More final words

from The Perfect Human
December 10th, 2008

Lars von Trier's favourite film is Jørgen Leth's The Perfect Human (1967), it ends with the words "Today, too, I experienced something I hope to understand in a few days".

Von Trier gave Leth the task of remaking this short film five times, each time with a different obstruction given by Von Trier. By now I don't remember how many times I have seen the superior documentary The Five Obstructions which resulted from this provocation. It is an all time favourite of mine because every time I watch it new insights emerge - on fandom, failure, freedom, depression, competition, role models, rules, expectation, challenge, subjectivity, vodka before noon, and so much more.

Via Wikipedia: "The obstructions:

1. Leth must remake the film in Cuba, with no set, and with no shot lasting longer than twelve frames, and he must answer the questions posed in the original film; Leth successfully completes this task.

2. Leth must remake the film in the worst place in the world but not show that place onscreen; additionally, Leth must himself play the role of "the man." The meal must be included, but the woman is not to be included. Leth remakes the film in the red light district of Mumbai, only partially hiding it behind a translucent screen.

3. Because Leth failed to complete the second task perfectly, von Trier punishes him, telling him to either remake the film in any way he chooses, or else to repeat it again with the second obstruction in Mumbai. Leth chooses the first option and remakes the film in Brussels, using split-screen effects.

4. Leth must remake the film as a cartoon. He does so with the aid of Bob Sabiston, a specialist in rotoscoping, who creates animated versions of shots from the previous films. As such the final product is technically an animation but not a cartoon. Nevertheless, von Trier considers the task to be completed successfully.

5. The fifth obstruction is that von Trier has already made the fifth version, but it must be credited as Leth's, and Leth must read a voice-over narration, ostensibly from his own perspective but in fact one written by von Trier."

[ Catalysts ]

These boots are made for me

John Lobb, shoemaker
November 17th, 2008

Visited the beautiful John Lobb shop on St. James's Street in London this weekend. Can't afford even a single shoe – yet.

Via Wikipedia: "John Lobb Bootmaker is a company that manufactures and retails a luxury brand of shoes and boots mainly for men, but also for women. Leather goods such as wallets and belts are also available. Founded by John Lobb (1829-95), John Lobb Bootmaker has been in business since 1866 in London and 1902 in Paris.

In 1976, John Lobb Paris shop was acquired by the Hermès Group, but the London bespoke workshop at 9 St James's Street, John Lobb Ltd, remains family-owned and continues to operate independently. Hermès have developed the John Lobb ready-to-wear shoes around the world. The two companies continue to maintain their bespoke shoe-making tradition with the Lobb family workshop in London and the Hermès owned workshop in Paris."

[ Catalysts ]

Photo by Igor Termenon.

A thought

William Bennett
November 10th, 2008

A subversive, wonderful and challenging quote from William Bennett's blog: "What is the nature of the stories that you tell about yourself? The purpose they serve those who listen to them is not at all obvious, while themselves serving as the building blocks of who we think we are. Thus, the belief is the being, as is the reiteration. An old man once told me about the time he was shocked to be told by a doctor that he was dying and that there was no cure, and at that point he began to profoundly wonder what it meant to be a person who was dying as opposed to one that was living. And the further he entered the domain of that inquiry, not to seek answers but to just look around, the more he lived. As indeed would you and I."

[ Catalysts ]

Drifting and Tilting

The Songs of Scott Walker
November 5th, 2008

Bought the ticket for this concert, November 14th in London, months ago and always wondered how Scott Walker will manage to stage his last two albums without himself singing. Since yesterday the final line-up is online: Featuring Damon Albarn, Dot Allison, Jarvis Cocker, Gavin Friday, Michael Henry and Nigel Richards. Am so excited!

[ Catalysts ]

At seventeen

"To those of us who knew the pain"

November 2nd, 2008


I was twelve when my friend Vicky Tiegelkamp played a record of her older sister to me. It blew me away. And it was more than twenty years later when Justus Köhnke played Janis Ian on a party and reminded me of my teen emotions. Still love her records. Still listen to them. Saw an early live performance of her today. Simple, moving, beautiful, and timeless. 

[ Catalysts ]

Magnetic beauty on the sun

November 1st, 2008

Saw a beautiful sunrise this morning on my way home from a heart-warming party. Jamal Moss didn't make it. But some times drowning in music and friendship is just enough.

[ Catalysts ]

Thomas Bayrle

Herzensbrecher (Heartbreaker)

October 26th, 2008


Initially I went to see Gerhard Richter's abstract paintings at Museum Ludwig today, and it was a most welcome surprise to see that they were also showing about 60 or so of Thomas Bayrle's works. Thomas Bayrle creates graphic pieces from other images, multiplying and distorting motifs obtained from books, films, video art, graphic art. The basis for all his work is generally the same - the transformation of a repeated motif by anamorphosis, shifting into another image, creating a truly mind-boggling result. A must - the exhibition runs until January 25th, 2009.

[ Catalysts ]

Nice Mover

Gina X Performance
October 15th, 2008

This record provided strength when the hormons where dancing back in 1978

A1. Nice Mover (4:30)
A2. No G.D.M. (Dedicated To Quentin Crisp) (5:55)
A3. Plastic Surprise Box (3:05)
A4. Casablanca (5:35)

B1. Be A Boy (4:00)
B2. Exhibitionism (5:00)
B3. Black Sheep (3:45)
B4. Tropical Comic Strip (5:05)


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Full moon tonite

"O Superman" by Laurie Anderson
October 14th, 2008

"O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad. O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad. Hi. I'm not home right now. But if you want to leave a message, just start talking at the sound of the tone. Hello? This is your Mother. Are you there? Are you coming home? Hello? Is anybody home? Well, you don't know me, but I know you. And I've got a message to give to you. Here come the planes. So you better get ready. Ready to go. You can come as you are, but pay as you go. Pay as you go. And I said: OK. Who is this really? And the voice said: This is the hand, the hand that takes. This is the hand, the hand that takes. This is the hand, the hand that takes. Here come the planes. They're American planes. Made in America. Smoking or non-smoking? And the voice said: Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. 'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice. And when justice is gone, there's always force. And when force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom! So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms. In your arms. So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. Your petrochemical arms. Your military arms. In your electronic arms."

[ Catalysts ]

There is no kidding

Advanced style

October 10th, 2008


Enjoy the Advanced Style blog: "Proof from the wizened and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age." We all need role models - for example Iris Apfel (above), fashion iconoclast and true original.

[ Catalysts ]