20 Best Music Videos of All Time

NOTE: This is a repost of a Facebook Note I published in 2010. I was reminded of it when I started talking about my fave music video over on my other blog. It’s a bit of a cheat for my “one-post-a-month” quota, so I will likely add something more for March. I haven’t thought too much about how my opinions have changed since 2010. If I did this list again there’d be a few differences here and there but most of it would be similar.

Music videos aren’t usually thought of as art – which is a fair call for the most part. The majority are either cheesy, trashy, poorly produced, cliche-ridden, containing only one under developed idea – or all of the above. But with genius’s like Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze making contributions, there are bound to be exceptions. So in the tradition of “Andrew’s Favourite Albums of All Time”, here comes my list of the most awesome music clips! Instead of writing essays on each entry I’m going to let the clip do most of the talking by putting in links, but like last time I’d love to hear your own opinions.

20. GOMEZ – WE HAVEN’T TURNED AROUND

Summary:

Guy runs around the city looking distressed. Is he trying to warn everyone of something? Why does he keep pointing to the sky?

What’s So Good About It?:

This is one of those clips where you spend the whole time wondering what on earth is going on. Naturally it’s all about the pay-off at the end, and I reckon it’s a pretty good one that suits this sombre tune to a tee.

Director:

Laurence Dunmore

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THI4U3OsDQY

See Also:

No suggestions … this is the only Gomez clip I’m familiar with.

19. JEFF BUCKLEY – SO REAL

Summary:

Jeff rides his bike around town before stopping at a cafe where he encounters some odd characters and some unexpected thieves. The rather odd and noisy bridge of the song is coupled with an equally odd break from the visual narrative, before we return to Jeff expressing his angst by stripping off.

What’s So Good About It?:

Despite the presence of some very comic elements, the overall feel of the clip is haunting (helped by the amazing song, of course).

Director:

Sophie Muller

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcaxrqhUJ4c

See Also:

None of Jeff’s other videos are that great.

18. FLAMING LIPS – DO YOU REALIZE???

Summary:

After a short intro involving a bench, a pig and a frog, we see Wayne walking the beat (presumably somewhere in Vegas) with two rabbits and four girls dressed in white. Sprinkle in some shots of an elephant and people smiling, and you have one of the most surprisingly effective videos around.

What’s So Good About It?:

Besides being an amazing use of colour and stunning white, the video manages to make what some may feel is a depressing song into a heart-warming experience. Simple things, like a close up shot of someones face breaking into a smile, become moments of true beauty.

Director:

Mark Pellington or James Frost. There are two versions and I’m having trouble finding which is which.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPXWt2ESxVY

See Also:

You Gotta Hold On, Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, The Golden Path, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Turn It On, Be My Head

17. THE CURE – CLOSE TO ME

Summary:

The band play the song on mini-instruments while crammed inside a wardrobe perched on a seaside cliff.

What’s So Good About It?:

It’s a fine example of a simple but great idea executed to near perfection. Just the right mix of fun, weirdness, and gloom that the song called for.

Director:

Tim Pope

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjvfIJstWeg

See Also:

Let’s Go To Bed, Boys Don’t Cry, Love Cats, Why Can’t I Be You?, Lullaby, Friday I’m In Love

16. AIR – ALL I NEED

Summary:

The clip follows a young real life couple in typical suburbia.

What’s So Good About It?:

Perhaps it’s a bit sappy, but something about this clip breaks through my coal black heart and brings one word to mind … Awwwwwwwww

Director:

Mike Mills

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw8i28bNoYY

See Also:

Kelly Watch the Stars, Don’t Be Light

15. BJORK – IT’S OH SO QUIET

Summary:

Bjork walks through a dull tyre shop before the whole city bursts into a singing, dancing musical spectacular!

What’s So Good About It?:

It’s a blast to watch. The juxtaposition between the quiet verses and the bombastic choruses is amplified by the brilliant visuals.

Director:

Spike Jonze

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htobTBlCvUU

See Also:

Human Behaviour, Army of Me, Bachelorette, All is Full of Love, I’ve Seen It All, Triumph of a Heart

14. TOOL – SOBER

**At the time I actually chose the song Prison Sex (which the image is from) but I want to change my mind on this one**

Summary:

Not sure of the narrative, if there is one. But there’s lots of creepy stop-motion figures being creepy.

What’s So Good About It?:

It was hard to pick a favourite Tool clip as they’re all great, but kind of similar. I ended up choosing Sober because it doesn’t take as long to get to the point as some of their other videos.

Director:

Fred Stuhr

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hglVqACd1C8&

See Also:

Prison Sex, Stinkfist, Schism, Aenima, Parabola, Vicarious

13. MICHAEL JACKSON – THRILLER

Summary:

Everyone has seen this clip, though you may not have seen the full 14 minute version, which adds a werewolf story to the zombie theme.

What’s So Good About It?:

It’d be hard to find anyone who doesn’t like this one so I don’t really need to convince you. The drawcard is the brilliantly choreographed zombie dance near the end, but the rest adds up to easily the most ambitious and entertaining music video of it’s time.

Director:

John Landis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOnqjkJTMaA

See Also:

Billie Jean, Beat It, Black & White ... there are some other decent clips but they probably aren’t worth your time unless you’re a fairly big MJ fan.

12. UNKLE (FEAT. THOM YORKE) – RABBIT IN YOUR HEADLIGHTS

Summary:

Guy talks to himself and acts crazy as he walks through a busy tunnel, in serious danger of being hit by the traffic.

What’s So Good About It?:

Despite the camera never leaving the man in the tunnel, the video keeps you intrigued until you’re left with a final shot that is unexpected, disturbing and strangely beautiful.

Director:

Jonathan Glazer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNWFHpPu1qs

See Also:

Burn My Shadow, Heaven

11. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE – GO WITH THE FLOW

Summary:

The band (in a semi-animated state) play on the back of a pick-up truck racing down the open highway. But there’s another truck on the road hell-bent on causing chaos, and when the two meet there will be spectacular consequences.

What’s So Good About It?:

Fast cars, desert landscapes, loud music, and a healthy dose of sleaze. Sounds like quintessential Queens. The black/red/white look of the clip is very cool, but the colourful explosion towards the end is brilliant.

Director:

Shynola (a collective)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcHKOC64KnE

See Also:

Feel Good Hit of the Summer, No One Knows, Burn the Witch

10. KORN – FREAK ON A LEASH

Summary:

All the kids in town sneak off at night to play hopscotch (for some unknown reason). A security guard goes off to investigate but drops his gun, and a bullet flies off toward a young girl. From there, the video follows the bullet as it causes havoc in various places.

What’s So Good About It?:

Not many people will admit to liking Korn or the whole nu-metal thing these days. But I gotta say, I always liked this video. It’s creative, a little creepy, and you can tell the band had a bit of cash to spend at this point – because it looks awesome.

Director:

Jonathan Dayton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRGrNDV2mKc&

See Also:

Got the Life

9. APHEX TWIN – COME TO DADDY

Summary:

More freaky kids – but this time there’s something very wrong with them. In the clip they join forces with some kind of Aphex Twin/Satan hybrid to terrorise a granny and a few other civilians.

What’s So Good About It?:

It’s the surely the most genuinely frightening clip ever made. The song is a bit rubbish – but it does kind of suit the visuals.

Director:

Chris Cunningham

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWDAtMPoBHA

See Also:

Windowlicker, Donkey Rhubarb

8. SUPERGRASS – PUMPIN’ ON YOUR STEREO

Summary:

Supergrass as giant muppets!

What’s So Good About It?:

The sight of their heads attached to 10-foot colourful puppets is bound to put a smile on anyone’s face. And yes, it does stay entertaining for the whole 3 and a half minutes.

Director:

Garth Jennings

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQbVyWED6Ac&

See Also:

Alright

7. RADIOHEAD – JUST

Summary:

Man inexplicably decides to lay down on a city footpath. A bunch of people try to figure out why, while the band play in an apartment, watching the scene from above.

What’s So Good About It?:

Another difficult decision but I once again went for the “simple idea with wonderful execution”. There’s another very memorable closing shot, too.

Director:

Jamie Thraves

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIFLtNYI3Ls&

See Also:

Street Spirit, Paranoid Android, Karma Police, No Surprises, Knives Out

6. SMASHING PUMPKINS – TONIGHT, TONIGHT

Summary:

A couple set off on a trip to somewhere in space, but figure the moon looks pretty cool so they jump ship and land there. Apparently no one followed them because the moon is full of aggressive, pointy headed aliens.

What’s So Good About It?:

Choosing a favourite Pumpkins clip was the hardest decision of this list. ‘Today’ and ‘1979’ are both classics, but for sheer spectacle you just can’t beat ‘Tonight Tonight’.

Director:

Jonathan Dayton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOG3eus4ZSo

See Also:

Today, 1979, Disarm, Rocket, Bullet with Butterfly Wings, Thirty Three, Ava Adore

5. FATBOY SLIM – RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW

Summary:

Evolution in all it’s glory, from single celled animals to a fat guy – with a dancing monkey man somewhere in between.

What’s So Good About It?:

It looks amazing. The right mix of big dollar effects and homemade rough-around-the-edges style.

Director:

Garth Jennings

See Also:

Praise You, Weapon of Choice

4. BLUR – COFFEE & TV

Summary:

A walking milk carton sets out into the city to find the missing member of a family, but soon finds the city can be a big scary place.

What’s So Good About It?:

That milk carton is so damn cute. His mis-adventures induce a big fat grin for me everytime, but there’s a slight melancholy and darkness to the whole thing, which suits the song perfectly.

Director:

Garth Jennings

See Also:

Song 2

3. WEEZER – BUDDY HOLLY

Summary:

Weezer as the feature-band on ‘Happy Days’ – even though the show was recorded 20 years before the song was released.

What’s So Good About It?:

Every effort has been taken to make it look like a a scene from a missing episode of ‘Happy Days’. The way they’ve made it appear like the band are interacting with characters like the Fonz is brilliant.

Director:

Spike Jonze

See Also:

Undone (The Sweater Song), El Scorcho, Hash Pipe, Island in the Sun (Spike Jonze version), Keep Fishin’, Pork and Beans

2. FOO FIGHTERS – EVERLONG

Summary:

A couple lay in bed, and dream of being attacked by the same two creepy guys. The husband (Grohl) defeats them in his dream, but in the real world he receives a phone call for help from within the woman’s dream.

What’s So Good About It?:

13 years before ‘Inception’ made the concept of dream-sharing cool, Michel Gondry made this genius clip. It’s comedic, but also very clever, and just surreal enough to be properly dream-like. It also features the best reveal of a hidden drum-kit ever.

Director:

Michel Gondry

See Also:

Learn to Fly, Big Me, My Hero, Next Year, Low, Long Road to Ruin

1. PEARL JAM – DO THE EVOLUTION

Summary:

Harpooned whales, suicidal businessmen, nuclear blasts, mind-controlling computers … basically every thing you can think of that’s f#*ked up is in there somewhere. The clip acts as a stylised map of where the human race has come from and where we’re going, but with almost every bit of optimism erased.

What’s So Good About It?

:If the apocalypse was distilled into 4 minutes it would look something like this. More than a little disturbing, but strangely exhilarating.

Director:

Todd McFarlane & Kevin Altieri

See Also:

Jeremy

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Apple

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Posted in Cartoons, Just for Laffs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Andy’s Movie List 2014

Hey there! I like movies and I like giving strangers my opinion on things. So I’ve combined the two by compiling this list of my favourite movies of 2014.

Oh, and I’ve also invited D.A. (Devil’s Advocate) along … though I’m not sure why I keep doing so. The guy is a bit of a downer.

(NOTE: This list is based on AUSTRALIAN release dates)

10. X-Men: Days of Future Past

“You didn’t tell me this event was semi-formal. They’re going to think I’m a right ninny!”

You’ve gotta hand it to the people behind the X-Men franchise. They’ve made 7 films now – all based on the same concept and characters – yet they manage to keep churning out the goods. They would have had a practically perfect track record if it wasn’t for X3:Everyone Dies, X4: Just Wolverine and X6: Even Wolverinier (okay, that’s actually a lot of exceptions). But getting back to Days of Future Past, I’ll admit that it didn’t stay with me very long after the credits started rolling and I felt like the ending was a bit of a cheat, but it sure was a fun ride while it lasted. Plus you got to see Professor X say the f-word.

DA Says: Two hours of disrespecting X-Men fans and intelligent movie-goers everywhere.

9. The Lego Movie

“Whaaaat?!? You only put us at number 10?!”

Movie-length advertisements for toys aren’t supposed to be any good. Sure, the first Transformers reboot was okay, and we could argue about whether Star Wars fits the description of a toy ad – but for every one of those grey area examples there are a dozen abominations like Battleship, Bratz, GI Joe, Garbage Pail Kids and The Barbie Diaries. Which is what made The Lego Movie such a surprise. It’s unashamedly full of product placement yet it’s also a really solid film. It’s funny, imaginative, and even has a few unexpected tricks up it’s sleeve that it pulls out near the end.

DA Says: An exhausting, unfocused, unengaging cynical cash-grab.

8. Nightcrawler

"Get a desk, weirdo!!"

“Hey! Get a desk, ya weirdo!!”

I find it easy to get behind any film that is critical of the news, so my enjoyment of this may come from a place of personal bias. But there’s more to it. As a critique on modern society it goes much deeper than just an attack on the 24-hour news cycle, and the atmosphere and tension make it gripping viewing – even for those who are allergic to preachiness.

DA Says: I might have been able to endure two hours with such an unlikable character if the film had an ounce of subtlety.

7. Calvary

“Dude! Don’t trust Littlefinger! Didn’t you see Game of Thrones?!”

Despite The Guard being pretty fantastic, I initially thought of director John Michael McDonagh as the less-talented brother of Martin McDonagh (director of In Bruges). But now that he’s added Calvary to his filmography, I’m ready to take him seriously – which is for the best because it’s quite a serious movie. The humour is still there but it’s as black as humanly possible, and there are as many moments of gut-wrenching pathos as there are laughs to be had.

DA Says: Joyless fare full of 2-dimensional, heartless caricatures.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy

“You realise you’re supposed to put the TALL guy in the middle for group photos, right?”

With Guardians, Marvel Studios took a gamble on an obscure comic full of seriously odd characters, but by now we know that if any studio can take a gamble and turn it into a super-enjoyable, mega-popular blockbuster – it’s Marvel. The resulting film is more fun than anything they’ve done before (which is quite a bold claim when you consider how hilarious The Avengers is in parts) yet it takes itself just seriously enough to not fall into  parody territory. Quite the balancing act.

DA Says: Childish, messy and ultimately dull.

5. Interstellar

… And that’s how Matthew Mcconaughey lost his favourite beach ball to a black hole.

Still reeling from the brilliance of 2013’s Gravity, I wasn’t expecting to be thoroughly won over by another space film in 2014, but that’s exactly what happened with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. It’s an unashamedly ambitious epic, but when comparing it to Nolan’s other mind-bender (Inception) both the science and the human emotions are far more convincing. Much of the film takes place in the far reaches of the universe, yet it somehow still felt grounded (pardon the pun) … well, at least it did until a certain point near the end. Truth be told, it lost me a little at that point but I’m giving it a spot in my top 5 without hesitation, so I guess all is (mostly) forgiven.

DA Says: When I wasn’t being bombarded with ridiculous pseudoscience I was being bludgeoned over the head with sickly sweet sappiness.

4. Inside Llewyn Davis

“Oi! Why don’t you walk AROUND the snow, you jackass!?”

I have an odd kind of fan-relationship with the Coen brothers. My reactions to their films span the entire range; they’ve made some of my all-time favourites (Big Lebowski), some that I didn’t enjoy (A Serious Man), some that I thought were highly under-rated (The Hudsucker Proxy), and others where I just didn’t believe the hype (No Country for Old Men). Yet, despite the inconsistency, every time they bring out something new I get excited – because sometimes it’s going to be a film as good as Inside Llewyn Davis. Davis is their most surreal film since Barton Fink (1991) and their most melancholy since … ever … but it’s also funny and beautiful, despite being centred around a character who is often more repulsive than sympathetic.

DA Says: A hideous, boring, navel-gazing piece of crap featuring a loathsome character with no redeeming values.

3. Boyhood

“Once upon a time there was a princess who did some stuff. The end. Now go to sleep, for chrissakes!”

Idea: shoot scenes with the same cast every year for 12 years, then put it together into a feature film that shows a child growing up. It’s a great idea, so the fact that we haven’t seen it before means that either no one thought of it, or movie-makers just weren’t interested in making such a long commitment. But that’s a good thing, for what could have been a shallow film-experiment in the hands of a lesser director, was turned into a fascinating, poignant experience by Richard Linklater (now the certified master of slice-of-life filmmaking).

DA Says: A long, long movie about nothing where nothing happens.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

“Well, you see, just before the Little Miss Sunshine contest I faked my own death and run away to Hungary …”

Wes Anderson releases a movie every couple of years, and every couple of years I inevitably pick it as one of my favourites. This may make me the definition of a hipster, but what else can I do when he keeps making quality material like this? Anderson has a lot of recurring elements in his work, so the danger is that he’ll start making the same movie over and over. Yet, to my mind, he always manages to give his formula enough of a twist that it feels fresh. Grand Budapest sees him moving out of his comfort zone (at least in terms of the plot) as we’ve never seen him tackle nested storylines and themes of war before. He does so on his own terms, and the results are astounding.

DA Says: Pretentious, awkward and horribly disjointed.

1. The Wolf of Wall Street

The community marching band had to make drastic budget cuts. The uniforms were the first to go.

Like A Clockwork Orange or Taxi Driver, Wolf of Wall Street is a film about rather awful people that refuses to tell the audience just how they should feel about the characters. For me, there were genuinely disturbing and frightening scenes that gave me plenty to think about, yet it’s hard to deny that there was something thrilling about being taken for such a masterful ride through that world of debauchery, excess and moral bankruptcy. It’s a little worrying that some people are bound to watch it and see only the alluring gloss of such a life, but if we only made films about the world’s most upstanding citizens, the cinema would one of the most boring places in the world. But anyway, if you can get past such ethical dilemmas, the fact remains that Wolf is hilarious – and in the end that may be what matters most.

DA Says: A long, pointless glamourisation of greed that will guarantee a massive payday for a man who ruined countless lives.

Honourable mentions: Her, 12 Years a Slave, The Missing Picture, Charlie’s Country, Big Hero 6, Bad Neighbours.

Just a few on the ones I DIDN’T see: Whiplash, Edge of Tomorrow, The Babadook, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club, Mr Turner…

Worst Movie (that I saw): Maleficent

“Shh. Don’t tell everyone how crappy my movie is”

Maleficent (from Sleeping Beauty) was arguably the most truly evil character in all of Disney’s animated films. This is a character that, at one point, screams at Prince Charming that he will have to deal with her and “all the powers of Hell”. So Maleficent could have been a fascinating example of Disney embracing their dark side, but instead, it is so spineless that it’s almost offensive. Plus, the effects are sub-par, the acting is ordinary, and the love story is about as convincing as a 80-year-old woman trying to get into a theme park for a children’s ticket price. Do avoid.

 

So, what did you think was the best movie of 2014? Please comment below and let me know!

 

Still in a movie mood? Why not also check out my lists from 2013, 2012 and 2011?

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Return to Brisbane

I’ve been to Brisbane a few times now, but my most recent trip there was easily the longest. I spent 4 whole weeks living with this guy …

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… at this place …

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… near this lookout (Mt Cooth-tha) …

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… while studying at University of Queensland, which has this huge and highly ornate building.

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We managed to soak up the pre-G20 festival atmosphere in the city centre …

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There we checked out the beautiful beaches and rivers of Maroochydore …

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… took a hike in 40 degC weather (not recommended) where we watched some crazy kids jumping into a natural pool …

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… and watched some (possibly also crazy) people get chased by crocodiles at Australia Zoo …

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Back in the city, I found time to see a great jazz/blues band at Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, …

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… got my geekiness fix at Supanova (including seeing Alan Tudyk, aka Wash from Firefly) …

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… and did a final bit of wildlife spotting.

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All in all, not a bad way to spend a month. In between all that I even managed to learn a few things!

Been to Brisbane before? What did you think? Or perhaps you want to explore more of Australia with me? You can head this way for a tour of Tasmania or check out my other travel posts (including Malaysia and USA).

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Great Gig Posters

In today’s edition of AHH, we look at a forgotten art form – the gig poster.

I should warn you though. In true self-indulgent fashion, we’re only looking at posters for my own bands’ gigs. Still, recruiting great artists to create these posters is one of my favourite achievements from being in a band, so let’s get started, shall we? …

(PS. If you think “The art is pretty cool, but the way the text has been added ruins it” – don’t blame the artist. That was my fault.)

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By Natalie Baker circa 2005. Unfortunately I don’t have any links for Natalie, and I’m not really sure what she’s up to now. If you’re wondering which band was mine, you’ll figure it out. And yes, it was a pretty terrible band name.

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Our CD Launch poster. The first in Natalie’s 3-part “Tree” saga. We asked for something with a literal take on the Tree without Knees thing, but I was expecting something kind of silly and cartooony. Nat took quite a different approach and I was really impressed with the result.

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The recovery begins. This is the worst quality scan of all the pictures.

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The Tree is back in business! This was also our last gig with that name. I wonder where the Tree saga would have gone otherwise?

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By Katie Malajczuk circa 2007. New band name (also new songs and slight line-up change). Still probably a rather bad band name.

Katie Malajczuk’s art

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By Mei Swan-Lim circa 2009. Mei is also a brilliant musician (check out her link below).

Mei’s music 

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The first of a number of posters by Jennifer Chernecki, (a Canadian artist that I met by chance while travelling in Europe). The longer you look at all of her work, the more you will find. All of these are circa 2008-2011.

Jennifer Chernecki’s art  

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I love this painting, but I was never happy with the way I’d added the text. It was a difficult one in that regard though.

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This might be my favourite of all the posters. I believe that’s Jen’s actual pet dog there too.

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We ended up using this image for our CD cover too.

And that’s that.

Watcha reckon? Have any favourite posters among these, or others you’ve come across?

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The Philosophical Teachings of Winnie the Pooh: The Great Honey Pot Robbery

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Because I have a pointless, self-enforced quota of at least one post per month, and because I have to go to a thing soon or Wife will gouge out my eyes – I now have half an hour to explain to you why the Winnie the Pooh episode ‘The Great Honey Pot Robbery’ contains everything you need to know about life.

This is probably going to fail miserably.

Okay, let’s get going. Damn I already spent 5 minutes deciding what violent thing to say that Wife will do to me. And I didn’t even choose very well. Surely I could have come up with something better. The eye gouging thing just isn’t very believable, is it? But that’s enough of that. We must move on!

All right, first you need to know a bit about ‘The Great Honey Pot Robbery’, so here’s an abridged version of the script …

Tigger: Oh man, some thing just stole my honey while I was asleep.

Kanga: Our’s too!

Roo: Yeah, and I’m gonna kill them good!

Piglet: They also stole my honey and I’m very frightened.

Pooh: Yo, chill, guys!

Rabbit: No way, man. We aint gonna chill nothin! These mofos think they can waltz up and steal our honey?! Not on my watch!

Tigger: What we gonna do?

Rabbit: No worries. Here’s some elaborate traps and stuff.

*Later*

Tigger: Yo, Rabbit. Your traps didn’t work!

Piglet: But at least we got a look at the criminals. It was the heffalumps and woozels.

Roo: And I scared them off because I look a bit like a mouse and a heffalump is an elephant, I guess, which means he’s scared of mice … probably?

Rabbit: Yes, those heffalumps and woozels are so dodgy. Let’s get gopher to build us some security.

Gopher: Hey, I’m Gopher! I’ll build stuff and then fall down a hole like I do every single time.

*Gopher builds an anti-honey thief wall around Pooh’s house*

Pooh: You fool, Gopher! My house is secure now, but I can’t get inside.

Gopher: *Falls down hole*

Heffalumps and woozels: We came back with our giant, mean friend, Wooster, to steal ALL the honey and probably beat you up.

Rabbit: Oh no, all my plans failed.

Piglet: We’re doomed! *Prepares to take cyanide pill*

Pooh: Hey, Heff and Wooz and Friend! Come have some honey with me.

Everyone: Say Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?

Wooster: Yeah okay. I don’t need to steal honey. Let’s share it together.

Heff and Wooz: Oh, we aint standing for this BS!

Wooster: Get lost guys. I’m with Pooh and his gang now, and you know I could kick your asses.

Heff and Wooz: Damn, he’s right.

*Everyone except the bad guys enjoy their honey together and they are well happy.*

THE END

So you see? It’s a perfect allegory for the paranoia surrounding terrorism, or the way we choose to react when someone betrays our trust (I couldn’t decide which one works better).

Rabbit is the “tough-on-terrorists”/”don’t trust anyone” kind of guy, and everyone follows him because he has strong convictions and the fearful masses (especially Piglet) are easily lead by his rhetoric. Gopher could be seen as industry itself, showing that there is always money to be made from a culture of fear (home security systems, construction companies building detention centres etc.).

Rabbit’s reaction once threatened is natural, but it’s Pooh that takes the tougher road – fighting cruelty with kindness and generosity. It leaves him and the whole gang highly vulnerable and it could have backfired, but in this case it works. Perhaps Pooh would have accepted it if it HAD backfired. At least he made a choice to try to do the right thing, and not stoop to the level of those making his life a misery.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The Heffalump and Woozel both reject Pooh’s kindness, showing that such an approach isn’t going to work on everyone. And Roo’s aggressive “I’ll destroy you” tactics were also effective – at least temporarily. So the lesson in the episode has a layer of complexity.

In the end though, it’s about a simple choice that we make every day. Life sucks some times, and there will always be people ready to take advantage of you. How we deal with it is up to us.

Do we follow Rabbit, Gopher and Piglet by choosing to become guarded, cynical and frightened but perhaps a little safer – knowing that if everyone made that choice the world would be a bleak place indeed?

Or do we follow Pooh’s example and be forgiving and generous but far more vulnerable – knowing that if everyone made that choice the world would be pretty damn amazing?

"Pfft. Why should I listen to you? You're clearly just one of those Anti Rabbit propagandists."

“Pfft. Why should I listen to you? You’re clearly just one of those Anti Rabbit propagandists.”

Well, that went a bit over time but I think it went okay. Let me know whether or not you were convinced!

More Like This? Try my ramble about Happy Feet or this strangely popular post about Back to the Future.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Things I Hate (Chapter 1)

I like to think I keep things fairly positive on this blog.

An accurate pictoral representation of my blog.

Lee Lee and the Bee

But that’s all about to change. I’ve been keeping some things pent up inside, and I just can’t hold back any longer. There’s only so much one man can take!

So here we go. Get ready for the angst. Here’s chapter 1 of “things I hate” …

1. People failing at helmets

This is stupid …

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This is really stupid …

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But this just makes me want push someone into oncoming traffic …

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I mean look at it. They’re so damn close. That helmet is just one step away from being something worthwhile, yet because of sheer laziness it’s just a useless piece of plastic and foam balancing precariously on top of their fragile brain-housing.

They may as well be riding around with a puppy on their head. At least then, after I got angry I’d be calmed down by the sight of a cute puppy.

2. The number pad switcheroo

Have a look at this …

That’s a standard number pad on a computer keyboard. Now look at this

That’s a number pad from a phone. Notice something?

That’s right. The numbers are reversed!

Infuriating!

Seriously, who’s genius brainwave was it to make sure the number pads on phones and computers were arranged in an exact opposite way? Did someone sit down and decide that no one must ever be able to master typing strings of numbers on both devices? Were they just really amused by the idea that every second of the day there’d be someone out there typing a 7 when they meant to type a 1?

Or perhaps they wanted to make sure they’d still have an excuse for “accidentally” calling phone sex lines.

3. People that turn off ‘Num Lock’

While we’re on the subject, there’s a shared computer that I use weekly and every single week I start tapping away at the number pad like some kind of moron and wonder why the hell no numbers are coming up on my screen. Then I look down and see that Num Lock is off and ask myself …

Why on Earth would anyone do that!?

There is no reason for anyone to turn of Num Lock ever. Everything you can do with it off can be done just as easily elsewhere on the keyboard.

Want to scroll up and down? Use the Page Up and Page Down buttons.

Want to delete something? Use the Delete key.

Want to use arrow keys? USE THE FRICKING ARROW KEYS THAT ARE RIGHT THERE THEY ARE SO CONVENIENT THEY’RE ALL TOGETHER IN ONE SPOT IT’S AMAZING WHY ARE YOU NOT USING THEM YET

Now some people might say, “Yes, but you can type digits elsewhere on the keyboard too, so your argument is invalid.” Those people are wrong. They want to send us all back to the dark ages where we’d hunt around on that stupid little top row searching for the “8” button like some kind of unevolved barbarians.

Don’t let them win, my friends.

4. Aging population problems

“Aging population” is the same as saying “people aren’t dying as much as they used to”, which is the same as saying that you are not going to die as quickly as you would have before.

Only a society that’s determined to put a downer spin on every damn piece of information could manage to find a way to make this seem like a bad thing.

5. People that say “I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist”

No.

Being a major sadsack doesn’t give you some kind of monopoly on reality. All you have is your own perception of reality, just like the rest of us. You may say that your bleak outlook is obviously closer to what the real world is like. But you would say that …

That’s what makes you a f***ing pessimist.

“Whatever, dude. As if I’m going to let a Radiohead fan lecture me on pessimism.”

Well, thank you for humouring me with my rantings.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go work on my anger issues by doing something therapeutic …

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Want more like this? Maybe try my celebration of weird search terms or my semi-rant about the follower counter.

Posted in Just for Laffs | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments