Thursday, 18 February 2010


Being a collection of bits and pieces, none substantial enough to have their own entry.

Not mentioned before but last week I bought Florence and the Machine's Lungs. I'd been waiting for the expanded edition to come down in price from around £12.00, but as it showed no sign of doing so I bought the ordinary edition for just over half that. I've been playing Dog Days Are Over since I first heard it on last year's Skins and caught other tracks as well. It's an uneven album (or that may be I just haven't got all of the tracks yet) but I particularly like the morbidly amusing and catchy My Boy Builds Coffins and the rather lyrically dubious Kiss With A Fist (A kiss with a fist/ is better than none). Love her voice. 
Been weeding out some CDs to sell on Amazon Marketplace. My criterion is: if I don't love it, it goes. So, two collections by Credence Clearwater (one sold within hours), two recent blues CDs by Gary Moore, The Best of Simple Minds double, Echo & the Bunnymen's 2003 Live at Liverpool, and an Ace compilation of 60's girl bands (as opposed to vocal groups) Destroy That Boy.

Also going up for sale shortly, and surprisingly, is Kwaidan. It's a beautiful film which I haven't finished watching yet but it is just too slow for me and I'll know I'll never be watching it again. I'm sure this is my loss but there you go. I really hope I don't feel the same about Kurosawa's Ran which just arrived this morning.

Arrived yesterday was a cheapish 3-disc box set of Lugosi's Dracula (1931), Dracula's Daughter (1936) and House of Dracula (1945). But this so-called Dracula Triple is actually a Dracula Quadruple as it also (and rather more quietly contains) the Spanish version of Dracula which is the one I really wanted to see. I'd never heard of this until a few years when all the Uinversal b/w monster movies were re-released in fancy editions of coincide with Van Helsing which they hoped would set the world on fire but didn't. Anyway, this version was filmed at the same time, except at night, on the same sets as the Lugosi version, though the director was American and needed a translator. Barry Norton (as Juan Harker) is Argentinian despite the name, and the names of the female leads were also changed as well. It's also 29 minutes longer. Renfield (who goes to Transylvania, not Harker) becomes and major character and is played by an actor who goes over the top every time. Carlos Villarias is quite effective as an oleaginous and somehow rat-like Dracula. I rather enjoyed it but it did feel a bit too long. I'll watch the rest of the set some other time.

When I was out for a drink with Barry a couple of nights ago, he mentioned he'd taken the Political Compass test (see website sidebar) and, unsurprisingly  (to me) he ended up in the middle of libertarian left quadrant  where I found myself the last time I took the test a few years ago and not too far from Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama which is good company to be in.
Basically rather than do a simple left/right, they do a grid with four quadrants of 10*10 squares per quadrant (using geographical terms) authoritarian is north, libertarian is south, left is west and east is right. So, as I said, Barry found himself in the centre of the libertarian left quadrant with an approximate score of -5.00 and -5.00 for his political and social views. Someone completely centrist would be 0.0/0.0.
So I thought I'd take the test again and found it had changed somewhat since the previous time, presumably being refined over the years. This time my score came over as Economic lLeft/Right at 6.38 a little more to the left than before but not by much) and  for Social Libertarian/Authoritarian scale scored -7.38 which represented a noticeable increase in the radicalism of my left libertarian views. I should emphasise here that it is social libertarianism not the American equivalent. It's almost impossible to find yourself in the social libertarian/right quadrant because the two views are impossible to reconcile.
If this doesn't make sense, do please check the website out because it is genuinely fascinating.

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