While The Bird and the Bee has become my new favorite serious version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, this Phineas and Ferb version is my new favorite silly version of the song. Sure it’s especially funny for fans of the show but, as anyone who has seen the show knows, Dr. Doofenshmirtz is comedy gold and so his wishes for Christmas and his updates and concessions (and the fact that he is a traditionalist) absolutely make this worthy of repeat listens.
[READ: December 19, 2013] Five Dials Number 28
Five Dials #28 is vaguely thematic–about heroes. Some items are literal (the writers-as-heroines drawing), some are speculative (my favorite conceit–the stories of quickly killed side characters in movies), and some are unrelated at all–the guy who helped out Will Self. This issue was launched from Sydney, Australia.
CRAIG TAYLOR-A Letter from the Editor: On Heroes and Convicts
Taylor talks about everything mentioned above and then talks about Robert Hughes’ The Fatal Shore and his primer on modern art: The Shock of the New (which has an accompanying documentary series).
SUNITA SOLAIR (W1)-on an international friendship
Sunita tells us about a girl (whom she calls Aika) who came to her school. Aika was the graddaughter of a former Soviet republic ruler. She lived with bodyguards and all manner of formalities. Meanwhile, Sunita was a nobody but was lucky enough to befriend Aika and become her close companion. Aika took her to top rated restaurants for lunch (bodyguards at the next table) and Sunita took her to a Backstreet Boys concert (where they lost Aika’s bodyguards and nearly caused a hell of a shitstorm for everyone). After college they drifted apart and Sunita can only keep up with what she shes in the papers This was a fascinating story, with a rather sad ending.
JAMIE FEWERY (N22) on the juries of Wood Green
This is a story about being selected for a jury. What I really loved about this was not the story about teh trial–which seemed pretty open and shut–but by the story that Jamie relates outside of the trial. Two juror start playing a game in the waiting area. They seem to really hit it off and then Jamie watches them walking away together at the end of the day with, presumably, a wonderful “How did you meet?” story.
A poem with a very specific visual style.
TOM BASDEN-A Serial: Four Extracts from My novel
Basden explains that he has been writing this novel called Hot Moon for about five yeas. He provides us with four excerpts. Chapter 441 is the sex scene. And I thought it was kind of funny, but it didn’t prepare me for Chapter 407. In 407 the protagonist is shot and a staggeringly stupid/funny conversation ensues about how to get the bullet out. Ready for anything now, Chapter 220 was written when the author got a paying gig as a restaurant critic. This is set in a resturant and the food and ambience is reviewed while a hit takes place–this was probably the funniest section. The final exceprt is Chpater 75 or 124 or 500 and sees the protagonists in space battling aliens. What a weird idea for an article.
GREG BAXTER hears Allen Berg in Berlin
Greg Baxter is a pretentious git who listens to twelve-tone music and thinks that anyone who might have a cough should stay home from the music hall on that evening. Indeed, ideally, no one should move at all during the performance–disconcerting be damned. I couldn’t tell how serious he was, but he sure seemed serious. On the other hand he did introduce me to Allen Berg whose music I didn’t know. I’m intrigued by 12 tone, but find it too unpleasant to enjoy. But Berg is apparently the most conventional of the 12 tone composers which makes for less obnoxious scores–maybe there will be a review of him up here someday.
A color “poster” of writers dresses as super heroines.
THE HIDDEN LIVES OF SECONDARY ACTION MOVIE CHARACTERS (4 pieces)
This section was wonderful as people created backstrokes for characters who are briefly onscreen. Of course it’s sad as they all are killed.
ADAM STERNBERGH-A Eulogy for Eli
Film: Die Hard Time of Death 1 hour 40 minutes 12 seconds.
CATHAN LEARY-Teh Recurring Nightmare of Wilhelm
Film: Raiders of the Lost Ark Time of Death 1 hour 20 minutes 55 seconds.
BRONWEN ARMSTRONG-New York Traffic
Film: The Bourne Ultimatum Time of Death 2 hours 3 minutes 42 seconds.
NIKESH SHUKLA-Get Your Ass to Mars
Film: Total Recall Time of Death 44 minutes 11 seconds.
MATTHEW DE ABITUA-Memoir: Self & I
Matthew Humphries went to the writer’s workshop at the University of East Anglia. When he completed it, he got a job as Will Self’s amanuensis (or live-in assistant). This is a funny look at the inside life of one of Britain’s more notorious writers. There is talk of drugs, of course. But the more interesting part comes when Self goes away and Humphries finds himself living in Self’s house and taking messages for the man. Then the story flashes back to Humphries’ father who was forced to change his name from De Abitua to Humphries. Self convinces Matthew that he needs to switch back to the original name. What an interesting concept.
This was a very funny short story about a house with a ghost. At first the man, Wilde, and his wife are a little unsure about the ghost, but soon the husband decides that the ghost is there for his bidding. And the ghost proves to be an excellent bartender and all around helper. Then his friend Kristofer asks if he can borrow the ghost for an upcoming party. Wilde agrees, but that seems to displease the ghost. The ghost goes to the party and causes nothing but trouble. And over the next couple of days, Kristofer is injured and “thrown” down the stairs. Wilde feels terrible about what happened, but soon enough Kristofer’s lady seems to be pretty happy about what happened. She seems to be spending more time at home…alone. I enjoyed the very funny construct of this story.
ALLEN GINSBURG & WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS-From the Archive: The Yage Letters
I was rather looking for ward to this old correspondence between these two giants. But it was really rather dull talk about finding and taking drugs. It actually made me rethink my respect for these two. Not because of the drugs but because of how self absorbed and, frankly, full of shit they really were.
This was a very long short story that I enjoyed quite a lot. It is about a man who is sent to the Arctic to study the ice. He has a family, but they seem to be fighting so he doesn’t really mind being sent for the entire summer. His mission is to see how global warming is impacting the arctic. After a short time there, the glacier he is on splits from the mainland. But his piece is so big he doesn’t realize it. (All of this seems unlikely despite how accurate it also seemed). He slowly realizes he has lost all communication with the outside world (and run out of Kit Kats). And then he discovers a life form that is neither penguin nor polar bear, and it changes everything. This was certainly a weird story and I’m not entirely sure what to make of it, but I was totally hooked by it.
THE BACK SECTION
KATHERINE ANGEL-On Kate Bush (a voice of uncomfortable beauty)
Angel talks about the beauty and courage of Kate Bush singing as she wants, focusing equally on her early work as much as her more recent releases. It’s a lovely essay.
PAUL EWEN-The Shameful Breakfast of Sonic Youth
Ewen was a huge Sonic Youth fan and saw them when they came to Christchurch (one of the few band to venture there). But when they were seated at his table at the hotel where he worked, he made an arse of himself over them.
PETER STAMM-How It Gets Done
Stamm is interviewed about his short story collection We’re Flying, and about his writing process in general. I enjoyed his talk about translations and how he initialy thought he’d “help” the translators but then realized that they knew what they were doing a lot better than he did.
LUKE DAVIES-The Time
This is a kind of post-apocalyptic short story. We don’t know what happened but we do know that lots of people are dead. Our narrator has survived and is telling us about his first kill–he has learned that killing is necessary for survival. Although he has not lost his humanity–he rescues a woman who is being raped, he also knows what needs to be done to survive. It’s a fairly generic post apocalyptic story.
ASHLEY HAY meets Federico García Lorca: A Single Book-Poemas
Hay meets a man who is about to sell a first edition of a Lorca book. This essay was a little long but once we all learn that there is a new, handwritten poem inside the book, things change and it becomes quite engaging.
JOSEPHINE ROWE-The View from Pont Champlain
The details of this story are fairly simple. A woman is flying in a plane–she was placed in first class when she did something nice for some other passengers. But she is not first class people. Then the story flashes back. It turns out that her grandfather put a smoker on their roof to use the smoke from their chimney to also smoke meats. This eventually turned her vegetarian. Her neighbor on the plane begins talking to her and revealing all kinds of personal stuff. She imagines that this makes them friends, but in fact, when they reach their destination they walk away as if nothing happened. This was an interesting look at a fairly common occurrence, although that whole smoker on the roof thing was pretty interesting.
The final unnumbered page states: This page not actually left blank.
This was another great issue of Five Dials. I feel like they have been packing more and more fiction into their issues as of late. And while I like the fiction (and generally like fiction more than non-), I like the essays in Five Dials so much that I look forward to more of them.