Tom Waits Under Review

Tom_Waits_DVD_Bourbon soaked & nicotine stained, here is a voice that will drag you back into the bar so set ‘em up Joe and have one for yourself.

I remember seeing Tom Waits perform live on Aussie TV back in the late 70s (?) doing Silent Night on The Don Lane Show whilst obviously under the influence and I was gob smacked. Who the hell was this guy? He was no Shirley Strachan or Marc Bolan that’s for sure. It was a few years before I really got into his music but its always been the early stuff – Small Change and Blue Valentine that I really enjoyed so this 2006 documentary about those early days was always going to grab my attention.

With interviews and asides from various colleagues including early producers/collaborators Jerry Yester and Dayton “Bones” Howe plus the usual rock critic/ biographer types who seem to spend most of their time being clever just to justify their high falutin’ pontificatin’ (I’m talking to you Andrew Mueller – what a git!) we get to see the early development and rise of the story teller, naïve child fool, character creator that Waits was back in the early 70s. In an era of guitar strumming singer/songwriter troubadours Waits was creating a beatnik styled, Kerouac influenced, bourbon guzzling, street wise character that was totally at odds with everything else that was going on at the time. Interesting to see how LA influenced both Waits and writer Charles Bukowski and how they both chose to cover the low road, the seedy back streets and working class lives around them rather than the whole Hollywood vibe of sunshine and beautiful people. And both made a mark that still resonates today.

Following Tom’s career through the early years as he developed his persona and his song writing skills we learn just how albums like Small Change, Blue Valentine and Heart Attack & Vine developed, how his voice and style changed and adapted and we get to watch the armchair critics with their dueling tongues and big words trying to justify their existence. I know the ‘rock critic’ is the standard rule of thumb in these sorts of docos but hell it woulda been nice to hear what some of Tom’s peers had to say about him or even some of his friends from that era. On the other hand at least Bono didn’t show up to tell us how Tom influenced U2 so that was one saving grace! It was interesting too to see how the alcohol abuse and the depths to which Waits was dragged to were just skimmed over. No deep and philosophical stuff here, just the facts ma’am, just the facts.

But the worse bit? We are constantly teased with snippets of live clips from the mid 70s that leave you wishing they’d left the critics dueling tongues behind and just given us more of the music. But hell that’s just a personal gripe, really they do cover a lot of ground in an hour and a half it’s purely that it woulda been nice to see more of the man himself instead of the talking heads telling us how good he is. We leave Tom just as he enters the freak/outsider/carny spiel of Rain Dogs and Swordfish Trombone – a new era, a new character and dare I get all rock critic on you – a lot more contrived and bled to death style (well, its 2008 and he’s still doing it)

For those who have discovered Waits more recently this is a nice way to find out where he began. For us older farts it’s a nice reminder of why we dug this far out cat in the first place.

  • Mini Biographies of the “Expert critics”
  • Bone Machine – Bones Howe on working with Tom Waits
  • The Hardest Interactive Tom Waits Quiz in the World Eve

Hunter S. Thompson – Final 24: His Final Hours

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Look, I’ll admit I am a Hunter tragic – hell I even bought Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness (and at full price!) but this documentary/biography is really scraping the barrel, even for me.

With one of those Jonathon Ross style plum-in-mouth narrators that haunt the Discovery/National Geographic world providing commentary, we are treated to Hunter’s final 24 hours being re-enacted as the narrator second guesses a deadman’s mind. Continue reading

Scorsese: My Voyage Through Italian Cinema


Scorsese: My Voyage Through Italian Cinema is a 7 disc box set that gives the viewer a small taste of Italian cinema. This collection combines films from the greats such as Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica and Michelangelo Antonioni. By all means this collection makes only a small dent in the genre as the films of Roberto Rossellini, Cesare Zavattini and Giuseppe De Santis do not appear in this set, (these directors are also considered to be among the major figures in Italian Neorealism). Fear not as Scorsese indulges the viewer in his 246 minute look at Italian films titled My Voyage to ItalyMy Voyage to Italy showcases many films that do not appear in this set, and apart from that is a very interesting watch as Scorsese muses about the profound affect many of these films had on him as a child and how many of these films have inspired his own films. Continue reading

Choccywoccydoodah [Season One]

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I haven’t had my TV set tuned in for about seven years now and it wasn’t until I saw an online article about fan outrage at Coronation Street’s time-slot being taken over by a reality cooking show that I even knew that they had expanded from segments on shows such as Good Morning to Survivor-style shows that people love to watch. I can’t think of anything more boring than watching people cook or battling/having cooking wars, but one area of these types of shows does intrigue me: shows about patisseries and chocolatiers.

Continue reading

Bobby Fischer Against the World


Bobby Fischer Against the World is a documentary that explores the life of chess Grandmaster Bobby Fischer. You might be thinking “urrrgghhh a chess documentary” but this is not a documentary about chess, it’s a documentary about one man’s journey to becoming the best chess player in the world but at the same time becoming so obsessed by the thing he loved most that he loses his grip on reality.

The film covers Fischer’s rise to chess fame and other aspects of his life, but the core of the film focuses on the 1972 match between USSR World Champion Boris Spassky which was hyped and broadcast as a Cold War battle. Bobby wasn’t just winning a chess title, he was out to give the Ruskie the finger and prove America’s greatness… kinda like the plot of Rocky IV. It really is a piece of theater to watch as Bobby turns up late, gets in a huff about noise and makes a huge rookie mistake, but Spassky also starts in with the drama as he thinks that there are devices in the room causing him to lose focus. In 1975 Fischer lost the title by default and faded into obscurity but it doesn’t end there! 17 years later Fischer became a fugitive and was exiled by the US government because he broke UN regulations and had a rematch with Spassky in Yugoslavia (there was an embargo on sporting/economic activities in Yugoslavia at that time).

If you thought the media was at their worst with Britney Spears, well they were fiends for Bobby Fischer. I was born in 1986, Chinese checkers was the chess of my youth, so it was unreal for me to see the media and the general public go completely ape over chess and a goofy looking guy who made it “sexy”. I mean the reaction and the attention that match generated was something more suited to a world title boxing match. Obviously this had a lot to do with the political climate but man I don’t think a chess game between Obama and Gordon Brown could create that much excitement and interest today. And to think all this attention was before Fischer started looking like Grizzly Adams and became more vocal about his antisemitism (despite the fact that he was Jewish!).

A well made documentary that tells an exceptionally bizarre and fascinating story. Regardless of whether you are a chess fan or not it’s really worth checking out as it deals with obsession, genius, human tragedy and captures an intriguing cultural/political climate. If you’re not into eccentric characters then the documentary might not hold your attention but it’s worth checking out to see how much of a cultural impact chess had at the time.


There’s also a whole heap of extras (25 minutes worth) to round out an already awesome release. The two most noteworthy being The Fight for Fischer’s Estate (7.04) which tells of the efforts of those who tried to claim his two-million dollar estate and Chess History (5.04) which explains the origins of chess and has some interviews with some pretty big names from the chess world. Taking on the Grand Master (1.39) sees Sunday Times Online Culture Editor takes on a Grand Master, basically a filler and there’s also an 8 minute documentary by some London Film School students called Kings in the Ring about chess boxers.

Bobby Fischer Against the World is available on R4 DVD from Madman Entertainment. 

Killer Condom

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Based on a comic book by gay German artist Ralf König, Killer Condom is a deadpan horror / comedy that pokes fun at religion and politics while blatantly flaunting its pro-homosexual stance.

Sicilian born Luigi Mackeroni (Udo Samel, star of Herzog’s Kaspar Hauser and a coupla Michael Haneke flicks among other things) is a hardboiled, chain-smoking (even in the shower), trench coat-wearing detective patrolling the filthy, crime-ridden streets of New York… he also happens to be a flaming fag and has one of the biggest cocks around. Continue reading



When I was maybe eleven or twelve my mate Barry’s parents had the soundtrack to this movie Stone. They were more country and western fans so I’m guessing it was left over after a party. There were a lot of parties back then. We always found cigarettes and beer and shit like that, plus records, there were always records left behind, Stone was one of them I’m sure. And we dug it. On the cover was this skull in a digger’s hat and on the record was this weird ass music with didgeridoos and guitars and chaos and power and man, I used to go over to Barry’s everyday to hear that record. We had no idea what the movie was really about and it would be years before I saw it but that soundtrack gave me a taste and when I finally did see Stone, I wasn’t disappointed. Continue reading

Oriana Small aka Ashley Blue Interview


Crimson Celluloid: As a fellow devotee of sleaze what, to you, is the difference between good sleaze and bad sleaze?

Ashley Blue: Sleaze is always good. Bad sleaze is just good sleaze, and therefore redundant. The more someone grosses me out, the cooler that shit is. The only bad in the world is the boring.

You were justifiably known as the “queen of extreme” in porn, a woman who would try pretty much anything once. Was there ever a time you thought “I’ve gone too far” or “this is going to kill me?”.

Yes, when I did my first gang bang. Seven cocks roughed me up and ripped my holes until I was just obliterated in a wheel barrel. The movie is called, Seven the Hard Way, Red Light District produced it. Great sleaze in that one!

Despite your willingness to try almost anything you draw the line at being involved with Muslims (judging by a cool interview I saw)…this made me fall in love with you a little bit more. Where did this vehement hatred come from?

I was an angry teenager growing up. Then I started porn at age 20, so I was still an angry teenager at heart. I hated my mom and dad, my entire family. I was resentful that my dad ignored me and my mom was a drug addict. I had a lot of energy to put into my scenes that came from my emotions inside.

I had the pleasure of meeting Max Hardcore, he worked with you early on and spoke highly of you. What memories do you have of the experience? Like you, he has a public persona of being an extreme individual but, in his private life, is one of the nicest people you’d ever meet.

Max Hardcore is my friend. He is a porno icon and innovative performer. He has shown me, and the world many things we still practice, such as: upside down face fucking, anal gaping, face speculum, as well as various other uses for a speculum.

Are people surprised when they meet you how “normal” you are? What kind of feedback do you get from fans/fetishists? Any weird/scary encounters?

Sometimes I get letters from prisons. That’s always a little scary.

You must have met some real bottom-feeders (all rimming jokes aside) in the porn industry. Dish the dirt on the people you love and hate in the industry.

I love them all. For every flaw and perfect imperfection. Porno People are so fun. Never a dull moment

You were refreshingly honest and open in your great book Girlvert no sugar-coating, some embarrassing truths, a wonderful author pic of you with your fist in your mouth (when was the last time you saw that on a Stephen King book….or wanted to see that on a Stephen King book?!!)…it’s hard to imagine you left anything out…what kind of feedback have you received on the book? Did you leave anything out?

Thank you! I am so honored to even be mentioned in the same sentence of such a great writer. My book’s feedback has been very supportive and I couldn’t be happier with the response from women, feminists, men, porn fans and other non-sex industry people. Thanks guys!

You sometimes personally enclose locks of your pubic hair with signed books (an idea I believe you stole from John Grisham)….this is a nice touch. Will the follow-up book contain bodily-fluids?

I didn’t know John Grisham did that! Sweet 🙂 I love The Firm. I don’t know though, if the right edition and limited art run happens, I promise to include a personal piece of filth.

If you were to initiate someone into the world of Ashley Blue, which films would you recommend they watch and why? Which films are your favourites?

It’s very easy. Just watch the entire Girlvert series from 2-19. Then all the Attention Whores series. White Trash Whore 30 and my Inside The Porn Actor’s Studio special on Howard Stern TV.

What advice would you give someone just off the bus, arriving in Hollywood, with a career in porn in mind?

Guys need a big dick. Girls need to be pretty enough. That is basically it for success.

What is the day-to-day life of Ashley Blue like these days?

I write for Hustler Magazine and review for AVN Magazine. So, I’m writing and working on that, and having a great time with my Husband, Dave Naz.

Promote your blog, hype your book here., @girlvert on twitter and Instagram

Any final words for your Aussie/NZ fans?

It would be so cool to visit your country! Both! I can’t wait! Someday I will 🙂

Order Girlvert: A Porno Memoir here.

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

Spoil-Rock-HunterRockwell Hunter (Tony Randall) writes advertisements for television commercials and the corporation he works for is about to lose a major account from a lipstick company called ‘Stay-Put’. The company needs its product to become a sensation and when Rock sees his niece April (an autograph hunter and president of Rita Marlowe fan club) on TV trying to snap Marlowe’s autograph, Hunter tracks down Marlowe and asks for an endorsement as Marlowe has some “oh-so-kissable lips”. Continue reading

Divine Trash


Divine Trash takes an extensive look into the early career of John Waters. It features stills and clips out of his earliest and rarely seen films such as Hag in a Black Leather Jacket, Roman Candles, Eat Your Makeup, Mondo Trasho, Multiple Maniacs, The Diane Linkletter Story and Dorothy the Kansas City Pothead (a film that was never completed). Apart from these clips and stills, there’s lots of footage of Waters editing his films, talking of how he got the films distributed and the marketing techniques that were used. A large part of the film looks at the problems his films encountered during the making and release/showing of the films and features some funny interviews with Mary Avara the last film censor in America. Continue reading