Cakes and Money

Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Space Oddity

This little beauty pretty much speaks for itself: GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - A family got the shock of their lives when lightning zapped their satellite dish and the TV turned from nice to nasty -- with XXX extraterrestrial porno flicks!

(thanks to Scott for sending me this bizarre little news article)


I overheard a couple of interesting/scary snippets of conversation last night.

The one that made me laugh the most was this one, overheard on the tube on the way home:

"For vegans they sure played for an awfull long time."

The one that creeped me out the most was this little oddity:

"My friend in Sacramento is, like, covered in Swastika tattoos. He's got seven of them all over his body, including one on his penis. But over there, that doesn't mean you're racist, it just means you're not black."

Fucked up, no?

All Origins are Accidental

I really enjoyed the Fugazi gig last night, but there was a bit of an un-easy atmosphere at times, due to the fact that some members of the audience didn�t seem to be too happy with Fugazi�s habit of keeping a strip of lights on. Ian MacKaye handled things in his usual uncompromising style, but I think that some people were slightly less than impressed by the bands anti-moshing/crow surfing stance.

It wasn�t like things were particularly tense or anything. Only a couple of people tried to crowd surf at all, and there wasn�t much heckling. I guess it bothered me because the gig itself was proof (as if any was needed) that Fugazi are so much more than a walking ideology and I think it�s a shame that people can�t just accept the way they play concerts and let them get on with it.

Additionally, I got the feeling that a lot of the crowd just wern't that into it, which always dampens the atmosphere at a gig.
Anyway, that�s enough of all that crap.

Fugazi were fucking brilliant last night. One thing that�s often unfortunately overlooked about them is that they are one of the most exciting and intelligent rock bands of the last decade or so. Joe Lally and Brendan Canty are one of the tightest and most muscular rhythm sections around at the moment, and the dynamic twin guitar/vocal assault of Guy Picciotto and Ian MacKaye is truly something to behold. They have an uncanny ability to mix low-fi noodling and full on noise together effortlessly and both men have a fantastically intense stage presence.

They played a great mix of songs that included Smallpox Champion, Styrofoam, Shut The Door, Close Captioned, Cashout, Epic Problem, Waiting Room and much, much more. The only song that didn�t really come off was The Kill, a quiet, twiddly number with Lally on vocals. It just didn�t translate well into the live setting. It's too subtle, I think.

Plus we got a couple of political/pacifistic rants at the start of Life And Limb and The Argument, which was nice. Oddly, I think I would have been slightly dissapointed had they not mentioned the current situation in Iraq etc... which may seem incongruous with the my claims that they are much more than a walking ideology, but I guess that's just a double standard that I'll have to live with (oh the agony of contradiction... or not!).

Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Adventure Beyond Reason!

Y'know how I talked earlier about loving being busy? Well it's true. Today, I am up to my eyeballs in a hell of a lot of different stuff, and it's great fun. I'm gonna be utterly shattered tommorow, but that's cool.

Anway, I should be off doing something else at the moment, so I'll make this short and too the point (for once in my life).

Die Puny Humans is the blog of comic-book writer Warren Ellis. It's not full of diary entries or reviews or anything like that. It's basically a collection of wee snippets of news reports and scientific articles that have interested Warren Ellis as he searched the internet. I quite like it, as it's a nice source of some interesting bits of information and gibberish.

For example:
A glorious bit from
"Courtney Love recently had her breast implants removed and brought them home as a souvenir. Unfortunately her dog ate one of them and died. Or at least that's what is being reported in the National Enquirer."
posted by Warren Ellis at 2:20 AM

Well maybe that wasn't the best example, but hey!

Time Is a Piece of Wax...

There's a really good article on Adrian Tomine at this website.

Tomine seems to cause some very extreme feelings from some sections of comics fandom. There seems to be a fairly large group of people who feel that both his work and his personae are an obvious attempt at copying the life and style of other, more established cartoonists (particularly Daniel Clowes). While I can see where these people are comming from, I have to say that I really like the guys work. I certainly don't think that, in terms of both cartooning and storytelling, he's a patch on Clowes, but then I think Dan Clowes is pretty much one of the best cartoonists in the world at the moment. The last issue of Eightball was, in every sense of the word, a classic, and Tomine hasn't came anywhere near that standard. Yet. You see, I think he's still finding his feet both as an artist and (especially) as a storyteller. There's definitely a big Clowes influence in his work, but I think there's more to it than that.

To dredge up an old cliche: only time will tell...

As for his personality being faked, I couldn't really care less. Who gives a damn if he's hamming it up or not?

Nosferatu, baby!

Having spent all summer lazing around feeling sick instead of writing things, I finally seem to be getting myself back on track as an aspiring writer. I've got a whole load of great ideas/stories brewing up in my mind, and I'm really excited about all of them. The only problem with this burst of creativity is that I'm genuinly starting to get a bit scared about actually writing some of these projects. Most of them are very intellectually and emotionally involved, and I think I'm a little bit paranoid about them not working out as well as I want them to. I think I need to warm up, in terms of writing skills. I've not done anything in so long that I think I'm a little bit rusty.

To this end, i've just started writing a daft horror story called Time Enough. It's very nasty and trashy and fun, and is basically an excuse for me to play around with lots of ideas stolen from Nosferatu, Ultraviolet, A Clockwork Orange, Buffy and stuff like that. Plus, it's given me plenty of opportunities to slag off Anne Rice, which is always fun.

It's shaping up quite nicely at the moment, and when I'm done I think I'll be ready to start working on some of my more involved ideas... wish me luck!

Monday, October 28, 2002

If your looking for some very nutty/shiny web-comic action than check out Nelson Evergreen's site here. It's chock-full of mad, brilliant stuff, and It's well worth a look if your in the mood for some quality cartooning (and if you're not, you should be).

Mr Six smells... Great!

I'm really gonna have to remember to pick up my Halloween costume tommorow. I'm going to a party on Thursday, and at the moment I'm torn between dressing up as a sexy Pirate, or as Mr Six from the Invisibles. Both options are cool as all hell, and both are pretty easy to do, so I just don't know what I'm gonna go with.

Well disputed, hobbyhorse!

It's been a bit of a slog, but I've pretty much finished my English Lit presentation on Ben Johnson's Bartholomew Fair. It's all about the use of baroque and anti-illusional devices within the play, and while my current notes are very rough, it'll be no bother to tidy them up tommorow. I just need to add a few quotes and clarify a couple of sections and it'll be in full working order so I can go see Fugazi with no worries!

How Quaint...

I�d like to introduce you all to the deluded world of Star Wars fandom. I stumbled onto this on-line petition, and it's really quite amusing, in an odd, obssesive way.

To: Star Wars
We hereby, the undersigned, in spirit of our raped childhood's, ask that George Lucas give over his reign as director and writer of Episode III to one Peter Jackson. To allow complete control of all necessary story lines and dialogue for Peter Jackson to make a film as he sees fit.

In light of recent George Lucas movies, more specifically The Phantom Menace and the soon to be released Attack of the Clones, we beg thee of Star Wars creation to pass all creative rights to Peter Jackson. This endeavor would not go unnoticed by your loyal Star Wars fanbase who would see the movie repeatedly and buy many action figures and other Star Wars items.

To give Peter Jackson the chance to create a PG-13 movies and to give Peter Jackson the chance to move the Star Wars universe in a way where everyone can fully appreciate it with the smallest of complaints.

We ask this of you George Lucas in our most desperate hour of need.
The Undersigned

Ok� is this serious? Did someone earnestly come up with this, or were they taking the pish?

Additionaly, am I going mad, or does it actually say in spirit of our raped childhood's? Eh, guys- IT�S JUST A MOVIE!

I�m always bemused by the odd, possessive nature that hardcore fans of anything seem to develop. Like it or lump it, George Lucas owns the Star Wars franchise. It�s his, to do with as he pleases, and no amount of Internet moaning is going to change that fact. Sure, The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones were clunky, hammy pieces of crap, but if you don�t like it then don�t watch it. It really is that simple.

This non-descript rant was brought to you by the letter D

The Polyphonic Spleen (sic)

I've found my soldier girl
She's so far away
She makes my head
Spin around

Here in sunny Scotland it's been getting increasingly dark and rainy over the last couple of months. That's ok. It's winter, after all, and this is Scotland. If it wasn't damp and miserable at this time of year I'd be shocked, confused and demanding my money back!

One side affect of this seasonal murkiness is that I'm constantly in search of stuff to cheer me up. Right now The Beginning Stages Of... by The Polyphonic Spree is the biggest ray of positive light I can get my grubby paws on. For those of you who don't know, the Polyphonic Spree are a nutty collective of over 20 people who make a lovely, joyous noise. They have ten choir singers, a couple of keyboard players, a guitarist, some percussionists and more and they are really rather brilliant!

The closest reference points for the Polyphonic Spree would probably be bands like The Beach Boys and The Flaming Lips, but they don't really sound like either of them. They play a really warm kind of psychedelic pop that you'll probably either love or hate. All of their songs are really simple, despite the amount of instrumentation and I think that's one of the things I like the most about them. There's a strange lightness to them, even during their most bombastic moments, and I think that that really adds to the bouyant tone of the record. One of my friends saw them live recently and I am insanely jealous of them! Apparently their live show is just ridiculously powerful and exciting, and I really hope to experience it for myself one day!

As a side note, another friend of mine (who had never heard of them until recently) had misheard the band name and thought they were called The Polyphonic Spleen, which I think is a brilliant name for a band. Specifically, a death metal band who play Polyphonic Spree covers�

There's a Riot Going On

There's a preview of the upcomming New X-Men story arc Riot at Xavier's here. I think it looks bloody brilliant and I can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Most of the second year of Grant Morrison's New X-Men has felt a bit too padded out for my liking. There have been a couple of excellent issues here and there, but on the whole it feels like all of the plot and character development has been put on hold until the return of artist Frank Quitely.

All that stuff aside, this story looks very promising indeed. Frank Quitely's artwork is stunning, making the book look fresh and new like it always should, and I really like the confrontational intelligence that this preview hints at. There's an interesting wee thread about this issue on the mighty Barbelith forum. Someone there comments on how well designed the character of Quentin is and I have to say I agree. He looks like the ultimate geeky outsider, and I'm very interested in finding out more about him in the next couple of months.

Anyway, the preview is for December's issue, which is the start of the Riot at Xavier's story arc itself. November's issue is a prologue to this story, and is released on the 20th.

Safety Warning

Oh, and by the way: the interface on that dot-comics player is horrible and clunky! I've seen bricks that were more user-freindly. I think it's supposed to be innovative and state of the art, but in reality it's just really, really annoying.
Grr! Argh!

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Hello and welcome to my new blog!

I'd like to tell you what I'm going to fill this up with, but the truth is that I'm not quite sure! I suspect that It'll be a wierd mix of cool links, diary entries and pop cultural ramblings, with the occasional slice of incomprehensible gibberish thrown in for good measure!

I guess I've started this blog up for a whole load of reasons, but mainly I think I've became enamoured with the whole blogging phenomenon (is it a phenomenon now? who can tell?), and I guess I wanted to put up something interesting and fun for other people to look at.

I'm not sure if I'll actually manage to be fun and interesting, but I'll certainly give it a try!

thanks for listening!

Education, by Hook or by Crook

I'd just like to take some time to pimp my friend Scott's web-comic Wake Up Screaming.
Scott's a lovely guy who I have a lot of time for, and Wake Up Screaming is his semi-autobiographical low-fi labour of love. He bills it as being "like the Young One's for the post-Daria generation" or something like that. Check it out and see what you think.

A Cheery Wave From Stranded Youngsters

I'm still a bit freaked out by the fact that I saw someone getting knocked down in the middle of Glasgow last night. Well, I didn't see it, but I did hear it and then see the aftermath. I hope the guy was ok... it felt weird, cos it was one of those situations where you really want to do something to help, but you can't and you just have to walk on. Stuff like that really grounds me, y'know... it makes me feel vulnerable and human, and thats a very scary thing indeed.

Extremley Sensitive Situation

Life's a bit hectic at the moment, but I love it! I've got a Fugazi gig to go to on Tuesday and an English Lit presentation on Wednesday, but it's all gonna work out fine. And on the plus side I'm really looking forward to finally seeing Fugazi live! Believe me, you're gonna hear all about it later this week.

I like being constantly pre-occupied. I feel much less agitated when I've got stuff to do. I'm probably going to turn into some kind of twitchy nut-job in later life, but hey... that's the way the cookie crumbles!