Monday 30 August 2021

Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain), by INXS, at 35

In August 1986 (a year I thoroughly enjoyed, as I wrote about here), INXS released the superb Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain), the third single from the excellent Listen Like Thieves album.
Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain) was written by Andrew Farriss & Michael Hutchence and released in Australia on 3rd March 1986 - in the UK we had to wait until 30th August.  It was backed with Six Knots, written, performed and produced by Kirk Pengilly (it lasted 51 seconds) and The One Thing (Live), written by Farriss & Hutchence and mixed by Mark Opitz.

The third of four singles from the album (following This Time, released in 1985 in the US and Europe and What You Need in August 1985 - the first Australia/New Zealand release - and followed by Listen Like Thieves, released in the UK in 1985 but 1986 in Australia), it peaked at number 15 in Australia, 42 in New Zealand and 54 in the UK.

Falling down the mountain
End up kissing dirt
Look a little closer
Sometimes it wouldn't hurt

The video was filmed in South Australia in two locations.  The white salt lake was at Lake Heart, while the red desert scenes were filmed at Moon Plains, which was also the location for Mad Max 3.  It was directed by Alex Proyas who started his career making pop videos before moving to Hollywood and making, amongst others, The Crow (1994), Dark City (1988) and I, Robot (2004).

Listen Like Thieves was released on 14th October 1985 and is widely considered to be the international breakthrough album for the band.  It was produced by Chris Thomas, who had previously worked with The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Sex Pistols (on Never Mind The Bollocks) and Elton John and of whom Richard Clapton said, “INXS met their match - he was the only producer they've ever had who told them what they needed to hear.”  Michael Hutchence later said, “This is what we've been trying to do one way or another for a few years now, that is to make an album that is purely just form and function of the songs. It has no artistic pretensions.”  The album was recorded at Rhinoceros Studios in Sydney from June to August 1985, after initial sessions in March, finishing in August 1985 and including a break for a South American tour.  The album spent two weeks at number 1 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart, peaked at number 11 on the US Billboard 200, 24 on the Canadian RPM 100 Albums and 46 on the UK charts.  I wrote about the album here, on its 30th anniversary.

The four singles released from the album all had accompanying videos.

This Time was directed by Peter Sinclair and produced by Godley & Crème

Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain) was directed by Alex Proyas and produced by Andrew McPhail.

What You Need and Listen Like Thieves were directed and produced by Richard Lowenstein, continuing the successful collaboration that had started on the previous album, The Swing, with his videos for Burn for You (which won the 1985 Countdown Music and Video Awards for Best Promotional Video), Dancing on the Jetty and All The Voices.  Lowenstein would go on to establish a long term relationship with the band until Hutchence’s death.

INXS: Story to Story: The Official Autobiography, by INXS & Anthony Bozza
Burn: The Life and Times of Michael Hutchence and INXS, by Ed St. John
Official Charts (UK) information
Discogs release information

Monday 23 August 2021

Starlog 49, August 1981

This came out forty years ago (it really, really doesn’t feel it) - look at the range of terrific films it covered!
Starlog wasn’t a magazine I picked up a lot - my film reading at the time was focussed more on Starburst (which I wrote about here) - but I did when they had great covers and content like this.  I mean, any magazine that has Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Escape From New York and For Your Eyes Only on the cover has to be worth a read, doesn’t it?
The issue features, amongst others, articles on the launch of the Space Shuttle, a guide on publishing a fanzine, storyboarding the FX sequences in Raiders with Joe Johnston, a piece on Mind Warp (a film I don’t remember at all but which had James Cameron as production designer) and a feature on previous James Bond films effects (Bond presumably being an honorary SF community member because of Moonraker).

There are also interviews with George Lucas (part 2 of 3, it's quite amusing in places), Derek Meddings on his For Your Eyes Only effects (interesting and thorough) and George Takei.

They don’t make them like this any more…

If you're intrigued, the magazine can be read online here

Monday 2 August 2021

900th blog post!

Blimey, welcome to my 900th post!  After deciding to stick to a regular posting schedule (every Monday), I've thoroughly enjoyed working on the blog (especially in the depths of the pandemic) and, as ever, I'm surprised at how much I've managed to fit in since the last milestone catch up.
Since the 800th post (back in July 2019), life has been a bit weird (to say the least), but the blog's been consistent and something very nice for me to get lost into.  In that time, I've had two short stories published, Mr Stix came out as an e-book and I self-published my novella The Exercise (which became, briefly, the No.1 Amazon Hot New Release!).  I also wrote another thriller novel (the previous two didn't attract agency interest, sadly) and remembered my first time in print

I went to Edge-Lit 8 and reminisced about FantasyCon, since all other cons were disrupted by covid and, bloody hell, I've really missed them), The Crusty Exterior revisited horror firsts (on video) and celebrated its 5 Year Anniversary, I got to interview Sue Moorcroft at Rothwell Library and I celebrated my creative years in 2019 and 2020 (along with the 'novels' teenaged me wrote).  I also presented two sets of the Westies (in 2019 and 2020).

On the blog, I've written some book reviews, some behind-the-scenes essays (on movie miniatures and matte paintings), had fun researching some retrospectives (on The Six Million Dollar Man, Looking For Rachel Wallace, Skeleton Crew, Will You, by Hazel O'Connor, Dark Forces, edited by Kirby McCauley, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, For Your Eyes Only at 40, Raiders Of The Lost Ark at 40), carried out some Q&A's (with Gary McMahonSue MoorcroftPeter Mark May & Richard Farren BarberCC AdamsPriya SharmaPenny JonesDan HowarthSue again (for Under The Italian Sun)), discovered an obscure gem, 1978's brilliant The Silent Partner and checked out the real-life locations of my novella The Mill.

I caught up with some Three Investigators book reviews, shared a love of novelisations (with The ProfessionalsThe A-TeamThe Six Million Dollar Man and Dead & Buried and looked at another Old School Horror (the cracking Death Tour), as well as highlighting Halloween Top Trumps.

I've written some Nostalgic pieces (on posters magazines in 2019 and 2020, the joy of Christmas Annuals in 2019 and 2020the Usborne Book Of GhostsThe Empire Strikes Back Letraset, Summer Specials in 2020 and 2021Starburst magazine, More Comic & Magazine ads (in 2020 and in 2021), Mr BennFangoria magazine) and wrote about the INXS singles Burn For YouDevil Inside, Suicide Blonde and Just Keep Walking, for their various anniversaries as well as the band's 1991 Summer XS gig at Wembley (the first time I saw them).  I also celebrated 5 years of the King For A Year project and continued the Ten Favourite Covers thread (with some Hitchock anthologiesMore Childhood TerrorsThe Golden Age of 2000AD and The Three Investigators).  I enjoyed some cover art from Bullet comicLook-In and 70s British comics (in 2020 and 2021) and also celebrated The Art Of... Bob Larkin and Bryan Bysouth.

The past two years have been an odd time, with more than half of it spent in various forms of lockdown and I've really missed the interaction of friends and family.  Stay safe and healthy and here's looking forward to post 1000.