Live in Edinburgh This Week – 11th October 2010

Before we get onto the tedious ritual of me listing good gigs every week and you ungrateful fuckers not going to any of them, I felt the need to share something quite special with you.  I spent my entire weekend going through lists of blogs who might be interested in the music we release and building mailing lists of people who have bought things from the label in the past and so on and so forth, so it’s not been the most exciting weekend of our lives, I have to confess.

Consequently, by bedtime last night, having spent most of the previous forty-eight hours staring at a computer screen all I was really intellectually capable of was a bit of empty-headed cinema and an early night.  Mrs. Toad tends to specialise in intellectually dormant movies, but I think it’s fair to say that this time she has pretty much excelled herself.  I really don’t know how she can ever top this one: The Saint, starring (so to speak) Val Kilmer and Elizabeth Shue.

Anyone who has read the Simon Templar books, or even seen Roger Moore’s series as that character back before his Bond days, will know that this is light, genuinely entertaining fluff.  There’s not much to it, but it has a certain style and is eminently enjoyable.  By contrast, the movie was so bad it veered from train wreck to masterpiece and back every thirty seconds or so.

Elizabeth Shue takes, rather predictably, the Christmas Jones role of Nucular Physicist who has, it seems, invented Cold Fusion.  She even hosts a presentation at Oxford where an undergrad (in a white coat, so you know she’s sciencey) asks what fusion actually is, presumably not having had to complete GCSE Physics in order to gain a place at university, unless of course she was a vet student or something who happened to be in the wrong lecture.  Shue then holds aloft some sort of pickle jar with a glass coil inside it and explains that she just feels Cold Fusion to be possible, and that’s all the justification for this lecture we are given.

Apparently she has ‘a formula’.  Because that’s what it takes to create a stable fusion reaction, a pickle jar and a formula, not a gigantic installation of state of the art engineering, apparently.  She’s just got two hours of ‘figgerin’ left to do to figure out which order to put the bits of her equations in.  Now, I may not know much about Nucular Physics but…

But in all honesty Shue is the least of your worries when watching this – she’ll look back on the script and cringe, but not particularly on her own performance.  I suppose that’s the benefit of these one-dimensional, utterly implausible, hot-babe twenty-something lady scientist characters – they’re such ironclad stereotypes that you can’t really do much with them good or bad (assuming, Miss Richards, that you can at least pronounce the name of your allotted discipline correctly).

Anyhow, the real highlight of this two hour festival of toe-curling agony, was Val fucking Kilmer.  The man is a legend.  His character’s superpower was having no actual identity and being good at disguises, something which was accomplished so cartoonishly badly that every new persona made us cackle with horrified glee.  The character in that clip above (don’t watch it all, I really don’t think you could take it) was pretty much the piece de resistance however.

He discovered that Shue’s character loved Byron (or something like that, I can’t remember) so decided that in order to seduce her he would need a character with an artistic soul.  I can only imagine the howls of woe from all the charming, well-mannered Oxford scientists who had been trying to slip her the salami for the previous few years, when it turned out that all it took was one of the worst haircuts in cinematic history, a pair of hilarious leather pantaloons and a completely baffling choice of accents to get into the old dear’s knickers.

“Er, sir, the Chateau Latour is four hundred pounds per bottle.”
“Very well, we’ll take two of them.” Zing!

Anyhow, after foiling the plans of the Russian energy magnate who created an energy shortage by stashing Moscow’s entire supply of fuel oil under his fucking house and then decided that the best way to take advantage of this shortage was by providing Cold Fusion power to the people of Russia, thus presumably negating his entire basis of power in an instant, rather than, say, just jacking up the prices of fuel oil and controlling supply to make his fortune and keep a political stranglehold on the country’s government, but I digress… Yes, so after this, Shue decides to give Cold Fusion to the world so she and Val can live happily ever after – once she’s spent the two hours necessary to figure out which way round her formulae go (something presumably not covered in the preceding years of research) in a back room at the American embassy in Moscow, that is.

Anyhow, those are some of the edited highlights, but really this film has to be seen to be believed.  You have to be tough though, because I really don’t think many people could take it.  Particularly the bit where Val’s hiding in the river in Moscow and the baddies looking for him conveniently fuck off for ten minutes so he can stumble to the shelter of the nearest block of flats, only to return (again, for no fathomable reason beyond evil ESP) five minutes later to resume the excitement of their narrow escape.

Anyhow, I’ll stop now.  Please, please watch this for yourself, it really is the worst film I think I have ever seen, and considering the woman I married that really is saying something.  Absolutely all of it is bad.  All of it.  Every line, every plot device, every character, every single premise, absolutely everything.  Cold Fusion! In a pickle jar with a glass coil!  It looked more like she’d brought her cuppa soup in the fucking thing, honestly.

Oh hang on, I was supposed to be talking about something else, wasn’t I…

Tuesday 12th October 2010: Twilight Sad and Errors at the Liquid Room.

A couple of splendid Glasgow bands are coming through to play at the newly re-opened Liquid Rooms.  The re-decorating may be complete, but the sticky floor and smell of stale beer have apparently been lovingly preserved.  Still, it was always a good venue to see bands, because the stage is high enough that you can always see, and the PA is really fucking loud.  Look for the Twilight Sad to give it a good workout!

Wednesday 13th October 2010: Dan Mangan, French Wives & Three Blind Wolves (acoustic) at Sneaky Pete’s.

This’ll be a gorgeously Americana-flecked night of acoustic pop.  Dan Mangan’s new album Nice, Nice, Very Nice is really, erm, very nice indeed (sorry, had to be done).

Dan Mangan – Road Regrets

Saturday 16th October 2010: Honeytrap, Jesus H. Foxx & Sebastian Dangerfield at Medina.

Honeytrap are wild fun, and this will be my first chance to see Sebastian Dangerfield, but I’ve talked enough about this gig already, so you know what to expect by now – or at least you should.  Tickets here.

Honeytrap – Roslin is a Cylon

Sunday 17th October 2010: The Savings and Loan and the Last Battle Song, by Toad House Gig.

This is the first glimpse of The Savings and Loan in about five years, and probably the first proper one just about ever.  Their debut album is out on Song, by Toad Records in early December, and they will be supported by The Last Battle, fielding a rather minimal lineup (it is our living room after all).  We’ve sold about half the tickets already, and whilst you are likely to be able to get in on the night, it might be safer to buy tickets in advance from here. It would help us out if you did, anyway.

The Savings and Loan – Swallows