Stuff we done: Vol. 1

Here’s the first edition of Stuff we done – a cultural round-up of things we’ve been watching, listening to and reading lately…

We read: Arsène Schrauwen by Olivier Schrauwen

Published by Fantagraphics, this is Patrick’s favourite graphic novel of last year. Olivier Schrauwen tells the tale of his grandfather Arsène’s exploits in a strange tropical colony in the 1940s. The drawings are lovely, printed with a limited palette of red and blue, reflecting changes in the mood of the story. Arsene encounters all manner of challenges in his new environment; tropical diseases, booze, parasitic worms, love, adventure and leopard men.

We listened to: Peru Bravo: Funk, soul & psych from Peru’s radical decade

Currently getting a lot of spins on the YUK FUN juke box is this compilation of Peruvian music from Tiger’s Milk Records. The music is very varied, incorporating funk, soul and psych with a uniting theme of being raw, rugged and energetic. The tracklist includes super-wonky covers of Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix and Cissy Strut by The Meters as well as original songs by the cream of the Lima scene in the 1960s and 70s.

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We watched: Onibaba (1964)

We scared the heck out of ourselves last week watching Onibaba (鬼婆 – literally “Demon Hag”). This historical drama horror  film set during a civil war in 14th century Japan is very spooky and strange. The plot involves two women who live in marshland (picture the fens in England, but scarier), making a living from killing soldiers who’ve lost their way and selling their armour and weapons for food. When a friend of the younger woman shows up things take an interesting turn, involving demon masks, jealousy, murder, sex and a really deep pit full of skeletons.

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Director Kaneto Shindo makes brilliant use of the black and white film and the towering reeds to create a truly menacing atmosphere. The soundtrack of rumbling drums, a bit of jazz and some pigeons cooing is great building up the sense of impending doom. Just to warn you, the trailer contains some scary and sexy images so approach with caution!

Onibaba

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