wed 17/04/2024

theASHtray: Blood Car, organ donation, and the pop song carbon footprint | reviews, news & interviews

theASHtray: Blood Car, organ donation, and the pop song carbon footprint

theASHtray: Blood Car, organ donation, and the pop song carbon footprint

Yeah butt, no butt: our columnist sifts through the fag-ends of the cultural week

Riding in Blood Cars with boys

Put your hand up, please, if you’ve seen the multi-award-winning movie Blood Car. No? Fair enough. It was ostensibly released about two weeks ago – “in selected cinemas” – but you can be forgiven for not having tripped over any posters.

Blood Car is (if one were feeling incredibly generous) the Napoleon Dynamite of the slasher-eco-vehicular-comedy-porn genre. It is the very near future – “like, two weeks from now” – and no-one can afford to run a petrol vehicle any more. Well-meaning vegan kindergarten-teacher Archie is working on a wheatgrass prototype engine (believe me when I tell you that the line “I’d really like to see your wheatgrass engine” is almost the only one in the film delivered in complete earnest), but rising wheatgrass prices – and a pressing desire to get laid – force him to abandon his eco-friendly engine apparatus for something… less friendly. Logic leads where logic does and next thing we know our cuddly hero is out procuring engine meat with an air rifle and a T-shirt proclaiming “Dolphins are dandy”.

Though I understood it principally as a satire on the weak will(ie)s of Greenpeace types, there will, of course, be an additional level of humour when people look back on this film and say, stunned, “When was 30 bucks a gallon expensive?” Like, two weeks from now. By which time Blood Car will be out on DVD.

[NB This film actually includes the line: “You can’t just release this to the public.” Don’t say you weren’t warned.]


Last Sunday, Radio 3 hosted a mammoth kick-off session for Britain’s 2012 Cultural Olympiad. In amongst all the funky commissions, interviews with local “legends” and sing-alongs with the Plymouth brethren, was a remarkably affecting rendition of excerpts from Ralph Vaughan WilliamsScott of the Antarctic soundtrack, interspersed with Hugh Bonneville reading from Scott’s diaries. (You can listen to it here – at around the 3hr mark – until lunchtime tomorrow, Sunday.) 

A nation’s Cultural Olympiad need not be an exercise in swaggering vainglory (or, indeed, as here, staggering for glory in vain); but here’s hoping more space in the Olympiad calendar will be given over to events of markedly Olympian stature – rather than to things which are just, y’know, on.


The Royal Festival Hall this week want you to buy them a new organ pipe. Or, to be more accurate, they want me to buy them one, and I’m passing the suggestion along, in a Pay-It-Sideways kind of arrangement. Here’s their pitch:

We have £850,000 left to raise to complete the project and hope you will Pull Out All The Stops [you see. what. they’ve. done. there.] and sponsor a pipe from £30 [a piccolino] to £10,000 [a whopper] for yourself, or for friends and family. 

A prize for the first man who successfully donates one in the name of his wife or girlfriend! And If you can’t think of a loved one who’d relish a 32ft pipe for Valentine’s or Christmas, then why not purchase one for yourself? Just remember, gentlemen, as they say in Thailand: it’s not what you’ve got that counts, it’s...


Have you ever wondered what would happen if we took pop lyrics seriously? Then I dare say you’ll enjoy Jim O'Loughlin's Pop Song Carbon Footprints. (Those of the alternative mood may also warm to Marc Haynes' Fifty Years of Pop Songs Condensed into Single Sentences.)

Personally, I’ve always questioned whether “I shot the sheriff; but I did not shoot the deputy!” is considered a serious legal defence among Caribbean cultures. But I'm open to persuasion.

Watch the trailer for Blood Car

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters