Sunday, October 31, 2010

Eeeeeeek!!!!! Seven Creepy Music Videos (Just in time for Halloween)

So, Halloweeen's got me thinking: What are the scariest music videos of all time? When all the universe sent back in return was the sound of crickets, I was struck with the realization that in spite of the popularity of both music video and horror movies as visual genres on their own, and in spite of the fertle breeding ground bewteen the two - the instance in which Music and the Macabre have made sweet love together has been few and far between.

We have of course had any number of videos that either drew from the cultural touchstones (Eddie Money's 'I think I'm in Love' and 'Doing it all for my baby' by Huey Lewis & the News come to mind, see here ) or are music videos for scary movies that arent in themselves scary to begin with. :P Music has sought to make the horror movie genre its bitch. And at times it has irreverently tried to satirize and caricature, and make light of the dark side. The result has been that the pop mainstream has been spared the bleeding reality of someone like Ozzy or even Marilyn Manson reaching their fullest visual potential.

So in spite of the fact that Rob Zombie has become a Movie Director in his own right, there has still been a surprising deficit of scary and / or startling and / or creepy music videos. In fact its been somewhat of a wasteland.

So until such a time when Freddy can throughly gouge out the eyes and skullf#$k pop-music, we're just going to have to make do with the following coutdown of the Seven Creepiest Music Videos:

7. Nine Inch Nails "Closer"

Several of the videos on this countdown have the built-in advantage of sounding insidious, dark and brooding. Much of the NIN catalog would be at home being used in the soundtrack for a horror movie. In fact much of this particular video plays like a series of experiments gone wrong. And even though there is no apparent threat. No copious amounts of blood and gore to drive the message home, this is still a very provocative clip and song. Even now. And if you dont believe me, I dare you to turn the lights down, watch this video and say Trent Resnor's name in the mirror three times. You know what I'm talking about.

6. Swans "Love of Life"

In spite of the fact that many of the images (repeated ad nauseum) in this clip are religious in nature, this song admittedly creeped me out a bit back in the 90s. Must have been the style and delivery of the track itself. That and the fact that I never quite got the image of the bunny setting itself alight. WTF!?

5. Rob Zombie "Dragula"

Rob Zombie has made the 'successful' transition from creepy music to film-maker, with such movies as 'House of 1000 corpses' and 'Devil's Rejects' under his belt. His videos have run the gamut from weird and repressed to downright laughable. This particular video is a great mix of classic horror footage as well as his own twisted mind. If this doesnt convince you, try watching his vid for 'Living Dead Girl' ( ) or even 'Return of the Phantom Stranger'. So strange indeed. But having seen his movies, I am driven to ask - 'In the Absence of a Rating System for Music Videos, has the apparent 'censorship' and careful administration of themes and images been a concious effort to self-police and self-regulate?

4. Prodigy "Breathe"

Is there much needs to be said about these sneering British Latter day lost boys. Their menacing is much more Kubrick's Droogs (a la Clockwork Orange) than anything to do with vampires, werewolves and ghosts. But truth be told, I'd have more of a hard time meeting up with one of these guys down a dark alley than something more conventional. At the least, this might just move you to dance as well.

3. Tool "Stinkfist"

Any description of this video is certain to sell it far short of its mark. The only thing as distinctive as Tool's sound is their body of music videos. Strange, but I havent got a clue what any of the members of Tool look like. I just hope that they arent any of the pseudo-cadavers in this vid.

2. Marilyn Manson "Beautiful People"

There is certainly no shortage of provocative videos from the Godfather of Shock Rock. Marilym Manson certainly prided himself on being different, controversial and almost anti.....everything. He's not too far removed from Madonna in so much that he has wielded religion and social norms in much the same way that 'madge' flaunted her sexuality for fifteen years. Once again, there are elements here that are both strange and symbolic - and in the end, just downright creepy.

1. Aphex Twin "Come to Daddy"

This is probably the 'Daddy' of creepy music videos. In the years since I first saw this (in a time long ago when MTV still showed music videos well into Prime Time) the imagery and the dark sinister music have stuck with me. Is it any wonder that it features at the top of this impromptu tribute. I can hardly imagine anyone - let alone - MTV running a clip as macabre as this anytime soon. If you click on just one clip in this countdown let this be the one - but dont do so too close to your bedtime. The images will stick with you and haunt the dark recesses of your mind.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Not with a 'BANG' but a whimper......Remembering Tropical Storm Tomas

There is little left to be said. A patch of bad weather immediately to the East of the Island has disrupted commerce, created mass panic and once again shown up the incompetence of an entire government. And even though the most amateur of meterologists (ie ME) could have forecast the insignificance of the event, the people of this 'Mango' Republic have somehow conspired to make a long weekend out of this.

The most frustrating thing of course has been the apparent lack of up-to-date information and the general lack of a plan. Without even as much as a drizzle, the Government took the decision to shut down offices at midday and to dismiss schools throughout the entire country. The immediate result: well over one hundred thousand Public Sector workers and students jostling for a way home. *Cue the traffic jams*

Personally, I had the unfortunate pleasure of being in transit as it unfolded. And a drive which should have taken less than five minutes in flowing traffic - robbed me of an hour and fifteen minutes of my life and left me with a new pain in my ass.

It now appears that as a nation, we are prone to mass panic attacks or that we are now open to any suggestion that would lead to the curtailing of work hours. It would have been curious to check on the status of the limers on the 'Avenue' this past evening. I am almost certain that they were out in force, in their rank and file - drinks in hand - toasting Tropical Storm Tomas as it veered past us and headed towards our neighbours to the North.

Much unlike the police, the military and the emergency services of this country who still remain clueless as to how they ought to act in any situation of public urgency. If they were out conducting traffic, patroling the streets and evacuating the cities - I certainly saw no evidence of it.

At least with Bimshire in its sights, Tomas has now found a more equally matched adversary. Barbados being a more orderly country - they would obviously be better prepared for an event such as a Tropical Cyclone. I will say a pray for them nevertheless, as this has not been the kindest of weeks for them. Fare thee well Bimshire. You will survive this too. And show remarkable composure in so doing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thanks to GQ I'm going to have to re-evaluate my position on watching 'Glee'

So, Ok. Lets face facts. I'm a hetero - so the chances of me being a regular watcher of the Fox Television Series 'Glee' are slim to none. From the little that I have watched of the show, I can only opine that sixty minutes of relative 'nobodys' singing covers of old pop-songs is about as compelling as watching karaoke from the back of a crowded smoke-filled lounge in Hong Kong. To me 'Glee' is all filler and no meat.

Now enter GQ. Intent as always to win hearts and minds - and to change the course of pop-culture one month at a time. I long ditched GQ in favour magazines that had loftier pretensions (thats you Esquire). And for me its relevance in all things pop-culture has long been eclipsed. Until now.

I have presented above, exhibits one through six that together prove me wrong. In the first instance, on the question of its (GQ's) relevance. And in the latter, on the subject of 'Glee'.

Based on the evidence, I must admit to the errors of my ways. And though, I am not naive enough to believe that either Ms Michelle or Ms Agron will ever be featured in character in such sexual charged poses on the show that has now made them famous - these photos have gone a long way to making me a fan of theirs and perhaps even by extension, a fan of 'Glee'.

For all the wrong reasons. Yes, perhaps. But for tonight, Glee has been rescued from the 'dustbin' in my mind - at least until such a time that the redundancy and absurdity washes these images from my mind.

Damn you GQ! But, Hello there, Glee Girls.

Poetry Break #4 - Woolworths

I caught a glimpse of the child today.

A Frustration of reflections,

Dancing along the mirrored glass sides

Of steel horses sauntering on stone & asphalt

That gore at his feet as they steal past.

He is running alongside them now,

Looking for an escape,

A space to dart through

But his need goes unnoticed.

Questions unanswered

And Graces unaccounted for,

He has long stripped himself of himself

And left it there abandoned

At the curbside.

The road rises up to meet his feet,

In his hands - a ball

The world clutched to his 40 lb frame,

Bigger than he is and

Perched precariously above his snow-white shoulders.

He stops now.

He notices now.

He knows.

The child turns around to face me.

The traffic grinds to a halt;

Time (that infinite machine) grinds.

And the world stops turning in his hands,

Tips forward

And crashes to a fault.

The word is stripped from me now.

Laid bare, I am nothing but a hanging sentence.

With nothing more than

The memory of a reflection of a ghost.

His cold eyes reach up to mine now

From three feet off the ground.



Giggling impishly –

Giddy with the casual realization

That the child

Is me?

I am meditating upon

Klee’s ‘Scream’,

(Does the man scream because someone has stolen the words from his lips?

Or does he scream because he is ‘me’)

Its all too much for me to digest.

Its greater than the sum total of meaning.

To much to bear on these shoulders

(Too much; too bare - these shoulders)

For I long dropped the ball

And watched it crash,

On a stone and asphalt heart.

And Watched the child

Plucked up from this place.

High above the men and the steel horses,

Drifting, floating out of reach –

The child is lost.

The Child is lost.

No search parties assembled.

No army of angels dispatched.

Only an open grave

Hungrily waiting,

The (printer’s) devil adds another ‘S’ to the ‘child’s laughter’.

The devil adds another name to his ledger.