Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Track #14: Jack Conte - Oh Hell (Live)

I loved this song from the first time I heard it.

"Oh, Hell..."

Sunday, 27 September 2009


I'm going to take a break from the norm and just highlight some links and articles of interest from the past few months that I liked. I'm not feeling particularly super, nor am I feeling very sane, so this will have to do for now...

1) This is an interview done by my dear friend Brian Burchette, talking to Marian Churchland about her first graphic novel "Beast!", and what follows is a short excerpt:

Now I've read the After-word to the book, so I've gotten some of the history of the creation of this title, but let me ask you: How long was the character of Beast actually floating in your mind before you were able to put him on paper?

It's hard to pin-down, because so many of my stories (or initial ideas for stories) have a character that resembles Beast. I think that his specific design, though - the shadowy tendril thing - first showed up in a story I fiddled with briefly a couple years before I began the book, about a girl in medieval Ireland searching for her missing brother in a ruined castle. Sort of a ye-olde Resident Evil, in which the lord of the castle was an oddly polite gentleman-monster. The story never worked out, but the monster stuck around.

2) I'm a big fan of Grant Morrison, and this interview from The Onion's A.V. Club, is really cool and insightful. Morrison is one of the greatest [comic] writers of this generation, up with Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Julius Schwartz, Neil Gaiman, etc and etc.

GM: Secretly, I’ve always felt I had more in common with the modernist approach than with postmodernism, but I can see where the connection might arise—and to be honest, I’m no academic, so I tend to use these words, like in Alice In Wonderland, to mean what I want them to mean rather than what they actually do mean. I could point to “classical” influences on the style of All-Star Superman, or a “romantic” approach to Batman, but I’m sure any competent English lit professor could shoot me down in flames in an instant. I just do what I do because it feels right. Other people attach labels to that. I aspire in my work to the kind of luminous, “authorless” poetic transparency found in Alan Garner’s brilliant novels Thursbitch and Strandloper, but I’m far from reaching that goal.

3) This is one of the greatest pitches that has never seen publication. There have been many pieces of comic book brilliancy that have been written, pencilled, printed, and then pulped because of questionable content. Swamp Thing meeting Jesus? Written, I believe pencilled, and then scrapped at the last moment because people would get all uproarious. Warren Ellis' greatest issue of Hellblazer was drawn by Phil Jimenez, called "Shoot", and never put on sale. I've read it on the internet, I have it on my laptop, and I treasure the greatness of it. I'll post it up one of these days, but for now, this pitch is one of the greatest untold stories of the DC universe. Written by Alan Moore-- and if you don't know him now, then you can drop off the map of popular culture-- and influencing a legion of writers since, Twilight of the Gods is simply amazing.

...The body of Congo Bill, now over ninety years old, refuses to die. The gorilla mind that has been trapped in it unfairly refuses to let go and is hanging on with a fierce and horrible willpower. Unable to bring himself to kill it outright, Congorilla keeps the shackled and naked old man in special rooms at his apartment, feeds it garbage and hopes it will die soon, but it doesn't. It just lies in the corner and snarls weakly when he enters and fixes him with its ancient glaring eyes as he gives it its food.

4) And finally, this site is the one I turn to whenever I want to find out about the latest in horror. It's amazing, concise, and you should always have a resource when you want some weird shit funnelling into your brain. Oh, and also 5) Warren Ellis' blog, which, heh, is concentrated weird shit being funnelled into a brain.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Track #12: PJ Harvey - A Place Called Home

This has always been one of my favourite songs.

You wouldn't know this.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Track #11: The Guess Who - American Woman (Live)



I'm a big comic book fan.

If you know me at all well, you'll know this. In case you didn't know, my room would tell you as much. My walls currently hold a number of posters, including: some Bryan Hitch's Ultimates 2 action, a John Cassaday Captain America piece of propaganda brilliance, some classy Mike Wieringo (RIP) Fantastic Four, two Mike Mignola Hellboy pieces, and an ad for the classic James Robinson/Tony Harris Starman series. Not to mention some Countdown to Infinite Crisis ads, some Green Lantern Corps and a Ghost in the Shell 2 movie poster from my old local cinema.

I read comics. and I love reading them. It's a hobby/habit, whatever. I'm also a comic book writer. The Lucifer Cage, my series with Craig Cermak (see his DeviantArt page here), has seen it's first six page installment published in the proto-indie horror anthology Psychotronik Comics Presents #1 (purchase here), and we're working on producing more pretty much, I think, constantly.

I digress.

A few months, when I started work on my "novel" again, I started scouring the internet for inspiration, things to get me thinking and writing. I need a constant source of inspiration, else my ability to write dries up, and I'm up a creek, so this is kind of imperative for me. I scoured DeviantArt for art-- because I love looking at that kind of stuff, and I saw amateur, non-professional interpretations of established characters. I saw original art. I saw sunrises and sunsets, I saw women and I saw men, and I started thinking about people, and the human body.

I started thinking about how people aren't really... people. They're a collections of lines and shapes, and that if you put those lines and shapes together you make a person. Without those lines and shapes, you're just a blob of nothing, a mass of flesh, and that's not a human being, is it? The most beautiful people are the most elegantly, put together collection of lines, whilst the unattractive are a blurred interpretation of humanity, and therefore flawed.

(Namor, sharp undersea mother-fucker, art by John Buscema: Legend. Sharp lines convey strength, attraction, and bad-ass-under-sea-mother-fuckery)

(Namor, skeevy, slimey, dirty fish-dude, with soft lines and round shapes, based around, I do believe, Robert DeNiro. Drawn by Alex Maleev. Which is interesting because Maleev drew Namor before much more elegantly. More on that down the line, I think...)

When you consider comic book characters, Superman, for instance, he's conveyed in thick, strong lines. he's chiselled, well defined. He's pure and he's strong and you can see him as clear as day. Batman, on the other hand, is seeping into the shadows in which he strikes from, blurred and ill-defined, just as his intentions are to the ignorant viewer? Archetypes, maybe? lines defining the character, the person? I don't know. sometimes we hide behind our features, our hair, our clothes, and we become someone different. But underneath, our "lines" remain the same.

I'm not entirely sure.

SUPER-SANITY--! #3 -- Coming Tomorrow...

For those of you reading, all... umm... none of you... I'll write up another Super Sanity--! tomorrow, because I've had a rough day at work on Sunday, and I don't have the concentration to do anything more than microblog.


Track #10: Sia - Don't Bring Me Down (Live)

I adore this song on so many levels. I can barley describe how Sia's voice makes me feel, and I don't think I'll try. It's not for me to muddy the views you'd have of this song/singer. If you love it, you love it, if you don't, more fool you, but fine.


Friday, 18 September 2009

"Steal it!"

"I think, fundamentally, music is something inherently people love and need and relate to, and a lot of what's out right now feels like McDonalds. It's quick-fix. You kind of have a stomach-ache afterwards."
-- Trent Reznor (09/29/2005)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Track #9: Queens of the Stone Age - The Blood Is Love (Contradictator remix)

This is one of my all time favourite remixes of a Queens of the Stone Age track, and is just as good, if not better, than the original. If you like music, you have to listen to this.

Finds #2

Don't get me wrong, of course. I love a bit of poetry. And I adore this rhyming couplet from "Time Is Running Away". It's elegant in it's simplicity, and I'll let it speak for itself. Until you finish reading it and I give it a bit of commentary. Woop.

"Now that my roses are starting to rust,
all of your fairies are turning to dust."

That's wonderful. That really is. The death of the past, the magic and the wonder, because of progress, because of industrialisation, yeah? That's insightful, that's magical, and the way in which she interprets this passing of societal views... it's sublime.

So yeah, it's not because I hate poetry. I hate bad poetry. I hate people taking advantage of a situation, and the work lacking that emotional resonance.

This is good. This is effective.


Monday, 14 September 2009

Track #8: Carleton Singing Knights - Kids (MGMT cover)

I am not a fan of MGMT, they're... easy. Anyways, I do like this A Capella cover of their track "Kids", and it's a wonderfully put together version. Enjoy.

Finds #1

Located at "Paramours of Prose", this morbid, morbid, horrid little poem makes me feel very horrible inside. It's like a strange, populist hymn for the dead, for the gone, and I can't support the sentiment behind it. Yes, Baby P is dead, but, but, he's not yours, is he? He couldn't be. We mourn the passed, but we should never... I... oh, it makes me feel so strange.

Here's the poem, by "Welford Soar", entitled, easily enough, "Poem for Baby P":

If you were my little boy,
You’d go to sleep every night in a cradle of wishes.
If you were my little boy,
I’d banish nightmare monsters with White Magick.
If you were my little boy,
I’d keep you safe from harm in a playpen of love.
If you were my little boy,
Together we’d build coloured cities of LEGO.
If you were my little boy,
Your lips would never contort with tortured cries.
If you were my little boy,
My words would weave a bonnet for your little cherub’s head.
If you were my little boy,
Your brain would be brimful of ideas and education.
If you were my little boy,
You’d know what a mother’s love really was.
If only Baby Peter were my little boy.

I might write a poem in the next few days, entitled, "Poem for Adolf", in which I basically outline how the world would have been different if I was Hitler. Jeez, it gets me all riled up.

Edit 16/9/09: I figured out what it is. IT'S EXPLOITATION. It's a fucking pathetic form of exploitation that is poorly idealised and poorly executed. A kernel of an idea that's so self-important that it fails to have an emotional connection with the reader other than to piss them off. So fuck you, 'Welford Soar', you self important little sow. Fuck. You.

The poem belongs to the writer, and the writer alone. I've posted it up for snarky, disgusted review purposes, and I've linked to the original source. This is what you get when you upload anything to the internet. God.

Sunday, 13 September 2009


We live in interesting times.

Whilst perusing the stalls and the kitsch in Venice, I came across something amazing.

Something you need to know about me, before I tell you more, is that I'm a big fan of Threadless T-shirts (to be found at www.threadless.com). A lot of my wardrobe space is taken up with hoodies and shirts from this site, and I adore every one of them.

The 'something amazing' that I came across was a stall taken up with dozens of Threadless designs, some I own, some I have wanted to own, and some I-didn't-want-to-own-but-now-wanted-to-own-because-they're-awesome. So I paused, and remembered an event back when I started working at the cinema. A guy who I didn't know what wearing a shirt with this Threadless design upon it:

(Click the design to go to the site where this design is from. The real site.)

I was quite impressed, as you might guess, and approached said-guy. "You're a Threadless fan?" A look of bemusement crossed his face. In months to come I'd realise that the look of bemusement was a common one, and that said-guy was a complete douche, but at that moment, I still held out hope for our friendship. I pressed on: "Your shirt, from Threadless, right?" Again, bemusement, and he replied after a moment's hesitation: "No, I got this from Singapore."

And this was my first memorable, heart-breaking confrontation with the counterfeit culture we exist within. Copies are wrought within this world-- illegal pirate DVDs, films, albums, singles-- and apparently-- T-shirts. Where does the real end and the fakery begin? If people will steal designs from a not-so-mainstream website to get sales, where will they stop?

We're told that piracy is funding terrorism, and all this horrific "buzz-word-horror" that permeates our lives. Question: Who hasn't taken something they've wanted when the real product is too expensive, or too out of reach to really grasp? Sometimes, stealing is our only option. And are you saying that some bands can't afford for their fans to download their stuff? A true fan will purchase whatever they can to support their favourites. They'll go to concerts, buy shirts, CDs, anything, but in the short-term, does a download hurt?

I don't know. That's another thread entirely, and I digress.

The shirts I found were of a whole different quality all together. Yes, they were hypothetically cheaper, but you get what you pay for-- the shirt was thicker, the design almost iron-on. Did I consider buying one? Yes. But then I realised that there's a reason I buy from Threadless, and that's because I enjoy their products, and I don't want to perpetuate the idea of T-shirt-piracy. It almost seems idiotic when spoken out loud, but this is a microcosm-- or a maxi-cosm-- of the struggle rife in the mainstream. Films are recorded in the cinemas to be sold on or put up for illegal download. New CDs are pirated before they're even released, and that... is something that record companies are using to their own ends.

Like I said before, I don't know where the real ends and the fakery begins. That can't be a good sign, can it? If forgeries are evolving from simple pirate DVDs that you see being peddled on the streets of London, to T-shirts that are being made across Europe, then what's to stop so much more?

Us, probably. But when things are cheaper, and deceptively high-quality, do we care?

(Visit Threadless and wear something awesome. There's always a sale just round the corner, and there's a design for everyone.)

Sunday, 6 September 2009


Do you think there any Aboriginal MySpacers? Follow me on a hypothetical tangent for a moment. I mean, we're all aware of the Aborigine idea of "a photo steals your soul", so do these hypothetical Aboriginal MySpacers get tutted at by their parents, their grandparents, their great-grandparents? I'm always fascinated by the way culture and society change over time, and rightly so, too--! If we aren't aware of what came before, then how can we move forward with any real clarity? Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not talking about personal clarity-- that can only be discovered by looking at yourself and coming to your own conclusions-- no, I'm talking about societal clarity, the kind of thinking that takes entire countries forwards and backwards due to how we feel at one point in time.

I have a point to make.

I believe that we, as a generation-- the children of the dying 20th Century-- can be defined by photos. I don't believe that any group of under 20s before this generation can be defined as such. We record everything, we immortalise a moment and then reminisce about it nearly immediately. Every person I know has a camera, and those people don't leave the house without them. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, quite the contrary, I think this is wonderful. This is solid proof of our existence, of our personal connections.

Photos say that "We were here", and i don't think we can be forgotten. Photos, of course immortalise moments of defiance, of hope, of defying what we believe to be completely and utterly wrong. Circulation of photos has increased from simply newspapers to the world wide web-- sites like flckr, photobucket, and deviantart ensure that your work is circulated throughout the world within moments of being uploaded. But then again, does that dilute photos like this...

...When all we see when we log onto websites is stuff like this?

Our antics are recorded and uploaded within hours of them occurring. We become nostalgic, quite literally, for yesterday, and I don't think this makes us bad people. Do we dilute the industry of photojournalism when we get drunk and take photos every twelve seconds? Who cares. Again, I believe we are defined by cameras, for technology that allows us to be immortalised acting like complete fools from that point in.

Not too terrible, I think.