Showing posts from 2020

SFF Music Video of the Week - #72

Merry Christmas! In the true spirit of the season 1 , here is a piece about the ravages of consumerism, with overtones of The Ring. Enjoy "Supermarket Riots" by Lupa J, from 2020.  1 - At least according to the great Tom Lehrer

SFF Music Video of the Week - #71

An obsessive love song this week, from 2000, from a Belgian band.  Featuring a woman in love with some sort of alien plant thing, and her friends(?) trying to re-establish contact. I'm really not sure what the message is here - the two of them seemed quite happy, but I can see that her obsessive cutting off from the world would make people seek to intervene.   So, for your speculations, here is "Mad About You", by Hooverphonic, from 2000.  

SFF Music Video of the Week - #70

Woo! 70 weeks in! A cautionary tale about dealing with psionic kids. Or, perhaps, a warning to the same about how you might get treated. And what is with moth-face near the end? I hope we find out soon! Apparently, this is the first part of a trilogy the artist is going to release. Maybe then we will learn more! Martin Baltser, from 2020 (and one of the few good things to come out of this dumpster fire of a year), with "Back Off You". 

SFF Music Video of the Week - #69

I've had this one sitting in my queue pretty much since day one, and I still don't know what to do with it. Some sort of digital zombie apocalypse or something? There is certainly a lot of backstory that is left unsaid in this video. Which, I suppose, is part of what makes it so compelling.  So, here to spark your speculations is Cat Power's 2012 track Cherokee.  

SFF Music Video of the Week - #68

I really don't know where to begin with this one! Let's see now. This is possibly one of the most 60's video the 2010's produced. Embracing the alternate meaning of the band's name, we enter a fantasy world of bright primary colours, and people just wanting to make friends, no matter the differences. And that's a fantasy I can really relate to.  Bright, fun, and utterly adorable, I hope you all enjoy the little bit of pure joy that is "No New Friends", by LSD (Labrinth, Sia, Diplo), from 2019. 

Antique photography fun

 Dating from 1848, cyanotype imaging is the oldest chemical image-making system known. Following a couple of chance events (a sale at an educational supplies store near us, and some YouTube randomness from BoingBoing), I decided to build a cyanotype camera. Some years ago a friend of mine gave me a lens from a TV projector, so that was a starting point. Add to that a black cardboard camera box, a handful of bolts and some gaffa, and in about 30 minutes I had a camera obscura working. Cyanotype paper is a very slow film - in good light the exposure time is around 15-30. Minutes, that is. Not seconds. Developing, on the other hand, takes about 3-4 minutes and only requires water. So, what sort of results come from this? 20 minutes, part cloud. double-trunked pine tree, surrounded by bushes. Garden with wattle. As you can see, the results are not exactly detailed, but there is a very dream-like quality to them. Part of the reason for this is that the process is not sensitive to visible li

SFF Music Video of the Week - #67

Delerium, the commercially successful spin-off project of Front Line Assembly, has appeared here before. This track is from their 2012 album Music Box Opera . Telling a tale of loss, pain, transformation, and growth, it is really quite inspiring.  Enjoy "Monarch" by Delerium, from 2012.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #66

There was something of a temptation to keep this one for April, but in the end I decided there were better candidates for that occasion. I really don't have much to say about this, except that the clip is so out of keeping with the song that it becomes almost a pastiche of itself.  Anyway, here is 2004's "Oops... I Did It Again", performed by Britney Spears. 

SFF Music Video of the Week - #65

Another of the classics - here's a band going the full Alice. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, with a bonus of Dave Stewart from Eurythmics, bringing you 1985's "Don't Come Around Here No More". Fun fact - 'Alice' was also the original 'Joanie' in the series pilot for "Happy Days". 

An economic thought experiment

Let's assume for a little while that money is it self somewhat smart. Not sentient - let's be clear about that, and certainly not alive - but smart enough to know when it has been spent, and to understand a passage of time. Critically, it also has a short memory - it can remember the last few hands it has passed through - but can never share that information. Let's further assume that this magical money retains this self-knowledge despite whatever transformations are applied to it - so it does not matter if it is physical, electronic, or in a bank. So, got all that?  Now for the fun bit.  Money loses value the longer you hold onto it, starting 60 days after you receive it. (This is kind of actually what happens over the long term - it is called inflation.) Let's say it loses half its value every 30 days. But regains the lost value 30 days after it has been spent. Instantly. Let's be clear on one other important thing: the change is i n the face value. So the $10 not

SFF Music Video of the Week - #64

It is nearly All Hallows Eve, so let's go with something a bit spooky. This video is painfully haunting in the imagery - doubly so when you realise what the song is about, namely domestic violence, and the struggle to get someone free of it. The duo, Say Lou Lou are fraternal twin sisters, and the daughters of, if not rock royalty, then certainly nobles. Descended from Australia Alt-Rock and Swedish New Wave Punk musical backgrounds, they have grown into a completely different style all of their own, but with distant echoes their heritage still audible. The anger of Pink Champagne blend with the melancholy of The Church to form a background to the dreaminess of Say Lou Lou's own style, making the whole unforgettable. Blow the playback up to full-screen, or cast it to a TV, crank the volume just a bit, and be entranced by Say Lou Lou's "Nothing but a Heartbeat" from 2015. 

SFF Music Video of the Week - #63

I am not a fan of this style of music, or of the artist (either artistically or as a person), but a full 35 minute movie produced as the promo video is hard to beat as a candidate for my list, so here it is. "Runaway", by Keyne West from 2010. Make of it what you will.  

SFF Music Video of the Week #62

 Well, it is coming up on my birthday, so time for one that is for me. I'm bringing back those muses of mayhem, the marchionesses of madness, the comtesses of chaos that are Ex Hex, this time with a track from their second album, "It's Real". So we've got a boring band-clip, right up until ( in something of a flashback to an earlier post )  the band have other ideas. And then, in an almost Goodies way, the whole thing takes a sharp right turn straight back into the basement studio the whole thing started in. I'll say no more, except to hope that you enjoy "Tough Enough" from 2019, by Ex Hex.

Peak Design contest for Kickstarter #10

 Usual rules apply...

Offered without comment (well, maybe one comment)

 She's still got it where it counts - her cutting humour is still impeccable! (To paraphrase the Scream Queen herself, what did you think  I meant?) Via Boing Boing.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #61

 Running late this week, whoops! Well, it looks like there's another scoutship crash. At least this time there's more than one crew, even if they don't seem keen on helping each other out very much. And there are some other goodies going on as well, and a couple of music industry in-jokes. Look out for the drummer missing an arm, and the bassist impaled on her axe.  Then there is the band itself. The Breeders are one of the wonderfully intertwined bands that made up 4AD's stable in the 80s and 90s, trading members from Throwing Muses, The Pixies, Belly, and This Mortal Coil.  So, enjoy the bittersweet brilliance that is "Spacewoman", from 2018, by The Breeders.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #60

 2013, September 9, 9pm.  Do you remember where you were? Probably not, but that is when this track was released. The spec-fic attributes of this video are subtle, but present, and it is as creepy as all get-out.  Here is "Reflektor", from 2013, by Arcade Fire.

SFF Music Video of the Week #59

The duo that is behind this video  I first ran into  on the sadly missed Amie Street. These days Bandcamp fills a similar role.   This is a particularly cool animation for one of their earlier tracks, featuring a wonderful story, and an amazing transition between the walls of reality. I hope you all enjoy "Stay in My Memory", by BIM from 2007. 

A wee bit of fun, and a minor traffic dispute...

Quintessentially British humour here...    Discovered thanks to BoingBoing.

SFF Music Video of the Week #58

Skipping back to the near-present, let's turn our attention to a little number from Greece. This was going to be the Greek entry into the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest - but then The 19 happened. Still, it did produce this fun and telling little video.  Super powers, (implied) segregation, xenophobia, and a couple of kids who might just make it right. Heady stuff for a Eurovision entry! I hope you enjoy "Supergirl" by Stefania, from 2020.

SFF Music Video of the Week #57

Back to 1999, and one that I am sure is going to have some folks convinced that I've gone even further off the deep end. Let's take on the music first - it is a fairly basic boy-band dance track (technically R&B - believe it or not), typical of the late 90s.  Very slick sound production, but could pretty much be a drop in replacement for any number of other tunes. The  surprisingly clever lyrics are another kettle of fish. The song itself is essentially a fan shout-out - a thank-you note from the band itself. The central message being that the music industry is a major drag, but that the fans are the ones who make it worthwhile. (More recently Lady Gaga recorded a similar sentiment in "Applause".) The video is (to say the least) over the top. Giant spaceship, synchrodancing robots, hoverboard dodgeball against a holographic opponent, space fighter battles, and the obligatory mass dance scene. And yet, it still somehow makes a story out of it all (mostly), and the

SFF Music Video of the Week - #56

 So let's head back to 2000, and an Aussie band who were probably just a few years ahead of their time.  Possibly the most interesting thing to ever come out of Canberra, B(if)tek were a synthpop duo from before synthpop was really popular.  Recording from 1994 to 2003, they released three albums - and this is from the second, the (now) ominously titled "2020".  Have a watch of the strangely prophetic "Machines Work", by B(if)tek from 2000, and think about the increasing roles of AI in our world, and how many of these 'AI's are actually mechanical turks. 

SFF Music Video of the Week - #55

 Let's look in again at those masters of Electroswing, Caravan Palace, and see what they can do with a flying saucer invasion... 

Non alcoholic Cocktails #5

 CC-KC Ok, this one is a bit more involved, but you can do some of the prep even months in advance. Ingredients: 1 cup crushed ice 2 shots Non-alcoholic Gin (e.g. Lyre's London Dry or Clovendoe Seed) 2 shots Cumquat (or Kumquat if you prefer) cordial Soda water 1 Kumquat (or Cumquat) cut into thin seedless slices Method: Place all except the sliced fruit and the soda in a shaker, and shake well. Pour (do not strain) into margarita glasses, top with soda and garnish with (C|K)umquat slices. Now, what about the cordial? You're not going to find it in a store, so you'll need to make it yourself. Finding a suitable fruit tree is the very first step - you may have one, or know someone who does.  The recipe below is from here: Cumquat Cordial Ingredients: 1.5kg sugar 4 cups boiling water 500g kumquats 1 tablespoon (rounded) citric acid Method: Place the sugar, water and acid in a large bowl and stir until th

SFF Music Video of the Week - #54

 Getting things back on track, let's go for animated embroidery. Yep. You read that right. And SFF themed, with a roll-call of monsters. Be amazed by the 2018 track "Lake Monsters of the USA" by the inimitable They Might Be Giants, from "I l Like Fun". 

SFF Music Video of the Week - #53

Let's kick off the new year (almost a week late, but, hey...) with a track that is so 80's it hurts.  Here is 1983's "Human Touch" by Rick Springfield. Complete with shoulder pads, silver suits, named computers, alien sax players, and more. Pity we did not get any of that for 2016.  (And if the embed fails, try popping it out to youtube.)

Do not use real quokkas.


SFF Music Video of the Week - #52

Well, this brings us to a full year of videos, with 52 posts. I think I have covered everything from the 70s to the present day, and I have much more to come. There some real downers I have not shared yet, but they can wait until after The 19. For now, I am going to try to be a little more upbeat, so get ready for some fun. What does this anniversary bear? A track from the 80's, and one of the iconic SF-themed videos from the era. An human-looking alien, trapped on Earth, and slowly losing control of his powers, finally gets a message from space. Now all he has to do is get away from the humans who are now becoming obsessed with him. Featuring what was, for the time, cutting-edge special effects for a music video, this track carried the singer to stardom. Here is Nik Kershaw performing in "Wouldn't It Be Good" from 1984.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #51

This week brings us to the first of the videos that could be called NSFW. Although in this case, I think NSF Humans is possibly a better warning. Featuring the most 70's glam metal band the 2000's have created, we get what I can only call a teaser for a soft-porn SF movie.  I really don't know what else to say, except that you should not watch this at work or near impressionable people like parents, teenagers, conservative faith-holders, or politicians of most stripes. You have been warned, here is The Darkness with "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" from 2002. Video below the cut.

A fine line to walk for Australia

Thanks to the actions of a Very Large Nation, and those of a handful of hateful right-wingers, Australia now finds itself in a rather uncomfortable place. On the one hand, we fight a constant battle against racism - both towards immigrants and tourists, and towards our own First Nations. The latter is deplorable, ingrained and we are gradually making some inroads on (albeit far too slow and late for far too many). The former ... we had largely gotten over it. Until three things collided with the sort of mindset that creates false dichotomies and can believe five mutually contradictory things at once. The first was the idea created by a past Liberal government that refugees arriving by boat are somehow criminals. Never mind the various treaties we've signed that say otherwise. For whatever reason, Labor jumped onboard with this cruel lie, and set a horrible stage for the last 20-odd years. This re-sparked the ember that "Dem Forn Types" are somehow a threat to our way

SFF Music Video of the Week - #50

Let's say hello to Miike Snow again. This time we get all the great Bond tropes. Until things take a very fabulous turn. SFF? Well, we've got death rays, so let's say 'Yes'. Keep your eyes open for the guards with an amazing sense of rhythm, and some of the greatest dance moves you'll never see in a Bond movie. Also stick around for The Return of the Spurned Partner! With no further ado, here is 2016's "Genghis Khan" from Miike Snow.

The Problem With Good SFF Literature

There are a number of events, groups, and people I refer to very obliquely throughout this. I do so not to mask or erase the targets of these events, people, and groups, but to limit the exposure I give to the perpetrators. To all of you who have been the targets of these nameless instigators, my deepest apologies if I cause offence or distress by doing so, and please contact me so that I can make appropriate changes. For the past few years, I have been dutifully reading the annual Hugo packet, and voting on the Hugo Awards. (If, somehow,  you are reading this and don't  know what the Hugos are, think something like the Academy Awards for SF&F. Like all such things, this is a loose analogy at best, but it carries the right gravitas.) This is a a substantial task, covering a good half dozen novels, and the same again for novellas, novelettes, short stories, anthologies, fan works, editorial contributions, dramatic presentations, YA entries, new writers... the list goes on.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #49

Let's get one thing out of the way straight up. The 80's were an awesome breeding ground for genre music videos, and I believe that it was not until the late 2000's that we saw that level of greatness return. That's about 20 years. So here we have the one band playing the mid 40s, 60s, and 80s. About 20 years apart. And all in the same bar, with the same waitress ... and no one seems to notice that they don't fit in. Would they be playing the 2000's as well? And what are they? Time-travellers? Immortals? Either way they have some sort of SEP field going on. Let's take a look at our mysterious band and waiter, shall we? Here's Kajagoogoo, and 1983's "Too Shy".

SFF Music Video of the Week - #48

For us this was another gem discovered on Aunty ABC's Rage. The video almost defies explanation.  You could almost ascribe a Quatermass level of spookiness to it, and it delivers something quite unexpected. Electropop duo Sylvan Esso lead us to ... something either very cool, or very scary, depending on your interpretation. So take in the odd little story told in the video for 2014's enigmatic "Dreamy Bruises".

Stairway To Gilligan's Island - Led Zeppelin - Classic TV theme

Puddles has pulled off an amazing cover of a brilliant idea... (via BoingBoing )

Music Review: Check the Gryroscopes, Ricardo Autobahn (2019)

Ricardo Autobahn is one of those people whose work you have almost certainly heard, even if you've never heard of him. Part of the turn-of-millennium pop anarchists " The Cuban Boys ", one half of " Spray ", and many other bands you've heard, but never heard of, he is prolific beyond words, and has even written a couple of Eurovision entries . One of his latest solo efforts is the 2019 concept album (yes, concept albums are back, at least in my part of the universe) " Check the Gyroscopes ".  Described by Jeffery Wells as "the soundtrack for a science-fiction film that never existed" it swoops and soars, and twists in unexpected directions. Starting in a style akin to one of the greats of synthesiser music, Jean-Michel Jarre (Cocktails on the Dream Train to Hyperspace, The Tranquility of Gravity), it quickly turns to some of the most danceable instrumental music I've heard in a long time (Jetsphere Luxury Lounge). It passes t

SFF Music Video of the Week - #47

An unexpected find, thanks to Leece. 80s pop with mer-dudes, a mer-kiddy, and fine cinematography by a photographer. Pretty darn fine mer-folk, too! Here is some classic Madonna, and "Cherish" from 1989, featuring the amazing photographer-turned-cinematographer-in-a-weekend Herb Ritts.

SFF Muisc Video of the Week - #46

Let's roll forward to 2012, and to the heart of the synthpop revolution. This Swedish duo have been making quite a splash since their 2010 debut, and this track and video are no exception. Another singleship - again probably some sort of scout, or maybe a courier - but this time heading home. We get a distinct impression that the ship has seen better days, and the pilot is very, very tired. Not so tired as to make mistakes, but you get a strong sense of weariness. On the other hand, that is one rocking flightsuit, and I like the idea of the fingerlights, to help illuminate the controls as she activates them. Anyway, here are Niki & The Dove, with "Tomorrow" from 2012.

Non alcoholic cocktails #4

Sandgroper 3 shots Lyres Coffee Originale 1 shot Lyres American Malt 1/2 shot thin chocolate syrup 1/2 shot white mint syrup 3 shots of single cream Mix with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Slightly minty, very coffee, and pleasingly fresh. Named for a burrowing insect endemic to W.A, and the nick-name for Western Australians.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #45

So, 80's hair meets public schoolboy fantasy dream sequence with a touch The Midwitch Cuckoos, and the odd passing ninja. Yeah, this passes the litmus test! So, with no further ado, here is 1983's "Total Eclipse of the Heart", by the incomparable Bonnie Tyler.

Photography Scavenger Round 28 Reveals - Mirror

Another race I do not have a horse in, but wow! There are some extraordinary images in here!

Another month, another contest...

An ultralight hiking gear one this time... Usual rules apply...

Photography Scavenger Round 28 Reveals - Meal

One in here, too! This one features home-made zucchini pickles, home-made pickled nashi, gf sourdough, and three-pepper cheddar from Heritage Country Cheese, Nannup.

Photography Scavenger Round #28 Reveals - Cozy

I've got one in here, shot one evening at the Galaxy Drive-in. We are bundled up with pasta, hot chocolate, and a fun movie.

Non alcoholic cocktails #6

This one is still a draft - I've only tested it once, but it feels solid, and I don't think adding any complexity to it would be doing any favours. It is still so much of a draft, I have not come up with a name for it! 1 shot Lyres Coffee Originale 1/2 tsp mint syrup (e.g. Monin Vert Menthe) Stir and serve in a shot glass or shot martini glass. The mint takes a back seat here but lightens the intensity of the coffee, while the sugar of the syrup smooths out the bitter just a touch. It all ends on a slight mint and caffeine burn. Quite certainly an after-dinner drink, but not over-sweet.

Photography Scavenger Round #28 Reveals - Toilet Paper

I'm in on this one with me getting surprised while reading. The trick with this sort of shot is making it look like a surprise - which is harder than you'd expect. I ended up taking nearly 30 shots before I settled on this one.

Photography Scavenger Round 28 Reveals #1 - Matches

This round's theme was "Alone Together" - in response to The 19 lockdown many of our were/are in. I have nothing in this album - I only managed 7 of the 10 themes - but there is some awesome work to be seen here.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #44

Another amazing Australian artist this week - and we get a cool daikaiju teddybear as a bonus. This is an amazing video, and a stunning song, apparently prompted by those niggling little fights where someone says that 'it's fine', when it manifestly is not. In one of those things where the audience projects more into a work than the artist intended, I have another interpretation. I think it also serves as powerful warning of the power of depression, and the importance of friends in helping fight it - even when it becomes the great monster that takes over someone's life. With that, take a look a G Flip's 2020 song "Hyperfine".

South Tce at Sunset

South Tce in Fremantle is better known as The Cappuccino Strip, thanks to the large number of cafes and Italian restaurants that have traditionally existed there. These days the strip is much more cosmopolitan, but you can still get great coffee and food there. This SOOC exercise in bokeh was shot just on sunset. I'll almost certainly play with this, but even untouched, it captures the light and colours nicely, and reflects the dreamy relaxed nature of the area.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #43

Right now, everyone knows that Mars Needs Women  but this video turns that around a little. For a bit of bonus fun, according to Luxxury (as he goes by now), when this was made he was nursing several degrees of fever, and remembers very little of the shoot except for being dragged around in a tux. This also features some amazingly scary expressions from Jesse Marie Di Carlo-Wagner, who plays our lady from the stars. I hope you enjoy this fantastic little tale in the form of "Glass Candy" by Baron von Luxxury, from 2012.

Non alcoholic cocktails #3

A twofer this time. Part 1: Beetle Bailey Cream 6 parts single (whipping) cream 2 parts Lyres American Malt 1/2 part thin Chocolate syrup (e.g. Monin, or the now discontinued Alchemy Divine) Combine and stir to mix. I am reliably informed that it tastes at least as good as a certain named Irish Cream. Serve as-is or... Part 2: YB35 (because it is 2/3 of a B52) 15 ml Lyres Coffee Liqueur 15 ml  Beetle Bailey Cream Pour the Coffee Liqueur into a shot glass or shot martini glass. Gently spoon the Beetle Bailey cream on top so that it forms a distinct layer. The result is rich, slightly sweet, and full of the caramel malt coffee you would hope for in such a drink. As I did not have any orange-based not-spirits to hand, this is where I stopped, hence the YB35. If you were to add a third layer of such, I would then call it a Valkyrie (the XB-70).

Non alcoholic cocktails #2

An original of mine. I was wanting something strongly on the bitter side, with just a very slight hint of sweet. So here it is, again based on the Lyres ' not-spirits, combined with bitters from the Australian Bitters Company (who do a huge range of exotic bitters). Spicy Chest 30ml Aperitif Rossi Dsh lemon juice 2 Dsh Barrel Bitters 10ml Tonic syrup Mix or shake and pour into an old fashioned tumbler with a little ice. A little spicy, distinctly bitter, and very clearing. Just the thing for between courses.

SFF Music Video of the Week #42

Hope everyone knows where their towels are! Let's have a look at what must be a made-for-MTV bit of popcorn. Despite sounding like the name of a group, this is mostly a solo effort - with Mani Hoffman chipping in to help complete the work. Although utterly popcorn, it is also dangerously infectious, and is altogether far too dancable. With that warning in mind, clear a space around you, and prepare to be taken over by The Superman Lovers (featuring Mani Hoffman) and "Starlight", from 2001.

Non alcoholic cocktails #1

A classic of Italian culture is the Campari & Gin - but this is not the better known Negroni, which adds Vermouth. I do not drink - but I also welcome the chance to drink something not sweet. Enter  Lyres Spirits . They produce a wide variety of what can only be called non-alcoholic spirits. As much as a contradiction as that may sound, they have created a wide variety of drinks that mimic classic spirits. So, here's my take on an Italian classic: 15ml Aperitif Rossi 30ml Dry London Spirit Splash of soda 1 cherry to garnish (or a slice of capsicum, or an olive) Shake or stir the not-spirits, pour into an old-fashioned tumbler with a little ice, and add soda and garnish. The end result is dry and fragrant, with a hint of bitter, and a warm after-glow. All of this makes for a drink that is at once soothing and inspiring. Just the ticket to end off a hard day's server-wrangling, or to start off a new blog series.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #41

Let's revisit the multi-talented Lindsey Stirling, this time joined by Lzzy Hale in a steampunk clockwork fantasy in a snowglobe, and escaping your boundaries. Here is 2014's "Shatter Me", by Lindsey Stirling, and featuring the voice of Lzzy Hale. \

Want to have a go at docking a Dragon to the ISS?

SpaceX have released an HTML5 docking simulator for the Crew Dragon, apparently based on the actual crew training simulator. It is very funky, and very interesting to try out. Oh, and much like the real thing, it works best with a touch-screen! You can play with it at  .

SFF Music Video of the Week - #40

Wow... 40 weeks in... OK,this week I have a treat for me. One of the best bands of the 80s  that the 2000's produced. Hailing from my home state (well, one of them anyway), these folks are an icon of the Australian music scene. Formed as a duo from two other bands (at least - if you've not been in at least 4 bands with overlapping members in Australia, you're just not trying), The Sleepy Jacksons and Pnau, they embraced the 80s New Wave, and never looked back. They have embraced genre as a way of life, and their stage shows reputedly reflect that. This video was shot up in Lancenlin and Cervantes, a few hours north of where I live. It is dream-like, fantastic, and just all-round amazing. I hope everyone enjoys "Standing On The Shore", from 2009, by the inimitable Empire Of The Sun.

Bonus video - Corona and the Pirate Twins

It seems that Thomas Dolby's kids have more than a touch of genius about them as well. And lockdown is getting to them, too.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #39

Delerium are another band that frequently venture into the the realms of genre for their videos. This one is one of their more nightmarish, featuring a man drowning in air. As a bonus we get the haunting voice of Rani Kamal - the daughter of Australian adopted musical treasure Kamahl. So shiver at the video, and be entranced by the music of 2001's "Underwater" by Delerium.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #38

Ok, let's turn to Iceland again. Of Monsters and Men have created something very fun here, with the band demonstrating very little skill as adventurers, but a talent for making a very good friend. I hope you enjoy "Little Talks" from 2011.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #37

I fully expect that many some a couple at least one of my readers have been waiting for this iconic 80s video to make an appearance. Featuring a blend of hand-drawn pencil animation and live-action footage, this video was an instant classic, and made the song a 1985 number one hit in the USA, and one of the best selling singles of all time. But this is not the original - the original version (by the same band, from 1984) had a far less popular response, and a far more boring video. It was a flop outside of Norway.  Remixed and re-released a year later, it soared to remarkable heights, and has stayed there year after year, and is one of only five songs on YouTube to exceed one beeelion views. So here you have it, Aha's 1985 release of "Take On Me", as remastered from the original 35mm film in 2019.

Water Lilly with bees

The lockdown due to The Nineteen does have a few benefits. One of the ones of working from home is that I get to spend a bit more time in the garden, and appreciating it more. Today, I was treated to this lovely sight:

SFF Music Video of the Week #36

This one took a little more hunting than usual to find. I first saw this at JAFWA back in 1995, and it is one of those videos that stays with you. Created by the inimitable Hayao Miyazaki, with music by pop duo Chage & Aska, this is not so much a music video as a short movie with a musical soundtrack. I won't say much about this one, so sit back and enjoy "On Your Mark", by Chage & Aska, as interpreted by the master of anime, Miyazaki.

SFF Music Video of the Week #35

Duran Duran are a band we shall revisit in the future. Today, we're going to look at a spin-off project - Arcadia, and their hit "Election Day". Full of all the excesses and fetishes of the 1980s New Romantic movement, this is, to my mind, the quintessential video of the genre - beating out Spandau Ballet's "Vienna" by a carefully mussed whisker. But is it genre? This is one of several videos I've had to consider carefully, and, in the end, it just  falls on the SFF side of the fence. Throughout the video there is a sense of odd - little things, like the game being played (and the implied effects of said game). There are other hints as well - for example there are the horse-men, who appear to be tightly bound by some unbreakable force that they are in a constant struggle against. On top of that is a certain desperation to all the sensuality - an impending doom of some kind. (I'll conveniently skip over the fact that it was made at the height of

Stress and support structures.

What follows is a discussion of mental health and stress from someone who is, overall, in a good place. None of this is advice of any sort, but is just some personal observations, and some interesting research. Unless you have somehow managed to live under several miles of rock for the past six months, you know that we are living in very strange world today. The personal impacts of a global pandemic are many and varied, from the physical isolation, to the impacts on work, loss of jobs, the fear of illness - the list goes on. Any of these can cause stress, and the combination of all, or even just some, of them creates even more stress. The idea of the stress that these can cause, will, in itself, cause stress. So what to do about it? We are seeing many families start down a self-sufficiency kick to try and gain some stability in food supply (something, incidentally, that we saw in the Great Depression of the 1930s), an increase in interest in exercise (not seen in the 1930s, but

Blending cooking technologies

It will come as no surprise to folks that I tend to acquire a variety of cooking devices - some of them traditional, some of them on the bleeding edge of technology. What I do avoid are devices with one purpose - unless they happen to do it extraordinarily well, and take minimal space. My pear corer, for example, or the peach pitter. Everything else serves multiple uses. A rice cooker, for example will also cook many other rice-based dishes, and will serve as a steamer as well. Today four of these devices met in in the creation of a simple dish, but made so much simpler and tastier as a result. The first two tools were actually used nearly four months ago. Our Fowlers Vacola preserving system, and our tomato mill. These were used together to produce two of today's ingredients - a bottle of preserved tomatoes, and a bottle of passata. The Fowlers Vacola domestic kit. The Fowlers preserving system has been around since the 1880's, and the Australian company since the

SFF Music Video of the Week #34

The force of musical chaos that is Ex Hex has created a couple of genre-based clips. This is from their first album, and is simple chaos-spreading fun with a solid rock theme. Nothing more to say here, except for "Stand up and rock out" to "Waterfall" from the album Rips by Ex Hex.

SFF Music Video of the Week #33

So we've had a couple of rather sombre weeks, let's pick up the pace with a track that we first encountered via the game Just Dance. This one had quite an energetic set of moves, making it great for an aerobic workout, the visuals were (ahem) cool. In fact, before we go on, here they are: The song itself is rather good, too. Intriguing lyrics, Sia's amazing voice, and a compelling dance beat. So we went looking for the original video, and what a treat it is. Let's open with some Bronze-age hunters, proto-Vikings perhaps, chasing a wolf across the ice. A great visual statement, hints of the wolf having already been wounded, and a full-team dog sled in full flight to round out the imagery. So, very cool, but not especially SFFish. Right up until the chase hits the rocks, and the hunters think they've got the wolf cornered. Because then something weird happens. With with music beat becoming visualised in the rocks and ice, you'd think that it was just

SFF Music Video of the Week - Rejected Part 1

In amongst all the SFF music videos out there, there's always a group of videos that are not going to make the cut. They might have a genre sensibility, but are not actually genre themselves. Quite a few of these are thoroughly excellent videos in themselves, and so I'm going to share a few of them tonight. First up is Marian Call's "Good Morning Moon". I had to think long and hard about this one, but ultimately it is all about something real, not fiction. So here is her ode to the ISS. Next up we have one of Lindsay Stirling's many collaborations, this one with The Piano Guys. An homage to, and cover of Mission Impossible, it still does not quite transition across into SFF. But it is amazing to watch, and the music is wonderful! Moving on we get La Roux, and "In for the Kill", which despite a deep Bladerunner aesthetic never quite tips over the edge. Next is another one I had to think very hard about which side of the fence it was

Simon Pegg with An Important Message


SFF Music Video of the Week #32

Billie Eilish is a remarkable person. Musically gifted in ways that alter the musical landscape, and having a fierce independence that defies the music industry norms, she hit the music scene like a bomb. This track from 2019 is a fantastic reflection of that - confronting climate change head-on, and pulling no punches in any way, she also manages to create a superbly Dantesque visual story in just under four minutes. So, with no further ado, here is Billie Eilish and "all the good girls go to hell".

The 19, Wikipedia, and politics collide

It could be argued that the least popular minister in Australia is our Minister for Home Affairs, the Honourable Peter Dutton. So when the word broke yesterday that he had tested positive for NCovid-19, it was inevitable that there would be some sort of fallout. Sure enough, minutes later, a co-worker of mine (a recent immigrant) visited Wikipedia to read up on him, and encountered the following. Now it was reverted within 2-3 minutes, but he managed to grab a screenshot at my request.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #31

One of the modern musical greats this time around - and from a work released just two days before his death. I am, of course talking about David Robert Jones. Better known to  the world as David Bowie. This is the title track from his last album, Blackstar. And what a ride it is. Surreal in ways that cannot be adequately put into words, the video features a cat-tailed woman, living scarecrows, religious ecstasies, a dead astronaut, and a button-eyed Bowie. The music meanwhile most strongly fits experimental jazz in style, and the lyrics are similarly surreal.  Debate about various elements of this video abound - mostly around the identity of the astronaut (Major Tom?), but also about various other things. For example, what is with the lovecraftian creature at the end? So have a look at Blackstar, and tell me what you think it all means! I'll cheerfully admit I'm way out of my depth.

SFF Music Video of the Week - #30

Advances in CGI in the 90s led to a spate of CGI-based SFF-inspired videos. Combine this with boy bands and house music and you get things like this offering of Eiffel 65. Musically it is ... well let's be honest and say that it is not exactly Mike Oldfield, and the lyrics are not Bob Dylan. It is, however annoyingly catching, and extremely danceable. The video, meantime, is odd, to say the least. One part alien kidnapping, one part arcade fighting game, and one part concert video, it really is something of a creation of its time.

SFF Music Video of the Week #29

I've got an amazingly odd one this week. The story centres around a couple. They are not well suited to each other, but have fallen into a too-hard-to-change sort of trap. How is it SpecFic? Well, for that you will have to watch the video. Pay careful attention to the details. But, must importantly, enjoy Hot Chip's "Hungry Child" from 2019.

Give'r Winter Competition

Usual rules, enter using this link, and I get a handful of extra entries. All sorts of neat stuff, including goodies from BioLite and Peak Design. Giverway Winter 2020 ... 20 Winners! 20 Brands! AND ... $12K+ in gear up for grabs, including SKIS, a KAYAK & MORE!

SFF Music Video of the Week #28

Let us turn to the more mainstream world of pop, and a bit of comedy. Dark Horse, by Katy Perry (modulo various claims by christian rap/hiphop artists) is not what I would call musically exciting. It is, however, extremely saleable, helped in no small part by this wonderfully comedic/horror video. Let's face it - if you took what our sorcerer queen does at face value it would be dark, dark horror. Imagine it re-worked by Hammer Films, for example. But the bright lights, the goofy outcomes, and the over-the-top sets and costumes manage to overcome the core of horror, and create something that is undeniably hilarious. So, without any further discussion, here's the video. >

SFF Music Video of the Week #27

It is Valentine's Day, so I'm going for a little romance, and what could be better than a pastiche of Le Voyage dans la Lune? A romance of science and the heart, we follow the charming couple who are our protagonists through their magical journey to the moon and back. Smashing Pumpkins did not originally intend this to be the style of video for this song, and had tremendous problems with costuming, as Titanic was being filmed at the same time. Despite this, they were able to shoot a Georges Méliès themed video, with back-drops and puppet work, in just three days. So darken the room, cuddle up, and enjoy "Tonight, Tonight" by Smashing Pumpkins.

Hecate - Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company - Review

TL;DNR: An astounding production that should not be missed. Macbeth is arguably Shakespeare's most recognisable play. A story of betrayal, murder, and revenge, it is a powerful icon of English culture. But is that the only way of seeing it? Eight years ago, director Kylie Bracknell [Kaarljilba Kaardn] and Kyle J Morrison had the idea of performing Macbeth in Noongar. Along the way they discovered parts of the play that resonated in unexpected ways, and resonance grew into the play that we saw last night. Drawing on Noongar traditions as well as translating the play the director has transformed it from a tale of destruction to one of renewal. Of course, to renew, there has to be destruction, but that is no longer the point of the story. Macbeth becomes not a villain (although he is still villainous), but a tool. Just as the Noongar people use fire to renew the land, Macbeth becomes that fire, and is consumed by it. But the destruction of Macbeth is not the end of the story -

SFF Music Video of the Week #26

Let's revisit the work of Seasons ( previously ) This time around we have a nightmare inspired drama of cloth-puppet-faced pursuers and an arbitrarily changing world. This video raises questions for me - especially the last 20-30 seconds - about who, and what, is really the monster. Questions I do not have a satisfactory answer for. Anyone have opinions?

SFF Music Video of the Week #25

English/Bulgarian electronic/pop group Ladytron frequently feature SFF elements in their videos, and this is one of their best. Starring the band in two roles, with amazing mythic imagery and wonderful stop-motion critters, this must have been hell for the band to produce! So wrap yourself around some hot chocolate, and enjoy to snowy mountains of "Destroy Everything You Touch".

Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out is a classic whodunnit. No, that's not right. Knives Out is a brilliant comedy  whodunnit. With a cast of thoroughly unlikeable characters, and a scattering of ones who are not, this riotous tale of who murdered the murder-mystery writer is a joy to watch. The actors are chewing the scenery with more gusto than a nest of termites, there are red herrings and Chekhov's guns popping up at every turn, and in the centre of it all is the victim's nurse. A young lady, still living with her kid sister and her mother and possessing a most unusual physiological response, she is the glue of the film. Throw in a private consulting detective a  la Sherlock Holmes, and a police trooper who is a fan of both the writer and the detective, and you have a bubbling cauldron of personalities that delight at every turn. It would be not unfair to compare it with Clue and Murder By Death, my two gold standards of comedy whodunnit, and it compares very well indeed. 10/10 and Miss Marple

SFF Music Video of the Week #24

Au Revoir Simone are a band I have a great fondness for. Releasing albums only rarely, they are a treat for the ears. Tending towards low-key and downbeat lyrics, they counterpoint them with bright and cheerful tunes rendered on old-school synths. This is one of their early works, and one that has distinct fantasy elements.

SFF Music Video of the Week #23

I've got a pair of videos for you this week. Two things tie them together - Steve Aoki's involvement with the music, and the fact that both of these music videos are essentially advertisements for a well-known brand of vodka. So set the product placement cuts to one side, and enjoy two very different stories. First up is the obviously Star Wars inspired "Back to Earth" from Steve Aoki and featuring post-punk rock band Fall Out Boy. We've got masked troopers (or bounty hunters), psychic powers, blaster pistols, and all the rest. And then there's  Home We'll Go (Take My Hand) from Walk Off The Earth (and Steve Aoki). Featuring a quintessential Manic Pixie Girl, and lots of really big plants.

GoSun Fusion Paella - Recipe

Ingredients for 6 serves 2 cups shortgrain rice (Arborio, Short-grain white, or Paella rice) 4 cups chicken stock (warm) .1g saffron threads in 1/4 cup boiled water 1 chorizo sausage (sliced) 200g chicken (diced) 3-4 cloves garlic (crushed) Small handful of runner beans, string beans, or similar, sliced 1/4 cup capsicum (diced) 1/2 tsp Paprika 1 tsp olive oil Pepper All measurements are metric (250ml cup). Method Optionally fry the chorizo beforehand. This is not required, but does improve the flavour. Put the rice in the bottom of the cooking tray, and top with diced vegetables, chroizo slices, and chicken. Sprinkle with paprika, olive oil, and pepper. Add saffron and stock. Place in Fusion in full sun for 1 hour, and check. Serves 6 Notes This skips pre-frying the rice, as  it is not really an option with the Fusion. Mixed seafood could be added to this, or substituted for the chicken and chorizo.

St Duke's Red - HaVe Cheese

After a long hiatus brought on by the death of G+ and the demise of our cheese subscription service, we're back. This time we've got St Duke's Red, a Epoisses de Bourgogne styled washed rind cheese from the notable W.A. manufacturer HaVe, based in Wokalup, near Harvey. Not as potent to the nose as the French offering, St Duke's Red is definitely bold in its aroma, and you certainly know when it has been in the room. Because of that, it is relatively friendly as an introduction to the 'stinky' family, and the rich earthy flavours are rewarding. We found it enjoyable with fruit, onion chutney, and a light salad. It would certainly go well on a more sophisticated cheese board, and a strong fruit paste, such as plum, would also be an excellent complement. HaVe cheeses are available through selected outlets in W.A.'s South-West: and check with the particular retailer as to their specific