Review: Bits in Iron Man 2 (2010) that make it a banging, primo and swankalishious film

  • The bit where you see Johansson beats up people which is funny cos in real life women have no muscles and hate fighting so it’s like feminism.
  • The bit where you see the suit and cos it looks like transformers but not lame so it’s not lame.
  • The bit where you see Paltrow and Junior have an argument which is clever cos they done it with them speaking over each other at the same time not taking turns to speak so it’s like real life or bigbrother so it’s reality.
  • The bit where you see 3D computer things that like float in the air cos it’s like Minority Report but you can make it bigger and smaller like a iPad so it’s better.
  • The bit where you see AC/DC songs in it cos they are the same as the ones we like from Virgin Radio and it’s heavy metal but not like screaming and that so it’s alright.
  • The bit where you think Tony Stark is like Dick Cheney cos he makes weapons cos he talks to people in the army and is America so it’s like politics.
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How bright were the 1960s?

As a person who was born in 1989, any view I have of any era before that is dictated by pictures, films, stories and songs. In my mind, the sixties were a vibrant and colourful time — slides of flowers, bright dresses and sunshine fill my brain’s powerpoint presentation. However, I was listening to Paint It, Black by The Rolling Stones and I got a rather different impression. Nicholas Rombes in his Cultural Dictionary of Punk says that the song was ‘was released in May 1966, the same month that tens of thousands of anti-Vietnam War protestors picketed the White House.’ He goes on to quote a poem from that era, At a March against the Vietnam War by Robert Bly:

We have carried around this cup of darkness.

We hesitate to anoint ourselves.

Now we pour it over our heads.

He makes a case for saying that this ‘blackness’ that Mick Jagger sung about was in reference to the mood of the time — brutality, injustice and cruelty. The song went to number one, so it definitely resonated with many. Film director Stanley Kubrick was one who twenty years later closed his über-dark Vietnam War film “Full Metal Jacket” with the song. I appreciated Mick’s help in giving me an alternative P.O.V.

Sticky-Squidgy Music

I just ate quite a few grapes and I did enjoy them, but not as much as I used to – as a teenager I would go through phases of consuming punnet after punnet. I’d get told off quite regularly for not holding back and allowing anyone else to touch them. I don’t know what it was but I could just eat them non-stop, but now that same craving is no longer present.

I’ve been thinking about how my taste (more specifically taste in music) has changed from my infant-life to my adult-life. I’ve written before about how I would go into my parents’ bedroom, change the radio from 89.5 (Radio 2) to somewhere around 101 (Classic FM) then I would lie back, close my eyes and be overtaken by the beauty of whatever piece of classical music happened to be playing. Classical music always hit the spot. Dad would play some of his music to me from time to time, I remember hearing this and being disgusted:

.

Why does he sing like an eighty year old woman?

Why is he singing in mainly gibberish about the moon?

Why would anyone like this?

Yet now, I listen to that and (don’t tell Dad I said this) but I think it’s quite good, even cool!

I read in a bit of this book that’s meant to be about children by Gerald Deskin, Greg Steckler that:

As we mature, our interest and taste in music changes […] Young children tend to like music that is exciting and different. As children grow and change, their taste in music may change from exciting to romantic to more serene songs.

But for me it was the other way round! I did not like the ‘exciting and different’ stuff, I liked to know where I stood with music, I didn’t want any surprises, I wanted simple melodic pleasure. I found this especially to be the case when the invention of ‘random’ now popularly called ‘shuffle’ came about. I hated not knowing what song was coming next, but by now my view is quite the opposite. I crave the new.

So this is the way I am and have been for quite some years. I like to be surprised by music, I get tired of certain music quite easily and above all, I desire to be delighted by it. I am often repeating something I once read that Nick Hornby wrote, in which he draws out a theory about men, he says that we are creatures who obsess and that a man who is not passionate about at least something is not trustworthy. Now that could well be a load of twaddle (ladies, let me know if you too are obsessive creatures) but I have most definitely jumped upon this way of thinking as it certainly describes much of my male life. So, (bare in mind these all cross over and fail to mention any divine or spiritual colouring of the hobby) my first memorable obsession was the collecting of stamps (don’t mock); then it was Manchester United football club; then it was American comics; then it was popular music; then it was films; and by now it’s theatre and to a slightly lesser extent Pixar who are vying for much of my brain cells. And here we are today, all of these areas have lived on to a certain extent (although many are almost completely bereft of breathing apparatus – sorry stamps, sorry Nicky Butt) they have left a mark upon the way I think and how I see the world. They cross over each other and resurrect themselves from time to time but there is one passion that has remained the most valiant of fighters, and with good reason. (As a side-note, this thought process has pushed me to reevaluate my lacklustre watch on idolatry – this is a danger.)  The one that has lived on, (almost like Noel Edmonds) is music. It is the undercurrent to much of the above listed passions as well as many of the other arts, and many aspects of religion – they are all sound-tracked, thus it is logical that the role of music should take up at least some thought time.

Bob Geldof was speaking recently on Radio 4 about the fact that popular music is unique because no other art form can move you to tears in the same way (I don’t know if that’s true). But it does make you think: what will be moving me (if anything) in 30, 50, 70 years time? Something which I don’t think I’ll be doing is still obsessing over one band or one song, if my listening habits of the past few years are anything to go by, I get bored of songs rather easily. I am constantly in search of a further thrill. Music has a very similar effect to heroin in that way (not that I’m a regular smack user). When music is good, it’s good and once you’ve felt that good-ness you want more more more of it.

I’ll leave the class-A drug metaphor for now and tell you that I think music (more specifically a great song) is more bit like one of those sticky-squidgy toys that you get in a Christmas stocking. The first time you play with it it’s brilliant, you get a lot of joy out of it. By the second time, third time, fourth time you’re loving it even more; you show it to friends and even they get pleasure from it, because it’s a fun sticky toy – you all love it together. Then you look down at your little sticky-squidgy toy and you realise that it has dirt and fluff all over it, you’ve been playing with it too much. Now, you try and play with it as if nothing had changed, but it just isn’t the same. I would argue that this experience is extremely similar the one I find when I overplay and subsequently become bored by a once well-loved song.

 

Then comes the I haven’t heard it for ages principle. So, you’ve put your sticky-squidgy toy on top of your cupboard box and left it. A couple of months, maybe even years later you find it again, you wash it under the tap, and all the fluff and the dirt disappears, it’s almost as if it was new again! Wow! But, then again, it isn’t the same as the first time, you can appreciate what you once saw in it; you even find yourself in tears, still moved by the squidgy-stickiness still remaining. But you’ve lost that loving feeling.

Two days later you’re in the John Lewis pocket-money toys section and you see a new, stickier and squidgier toy. You say to yourself, “this is the best sticky-squidgy toy I’ve felt all year! It’s a classic squidgy sticky toy. This is a five star sticky squidgy toy. Wow, it’s even in a list of the best two hundred and fifty sticky-squidgy toys since 1979!” And thus, the process begins once more, but this time it’s glow in the dark.

I was shot by a chinese woman in the head.

Fine, it was in a dream, but still traumatic. This is one of the benefits of not having as much on Uni-wise, we get to sleep in a bit more, which means more dreams. So, I was walking in a field with Knives from Scott Pilgrim and she shot me in the head! It was just above my left eye. However, thankfully I did not die. I did need stitches though. I loved it because everyone I met was really really sympathetic about my near fatal head wound. I should make a point of being close to mortally wounded much more often.

In other news, I received complaints from my wife this morning when her foot, (which was absent-mindedly placed at the end of the bed, uncovered) was splattered by a brilliant sneeze I had. Now I had made it very clear that I was going to sneeze, and we all know that the best sneezes are those ones that are free-range, when you are able to just let it manifest itself in the form it wants to live as, an organic sneeze so to speak. Pretty much what I’m saying is, if I’m about to sneeze in my own home, it’s a bit like when you’re in a theme park and they have a splash-zone: “if you stand here, you’re gonna get wet!”