A scary monster and a super creep- a day in the life of the Eels Souljacker

Crawling through the dirt, it’s no walk in the park, y’know. Hey, you try being me, I have to contend with strangers asking me how am I and shouting- it’s the Souljacker! You see, I’ve become famous and yeah, there’s a reason for this. Let me start from the beginning. I’m Souljacker, by the way…

So, this middle-aged guy called E called my agent, Dastardly Dave. I’ve got to have an agent. Got stuff to do, well Dave’s got stuff to do. Who does this E think he is anyhow? Anyway, he pitched an idea to my agent about him finding out about my life. Research, apparently. E’s a musician, you see, and he’s doing some research for an album that he’s planning. Apparently he’s going to name it after me. Right.

Eventually I said to Dave, ”why doesn’t this Sir E, or whatever he calls himself, come and see me?”. Of course, the only reason he’s doing this damn research is to see me, and who could blame him? But he said no, he wants to know more about the other “special” (his word) individuals that I know. Well, there’s only the Dog Faced Boy and who cares about him? As E kept going on about it, I mentioned to Dave that there’s the friendly ghost, who lives up on Goji Berry Road, where all the bourgeoisie live. He hasn’t bothered to haunt anyone in ages. You know, he makes Casper The Friendly Ghost look like a mean son of a bitch.

I guess there’s also the Teenage Witch, who spends most of her time falling into ditches, the lazy moo. How’s she going to find a job doing that? There’s also the Bus Stop Boxer. A sorry-looking guy if ever I saw one, no one’s got the No 12 bus to Dingly Dell Road for years now. The Lollipop Bus Service is on the verge of stopping because of him.

I gotta go. Dave’s arranged for some reporters to come and talk to me about my experiences with E. A whole lotta fuss for nothing, so E better pay me well for the time I’ve wasted with him!

(note: any similarity to anyone living is purely coincidental)

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Uncle Deadly from the Muppets reviews, well, The Muppets film!

 The Muppets

Production: 2011

Country: USA

Cert (UK): U

Runtime: 103 mins

Director: James Bobin

Cast: Alan Arkin, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Zach Galifianakis

Good evening my friends. My name is Uncle Deadly and I am a muppet, you know, the only one with 200 stage performances to his name. I first appeared with the ramshackle team in the year 1976 in an episode that featured the splendid Mr. Vincent Price. If you’ll believe it, the beloved group have not appeared on the silver screen since 1999, and since then, my involvement with the team that was originally created by Mr Jim Henson has been slight. I have consistently been on the London stage, including a run with Sir John Gielgud on a production of Othello at the Bloomsbury. However, I was contacted by the powers to be to star in the feature-length film, The Muppets, and to appear as myself. My character is the henchman of the nefarious capitalist Tex Richman and so, I have been asked to give you a synopsis of the film, and here it is-

It all begins appropriately enough with a young man called Walter, who is the Muppets biggest fan and is tickled pink by the fact that he will be going to see their old studio in Los Angeles. The endearing scamp is accompanied by his likeable brother, Gary (Mr Jason Segel from the recent show, How I Met Your Mother) and Gary’s vocally talented girlfriend (Miss Amy Adams). However, the trio have to contend with the heinous intentions of Tex Richman (Mr. Chris Cooper, whom one may remember from American Beauty), who intends to shut down the studio to dig for oil. Walter and his companions meet Kermit the Frog (voiced by the inimitable Mr Steve Whitmire), who realises that the only way to save the studio is to bring back the original team. After a nifty bit of travelling around America, including a stop in a dingy motel to rescue Fozzie Bear (Mr. Eric Jacobson) from a disreputable Moppets tribute band, the team return to prove themselves again.

The Muppets manages to charm all with an irresistible blend of song-and-dance routines that cater for a post-recession audience with a certain aplomb. The passion of actor and writer Mr. Segel is plain to see, which results in this wholesome family entertainment. Although certain lines fall as flat as dear Fozzie’s tired stand-up routines, an endearing script which includes in-jokes about the film’s budget and an prodigious amount of celebrity cameos makes this immensely enjoyable.

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Pearl Jam- A Band Apart (From Others From Seattle, At Least)

Ah, Pearl Jam! What a quintessentially American proposition. A large portion of the band’s repertoire certainly consists of expansive rock that matches the vast surroundings of their country.  A common comment I’ve heard regarding them is along the lines of “oh no, not Pearl Jam”, or just complete indifference.

The band have been together since 1990 and rose from the ashes of the grunge band Mother Love Bone (whose singer Andrew Wood died from a heroin overdose in March 1990), and have released nine albums to date with Backspacer being released in 2009. Their strength lies in their versatility, with their output shifting between affecting songs such as Black and Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town and rollicking rockers such as Once. Pearl Jam have always the distinction of being fronted by the passionate Eddie Vedder, a man who treats his songs like a loved one. As powerful as songs such as I Got I.D. are, they tend to flounce around like some sort of drunken prima donna at a party, all arms being waved ecstatically in the air. This is what makes them distinctive. The intensity of their music is like a sucker punch to the senses, when listening to music becomes an experience. The same can’t be said for Staind, can it?

Recommended playlist- Alive, Black, Once, Jeremy, Elderly Women Behind The Counter In A Small Town, Corduroy, I Got I.D., Hail Hail, Do The Evolution, Spin The Black Circle, Even Flow, Rats, Dissident, State Of Love And Trust, Go, I Am Mine

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A maverick at play, or how Lou Reed spent 1972 to 1975

Lou Reed has been many things including incorrigible, experimental and humorous. The notorious rock critic, Lester Bangs, once described the “Phantom of Rock” as a “poison death dwarf”. Maybe he was, but he also produced one of the most varied and consistent solo careers in music, and certainly kept his fans on their feet. These are his five key albums from the early 1970s when Laughing Lou was at the peak of his commercial success. Beware, one may contain a David Bowie production-

Transformer (1972): Indispensable The bona fide pop album, imbued with an effervescent sheen. By far Reed’s most accessible album, it features some of his best known songs including Walk on the Wild Side and Perfect Day (also immortalised in Danny Boyle’s Transpotting). The kind of album which everybody has.

Berlin (1973): The troubled one A stark, melodramatic play captured on record and symbolises a now characteristic U-turn in his Reed’s career from the sparkle of Transformer, it chronicles the lives of drug-addled youngsters in the European city. It’s bleak but there was a reason that this majestic effort is the only Top 10 album Reed has had in this country to date.

Sally Can’t Dance (1974) Lou’s ‘dance’ album Reed said he had virtually nothing to do with this album, so it was of course his only US Top 10 entry. The album is dominated by the buouyant Sally Can’t Dance, a black-humoured little ditty which talks about a girl who can’t get off of the floor because she’s taken too much of a certain narcotic, but it is a real mid 70s period piece with a strong disco influence and brass horns.

Rock and Roll Animal (1974): Transformer’s little baby brother Lou pulls out all the stops here, as it’s jam packed full of strong melodies and hooks and features a crack backing band resplendent in handlebar moustaches. But a massive change was just around the corner in the shape of…

Metal Machine Music (1975): Quite possibly the most demanding but interesting album in history, which is impossible to listen to all the way through and describe in a sentence. Best listened to when you aren’t doing much the music, if it can be called that, hits the listener like a screeching blizzard. Simultaneously unbearable, impressive and slightly comic, a symphony of feedback envelops us and after a few repeated listens and a initial desire to turn it off you begin to notice the hypnotic, swirling quality in what you hear which becomes oddly beautiful. The influence that this has had on recent bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Mogwai cannot be understated. It may well have been a joke, but only Lou knows the answer.

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The kind of films that you know squat all’s going to happen in

I’m sure everyone’s watched the kind of film where they’ve thought I might have well have gone maypole dancing for all this film is doing for me. Well, here’s an example of a film where you know that nothing’s going to happen in.

1) Return of the Vampire (1944)

This black and film is led by the masterful Bela Lugosi, a vital asset and Lugosi does indeed do an admirable job as the lead vampire. However, the film is floundered by its poor production values and predictable sets (there’s the obligatory spooky mists and cardboard graves that probably cost $1 to make), and some atrocious acting which is at its apogee with a couple of labourers who bumble around the graveyard like a couple of incompotent bees in a paper bag. Overall, it was pretty obvious that there would no astounding plot twists here. Still, oddly memorable.

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The most challenging, ehem, album that you will ever hear in your life

There is some music that transcends pre-conceived notions of what music is in its traditional, structured sense (think John Cage’s 4’33, which is essentially silence and more of a sound experiment). If you ever want to listen to music that really challenges you, listen to Lou Reed’s Metal Music Machine (1975). Reed himself has insinuated that the album was meant to be a joke, and has recited the ancedote that he collapsed in laughter after delivering it to a group of no-doubt baffled RCA record executives.

The album itself consists of four songs, roughly around 16 minutes each, of screeching feedback. Listening to it can be roughly described as the aural equivalent of diving for pearls in an ever-shifting sonic whirlpool, or if that is too pretentious, listening to a blizzard of sound in a compact windtunnel. An album that is simultaneously both good and bad is beyond definition, but the fact that RCA promoted this bizarrre sonic concoction as a pop album is the strangest and most laughable thing of all. May the notoriously iconoclastic Reed keep on being a true maverick.

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In Utero

Nirvana’s In Utero (1993) feels like a villain in a Classical Hollywood film- it has an antagonistic quality that is bolstered by everything from Kurt Cobain’s oblique lyrics and Steve Albini’s stifling production.

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