Neil the Horse and the Big Banana

While tidying the basement, I found these tapes:

It’s an old radio show featuring Neil the Horse, originally broadcast on Canadian radio around 1982.

So I was like 14 at the time, and I was a major fan of the Neil the Horse comic book series by Arn Saba. I think there was an ad for the radio series in one of the issues, so I sent off for a copy. From Arn Saba personally?  Hm.  I don’t recall any more.

Anyway, Neil the Horse is making the world safe for musical comedy, and apparently this radio show is not available anywhere?  And since the comic book is finally re-released by Conundrum Press this year, I’m celebrating by uploading these tapes to Youtube.

(If anybody, especially Katherine Collins, objects, please let me know and I’ll remove them.)

[Edit: There’s a brand new interview with Katherine Collins up at just a few hours after I posted this.]

The show’s in five parts:

Here’s the cast list:

VHS, Linux, Problems

I’ve been trying to tidy up the storage locker in the loft this autumn, getting rid of old junk (so that I can put more, slightly newer junk up there). I happened unto this box:

A nice stack of VHS tapes. If I remember correctly, the reason I kept these was that during the 80s and 90s I recorded quite a lot of music (videos and live stuff) from the TV, and I had always thought about some day going through them, picking out the good bits and uploading them to Youtube or something.

Perhaps this year is finally the year?

I have an old, old DV conversion thingie somewhere, but it’s so old that it’s a Firewire dongle. And I have no Firewire equipment, so I thought it might just be easier to buy something new and shiny. Surely?

I think you can already guess where this tale is going.

This is a Diamond VC500, and it has both composite in and S-Video in, and it seems to be a popular choice.

My old VHS player (a Panasonic DMS-ES35V) has S-Video out, so I hoped that it would, like, just kinda work, and it does. With composite, but not S-Video. That is, after I discovered how to switch the input, something worked:

$ v4l2-ctl -d /dev/video0 -i 1 -s 5

(That’s S-Video input and the PAL standard.)

But the video was in black-and-white, and after googling for a few days, it turns out that this is a known problem: S-Video on the VC500 doesn’t work, at least not in Linux. And S-Video is a much better signal than composite, so that’s a bummer.

So I got another one of these dongles at random, and this is from StarCom and presents itself as

 Bus 001 Device 012: ID eb1a:5051 eMPIA Technology, Inc.

And S-Video works! However, sound doesn’t, and googling for another two days show that this is a common problem with the “ S-Video / Composite to USB Video Capture Cable Adapter”, at least under Linux.

But audio is easy: I could just hook it up to the internal sound card, and after fiddling with alsacontrol for a few hours, I managed to get some sound out of it.

All set! Recording time, here we go!

Unfortunately, I had lost the remote control to my VHS player and adjusting the tracking without it is impossible.

Ebay to the rescue!

It’s amazing that things like VHS head cleaners are still easily obtainable, so I got one of those, too.

Now, surely, I’m ready to record.

Except finding some acceptable settings for ffmpeg or memcoder to process the data and output in a format that’s good for editing turned out to require several more days worth of googling. Here’s what I ended up with:

$ ffmpeg -f v4l2 -t 04:00:00 -thread_queue_size 1024 -i /dev/video0 -f alsa -i hw:0 -aspect 4:3 -c:v prores_ks -profile:v 3 -q:v 4 -vf yadif=0:-1:0,crop=iw:ih-6:0:0 -c:a pcm_s16le -af aresample=async=1000 /video/vhs/

So the codec here is ProRes. I tried a dozen different codecs, but either they were too slow (leading to drops from ffmpeg) or they were in formats that crashed Lightworks (the video editor I use). huffyuv, raw, h.264, whatever…

But this one works for me, at least.

Oh, and the “crop” thing is because the 6 final lines output from the StarTech dongle are bright green.  And I’m deinterlacing since VHS is interlaced.

An action shot of the entire machinery. So techy.

Now the only problem is that I had to upgrade the kernel to Linux 4.12 and the machine to the latest Debian, since the support for the StarTech USB thingie first appeared in that kernel. And after upgrading LightWorks didn’t want to start. So I upgraded to Lightworks 14, which starts, but doesn’t accept the old license, so I had to buy a new license, and now the license server is … wrong (“There are no unactivated licenses available”).

Anyway, I can use the free version for this, since 720p should be enough.  I created a new account on Youtube for this stuff, since it’s, er, best to keep it separated from the more important free jazz vids.

Hm.  Or perhaps I should just use HTML <video> things and host the .mp4 files privately?  That would avoid any Youtube hassles…  Hm…  But the discoverability on Youtube is nice.  Perhaps both?

I’ve done the first four hour tape now, and there was about 20 minutes of things that are possibly interesting.  For instance, this Kristin Hersh piece where she does four songs live in the 120 Minutes studio:

Oh, it’s apparently not possible to do simple <video> embeds on a site?

Oh, it is possible now?

Yes!  All those pages that said that it wasn’t allowed were outdated.  Apparently started allowing this earlier this year?


Possibly the Greatest Underground Comix Ever

I’ve been somewhat disillusioned by underground comix lately, but when my ebay search alert for “mark beyer” dinged the other week, I bought this:

Lemme Outa Here! is published by Print Mint, and you don’t get more underground than that.

I knew nothing else about this when I bought it (other than it having a Mark Beyer piece), but I finally read it tonight, and I’m flabbergasted.

It’s from 1978, and it’s edited by Diane Noomin. And she was able to get a pretty amazing line-up.

There’s a cute one-pager by Robert Armstrong.

An intricate autobio thing from Bill Griffith, that I happened to have read previously in An Anthology of Graphic Fiction etc edited by Ivan Brunetti, just a few days ago.

Robert Crumb, doing one of his rarer childhood remembrances.

Kim Deitch, with a six page thing about a lecture on “classic” American TV.

A somewhat incoherent remembrance of shame and chaos by Justin Green.

A back cover by M. K. Brown.

Diane Noomin does a super-dense story about Didi Glitz’ childhood. The artwork is as intricate as the story.

And Mark Beyer, who, of course, doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the gang (all the rest are veterans and Beyer was, I think, unpublished at this time (except for some self-published comics)), and delivers a page that’s both typically him and quite different.

It’s all rather spiffy, isn’t it? But then there’s this, that pushes it over into “whoa” territory:

Aline Kominsky does a nine page story that’s almost as dense as Noomin’s, that deals with her experiences at camp, intercut with later scenes that deal with her father’s reaction to her (sort of) boyfriend.

This anthology is so amazing: Not only has Noomin managed to get all these super-stars to contribute, but she’s apparently persuaded them to deliver their A-games. There’s not a single unsatisfactory page in this 32-page book.

Unfortunately, Noomin didn’t edit any further anthologies until Twisted Sisters in the 90s (which is also rather fine). I’m not sure this book (which I’ve never heard of before) has convinced me that there really is a bunch of undiscovered underground gems to be unearthed, but it does leave me a bit more hopeful.

World of Films and Cocktails Redux

It’s over!

I was dared to do a “one film from every country” blog series, and I upped that by adding “yeah, sure, and I’ll do a cocktail from every country, too”.  Because I’m stupid.

The cocktail bit turned out to be more of a problem than the film bit.

Even though it’s a silly project, there’s still a few rules to establish: What’s a country?  What does it mean to be “from” a country?  What is friend?

“What’s a country”: That sounds like an easy question, and it’s 90% easy, and then there’s Palestine? Greenland? Western Sahara? Tibet? Taiwan? Germany?  WHAA.

So I decided to use the list of generally accepted UN countries, and added a couple more.  Just because.

But what does it mean for a film to be “from” a country?  The director’s from that country?  It’s filmed there?  It’s in a language spoken in that country? It’s financed from that country?

And what’s a film, anyway?  Is it a 90+ minute fiction thing?  Is is a documentary?  Is it a tourist filming a street parade?

I just decided that my stance would be kinda “I know it’s a film from <wherever> when I see it” kind of thing.  Like with art.

So I went for traditional 90+ minute films where that seemed to have a strong connection to the country in question.  This was easy enough for the first 150 films, but then pickings became slimmer.  Especially with the Pacific island states: They don’t really have huge movie industries.  So I had to go for, er, smaller films in some instances.

And in a handful of cases,  I failed.  When watching the film in question, it turned out that their connection to the country in question was questionable.  I’d say five of the films in the list below are failures.  And perhaps ten more are rather dubious.

And unexpectedly, finding cocktails from everywhere turned out to be even harder.  I scoured blogs, youtube clips, whatever: I imagined that the English and French had pretty much colonised pretty much all parts of the world, so there had to be, say, a saffron-infused gin or a hibiscus-infused cognac cocktail recipe to be had.  But rudely enough, quite a few countries (especially in Africa) seem to prioritise like surviving and stuff instead of blogging about cocktail recipes.  So I had to cheat somewhat and adapt some non-alcoholic recipes for this blog series.

The nerve of some starving countries.

Anyway!  I ended up with way too many liqueurs and boozes:

But were the films any good?

Yes.  Quite a few of them were excellent.  As I was expecting, South America, in general, was awesome.  Pretty much all the films I saw from that area were really good.  More of a surprise were the…  hm…  I guess it’s Iran and then to the north?  That area?  I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise, since Iran is such a cultural power house, but that general area (Iran and northwards and towards the steppes) were pretty much all fabulous.

My “methodology” for discovering films was basically “It’s from that country! I’ll watch it!”, so it’s not like it’s very representative.  So my impressions of any country or area is kinda random.  Still, I was rather disappointed by two areas: Central America and South-East Asia.

I had expected the smaller Central American countries to be more like South America, and they’re not.  But the populations are pretty tiny, and I guess anybody serious about films either go south or north.  More inexplicable is South-East Asia.  I was expecting a dozen films like Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, and there was exactly one film like that.  Which was a bit disappointing.  It might just have been bad luck, but it seemed pretty, er, basic in that area of the world.


Anyway, here’s the full list of films I watched and cocktails I drank.  It took me about 18 months.  Cheers.

Mirror. Andrej Tarkovsky. 1957. Russia. April 1st, 2016. Yorsh.
The Headless Woman. Lucrecia Martel. 2008. Argentina. April 1st, 2016. Bison TT.
Black Orpheus. Marcel Camus. 1959. Brazil. April 5th, 2016. Batida de mango.
The Idealist. Christina Rosendahl. 2015. Denmark. April 5th, 2016. Complement Cocktail.
Close-Up. Abbas Kiarostami. 1990. Iran. April 6th, 2016. Persian rose.
The Lunchbox. Ritesh Batra. 2013. India. April 6th, 2016. Orange zinger.
Wadjda. Haifaa al-Mansour. 2012. Saudi Arabia. April 8th, 2016. Flying Carpet.
Live Flesh. Pedro Almodovar. 1997. Spain. April 8th, 2016. Aquavit 43.
The Red Kebaya. Oliver Knott. 2006. Malaysia. April 13th, 2016. Sing Sing.
Tangerines. Zaza Urushadze. 2013. Estonia. April 13th, 2016. Rolling Estonian.
The Punk Syndrome. Jukka Kärkkäinen. 2012. Finland. April 14th, 2016. Cloudberry/Apple Cocktail.
Hollow City. Maria João Ganga. 2004. Angola. April 15th, 2016. (translation unavailable).
The Tribe. Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi. 2014. Ukraine. April 16th, 2016. Black Ukrainian.
Still Life. Zhangke Jia. 2006. China. April 16th, 2016. Banana Dynasty.
The Irish Pub. Alex Fegan. 2013. Ireland. April 16th, 2016. Blarney Stone.
The Battle of Algiers. Gillo Pontecorvo. 1966. Algeria. April 20th, 2016. Algeria Cocktail.
Prisoner Queen. Timothy Spanos. 2003. Australia. April 21st, 2016. Adios Motherfucker.
The Weeping Meadow. Theodoros Angelopoulos. 2004. Greece. April 22nd, 2016. Skinos Fresh.
Three Times. Hsiao-Hsien Hou. 2005. Taiwan. April 22nd, 2016. Zegroni.
Bamako. Abderrahmane Sissako. 2006. Mali. April 23rd, 2016. Mali Cooler.
Japon. Carlos Reygadas. 2002. Mexico. April 24th, 2016. .
Independencia. Raya Martin. 2009. Philippines. May 6th, 2016. Manila-Acapulco Grog.
Crumbs. Miguel Llansó. 2015. Ethiopia. May 6th, 2016. Ethiopian Espresso Martini.
Horse Money. Pedro Costa. 2014. Portugal. May 20th, 2016. Portuguese Daisy recipe.
Winter Sleep. Nuri Bilge Ceylan. 2014. Turkey. May 21st, 2016. Golden Slipper.
The Brand New Testament. Jaco Van Dormael. 2015. Belgium. May 27th, 2016. Bianca Castafiore.
Ida. Pawel Pawlikowski. 2013. Poland. May 27th, 2016. Szarlotka.
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. Roy Andersson. 2014. Sweden. May 27th, 2016. Swedish Snowball.
I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK. Chan-wook Park. 2006. South Korea. June 24th, 2016. Makan’s Seoul Slinger.
The Yacoubian Building. Marwan Hamed. 2006. Egypt. June 25th, 2016. Egyptian Princess recipe.
The Gospel According to Matthew. Pier Paolo Pasolini. 1964. Italy. July 1st, 2016. Limoncello Collins.
Before The Rain. Craig Boreham. 2010. Macedonia. July 2nd, 2016. Bambus Cocktail.
Wing Chun. Woo-Ping Yuen. 1994. Hong Kong. July 2nd, 2016. Chelsea Flower Show.
Theeb. Naji Abu Nowar. 2014. United Arab Emirates. July 20th, 2016. Detox Mule.
Bad Hair. Mariana Rondón. 2013. Venezuela. July 21st, 2016. Playero.
The Maid. Sebastián Silva. 2009. Chile. July 23rd, 2016. .
Hidden. Michael Haneke. 2005. Austria. August 27th, 2016. Blood And Sand.
The Pope’s Toilet. César Charlone. 2007. Uruguay. August 27th, 2016. Caipiroska.
Timbuktu. Abderrahmane Sissako. 2014. Mauritania. September 2nd, 2016. Mauretania Mauritania.
Fill the Void. Rama Burshtein. 2012. Israel. September 3rd, 2016. Noah’s Ark.
Neria. Godwin Mawuru. 1993. Zimbabwe. September 3rd, 2016. Strawberry Tongo.
Touki Bouki. Djibril Diop Mambéty. 1973. Senegal. September 9th, 2016. Bissap Shake.
Come and See. Elem Klimov. 1985. Belarus. September 9th, 2016. Krambambulya.
Made in USA. Jean-Luc Godard. 1967. France. September 10th, 2016. The French Blonde.
Deadpool. Tim Miller. 2016. United States. September 10th, 2016. Cosmopolitan.
Cyclo. Tran Anh Hung. 1995. Viet Nam. October 15th, 2016. .
The Forgiveness of Blood. Joshua Marston. 2011. Albania. October 22nd, 2016. Albania.
The Lesson. Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov. 2014. Bulgaria. October 28th, 2016. Oblak.
Another Way. Károly Makk. 1982. Hungary. November 4th, 2016. .
But the Word Dog Doesn’t Bark. Bernd Schoch. 2011. Germany. November 4th, 2016. Big Fish.
Space Captain Pirate Harlock. Shinji Aramaki. 2013. Japan. June 26th, 2016. Tatami Cocktail.
The Night of Truth. Fanta Régina Nacro. 2004. Burkina Faso. November 5th, 2016. Bissap Mojito.
Non-Present Time. Mykolas Vildziunas. 2014. Lithuania. November 18th, 2016. Krupnikas.
Tuesday, After Christmas. Radu Muntean. 2010. Romania. November 25th, 2016. Temptation.
A River Called Titas. Ritwik Ghatak. 1973. Bangladesh. November 25th, 2016. Pimm’s Cup.
The Colour of Pomegranates. Sergei Parajanov. 1969. Armenia. November 26th, 2016. Armenian Kiss.
Whole New Thing. Amnon Buchbinder. 2005. Canada. November 26th, 2016. The Canadian.
The Cup. Khyentse Norbu. 1999. Bhutan. December 9th, 2016. Independence Day Mojito.
Viva Riva. Djo Tunda Wa Munga. 2010. The Democratic Republic of the Congo. December 10th, 2016. Paupau Paradise.
The Fourth Man. Paul Verhoeven. 1983. Netherlands. December 10th, 2016. Amsterdam.
Beauty. Oliver Hermanus. 2011. South Africa. December 11th, 2016. African Lullaby.
Dry Season. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. 2006. Chad. December 16th, 2016. Karkanji.
Embrace of the Serpent. Ciro Guerra. 2015. Colombia. December 17th, 2016. Coco Loco.
Go West. Ahmed Imamovic. 2005. Bosnia and Herzegovina. December 17th, 2016. Tito’s Garden.
Pictures of the Old World. Dusan Hanák. 1972. Slovakia. December 18th, 2016. Hriatô.
When Father Was Away on Business. Emir Kusturica. 1985. Serbia. January 7th, 2017. Soft Serbian.
Transport from Paradise. Zbyněk Brynych. 1963. Czech Republic. January 9th, 2017. Wharf Rat.
In Bloom. Nana Ekvtimishvili & Simon Groß. 2013. Georgia. January 28th, 2017. Kiwi & cucumber.
Blissfully Yours. Apichatpong Weerasethakul. 2002. Thailand. January 28th, 2017. Coco.
Ex Machina. Alex Garland. 2015. Great Britain. January 29th, 2017. White Lady.
Omar. Hany Abu-Assad. 2013. Palestine. February 3rd, 2017. Limonana.
Staying Single When?. Tom Som. 2007. Cambodia. February 4th, 2017. Banana Daiquiri.
Black and White in Color. Jean-Jacques Annaud. 1976. Côte d’Ivoire. February 4th, 2017. Hibiscus Margaritas.
Le complot d’Aristote. Jean-Pierre Bekolo. 1996. Cameroon. February 4th, 2017. Tamarind & Gin.
Napomuceno’s Will. Francisco Manso. 1997. Cabo Verde. February 10th, 2017. Coco Punch.
Song from the Forest. Michael Obert. 2013. Central African Republic. February 10th, 2017. Wasp.
Rerun. Joachim Trier. 2006. Norway. February 11th, 2017. Mountain Stream.
Holiday. Diego Araujo. 2014. Ecuador. February 11th, 2017. Canalazo.
Salvation Army. Abdellah Taia. 2013. Morocco. February 24th, 2017. Dolomint.
A Wonderful Night in Split. Arsen A. Ostojic. 2004. Croatia. February 25th, 2017. Crocktail.
The Milk of Sorrow. Claudia Llosa. 2009. Peru. February 25th, 2017. Peruvian Pisco Sour.
50 Ways of Saying Fabulous. Stewart Main. 2005. New Zealand. February 25th, 2017. Daiquiri Kiwi.
99 Women. Jesús Franco. 1969. Liechtenstein. March 11th, 2017. Strawberry G&T.
The Zwickys. Andres Valle, Carlos Valle. 2014. Honduras. March 11th, 2017. Monkey La La.
Vampires in Havana. Juan Padrón. 1985. Cuba. March 17th, 2017. Cuban Old Fashioned.
The Adopted Son. Aktan Arym Kubat. 1998. Kyrgyzstan. March 17th, 2017. Hot Honey Lemon with Vodka.
Guaguasi. Jorge Ulla. 1983. Dominican Republic. March 18th, 2017. Dominican Goddess.
Dukhtar. Afia Nathaniel. 2014. Pakistan. March 18th, 2017. Rooh Afza Cosmopolitan.
Dearest Sister. Mattie Do. 2016. Laos. March 24th, 2017. Lost in Laos.
A State of Mind. Daniel Gordon. 2004. North Korea. March 24th, 2017. Pyongyang Sling.
Kya Dilli Kya Lahore. Vijay Raaz. 2014. Fiji. March 26th, 2017. Welcome Cocktail.
Murder in Pacot. Raoul Peck. 2014. Haiti. March 31th, 2017. Cesar’s Rum Punch.
Destiny. Muhammad Camara. 1997. Guinea. March 31th, 2017. Guinea Bissap.
The Cave of the Yellow Dog. Byambasuren Davaa. 2005. Mongolia. April 1st, 2017. Mongolian.
The Forgotten Kingdom. Andrew Mudge. 2013. Lesotho. April 1st, 2017. Lesotho Lady.
Curse of Mesopotamia. Lauand Omar. 2015. Iraq. April 3rd, 2017. Kubbeh Libre.
The Battle of Tabato. João Viana. 2013. Guinea-Bissau. April 3rd, 2017. West African Ginger Drink.
Volcano. Jayro Bustamante. 2015. Guatemala. April 7th, 2017. Rosa Palopo.
God Loves the Fighter. Damian Marcano. 2013. Trinidad and Tobago. April 7th, 2017. Passionfruit Cocktail.
Munyurangabo. Lee Isaac Chung. 2007. Rwanda. April 8th, 2017. “The Starter” – Kigali Mélange.
Imiti ikula. Sampa Kangwa, Simon Wilkie. 2001. Zambia. April 8th, 2017. Lady Passion.
Vitus. Fredi M. Murer. 2006. Switzerland. April 8th, 2017. .
Cobra Verde. Werner Herzog. 1987. Ghana. April 8th, 2017. The Midnight Rum.
Who Killed Captain Alex?. Nabwana I.G.G.. 2010. Uganda. April 10th, 2017. Pineapple Buganda.
Wan Pipel. Pim de la Parra. 1976. Suriname. April 10th, 2017. The Paramaribo Park Club Gin Sling.
Contadora is for Lovers. Jorge Ameer. 2006. Panama. April 13th, 2017. Coco Heaven.
Sleepwalking Land. Teresa Prata. 2007. Mozambique. April 13th, 2017. Coconut Mojito.
The Patience Stone. Atiq Rahimi. 2012. Afghanistan. April 28th, 2017. Bubbly Afghan Cherry Cocktail.
Half of a Yellow Sun. Biyi Bandele. 2013. Nigeria. April 28th, 2017. Super Simple Summer Punch.
A Call Girl. Damjan Kozole. 2009. Slovenia. April 29th, 2017. The Peter XOXO.
Tulpan. Sergei Dvortsevoy. 2008. Kazakhstan. April 29th, 2017. The Drink of Gods.
Shottas. Cess Silvera. 2002. Jamaica. April 29th, 2017. Body Heat.
That’s the Way I Like It. Glen Goei. 1998. Singapore. April 29th, 2017. nil.
Caramel. Nadine Labaki. 2007. Lebanon. April 30th, 2017. Jad Ballout’s Garcia’s Fattoush Cup.
Fishing Without Nets. Cutter Hodierne. 2014. Somalia. April 30th, 2017. Shaah Adays: Somali spiced tea with milk.
Captain Abu Raed. Amin Matalqa. 2008. Jordan. April 30th, 2017. Middle Eastern Mint Lemonade.
Nairobi Half Life. David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga. 2012. Kenya. May 5th, 2017. Dawa Cocktail.
Tanna. Martin Butler. 2015. Vanuatu. May 5th, 2017. Japanese Slipper at Sunset Bungalows.
Born Warriors Redux: Bound Fists. Vincent Giordano. 2014. Myanmar. May 6th, 2017. Pegu Club.
7 Boxes. Juan Carlos Maneglia. 2012. Paraguay. May 6th, 2017. Paraguay Passion.
Brownstones to Red Dirt. Dave LaMattina. 2010. Sierra Leone. May 16th, 2017. Guava Ginger Zinger Cocktail.
I am the Good Fairy. Jack Niedenthal. 2009. Marshall Islands. May 16th, 2017. Marshall Island Swizzle.
Mama Illegal. Ed Moschitz. 2011. Moldova. May 17th, 2017. Eggnog Rum Cocktail.
A New Day In Old Sana’a. Bader Ben Hirsi. 2005. Yemen. May 17th, 2017. Yemen fizz.
The Forsaken Land. Vimukthi Jayasundara. 2005. Sri Lanka. May 19th, 2017. Ceylon Sailor.
Avenging the Throne. Raymond Mizzi. 2013. Malta. May 19th, 2017. Bounty Boat.
The Syrian Bride. Eran Riklis. 2004. Syrian. May 20th, 2017. POLO.
Halfaouine. Férid Boughedir. 1990. Tunisia. May 20th, 2017. A Night in Tunisia.
When the Man Went South. Alex Bernstein. 2014. Tonga. May 24th, 2017. Tonga Mai Tai.
Surviving Guazapa. Roberto d’Avila Alegria. 2008. El Salvador. May 24th, 2017. San Salvador.
The Kite Flyer. Sean Russell. 2007. Barbados. May 26th, 2017. Rum Punch Recipe.
2012: Curse of the Xtabai. Matthiew Klinck. 2012. Belize. May 26th, 2017. Blue Morpho.
Teluki. Abdul Zainidi. 2013. Brunei Darussalam. May 27th, 2017. Ice Kachany.
Voodoo Man. Fabian Guerra. 2014. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. May 27th, 2017. St. Vincent Cocktail.
Soucouyant. Lia Gajhadar. 2015. Saint Lucia. June 2nd, 2017. Banana Blues.
La Yuma. Florence Jaugey. 2009. Nicaragua. June 2nd, 2017. The Macuá.
Kleinhoff Hotell. Carlo Lizzani. 1977. Monaco. June 3rd, 2017. Le Purple.
Himalaya. Eric Valli. 1999. Nepal. June 3rd, 2017. 1st Cocktail.
Tigisti. Daniel Tesfamariam. 2012. Eritrea. June 9th, 2017. Tej Cocktail.
Sick Birds Die Easy. Nicholas Fackler. 2013. Gabon. June 10th, 2017. .
Journal d’un coopérant. Robert Morin. 2010. Burundi. June 10th, 2017. Green Apple Collins.
The Drill Project. Justin Jay. 2012. Equatorial Guinea. June 16th, 2017. Ginger-lemonade Highball.
Blinded. Anderson Quarless. 2006. Grenada. June 16th, 2017. Tropical Teaser.
Exploration Guyana. Charles Montier. 2011. Guyana. June 17th, 2017. The Georgetown.
Pio XI e Marconi. A. Nonymous. 1933. Holy See. June 17th, 2017. Bellini.
William and the Windmill. Ben Nabors. 2013. Malawi. June 23rd, 2017. The Pumulani.
Ali and Nino. Asif Kapadia. 2016. Azerbaijan. June 23rd, 2017. Arak Buck.
Lion of the Desert. Moustapha Akkad. 1980. Libya. June 24th, 2017. Eastern Promise.
American Visa. Juan Carlos Valdivia. 2005. Bolivia. June 25th, 2017. Pisco Sour.
Ten Minutes Older. Herz Frank. 1978. Latvia. June 30th, 2017. Trampoline.
The Last Alchemist. Michele Massari. 2012. San Marino. June 30th, 2017. Aperol Spritz.
The Redemption of General Butt Naked. Daniele Anastasion and Eric Strauss. 2011. Liberia. July 1st, 2017. Liberian Ginger Beer.
Kiribati: Words from the Last Generation. Aurora Brachman & Bradley King . 2017. Kiribati. July 1st, 2017. Kiribati Samoan Poi (Mashed Bananas with Coconut Cream).
The Unmissing Part. Ahmad Abdullah Alkhudari . 2016. Kuwait. July 3rd, 2017. Caramel – Swirl Hot Chocolate.
Noi the Albino. Dagur Kári. 2003. Iceland. July 15th, 2017. Iceberg Paralyzer.
Divines. Houda Benyamina. 2016. Qatar. July 21st, 2017. Official Bullfrog Cocktail.
The Silence. Mohsen Makhmalbaf. 1998. Tajikistan. July 21st, 2017. Boulder Tangerine Bourbon Sour.
Operation Oman. Tristan Ofield. 2014. Oman. July 22nd, 2017. Mint Lemonade.
Ten Minutes is Two Hours. Patrick Kennelly. 2013. South Sudan. July 22nd, 2017. Kerkede.
Nauru 1973. Unknown. 1973. Nauru. July 23rd, 2017. Nauru Iced Coffee.
Who I Am. Andrew Lloren. 2015. Micronesia. July 24th, 2017. Flaming Coconut.
The Church. Marco Romano. 2016. Antigua and Barbuda. July 25th, 2017. Antiguan Smile Cocktail.
Mr. Pip. Andrew Adamson. 2012. Papua New Guinea. August 1st, 2017. Lychee martini.
Killer Mermaids. Milan Todorovic. 2014. Montenegro. August 2nd, 2017. Montenegro Non Troppo.
Duroob Season 2 Episode 1: Comoros. Unknown. 2016. Comoros. August 4th, 2017. Vanilla Margarita.
March of the Gods: Botswana Metalheads. Raffaele Mosca. 2014. Botswana. August 4th, 2017. Rooibos Tea Punch.
Cocorico! Monsieur Poulet. Jean Rouch. 1974. Niger. August 5th, 2017. North African Sage n’ Green Tea.
The Man Who Mends Women. Thierry Michel. 2015. Congo. August 5th, 2017. Dawa.
Mionga ki Ôbo: Mar e Selva. Ângelo Torres. 2005. Sao Tome and Principe. August 5th, 2017. Cachaça Punch.
Of Love and Other Demons. Hilda Hidalgo. 2009. Costa Rica. August 7th, 2017. Mamadita.
A Passage to Anuta. Jacob Ells. 2014. Solomon Islands. August 14th, 2017. Solomon Island Cocktail.
Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation. Charles Burnett. 2007. Namibia. August 21st, 2017. Amarula Brown Elephant.
Tabataba. Raymond Rajaonarivelo. 1988. Madagascar. August 25th, 2017. Madagascar Margarita.
Beats of the Antonov. Hajooj Kuka. 2014. Sudan. August 25th, 2017. Karkade Tequila.
The Return of a King to Seychelles. Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II . 2015. Seychelles. August 28th, 2017. Seychelles.
Headshot. Kimo Stamboel, Timo Tjahjanto. 2016. Indonesia. September 1st, 2017. Chocolate Baby.
Rhymes With Shove. Jamie R. Brisick/Isabel Freeman. 2016. Maldives. September 1st, 2017. Sting Ray.
Beatriz’s War. Bety Reis/Luigi Acquisto. 2013. Timor-Leste. September 2nd, 2017. Coffee cocktail.
A Paluan Documentary. Gary Schlosser. 1950s?. Palau. September 2nd, 2017. Luau Coconut.
A Paluan Documentary. Pierre Deschamps . 2009. Dominica. September 2nd, 2017. Rosalie Bay Resort’s Bell Coconut Cocktail.
The Exchange: Six Faces of the Gambia. Mathew Welsh. 2009. Gambia. September 2nd, 2017. Wonjo Cocktail.
Not Gay. Jean-Baptiste Erreca/Kareem Mortimer/Scott Boswell/Tony Wei. 2008. Bahamas. September 3rd, 2017. FroCo.
The Encounter. Jon Rabaud. 2015. Mauritius. September 4th, 2017. Mango Rum.
Alexander’s Lost World. Unknown. 2013. Turkmenistan. September 8th, 2017. Vodka Green Tea Sprizter recipe.
Men in the Arena. J.R. Biersmith. 2017. Djibouti. September 8th, 2017. Retoxed Detox Tea.
New Year Parade Day St. Kitts SugarMas 2016. unknown. 2016. Saint Kitts and Nevis. September 8th, 2017. Killer Bee with Pepper and Nutmeg.
Africa Paradis. Sylvestre Amoussou. 2006. Benin. September 8th, 2017. .
ThuleTuvalu. Matthias von Gunten. 2014. Tuvalu. September 9th, 2017. ‘Otai.
People of the Forest. Hugo Van Lawick. 1988. Tanzania. September 9th, 2017. Tanzania 28 Cocktail.
Life is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara. Iara Lee. 2015. Western Sahara. September 9th, 2017. West Sahara Ginger Drink.
The Keeper. Otabek Djuraev. 2013. Uzbekistan. September 9th, 2017. Grape + Sage Holiday Kompot Cocktail.
Small Crimes. Christos Georgiou. 2008. Cyprus. September 15th, 2017. Authentic Cypriot Taverna Brandy Sour Cocktail.
The Devil’s Kiss. Jordi Gigó. 1976. Andorra. September 22nd, 2017. Sangria.
Inuk. Mike Magidson. 2010. Greenland. September 22nd, 2017. Arctic Cirle Secrets.
The Orator. Tusi Tamasese. 2011. Samoa. September 23rd, 2017. Samoan island cocktail recipe.
Women. Luís Galvão Teles. 1997. Luxembourg. October 6th, 2017. Absolute Stress.
Ashakara. Gérard Louvin. 1991. Togo. October 13th, 2017. Jus de bissap.
Fool in a Bubble. Josh Sternlicht. 2010. Swaziland. October 20th, 2017. Black Label Fusion Cocktail.


WFC Swaziland: Fool in a Bubble


This is the last film in this blog series, and it’s from Swaziland, apparently. But mostly South Africa? Durban’s in South Africa, isn’t it?

Anyway, it’s a documentary about a musician called Syd Kitchen, and the premise is apparently that if only it hadn’t been for the anti-apartheid boycott, he’d like be world famous. And not just world famous in South Africa. (And perhaps Swaziland.)

And as usual in these kinds of documentaries, I wish they’d just started off the film with 30 minutes of the musician in question in concert. Because watching this, I have absolutely no idea whether he makes interesting music or not. Instead they use his music as background music to people talking, or very very short snippets in between people talking.

After about half the film, we get some longer snippets of his music, but seldom longer than a chorus or a verse. Very frustrating. So I still don’t know whether his music is any good or not. It seems kinda nice and melodic and not that interesting.

The film tries so hard to create a heroic “from obscurity” narrative, including a cathartic moment where Kitchen hits rock bottom and then bounces back, and it’s nice that it tries. But the film obviously shows someone who’s on his last legs, and the sojourn this film tries framing in a positive way is just sad and embarrasing.

(He died the year after the film was made.)

Fool in a Bubble. Josh Sternlicht. 2010. Swaziland.

Black Label Fusion Cocktail

  • 2 basil leaves
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • salt & pepper
  • A dash of sugar syrup
  • A dash of bitters
  • 100ml apple cider
  • 300ml beer

Muddle ginger with the basil, thyme, salt, papper and the syrup. Add the cider and ice and stir. Pour the beer over the mixture and add a sprig of thyme to garnish.

“This beer cocktail will show you Carling Black Label as you’ve never seen it before!” Especially since I couldn’t find Carling Black Label here, so I did a naughty substitution. But this is a really good mix, although I think I would have preferred to have strained it, because drinking it is kinda fiddly. And the salt makes it kinda er salty after a while.

This post is part of the World of Films and Cocktails series. Explore the map.

meme x giffy

The other week I was tinkering with editing GIF animations in Emacs, and then I started wondering: Can this be any more ridiculous?


So it’s a mashup of the Emacs meme mode and the new GIF animation code.  I spent most of the time on this wondering whether I could somehow make one or the other a minor mode before giving up and just mashed the code into meme.el, which can be found on Github.

The main challenge here was figuring out how to make this fast enough.  The first naive implementation just created an SVG 25 times a second with all the data in it, and Emacs just isn’t fast enough to print a ~2MB XML structure that often.  (Not to mention when animating bluray screen grabs: The SVG structure is then about 7MB.)

So I cheated and pre-computed the screengrab bits, and then plonked down those bits into the printed XML structure.  Which made it fast enough even for bluray animations on my rather spiffy machine; your mileage may vary.  If your machine is too slow, you may have to pre-downscale the screengrabs the animations are based on.

Exporting to GIF and MP4 is supported if you have ImageMagick “convert” and “ffpmeg” installed.


WFC Togo: Ashakara

It’s a pretty grainy transfer, but it kinda suits the film, because it’s kinda odd. It’s about an African scientist discovering the cure for a mysterious disease (AIDS isn’t mentioned) in a jungle plant, and people trying to exploit this cure. Which involves a satellite uplink that’s being run by an AI? For some reason?

Very strange.

But it’s well made. I mean, the audio is good, the actors are fine, the camerawork is decent, the editing is professional. So it almost works, but it somehow lacks any tension, despite all the mysteries and the action.

Ashakara. Gérard Louvin. 1991. Togo.

Jus de bissap

  • 4 parts chilled hibiscus tea
  • 1 part sugar
  • fresh mint
  • vanilla extract
  • grated ginger
  • orange flower water
  • 1 parts lemon juice
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 3 parts rum

Steep the hibiscus flowers in boling water. Strain into a pitcher and add all the other ingredients and allow to cool off. Add the rum and strain into an ice-filled glass.

This post is part of the World of Films and Cocktails series. Explore the map.