A Study Of A Pilton Field.

In a dilemma about what to see at Glasto? Clashfinder confused you even further? There’s plenty you WANT to see, but it’s physically impossible to see EVERYTHING? (A great shame).

Well worry no further, for here are my recommendations for Glastonbury 2010, including the big and the small, what to avoid, the unmissable, and the “go and see if you have bugger all else to do”. The latter being a dismal prospect as there should always be something to do on Worthy Farm.

(Dear lord, I am so excited)

Since the music starts (sort of) on Thursday, let us, too, start there. Having said that, there are minimal acts, therefore a very small proportion are actually good, so I give you Beardyman.

A beatboxer with a wicked sense of humour, how could you not want to see him? Hopefully he’ll come in full kitchen regalia, including wig. He’s performing on the WOW! stage at around the 8 o’clock. Miss him and you’ll have to watch Boy George afterwards. Unlucky. Also on Thursday, Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs are starting things off, at 1pm on the Pyramid Stage. Yes really. Not hugely known for their variance from song to song, they categorise themselves as “skunk” – a fusion of punk and skiffle. They are, however, a lot of fun, and a good way to start your Thursday at Glastonbury off. Try after an incredible breakfast from Veggie Heaven, just next to the Other Stage.

Friday – This is where it starts to get really interesting. And messy. We are all, of course, ecstatic that U2 are no longer performing – I thought they pulled out because they suck (therefore no one would go to see them), but apparently it’s to do with Bono’s health or something else that no one cares about. As a replacement, we have the wonderful Gorillaz, who I thought were just a small side project. But no, they are EPIC. This will be an epic performance, including many guests and potentially Damon Albarn crying again, although the latter is probably unlikely. Have a peek at their performance on Jools Holland, and if you’re poor, their latest album (+backcatalogue) resides on Spotify.

Also on Friday, may I recommend Hot Chip (their new album is WINNING), Seth Lakeman (I LOVE HIM, on at Croissant Neuf), Simian Mobile Disco and Boys Noize. This last chap is a German electro DJ, and awesome. He’s on last thing on Dance West, just after Simian, and definitely worth exploring.

Saturday – Muse suck so no one’s going to see them. It seems it’ll all be happening on what they are this year calling “West Holts”, which is in fact the Jazz World stage. Let’s just call it Jazz World. Everyone KNOWS it as Jazz World. It might not all be jazz, but at least it says “stuff here may be controversial”. Anyway, George Clinton is bringing his two bands, Parliament and Funkadelic, to it that evening, and although they seem to get a groove on and stick to the same melody/rhythm/tune for the next five minutes, it will still be much more fun than “I have to be so bloody epic all the time” Muse.

Also for Saturday… Seasick Steve is on the Pyramid, though I’d rather see him in some ranch in the middle of America I think (should be good though!). Devendra Banhart could be an option if there’s nothing else to see, along with Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra – both on West Holts. Which means pint of strawberry cider at the same time. The Unthanks turn up on the Avalon Stage (very folky, very good), and and and – the band I am most excited about for Saturday – The National! On for a mere hour on t’Other Stage, they should suitably sap all the happiness from you, and leave you with a mellow, realistic look on the world for a few moments after. And then The Cribs take over (I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THESE WAKEFIELD WEIRDOS) and you shall be shaken back to reality, and will run far, far away from the Other Stage.

Sunday – As has previously been said, you can see Stevie, but he will not be seeing you. There’s even been a somewhat impractical suggestion of braille flags so there’s a chance he can get on-board with the waving flag vibe. Though it may be impractical, the suggestion did tickle me somewhat. Anyway, Stevie Wonder is to be the highlight of Sunday (he’s just too cool to miss, surely?), along with Faithless just before him. A few hours in front of the Pyramid Stage means time for wedges and pint, and you can get your groove on some electronica before singing along with everyone else to ‘Isn’t She Lovely?’ with Mr Wonder.

Sunday also includes LCD Soundsystem, Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Grizzly Bear for your enjoyment, although most of them clash (told you it got messy), and you DO have to weigh up which is better to see based on value for money, how regularly they perform, if you will ever see them again, and if it’s worth missing one of the other bands.  A great shame.

Generally speaking, the idea seems to be to avoid the main stages unless there’s something AWESOME on (as they get hideously busy and don’t seem to offer good quality music), look for the smaller things, have a handful of Definites, some Maybes, and use the rest of the time to experience something you’ve never done before.


Mezzo Forte Monday – dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip.

Gig time!

Saturday evening (the 27th to be exact) saw myself and Mr Thomas J Bench Esq. returning to the place of our first meeting, the Academy (not exactly romantic but “so us”) in Bristol, this time to see hip hop/rap/spoken word duo dan le sac Vs. Scroobius Pip, supported by Sound Of Rum and B. Dolan. The headliners I had first seen at Glastonbury last year – and a marvellous performance it was too – but I hadn’t even looked into the two other acts. An unusual choice of gig, one may be allowed to think, considering my usual tastes, but this was one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve been to in a long time, and it was rather rejuvenating (to my musical views) to attend something so completely different but still have an excellent time anyway.

The Academy is an odd venue I find – not exactly soulless but has the potential to be, being a chain and having a small range of drinks with big price tags – but the different levels (three or four to be exact) make for a dynamic space, and it’s actually quite nice to be able to choose your view, instead of having to stand behind huge people and act like sardines for the whole evening. I’m not a huge fan of sticking to floors, which is what happened as soon as we entered the building, or of finding vomit in the bathroom so early in the night (it was about 9pm!), but other than that, The Academy in Bristol is one of my prefered venues I think. That week it had also hosted Paloma Faith and Trivium, which, I assume, no one would want to go to (I’m only assuming this as I would like to assume whoever is reading this has taste as good as myself), but it is also good to find a venue that isn’t pretentious and appeals to a range of demographics. That said, they could have chosen slightly better musicians…

So. Sound Of Rum. Who are they? Where are they going? What are they… about? To begin with, it looked like some bird who hadn’t exactly dressed for the occasion with a guitarist who needed a haircut and a drummer who was a little out of sight. And then she started some spoken word piece, to introduce everything, and this is when you think “Oh god no.” HOWEVER, it was a very good performance. Rapper Kate Tempest started off a little apprehensive (it is a deceptively large venue methinks), but soon got into the evening and they had good tunes with some — things to say. I was particularly impressed by Ms Tempest, as usually females in bands can either be really good or really hideous (potentially a naive and sexist view but I’d much rather see a guitar played by Yan than by Abi, for a Sea Power example), but the front lady was most definitely the former. The only bad thing about it could be the speed of the lyric deliver and the level of volume of the sound meant the words couldn’t always be heard – and this, one surmises, is quite a large part of the whole rap thing – but aside from that there was stacks of energy, lots of enthusiasm, a well-together band and good feedback from the crowd. A success I feel!

Now. B Dolan is an interesting character. Another one of those “oh god no” moments occurred when some guy in a boiler suit, wearing a George Bush mask, strolled onto the stage, played a backing track and started rapping. But Mr Dolan does not seem to take himself to seriously, which is a blessing when it comes to music (or any art form really. Actually maybe life in general), so when he started a somewhat controversial number about his intense hate of Justin Timberlake (lyrics were absolutely genius here), and how he hoped “JT” caught Aids and died (he’s as abrasive as Nicky Wire! Although it seemed like he meant it more than Wire boy), the crowd was in stitches – not aghast or shocked – but laughing ridiculously large amounts. It was hilarious. (If anyone is interested, it can be found here: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=5917337&blogId=471482674) He, too, had stacks of confidence and looked like he was having a good time – another popular act methinks.

dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip, in all their prophetic glory, were awesome. Such entertainers, and with such chemistry between each other and with the crowd, everyone seemed to enjoy their performance. Scroobius Pip made a special mention to local music “legend” Jeff – if you’ve been to a few gigs in Bristol, he’s the chap who is always at the front with masses of curly blonde hair, not caring about potential brain, ear or neck damage. He is good for the Bristol music scene, as, even if you are the most unpopular of bands, Jeff will always be there having a good time at the front. Mr Pip even mentioned that if Jeff were to run for the local elections, he would be voted in. dan and Pip started with one of my favourites of theirs ‘The Beat That my Heart Skipped’, and played an excellent mix of things from their first album with things from their second. I find their second possibly a little more commercial (for once this is not a criticism), and I also think they are better in concert than on cd. Their personas are needed to bring the life into the music and lyrics, and this was so well done the crowd were loving it. I haven’t seen a crowd that good in years. They also played a track from their new album called ‘The Beat’, which I saw performed at Glastonbury, in which Mr Pip encouraged the entire crowd to “get moving”, and he found the Bristol crowd the most responsive to that track on the tour. This was potentially due to a couple becoming engaged just before, as one of them had asked the front man to ask the question. Again, not exactly romantic, but I would assume it’s very “them”, and there was a genuine sense of joy in the evening.

As usual, public transport cut short out evening of music, but I think we only missed a few songs. At a mere £12.50 per ticket, it was definitely worth it, and how often is it that someone enjoys a whole evening of a genre they barely know about, with three bands, two of whom they’ve never heard of? This is a rarity for me. Good job rappers and rapperess!

Mezzo Forte Thursday – Broken Bells

Their album, with the same name as the artist, is the collaboration project between Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) and James Mercer from The Shins, and speculation, since the announcement of the project, has been the results will be good, if not amazing. However, this is an album I cannot work out. Is it really brilliant? Really awful? Just average? It makes no sense to me.

To begin with, it’s immediately palatable to the ear. Usually this is a bad sign – there’s no need to acquire a taste, so will it get boring very quickly? Or will it be accessable to a lot of demographics and therefore a universal hit? Things you need to really listen to, to get into last for a lot longer I find, but currently that looks like it won’t happen with Broken Bells.

There seems to be a far degree of variance in the first few tracks, but the second half does generally seem to roll into one long piece with no real stand-out numbers, although it does revive itself a little at the end with ‘The Mall and Misery. On the plus side, the tracks are not hideously boring and long, with the album running for around 35 minutes. The first track, ‘The High Road’, also the first single, has an excellent vocal line (probably the best part about it), but is slightly reminiscent of generic radio/early landfill indie songs that occur in the background but you never really listen to. This isn’t help by the fact it was heard in the Co-Op when shopping. I found most of the early songs seemed to remind me of something else – ‘Vaporize’ having hints of late-90s Manics, track 4 ‘The Ghost Inside’ something like Damon Albarn might feature in a side project run by cartoon members (having said that, this was my favourite song on the album), and ‘Sailing To Nowhere’ hideously 90s-pop.

I didn’t find this album as wonderful as everyone has been saying it is. It bored me a little, which was disappointing, but perhaps it’ll age well. It sounds pretty good, in that it’s not noise rock, it’s not heavy metal – it’s pretty easy-going really, but it’s just not that interesting. It feels like it could be a good ‘party album’, in that you’d say to a friend “Oh I know this track, who is it though?”, someone might mention it’s Broken Bells, but you would not then start discussing the band and their musical merits. I feel there could be a second album, but I don’t think I shall be listening to it.

Playing/Performance/Sound – 8.5/10

Originality – 5/10

As a collection – 6/10

Overall – 6.5/10

Mezzo Forte Wednesday – SeeTickets and Others Ticketing Agenices

SeeTickets are scum. It’s official. It has been stated so. They are thieving bastards who can make any amount of money they want to on any ticket they want because, much like Sainsburys or Tesco, people KNOW them. They appear to be reliable and safe. They have stacks of people working for them and are putting the smaller places (like Bristol Ticket Shop, for example), wildly out of business.

How is it fair that SeeTickets can state quite openly on their website:

British Sea Power – Komedia, Bath – Face Value – £12.50. You pay – £14.25. Transaction Fee – £1.50

(And that’s not even including Postage) Thus meaning for two dedicated souls to attend a performance by one of their favourite bands, £30 is exchanged, instead of the £25 it morally should be. I can buy tickets from the bloody venue! Or online, or over the phone – SeeTickets is not needed. They really are scum, and if they make £5 profit from two tickets, and the venue sells out for such a performance, that means SeeTickets have made thousands. On one gig. If they are not needed, then how is this possible? Also, transaction fees appear to change from gig to gig – if there is a £1.50 transaction fee on a gig in Bath, this means there will be a £4.80 fee for gigs in London. And the London tickets also cost more. How is it possible to justify that?! THAT BUYS A PINT AT THE GIG.

Why is it physically impossible to actually GET the tickets FOR the FACE VALUE? This hardly happens for anything other than contemporary music gigs, and it’s insanely not cool. And why state the face value of the ticket if it has no relevance to begin with? They might as well write “Face Value is this, but we wish for huge bonuses, so really, it’s this“. And what is a Handling Fee? I don’t understand why they need so many separate fees. It makes no sense. Why not just absorb all fees into the ticket price and then say “It’s this”, thus taking the sting out of all the fees put together.

Aside from SeeTickets and others stealing money for no apparent reason, the former are also lacking greatly in customer service and good service in general. Obviously this ranges from employee to employee, just like anything, but in a recent article read, one customer ordered SIX tickets to a gig, but SeeTickets quadrupled this, thus making an order of 24 (when the maximum amount allowed to be ordered is apparently only 6 per person anyway…), and when phoning the company to state what had gone wrong and that he only needed 6 tickets, not 24, SeeTickets promptly cancelled all orders – but the money had already been drained from his bank account. And by the time he went to, somewhat angrily, re-order tickets later, the gig had already sold out. It has also been frequently reported on that they have sent out tickets late to gigs (seriously, what the fuck is the point in doing this?) in the past (and probably in the future too), and to one irate customer stated “Put it in perspective, it’s only a band. My friend died last month.” Freaking AWESOME customer service.

How the choose to deliver their tickets is another point of contempt. They use a courier service called SMS, and so often they will send their courier thus and he/she will rock up to your house at 3pm. Who, unless you’re a student, is in at 3pm? SeeTickets appear to assume that all gig-goers are jobless, and when they are unable to deliver tickets, they don’t end up at the sorting office like EVERYONE ELSE WHO USES RECORDED DELIVER. No no, you have to rearrange the delivery, for another day that you won’t be there, and this process has to be carried out a few whole days before the event or it won’t get there on time. On one previous occasion, I had to travel to Bath at 6am, spend the whole day waiting at my house for the tickets to arrive around 4.30pm, and then zoom to Southampton for a gig. All because they just couldn’t possibly deliver to where I was actually living (during the summer holidays) at such short notice. Bastards. Similarly, if the tickets cannot be delivered in time, customers have been told to pick them up at the venue – which should be ok and all that, but why should they have to pay postage if such a thing is going to happen?

There are alternatives to SeeTickets, although some of these still offer up some controversy – WeGotTickets appears to be on a 50/50 with customers, in that some say they’ve never had any problems, some say it is as bad as SeeTickets. WGT offer “Less in the way of fees and fuss,” apparently.  Obviously the ideal is to book through the venue, and this can usually be done in person, on the phone or online – although, as recently discovered, it does not help if the venue (Bath Komedia) does not have a physical box office.

Out of everything I’ve read, I’ve found thousands (almost the amount SeeTickets make on a single concert!) of people stating their woes and anger with the company, and only a handful (which is what Bristol Ticket Shop, or Stargreen, for example, could make morally and realistically on a gig) saying they’ve had good service. So if they provide bad service and extortionate prices, why do people continue to use them? There are some cases, like Glastonbury for example, where the only place you can get tickets IS SeeTickets, and the price added on then seems to get lost in the overall fee, as it is so big. But if people would just be aware that there are alternatives, we can go straight to the venue (through person, phone, internet – whichever), or through a smaller local ticketing agency, then the fees will be minute (if in existence), everyone can afford a pint, you would feel less cheated, and, best of all, people doing an unnecessary job would not be funded to continue down that road. A great day for everyone no? People do not seem to be people to them, just a way of making money. And when it’s a huge thing like the future of music at stake, how is it morally right to make such huge profits out of a delicate industry of a wonderful art form?

Mezzo Forte Monday, Pt 2.

The Meaning Of Music

Did you know the playing time of ‘The Holy Bible’ (original 1994 release) is a mere 56 minutes and 17 seconds? ‘Ok Computer’ being 53:27, and ‘Rumours’ only 39:03. Looking further back, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ ends at just past 30 minutes and ‘Elvis Presley’ only 28:03. Not that this is a comparison between the length of songs/albums in different decades, but it is amusing to contextualise sometimes.

Anyway, the point was that while the playing time, out of context of the fact it is an album, seems quite small, the meaning can be huge. Huge! And if it’s a good album, it frequently is. Songs hang around for days in my head, usually cropping up at the most unlikely of times, and if it’s a song that “grabs” me immediately (Kraftwerk’s ‘The Man Machine’ and Delays ‘Tonite’ being recent examples), I will listen to it repeatedly until I can’t anymore. Idiotic I know, as I potentially ruin some amazing songs. At least there are others out there.

Being in physical form, music will also be visible for years, and giving you the ability to handle it. Artwork adds a lot to each album, which is why it’s quite a shame no one buys hard copies anymore, unless it’s a really special occasion (like a new Sea Power album). I feel this sort of diminishes the value of music – as a package I mean – as sometimes you get the lyrics, sometimes pictures, sometimes just some detail that is intrinsic to the album itself, so as a majority the fact that most music comes (or is available) digitally is a negative thing, but the silver lining could be that it means you scrap away the outer layers and get to have an uninfluenced version of the music, unbiased from the artwork surrounding the album. And it really is about the music then, and nothing much else. It certainly is more convenient coming in digital form, seeing as technology is all geared towards that nowadays, but it is much more pleasant having a slice of vinyl to play rather than an MP3 file or similar. A shame but that’s how things seem to rock at the present moment.

Obviously the digital format leads to the illegal downloading argument, which is a huge other topic to cover – not now – but while the artist should be concerned with “what they are owed”, should they not also be concerned that music is an art form, and therefore the money is just a secondary bonus and not something to make music for? It is a very good thing that people wish to listen at all, the fact some want to pay you money for it is even better. And if they really like you, I’m sure they will. Which is why you end up with Lily Allen stating how bad file sharing is (clearly no one wishes to pay for her god awful excuse for music…), and then people like Ed O’Brien saying the opposite, and urging people to “Move quicker” to get over such an issue. And yes I am aware of Radiohead being a huge band and therefore it is unlikely they will ever be struggling like  small band at the moment.

One of my favourite things about music is when you inadvertently are listening to it a-plenty at some significant moment, or on holiday or with a particular friend or something – and whenever you play it after, it reminds you of the feeling you had at the time. I don’t think anything else does that in quite the same way music does, which makes it even more special.

I suppose it really depends how much music means to you – whether you don’t care at all, whether it’s something just to have on in the background to break the silence at an awkward supper, or whether it near enough consumes your life and it’s always there. Even so, in twenty years time, if you play ”, the likelihood is that everyone will remember, and it will be sticking around for a lot longer than the 3 or 4 minutes it took you to play it. Music has longevity, so perhaps we should not be so illegal with it.

Mezzo Forte Monday, Pt 1.

Where Did They Go Wrong?

My cynical view on all musical ventures this week points, much like the gleaming eye of Sauron, to the intellectual, and somewhat frequently misunderstood, souls that make up the Manic Street Preachers.

Having mildly forgotten them for a few years, a close contemporary of mine, Mr Thomas J Bench Esq (who has earned the right to this title, as he is attending a wine tasting tomorrow), enthused about me making him a Manics-themed playlist, thinking this would be a much more personal insight to the back catalogue of this rather odd band. Despite the aforementioned Bench insisting James Dean Bradfield “screams” on too many occasions, and deems them, as a band, acceptable (not a compliment from him), this was a good opportunity to re-live the panda-eyed days of when you first discover the truthful, gritty, desolate, (maybe a little gloomy?), and incredibly realistic view the songs of these Welsh poets and musicians take. And you realise, when it gets to listening to the ‘Holy Bible’, for the 14th night running, and you think you begin to understand Richey, and you think the lyrics “speak to you”, that life is, actually, fantastic. Not depressing, fantastic.

And then you get to this age, and you think “… Aw… How infantile.”

HOWEVER. The musical merit is still there, and it attracts a plethora of fans. My least favourite being the 40-year-old males at the gigs, who should be at home with their wife and kids and not pushing me aside to get to the front (especially not when they could sit on you and kill you), not thinking it’s ok to abuse other gig goers (we all want to see Nicky Wire in a dress don’t we…), and especially not in bloody leather jackets. Aside from them looking ridiculous, the amount of sweat produced by every adoring fan gets passed from person to person, thus making leather stick, thus making lots of pain. Idiots. Aside from the pain of getting your lungs crushed and having literally toe-space to stand on. Having said that, they still were lots of fun.

I’m tempted to say their lyrics make the band. Their subject material is out of this world – who would write a song that sampled a quote from the Nuremberg Trials at the start? Can you really reference more ’80s phenomenons than they do in ‘Patrick Bateman’? No, you can’t, because you are neither Nicky Wire or Richey Edwards. I am of the opinion I learnt more through the Manics than through the education system, leading me on the read up about everything they wrote about, and inspiring me far more than school or university ever did or ever could do.  So technically I have an awful lot to thank them for, but similarly if they actually DID something with their music, I would have a hell of a lot more.  I am so ridiculously SICK of the mundane set up of their songs. The dismal realisation that, yes, it’s yet another Manics album that has interesting subject material (and, let’s face it, much more interesting than anything that’s “in” (charts or otherwise) at the moment, as I really couldn’t care less if some “pop diva” met a bloke and now he’s not interested in her anymore… Oh so boring), BUT HAVE THEY EXPERIMENTED MUSICALLY? Have they bollocks. And it’s so frustrating when you know what they can do and what they have done! Just another collection of “verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, chorus, chorus, end”. Really, it’s just not interesting anymore. And no they are not bloody “back on form”, which is a quote I read every single time a new Manics album is out, but then again I wouldn’t wish for them to break up. But I feel I am “done”, whereas new music from them is concerned – I am quite happy with what they’ve already offered to the world. Similarly, I am done with seeing the hits played at gigs. I wish for rarities! So much more exciting than hearing the intro to ‘A Design For Life’, again.

On the plus side, they can also do this:

And this:

And even this!

I feel perhaps that I am disappointed in the somewhat less inspiring song format they have chosen to take, and that they don’t do seem to do anything with their music. Maybe their early albums hinted that they would? Maybe they should have packed it in a long time ago? Maybe I missed out properly on when they were really there, but it’s not all doom and gloom – there are some other exceptional bands in existence (YES REALLY), and methinks the Manics only need to hand over to them now.

Hello Sea Power!

Basterds of the Inglourious Nature.

I cannot believe it took me until last Tuesday to first see this. It’s like ‘Pulp Fiction’ but with Nazis! So many merits on so many aspects, I have no idea which to divulge into first.

Seeing as I’ve sampled a few pieces here, let’s try music (if you haven’t yet pressed PLAY, you’re a fool. Get on it) Usually I’m not a fan of injecting contextualised films with contemporary instruments (such as in ‘Sharpe’ – the electric guitar just didn’t seem to fit), but it worked so well here. Is this possibly because the cinematography allowed it to look normal, and not with that slight twinge of colour so as to make it ‘1940’s’? I find this happens in so many British/American films set in the earlier part of the 20th century – ‘The Reader’, ‘Glorious ’39’ and so on – and to be completely honest I find it incredibly patronising. Just because they were living 70 years ago does not mean they didn’t have vibrant colours… You don’t have to make a film look sepia just because the aged photographs look like that now. The score is out of this world too – it’s the first piece of  Ennio Morricone I’ve really enjoyed, and somehow – somehow – it fits brilliantly. In any context, the piece ‘Un Amico’ seems to be a content, even slightly happy, piece, and yet it’s used when everyone’s dying. And it still works. How is this?! It seems to sort of say “Yes I know it’s tragic, but that’s life and it’s happening now so you might as well accept it”, almost like the contentment is one of “there’s no point worrying because there’s nothing I can do to stop it. So panic not.” Beautiful. Just epic. There was a lovely mix of authentic French 1940s ‘hits’, contemporary pieces (how does David Bowie fit in a film about Nazis? Is it because Tarantino is so damn good?), and the score, and I loved every minute of it. Nothing fits like a very satisfying glove more than an appropriate soundtrack. Go musicians!

What now?! So much to talk about! I think we should give time to the acting. I’ve researched a little and discovered most of whom ended up in the cast list were not the first choices of Mr Tarantino. But I think you’ll all agree they did an epic job. As annoying as he can be, Brad Pitt was brilliant. Absolutely, stunningly brilliant. From his brash Southern American tones and temperaments, which he kept going so well throughout the film, even when his character was trying to be Italian (“Bon-jor-no.” Yes Brad.), to his wonderfully unsentimental treatment of the Nazis and his courageous stand against them. And Christoph Waltz – yes yes fucking yes. Evilest man ever maybe? The fact I never want to meet him even as an actor (and probably a normal and nice man), does rather suggest his immense talent at playing this role. I believe he initially declined, stating the role was “unplayable”, but clearly he was lying. Michael Fassbender should also get a special mention, partly because of the name, partly because I loved his character, and partly because he did such a fantastic job with it. Eli Roth as the ‘Bear Jewwww’ was a brilliant idea – he’s so terrifying anyway (and so weird?!), it’s hard to imagine anyone else could have played it as well as he did. All actors made their characters so so believable. I think, obviously aside from Brad Pitt (who seems to be so bloody versatile anyway), Tarantino did very well to work with lesser-known actors, thus making them less typecast and more character based. Well played Quentin. Well played indeed.

I was also impressed with the story line – I haven’t seen many films involving Nazis where the Jews actually fought back. It took a refreshingly new angle on the persecution of the Jews, which I was not expecting and actually liked – even if it’s fictional, it’s nice to believe they were content to accept their ‘fate’ and just get on with it. ‘Tarantino gets lost in a fictional World War 2″ might be true, but there are so many conflicting answers and occurences in history that maybe Tarantino was playing on this, and saying “Would it not be great if…?” This is probably the first film I’ve actually enjoyed that was obviously historically inaccurate – and that never happens. I consider it to be the story telling which made it believable. Films like ‘The Boy In The Stripped Pyjamas’ – so inaccurate it is almost laughable, and that distracted from my full enjoyment of said film, but I found no qualms with ‘Inglourious Basterds’ doing this. It would be awfully good if the three most powerful men of the Third Reich were stupid enough to collect themselves so obviously into one room (sitting targets!), but alas.

In true Tarantino style, his ‘chapters’ featured too, but I find this can be good. Although sometimes he seems to want his films to be books. But it’s a good mini break and a good catch-up for the not-so-intelligent-viewer. The only thing I didn’t like was the amount of gore involved (when he says “scalps”, he really means scalps), but I assume this was aiming to be quite realistic, and I’m a bit of a ponce anyway – it’s not an actual criticism of the film.

All in all, there was a general feeling of “this is actually brilliant”, and it’s one of the best I’ve seen in ages. In many ways I hate Tarantino for being this awesome, but then if he didn’t make the films there would be nothing to view, and it’s awfully relieving to know that films of this calibre can still be made today. Very good work!