Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


Date: January 2017

A full album of early tone-fucking sounds from Toshimaru Nakamura, the guy who collaborated with US power-jazz trio Many Arms on their intense 2015 LP. #video


Weeknotes #805-806

A few things to close out January:

  • I documented the redesign of this website last week. The visual aspects came swifter than I expected; the scripting stuff caused more frustration. But I still got there within a matter of days. Since then I’ve tweaked things a little, adding a post format template for videos, and the FitVids jQuery plugin to make video embeds resize fluidly in tandem with the responsive grid; it doesn’t work for Mixcloud iframes, however, I think because they’re widgets drawing from too many variables.
  • Over on Afloat.ie I wrote up a thing on Annalise Murphy’s Sailor of the Year win. Usually my contributions aren’t as lengthy or as live-wire as that, writing up and editing and CMSing on the fly, as the quotes come in. That’s modern journalism for you. And I should sell myself more on it.

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No, you’re not entitled to your opinion

“You are only entitled to what you can argue for.” And that’s usually where those with ‘wrong’ opinions fail, because they take them as first principles that need no defence. #link


My Thumped review of Denial

This courtroom drama based on the libel action taken by notorious Holocaust denier David Irving takes too long to shake off the Hollywood tropes and get to the good stuff. #link


'Ghoul Whispers', from the upcoming collaborative LP by Sly & the Family Drone and Dead Neanderthals. They're playing the Raw Power festival in London this May if you're around; I wish I could be. #video


My Letterboxd reviews of Underworld, Evil Dead, The End of the Tour, Voice Without a Shadow, and Criminal

Underworld:

A humourless action slog for the World of Darkness set. A bit more fighting and a lot less blathering on about bloodlines and whatnot would’ve helped.

Evil Dead:

Fede Alvarez’s reboot of the Sam Raimi horror classic pretends to add depth with a thinly veiled subtext of demonic possession as metaphor for drug addiction, but it’s drowned out amid a witless torrent of wince-inducing gore — and a thoroughly nasty, cynical tone. I walked out on this halfway through when it first hit cinemas, and after catching up on Netflix I see I didn’t miss much.

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The Last Battle of Atlanta, rediscovered

It’s not much of a match; it’s sorely missing the context of Sawyer and Rich's previous battles and weekly TV promos. But it’s heartening to see WWE paying some attention to wrestling history by recovering ‘lost’ tapes such as this. #link


Documenting the new design

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen my site’s had a bit of a redesign.

Well, ‘a bit’ is putting it lightly: I coded a whole new site template from scratch over the last three days, building on the Skeleton framework that a lot of people seem to be using (from snooping around their sites with view-source, like the old days).

It’s been ages since I’ve done so much web coding — more than three years since my last redesign. I think I’ve kept things clean enough under the hood, and it resizes nicely on my smartphone.

The new look was pretty much a necessity seeing as I’ve finally migrated from Movable Type to WordPress. And boy has that been a learning curve. Not so much using the CMS itself; I’ve become familiar enough with that posting things on other sites. But getting my own stuff into the system was a challenge.

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Waxy gets a redesign

Andy Baio doesn’t wax nostalgic about blogging, in my view, because blogging never really went away; it just mutated and fell out of popularity. Returning to form isn’t the same as getting lost in the past, especially when it means retaining ownership and control. Which is another prompt for me to migrate this blog to WordPress. #link


My Letterboxd reviews of London Has Fallen, The Neon Demon, Unstoppable, Sisters, It’s Alive, I Saw the Devil, The Watcher, and Love Exposure

London Has Fallen:

Olympus Has Fallen comes with a certain charm to its ridiculous premise and theatrical violence. Only a trace of that tongue-in-cheek attitude is present in this cheap and nasty sequel, which takes its jingoism far too seriously. It’s also a film that constantly takes its audience for mugs, and can’t even be bothered to get Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman in the same place on the same day. That’s pathetic.

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The man who squeezes muscles

So many stories going on here: the meaning of consent; how urban legends take on lives of their own; how notoriety masks tragedy. A wonderful design job by the BBC team here, too. #link


Inside the Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns

Political pettiness goes far, especially when those responsible can remove themselves enough steps from responsibility so they can sleep at night. Also, isn’t it funny that gun control has virtually disappeared from the agenda as of late? #link


Weeknotes #800-804

Halfway through January already? I suppose I should write up something about the last few weeks, so.

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The future Mr. WrestleMania: Kenny Omega on New Japan, WWE, New Day

Here’s another one on Mr Omega, as Sports Illustrated goes deep with The Cleaner, at a time last summer when a lot of puroresu fans had written off his prospects in New Japan. I could see Kenny in a future WWE that prioritised variety over the outdated predilections of its chairman and his associates. #link


John Kelly’s films watched in 2016

Always interesting to compare my own habits with others. My stats for 2016 slipped a little, about 20 films short of what I watched the previous year. And I rate things differently. Few if any five-stars; a four-and-half from me is more like a five from someone else. #link


My Goodreads review of Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

The wry title makes things pretty clear: the book is about Kim Gordon, not the band that made her name, and rightly so.

For sure, Sonic Youth was an enormous part of her life, but she’s as multifaceted as any person, and she doesn’t shy away from her struggles in defining herself as an individual distinct from that all-consuming identity. Identity, image, marketing: between her unconventional adolescence, her complicated relationship with her older brother, and her adult life in the venn diagram of creative worlds, these concepts loom large, constantly intersecting and blurring lines. Gordon’s clear, candid writing cuts through a lot of it, unapologetic as she is about being an artist, a creator, a woman in a man’s world.

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My Letterboxd reviews of Therapy, The Forest, Spectral, 31, Dead Ringers, Suicide Squad and White of the Eye

Therapy:

Here’s a diegetic twist on the found-footage horror where the meta-narrative is more than just a series of links between episodes, as a team of cops race against time to rescue a missing family from a masked assailant, following clues from digital cameras recovered at the crime scene, but uncover a mystery far more messed-up than anyone could have expected. Props to French film prodigy Nathan Ambrosioni (he’s only 17, the bastard!) for a decent attempt at the kind of genre blend that usually separates or scrambles. However, it’s still primarily a found-footage psycho slasher, set in a spooooky abandoned building, in the deep, dark woods — hitting the cliché trifecta — so your mileage may vary.

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