post that typifies their thoroughness, BoK founder Deborah Lipp looks at how how The Door Resonates Throughout the Seasons. Every self respecting Mad Men fan should have BoK bookmarked.
And last but by no means least is glam image blogger (all the best Mad Men images evar) Bohemea on Don’s absence.
Amy and I will continue to update SaA a few times every week. Here’s my latest post on the state of Megan and Don’s marriage, Break a Leg.