Thursday 15 November
The magazine for the Northern Line!
Letter from the Editor. December is approaching, the days are getting shorter and so are the nights. How does that work? If you leave work after five it’s dark and cold. You don’t really want to go anywhere, do you? Home for a nice stew and an evening in front of the tele. That’s what it’s all about. Well I’ll tell you this, November is about to serve you up some delicious treats both outside the house and inside it too. There’s an abundance of great music coming your way in the next few weeks including gigs with…The Arcade Fire (Alley Pally), Aqualung (Kings College), Rilo Kiley, Atlete, Jack Penate, The Kooks, Biffy Clyro, The Pigeon Detectives (all unplugged at the Union Chapel), The London Jazz Festival and so much more. The Eurostar is coming North on the 14th so use it as an excuse to make a dash for Paris, it’ll take you little more than two hours to get there and you know what Paris is like at Xmas….pretty nice innit. On Tele obviously Tuesdays are sorted with Spooks and Wednesdays we got Heroes, but wait for it on Thursdays you can get trapped in a box by a cockney nut job. Yes, it’s back and the Boosh is loose and all that. We’ve been waiting for this for bloody ages now and finally we’ll be trying to copy Vince and Howard in the daily escapades and trying even harder to have stupid conversations about being a jazz piper or claiming to also be King of the Mods. So seeing as it will be raining on Thursday evening make the most of your freeview box (if you don’t have one you can come round to our place) switch to channel 7 (that’s BBC3) and enjoy. Check out 7 stops for some other bits, bobs and stuff and then perch yourself on a trendy, well-designed Northern Line seat and check out who’s got the warmest jacket for the winter months…(they’ll also be the one sweating the most on the tube).
Contents The London Glove
A Week in the Life
Music and that
Have a good week ed.x Nico Printed on recycled paper by recycled people. Please make sure you pass on or recycle, Yeah! For more information on the Other Side and for details of how you can get involved then please contact us at the e-mail below.
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THE LONDON (G)LOVE
so popular it’s back for another week!! Girl with the brown trousers, You play Sudoku at Green Park every morning, can I fill your box? Man on the No18, you were drinking a coffee and got some on my skirt. Want to go out and spill some more hot fluid over me? Girl in the Spongebob Squarepants jumper, you were sucking a lollypop, I was reading the FT. Want to play on my sandy bottom? You tried to steal my handbag at Kentish Town, you caught my eye. Perhaps you can chase me down a different tunnel. Hampstead crepe girl, let me fill your pancakes with my Belgian chocolate.
An unfortunate incident with the toast....
Illustration by Jamie Jackson
BushLit ... In which the inimitable Cardowski enjoys the popular pastime of Bushbaiting and beats the political drum to see if he can fashion a tune It was soooo gleamingly obvious! I can’t believe no-one’s come up with it before. Or mebbe they have and I’m supremely outta touch (Hush Young Adam). A term to stand alongside the famed “Malapropism” (used to define the misuse of incorrect words to ridiculous effect), I give
you: “Bush-Lit” to define gross ignorance posing as profound wisdom while shooting itself in the foot with unerring accuracy! And with it but two examples from a veritable encyclopedia’s worth: “The trouble with the French is that they have no word for… Entrepreneur”! and “We oughta make the pie higher”! Yes my friends we’re talking of the not soon enough departing Prez of the Yankee States Jawj Dubya. May his Bush Lit stand to remind us all of the consequences of voting for style over substance in any future election. For surely, despite all the lying, cheating and stealing that went on in the 2000 elections across the pond, too many people
fell under the spell of that bumbling, ignorant grad of TV Presenter School for comfort. And that victory, with all its attendant horrors and Bush Lit, reprimands us for the laziness with which we exercise our democracy and civilisation. For just as surely as it’s the electorate of the Yew Ess that’re responsible for Dubya and his ensuing (not to mention forthcoming) invasions, so we are not entirely guiltless of electoral irresponsibility here in this green(?) and pleasant land. Is there really any discussion? Are elections decided on anything these days but the rates of taxation, inflation and immigration? Our own personal comfort and ability to spend cash we might not yet have earned. Do we discuss the NHS, education or housing? Military expenditure, rural decline or the fact that we seem to make less and less actual product year after year? Not really. People talk and talk, fill column inches and air-time with rage, spleen and fear but that is NOT discussion. Discussion involves listening as well as talking, compromise allied to principle and patience along with force of argument. None of them, apart from talking, particularly attractive words these days. And all the while we descend further and further into the mire of some impoverished 51st State of an Empire where the great debates
that decide elections (Abortion, Gun Control and Gays in the Military for f*ck’s sake) aren’t really. All they really are are scripted, televised and public rants by interested parties. Nothing changes but the decibel level, the depths of the trenches and the number of dead lying on the wire. And why? Because we have ceded authority to Institutions and allowed them to lead us into narrow fields of limited opportunity where we are easily corralled instead of telling them what we want, demanding that they work for us, rather than over us, and thereby enjoy a panoply of profound possibilities. And, lest you think me merely a pointy finger let me add, I’m guilty too. I don’t visit my MP’s surgeries, don’t round up possees of like minded individuals to register support for the disenfranchised or abandoned. I don’t demand higher taxation to pay for the medical services I expect to have on offer or more educational opportunities for my kids and their mates. And why? Because I’m a knackered old man who’s chasing 3 little tykes around the house and into school, trying to keep them fed, happy, out of hospital and in warm clothes. Being a Dad some might say. But I know, deep down I know, that that is not good enough. Everybody has those concerns and
limitations of time and energy. And then those shots of the Zimbabwean elections come back to haunt me: Folk lining up to vote for days, despite obstructions, searing heat, volleys of abuse and beatings from authorities hanging on grimly to their waning vestiges of power. (Waning because surely that tyranny cannot sustain?). People standing up to say; “You are wrong and we do not agree with you”. And what do we say? “How dare you turn off the tap of my easy credit!” “How very dare you deduct from the sum of my hard earned wedge!” “Am I truly bovvered by the plight of an African?” Here in Little Britain things are getting smaller because we keep our hands in our pockets, our eyes on the ground and our feet warming by the hearth of our increasingly lock-tite houses. I have a word of warning. That secure bird-feeder that I had, the globe that prevented the rapacious squirrel from hoarding nuts meant for the variety of small birds so abundant in my verdant garden, has been breached! Yesserday my kids screamed with mirth at the sight of a guzzling Grey sat INSIDE the globe feasting on protected nuts! I was horrified. Appalled of NW10 I was. I’d thought I’d done all necessary to protect the little ones from the gluttony of the Big Bully. That my endeavours were proof of my sanctity for all time! I was
shown, again, that you can never rest on your laurels, never claim unending victory over the cunningly venal. And so it is with us and those who seek to lead us for their own ends. And I don’t mean mere vanity or personal wealth but those who require a higher profile in our history and the estimation of their selfserving elite by causing conflagrations, piling up the dead and ignoring the plight of the lowly. We cannot offer them up our subjugation. And so, a word of encouragement. Our happiness is ours. It is our choice. If we are only happy with what we receive then we will be at the mercy of the Tap-Meister. If our happiness is instead a choice that we decide upon every minute of every day, then cynicism becomes pitiful, violence pathetic and greed self-endangering. I can’t wait for that Squirrel to get soooo fat that he can’t get outta the bird sized holes of my globe! But, I know that I am not safe from the Squirrel, nor the Buzzard let alone the diseased Pidge and that I must become more vigilant (without becoming a Vigilante) and attendant upon those around me and thereby walk the walk as well as yakking all this yak, just as you must. Shall we take a stroll? We could swap “Best of Bush’s Great Illiterations.” You can’t eat Bush-Lit, but it sure makes the journey go a lot quicker!
A Life In Film Alright geez, it’s me, Danny Dyer. Givin it large, avin it big, this is my story. Where to begin when my journey’s been so mental? Human Traffic was out of sight I can tell ya. Charlie flying up hooters, pills being popped, and me, fresh-faced, gagging for some action. And the mental fing was, I just played me. Smashed out me gord, sweaty, wide boy, talking wiv the same cockney beat, hitting random syllables that bit harder for pointless emphasis. But you aint got nuffin if you aint got emphasis as me ole man always said. Add on a cake load of cheeky smiles and I was away. People lapped it up and I discovered the thing that would keep me in Fred Perry shirts and Bolivian marching powder for the rest of my days... people loved watching Danny Dyer playing Danny Dyer. It was a crazy time I can tell ya, but then it all went supersonic when I met my soul mate, my muse, my bruvver... film director extraodinaire Nick Love.
It was Scorcese and De Niro. It was Cannon and Ball. It was magic. The film? The Football Factory. Violence as knockabout farce. Drugs as a badge of honour. Women treated like objects. Racist taxi drivers done in a post modern and ironic way. It was the perfect mix. It captured a generation. My wordy and effusive voiceover contrasting with my staccato cockney delivery, the bog standard direction, the direct lifts from Goodfellas and other better films... we had made something truly special. A film that purported to damn the very thing it so clearly celebrated - geezers with no bollocks, loving the vicarious frill of violence and a cinematic beating (a sexy scar, a trickle of blood, no lasting effects). These very geezers, who, when it comes down to it are just a bunch of druggy scumbags with no imagination and wouldn’t know a searing state of the nation film if it caved their head in. It’s these very mugs who quote us in pubs and loved every minute of it. What was I to do? Me and Nick wanted to celebrate a new kind of Man, but all we got were mug punters from Walthamstow grabbing us by the neck and ruffling our hair. It seemed the joke was on us. We went old school the second time round. Surely the Sun reading mugs would desert us with our entirely new and original mix of violence, broad comedy, birds on the arm and more
of the nose candy up the hooter. This time we’d set in the 80s. In Spain. The shift would be a revelation. Stealing from other better films (again) and putting me in it would surely create something fresh and invigorating. We caned it big style, lived it large. With a whip pan, an ironic (shit) 80s score and some big shooters we’d hit the big time bargain bin at HMV no doubt. Getting some scantily clad fanny in would help no end, and I could hone the Danny Dyer show some more. And let me tell, The Business was the facking business. But again, every mug missed the point. The beard stroking paedo loving, terrorist abetting Guardian readers hated it. The same mug punters that loved me smashing the shit outta people in Football Factory loved me smashing the fuck out of people in The Business. Me and Nick was well confused. We’d sought to make exactly the same film and got exactly the same response. What were doing wrong?
green light on Severance didn’t we? We went and dun that in some bum fuck shit hole in the middle of Slovakia or Yugoslavia or sumfing. One of them places where the writing’s like Egyptian or Alien or whatnot. Got proper shitted up and Charlied up, but then that’s par for the course playing Danny Dyer. We ran around the woods, cack handedly mixing gore with humour, never quite getting the balance right, but then at the end we had some birds get their tits out, so I think it came out all right at the end. What it was lacking was the social commentary, grit and insight that only Nick Love could bring. And so I went back to him, tail between my legs hoping he had something new up his sleeve. He wouldn’t disappoint. Outlaw was a kick in the face to all those people who’d slated our earlier work. Something new this time. Some violence, but this time aimed at all the paedos and asylum seekers that everyone hates but does nuffink or nuffin about. All the stuff that everyone’s got sick of but won’t say cos of political correctness and all that pony mug punter stuff.
“People loved watching Danny Dyer playing Danny Dyer”
We had a little break from each other. I tried to put Danny Dyer in different situations. Me and my agent Billy went round the studios and pitched our best ideas - “Danny Dyer and the train full of terrorists”, “Danny Dyer and the accidental spy”, “Danny Dyer and the mystery of the stolen underpants”.... but no one was biting. I told em all, people would come and watch Danny Dyer read the fackin phone book, but they weren’t avin it. We had another fink, some more Charlie, stared at some fanny and went pitching again. This time is was “Danny Dyer goes to the mental woods with lots of mental people and everyone gets sliced up like in those Saw films I’ve seen and that ovver one, you know the one, the one in the Hostel... i fink it’s called Holiday From Hell.... and there’s some fanny in there too”. Only went and got the
Needless to say me and the (Sean) Beano reclaimed the streets and me and Love were back on top form. We even got Bob Hoskins it too. Surely no one would have a problem with Outlaw. Surely people would get the wit and the irony and finally enjoy the wholesome violence of the vigilante movie, rebooted Danny Dyer style... What next? Who knows. Line up some rails and start finking what Danny Dyer’s gonna get up to next. as told by Reedy Next Week...>Ricky Gervais
We're pretty much going to this. An abundance of decent French bands jump on the new Eurostar link up and head straight for Le Salon on York Way. Music come from Babet best known as the singer and violinist in Dionysus (not the once famed Oxford Street kebab stop). Also songwriter cum producer David Walters and the beautiful Klima.
And his MOONTACULA will be the most spooktacula comedy event ever to hit London. The crowd howl when the full moon comes out depending on how good or bad a joke is. Comics include Ed Byrne, Peter Serafinowicz, Phil Nichol, Tim FitzHigham, We Are Klang and of course comics’ comic Andrew Maxwell.
£15 Alexandra Palace old Theatre / Sat 24 Nov / Highgate Station
o Not t
Highgate Brent Cross
The Mighty Boosh
If you haven't of Howard Moon and Vince Noir you are probably watching too many episodes of Friends and by now you will have. The BBC are plugging the show like nothing since well, er…Spooks. They've handed them a WAD of cash and come up with an outstanding advert. Hopefully there will be more of the same from the previous two series' Charlie the Hoover, Black Frost, Dixon Bainbridge, and many more of their bizarre creations.
Thursday 10.30pm BBC3
Chalk Hampstead Farm
Tickets are a fiver and this is not to be missed. Cross Kings, N1 0AX
Angel Warren Street
Moorgate Tottenham Court Road Goodge Street
Airs are one of those band like. They consistently pro a great light show to go w Supporting are Au Revoir S girl group who have a bew Good news if you're called wander about with a Korg Have a listen myspace.com Hammersmith Apollo, Thu
The best things going on in and around the Northern line both sides of the River
Little Noise Sessions
Mencap Music presents Little Noise Sessions… a series of stunning acoustic gigs at London's Union Chapel in Islington from Tuesday November 20th – Wednesday 28th. The Kooks, Declan O'Rourke, Billy Bragg and Noah and The Whale have all been added to a line-up that's crammed with credibility and boasts the hottest new acts around.
Tickets are 35 quid but it's for charity innit / Angel Station
7 Stops Twilight Tours The Tower of London is running a series of special Twilight Tours, lead by the Tower’s famous Yeoman Warders who will give guided night time tours, retelling tales of past residents and the Tower’s secrets. This is pretty much a must do. 21 & 28 Nov £25 Change for Tower Hill
ds that everybody seems to oduce nice music and usually with the live performance. Simone, a New York-based wildering love for keyboards. d Roland or Grayhom and t-shirt and Casio watch. m/aurevoirsimone. ursday 15th £21.50
PUB OF THE WEEK
Hidden away underneath the arches of Waterloo sits The White Hart. It feels like a pub from the moment you walk in which is always pleasant. There is an abundance of white beers I was happy and a whole bunch of real ales so everyone else was happy. Cornwall Road
If you would like to advertise your event in 7 stops then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Other Side’s Off Side
As solid as a chairman’s vote of confidence
FAC UP We all love the FA Cup. The ups, the downs, the mud, the glory, the non-league pies, the balls (for the draw, obviously) - and best of all, the upsets. Ronnie Radford’s shrink-in-the-wash shirt, Ian Porterfield’s hardcore volley, Mickey Thomas’s free kick, Roy Essandoh’s IT skills – all a part of FA Cup history. This weekend’s FA Cup first round featured the likes of Harrogate Railway, Eastbourne Borough, Team Bath and Billericay but upsets were thinner than Alan Shearer’s hairline. The biggest shock came thanks to Torquay United’s 4-1 victory over fierce local rivals Yeovil Town. Torquay only had six players at the start of the season - fine for Powerleague but a bit of a problem for a Conference team – so putting one over their fellow pasty-munchers is a definite result. Back in North London and Gillingham found their visit to Barnet a real uphill task (see what we’ve done there?) as the home team came from a goal down to win 2-1. A Yakubu goal sealed the victory before Carew was sent off – yes, it seems as though Barnet have resorted to that age-old tactic of scaring the crap out of teams by choosing players with the same names as ones playing in the Premiership (or perhaps it was the fact Gillingham fielded a 15 year old - either way, the Bees were buzzing, as was the OSOS cliché-ometer).
Barton up the wrong tree Back in the Credit Card League, and Joey Cigarton just can’t keep himself out of trouble. Not content with having a pop at his own team-mates, on Saturday he angered Sooneerlan’s players and fans with an ever so slightly high tackle on Dickson Etuhu (to be fair, he just about missed his nipples). Perhaps it was just his way of paying tribute to Roy Keane, but it’s unlikely that the FA will take kindly to the tackle. Silly Joey – though he won’t be punished by the FA, if he wanted to be sure of this then should stick to displaying novelty underwear Stephen “Two Grans” Ireland style.
News from London innit West Ham blew bubbles all over Hubris Park this weekend as they dished out a proper tonking to Derby County. Despite having just one fit striker (and that striker being Carlton Cole), the Hammers still scored 5. “Our reaction to losing the first goal was poor” said Billy Davies. You could say that… Juandaaaaaaaa Ramos continued his good start to his Spurs reign with a 4-0 thumping over managerless Wigan (adding to his magnificent 2-0 victories over the mighty Blackpool and Hapless Tel Aviv, and a 1-1 draw with 17th placed Middlesbrough. Worth every penny of his £6 million a year contract). He also managed a little smile out of Head ‘N Shoulders product tester Dimitar Berbatov. Berbatov’s great uncle Moishe came out after the game and claimed “Dimitar was only smiling because he knows he is leaving in January.” His mother’s pet dog
reiterated this fact when interviewed by Dave TV later in the day. Berba’s Dog was asked to bark once for yes and twice for no: “Will Dimitar be playing for United in January? Woof. But won’t he be cup tied for the Champs League? Woof! Do you want a dog biscuit? Woof Woof” - does make you wonder… In West London, Toad of Toad Hall was far from happy after the Aussie Acrobat Tim Cahill popped up with an inspired equaliser for Everton at Stamford Bridge Stadium and Hotel/ Leisure complex. “It was one of our best games - we played very good football, created a lot of chances and from their one chance they scored. We moved the ball very well and played quickly”, he said. “People like this, but what happened is one of the reasons I don’t, because from nowhere they scored a goal.” So the moral of the story is to play bad football to avoid conceding then Avram? Meanwhile, Jens Lehmann’s dear manager Arsene Wenger has wished him a happy birthday and sent him a little present – a hat to keep him warm while he’s sat on the bench. How nice.
England had two chances of qualifying for EconomyBoost 2008 next summer slim and none. And with the news that Yossi Benayoun will be out for up to three weeks, thus missing the match with the Fake Pitch Russians, slim just left the building. Israels new eye catching but controversial kit might swing the balance in their favour. Featuring strong clashes, though extremely difficult to get in and out of, the Gaza strip could make all the difference. And if that’s not enough, re-calling Eyal Berkovic (chicken farmer) and Ronny Rosenthal (original winner of the Crossbar Challenge) to cause havoc among Gus Hiddinks boys will surely do the trick.
Motson’s comment of “typical Cahill” might have been a little understated as the Aussie scored a wonder overhead kick against Chelski in the 90th minute. In lieu of any drama from The Man in the Sheepskin Coat, we’ve selected our top 5 Motty quotes from years gone by…. “Nearly all the Brazilian supporters are wearing yellow shirts - it’s a fabulous kaleidoscope of colour!”
“For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are in the yellow strip.” “There is still nothing on the proverbial scoreboard.” “And that’s England’s finest victory over the Germans since the war!” “And Seaman, just like a falling oak, manages to change direction.”
and. w MUSIC ,film other bits
Lions For Lambs
A film by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
There has been an influx of films recently using the conflict in Iraq as a backdrop: The Kingdom, A Mighty Heart, Rendition. It seems audiences may well be all warred out, which is a shame, because Lions For Lambs is different - it actually bothers to examines the conflict from various view points.
Intended as an unbiased documentary JESUS CAMP follows a group of American children to an evangelical Christian Camp near Devil’s Lake, North Dakota. Levi, Rachael, and Tory head to the “Kids On Fire School of Ministry”, a summer camp led by the ardent Pastor, Becky Fischer. At the camp kids as young as six learn how to become devoted Christian soldiers in “God’s army.” This is a provocative insight into a powerful training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an influential part of America’s political future. Fighting against “the enemy” and being prepared to “give up your life for Jesus” is all part of the happy-clappy sing-a-long program. Originally made in 2006 this unique film has caused controversy and discussion on both sides of the Atlantic.
We have a sleazy Senator (Tom Cruise), who is schmoozing a conscience-struck journalist, (Meryl Streep) hectoring her on the tactics of the war. Then we have a professor,(Robert Redford), who is frustrated with a gifted but lazy student (Stephen Garfield). And on the front line, two young recruits experience the the receiving end of the new tactics being put into practice, revealing the consequences of the war. This film is as sharp as a knife, the dialogue is quick and each of the three sections explores the burning questions of the day. The film holds your attention as the story unfolds, intentions are unveiled, and the connection between the different storylines is painstakingly revealed. But what is most impressive about Lions For Lambs is that it is so attuned to the contemporary ennui with the war, and shows this without being patronising or veering towards moral outrage. One of the fascinating ideas explored is not only the culpability of those of us who don’t care about the war, but also the culpability of the media in immediately supporting the war on terror after 9/11. The scenes of conflict are brutal, but never gratuitous, but it’s the razor sharp dialogue and ideas running through the film that hold your attention. Katy Carter
Opens Friday 23 November, 2007. ICA, The Mall, Cinema 1
Isla Harvy London Underground gives 125,000 artworks to commuters As the first in a week of special events to mark a new era of ‘Art on the Underground’, limited edition posters designed by leading contemporary artists, will be given away to the public at major central London stations, from 26 November. The launch of Art on the Underground’s new programme, which takes over from the ‘Platform for Art’ series, reflects the extended scope of the programme. For this project, five artists have been commissioned to create new works that will be given away to the public for free. The five images will be reproduced as posters in editions of 25,000, giving a total of 125,000 artworks to go to Tube travellers.
A Taste of
Arnos Grove Style Ingredients: King prawns, mussels and squid White wine Tomatoes (skinned) Chopped garlic I’d decide to stay. It was a risk I was willing to take for the greater good. I’m not a fan Fresh chilli of fish, never have been, not since I ate an Red wine anchovy stuffed olive by accident when I was Linguine five. 21 years later and I’m still slightly wary, 2 lemons, juiced even after taking my first steps towards eating Olive oil those slimy, scaly, smelly creatures earlier in the year after a bit of a binge drinking session. That day seemed like a dream and my friends were tickled by the sight of me gulping down oysters, scallops, prawns and other such salty bounty from the sea. What had I been missing? Last night was different, not a drop of alcohol had passed my lips and I was just stopping by to pick up my Sicilian friend and after a few minutes was invited to stay for dinner. They’d just had a delivery that morning from Billingsgate Fish Market, one of the guys who works in the Italian embassy had traded a night shift for a delivery of fish. I was gestured toward the table and Gianni cried “Are you ready for a taste of Sicily?” After thinking better of it and passing up the opportunity for a saucy double entendre, I sat down in front of a metal bucket filled with linguine, mussels and a fantastico arrabiata sauce with king prawns and squid. It was a marvellous treat and sitting there engrossed in Italian conversation only made it better.
Method: First up clean the mussels, off with their beards! Put them in a large pan with a glass of white wine and cook until they have opened up (about 3-4 mins) Skin the tomatoes by blanching them in boiling water and then smash them up. Put some water on for the Linguine Heat the olive oil in a big pan and throw the tomatoes, garlic and chilli in. Gently cook, adding a glass of red wine after 5 mins. Put the linguine into the boiling water and cook it for 10 mins until al dente. Meanwhile lightly fry the prawns adding the Squid after a few mins. Place into the sauce when they are cooked through. About four mins. Drain the linguine and throw in the mussels, the lemon juice and a big glug of olive oil. Pour over the sauce with the prawns and the squid and stir well listening to the clinking of the mussels. Serve up with a bunch of friends and more olive oil.
A farewell to arms
It’s TIME to roll our collEctIvE EyEs and rEady oursElvEs For soME Flag wavIng, gorE hEavy, aIn’t war hEll typE shEnanIgans… AdAm Richmond Is loCked, loAded And reAdy to Go War, uh-huh, what is it good for. Well, if not for making widows, orphans and limbless veterans, it has always provided grist to Hollywood’s mill. Already this year we’ve had the action heavy The Kingdom, the stagey Lions For Lambs (reviewed this issue), and coming soon there’s Redacted, In The Valley of Elah and Grace Is Gone... While the war in Iraq runs on indefinitely (oiling the capitalist machine, filling the pockets of the arms industry and hey, creating jobs too!) it’s not surprising that Hollywood is getting a slice of the action. What is surprising is that us, the audience, is already bored of both the gung-ho jingoism and thoughtful examinations of a war not even dry yet. Vietnam was given air to breathe, almost ten years, before anyone dared stick the boot in and examine the war in any great detail. It had been used as the backdrop for a couple of seminal films, sure (The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now), but it wasn’t till almost ten years later and Platoon that a film cared to seriously question American involvement. With its commercial and critical success came a raft of films riding Charlie’s wave, and whatever their particular faults or merits, they were at least given the time of day.
through the filmic net, with one notable exception. Three Kings would provide the reinvention and shot in the head (so to speak) the genre needed. It is quite simply one of the boldest, darkest, funniest and sharpest war film ever made. From the bleached out film stock to the eviscerating imagery (a bloody realisation of a bullet’s journey through flesh a standout), the film skewers the personal interest of those waging the war and the bored, disaffected grunts fighting war (the kings of the title played with aplomb by George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube). It’s just a shame that nothing since has bothered to come close to its dizzying highs.
It’s interesting to note that for the most part Gulf War 1 slipped Illustration by Chiara Veronese
The only other Gulf War 1 film that springs to mind is Jarhead, and that came ten years later in 2005. While striking an interesting tone and serving a stark vision of the boredom of modern warfare, it ultimately feasted on the great war films that preceded it – going as far as having the on screen characters psyching themselves up with Apocalypse Now. It’s a mere two years later and it seems film makers are far more inspired by the events of Gulf War 2: This Time Personal, than they ever were by oilrelated original. Perhaps because the first one was lacking in simple
themes that the audience could latch on to... I mean I know I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Not just that, but it didn’t even seem like much of a challenge. The US just missiled the fuck out of everywhere. Where the hell was the dramatic tension in that? Who the hell were we supposed to root for? And who were the baddies? Perhaps the studios thought people wouldn’t be interested… but then they aren’t interested now, so what’s changed? Many commentators have likened the current conflict to Vietnam (the abridged version for those with no interest: we shouldn’t be there,
it’ll take ages, loads of innocent people will die) so perhaps that’s one reason why those creative types saw an opportunity to provide a new backdrop to their hackneyed stories. But ultimately, as we get savvier and smarter and more informed, we get less and less interested in the same old shit, especially as films are hardly equipped to deal with things such as nuance and complexity. Even the critically acclaimed Redacted won the best film award at the Venice film festival, but it adds
nothing new to the genre (soldiers, when left to their own devices, do bad things), in fact the only difference is the packaging. De Palma made this film far more convincingly with Casualties of War, so why did he feel the need to go back and do it again? America has just finished ignoring Lions For Lambs and it’s just arrived in the UK, so we can start ignoring too. And so we should, because otherwise the war film will not get the reinvention it so sorely needs. The Western has been reimagined a number of times, when’s the humble war film going to receive its proper due again?
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