Coostin’ 2016: February


Here at The Coost, we’re trying to live in the now, because now is pretty freaking exciting. At the conclusion of each month your coosts will fill you in on the stories that mattered to them. Some will be big, some will be small. Some will be global, some more local. Some will matter, some won’t. But they’re all us. They’re all coostin’. This is 2016…


It’s hard for me to look back on February and not comment on some of America’s biggest scumbags: Donald J. Trump (or Donald Drumpf as John Oliver would have us say) and Martin Shkreli. It’s not just their publicly criminal practices; they both seem to embody the entertaining parody of what evil is. I can’t help but draw comparisons to Bond villains of the last century.

Donald Trump and Max Zorin not only look similar but are also wealthy businessmen with unforgiving militant practices that they believe other people should pay for. Trump is a man whose very name seems to ooze wealth and success and he’s spent years maintaining a brand and finally using it as the basis for a run at President of the United States. Though it might not be world domination, some would argue that the power and influence that comes with the position is pretty close.

Billionaire and Presidential candidate Donald Trump (right) and Bond villain Max Zorin (left). Maybe.
Billionaire and Presidential candidate Donald Trump (right) and Bond villain Max Zorin (left). Maybe.

Martin Shkreli ‘s misguided “greater-good” obsession with science and research. like mad scientist Dr. No, has put him in the spotlight as one of America’s most hated people. Shkreli brought Vice journalist Allie Conti into his house for what seemed to be a fairly relaxed interview.

After gliding into the room holding what can only be assumed to be a very good bottle of wine (which is laughable considering his Wine for Dummies book is sitting casually on a bookshelf in his living room), he suggests that they play a game of chess despite Conti’s lack of skill or real knowledge of the game. It’s hard to tell how much self-awareness he really has until he casually draws a comparison to a Bond villain himself.

You couldn’t make up better fictional villains, and though this is scary, it almost seems expected in the grand scheme of things. We are a society that is obsessed with entertainment and more specifically the reality TV genre. While we were all laughing a few months ago at the very idea that the same man who had a television catchphrase would be running for President and that the most hated dork in America would spend two millions dollars on the only copy of the newest Wu-Tang album, we should all be genuinely worried not only about whether Shkreli will be free to keep running his price hiking company or whether or not there will be a President Donald Trump, but what new characters will be birthed from the ignorance of these maniacs.


Groove-itational Waves

By far the most momentous world event this month was the discovery of gravitational waves. Scientists in Washington ushered in a new era of physics when they detected the collision of two black holes, a phenomenon first predicted by The Coost himself, Albert Einstein.

It may come as a surprise to you, dear reader, that this scribe knows absolutely zilch about gravitational waves. So, rather than insult your intelligence, here are a couple of records released this month which are making waves of their own.

Africaine 808 – Basar

A couple of blokes who live in Berlin decided to make some tunes with two rules: the use of the Roland TR-808 drum machine on every track, and “a commitment to a cultural exploration of dance music’s worldly threads.” Sounds more than OK to me.

Basar is marketed as “an album that reaches for the party Arthur Russell was talking about when he said ‘I wanna see all my friends at once.’” It is certainly a meeting of personalities, as Dirk Layers and DJ Nomad have produced a hell of a journey through rhythm and groove, with flecks of soul, jazz and gospel.

Prins Thomas – Principe del Norte

Cosmic disco doyen Prins Thomas mostly does away with the foot stompers on his latest space exploration Principe del Norte. Thomas spends the first hour noodling away at various ambient tangents, before breaking loose a little in the end.
On their own, these tracks meander along somewhat. Piece them together though, and the impact is huge. Prince of the North indeed.



One Rock Unturned

Chris Rock was on point about a lot of things in his much-anticipated Academy Awards monologue.

Like why protests by black artists didn’t occur in the 50s, 60s, or 70s when there also weren’t many black nominees (“We had real things to protest at the time. We’re too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematography”).

Like the condition America finds itself in circa 2016 (“This year, in the ‘In Memoriam’ package, it’s just going to be black people who were shot by the cops on the way to the movies”).

Like the typecasting of black people in Hollywood (“If you want black people every year at the Oscars, just have black categories like Best Black Friend”).

He even tackled buddy Kevin Hart’s never-ending stream of releases (“Every month! Porno stars don’t make movies that fast”) and was painfully accurate regarding Jada Pinkett-Smith’s misguided self-image (“Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties: I wasn’t invited”).

Everyone was talking about these truisms. What few talked about was the comment right at the end: “Everything’s not sexism. Everything’s not racism.” Yes, #OscarsSoWhite is a worthy and accurate trend aimed at casual racism, and #AskHerMore is absolutely fair. That’s not what I believe Rock is talking about.

Chris Rock, errrr, rocked the 2016 Academy Awards. Image courtesy
Chris Rock, errrr, rocked the 2016 Academy Awards. Image courtesy

I like to believe he’s talking about the moral crusaders who are more than ready to be offended on behalf of minorities, often when those demographics aren’t even bothered. It’s as if the Caucasian world is so jealous of the oppression being highlighted that they demand their chance to be outraged; that they don’t want to be left behind by the wave of social justice. Yes, it is important to show support for all genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations in the face of prejudice both blatant and subtle. But many of these people are adults who can take care of themselves and often don’t need you speaking for them.

Sometimes, you 18-50-year-old WASP, you need to just sit down.


Band Meeting!

It’s been a long time coming but Jermaine Clement and Bret (Pronounced Brit, like Britney) McKenzie will be returning to tour North America, kicking off at the State Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio on the 11th of June!

Click this sick poster for all North American tour dates. Image courtesy
Click this sick poster for all North American tour dates. Image courtesy

Appearances by New Zealand’s third-best folk group will include the Newport Folk Festival and Central Park SummerStage in New York City (not Newark, New Jersey, so either Murray has gotten better at getting gigs or he’s been replaced). And it looks like it’s “business time” once again because they’re road testing new material and probably going to use what works in their planned musical film. Fingers crossed for a parody song about intensifying banjos near the end of every folk song today.


Witch Feb Films Were Noteworthy?

Having had not a great deal of interest in watching it due to a few trailers with dialogue that sounded like it was trying far too hard, I caught Deadpool after being persuaded by rave reviews from people who typically don’t care for superhero movies.

It kicked arse.

Essentially an hour and a half of one-liners (plenty of which don’t stick, mind you) from noted purveyor of the high-brow Ryan Reynolds, it embraced perversity, irreverent humour and violence from the get go, and had some of the most memorably wrong moments I’ve seen at the cinema in a long time.

Deadpool has smashed the box office seemingly from nowhere, which must come as an embarrassment and a surprise to the shmucks who held the project back for years, preferring to release 17 films about Thor.

A little further away from the blockbuster end of the spectrum is The Witch, a slow burn horror folk tale set just before the witch trials in New England. It was awarded at Sundance and is receiving widespread critical acclaim in the US from viewers appreciating a more subtle and restrained take on the genre, however release details here in Australia, where I currently hang my hat, are sketchy at best.

No solid release date can be found as of yet, so hopefully it is not one of those gems that winds up in indefinite purgatory without a distributor. Keep an eye out anyway.

The good news is that the Hoyts Cinemas website lists Kung Fu Panda 3 as definitely out this month, and in 3D no less, so it’s comforting to know that the industry has its priorities in place.






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