Thursday, May 26, 2005

OXFORD MAIL EYES BLOG:

Seems this blog has attracted the eye of my local newspaper The Oxford Mail (via the Britblog Directory). I was browsing around last night and found a message from Debbie Waite of the Mail on my Pathfinder Guestbook saying she wanted to ask some questions about blogging and blogger philosophy (I paraphrase).

Debbie promptly sent back some questions about the upsurge of the blog as part of everyone's life which I answered to the best of my ability and that was that. No idea when it's gonna feature, if at all. I'll be sure to keep you all posted should anything develop.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

REVIEW, STAR WARS 3 - REVENGE OF THE SITH:

:::THERE'LL BE NO SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW:::

Well, yeah, I snuck out Monday afternoon to see this (Lucas's final Star Wars outing, hopefully) on the big screen. I thought, well at least I'll have seen all 6 of them on the big screen. Seemed silly not to. In retrospect...

There was nothing wrong with it. It tied up all the loose ends suggested by Star Wars 4 - A New Hope back in the late 70's (my favourite reference was the space ship that Leia is in when the Star Destroyer scrolled down the screen after her in the original Star Wars). Gosh, Star Wars 4 was a delicious film - as a kid there truly was no greater joy.

What about the new one, SW3? The action scenes, especially the lightsabre fighting was real exciting. The space battle scenes as competent as ever. The narrative was well polished, interesting and concise - the droid army/clone army dichotomy was well portrayed, the pre-Empire vehicular design was intriguing for the longest time, I even liked the Dooku thread for what it was worth though I didn't like the over-use of R2D2 to solve narrative problems. Yes, we finally get to know why, etc...

But it was a bit ham-fisted. Okay, looking back on SW4, that was a bit wooden too. But SW4 was one of Lucas's first films. You'd have thought he'd have learned some lessons about character and narrative presentation since then. It just looked a bit dated, a bit staid in places. It didn't have the contemporary edge of a modern cinematic experience for me. Over and over again, we are TOLD why Annakin is doing the things he's doing, being lured by the Dark Side. But we're never shown WHY he's doing it - it all seems so weak, it never gels as a motivation. pre-Darth Vader CAN'T be put across like this. It just doesn't feel right.

Maybe I'm just nostalgic but Annakin's tranformation needed something a little more convincing than the reason given.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

HARUKI MURAKAMI AND THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION:

One's a first rate Japanese writer, the other's a piece of shit nothing film about 'college' that the guy at the video shop recommended, for fuck's sake.

Where's the connection?

1) I've just finished HARDBOILED WONDERLAND & THE END OF THE WORLD.
2) The Laws of Attraction film has an End of the World party.

Tenuous connection, huh?

Well, not really. I'm a great big fan of Murakami's work - on my scruffy bookshelf I have Sputnik Sweetheart, South of the Border West of the Sun, After the Quake, A Wild Sheep Chase, Norwegian Wood, The Elephant Vanishes, Dance Dance Dance, The Wind-up Bird Chronicles and Hard Boiled Wonderland & The End of the World. As earlier mentioned, the film The Laws of Attraction is shit. So is Hard Boiled Wonderland & The End of the World.

Sorry, Mr Murakami, I have to say it like it is. I hate giving negative reviews but that's the way it is. I've tried (about three years ago) to read this bi-furcated book about computer codes and walled towns (that first time was a real struggle, I got half way through after much struggle with the characters, the narrative and the structure of the book...). This time (three years later) I got to within 90 or so pages of the end before throwing the book across the room in exasperation.

I re-read the sucky little critiques and blurbs on the inside and back cover respectively and I think, "What the fuck were you reviewers reading? Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is about as indigestible and unentertaining as Burroughs stupidest monochrome cut'n'paste exercises. It's not interesting, intriguing or fun. It's over-blown (should have been a 10,000 word short story in something like The Elephant Vanishes), dull, lifeless and rubbish."

I know you can't please all the readers all the time. But I'm not all the readers. I'm just little old me, a staunch Haruki Murakakmi fan. How can I neither like nor even empathise with this book at all. It depresses me like I can't explain. So sad.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

OXFORD ART WEEK 2005:

As part of Oxford Art Week, the Lolapoloza Gallery in Blue Boar Street, just off St Aldates in central Oxford will be exhibiting several of my smaller (surreal faces and standing stones) paintings in their neat little upstairs gallery.

The exhibition runs officially from May 28 until June 5 - but I believe Lolapoloza will be extending the group exhibition a further three weeks while Art is still fresh in the minds of the Oxford consumer.

SURREALISTAS IN THE WORLD:

Surrealistas In The World - that's what the site's called and according to its Spanish owner, the enigmatically named VBZ, I share the world with 1706 personal-data-verified surrealists in the media of painting, writing, photography etc....

Nice to know one has friends no matter how distant, diverse in age and geographically separated. That's the internet for ya. Maybe we should all gather together one evening on the eroto-ether and fuck each other's brains senseless.

The site is indexed by age, so I'm down there with the other 1966'ers.

Mike Philbin - Inglaterra - 1966 - 39 - Escritura, pintura

Apparently, the year for the most surrealists is 1953. Informative if nothing else.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

MY NEWEST FAVOURITE FILM OF ALL TIME:

Actually, this is a sliding series, as you can guess from the title. And in time, Rutger Hauer has starred in them; Flesh & Blood; Blade Runner; The Hitcher and now

CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND

But, that's a really old film, Mike. It is. 2002. I found that one out while doing a search through Charlie Kaufman's filmography. I'd seen this film on the DVDshelf and saw Clooney and Barrymore. I didn't fancy it. But IMDB tells me (most informative, IMDB) that it was scripted by one Charlie Kaufman. So now I've got to see it. I must. Every C.K. movie I've ever seen, I've enjoyed greatly to some degree more or less, though it may have not been perfect, though it may have lifted too faithfully from any number of jumbled together Philip K Dick novels, though it may have confused the hell out of me, annoyed me, disappointed me or even bored me...

I gotta stop there. Charlie Kaufman screenplays are NEVER boring. He's just a unique talent and this film about the (supposedly true life) confessions of TV mogul Chuck Barris is right on the sweet spot. Keep on swinging Charlie Kaufman.

DULL GREY FRANCHISE FOOD TIP:

In a lighter moment, I got a briliant idea for a perfect cullinary complement to the tediousness of the mass-market horror franchise:

<< GREY FOOD >>

Today's food tip is a corker (and this one tastes okay, too) - take one 450 gramme pot of Greek Style natural yoghurt, scoop out the first 300 grammes between yourself and a partner the night before. Return the pot to the fridge. The very next day (no sooner, no later) pour off the liquid that has formed on the remaining 150 grammes of yoghurt. Then add to the pot 2 (not one, two) Petits Filous little desserts (chocolate flavour only). Mix with a big spoon until the gloopy mess goes a uniform shade of grey. I'm thinking about writing a grey food cook book, if any publishers wanna start pitching for the hardback rights.

Next time, how to make rice even blander by adding coco-powder and white pepper.

PLAYSTATION 3 DETAILS:

It's shiny and sexy looking and details have just been announced at this year's E3 trade show - OMG!

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Sony also confirmed the PlayStation 3 will use Blu-Ray discs as its media format. The discs can hold up to six times as much data as current-generation DVDs. It will also supporrd CR-ROM, CDR+W, DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD+R. It also confirmed the machine would be backwards compatible all the way to the original PlayStation.

Sony also laid out the technical specs of the device. The PlayStation 3 will feature the much-vaunted Cell processor, which will run at 3.2 Ghz and feature 2.18 teraflops of performance. It will sport 256mb XDR main RAM at 3.2 Ghz, have 256MB of GDDR VRAM at 700mhz, a detachable 2.5 inch HDD slot, six usb 2.0 ports, Memory Stick Duo, a SD slot, a compact flash memory slot, Compact flash slot, 2 hdmi outputs, 1 av multi out, 1 SPDIF optical output, and 1-gigabit Ethernet built in port

The PlayStation 3 will also sport some hefty multimedia features, such as video chat, internet access, digital photo viewing, digital audio and video. Sony Computer Entertainment head Ken Kutaragi introduced it as a "Super computer for computer entertainment."

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Sony also unveiled the PS3's graphics chip, the RSX "Reality Synthesizer based on Nvidia technology. The GPU will be capable of 128bit pixel precision, 1080p resolution, some of the highest HD resolution around. It also has over 300 million transistors lager than any processor available commercially today. It was manufactured using the 90nm process with 8 layers of metal. The RSX is more powerful than two GeForce 6800 ultras, which would cost rough $1000 if bought today.

The PlayStation 3 will also sport some hefty multimedia features, such as video chat, internet access, digital photo viewing, digital audio and video. Sony Computer Entertainment head Ken Kutaragi introduced it as a "Super computer for computer entertainment."

Monday, May 16, 2005

SCARY VOICES 2 - MIKE PHILBIN:

Back in the hairy, scary Hertzan Chimera days, www.ReallyScary.com were kind enough to offer me a public platform from which to denounce the greyness and mediocrity of the modern mass-market horror franchise.

Click here to read the archived: Scary Voices 1 - Hertzan Chimera

My Hertzan Chimera-ranting stint went down like a lead balloon, I'm sure, with the masses of HWA-wanna-winnabes simply ignorant of the fact that they were merely regurgitating the same old prison slop for the same old publishers and agents or simply in denial about how clichéd and dull the majority of horror fiction really is. Nothing personal guys but there's nothing personal in the majority of what you're writing - to its ultimate detriment you've negated yourselves from the horror-writing process.

In this creative life, death is an integral part of the "editorial process". For fifteen years I had lived with him, nurtured him and finally killed the loud-mouthed fucker, aka Hertzan Chimera. The book THE LIFE AND DEATH OF HERTZAN CHIMERA is coming out from Cyber Pulp Books on June 1, but here's a taster of the revelatory content as now featured on the horror website www.ReallyScary.com's second SCARY VOICES feature.

Click here to read the latest: Scary Voices 2 - Mike Philbin

CHARLIE KAUFMAN R.I.P.:

It is with great regret that I read on AINT IT COOL NEWS of the demise of one of the world's greatest stage writers, Mr Charlie Kaufman (if only I could spell his name right)...

Yes, you heard me, Charlie Kaufman (thanks to the Coen Brothers) is dead.

Gah, it all ties in somewhere, somehow...

Go read the report.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

THE JAMES DEAN OF MODERN LITERATURE:

James Dean died after making only a few films and his infamy continued on into the future where we're now still keen to find any new bits of information about him, any new tidbits. Discover any previously unreleased footage or photos. Dirty underwear, hair or fingernail clippings.

Same with Hertzan Chimera R.I.P. it seems.

I've just checked his dead website's hitcounter (after killing him off in August of 2004) and not only is it recieving lots more hits than my own website but the hits are increasing weekly. I hesitate to say exponentially but it's a noticable trend upwards; a true phenomenon. Soon idiots will be wearing Hertzan Chimera T-shirts, using Hertzan Chimera mouse mats, drinking from Hertzan Chimera coffee mugs, sheltering under Hertzan Chimera unbrellas and I'll be taking a lot of these amateur merchandisers to court for breech of copyright.

Let's do this the easy way - if any professional merchandising company out there wants to market the ass off a dead donkey like Hertzan Chimera R.I.P., contact me at this address to talk ransom terms.

mike philbin 1966 @ yahoo . co . uk (no spaces)

Friday, May 13, 2005

RAVE REVIEW: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

I don't know who you are, where you're from, what you do ... but I do know that if you're here because you like the sorta totally-off-the-scale-crazy-ass shit that I like YOU HAVE TO see this film THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT (2004). I'd heard nothing about this film, it just came and went without a blip on the marketing front. This film should have sought me uot, tracked me down amd made me watch itself. I did eventually watch it today on the recommendation of a friend. "I know, I should watch it..." I'd been putting it off for ages because it reminded me of a Made For TV movie, sorta had that format. And it might well be, I've not put that much effort into researching it.

But it's STUNNING, and I don't care. It looks like about 27 films crammed into two hours of mind-scattering joy. You might not be a fan of Back To The Future and other such ball-less attempts at the time-travel subgenre but this flick shies away from no taboo and heartlessly 'treats' the viewer to every impossible consequence of fate that befalls this young guy.

Stars Ashton Kutchner in a great central role - I mean forget his 'fluff' films like "Dude, where's my car" and "Just married". May I say that THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT is 'da bomb'. Treat yourselves and your good lady wives (or yourselves and your strapping husband) to this rivetting and gut-wrenching experience - put it this way, it's on a par with PI and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. Yes, it's THAT good.

Yeah!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

BREAKING NEWS - BOOKS BROUGHT FORWARD:

Yes, breaking news indeed... Cyber Pulp Books who were already committed to bringing out my latest books CHIMERAWORLD #2 (editor) and THE LIFE AND DEATH OF HERTZAN CHIMERA (auto-biog) on July 15 of this year, have just informed me that they're investigating bringing publication of both titles forward to June 1 of this year.

Am I excited? You bet.

:)

TILLEMANS & PHILBIN'S MOUND:

It's been a while since I did any short fiction collaborations, and I'd forgotten how much I really enjoy stepping into another writer's created world, but a new collaboration THE MOUND is well under way.

Written with extreme American writer Nicholas Alan Tillemans, who's been threatening to send me something for over a year now, it's shaping up to be a strange Twilight Zone-esque tale of one man's struggle with that lump of grass in his otherwise flat back garden. So far, so good, but there'll be lots of twists and turns in the 'plot'. Do not expect the expected.

May 15th 2005 update: we're now 3,000 words into THE MOUND and it's turning out to be something beyond both our expectations - think David Lynch on scrumpy cider and you're close to the sexual horror of the finished product. It's gonna scare a lot of people, it's gonna anger more - and that's what it's all about, eh?

April 5th 2013 update: Nicholas Tillemans included our Mound story in his eight-story collection Acetone Enema and it's just received a rather bitchy review by HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS, however The Mound got top marks for being something rather special at the end of the collection.

Nice.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

INTERVIEW - RED SCREAM MAGAZINE ARRIVES:

For those of you who haven't been lucky enough to secure their copy of the launch issue of RED SCREAM magazine, the new horror mag out of New York, I have uploaded the text of the Mike Philbin interview David L Tamarin did. It's a biggee @ 5 pages; that's quite a chunk of the mag!

Thanks Red Scream.
Thanks DL Tamarin.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I HATE ALEX SEVERIN:

You're a writer, right?

What do you really want?

Good reviews? Fuck that, it's just someone's subjective opinion.
Peer approval? Well, nobody wants to hurt their buddy no matter how shit they write, right.
Readers? Yes. That should be the only thing a writer strives for. Gazillions of loyal readers eager for your archive and forthcoming outpourings, gaggin' for more of it. Well, my good buddy Alex Severin (BFGS co-writer and CHIM+HER co-writer of eight fems) has been a little quiet of late, a little mysterious, a little dark. This has affected the interest from her readers not one jot. Just last night her website (if you click this you'll only give her MORE hits) recorded a major ONE DAY HIT TOTAL of 500 unique hits.

500 unique hits in one day on an ever rising hits curve - I am so jealous. Wait till her latest book comes out, that figure's gonna go through the roof!

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! :)

REPORT - BFS OPEN NIGHT:

Last night, May 5th, at The Walker of Holborn, down in barrister country, central London. The British Fantasy Society's long delayed Open Night. The NightOwl evening coach fare saved me a fiver straight off the bat - savings were to be the order of the evening, as it turned out.

Of course, being from the north, I arrived early. Well, so did Simon Clark - he's not hard to miss, being about 6 foot 6 and bald on top. Simon and I were the only two there in the crowded upstairs bar around about 6pm. I enjoyed talking to Simon, he's a Doncaster lad and very down to earth - I got a chance to flick through his new horror collection hardback, hot off Robert Hale's printer. He'd literally picked it up that day and its pages had that wonderful new book smell. I'd spoken to Simon once before at a London BFS convention but he wouldn't have remembered me and I didn't wanna say I'd met him before 'cos that makes you sound like a stalker, right?

Spotting Stan Nichols and Chaz Benchley heading for the basement private function room, Simon and I trotted after them. Introductions made, the serious business of drinking ensued. Many thanks to the Write Fantastic Group who supplied a modicum of free drinks vouchers for the evening.

Dean (once known as "Ed") Clayton was there with his HWA_UK associate Jose (pen-named "Joseph") Lacey, as was Mark Samuels (who's always a joy), Stuart Young (who looked a little under the weather, or maybe he'd been using all his tablemates' free drinks tickets), Dave Matthews (who's appparently off to Lousisiana to meet our mutual writing partner MF Korn - good luck guys), Tony Richards (you're doing so well for yourself, keep it up), a pierced white haired BFS member called "John" Worley (hope you got home okay), I didn't get a chance to speak to Juliette McKenna (another Oxford resident) but I did get a chance to thank Jo Fletcher (of Orion Books) for helping me contact Octavia Butler's N.Y. agent. Most of the latter part of the evening was spent in the charming company of horror writers/editors (respectively) Amanda Taylor and Stephen Jones.

A great (cheap) night out in London and lovely to see some old faces and meet some new ones.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

NEW STORIES ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION:

1) new short story BROTHERLY LOVE accepted by the paying site ScienceFictionFantasyHorror.com.

2) new short story THE MUTUAL MASTURBATION CLUB due to be published in the forthcoming paperback THWN (The Horror Writer's Network) II Anthology: Voices From A Dark Future, edited by Keith Gouveia. Publication date June 1 2005.

3) 5,000 word article called THE SKULL FUCKERS to be published in Red Scream printed magazine (Sep/Oct 2005) - it's my perception of five extreme writers forgotten by the horror mainstream because they don't suck ass at conventions or rub their noses in the right online dogpile. This issue of Red Scream also includes my short story SHRAPNEL GIRL.

4) Finally, look out for my short BLOOD BEAST (song of the angel) in Unrestrained Kreations (this is a paperback anthology of all UK authors including Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark, Brian Lumley, Graham Masterton, Guy N. Smith and others) due out from Oxcart Press some time soon, I hear.

Monday, May 02, 2005

NEW STORY - THE STOPFORD ZOMBIES

Here's another new one, you're gonna love it. Exclusive sample right here, right now:

Let me first state for the record that the dogs were to blame; not grant-greedy scientists, not power-crazed politicians, not ego-maniac generals who wanted world domination no matter what the cost to society: it was the ass-licking dogs who fucked it all up. It always the fucking dogs, innit? No, I don’t mean the underdogs; the under funded, the misunderstood, the outcast. I mean the flea-ridden tamed varmints of the woods that man once so proudly called his best friend. There was no revolution taking place here. Just a cunning rat of a virus spreading across the undead flesh of a nation until one day all corpses would think the same way. Science had reverted to arrogant type, despite the warnings from armies of God’s-own evangelists, despite the complaints from the true intellectuals ousted from military service for their insolence, despite the growing mountains of evidence to the contrary, state sponsored genetic factories had produced the first intelligent zombie. There was an ethical issue though in testing CleverMesh™ on live civilians so the army thought of a cunning plan...

it's a rivetting tale of a military-engineered zombie dog-pack who spread their undead disease by the arbitrary licking of the asshole.

:)

NEW STORY - CABBAGE PATCH DOLL IS DEAD...

Here's the opening paragraph from my new story "Cabbage Patch Doll is dead..."

Cabbage Patch Doll was dead even before she took the rusty double-barrel of her enemy’s gun into her pretty mouth. CPD (as she became known to those who thought she was their accomplice) was an assassin for the now-defunct Midnight Club – a band of elite killers whose sole purpose was the total annihilation of Mediocrity Inc. For her and her kind hammering the sneering vermin of this incestuous clan on the skull was a way of life, and the reward was life itself. Let’s look at the days leading up to her media-crippling mishap and see if there’s any sense to be gleaned from the method of her demise.

It was the year 6005, four thousand years since the death of horror. The planet was now a much nicer place to inhabit and the archivists were all too keen to stab each other in the gutty wuts about what was the real cause of its demise. You can imagine the online evidence that was wiped from the internet by those holding the reins of the horror-hobby horse; the virtual legs broken, the digital bodies poured into foundations, the domestic dogs turned loose to become useful carrion eating wolves. I believe the term whitewash might have been applicable. Records were burned, reputations were incinerated, reprobates were executed in public. Just like all references to history, some things never change.


It's sci-fi with elements of horror and it's gonna be one mad, wild ride.