Tag Archives: france



Festivus is with us again, which usually calls for a Frank Costanza-esque airing of grievances. For a couple of years I ran some kind of hastily compiled list of things I hated the most — largely compiled from my Twitter feed and exceeding anything of any real importance — in the preceding year. But then the last one did the Twitter and Tumblr rounds and the kind of people that the semi-concealed clumsy subliminals were aimed at were strangely excited about it, oblivious to the fact I wasn’t too keen on them. So I can’t be bothered to do another one. Hate’s too easy too and at this time of year I can barely muster the bile — there’s too much misery out there in the news, so a bunch of poorly built home truths is a distasteful addition. Especially when the world ends tomorrow.

I would have included: People who dress head to toe in hyped apparel mocking people dressed similarly by calling them “Hypebeasts”, people that believe dickriding in Instagram comments is the fast track to success, people that describe their WordPress as an “online magazine,” the death of mystique by brands and stores asking their legion of fans how they’re doing on a Monday morning like a talkative taxi driver, people that start editorial-led projects who can’t photograph, write, style, design or offer any form of Teflon business plan and are subsequently surplus to requirements, any form of middle person who simply slows down the communication and cash chain, people that ask you to follow them on social media, people that write “RT” after Tweets, people that fill Facebook with links to fictional motivational quotes that no great mind of the 20th century ever said, people that want you to phone them back to discuss what they could have emailed you in a single (easier to dismiss) sentence, people that think you’ve turned into a prima donna because you don’t feel like working for them for free, people that get so angry about mediocre sports footwear they wouldn’t be into if it wasn’t hyped up that they call everyone a reseller and make you like resellers way more than “sneakerheads”, people that put a full stop in front of an @ response so they can broadcast a conversation to everyone, nothing being allowed to be “quite good” any more because it has to be a classic or else it’s a crushing letdown, PR companies paid to represent a brand they know or care nothing about excitedly sharing links to sites barely rehashing press releases because said PR company gave them the shoes/jeans/t-shirt/hate (delete as applicable), blogs posting exactly what a bigger blog has posted and expecting anyone (bar the aforementioned PR company) to care, anyone who still clings onto “selling out” as a negative, a Benjamin Button in a snapback world of such regressed adulthood that any normal activity that isn’t prancing around getting hyped over complete crap is deemed “grown man shit”, multiple recaps of launch parties laden with exactly the same fucking people where any right-minded person would have zero aspiration to attend, tiny credits that nobody ever clicks through for the provider of content for an entire post on a blog complete with a click-through gallery of every image (thus eliminating any reason to ever visit the source site), that secret project that somebody heavy handedly alludes to over a period of time that nearly always turns out to be crushingly mediocre, the people that announce to the world pre or just post New Year that “This is my year” and then do absolutely nothing except Tweet turgid guff, people that think they’re being “hated on” or “trolled” and spend much of their time explaining this but are actually just hateful wankers who bring it on themselves and cry themselves to sleep (hopefully), people that call Supreme “Preme,” paranoid people that assume that this blog post is about them (word to Carly Simon), people that think they’re curating things because they take pictures of free stuff and anybody that doesn’t realise that most brands they’re all over are no better than that HYPE streetwear Dave brand.

Aaaaaand, breathe.

Now sneering at menswear and influencer culture is easily available (and more articulately executed) elsewhere, there’s little call for it here at this moment in time, plus Keef said it better than I ever could too. Salutes to everybody who just gets on with it and will quietly make powermoves in 2013. Anyway, how can I be angry while that Estelle Hanania portrait of Giorgio Moroder from the excellent feature on him in ‘PIG Quarterly’ (thank you, Sofarok) exists? Can’t do it. It’s also hard to be angry after BKRW put me onto Yan Morvan’s French gang photography that’s the subject of a new book (‘Gangs Story’), videos and an exhibition soon.



Gang story


For all the fond regard trickled its way, Brian De Palma’s ‘Phantom of the Paradise’, a garish satire on how corporations make anything real into a blister packed mockery of its former self, and a gloriously lurid ‘Faust’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera’ takedown doesn’t get the treatment it deserves. Except in France. The French will take a cinematic ugly duckling close to their chest, and thanks to licensing and an effort to recruit swanarchives.org – arguably one of the best movie fansites online, Opening’s new hi-def print of the film, an ‘Ultimate Edition’ has made it to Blu-ray. While in the UK and US we’ve had to make do with a bare-bones budget digital travesty, complete with some phony trailer for the film, this is actually the second French all-singing and all-dancing (but still no angry De Palma commentary) version our Gallic friends have had a few years back the Hollywood Classic Limited version did the movie proud, and while some films don’t necessitate a mark-free transfer, this most certainly does.

The audio is stunning, and those visuals are as eye-bleeding and faintly disturbing as ever. The outfits and production design are still some coked-out madness, and if any film benefited from being given a full yayo-mirror shine, this is it. Respect to the French fanboys and cinephiles who saw beyond the flop reception in 1974, gave it an award at the Festival du film Fantastique and pushed for this release. All other film going nations should hang their heads in shame. Bar a new introduction from Gerrit Graham the extras here remain the same as the Hollywood Classic version, but the quality here could put your hair back like the Maxell ads of old. ‘Somebody Super Like You’ never sounded so good. The beauty of ‘Phantom…’ is that with that disturbing, experimental camp, it could’ve attracted legions of dress-up midnight movie imbeciles, yet, like ‘After Hours’ or ‘Sorcerer’ you still feel a curious kinship with fellow fans that hasn’t been wrecked by ironists.If you like this film, you’re alright with me. If you don’t, fuck you…fous le camp.

An early example of Brian doing true spectacle, he remains a phenomenally underrated director, deserving of more than lazy Hitchcock-lite allegations. Master of set pieces (exploding Cassavetes being a personal favourite) the whole of this film feels like one long giddying set piece, and a pretty on-point tear up of the music industry of the ’70s. Beyond that, and far beyond the fantastical then-contemporary fable status, the notion of master douchebag Swan pilfering ideas from unknowns and leaving them to get crushed by the scene’s machinations, is a fair enough fable for the fashion/blog…whatever scene you might reside in. There’s a prick magpie picking ideas at the top of every tree. That remains relevant.

The ‘Paradise Regained’ documentary, included here, is a good insight into the whole ‘Phantom…’ saga. The promo materials from Richard Corben and Neal Adams are further evidence that even the best artists on the promo tip can’t save your flick from bricking. Once again, go check the Swan Archives again – they’ve got their own out-takes and behind-the-scenes footage – they’ve even got details on the unreleased ‘Death Records’ cushion from Medicom.

‘Phantom of the Paradise’s enduring appeal across the pond seems to be one of the pop cultural DNA strands that formed the generation of overachieving hipsters France produced. Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel are superfans of the film, bonding over a shared love and repeat viewings – those Hedi Slimane suits were straight-up Phantom attire. Justice’s ‘Phantom’ might have reused Goblin’s ‘Tenebrae’ soundtrack, but was there some link between that, and another Goblin-scored Argento film, ‘Suspiria’ that also starred the beautiful Jessica Harper, ‘Phantom’s female lead and muse, Phoenix who inadvertently instigates mayhem? In fact, are the group Phoenix named after Harper’s character too? Sebastien Tellier’s ‘Sexuality’ album contained a tribute to the film’s soundtrack on ‘Divine’ and there’s some Swan stances in Bob Sinclar’s ‘I Feel For You’ video. There’s more examples of homages out their too – but this film seemed to strike a chord with France’s creative community at child-age. Go buy this disc.

And seeing as it was mentioned earlier, Josh Olsen talking over the equally misunderstood ‘Sorcerer’s trailer on Trailers From Hell late last week was a treat too. Josh knows.