Begin Again: Stylised Sincerity

Last year my wife and I watched a movie called Begin Again (2013). It has a loose romantic-comedy-drama framework but was produced by Judd Apatow, so all the characters say “fuck” and the leads don’t get together in the end. The movie is fine, but would otherwise be forgettable if not for it’s own internal contradictions with the themes it’s trying to convey. It stars an actual pop musician in a surprisingly subversive, self-parodying role that borders on performance art, and for this reason I find this movie really fascinating.

While my esteemed colleague Adam is playing with his new VR-gadget and no doubt preparing some more riveting articles about his experiences in The VR Zone; I’m going to recount the story of a forgotten movie and critically analyse it for no-one’s enjoyment but my own.

Begin Again stars Keira Knightley as a Real Musician™ called Gretta, who at the start of the movie is on a stage in a noisy music bar playing an acoustic guitar and doing that whispering-her-lyrics thing, in that style that’s really popular on corporate indie radio and Youtube. This movie exists in an alternate reality though, and no one is paying attention to the beautiful musician playing popular music at a bar for watching live music, except for Mark Ruffalo; here playing a down-and-out music producer called Dan, who is captivated by Gretta’s Real Music™ performance.

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Embronominalisations: Massacrationing the English Language

Massacration were a parody heavy metal band from Brazil, originating as a sketch on that country’s comedy show Hermes e Renato. I didn’t know this when I found them back in 2006, when my friend and I in Australia typed “metal” into Youtube, and were greeted by the Metal Milkshake music video. From there we watched the rest of their videos; Metal Bucetation, Cereal Metal, Metal is the Law, and of course Evil Papagali. We were hooked.

Massacration obviously loved and understood heavy metal so well that they didn’t come off as pandering, annoying or insincere. They poked fun at heavy metal sub-cultures and the overall pomposity and grandeur of so-called traditional heavy metal with such love – and actual decent songs – that metal fans embraced the band, especially in their native Brazil. Actually, I’m not sure how many people know of the band outside of Brazil, and that’s a real shame.

I was inspired to write about Massacration for two reasons. Recently I went out for some drinks in Beijing, and I saw a bottle of Cachaça behind the bar, reminding me of the epic Massacration break-up song, The Bull (NSFW)

Tragically, I also recently learned that lead guitarist and video director Fausto Fanti (aka Blonde Hammet) took his own life in 2014. So, this is also a way for me to pay respects to him, and bring a bit of recognition to his great band and sense of humour. RIP Blonde Hammet.

So how does this all tie into nominalisations? Does it? Let’s explore!

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