The Loving Trap

I recently met a woman who is into conspiracy theories. I’m not fond of conspiracy theories (think the Zeitgeist rubbish). Why invent injustice when the world is riddled with very real injustice already? By coincidence (or was it? haha) a week later, I stumbled upon “Living in an Unreal World[below] by famed and brilliant documentary maker Adam Curtis, whose The Trap,The Century of the Self and The Power of Nightmares I had seen and admired. So I decided to check some of his more recent work.

And so it came about that yesterday I watched Bitter Lake and for the first time I was disappointed by Curtis’ work. It struck me as a conspiracy theory film lacking a culprit. Arty and well executed, but a conspiracy theory nonetheless.

So I googled “conspiracy theory” and “Adam Curtis” and found “The Loving Trap[above], a Bitter Lake spoof by a certain Ben Woodhams who described Bitter Lake as the ‘televisual equivalent of a drunken late night Wikipedia binge with pretension for narrative coherence’.

I see Woodhams’ point but remain a loving fan of Curtis’ work.

Klimt and Loos

While researching Gustav Klimt, I thought it was a good idea to watch the film Klimt (2006). It’s a truly silly film, take for example the scene where Gustav Klimt smears a piece of cake in the face of Adolf Loos to solve a dispute over ornament:

Gustav Klimt, responding to Loos’s claim that ornament is crime and having covered the face of Loos in cake:

“What you were just saying is merely ornamental.
Therefore it’s useless and therefore it’s ugly.
However this cake has allowed me to shut your mouth.
Therefore it’s useful, it’s expressive, and above all it’s beautiful.”


“You, Herr Klimt, I forgive.
And you know why I forgive you?
Because at least your paintings are sexual, as all art should be.
The crucifixion for example.
Now what could be more sexual than the crucifixion?”

I’m not sure Loos and Klimt met. But I’m quite certain Loos would not have allowed to be pied like that.

The Jahsonic 1000, from “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” to “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng”

Over the last seven years I have been compiling the Jahsonic 1000, a list of thousand songs I would put on a mixtape if mixtapes were that big. I finished the list a while ago but I only recently made it into a YouTube playlist you can listen to here.


The Jahsonic 1000 (2007-15) is a list of 1000 songs compiled by Jan Willem Geerinck. It was started early 2007 as the World music classics category and concluded in November 2015. Every time Geerinck heard or remembered a recording which he thought fit to be in the Jahsonic 1000, he added it to the category. There were no second thoughts.

The list is not hierarchical and needs to be listened to as a gigantic mixtape put on shuffle, or alternatively, played alphabetically.

Neil Young and Lee Perry are the artists with the highest frequency: both are featured 8 times; they are followed by Serge Gainsbourg (6), Stevie Wonder (5), Herbie Hancock (4), James Brown (4), Kraftwerk (4), Nina Simone (4), Peggy Lee (4), Sylvester (4), The Kinks (4), The Rolling Stones (4) en The Velvet Underground (4).


The first song is “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and the last song is “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng”.

The alphabetical arrangement makes for some interesting juxtapositions. “I’m Not in Love” by 10cc is followed by “I’m Still In Love” by Alton Ellis and there are four songs which start with “California”: “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & the Papas, “California Love” by 2Pac, “California Soul” by Marlena Shaw and “California Über Alles” by the Dead Kennedys.

Three songs start with the phrase “Baby I”: “Baby I Love You So,” “Baby I’m Scared of You” en “Baby, I Love Your Way”. “I Want You Back” and “I Don’t Want You Back” are not far apart, as they are in real life and “Hurt So Bad” and “Hurt So Good” are neighbours. Other neighbours are “Soul Cargo”, “Soul Drummers”, “Soul Finger”, “Soul Fire”, “Soul Makossa”, “Soul Man” and “Soul Sauce.”


RIP Umberto Eco (1932 – 2016)

Umberto Eco was an Italian novelist, essayist and philosopher. He is best known for his bestselling 1980 historical mystery novel The Name of the Rose (which I have never been able to finish, although I did see the film).

The only one of his novels I read was Foucault’s Pendulum, in the summer of 2013 in Turkey, which was great for many reasons, not in the least for mentioning the subject matter that would later make it to the cacopedia.

I’m a big fan of his non-fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed The Search for the Perfect Language, Six Walks in the Fictional Woods, Kant and the Platypus: Essays on Language and Cognition, Inventing the Enemy and The Infinity of Lists.

On On Ugliness deserves special mention, it’s a wonderful book.

And oh yes, I would hate to see the Bibliotheca semiologica curiosa, lunatica, magica, et pneumatica, Umberto Eco’s library which consists entirely of books that describe falsities, dispersed.

Eco’s voice will be missed.

Who is the new Umberto Eco? Who’s the new nobrow genius?

Above is an excerpt from the 2013 documentary Signs & Secrets: The Worlds of Umberto Eco.

P. S. The last survivors of 1932 (in my canon) are Robert Coover, Dušan Makavejev, Dieter Rams, Ernest Ranglin, Paul Virilio, Fernando Arrabal and Stéphane Audran.

RIP Andrzej Żuławski (1940 – 2016)

Andrzej Żuławski (1940 – 2016) was a Polish film director. He is noted for the body horror film Possession (above), a powerful divorce allegory.

In Possession, Mark (played by Sam Neill) returns home to Berlin to find his wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani) is leaving him for an unclear reason.

He initially suspects an affair and snoops on his wife, but he gradually discovers clues that something far stranger is afoot. Instead, his wife leaves him and her lover, Heinrich (Heinz Bennent) for a bizarre experience with a strange tentacle creature.

RIP Jacques Rivette (1928 – 2016)

RIP Jacques Rivette

Above: trailer to Celine and Julie Go Boating.

Celine and Julie Go Boating (French: Céline et Julie vont en bateau) is a 1974 French film directed by Jacques Rivette, often described as surreal in nature. Its plot is non-linear.

Celine and Julie Go Boating is a hypnotic, circular film, which starts slowly with the meeting of Julie (Dominique Labourier), a shy librarian, and Céline (Juliet Berto), a nightclub cabaret artiste, in a library reading room; and ends in a madcap murder mystery involving bloody handprints, time travelapparitions and magic sweets. The film is best known for its playful opening scenes of Julie chasing Céline around Paris; its references (particularly Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Bioy Casares‘s La invención de Morel and Henry James’ stories ‘The Other House‘ and ‘The Romance of Certain Old Clothes‘); and the odd device of the magic sweets. Some viewers have seen in the latter a reference to LSD, although Rivette has denied this.

RIP Ettore Scola (1931 – 2016)

Ettore Scola (1931 – 2016) was an Italian film director.

I remember A Special Day fondly. The story of an oppressed housewife and her gay neighbor who stay at home in Rome and enjoy a moment of tenderness on the day that Hitler visits Mussolini.

And then there was the film Brutti, sporchi e cattivi which literally means Ugly, Dirty and Bad but which was released as Down and Dirty (1976).

There is a scene in that film which I’ll never forget (above).

The background: A large and grotesque family live in an extremely poor bidonville of the periphery of Rome. The protagonist is one-eyed patriarch Giacinto (Manfredi). Four generations of his sons and relatives are cramped together in his shack, managing to get by mainly on thieving and whoring.

The scene: One night, a distant family member comes to the shack, sees the buttocks of the sleeping girlfriend of the patriarch, pulls down her underpants and starts to fuck her from behind. When she turns around and asks him quizzically “who are you?”, he answers reassuringly, “I am one from the house.” Whereafter he continues to fuck her (I believe).