The Secret History of Wonder Woman

This is a very entertaining and crazy read, the creator of Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was quite the interesting chap. He invented the lie-detector test, was a psychologist, a suffragette, and lived with his wife and mistress in a polyamorous relationship and their four kids (two from each women) in the same house. And then he created Wonder Woman in 1941 six years before he died. Top read.

2017 read number: 8

The Beguiled

This is a remake of an old Clint Eastwood film, but this is told from the perspective of the lady’s, not the soldier. And tops it is too, Sofia Coppola directs, Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst get beguiled and Colin Farrell is the soldier.

Date watched: 19th November
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 65

Clint’s version might be worth a watch too:

Catching up on my 2017 listens

MOJO: Beyond Saturn – This is a tops compilation of ‘mind-blowing cosmic tracks’ compiled by Paul Weller. Neu!, Panda Bear and Charles Mingus blow my mind among others.

Alan Fears/Husband – I first came across Mr Fears through a design and illustration website I follow (Its Nice That) where some of his illustrations were featured. He also makes music, so I checked him out on Bandcamp and eventually got his entire discography of his solo stuff and a band he was in called Husband. Funny and catchy it all is. Tops.

Aldous Harding: Party – Excellent second LP from Kiwi Aldous. Produced by PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish.

Interpol: El Pintor – Album number five from these New Yorkers. Good stuff.

Fleet Foxes: Crack Up – Just look at that cover artwork by Japanese photographer Hiroshi Hamaya. It’s ace, as is the music. Maybe not as good as their other stuff but tops all the same.

Singing Detective OST – I think I already have this but its a fave so got it to make sure I had it in the collection. Might have to watch the show again, I remember it being amazing.

Janis Joplin: The Essential – Thought I’d give Janis a good go, not actually had a proper listen as yet.

Kasabian: For Crying Out Loud – Album number six from these English chaps. The cover star is their roadie. Pretty good cover artwork, not really listened properly yet.

Neil Finn: Dizzy Heights – This is Neil’s third solo record, I thought he had more solo records than just three. Anyway, this is OK.

Grease OST – Found this on LP, gatefold cover. Novelty factor, will never listen to it.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind OST – Found this on vinyl somewhere, worth a listen, not as good as I remember but a cool cover nonetheless.

London Grammar: Truth Is A Beautiful Thing – Hey guys, how about a smile for the cover next album?

The Highwaymen: Very Best Of – Willie, Johhny, Kris and Waylon. Excellent.

Herbie Mann: Live at the Whiskey A-gogo – This features excellent guitar player Warren Harding “Sonny” Sharrock who was about to sign his first major record deal when he died of a heart attack. Bummer.

St. Vincent: Strange Mercy & Masseduction – St. Vincent is one of my new faves, I first heard her on the album she did with David Bryne a while back. Strange Mercy is her third record and Masseduction was just released last year (her fifth), top stuff all around.

Album Count 2017: 154

Music Stats 2017

Thanks to the excellent LastFM I am able to report on my listening habits for last year, so here they are:

Total number of scrobbles: 16,367 (new record)
Number of artists: 1,935
Albums: 1,431
Number of tracks: 15,221 (puts me in the 99th percentile on LastFM)
Top artist: Madlib, 311 tracks
Top track: Banned in D.C. by Bad Brains, 6 listens
Top month: August. 2,130 tracks
Busiest day of the week: Wednesday, 3,388 tracks
Busiest day: August 18th, 221 tracks
New artists: 53% of total
New albums: 56% of total
Longest streak: 77 days (listened to at least one song every day)
The only time of day I did not listen to music: between 5 and 6am

Click on the banner below to check out my LastFM profile…

Eleven Holiday Discs

Over the holiday period I was busy hunting around for music in both Tokyo and here in Nagano. Here is what I bought:

Manic Street Preachers – From Despair to Where EP
The Manics are one of my all-time fave bands, so I try to buy everything they have released when I come across something. The title song is from their second album, and I have the rest on a compilation of rarities and B-sides, but it is good to have the original disc too.

Rancid – Rancid
This Rancid’s second eponymously titled album, released in 2000, with their first being released in 1993. I have not listened to it yet, but Rancid’s sound does not change much.

Public Enemy – Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age
Public Enemy albums are hard to find used, so when I saw this in Book Off in Akihabara (an electronics and entertainment part of Tokyo) I immediately grabbed it before someone else saw it. You really can’t go wrong with Public Enemy.

Passion Pit – Manners
Also in Book Off I found this and thought it would be worth a try as I had heard they are good (actually it is basically only one guy). And indeed it is very good stuff. A nice find.

Voodoo Glow Skulls – Steady As She Goes
VGS are a ska-punk band that I have slowly been collecting albums from. Their sound, like Rancid, does not change much from album to album, which is fine as they make good sounds. Not listened to this yet.

Punk-O-Rama, Volume 4
My days of hunting for Punk-O-Rama CDs has now come to an end with this, the last one I needed to complete the collection of ten releases. In a way I am sad it is over as seeking them out was fun, kind of like going on an Easter Egg hunt, looking for them is more fun than actually consuming them. This one has the usual punky bands like Pennywise, Rancid, and Bad Religion, but for some reason Tom Waits’ “Big in Japan” is on it. No complaints though, I like Tom Waits a great deal…

Tom Waits – Real Gone
I like Tom Waits a great deal, so whenever I see his stuff I pounce on it and clutch onto it like a child holding a precious teddy bear. An added bonus is that the Book Off I got this at here in Nagano had half-price off all CDs that were 500 yen or under, so I got this for 250 yen…double bonus! Good stuff it is too.

R.E.M. – Up
R.E.M. are another band I am slowly collecting albums from. I have heard this album before, and it is decent.

Primal Scream – XTRMNTR
I found this yesterday in Book Off, and with 50% off I thought it would be more than worth buying. I have had a quick listen to a couple of songs, and it sounds good enough.

U2 – How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and October
Well, it looks like I am collecting U2 albums now, as today I bought both of these albums at Mandai (20% off today). I listened to Boy a couple of days ago and enjoyed listening to their early stuff again. So choosing October was easy. I dilly-dallied a bit before buying HTDAAB, but after looking it up online I found that it had favourable reviews, and twenty percent off certainly helped (both were dirt cheap anyway). So I am looking forward to listening to both.

Album count 2018: 11

Note: I actually bought 13 CDs but doubled-up on R.E.M.’s Out of Time album, and Broken Social Scenes’s Forgiveness Rock Record. I checked my spreadsheet on Google Drive to see if I already had the R.E.M. album while I was in the store, and thanks to not adding it I thought I did not have it. And I was convinced I did not have the Broken Social Scene album, so I did not bother to look it up, which if I did I would have seen it listed. Poop.


This is a documentary about Sir Frank Williams and his racing team.

Actually, it is split into three main themes. The first tells the story of Frank and his rise to fame as one of the greatest privateer teams ever in Formula 1. A lot of the story is also devoted to his wife, Ginny, without whom the team probably would not have survived. Then there was the tale of Sir Frank’s car crash which left him a quadriplegic, and his recovery which Ginny had a lot to do with.

While there was plenty of Formula 1 history there were a few blanks including nothing more than a few seconds of Ayrton Senna’s death, and very little about the team’s successes apart from the early eighties. But, the rest of the story was well told and focussed mainly on Sir Frank, Ginny, and their daughter Claire who is now running the team.

Ginny died from cancer in 2013 so there is only archival footage of her. There is some footage though of her talking to a writer friend which reveals a lot about Sir Frank himself. What is clear about him is that he cares for very little except motor racing.

So this is an excellent watch for Formula 1 fans, and the human side to the story may appeal to those who are not. Either way it is a well made and told story, and an excellent start to another year of film watching.

Date watched: January 6th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 1

Blazing Saddles

A few days ago I decided this would be my final film for the year. I wanted it to be a comedy, and this is one of my all-time fave comedies and I have not seen it for a while (I last watched it in 2012).

As usual it was funny, although there were one or two flat jokes. It is also very un-PC, but even so despite the derogatory terms used it is not a racist film, quite the contrary actually.

All of the actors were very funny, even the supporting cast. Some characters had only one or two scenes but they were memorable. The hangman for example was very funny even though he had less than one minute in the whole film.

Sadly the only actor from the principal cast still with us today is Mel Brooks. Cleavon Little who played the sheriff died way back in 1992, Gene Wilder last year, Madeline Kahn back in 1999, Harvey Korman in 2008, and John Hillerman just last month.

Richard Pryor was one of the writers. He was the original choice for Sheriff Bart, but the studio was against it due to his drug problems. Cleavon Little though aced the part.

This is not up there with the Monty Python films, or Airplane!, but I still think it is a silly hoot.

And that is it for my film watching this year. Not a bad one.

Date watched: December 31st
Score: 9.5/10
Film count 2017: 148

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