This week I’ve been mostly…

…amusing myself by watching David Mitchell and Sean Lock combining wit, snidery and poor taste on YouTube.

A pair of veritable geniuses. Absolutely hilarious. I’m not sure whether it’s made more amusing or less by Jimmy Carr’s laughter.

I have nothing much else to report for today. We’re off to see the Scorpions in concernt tonight. Remember the Scorpions? They’re still around!

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Sunday after

Cèilidh went great. Pics and videos may have to wait, there’s a few floating around. Third and final drunken set ended on a bit of a messy note, but Finlandia went nicely.

Food was excellent. Karelian pies with haggis, trifle with Irn Bru jelly and mämmi, and oh man, the millionaire’s shortbread. I stumbled out of there with a box of the stuff. So good. Also won a couple of free drinks in the raffle.

Lots of fun, and no hangover today. Hanging out with the kids and watching cartoons on Netflix.

That is all. Another bullshit crazy week coming up.

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Helsinki ilman natseja

I found out recently that this is happening – the Helsinki version of the protest and counter-protest that took place in Tampere. “Helsinki Without Nazis“.

It’s taking place on Finland’s Independence Day on the 6th of December, and is set to coincide with a bunch of right-wing marches and demonstrations:


 

No far-right on the streets of Helsinki!

On independence day 6.12. this year there will be multiple far-right events in Helsinki. The 612 torch-lit march is once again gathering far-right operatives to march for the organizing parties’ political goals. The Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), who are currently waiting for the court ruling of their disbandment, are anonymously organizing a nordic nazi march similar to last year’s event. The NRM aims to violently limit the freedom of speech of anyone who opposes them, as well as decline the human rights of the groups that they hate. In september 2016, NRM activist Jesse Torniainen assaulted a passerby who criticized the organization with fatal consequences during their demonstration.

Even though the 612 march aims to present itself as moderately patriotic, there are various far-right and fascist coordinators working behind the curtains. According to Esa Holappa, the founder and former leader of the NRM’s Finnish branch, the NRM took initiative in organizing the first 612 march in 2014. The 612.fi vice-chairman Jari-Pekka Marin also had no qualm about nazism last year, when he welcomed the nazis to march alongside other “patriots” with open arms. The event has routinely been fronted by Timo Hännikäinen who is the editor-in-chief of the fascist web publication Sarastus. He is infamous for his racist and misogynistic writings.

The 612 march is an attempt to establish a unified far-right front where the NRM, Sarastus, Suomen Sisu and the Finns Party can march together as equals. Finns Party councilman Teemu Lahtinen has been one of the organizers from the get-go, and last year the march was also attended by the leader of the Finns Party Youth. The NRM members joined them after their own march dressed in the organization’s insignia.

Opposing far-right movements is the duty of everyone who values fundamental freedoms, equality and human dignity. Fascism and nazism are not opinions but an insult against humanity. Anti-fascism is a choice for humanity. That is why we’re inviting everyone to the streets to stand up against the far-right this independence day!

Our demonstration doesn’t intend to create a confrontation with the police, but to oppose fascism and nazism with a nonviolent protest.

We ask you not to bring political insignia, national flags or authoritarian symbols to the demonstration.

The demonstration is organized by A-ryhmä and the Left Youth of Helsinki.

The time and place of the meeting as well as the route through downtown Helsinki will be announced later.


I’m mildly-to-seriously interested in attending, although naturally I will be leaving the kids at home and if there’s likely to be conflict – on “many sides” – I’ll be running a goddamn mile. But I’d like to actually stand up in solidarity and show where my loyalties and ideologies lie. No more office-chair condemnation.

I think I’ll take my bagpipes. I didn’t teach myself how to play Finlandia for nothin’.

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

I went to see this movie a few weeks ago with my esteemed moviegoing associates dreameling, Mr. Fahrenheit and The Pas. The reason: A little artsy-schmartsy movie theatre was running the film in memorian of its creator, Tobe Hooper, who died in August. I understand the movie house will be running more vintage classics as time goes by, but this was a fitting tribute.

We practically cosplayed as the Sawyer family.

This was really fun and – considering its age – an excellent film, very much a classic of the cinema and the genre and … okay, it was cheesy and hammily-acted at best and generally old-movie-looking, but it has held up really well. The IMDB page linked above, and the Wikipedia page here, have a lot of fun info about the movie.

For example, John Larroquette (of Boston Legal fame, among many many other things) claimed that his payment for narrating the movie was a marijuana joint. That’s class. And check out the stuff about the mafia front that acted as original film distributor. Holy crap.

tcsm (4)

My main take-away was that the crazy hitchhiker character looked suspiciously like James Franco. Or, you know, his dad or something. Totally tagging Franco for the reboot. The reboot-reboot?

Anyway, this is a true classic and highly enjoyable. According to Mr. Fahrenheit we were the only four people in the theatre who weren’t enjoying the movie ironically, but that might be uncharitable of him to say.

Hooper creates – or so I’m told – great atmospheric and slow-build stories, particularly in his horror. I confess to ignorance, never having really seen much of his stuff (I hadn’t seen this before either, and I haven’t seen any of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre sequels and remakes), but this was definitely a nice build up to a shockingly abrupt and violent series of gory murders (that first appearance of Leatherface with the hammer, bwaaahahaha) and suitably horrible creepy-redneck cannibal family antics. Lots of horror movie tropes in this one, which is fair since this is the one they all came from. The bunch of kids driving out to a secluded cabin (in the woods, indeed), and all the rest. Great stuff.

A lot of the performances were, if massively over the top, actually pretty good. I liked the Franklin character, who started out sort of creepy and unsympathetic and then turned into some kind of voice of reason for the movie. Apparently the actor went full method with it, so his fellow actors thought he was a right penis. But they got over it.

tcsm (5)

“After getting into the old-age makeup, John Dugan [grandpa, at the back] decided that he did not ever want to go through the process again, meaning that all the scenes with him had to be filmed in the same session before he could take the makeup off. This entire process took about 36 hours (five of which which took to put the makeup on), during a brutal summer heat wave where the average temperature was over 100 degrees, with a large portion of it spent filming the dinner scene, with him wearing a heavy suit and necktie, sitting in a room filled with dead animals and rotting food with no air conditioning or electric fans. Everyone later recalled that the stench from the rotting food and people’s body odor was so terrible that some crew members passed out or became sick from the smell. Edwin Neal who played the hitch-hiker claimed: “Filming that scene was the worst time of my life . . . and I had been in Vietnam, with people trying to kill me, so I guess that shows how bad it was.””
– From IMDB

Apparently there is a new prequel piece in the works, an origin story for Leatherface. When I first heard about this I was eye-rollingly amused, wondering just what sort of backstory this guy needed (since this movie, and Psycho, were loosely based on the not-technically-serial-killer-but-still-objectively-awful Ed Gein, we can start with that). After watching the movie, though, I have to say I’ve got a lot of questions that need answering. It might actually be interesting to see.

Or, you know, probably not. But anyway.

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[enter an interesting title for your blog post]

I was totally planning to write a movie review or some other Interesting Thing today, but in the end I opted to get a little bit of extra sleep and a spot of bagpipe practice done today instead (at least that’s the plan). I learned to play a few bars of Finlandia, since I promised the Finnish Scottish Society I would throw a celebratory tune their way at the Cèilidh on Saturday, when they are toasting Finland’s 100th birthday.

So that will be interesting. Let’s hope everyone’s wasted.

In the meantime, nothing much to report.

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Godwinning

I took this test. Guess who I turned out to be?

hitler_figuratively

I mean, write one little series of science fiction stories about an alien species that is massively superior to humans because they embraced eugenics thousands of years ago, and suddenly you’re FIGURATIVELY HITLER.

Apparently it’s possible to break the test and have it admit you’re a perfect angel with no known historical villain counterpart. Mrs. Hatboy achieved such a score which is hardly surprising.

This has been your Wednesday fun-break.

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WOOO

The following is my spoiler-free review of Justice League.

I don’t remember much about Man of Steel, I don’t recall even writing a review of it and can’t find it with a lazy blog search. I remember there was a lot of smashed buildings, a lot of CGI BSTs and a Lex Luthor who was an embarrassment to Gene Hackman. I didn’t hate it but it was pretty lame.

I was drunk and baffled through Batman vs. Superman, but I recall enjoying it even though it was a pretty terrible movie. I had a chortle at Suicide Squad and enjoyed its visuals and sass, although it too was pretty much a mess. And I thought Wonder Woman was great, even though it was spoiled somewhat by overhype and had to shoulder a lot of really heavy expectations. In fact, I enjoyed it more because it stood up under all that excess baggage.

Now we have Justice League, and it looks like DC is finally starting to find its stride. This was a really enjoyable movie (Aquaman! WOOO!), if not quite the BSTs-and-chuckles-fest of Thor: Ragnarok. It was its own thing while still trying a little bit to tap into the Marvel success conduit. It succeeded, I think, without being derivative. It was amusing and entertaining in all the right places, without losing its sombreness.

I understand there were some dramas with Snyder starting the movie and Whedon finishing it, so the dark Snyder colour palette was spiced up in post-production and reshoots, making some of the movie jarringly colourful. It didn’t bother me. Neither did the classically silly villain (fun fact, the band Steppenwolf came a few years before the DC villain of the same name, I’d love to know the story behind that), although Whedon apparently got himself in hot water for liking a tweet criticising the bad guy in this movie. Poor Whedon.

Superstache

Cavill could have shaved off the moustache he grew for his next role before coming in for reshoots though. Wouldn’t that have been cheaper than this abomination? Good luck unseeing that shit, I couldn’t so I fail to see why you should.

All in all, a grand movie. I’m looking forward to seeing the next installments, and a feeling of optimism is a new and worrying thing for DC movies. Stick around for the end-credit teaser for extra nerd-squeals.

See you at Aquaman: The Motion Picture!

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