Electricity & Lust

Reads of the Week

Posted in Reads of the Week by Sam Unsted on August 13, 2011

A quick note. Apologies for the lack of posting still. A couple of things in the works at the moment so time has been difficult to find. I intend to get back onto a pretty good posting schedule again very, very soon.

  • Not really a very long read, but Chuck Klosterman manages to nail so much of why Louie is the best show on TV at the minute in his piece for Grantland. In other news, please ensure you follow Grantland as it’s probably my favourite new site of the year.
  • The original article, from New York Magazine, which coined the Brat Pack moniker for that group of actors in the 1980s. Quite illuminating, especially with the consistent arguing that it would be Sean Penn, never really though of as a Brat Pack member, who would transcend that generation.
  • A four-part study (Part One, Two, Three and Four) of the creation of the Unabomber, specifically as regards the role of Harvard in fostering personality traits which would eventually make him infamous.
  • Cameron Crowe’s 1973 article on The Allman Brothers, surely one of the inspirations that went into Almost Famous.
  • One of my absolute favourite writers, Alex Ross, moves away from his inspired classical music pieces to pen an absorbing essay about Oscar Wilde.
  • But the best of the week is the GQ oral history of the Dana Carvey Show, the swifty-cancelled mid-90s folly which comprised some amazing talent and has worn really well. At the time though, the outre sketches were far from at-home following Home Improvement on the Disney-owned ABC. Just to give a taster, the writing team alone included Dino Stamotopoulos, Robert Smigel and Louis CK, and this doesn’t go into the on-screen talent, which included the likes of Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert. Watching it now, from the opening sketch (from CK’s mind) of Bill Clinton breast-feeding puppies, you struggle to believe this show was on primetime network TV. Watch the first episode here and marvel.
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Links of the Week

Posted in Links of the Week by Sam Unsted on June 26, 2011
  • This is from a few weeks back, but to coincide with the second series of Louie, here is a profile of Louis CK from NY Mag. His show seems like its the culmination of the journey he has been on as a comedian in the past few years. The profile details the ins and outs of the ‘Louis CK deal’ he has with FX, by which he has complete, unfettered control over the show and gets no studio notes. On occasion, this means the show goes to places that may not be considered funny by some, but it really is a spectacularly brilliant, insightful, profound and, a substantial portion of the time, ballbustingly funny.
  • If you aren’t already visiting Listverse every day, start now. The following three lists are only a smattering of the brilliant work these guys produce every day, simultaneously fascinating and dryly funny. So, the three for this week, to whet your appetite, are: ‘Top 10 Movies Featuring Prostitution‘, ‘Another 10 Interesting Stories Behind Classical Compositions‘ and ‘Top 10 People Shrouded in Controversy‘.
  • Cool Tools has a list of the best magazine articles ever. This maybe should go in the reads of the week post, but it’s here, so live with it.
  • The trailer for David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method looks great. I’m normally repelled by Keira Knightley, but the twin powers of Fassbender and Mortensen have been interested enough already, but here, Knightley looks like the role might end up working for her.

Links of the Week

Posted in Links of the Week by Sam Unsted on June 19, 2011
  • This AV Club article questioning whether cable TV is still delivering higher quality product than network TV in the US is one I disagree with nearly whole-heartedly, but it does at least make some interesting points about the slight increase in the number of really good network shows at the moment (The Good Wife, Community, Parks and Recreation). The point it appears to side-step though is that there are so, so, sooooo many terrible shows on network TV and the overall hit-rate (in quality terms at least) for the cable shows is way better. Also, the central argument surrounding the quality of network comedy is way off. There are a pile of really good comedies on network TV right now, but the absolute best at the minute, FX’s Louie, is a cable show. Anyway, enough debating. Read for yourself and comment away.
  • Staff at The New York Times Magazine have contributed their own selection of their favourite non-fiction books after The Guardian did the same last week. Probably a little too much to read now but I’m trucking on regardless.
  • I just finished Michael Lewis’ The Big Short and I’m planning on indulging in his Moneyball pretty soon. The trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation of the latter book, about the sabermetric approach to creating a successful baseball team used by the Oakland As. The film looks decent enough, with a strong cast and a great director behind it, though the screenplay has had runs over from Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, which is never a great sign. I’m interested though.
  • The Atlantic has a copy of the handwritten draft of the song ‘Dance Music’ by The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle. He then goes on to discuss his songwriting process, which proves particularly interesting given that song comes from their absolute best record, The Sunset Tree.
  • The longlist for the Polaris Music Prize in Canada has also been released. I’m pulling for Tim Hecker and his stunning Ravedeath, 1972, the best album of an already stellar career.