Pop culture

Audience participation&Pop culture&Seasonal&Self24 Dec 2005 06:55 pm

Here’s something to while away those long Saturnalia minutes between carb fixes. I’ve shamelessly stolen the link from Mark of Fear & Loafing in England, who is a TS Eliot / Ted Bundy / Samuel L Jackson hybrid.

What am I on about? This. It’s MyHeritage, a site which offers photo facial recognition (still in beta) that can tell you which celebrities you most resemble, based on physical genetic similarities. You upload a photo of yourself and the software compares the attributes of your face to the celebrities in its database. Then it tells you who you look like, on a percentage basis.

I’m loving it, because it’s just told me I look like a whole host of gorgeous women, none of whom I particularly resemble. Actually there are a couple in there who are broadly along the right lines, in the loosest sense, but the others…?! I’ll gleefully take the compliment, but blimey. Let’s just say none of us are long-lost twins. If you know me in real life, judge for yourself, and try not to choke on your mulled wine. Here we go.

Gwyneth sobs
Gwyneth didn’t take the news well

Foxy is:

72% Beyonce Knowles
72% Halle Berry
71% Preity Zinta
71% Drew Barrymore
70% Vivien Leigh
70% Asia Argento
69% Britney Spears
68% Hillary Clinton
68% Daniel Cohn Bendit (who?)
68% Gwyneth Paltrow

Funnily enough, I have never in my life been compared to any of them. (Perhaps because I look nothing like them.) Ah well. I’m obviously too bootylicious for ya babe. I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.

Who do you look like?

Beyonce roars
“I look like goddamn WHO?! Is this some kind of JOKE? Get outta my way!”

Anti-consumerism&Pop culture&Seasonal&Self14 Dec 2005 02:30 pm

Saturnalia by Antoine-Fran├žois Callet Before December slouches on any further, I feel duty-bound to tell you something.

I don’t enjoy the Christmas/New Year season much. It’d be fair – if somewhat understated – to say that I am looking forward to February.

In the circumstances, please don’t be perturbed if you are unable to detect festive joy in these pages, or if I turn into a royal pain in the booty. Similarly, don’t take it personally if my comments on your blogs lose their bounce and become distinctly lacklustre. I’m not asking for sympathy or suggestions, just patience. My melancholy will pass, as all things do.

Of course, I shall quite understand if you choose not to visit me again until February. The blog may well be a bit of a downer, if you’re in full tinsel-and-baubles mode.

Secondly, as I don’t celebrate the festival as the birth of Jesus, I have decided to revert to calling it Saturnalia from now on.

It probably won’t make me love Overdraftmas any more than I do now, but let’s give it a go.

Tangential Foxy anecdote: Saturnalia is also the name of an ill-fated club night I almost put on in Shoreditch a few winters ago. It all fell apart when a friend – who was waaaaay more experienced as a club promoter – booked his event for another local club on the same night, including all the bands I had naively made only verbal agreements with. Ho ho ho.

(NB: this is not the source of my yuletide misery; I bear no grudge. The friend in question is now plying his wily trade in New York, and I’m most proud.)

Er… I was just about to concoct an excruciatingly laboured joke about myrrh-der on the dancefloor, but let’s leave it there, shall we?

British politics&Human rights&Pop culture&The art of blog07 Dec 2005 10:15 am

Judge Apparently The Telegraph has briefly quoted your own Foxy in today’s paper. I haven’t seen a print copy yet, but I’m told it’s on page 19. The web version seems to be here.

Non-Brits, just to explain: The Telegraph is an extremely conservative (with a big and small C), right wing, Establishment broadsheet daily newspaper, beloved of the ruling class.

I look forward to a short boost in readership comprised entirely of High Court judges, Tory MPs and minor aristocracy. (Is it too soon to take them aside and explain they might not agree with everything they read here?)

Pop culture&Self&Writing22 Nov 2005 02:46 pm

Coughs and sneezes spread diseases Cough. Sniffle. Self-pitying whimper.

Yes, I am languishing indoors with a wobbly-leg-inducing, achy-headed, sleep-crazed cold virus. I find Victorian novels, naps and tea the only suitable remedies.

Please therefore excuse me from blog duties for the time being. I may nip over and read yours later, but I will take care not to spread the plague in your area.

Novel is going right down the pan. On the plus side, I have had an idea for one I actually want to write, using the same characters. On the minus side, I have only worked this out on day 22 of the 30 day challenge. Oopsadaisy.

Random thought of the day: I can’t normally bear Ralph Fiennes and his stiff upper lip officer-and-gentleman nonsense. But doesn’t he make a lovely serpentine Voldemort?

British politics&Pop culture&Writing11 Nov 2005 10:38 pm

Tube badge < << This is a badge I got last night at a Mark Thomas/Robert Newman gig. I quite like it.

Having been very irresponsible for most of the week, I need to catch up with my NaNo word count this weekend. Think I need to do about 10,000 words to get back on track. Yikes.

Still, last minute panic working is my normal modus operandi, so I won’t worry too much.

Hope you’re all having a marvellous weekend, and that your own novels (where applicable) are running like clockwork.

Pop culture16 Oct 2005 06:08 pm

FOX: “Perhaps the reason Lost has captured public imagination is that it offers a glimpse into another world, one we may secretly hanker for without realising. This is a world without the class system, without the futility of the rat race, without the trappings of consumerist aspiration, where everybody is equal regardless of their status in the ‘real’ world and the only things that matter are practical skills and knowledge. Money means nothing. The island is their prison, yet on another level they are freer than they’ve ever been. It’s a place where community and cooperation is the only thing standing between life and death. It’s a place where pain is genuine: they risk death at the jaws of wild animals or starvation, not the indulgent Western luxury of neuroses or guilt. Don’t we all yearn sometimes for a more real, authentic life? Don’t we all feel a sense of dissatisfaction with the empty materialism of our culture and its sham promises? Don’t we all, deep down, wonder what happened to real human emotion, real danger, real experience? Isn’t that why Lost is so popular across all social strata?”

FOX’S FRIEND: “Yeah. That and the three ultra-hot blokes in it.”

I conceded the point.

British politics&Pop culture13 Oct 2005 06:31 pm

After a very enjoyable evening – which was much more fun than most launch parties, I can tell you – the Urban Fox Blog is officially open for business. Hurrah!

Much as it seems a shame to lower the mood so soon, I couldn’t help but notice it is this dreadful woman’s 80th birthday:

You’ll notice the presence of Timmy Mallett, who is brandishing his large foam prop at her. (Anyone who was not a child in Britain in the mid 80s: don’t ask.)

Sadly, the plan to finish her off by using a real mallet backfired, when it was revealed that her lacquered hairdo was made of the same material as nuclear bomb shelters and could thus repel any such attack.

So British democracy had to suffer the heavy blow instead.

(Right kids? Yeah. Tch. We ‘ate Fatcher. Yeah.

This is all getting a bit Ben Elton circa 1984. I should take the sparkly jacket off really.)

Anyway, you may want to stay out of the Hyde Park area tonight. If you don’t, you run the risk of seeing the likes of the Queen, Jim Davidson, Joan Collins and Andrew Lloyd-Webber, who will be making their way to the vicious harridan’s birthday party.

Such a shame that I have a prior engagement.*

(* tidying my sock drawer, anything)

American politics&Pop culture08 Sep 2005 12:35 pm

Someone terminate this idiot’s political career. Preferably with the big fat sex scandal which has been brewing for some time.

Soundtrack to this post: Gett Off – Prince

Pop culture&Self28 Aug 2005 12:01 pm

(Enquiring Mind:) So, Fox, are you still going through your White Stripes phase?

(Urban Fox:) No, that’s all done and dusted. Now I’m having a Pavement revival. One of my favourite bands ever.

I’m glad you mentioned that, because I was going to ask you about guitar music. You said you don’t like any current chart guitar bands. Does that mean you mainly listen to other genres of music?

Yes, on the whole. Hip-hop, electronica, excellent pop, a dash of blues, a pinch of alt folk and a spoonful of classical music are all my cup of tea.

Were you a Britpopper back in the early-mid ’90s?

No. Britpop signalled the death of British music, as far as I was concerned. It never really recovered from the sudden hegemony of mediocrity until about 2000.

Ah. Not a big Sleeper fan then.

*Fox gives a withering look*

What about Suede?

I’d strongly dispute that Suede were part of what we call Britpop as their success started a couple of years before that. And because they were good (pre-Head Music). Arguably, they may have set the ball rolling.

Apart from those you’ve mentioned, are there any other guitar bands and artists you consider personal favourites?

Of course. The Smiths and Morrissey, first and foremost.

Nice choice.

Thanks. There’s more though.

Do go on.

Luke Haines, in all his guises. Polly Harvey. Pixies/Breeders (or Kim Deal in all her guises). Huggy Bear. Faith No More. Babes In Toyland. Les Savy Fav. A-ha, past and present. Le Tigre/Bikini Kill/Julie Ruin (or Kathleen Hanna in all her guises). The Slits. The Au Pairs. The Velvet Underground. David Bowie. Helium. Nirvana. Magnetic Fields/The 6ths (or Stephin Merritt in all his guises). Lush. Lilliput. Blondie. My Bloody Valentine. Penetration. Roxy Music. Gillian Welch. Talk Talk. There are probably more, if I thought about it. Did I mention the White Stripes and Pavement?

Once or twice. Finally, what’s your view on the current crop of guitar-y NME fodder like Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane, Kasabian, Pete Doherty etc?

They should be boiled in oil until their derivative trousers disintegrate, then launched into outer space in a hermetically-sealed pod.

Righto. Thanks, Fox!

Don’t mention it!

Soundtrack to this post: Hotel Tell – The Sea And Cake

Pop culture&Self26 Aug 2005 09:24 am

Pat has tagged me to do a strangely Swiss Toni-esque “10 tunes of the moment” type thing. In balletic synchronicity, so has Swiss Toni.

In return, I’d like to ask the following SIX blog stars to reciprocate:

Le Moine Perdu
Lord Bargain
Bo Peep’s Sheep
Aravis Arwen

It is, of course, completely optional. I shan’t be offended in the least if you decline.

Right, on with the tunes.

[Editor’s note: This could end up a very boring post, as I am going through a White Stripes phase right now. Can’t be bothered with any other chart guitar bands, but the Stripeys are pet faves of mine. You see, with the bands or artists I most like, I tend to go through short phases of total immersion, which end just as quickly. So this week I could easily fill up all 10 songs from their back catalogue. Nobody wants that. I will draw on the rest of the week’s accidental soundtrack for diversity.]

1. Jolene – Dolly Parton / White Stripes
Yeah, sorry. Stripes already. Both versions of this song are in my head this week. One minute it’s Dolly’s quietly mournful tones, the next it’s Jack’s barely-contained hysteria. The Stripes version is the best cover version of all time, and I’m especially keen on the live version from Blackpool. (Dolly’s great too though. Don’t go dissin’ Dolly.)

2. Red Berry Joy Town – The Wonder Stuff
This is all Mark’s fault for posting about them. Tsk.

3. Ooh La La – Goldfrapp
Ubiquitous and infectious, like bird flu. Lower death toll though.

4. Alison’s Starting To Happen – Lemonheads
Conjured up by reflection earlier in the week on the fact that Alison Goldfrapp (see above) is finding herself suddenly one of the pop megastars de jour, at the age of 38. I wouldn’t mind, but I never liked the Lemonheads.

5. Girlfriend – Pebbles
I’m quite keen on mid-80s chart dancefloor R&B. I have been known to play Alexander O’Neal’s two hits through choice.

6. The Joker Is Me – whoever sings it on the Kath & Kim credits
I have a couple of Kath & Kim-crazy friends. Consequently, I hear a lot of this theme tune. Look at moy ployse.

7. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do – Luke Haines
Flutters around my brain every time I read Lord B’s blog. He’s a prince among lords, innit.

8. Don’t Dictate – Penetration
If you like the Slits, you’ll love Penetration. If you don’t like 70s punk, you’re going to take that the wrong way. And probably that too.

9. She – Charles Aznavour
It was in a film or something recently. FoxFact: this song was no. 1 in Britain the day I was born. That doesn’t make it OK though.

10. Red Rain / The Hardest Button To Button / I Think I Smell A Rat / Blue Orchid / The Union Forever / The Same Boy You’ve Always Known – The White Stripes
Sorry. These ones are the main brain invaders this week. What can I say? I am an all-or-nothing kinda fox. And extraordinarily dull.

Happy bank holiday weekend, Brits. Last one until Christmas, so enjoy yourselves! (That sentiment goes for you non-Brits too, only without the Monday off work.)

Soundtrack to this post: All of the above.

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