Saturday 16 February 2008

1 9 8 6

Richard Bruton has posted a piece about London Underground Comics. "It's the brainchild of Oli Smith, and is really the rebranding of the Camden Comics Stall." Richard compares it to the old Fast Fiction stall of the early eighties and shows a photo, see left, of me and Ed Pinsent and Peter Stanbury at the (FF) stall. Internal evidence suggests that the location is UKCAC (United Kingdom Comic Art Convention) in 1986, shortly after the last day in which I held down a regular nine-to-five. I don't remember that particular pic, but the style was immediately familiar to me, making it one of Phil Elliott's. He always had a roll of black and white in his camera. Here's another from perhaps April/May that year, judging from the internal evidence of wee hayley campbell's skinny legs. That's Phil and Fiona Elliott on a visit with us in Brighton and the wife of my bosom would be the one on this side of the camera.

Phil and I used to work together a lot back then, though we'd just lost our regular gig in the weekly Sounds. He drew us into his comic strips more than once, such as this little record of our visit with them in Kent.

Funny to think that back then we had no money but we don't seem to be half as concerned about the subject as we are now. Even Anne thought it was hilarious:

Phil has a great website. Go and have a look.

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Friday 15 February 2008

I thought it was just the Americans, but in London too:

LONDON (Reuters) - A 16th Century painting of Venus featuring the Roman goddess of love wearing little but a smile has been deemed too risque for the eyes of London's Tube travellers. London Underground bosses have banned a poster of the 1532 work by German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, promoting an upcoming Royal Academy exhibition. The Academy is outraged...

John Coulthart reminds us in comments that a few years back London Transport was previously outraged by Grien's cavorting witches (1514):


I could have been THIS Eddie Campbell:

Monroe man jailed for sending Valentine candy, flowers
-Monroe News Star- feb 15
Monroe police charged Eddie Campbell, 58, with violating a restraining order. He was arrested at his home after reportedly sending flowers to the victim’s work and Valentine cards to her Post Office box number. The arrest marks the second time he has had such charges against him, police reported. He was booked into Ouachita Correctional Center and bond set at $2,000.

Funny cartoon about Alan moore, via Neil Gaiman

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English language, etc.

It is my fond hope that as Jane Fonda didn't deliver the apology herself, she had no intention of making one. *


Wednesday 13 February 2008

The sixties.

The well known exchange of dialogue from the movie Field of Dreams (1989) stuck in my mind for a long time:
Annie Kinsella:"...And if you experienced even a little bit of the sixties, you would feel the same way, too."
Beulah: [indignantly] I *experienced* the sixties.
Annie Kinsella: "No, I think you had two fifties and moved right into the seventies."

I spent the entire sixties in captivity, since the ends of the decade correspond to my ages of five and fifteen, so I guess I missed the fun part, at least in the ways that I measure fun from my present perspective. However, while I am suspicious of sentimentality for the past, It would certainly be true to say that there was something special about the sixties, from the point of view of an artist. In tandem with picking up and watching Godard's A bout de Souffle (1960) I was recently reading a book one of me pals gave me for my fiftieth birthday two years back, Revolution! :The Explosion of World Cinema in the 60s, by Peter Cowie and I got to remembering how there was a time before film properties were thought of, in the terminolgy of business, as 'franchises.' That was way back when a fellow whose name I have forgotten used to take me along to seasons of Welles and Hitchcock at the National Film Theatre and I had half a notion of getting into that world, the Art of Film.

To save us all having to spend undue amounts of time excavating the ruins of that age, there's a blog doing the work for us: The World Of Kane: 'Retro candy for your eyes and ears.' It's the work of Will Kane, whose myspace shows him to be 38. His obsession with sixties is the itching, driving, all encompassing obsession of one who arrived just as they were closing the doors. Here he gives us a beautiful set of images of Vasarely's op-art paintings, and here's Sammy Davis and Anthony Newly in what looks like a Hefner setting, which is all a bit self-congratulatory and self-conscious, but I'd never seen it before, and anyway I seem to remember that being the gestalt of the sixties.

Much more precious are the three Youtube clips of Jacques Brel, a true artist who died before he was fifty.. Especially look at his 'le moribond', horribly massacred in English as the syrupy "Seasons in the Sun."
(superior direct translation of Mort Shuman)
"Goodbye Antoine, I didn't like you very much,
I am dying of dying today,
but you are full of life and more soild than boredom
...seeing that you were her lover I know that you will take care of my wife.
I want you all to laugh, all to dance, all to enjoy yourselves like crazy,
when they drop me in the hole."

and Amsterdam:
"In the port of Amsterdam there are sailors who dance,
rubbing their bellies against womens' bellies,
they turn and they dance like suns spit out,
to the sound of a rancid accordion."

Kane has been collecting the sixties since Oct 2005, so there's a lot of browsing to be done. His latest post is about comic book stylist Jim Steranko. He shows the famous censored page from SHIELD #2, but the supposed original version has always looked bogus to me, with that clunky drawing of the figures, as though Jim concocted it after the event just for a good yarn. The way it was printed looks superior to these eyes. In an earlier post Kane has scanned the whole romance story that Steranko drew.
(thanks to drjon for the link)

One of my regular correspondents emailed and asked me to explain the 'asscrusher' story from my Feb 11 post.

Tony Consiglio was working in an appliance store and got a phone order for an 'asscrusher' from a lady down South
The great thing about Tony's telling of the story is that he strings it out for ages and the listener can't get it, so this is the very short version:

"Lady, if you don't mind me asking, what do you need an asscrusher for?"
"Are you making a fool of me? you need an ass-crusher to crush youah ass!"

Tony keeps trying to find ways to clarify the query, until finally it clicks:

"And when you've crushed it, where do you keep your ass."
"Are you stupid, mister? You keep youah ass in the ass box to put in youah drinks."

(I've been tampering with the phonetics in the above all day...sigh...)

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Tuesday 12 February 2008

oh no, here's another:
Tolkien Estate Sues New Line Cinema
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The estate of "Lord of the Rings" creator J.R.R. Tolkien is suing the film studio that released the trilogy based on his books, claiming the company hasn't paid it a penny from the estimated $6 billion the films have grossed worldwide. The suit, filed Monday, claims New Line was required to pay 7.5 percent of gross receipts to Tolkien's estate and other plaintiffs, who contend they only received an upfront payment of $62,500 for the three movies before production began.
(Thanks, Mick Evans)

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Two pieces of movie news from my pal Lee Slattery:

Fox sues over 'Watchmen (The Hollywood reporter- Feb 12, 2008)
20th Century Fox has initiated a legal battle against Warner Bros. over the rights to develop, produce and distribute a film based on the graphic novel "Watchmen." On Friday, the studio sued Warners, claiming it holds the exclusive copyrights and contract rights to "Watchmen."...

Coens speak 'Yiddish' for Columbia (Variety-feb 11))
For their next collaboration, the "No Country for Old Men" team of Joel and Ethan Coen and producer Scott Rudin will transfer another Pulitzer Prize-winning author's work into a film.
Columbia Pictures has acquired screen rights to the bestselling Michael Chabon novel "The Yiddish Policemen's Union," with the Coens writing, directing and producing with Rudin....


This is not my photo, but a circulating one. Persons unknown, perhaps foreign students, have apparently failed to correctly identify the species Trichosurus vulpecula.

In my neighbourhood you don't mess with these characters. You call in an expert with a long pole and heavy-duty gloves.


Monday 11 February 2008

Good English-bad English

Say "based off of" if you must, but if you have ever said it anywhere near me, then note that I have already decided you are a fool. I am prepared to acknowledge that 'offa' is acceptable rough American usage, as in 'get offa the horse,' (and that the comma comes before the quotation mark as I just put it) but if you Americans must pronounce that excellent English word fillet as though it is a French word, with an 'ay' sound at the end, then please give me a wide berth. It bugs me because, apart from the air of polite culinary pretension, it causes me to wonder whether the speaker knows it is the same word as used in architecture and heraldry and is the ribbon victorious athletes would have tied around their heads long ago. On the other hand, hearing an Australian pronounce airconditioner as though it's written as 'eggnisher' is funny enough to get by, and my fellow cartoonist from New York, Tony Consiglio, told an anecdote that had me on the floor in convulsions, about working in an appliance store and getting a phone order for an 'asscrusher' from a lady down South . Please let these people thrive happily.

Down here in the southern hemisphere the word 'bastard' has a respectable history:
Bastards, as Barry Crump discovered one afternoon in the Timberlands Hotel, outnumber heroes by something like 15,000 to one - an intriguing fact that had never been adequately documented before. Crump being Crump he immediately set out to remedy the matter, and the result was "Bastards I Have Met", an ABC of Bastardry which when published in 1971 took the country by storm.

But I am curious as to where the word 'bastardry' came from? No, not bastardy, 'the state or condition of being illegitemate.' Here in Australia it appears to be considered proper usage, in extreme situations, and that's fine with me, as when our former Prime Minister Howard declared the attack on the Twin Towers an Act of bastardry. (The Canberra Times 13 September 2001)
Prime Minister John Howard described the airline terrorism in New York and Washington yesterday as an act of bastardry against the American people, and promised Australia's full support for tough action against the perpetrators.

Over at The Dog’s Bollocks (Truth is like a dog’s bollocks - pretty obvious if you care to look.) Howard himself was accused of the same:
Howard’s final act of indigenous bastardry.
The Federal government, in a farcical traversty of parliamentary process today passed a shonky piece of legislation which closes the circle on Howard’s decade long determination to legally extinguish native title. Although mentioning children but a few times, the 500 page legislation enacted in the name of saving indigenous children paves the way for one of Howard’s other long cherished dreams – an unfettered expansion of the uranium industry, from mining to waste storage.

On that page, I notice the previous entry was titled Howard’s economic GM asshattery.


That's fine with me too.

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