Revolution Chic

In Stockholm, protesters painted the Libya rebel flag on the front door of the Libyan embassy. Lovely work.

Charge Your Phone on a Campfire

Inspired by images of the recent Japanese earthquakes, this device can charge your phone whilst you cook food or boil water with its special ceramic pot. It takes about 3-5 hours to charge an iPhone – about as long as a conventional charger.

via Popsci

Religious Evangelists Backwards

These backwards recordings of evangelical preachers are either proof that reverse speech analysis is rubbish, or that they are themselves satanic. It’s probably disturbing that I prefer the last option.

The Devil’s Wearing a Lot More Prada

A neat article on the rise, rise and rise of product placement – from the Lumière brothers using Lever Brothers’ Sunlight soap in “Washing Day in Switzerland” (1896), to films not out yet. I don’t know about you, but I like knowing how much brands paid ($100,000 to several million dollars) and all about the side deals done. It’s kind of the opposite of glamorous (more ‘cheap and desperate’) when they do appear. More here.

The History of Asics in Origami


My favorite was the bit about starting Asics on a borrowed desk. And the origami octopus. The bit about every marathon podium having their shoes on it since the mid 60’s was also cool but I generally zoned out a bit when they started talking about sport.
[via Lone Immortal]

He Nice, the Jesus

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I’ve been chuckling along to Me Talk Pretty One Day, a collection of comic writing from David Sedaris. It covers stories from youth to his art school days, where “a fistful of burning hair could not begin to represent the mess I had made of my life.” It continues to his current life as a writer – which he emphasizes is a real typewriter type author… a machine “where the smack and clatter…. suggests you’re actually building something.”

The characters are great, full of the types of people we usually all suffer in silence (the guy with you in a dead end job, who keeps telling you “I could have been doing something”). It is also full of little nuggets of wisdom, such as the point of fantasies is that they allow you to “skip the degradation, and head straight to the top”. I also liked his idea of a ‘Guessay’ – where you generate ideas (for a play, book, or TV show) by writing up a guess of what your idol might do in the future. Our idols are always a perfected idea of our own potential.

The highlight, however – and the source of his book’s title – is two perfect essays describing the horrors of learning French under a tyrannical French teacher. Mangled French is translated back into English, to describe terror filled, concentration camp-like huddled discussions between verbally abused students.

“Sometimes me cry alone at night.”

“That be common for I, also, but be more strong, you. Much work and some day you talk pretty. People start love you soon. Maybe tomorrow, okay.”

Great stuff. Get it from Amazon – you won’t miss not having it.

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

In the late 1970’s director Werner Herzog made a bet that he would eat his shoe if Errol Morris ever completed his film Gates of Heaven. This clip is an edited version of Herzog living up to that promise.

The shoes were cooked for five hours in stock, herbs, and garlic with the help of a chef at the Berkeley, California restaurant Chez Panisse, with one of the shoes eaten at the premiere of Gates of Heaven. Apparently tough (but not dissimilar to Kentucky Fried Chicken), the soles of the shoes, like bones, were left uneaten.

The shoe eating and documentary were used to declare holy war (“real war”, he repeats) on the commercialism of what we normally see on TV, and hoped it would be an encouragement to those who wanted to make a film – but were otherwise too afraid to do so. “For those who don’t have the guts. If you want to do a film, steal a camera, sneak into a lab and do it”.

The Eternal Style of Jack Kerouac

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Fantasy baseball, and his descent into ugly, small-minded conservatism aside, Kerouac’s sense of style has become an unwitting legacy. In a sense this has come easy – the Beats lived in an era that still wore shirts, suits, and ties as a matter of course, yet he blended these with now classic t-shirts and sweatshirts, as signs of working-class solidarity. Normally being photographed in black and white didn’t hurt, either.

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The Beat cliche of black turtlenecks and berets was, fortunately, usually absent from its founder – more often Kerouac appears to us as if he just clocked off work at a railway yard, or suggesting he had recently jumped off the back of a truck. Yet these are hardly affectations – we see Kerouac most often in the photographs taken by friends – for professional photo shoots, he always wore a blazer, often matched with a tie.

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Whilst it’s true that Kerouac once famously appeared in black jeans, boots, and an open necked checkered shirt on a public panel of well-dressed intellectuals. Yet it was being born into poverty, blue collar work, and a more than academic interest in the lives of the marginalized that left its mark on his wardrobe.

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Unlike Ginsberg, whose ongoing interest in the counterculture movement lead to progressively more eastern clothing, or Burroughs, whose upper-class status kept the three piece suit in his wardrobe – with age Kerouac merely drifted into polo and checked shirts.

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It’s perhaps surprising to consider, then, such a middle-income, middle class gesture as a contemporary fashion influence. But its intimations of authenticity, whilst also avoiding the affectations of grunge or hipster-retro styling, the many looks of Kerouac still hit the perfect note.

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Avoid the many How to Dress Like Kerouac guides on the web. Had he lived, he would have been particularly unmoved by them. Alternative poet, best selling celebrity novelist, cotton picker, and eternal mother’s boy – his sense of style was always the result of an awkward tightrope walk of functioning across many different worlds.

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The Breakfast Club

Considered by many to be the best of his many 1980’s teen movies, director John Hughes wrote the screenplay to this movie in a remarkable two days. This is particularly surprising considering the taut dialogue and that – with just one main set and a small budget – the movie succeeds solely on the back of investments in a quality script, direction, and the abilities of its then young actors. The film’s achieving a lot out of little would make a movie such as “Brick” a much closer contemporary successor than the many more conspicuous 80’s revivalist movies (such as “Donnie Darko”).

Some of the most inventive lines are spoken by Brian (especially when high – “chicks cannot hold they smoke, that’s what it is”) and particularly edgy ones by Bender (“hey homeboy, what do you say you close that door, we’ll get the prom queen impregnated?”) which remain surprising, even thirty years later.

The movie’s library set was created within a disused school’s gym, and the actors learned their lines as if a play, rehearsing for it repeatedly. Amongst the few exceptions include the scene where they all sit on the floor and explain their reasons for being in detention (perhaps one of the film’s few overly sentimental scenes), and Brian’s reason for his fake ID (“so I can vote”). Several cast members were originally slated to play other kids in the film. The film was also shot entirely in sequence. “Library Revolution” was an early, literal title for the film.

Something few people know is that the song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, was especially written for the film by Keith Forsey (who also wrote the lyrics to Flashdance’s “What A Feeling”, “Never Ending Story”, “Hot Stuff”, “The Heat is On”, and many other, classic 1980’s film songs). After being rejected by many artists to record, the song was handed down to Chrissie Hynde’s husband’s band, Simple Minds, who had a number one hit with it.

Fans of fictitious places in the movies would know that Shermer, Illinois is a fictitious suburb of Chicago John Hughes used in many of his films, including “Weird Science”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Sixteen Candles”, “Pretty in Pink” and “National Lampoon’s Vacation”. You can see Hughes in a cameo as Brian’s dad at the very end of the film.

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