'Popular culture is the new Babylon...

by tosca on Saturday, April 3, 2010

...into which so much art and intellect now flow. It is our imperial sex theater, supreme temple of the western eye. We live in the age of idols.'
~ Camilla Paglia

Title: Inventory : 16 films featuring manic pixie dream girls, 10 great songs nearly ruined by saxophone, and 100 more obsessively specific pop-culture lists
Author: By the writers of the A.V. Club (foreword by Chuck 'Chuck Klosterman' Klosterman)
ISBN: 9781416594734
Publisher: Scribner
Year: 2009
Summary: This book treats pop culture with a healthy mix of reverence and cheek, exploring the best and worst of film, television, music, books and games. -- From back cover.

Read this book on your own. That's about the only advice I can give, really. You will scream chortle, giggle until you choke, guffaw, wheeze until you expire, sigh, spray coke out of your nose, snicker, belly laugh until you cry, gasp, pee your pants, wince, hoot and holler. Not necessarily in that order. And you certainly won't want people around to see your reactions.

The very talented writers of the A.V. Club have compiled pop-culture lists that are so specific in some instances you'll wonder why the heck you never thought of them yourself, or perhaps wonder why some sicko would think of them in the first place. The oddball part of it is, I found myself agreeing with quite a bit of the content, and wow are there some obscure books/films I'd forgotten I'd ever read/seen and am sure I never want to read/see again. How can I resist a list such as 'Keanu Reeves movies somehow not ruined by Keanu Reeves'? Hey may look hot but whenever I watch his movies I feel like I'm watching a wooden puppet who delivers everything in the same deadpan monotone and I'm always looking for the strings. That's not to take away from his movies, hell no, some of them are pure effing genius (look at The Matrix) but whether that's about the writing or the fact that he looks hawt in leather I can't tell.

If I had to name a favourite list it would be, without a doubt, 'Play it again, only better: 14 cover songs that outdo the originals':
1. Stevie Wonder - We can work it out (originally by The Beatles)
2. Bryan Ferry - It's my party (originally by Lesley Gore)
3. The Blind Boys of Alabama - Way down in the hole (Tom Waits' gospel song)
4. Ike & Tina Turner - Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
5. The Who - Summertime blues (originally by Eddie Cochran)
6. Elvis Costello - (What's so funny 'bout) Peace, love and understanding (originally by Nick Lowe)
7. The Mountain Goats - The Sign (originally by Ace of Base) - certainly more funny!
8. Self - What a fool believes (originally by Kenny Loggins, covered by The Doobie Brothers)
9. Elvis Presley - Hey Jude (originally by The Beatles)
10. Naked Eyes - (There's) Always something there to remind me (originally by Lou Johnson, covered by Sandie Shaw)
11. Jimi Hendrix - All along the watchtower (originally by Bob Dylan)
12. Jackie Wilson - Light my fire (originally by The Doors, covered by Jose Feliciano) - I disagree. I think Feliciano's version is nicer than Wilson's
13. Devo - (Can't get no) Satisfaction (originally by The Rolling Stones)
14. Langley Schools Music Project - Desperado (originally by The Eagles) - oh, no way! Definitely like the original better :) If you get the chance, watch the Langley Schools doco (it's on YouTube) because it's effing good. For real.

A few other lists that are my second bests are:
* Doesn't anybody fucking knock anymore?: 16 tragic instances of movie masturbation
* Tell me a tune: 26 songs that work as short stories
* Achtung BJ: 9 lyrics from U2's 'Achtung Baby' that might be about oral sex
* Rare reads: 17 books we wish were still in print
* Oh I get it now: 6 movies that make a lot more sense if you've read the book

I'm not a fan of movies, books, film or tv series that are considered totally 'high brow.' Seriously, classy is wasted on me. I definitely like to mix it all up and, sometimes, the trashier the better as far as I'm concerned. If you're a fan of pop culture mixed with lashings of tongue-in-cheek humour interspersed with tonnes of curse words - then come right ahead. This is your kinda book.

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