Something for the Weakened

Archive for June, 2004

Correctness Conundrum

June 30th, 2004 by

Can one use the word ‘spakka’ in polite conversation these days? Well, maybe not polite, but in general conversation without being branded as some sort of disability hating punk motherfucker? It’s something that I remember Jimmy Carr saying, I think while being interviewed by Jonathan Ross. If memory serves, he was implying that it was possible to use it in the context of it being a piece of old playground slang, so could be said to be ironic. This is also backed up to a certain extent by the Spastic Society changing its name, ostensibly because the word had been tarnished by a thousand amused schoolboys. But does any of this make it okay?

I can’t really use that argument, due to my hopelessly PC upbringing. Most derogatory terms for minorities were drummed out of me at an early age and were only used by the naughtier common kids. How I became so middle class is a story for another day (the memories of the shock treatment are still too fresh in my mind). But this makes the concept of using any of these slurs something of a foreign land to me, which above anything else I’m quite happy about. ‘Live and let live’ has always been a credo I’ve felt comfortable with (the liberal conversion techniques have left even deeper emotional scars). But does any of this make it okay?

It’s not that I even want to use the word, as I certainly don’t feel the need to use any of the others that flew around my school. It’s just that I like to keep at the vanguard of swearing. I don’t feel particularly self-conscious using the word windowlicker, even after I found out what that meant. Perhaps if I had known when I was younger and had been rightly chastised for its use, my subconscious brain would have something to say about this. But as it first came to my attention via the Aphex Twin, I only feel amusement at someone’s childhood observation. That is perhaps how the two differ, one simply being the corruption of some unfortunates condition, the other the description of the unfortunates action. But does any of this make it okay?

Frankly I haven’t a clue. Societal consensus is the only way these things get accepted or rejected and I only ever seem to be prancing around on the peripheries of that. I’m not going to be the one to try and cross that line before someone else does it first and doesn’t get shot down in a hail of scornful buckshot. Cowardice perhaps, but probably the sensible option. So if you want to call anyone by any of the names mentioned above in front of me, feel free. I’ll just be observing the reactions of everyone else around to see if I can get away with it next time. Until then I’ll just keep calling everyone cunts.

Diatribes aside, today I highly recommend that you all go out and listen to Stephen Malkmus’ self titled debut album. It’s a quite wonderful collection of material, easily as good as the stuff he was recording with Pavement. Who could argue with songs written from the point of view of Yul Brynner, or about small boys going out and becoming pirates? Three quarters of an hour of fun for all the family. Join me tomorrow for the last entry before a weeks radio silence . . .

A History of Collecting – Part One; A Beginning

June 29th, 2004 by

As many of you probably realise, the one true love of my life has been comics. Sad, pathetic, bitter and lonely though it may have made me, it is this obsession that has fuelled my existence since I was maybe five or six. Growing up in the early 80’s meant that newsagents carried a much larger and varied crop of children’s magazines than you find today. From a very early age I remember my parents getting me nursery titles, like Pippin and Apple (can’t think why they didn’t do one called Cox, but I digress). These were filled with all sorts of kids activities, cut out and glue sort of things. Make a two dimensional mobile of Superted’s spaceship, or was it Spotty’s I forget. That sort of thing anyway. There was a small comic aspect to these, which I don’t really remember but I assume didn’t really grab me at the time.

This was all changed one evening that sticks out in my mind quite vividly. My father returned home from work with, if memory serves me correctly, the ninth issue of the Buster Comic Library. Buster, as I’m sure most of you don’t know, was a humour title published by IPC Magazines at this time (it was later bought by Fleetway who eventually ran it into the ground in the mid 90’s, but I’ll probably rant about this later). It had been in circulation since the early 60’s, featuring the title character of Buster – the supposed son of Daily Mirror character Andy Capp. Though less successful than the comics put out by Scottish publisher DC Thompson, The Beano, Dandy and so forth, the IPC titles still enjoyed reasonable distribution levels at this time. As such, they jumped onto one of Thompson’s recent band wagons with the comic libraries.

Formats had been changing quite a bit in the preceding years. The close of the 70’s had seen the last few tabloid sized comics either cancelled or resized to the more conventional magazine size that we see today. Most were still being printed on the cheapest newsprint imaginable, colour covers with primarily black and white interiors, except for the occasional use of a spot colour (usually leading to a black, white and red page or, very rarely, yellow). At the same time, glossier titles were beginning to appear, pioneered I think by Marvel UK, whose reprints of their US back catalogue often used full colour and far nicer feeling paper stock. It may not have been glossy, but the difference was easily noticeable. The comic library format was quite new at this point, and as I said was originally used by Thompson. Approximately A5 in size and around 64 pages in length, the initial titles in the format were extended war stories in titles like Commando, or science fiction in one I think was called Star Blazer. I’d have to check (you do realise all this information is just in my head!). The next logical move for Thompson was to do spin offs from their established titles, and so the Beano and Dandy Comic Libraries were born. 64 pages of original material released with the odd frequency of two issues per fortnight. Or maybe that was just my newsagent.

Not ones to miss a trick, IPC soon started releasing there own Comic Libraries, but with a slight difference. Obviously the increased page count allowed them to bump the price up, but the decreased size made it still economically viable and not such a huge bump. To decrease costs even further they used a trick that they had used on a number of titles before. They reformatted old strips from old comics. All 64 pages were made up of solid reprints. At the same time they were also running other compilations, such as Best of Buster, which were slightly more successful. Possibly because the lettering was the correct size and didn’t lead to hours on end of squinting (I’m not blaming them for my having to wear glasses, but if there are any lawyers out there who think I’ve got a case. . .).

But none of this made a difference to me then. My father handed me this tiny pamphlet which I gratefully grabbed and dashed off to read. I think I had asked him to get hold of a copy of The Beano for me, after my good friend Neill (with two L’s) had told me about it. Dad’s inability to shop and tendency to get slightly the wrong thing is something that has always amused me (renting the video of Ghoulies 3 instead of The Goonies for my brothers ninth birthday always springs to mind). But on this occasion he had done the right thing. This was my first exposure to the artwork of the late great Reg Parlett, amongst others. I was hooked almost instantly. My six-year-old brain couldn’t help but be fascinated by these tiny brush and pen strokes telling short and amusing tales of naughty or misguided children or barmy adults. The only problem I had was at the end of the evening. I’d read the whole thing once or twice, but it just wasn’t enough.

I was hungry for more.

Monday, Monday

June 28th, 2004 by

Sorry if this becomes unreadable, but my fingers are covered in jam so my typing might go a bit haywire. Well, any more unreadable than normal anyway. It’s been a strange day, starting with my awakening about 3.30 this morning and generally going downhill from there. I’m awaiting the development of a phone shaped bruise on my leg, after I made an unnecessary army roll to grab a fleeing napkin. Of course, I’d forgotten my mobile was in my pocket and despite its bluntness, jabbed into my thigh with considerable force. Half of the morning was spent with a limpy hobble, but now it seems to be healing a little. That or I’m becoming man enough to withstand the pain.

Probably the former then.

Those of you with psychic links to me will have already realised that the album of the day is Zappa’s Uncle Meat. The rest of you really need to try harder. Concentrate. What am I thinking of? Pardon? Not even I’m that warped, you sick fucks! Leave me alone now.

Needless Ramblings

June 27th, 2004 by

Good evening, meine kinder and welcome to the show. Apologies for the absence of column yesterday, but I really don’t seem to be able to produce when hung over. Soz. Anyhoo, I’ve just returned home from a visit to Clifford Mesne and I’m a little inebriated. What’s that? No, it is a real place. I swear to you it is. It’s not up the road from Wapsasm or Phuckingham In The Wrong’un, it really exists. I’ve been visiting relatives and discussing the relative merits of Vivian Stanshall, which has all been rather pleasant. I promised myself when I started writing these that I wouldn’t produce any when drunk, so as not to let anyone know where the bodies are buried. As such, I will stop, as soon as I’ve told you to acquire DJ Food’s magnificent Now Listen mix. Leonard Nimoy will never sound so good again.

No, I’m Damo Suzuki!

June 25th, 2004 by

And so is my wife. An open challenge to Mark E. Smith? You betcha!

It’s over a month since I started spouting this tat and I for one am astonished that I’ve lasted this long! It’s a big surprise that I’ve managed to keep on making the effort to knock something out on an almost daily basis – my previous record for any sort of continuous writing is barely a week. So, has it helped me to develop some sort of writing style that will be of great use when I move onto my next extraordinarily lucrative project? Or has it just shown off my self-obsessive tendencies, a passion for crap puns and knob gags? More of the latter really, isn’t it. Essentially everything seems to sound like my voice, only with better spelling. Hey ho, on with the jollity.

Got some new headphones yesterday. The ones I was using lost the power in the left ear a week and a half-ago now, like they always do. I could whinge on about this, but with even my basic understanding of economics I realise that things will always perish. The thing that perplexed me was that the ear that went about a week without a headphone in it was the one that started hurting. Because I’m able too, most of my day is spent with at least one headphone in (one out so I can hear anyone warning me of falling pianos or safes). I try to alternate ears, so that whatever damage I’m doing to myself is at least consistent, making me even more confused by the pain. Have my ears become so used to having little bits of plastic forced into them that they’ll start healing over without them? These are things that stop me sleeping at night. I think I can hear the flesh growing now.

The kind folk at Uber Rob (well, Rob basically) have now given me the opportunity to create hyper links. Unfortunately it all looks a bit confusing to my Luddite brain, so I’m leaving them out today. Might try tomorrow when I don’t have boss like people looking over my shoulder. I’ll be at home, so if they are I’ll be really fucking worried.

Hymie’s Basement is the album you should be listening to today. It’s a collaborative project between Adam out of Fog (forgotten his surname) and someone from the Anticon collective (I’ve forgotten his entire name). It manages to cover the range of styles that both incorporate into their individual works and a few more besides. Hunt it down, or I will eat your babies.

Extract (2)

June 24th, 2004 by

These trousers are causing me no end of gyp. I know they were cheap, but I didn’t expect anything like this. There seems to be some sort of twisting thing going on with the seam below the crotch and it’s beginning to become painful at times. No matter how you position them, trying to anticipate the twisting with a counter rotation, I always end up with corkscrewing fabric between my shapely legs. It might have more to do with my expansive (not to mention expensive, particularly in this buyers market) testicles than anything else, but instituting change to them would cause more problems than some kind of tailor’s alterations. I would go for cloth cutting over surgery any day. Maybe I should just stop wearing them, buy some more. Thing is, I’ve had them too long to take back (I just thought my scrotum would grow into them) but no where near long enough to justify getting rid of them. So the question remains; do I endure the pain or spend the rest of the day in my pants?

Fact or fiction? You decide!

Snortings From The Trough

June 24th, 2004 by

First up a request. Will everyone try and sign up to this petition. I realise that there are probably a lot more needy, not to mention worthy, causes that would benefit more from your signature. But I’m currently unwilling to try and move in any political directions while online (anyone who has been forced to sit through any of my misinformed drunken rants about communism will now be understandably relieved). Nevertheless, the more people demanding the Boosh radio series’ release (which is what you will be demanding) will make it’s happening all the more likely. Those of you with access to digital television should be watching the TV version of the series and will realise how important it is for these radio exploits to be released. The rest of you will just have to trust me. Would I lie to you?

What else have I happened upon today? Asian Dub Foundation are apparently writing an opera about Colonel Gaddafi for ENO (English National Opera, not Brian). Sounds like an interesting prospect if their past works are anything to go by. Also found this link on www.diepunyhumans.com, Warren Ellis’ daily research blog which I highly recommend if you want to read about all the odd things happening in the world today. This particular article concerns some kind of X-Menish mutation in a small German boy. Really.

The above was primarily constructed while listening to Dudley Moore’s truly excellent score for the film Bedazzled. I suppose it does suffer from the old soundtrack problem of variations on a theme, but there really is some great music here. The sample happy among you really need a copy as bits crop up all the time on numerous artists recordings. The rest of you should listen to it if only to tell me whether or not you think the backing vocalists sing “You shitter” during the title piece. I think they do, but it might just be the filth that clogs my mind at the best of times. (I’m actually listening to Weird Al Yankovic now, but I wouldn’t admit to that in a public arena. Oh bollocks.)

Finally, a quick thank you to the mighty Uber Rob for getting the paragraphs working and continuing to listen to my feeble design ideas. Meant to yesterday but forgot. Though, he’s the one to blame if none of the hyperlinks above work. They did when I wrote this on Word, but until after I hit Submit it’s all in the realms of possibility. I would link to his site, but frankly you all linked from there to begin with. Didn’t you? Oh alright uber-rob.co.uk Ta-ra, kids.

Only I Bleed

June 23rd, 2004 by

And internally at that. Here’s one. Make yourself a small fortune by producing the world’s first scratch ’n’ sniff Bible! Mmm, smell that myrrh.

This was to be another column featuring me wallowing in my sludge filled trench of self pity, but as the mornings gone on the world doesn’t seem quite so poo as I had thought. And how can I be angry now that I’ve got paragraphs!

See!!!

Clever, eh. Now I can be even more verbose and make it look as though I have something to say when I clearly haven’t. Like now for instance. Look, it’s just waffle. Nothing of any worth whatsoever. But now I do this.

Wow! Suddenly it all becomes enormously profound, perhaps even sagely. The wonders of punctuation my children. Today’s funnest listening was supplied by !!! (to say out loud simply make three repetitive sounds. They suggest “Chk”, but I favour “ungh”) and their album Louden Up Now. Listen to it as much as you can now, because you’ll be sick of it by the end of the summer.

Quandary

June 22nd, 2004 by

I’ve been seriously considering starting smoking again recently (that’s a lot of ’ings). It must have been three or four months since I gave up properly. Despite some drunken transgressions, which do appear to be becoming more frequent, I’ve never really felt the need for a fag when sober. Up until the last couple of weeks, that is. It was always tricky being around other people when they were puffing away, but it seems to have become even harder recently, to the extent that I can smell someone lighting up in France right now. The craving is supposed to lessen as time goes on, so maybe it’s these drunken transgressions which are causing my mind and body to demand sweet nicotine. I don’t know. Maybe I should buy a pipe. And a deerstalker.

Culinary Accident

June 22nd, 2004 by

Yesterday I attempted an experiment. Using my very limited cooking skills, I decided to try combining two disparate food groups that I have the ability to make. This involved heating up a ready made Chicken Madras and adding it to my frankly splendid mashed potatoes. I now understand why these two elements are rarely seen on the same plate. The resultant paste that the sauce infused spuds created, with chunks of similarly flavoured chicken scattered throughout, proved to be one the least appetising meals I have ever eaten. And now I’m REALLY paying for it. Gotta run.