Golden Biker – A Superbly Funny “Road” Ebook

The author of this wonderfully funny and surreal ebook (The Golden Biker) has made a short video in which he tells us the history of how this ebook came about.

Some time ago I read and reviewed this truly funny and anarchic ebook, which I recommended to anyone who enjoys silly reading, as it is both very funny and also has some really quite relevant points to make about how we live our lives and the values that we believe are important to us.

If you read my original review (link below) you will understand better why I am so fond of this absurd ebook, and its weird and wonderful cast of characters, all of whom have remained in my mind ever since I read this enjoyably silly ebook.

Anyhow, as I said, I came across this video in which the author Alexander von Eisenhart Rothe  (now that is a name to conjure with!) talks about how he came to write this ebook, and the various hassles he had before it finally became a fully fledged ebook.  I thought you might enjoy seeing it and getting a feel for how he thinks, and what he finds important in life.

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The Death Of Creativity – Two Looks At This Idea

Almost all education systems in the world are basically aimed at destroying as much creativity in our kids as possible – and then work carries on this dreary effect.

Sadly for some reason, just about every system for educating (training) our kids seems to be aimed at killing off any creativity or curiosity and originality in them – And then our adult lives (or at least those of the great majority of us) work and society sets about killing any of those qualities that might have survived childhood and our schools.

Here are two looks at this depressing phenomena, one in a moderately serious talk by Sir Kenneth Robinson at TED, and the other takes a different route to give us the same message, this one being a wonderful animated film by  Daniel Martínez Lara & Rafa Cano Méndez.

Both of these differing approaches to the same problem show us both the problem but also give us hope that there might be a way to avoid it, in that they also indicate that it does not have to be like that, it is possible to educate our kids in such a way that they retain their curiosity.   And that it is possible for adults to force their lives onto a different and unexpected track.

But it remains depressing, this attitude so well summed up in the Jesuit saying “Give me your child before he is 7 and he is mine for life”.    It is this sad fact that allows for the continuing existence of religions, political divisions and all the other dreary and negative influences on our lives.

So, here is the Robinson talk to start the ball rolling:-

And now, to see the same problem from a different perspective, here is the superb short film by the two Spanish animators “Alike”.

Well, I hope that one or both of these films got to you and gave you food for thought.

Any thoughts that either of them may have prodded you into thinking, please do share with us here.  Always interesting to hear what people think about things……

Hi Stranger – Weird And Spooky Video

This video which apparently is intended to make you feel better, has totally captivated me. A very hypnotic creature.

Here is a truly odd fish of an animation.  Apparently its purpose is to make you feel better if you should be feeling down.

To be honest, I am not sure if it would achieve that simple aim, as it is so darned spooky and off the wall.  Its protagonist is a totally unsympathetic sort of soft and shiny pink naked creature, somewhat humanoid who talks in a very odd voice, sort of syrupy – telling you how much “he” likes you.


Oh well, rather than me blathering on about it, I think it best if I simply shut up and let you experience it for yourself – So here it is.

Hi Stranger from Kirsten Lepore on Vimeo.

So, now you have seen (and heard it), I hope you are feeling better, more positive and generally happy?

Strange And Powerful SF Film

I stumbled upon this strange but fascinating short Science Fiction film last night called The Gift, and was so taken with it that I felt it might amuse you too…  So here it is in all its strange and dreamlike being. Actually, dreamlike is perhaps not the best word, nightmarish might be nearer the mark I suspect. […]

I stumbled upon this strange but fascinating short Science Fiction film last night called The Gift, and was so taken with it that I felt it might amuse you too…  So here it is in all its strange and dreamlike being.

Actually, dreamlike is perhaps not the best word, nightmarish might be nearer the mark I suspect.   This is one very strange and Kafkaesque film, with smatterings of all sorts of other types of action films.  Insane car chases through the streets of Moscow (How did they do that? Is it all CGI I wonder?), a mysterious box presented as a sort of gift, murder, intelligent robots, a strange and silent man in an old army great coat who obviously has a mission of some sort, but what that might be is never made clear and a whole slew of other strange and dreamlike mysteries.

One of the comments posted on this video seemed to me (most unusually for a comment on Youtube!!) to sum it up rather well, so here is that comment to give you an idea of what you are about to see………………………

The device was ‘opened’ by a DNA scan of a piece of hair, which it destroyed during the scan. He only had a locket of hair in the small jewelry case. Perhaps the device is from centuries past and can ONLY be opened by the hair from the original owner? It might have been a way for a descendant to actually view their ancestors, maybe even communicate, but he was stabbed before he had the chance? The reference to the mystical unicorn only mimics the ancient belief that they were so rare that only two mating pairs ever existed at any one time. Indicating that the device was truly rare in a world where technology is extremely advanced. Either way it looks at though the device is useless with out the hairs to activate it. Interesting concept, left wanting. Very analogous to the ‘whats in the briefcase ‘ conundrum of Pulp Fiction, a physical thing or an ideal?

So I hope that all of the above will have whetted your appetite enough for you to sit still for the 4 minutes and 55 seconds that this film lasts, and more importantly, I hope you find it as curious and gripping as I did.

So here it comes, The Gift from the studios of the CG Brothers.

Odd, wasn’t it?    But enjoyable too I hope?

Max Fleischer, The Father Of Modern Animation

Max Fleischer, The Father Of Modern Animation Generally when people think of cartoons, in the sense of animated films, they assume that all the real pioneering work was done by Walt Disney back in the 20’s of the last century, but this is absolutely not the case.   In fact almost all the development of […]

Max Fleischer, The Father Of Modern Animation

Generally when people think of cartoons, in the sense of animated films, they assume that all the real pioneering work was done by Walt Disney back in the 20’s of the last century, but this is absolutely not the case.   In fact almost all the development of techniques and styles were the work of a man who is now hardly remembered by people outside the world of animated films, a certain Max Fleischer.

The list of techniques and tools that he invented or developed is enormous, and his influence on what we now see every day on our screens is almost entirely due to the amazing imagination and skill of this remarkable man.

I shan’t bother to give a sort of potted biography of him here.   What I shall be looking at here are the main threads of his development as an animator and an inventor of all manner of very significant techniques and aids to making and watching such cartoons.


OK, it is a bit of a give away I suppose, yup, he was the creator of Betty Boop among other famous cartoon characters.

He was also responsible for such famous cartoon characters as Popeye, Koko the Clown and numerous other now forgotten characters who were the result of his work, oh and he was also responsible for the first cartoons of good old Superman as well.

I shall be giving you examples of these various cartoons later in this post, so bear with me as I discuss some of his other major contributions to the art of animated films.

The first, and possibly the most significant was the invention of a gadget called the Rotoscope.

Drawing from the patent application for the Rotoscope

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The Mysterious Stranger, Mark Twain On Satan

As you will know if you are a fan of Mark Twain’s writings, he was very much opposed to the Christian Church and all its works.   And as his life went on, this loathing simply became worse and worse (a view I share with him by the way). His views on the Church and […]

As you will know if you are a fan of Mark Twain’s writings, he was very much opposed to the Christian Church and all its works.   And as his life went on, this loathing simply became worse and worse (a view I share with him by the way).


His views on the Church and humanity are best summed up in a short book he wrote at the end of his life, and which was not published in the USA until about 1960, as his daughter felt strongly that this book did not really reflect her father’s views, and that it was simply too sacrilegious.

This short book, which I first read in about 1966 is called Letters From Earth, and is supposed to be a series of letters written by Satan to his two good friends, the Archangels Gabriel and Michael.  The idea is that he (Satan) has nipped down to earth to see how we are all getting on, and he is appalled by what he finds.

I shan’t go into the storyline here, as you can read the whole thing for yourself on-line if you follow this link (Letters From Earth).   This short book gives a very good idea of how Twain regarded organised religion and humanity as well.

He wrote a number of other stories which were basically attacks on the Christian Church, and several of these have been turned into very pleasing claymation films, which I will post below for your viewing pleasure.

I feel that these short films speak perfectly well for themselves (the storylines were written by Mark Twain after all), so I shan’t tediously analyse what it is that they are trying to say, as it is totally obvious and clear enough I feel.

So, without more ado, here are the two films that show very well both his feelings about religion, and also his very misanthropic feelings as well.

So, to start with, here is his take on religion’s ideas about the ultimate reward – Heaven.

And now his views on humanity……………………. Continue reading “The Mysterious Stranger, Mark Twain On Satan”

Cyberpunk Animations – Dark And Gloomy

Not surprisingly most cyberpunk animations I have seen are dark, gloomy and deeply depressed – which is reasonable when you consider the underlying ideas of the Gothic movement that cyberpunk seems to have arisen from to a degree.

This teaser for a festival of cyberpunk films gives a good idea of the atmosphere that seems to pervade all the films I have come across.  See what you feel.

To be honest, it is really more about Sci-Fi than what I believe cyberpunk is all about, though most cyberpunk writing (see William Gibson for example) is to a greater or lesser degree centered on Sci-Fi I suppose

All well and good I feel, but a bit of humour now and then might be pleasant I reckon.  As with many such movements, cyberpunk seems to take itself dreadfully seriously.

Also it seems that most of these films are all centred on some computer game.  There is an endless stream of references to “level 3” or “level 5” and so on.    I know it is my ignorance at play here, all true cyberpunks will know exactly what these “levels” refer to. I simply can’t be bothered to look into it.

Anyhow, the films themselves are interesting I found, in their total immersion in the depressing world of cyberpunk.. all gloom, doom and violence, both cyber and old fashioned physical.

Here is another dip into the murky mindset of the cyberpunk world – Grab your Valium.

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Amazingly Beautiful Animations

The advent of relatively easy and affordable computer animation techniques seem to have caused a wave of highly creative animation films to be made by students all over the world, all of which end up on Youtube or some similar website it seems.

Every self-respecting university or art school now seems to have a department of computer animation studies, which have produced some simply wonderful and often beautiful animations, which are a source of continual joy to me.

Generally on my blog I have looked at the more extreme forms of animated film making, Gothic, horror, weird or simply eccentric, but as I say, there is also a school of animation making that concentrates on simple, gentle and “normal” themes.

One such is this wonderfully sentimental and predictable film about a poverty stricken and lonely street musician and a stray street dog who comes into his life.   Whilst the whole story is entirely predictable, the way in which it has been done makes it gripping, moving and most enjoyable to watch – well that is my feeling about this short film.

So, without more ado, here it is for your viewing pleasure – and you will have to be a very hardened cynic not to get some degree of pleasure from this film…. If for no other reason than how beautifully the city it all plays out in has been created…..

By the way, the title of this piece is “Rubato”, a musical term with the following meaning:-

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Gothic Animated Films

There is a type of animated film which can be best described as Gothic – not in the sense of those depressing looking kids who dress up in black and wear heavy eye-liner, but in the original sense of that word, dark, flowery and spooky, or as it is rather better put in these definitions of the word taken from the Urban Dictionary:-

(n.) 1. A word generally used in relation the the macabre or other darker elements.
2. A movement in literature that branched off of the individualist movement of the 1700’s, usually revolving around the darker elements of human nature.
3. Jagged and spacious architecture, usually referenced by Gothic cathedrals, in which vast open areas invoke feelings of belittlement.
4. A stereotype encompassing whiny, pissant teenagers craving attention. Usually identified by an immense use of black, vampires, blood, and anarchy symbols.

In this post I am using the word in the sense of the first two of the above definitions, so macabre, spooky and dark animations of which you might be surprised to know there are a vast number out there.   Seems there is a gloomy and macabre streak in the minds of many animators – curious when you think of what most people think of when you say the word “animations”, sweet and twee.   But not these guys!

So what constitutes a Gothic animation?  I feel that this film sums it up quite well.   Darker and more macabre would be hard to imagine, and I feel it would be a sign of a deeply disturbed personality to even be capable of imagining anything nastier than this film.

So sit back and watch what has to be a definitively Gothic animated film.

See what I mean?   Not something to show to your 5 year old kids is it?

Paradoxically, while the film above has all the best known aspects of a Gothic film, not all Gothic films are so gruesome, and certainly not all of them are as literally dark.   This next one (which is the first of a whole series of animations which tell one long story in serial form) has cheerful colours in it, and isn’t totally macabre… yet……

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Very Strange And Disturbing Animations

Today I have chosen a couple of truly weird and disturbing animations for your delectation. These are animations that are definitely not for children to watch!

The first one is called The End, and is seriously strange.  It shows a scarecrow being assaulted and apparently being killed and then thrown into a very horrible prison cell after being tortured and stabbed by another collection of what appear to be scarecrows.

There is also a Magpie involved who keeps attacking our hero in his cell and stealing stuffing from him.

The imagery in this film is extremely strong, and beautifully handled, as is the movement of the various characters we see in the course of the film.  And the sound track is a superb example of how to create a mood with sound.   And what is also curious is that I can’t work out if I am looking at a computer generated film, or a stop-motion film, though I lean towards the computer generated side.   However it is done, the effect is truly impressive and extremely powerful..

Though to be honest I have no idea what it is trying to say to us……

If you have any ideas or suggestions about the possible meaning of this film, do please share it with the rest of us below.

Anyhow, here it is, in all its glory.

See what I mean?   One very odd and dark film.

And now, here is another one, equally dark, but different to the above film.

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