Happy birthday to us! We’re having cake and pop. You’re having… well, much the same as ever, in a slightly extended form to mark our fifty-second episode in style. If you’ve stuck with us this long—thank you. Your patience and tolerance for our nonsense is appreciated. Sadly, things are unlikely to get any better, although we may attempt a tuck, nip and polish to enliven your reading experience. Or we may just clatter along in our ad-hoc ramshackle fashion until something drops off. It’ll be a ride, either way.
In our slap-up feed this week, we’re serving up no-knead bread, OKi Dogs and the juicy tale of the greatest thriller that never was.
Now is the birthday. Here is the cake. This is The Cut.
Those of us who take pleasure in watching Tom Cruise get inventively murdered over and over again will find a lot to enjoy in his slightly overloooked SF movie Edge of Tomorrow (also well known by its marketing slogan Live Die Repeat, oddly). A more shouty and explodey Groundhog Day, it still has a lot to commend it, especially if you’re a fan of Emily Blunt in badass mode. Most of the human members of the cast wear exosuits—powered upgrades which allow them run faster, punch harder, jump higher. It’s been largely thought these bulky, cumbersome items were CG add-ons. Wrong. They were real, and they were heavy. The exosuits were triumphs of costume, engineering and practical effects and go to show that not everything in movies is greenscreen. Let’s take a closer look…
How They Built the Battle Exosuits for ‘Edge of Tomorrow’
We really enjoyed this oral history of LA punk hangout Oki Dogs. For a little while in the early eighties it was the place to see and be seen if you were part of the tiny hardcore scene in the city. We’re not so convinced by the food, which even the regulars admit was best enjoyed steaming drunk and ravenous. But hey, at the hopeful end of a year in which dining with friends has been an absolute no-no, we’ll take a questionable chili-dog wrap if we get to hang with our pals in the sunshine again.
2020–the year we all became bakers. We all sweated over starters and fretted over our garden focaccias. Then there was no-knead bread, a recipe that benefits from the time we were all now able to give it. A twenty-four hour rise? No problem. What else have we got to do? The technique has been around for a while. Some argue it’s a method used by the earliest bread makers. Here’s the story of how modern no-knead bread came to make it back onto the dining table.
Orson Welles is considered one of the greatest film makers of all time, and one whose potential was most wasted. For every movie he managed to release, there were dozens that foundered and died on the drawing board. We were especially fascinated by this story on Crimereads, which mourns the loss of a potential collaboration between Welles and the incredible Lucile Ball. Whatever happened to The Smiler With The Knife?
Orson Welles, Lucille Ball, and The Greatest Thriller That Never Was
The Music Desk, now stung by the increasing frequency by which they’re called out as hoary old rockers, would like to offer up this piece on electronic pioneer Wendy Carlos, who contributed futuristic takes on classical music for Stanley Kubrick on A Clockwork Orange. We didn’t know she was also behind the soundscapes on a formative movie from our past. Possibly Disney’s finest moment…
Pixel Perfect: How Wendy Carlos Gave an Extra Dimension to Tron
In a further attempt to show how they’re more than stinky old prog-heads, the Music Desk would also like to direct your attention to this history of The Blitz Kids. Named after the club in which they gathered to pose and dance, they were the people who brought the world New Romanticism and unwittingly created a great deal of what we think of when 80s style is mentioned. They took the DIY punk aesthetic and went to the moon with it.
Meet the London Club Kids Who Made Punk Go Pop
We came across a couple of extraordinary posts this week which show how the internet can be used to create work you simply couldn’t execute in any other way. First up, this comic/animation/article from Leise Hook on invasive species and the nature of belonging. It’s beautifully drawn and full of neat touches. Moving, thoughtful and immersive.
The Vine and the Fish
If we were to tell you you’d get lost in an interactive tutorial in the inner workings of the internal combustion engine, you’d probably laugh at us. We’d understand, but would gently point out Bartosz Ciechanowski has basically created an online toy which allows you to grab and spin at all the bits. It’s very clever, enormous fun and will leave you with a much deeper appreciation for an object many of us use every day without the faintest idea of its complexity. Seriously, give this a look and tell us you’re not immediately hooked.
In a sidebar to the post Rob put out earlier in the week, writer Dan Hon has some thoughts on writing for the internet, particularly when it comes to the ongoing spilt between blogs and newsletters. Look, we get it—this is probably going to be of limited interest unless you’re involved in web publishment in some form. Consider it a peek into the mind of our esteemed editor as he considers forward movement of both The Cut and Excuses And Half Truths. Bear in mind you’ll have to scroll past an article on cats and optical illusions, which means most of you will never get to the bit we’re talking about in the first place…
It may be our birthday, but we have a present for you! The Pulp Magazine Archive has flung open its doors, giving free access to over eleven thousand issues of classic SF, fantasy and detective fiction from the golden age of magazine publishing. All the big names are here and it’s well worth taking a random punt to see what you can dig up. Gems and howlers are all waiting to be discovered. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Enter the Pulp Magazine Archive, Featuring Over 11,000 Digitized Issues of Classic Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Detective Fiction
In a similar feel, the Ninth Art Desk has now woken up from a post-cake doze, brushed crumbs off its blotter and would like to share another treasure of British comics—The Trigan Empire. Published weekly through the sixties and early seventies, the strip is an exemplar of stunning art and frankly bonkers story-telling. The stories have been recently restored and are available as beautiful large-format editions. The first two grace our bookshelves, with the last collection out this summer. We can heartily recommend these classic tales of derring-do and wild adventure.
The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire Vol. I-II – Decades on, Mike Butterworth and Don Lawrence’s Masterpiece Lives Up to Its Legendary Status
Netflix recently launched a pricy live-action adaptation of Jupiter’s Legacy, Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s comics on superheroes and family. You can’t avoid the nods to earlier works like The Incredibles but honestly, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to the idea of legacy and succession in superhero narratives. It’s something The ‘Flix’s other cape-based series, Invincible, is also dealing with. We think this ties back to themes which have been with us since The Fantasic Four first burst onto the scene. Families, eh? Who’d have them?
And finally. We’re not the only wildly successful web-based initiative celebrating a birthday this week. Nebula-75, a loving tribute to Supermarionation blasted off a year ago. In celebration, the wildly talented crew of Century 21 Films have dropped a fresh new episode with all the adventure, thrills and laughs we’ve come to expect. Bear in mind this has been mostly been put together in the cramped front room of a flat in London’s West End, a long way from the huge sets of Gerry Anderson’s day. Well done to everyone involved. Stand by for action!
We’re convinced we’ve already posted the remarkable video of Prince’s solo on While My Guitar Gently Weeps at the 2004 George Harrison tribute concert, but perhaps we just imagined it. Age is clearly taking its toll. If we’re repeating ourselves, it wouldn’t be the first time. Anyway. A new cut of the footage has emerged focusing more strongly on The Purple One’s pyrotechnics, and is a must-see if you’re a fan of his work. Keep an eye on the guitar at the end. Where does it go…?
Watch a New Director’s Cut of Prince’s Blistering “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” Guitar Solo (2004)
That’s us done. As ever, if you have been, thanks for reading. A special thanks for those of you who have spread the word recently—we love you all. We’re off for a lie-down. All that cake won’t digest without a little help.
See you next Saturday.