Something for the Weakened

Archive for July, 2004

Treasure Chest

July 30th, 2004 by

Yesterday I used the phrase “Read just above my nipples,” for the first time. It’s not a phrase I’d ever considered using before (I have many of these, almost all of which are retorts that will only work with a particular feed line), but, believe it or not, it was bizarrely relevant to the conversation I was having. I have to point out this wasn’t twattoo related (ha ha, see me spell funny). If I ever feel the need to have anyone draw on my body, I’ll make them use a biro. It was only about the T-shirt I was wearing. Because I got to use this wonderful set of words in that particular sequence, here’s a link to The House of Fun, the home of Evan Dorkin whose designs I stole when I had the shirt made. If only he’d stop writing bloody cartoons and draw more comics, the world would be a funnier place. It is he who made the word ‘fun’ even more fun for me. Does that make sense? Probably not, but never mind. I’m still obsessing over the Pixies today, but did listen to Tiny Waves Mighty Sea by Future Pilot AKA. Weird Northern collective. Good. Pixies better.

Teaser . . .

July 29th, 2004 by

Friends, Romans, Cunts, lend me your spleens. Mine doesn’t seem to be working. Peculiar mood persists. Unshakeable. Trying to write like Ian Sinclair again. Still can’t. Stop trying.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to put my David Copperfield story on here. I’ve been going back to the file on an almost daily basis, but can’t seem to get the gist of the tale right. It’s not as if it’s even a particularly interesting series of events, I just can’t work out how to word it. Someday it’ll see the light of day, but not in the foreseeable future. I can see you’re all sitting there with baited breath, waiting for me to let even the slightest detail slip out. No? Not even a slightly lured breath? Well you’re still going to have to wait. Nyurrgh.

Playlist:- Pixies – Doolittle, The Beta Band – The Beta Band. Not that unusual I know, but that’s why you’re getting two. Enjoy.

Red Action

July 28th, 2004 by

Gingers of the world, unite and crush your oppressors! For to long your copper bonces have been ridiculed! No more I say! Beat those mocking you with sticks, until their non-red hair turns crimson! See how they like the pointing and the jeering at their unusually coloured barnets! Form a confederation! Band together in the streets, screaming “I’m as orange as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Reappropriate it into your own culture by spelling it differently! (May I suggest ‘ginggah’) Even a different pronunciation, to differentiate yourselves from those merely dying their follicles a russety hue! (May I suggest ‘jean’ as in French for John, followed by ‘jaire’ using the same ‘j’ sound) Why not err . . . um, oh I’ve run out of steam on this one.

Hello everyone and welcome to my Wednesday. It’s not a bad Wednesday, I’ve had far worse, but it is indisputably mine. You may borrow it, but I want it back. Me am funny. Yes I’m in an odd mood. I probably ought to stop typing before I become offensive again. Schneider TM – Zoomer has been my tipple of choice today. Take a swig of its electro pop fun.

A History of Collecting – Part Four – Action!

July 27th, 2004 by

It’s Tuesday and that can mean only one thing, more interminable nostalgia as Alastair waffles on about the obsessions of his youth. Witness his amazing feats of memory! Look on in astonishment as he tries to make it all seem interesting and falls flat on his arse! Cover your eyes in horror as he bores the pants off you all by describing the act of buying comics yet again! Wonder how much longer he’s going to continue in this pointless endeavour, then realise there are another twenty years of collecting anecdotes to come! Track him down and beat him with sticks to make him stop! Please! Nothing else will! Those of you wondering what happened in the last three parts should feel blessed. You missed nothing. We at Something for the Weakened hope you will accept are sincere apologies for what follows.

The world of humour comics kept me amused through the first couple of years of my collecting bug. This changed due to the glories of holiday morning television. Like every other growing boy at that time, the arrival of Transformers on both the TV screen and toy shelves came as a revelation. The impact that the ‘Robots in Disguise’ made across the world was phenomenal. Even today the shows and figures remain enduringly popular, but the first appearance in Britain must have had parents up and down the country cursing Hasbro’s name. Before then having a toy gun was pretty cool, but a gun that was a robot as well! “Mum, Mum, can I have a Megatron?” etcetera, etcetera.

Of course, I jumped onto the bandwagon with as much gusto as my little legs would allow. It was all triggered by Wacaday, the Timmy Mallet hosted kids bit at the end of TVAM during school holidays. Generally remembered more fondly than Tommy Boyd’s Wide Awake Club, its Saturday morning equivalent, possibly because of Mallet’s ludicrous enthusiasm, bordering and often crossing the line of outright annoyance. More likely though, it was the serialised five-minute bursts of Transforming action that would stretch a single episode out to last a whole week. To think, we kept that speccy git in work for years, just because of the five minutes of animated magic he bookended. There’s no justice in the world.

Anyway, bandwagons. With a passion previously only given over to my collection of pamphlets, I took the obvious route and started demanding toys. My parents, always keen to show me the value of money, didn’t cave in so easily. In spite of my blubbering, they weren’t in the business of just giving me things for no reason. It would either be a wait until Christmas (when Santa might bring me one of the bigger figures) or save up my own pocket money for a few weeks and buy one from the budget range. This of course seemed the easiest option and so I embarked upon this new endeavour. It was hard to cut my comic budget so that I would be able to acquire the toys, but it was my only option so cut it I did. This lasted for perhaps a couple of months, in which time I only collected two or three actual Transformers. I think one of them was Braun, who changed into a van of some description and had unfeasibly snappable arms. You can probably guess what happened to him.

So why did I stop, you’d be asking if you were even faintly interested. Well, I’ll tell you. The Americans, as is often the case, were a few months ahead of the UK in getting all of this. The toys originated in Japan, but were sold Stateside long before the British saw anything. Editor in chief of Marvel Comics, Jim Shooter, had the bright idea to buy the rights to do a comic adaptation of the series. This they did, originally as a mini series, but the incredible popularity of these six issues meant a quick upgrade to ongoing came about almost immediately. The cartoon, though animated in Korea (I think) by Sunbow, was at least partially funded by US dollars. Sunbow had some kind of connection to Marvel (who had an investment in who escapes my memory at this time) and the series used a lot of the continuity that Marvel had introduced. It was only a matter of time before the popularity of the show over here became apparent to Marvel’s UK wing, the inspiringly named Marvel UK.

And so it came to pass, that one fateful Saturday my eye was captured by that now familiar logo attached to something on the comics shelf. How long had this been going on without my knowing? The concept of licensing wasn’t really one that I’d come across before, so the mere concept of something appearing in two entertainment mediums, as well as toy form, was mind blowing. Of course it had to be mine. Lo, seconds later it was. Previously my parents had been dubious to my buying anything of that nature, not wanting to expose me to any violent content I suppose (I was a delicate flower). But this was given approval. It was based on a cartoon series – how bad could it be, in those pre anime times? I got home and devoured what turned out to be the third issue of the Marvel UK series, which at this time was only reprinting the American series (new material would follow later).

Once again dear reader, I was hooked. The fortnightly publication schedule allowed me to continue splashing out on the various funnies I was still buying, without missing out on a lot. Of course it sounded the death knell for my toy buying habit for some time. But this didn’t worry me; I had my Transforming fix when the TV wouldn’t give it to me. Something in the Next Issue feature intrigued me though. A guest appearance by someone called Spider-Man. Was this the same person pictured on my pyjamas? Time would shortly tell . . .

Post Festival Trauma

July 26th, 2004 by

Throat feels as if someone’s dragged a rosebush through it. Head has turned a shade of lobster. Shoulders appear to have been torn off and replaced by a stick wrapped in barbed wire. Yes, I’ve been chain smoking outdoors then sleeping in fields again. Music festivals are wonderful things. New and exciting bands, mysterious e-coli harbouring snacks, sunburn and rain all in one place. But I had forgotten just how crap a camper I am – the fact that I don’t own a sleeping bag escaped my notice until I started packing. But I survived my two days at Truck (in the unlikely event that anyone reading this doesn’t know, it’s an Oxford based festival) and came away more or less unscathed. Unfortunately, it’s only now just sinking in that my body really wasn’t prepared for such excesses. I ache pretty much everywhere and want nothing more than to lie down and be left alone. Before I go, I would recommend some music to you but I’ve been obsessing over Five Years by Bowie again. Probably listened to it five or six times already today. Might listen again in a minute. It is the best song written in the history of the world ever, ever. Putting Uncle David to one side for a moment, the best band out of the twenty five or so I saw this weekend were Wolverhampton’s The $hit. Don’t think they’ve recorded anything yet, but keep an eye out, they should be big. Right, I’m off for a kip.

Whither Hartlepool

July 23rd, 2004 by

Bereft of inspiration, Alastair aimlessly typed. Perhaps something would strike him as is fingers danced across the keyboard. Though he liked the title, nothing in his brain seemed to be sparking. He paused, contemplating the last sentence. Was ’sparking’ even the word he was looking for. Probably not, but it would do. Gazing out of the window he realised that it was far to nice a day to be sat about typing.

“Fuck it, I’m off down the pub,” he said.

And with that, he was gone.

Groggy Muttering

July 22nd, 2004 by

Why do I do it to myself? By now I should have realised that staying up until two in the morning drinking wine is going to leave me a wreck the next day. But still I persist in inflicting these agonies upon my mind and body. It’s almost like self harming. Haven’t the strength to listen to any music. I have nothing more to say.

Rambling Pop Culture Recommendations

July 21st, 2004 by

Okay, I’m trying to repeat subject matter as infrequently as possible here, but I feel I have to bang on about Alejandro Jodorowsky again. He really is an incredible talent and deserves your attention. The reason for my banging is that I finally watched his 1989 opus ‘Santa Sangre’ a couple of nights ago and am finding it hard to find words of praise high enough to recommend it. I have to admit that the plot, though more linear than his earlier works, isn’t incredible and what little dialogue there is, when it’s audible, is hardly convincing. But the sheer quantity of ideas that seem to pour from the man’s head is simply amazing. The unimaginable imagery that he puts onto the screen is phenomenal. An elephant bleeds to death from its trunk and then has a funeral procession through Mexico City. The tattooed lady and the knife thrower’s act. A troop of blind religious zealots (played by real blind people) stopping the police from demolishing their church (devoted to an unacknowledged saint with no arms) using only song. Dwarves. Clowns. Did I mention it was set in a circus? And this all happens in flashback in the first ten minutes! I implore you all to go out and buy the DVD now. I bought it in whatever offer Virgin did recently, so it might still be there. Spread the word. Eventually we might see more of his work released over here. And for those of a sensitive disposition (why you’re here is beyond me), there’s no need to worry. No genitals, fogged or otherwise. Banging on over, lets move on to pastures new.

A website which the sensitive amongst you might want to avoid is The Arsenic Lullabies. It gives you some great samples of the work that Doug Paszkiewicz has been publishing for a while now. It’s entirely sick and wrong, but it made me chuckle quite a bit, particularly the botched abortion strip. There are strips in both the Exclusives and Samples sections. Just click on a foetus at the bottom of the page. You will go to hell for laughing at any of it, but by God it’ll be worth it.

On the off chance that any sample monkeys are reading this, I should recommend listening to Radio 4, Monday at 9.00 PM. There’s a new series starting called The Sound of Life, which promises to have a great many animals making some incredibly odd noises. I heard a trailer this morning that involved some fish humming a note that is audible above the water. Matmos wannabes take note. Probably won’t be any synapse firing, but who could resist making a tune out of pitched gnu yelps. Samplers at the ready, lads ’n’ lasses.

Apologies as ever if none of the above links work, but technology and I have never really got on. Ever since I tried putting rice cakes in a toaster and caused a small inferno; we’ve always been at odds. What else have I got to say? Managed to get some writing done, had a good nights sleep (first in a week), came up with an idea of making a sculpture with used tissues. I won’t tell you what I’m proposing to use as glue. Oh yeah, and I made a vague start on this months Page of Fun, loosely based on an old idea I had for a photo page. Sorry Dan. It’ll be tasteful. Kind of.

Todays entry has been brought to you in association with Pavement’s Brighten the Corners and Nirvana’s In Utero. I’m just on some kind of 90’s indy trip today. I’ll recommend something interesting tomorrow.

A History of Collecting: Part Three – Holidays

July 20th, 2004 by

An introduction for the unbelievers. Alastair is in the process of relating how he became such an unbelievable geek through this series of protracted memoirs. Herein he explains in increasingly tedious detail how his latent collecting genes were activated at unhealthily young age. We at Something For The Weakened Inc. hereby distance ourselves from the general air of dullardry that follows and promise that the more offensive musings (which regular readers are by now used too) will return shortly. Please bear with us. For those with even a vague interest, or short attention span, a synopsis of the first two parts;- Alastair has bought some comics. Really, that’s it. Now read on, if you dare (or if you need a cure to insomnia . . .)

Being a seven-year-old with a moderately disposable income was a wonderful thing! An added boon was that, living out in the sticks, it was rare for me to be able to spend it except at weekends. Of course, I didn’t see it as such at the time, but on weekends when I wouldn’t go out any further than the end of the road (to see Neill with two L’s) it meant I would end up accidentally saving. Therefore, I could purchase either more comics the following week or possibly even some kind of toy. Transformers had yet to break at this point, so I’m uncertain what exactly I would have been buying. Probably old Matchbox cars and the like. My toy collecting days were still a couple of years off.

The thing with having a small town as the nearest source to fuel an obsession is the lack of variety. There were only four or five newsagents around town and, unsurprisingly, my parents would neither put up with visiting all of them during a trip or let me go off on my own to see what they had. This led to some levels of confusion – a number of titles were sold in only one shop in town, so if we didn’t visit for a couple of weeks, that comic’s existence would flee my brain until we returned. At this point it didn’t really matter. I was buying humour titles almost exclusively, hardly any of which had ongoing series, so all I was missing were a few gags. Buster aside, I wasn’t collecting any other series, just enjoying the wonderful diversity the medium had to offer.

But soon my eyes were opened wider still. Trips into Oxford, the nearest city, showed me true nirvana. Big newsagents! Aisles (or at least sections of aisles) devoted to nothing but four colour funnies. Truly I had found my youthful brain’s spiritual home. Of course, with my meagre few pence, I could never consume everything they had on offer. I tried, through the old tried and tested methods of reading as much as possible in the shop. This of course never worked particularly well. Despite having incredible patience, my parents weren’t particularly enamoured by the idea of waiting around twenty minutes for me to finish reading. I can’t imagine that any of the proprietors were terribly happy about me soiling their merchandise with my grubby mitts either. A solution of sorts did present itself eventually.

A brief digression, to set the scene. My parents owned a caravan. Every holiday I can remember, up to the age of about fourteen was spent in one of these infernal wheeled sardine cans. The holidays themselves were normally quite good fun and I feel quite privileged to have been introduced to so much of the rich history of the British Isles from such a young age. It also gave me different environments to beat my brother up in, which was great. The time spent in and with the caravan was less enjoyable. I wasn’t a great traveller at this point and lengthy road trips would often lead to some quantity of chunder. Have you ever been trapped in a ten-foot long steel oubliette with your direct family, staring at the rain washing across the Welsh countryside? It’s not a barrel of laughs, I can tell you. “But how did this help your collecting?” those of you with any stamina ask.

Mater and Pater were gracious enough to give my brother and I a small allowance on these holidays. We couldn’t spend it on just anything, being supervised all the time, but you’d be surprised by just how many newsagents you can find on the Gower peninsula! Presumably to cater for the large number of annoyed camping families trapped under damp tarpaulin. One shop sticks out particularly in my mind, situated directly outside the campsite in which we were staying. It was incredible, stocking a huge variety of the Summer and Holiday Specials that came out every June back then. And virtually on our doorstep! I must have managed to stop in there on an almost daily basis, rain or shine (and there was actually quite a bit of shine that year), and would walk out with something new and exciting almost every time. Titles I’d not seen before or since fell into my lap with astonishing ease. Life was good. It could never last.

Two weeks up, we would wend our ‘merry’ way back home and I would be forced to return to my pedestrian local selection again. But now I knew there was more out there, that the Witney selection was just the tip of the iceberg. Another year to wait, but it would be worth it. Thankfully the standing order with the Post Office would have continued in our absence and I’d have two or three Busters waiting on the mat for me. At least I should have – they always managed to lose an issue somehow.

Incompetent bastards.

Maxon’s Extra Special Brain Randomiser!

July 19th, 2004 by

Greetings fools. Yesterday I gave up smoking again, for what feels like the third time in a week. As such, I’ve got my dark little fucking poets hat on today and have been trying to keep my mind off the fags by thinking a lot. This was probably a mistake. See what you think, as we go . . . Through The Brainhole!

Is it right for me to kiss my Grandmother on the lips? Can’t remember when I first noticed myself doing it (just a peck to say hello or good bye – no Frenchies or anything), but seem to almost every time I see her now. What is the etiquette on this? Is it all right? Should I just start aiming for a cheek (on her face, you filthy bastards)? Maybe I should bring it up.

Aesthetically pleasing number plates. Not even personalised ones, just the plates that seem to have a nice ring to them. I particularly enjoyed following a car calling itself CU02 ANE. Don’t know why it caught my eye, but it did. If the owner’s reading this, well done you for having such great taste.

Attractive girls with braces. I’m not talking Bobby Ball here, but the tooth wires. I’m hoping that it’s the kids of today getting their orthodontics done at a later age, rather than some latent paedophilic powers awakening in my brain. It’s not that I’ve ever been one for lechery (though I’m sure everyone says that), but the summer leads to ladies wearing fewer clothes, which inevitably draws the eye. Which is fine. Until they smile and flash that little bit of steel in their gobs. Then I worry that I may have sired them with my extremely powerful sperm. I apologise to any women reading this, but you are now all pregnant. And I’ve not even been mashing my love potatoes.

Cigarettes. They’re so, so sweeet!

Maxon Crumb. Robert’s slightly mental brother. I have nothing to say about him, but he popped up in my head long enough to get his name put into the title.

Cigarettes.

How unacceptable is the phrase Nip-Pop? You could get away with Brit-Pop, but I’ve been listening to the cheesy Japanese popsters Pizzicato Five’s Playboy & Playgirl album and the phrase popped into my head. It’s probably extremely offensive, isn’t it? I shouldn’t have brought it up. Sorry. My brain is a bad, bad place. You try living here.

Cigarettes. Fuck it, I’m going down the newsagent. Bye-ee!