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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Pop Life

Posted in Links by Sam Unsted on May 3, 2008

We’re going back to all-encompassing pop culture and politics links posts now. The pop culture ones will be every day and the politics ones on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. As I’ve got a new gig writing film reviews for Screenjabber, I don’t need to devote the blog to film. Enjoy the change back, folks.

The AV Club pays tribute to Alien.

The Hold Steady’s new record has a release date.

Uwe Boll is suing Billy Zane.

Everyone seems a little middling on the new Boris record. Pitchfork also has an interview with the guys from earlier in the week.

Not so with the new Portishead, greeted with almost universal acclaim.

PopMatters has a piece exploring the work of John Cage.

Vanity Fair talks to James Frey.

Esquire interviews Tina Fey.

The Guardian goes on the road with Dolly.

Andrew Kuo charts his enjoyments of gigs by The Dodos, Dirty Projectors and Hot Chip.

Roseanne Cash discusses her songcraft.

Slate briefs on Spring Books.

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan talk to The Independent.

The 2008 List of Time’s Most Influential People is out. Colbert loses to Rain again.

Finally, here’s the High School Musical 3 press conference. Those eyebrows…

Pop Culture Week

Posted in Links, Pop Culture by Sam Unsted on April 20, 2008

The Measure for Measure blog on the art of songwriting continues with Darrell Brown.

The Guardian interviews the premium baller currently playing and maybe, just maybe, the new Michael Jordan, LeBron James.

Acid-house survivors relay their tales.

Andrew Kuo creates a chart to explain his enjoyment of The Boredoms.

Here’s an interview with Gervais.

The Boss came out for Barack this week.

Bob Forster donates a loving tribute to his songwriting soulmate, the late Grant McLennan.

Pitchfork highlights a few new indie hip hop records that almost escaped its radar.

Robert Greenwald portrays the attack being made on Iran by, who else, Fox News.

Colbert serenades Mrs Obama.

Metal fandom with John Darnielle.

Also from PopMatters the post-masterpiece malaise which impaced The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Sasha Frere-Jones shows the love for Portishead’s Third.

I also want to point you folks to Pitchfork TV which really is darn tootin’ good.

Weekly Clearout

Posted in Links by Sam Unsted on April 6, 2008

So this is where all the articles and interesting bits I’ve seen over the week and mostly in Sunday supplements will come together. Enjoy

Rachel Cooke discusses the influence of Virago on the literary world.

Killian Fox reports on the new breed of super-producer.

The New York Times profiles Gnarls Barkley.

Paul McCartney opens up about Linda.

A festivals a thing for the middle-aged?

The Times profiles Pushing Daisies ahead of its UK premiere.

The Telegraph interviews Jodi Picoult on where her darkness comes from.

Slate discusses Frederic Wertham and his campaign against comic books.

Is there a link between banning smoking and drunk-driving accidents?

The AV Club provides a primer on The Rolling Stones. I say start with Let It Bleed and see if the groove hits you.

It also has a new Comics Panel up.

Ethan Hawke has created a prize for young authors.

Ha Jin’s new fiction for The New Yorker is strong.

Roger Angell discusses the new era in baseball.

Pitchfork heaps praise on the rerelease of The Microphones’ The Glow: Part 2.

Autechre kicked off its tour in America on Friday.

A new record from The Black Angels is also on the way.

Jason Bateman is directing a pilot for Fox.

Newsweek has a piece on the post-9/11 work of Martin Amis.

Colbert. Stewart. Maher. The axis of good?

Radiohead has launched a social networking site.

Finally, although it is film news, Time has a tribute to Charlton Heston.

Crazy Crazy Links

Posted in Links, Sam by Sam Unsted on March 8, 2008
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Should the Starr remark from Clinton aide Howard Wolfson cost him his job?

Robert Downey Jr is back in the controversy window after ‘blacking up’ for a new role.

I haven’t seen Celebrity Rehab yet but damn, it sounds awesome.

Best Week Ever has an interview with Juno’s Olivia Thirlby.

Christian Siriano, the winner of Project Runway, is interviewed on After Elton.

The Guardian profiles the superdelegates.

Dick Cavett recounts his friendship with William Buckley for the NY Times.

Italian women have been permitted to tell porkie pies.

The Beatles are getting onto iTunes.

Stephen Colbert says goodbye to Mike Huckabee.

More viral promotion for The Dark Knight, this time campaign posters for Harvey Dent.

Newsweek profiles genius author Richard Price.

Take the PopSugar UK quiz of the week. Go on… do it!

Alessandra Stanley profiles twelve funny women and Annie Liebovitz photographs them.

Diggin’

Posted in diggin, Sam by Sam Unsted on February 23, 2008
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Music: Well, I’ve not got my iPod back although upgrading is in the works when money stops being a barrier, so music has been back in this week. I’m actually really loving Jukebox by Cat Power after being a little unsure on the first couple of goes round. ‘Silver Stallion’ is magnifique. I’m really enjoying ‘Falling Slowly’ from Once in the run up to the Oscars and supremely hope it can take the gong. Lil Wayne is great, Atlas Sound too, and new Mountain Goats songs are living up to previous form. John Darnielle must be closing in on finally receiving the acclaim he deserves.

Film: I watched Margot at the Wedding this week and, to be honest, didn’t really enjoy it too much. It had moments of barbed cynicism to enjoy, but mostly everyone was too unlikable to identify or empathise with and you were left with no one to cling to.

TV: Battlestar remains great and heating up towards the climax of its second season. We’ve been re-living Indecision 2004 from The Daily Show with its dream team; Stewart, Corddry, Bee, Carell, Helms and Colbert. Also America’s Next Top Model, the greatest reality TV show of all time, is back! Partnering it on our UK watching night is My Dad is Better than your Dad, the most ridiculous prime-time thing I’ve seen for a good long time. American children are unstoppably either horrific or lovely. No middle-ground.

Books/Comics: I finished The Looming Tower this week which was all kinds of fascinating in recollecting the formation of Al Qaeda and the lead-up to 9/11. I’ve also recently received the ninth volume of Powers which was a nightmare to get hold of in this country. Bendis is a fine comic-book dialoguist but Powers’ strenght is in the storytelling. I’ve also been loving Achewood even more as I become accustomed to the characters.

Other stuff: It’s been a podcast week and my favourites right now are The Economist’s socio-political discussion, Slate’s election coverage, New Yorker fiction and Pop Candy comic book writer interviews. The other thing is cookies from Waitrose, their choc-chip biccys are just astonishingly lovely, melt-in-your-mouth kind of lovely.

Avon Linksdale

Posted in Beth, Links, Sam by Sam Unsted on January 17, 2008
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Well I, for one, think these The Wire -related titles are going beautifully.

The AV Club interviews hirsuite ginger lovely-man Glen Hansard.

PopMatters lists its favourite TV performances of 2007. So many lists from them this year.

USA Today has a preview of Breaking Bad, the new AMC original series following in the successful footsteps of Mad Men.

Pitchfork has video of the ‘secret’ Radiohead show at 93 Feet East last night.

Mother Jones has some thoughts on the upcoming Nevada primary.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler put some girlshapedness into comedy with Baby Mama, check out the trailer here at BuzzSugar.

Want to listen Justin Lee Collins and Chris Moyles sing Delilah? Of course you do! Although it would surely be better without Chris Moyles.

Penn Badgley and Blake Lively are not dating. Okay! People tells you again.

Election analysis and discussion is sooo in right now. Salon has more politic-speak.

Martin Scorsese’s Shine a Light, his Stones concert document, is to open the Berlin Film Festival.

Check out Conan’s Strike Diary on Entertainment Weekly.

Still shell-shocked by Brad Renfro’s death? I know I am. Also sharing their thoughts are Sir Ian McKellen, who has blogged about it, Renfro’s The Client costar Susan Sarandon has released her own statement, and writer, film-maker and photographer Bruce LaBruce has blogged a couple of his memories

Gawker received a legal letter from the Scientologists following the outbreak of that Tom Cruise video. You saw the video – now check out a video from the ceremony itself, here’s Cruise picking up that award…

Kirsten Dunst stars in the latest Miu Miu ad campaign. Je voudrais the bag in the first photo, s’il vous plait?

Ahhh, a portrait of Stephen Colbert is hanging in the Smithsonian, between the loos, near the American Presidents, after he impressed the museum’s director with his hacky-sack skills! Genius.

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“This portrait will only be here for a limited time, so refresh yourself at the drinking fountain while contemplating this portrait of Colbert while you can.”

Rosalinka (Come Out Tonight)

Posted in Beth, Links, Sam by Sam Unsted on January 9, 2008

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Anthony Bourdain talks to The AV Club

PopMatters lists its top acting performances of 2007 from women and men.

Emily Bazelon explores why Hillary may have turned round ze women.

The New Yorker explores all things Scientological.

Jon Stewart versus Stephen Colbert. Salon calls it.

Fight Club as a musical?

Dexter to be aired on regular TV?

Kimya Dawson discusses her contributions to the Juno soundtrack.

Amy Winehouse has embraced the lighter side of life…

I am officially in love with THIS t-shirt – cliche evil super-villians abound!

How would Law & Order: Criminal Intent work without writers?Not well, it seems…

“I think someone hit her with this thing… it’s glass… it’s very heavy…”

Thank goodness for Chris Noth.

The Links Have Eyes

Posted in Beth, Links, Sam by Beth Squires on November 1, 2007

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JustJared is featuring Arrested Development‘s Will Arnett and Amy Poehler’s GAP ad. Cute.

Judging by the way Heroes is going this season (teen issues are not right for this show!) it’s probably a good thing the spin-off Heroes: Origins has been cancelled.

Thank the freakin’ Lord! Joss Whedon has announced he’ll be back with a new Eliza Dushku series – Dollhouse. Just as soon as the Writers Strike is sorted… I’m doing my happy dance right now!

PopJustice is all about the new ballad-free Girls Aloud album, Tangled Up.

Britney is continuing to publicise her album in her own shy, retiring, way.

Zac Efron is, shock-horror, apparently ‘growing up…’. Someone tell Disney, sharpish…

Oooh, don’t Jack and Kelly Osbourne look gorgeous?

Martina Hingis has retired from tennis after testing positive for cocaine use at Wimbledon.

Meatloaf beaten by Newcastle? Surely not.

Stephen Colbert has paid up and filed to have his name on the ballot in South Carolina.. (EDIT – Damn it, the dream’s over…)

A serious breach of national security occurred yesterday, says The Onion.

Slate espouses it’s opinion on American Gangster, the new Denzel/Russell Crowe/Ridley Scott epic movie thing.

Warren Ellis, comic writing genius, takes his first stab at prose fiction and PopMatters judges.

President Bush and his big business-loving group of chumps want to hurt the good even more, says Salon.

The Guardian questions the decision to take Spaced to America.

Don’t Stop Belinkin’!!

Posted in Beth, Links, Sam by Sam Unsted on October 18, 2007

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HAPPY 20th BDAY ZAC EFRON…  (hopefully this age change makes Beth’s crush a little less weird…) and now for some links…

According to uber-smiley orange gossip Ted Casablancas, Jake Gyllenhaal has a secret.

LA Weekly pays tribute to the somewhat overrated, and late, Lee Hazlewood.

Joe Klein opines on America’s loss of global influence as China takes the lead.

The New York Times has more on the Colbert run for the White House.

Both Afflecks talk to The Washington Post about Gone Baby Gone.

The Independent (not even The Daily Mail here) decides to jump on the anti-Facebook wagon.

The Onion obviously did this two days ago but you know what, it’s funny. So read it.

PopMatters kneels at the alter of salad-dressing, charity-givin’ King of Men, Paul Newman.

The Booker Prize nominees are, apparently, all to be free to read on this ol’ international interweb machine, according to The Times.

Slate exposes those law-breaking buggers, The Amish, and questions the future for iTunes.

Sufjan Stevens is planning a thiry-minute, seven movement piece. Praise be. (Thank you to PopCandy for that one)

Finally, the wonderful E&L hero, Cat Power, has decided on the tracklisting for ‘Jukebox’.