Sunday, June 12, 2005


Hiya-I was working on a blogicle ("blog article") on "Velvet Rock" which in my own perverted way was sort of an answer to this "Beatle Rock" piece Alan Betrock wrote for JAMZ way back when (as well as a re-write/update/addendum to my own article on Velvet Underground influences in music of a sixties variety and beyond that appeared in BLACK TO COMM #18), but since I hit a snag in that piece worse'n the knots in Dave Lang's shortncurlies I just thought I'd leave that soon-to-be classic on the still 'n let it ferment a tad bit more. Until then, here are just six of my favorite things (B-way ref. made in order to offer an olive loaf to the, er, more sashay-oriented amongst you readers out there...hee!)

1) LUNATIC'S ASYLUM (weblog)-I am sometimes tempted to say that we need more blogs out there in world-wide-webland like we need more confused kids on Father's Day, but as you know I'm a lot more intelligent than that. I mean, I coulda said the same thing during the perhaps not-so-Golden Age of eighties/nineties fanzines when self-published rags bearing such defiant titles as RESIST!, DESIST!! and ultimately DEFEAT!!! were proliferating the "cutting edge" of a rather dull movement, but, as famed Theodor Adorno-loving communist Fredric Wertham noted in his tome on the fanzine phenomenon, even the cheapest crudzine had something of intrinsic worth and might, and perhaps some relevant information in it as well. The same can be said for blogs...yeah, a good hulkerin' chunk of 'em might've been created and written by the same dullards who used to crank out all of the politically/personally pertinent fanzines you could shake a stick at fifteen years back, but there probably is something worthwhile in each and every one of 'em that saves such endeavors from being totally without that sainted "redeeming value" so ballyhooed these days. Just don't ask me to go looking for any of it!

Anyway, this relatively new (less'n a year old) blog is an almost 100% all the way there project to occupy one Montrealite (namely, Jack Dee) and keep him outta trouble, and yeah I know that the aforementioned blogster is famous (or about as famous as one can get) for his postings on certain blogs like this one and even that atrocity, but that doesn't mean he's a dumboid! (Maybe Jack's just lonesome, and besides he's put his mark on the blog yer readin' at this time as well so he's got some smarts!) This blogmeister's tastes are varied to say the least but then again so are mine, and at times his faveraves overlap well into BLOG TO COMM territory making for some of the mightiest Saturday afternoon reading (Gong, Eno, some punquey things...) I've encountered since I used to read the old microfilms at the library as a child of nine in order to osmose early BEETLE BAILEY stylistic changes. Nice graphics too!!! And besides, any guy who would dare to write such an eloquent and etapoint posting such as this deserves to get mentioned on MY turf anyday, or at least until the next Great Depression!

2) COMSTOCK LODE #7 (fanzine)-A pretty good issue with the early Rolling Stones on the cover and the history of Eel Pie Island inside. (BTW...has anyone out there actually eaten an eel pie??? I tried eel once and thought it was horrid...really fishy tasting and unappetizing to look at as well!) There are also pieces on the Mouse Studios and a Pete Frame Quicksilver/Country Joe Family tree in order to keep in touch with the 'zine's San Fran roots, not forgetting the usual reviews of then-current indie platters in order to keep in touch with the 'zine's modern day post-punk coolness. I haven't even begun to romp through the story on West Coast rhythm & blooze which looks tasty even if I really don't care for the form that much. A good object lesson on what was right with the British fanzine idiom as opposed to what was wrong, mainly the rest of the competition! (Not quite...we all know who the good ones were, and while I'm at it does anyone have a copy of CHUCKLEHEAD'S GAZETTE they're willing to part with? I'm looking for any of 'em but especially the ish with the Deviants and Can articles...paging Chris Mathorn!!!)

3) THE ESSENTIAL HUMAN TORCH VOL. 1 book (Marvel 2003)-Even though I've ceased to be a crazed comic book fan about thirty years ago (excepting more'n a few "nostalgic" trips back via various reprints such as this), I find these b&w collections Marvel's been tossing out o'er the past five years more than necessary, even if I did envision and could have used such a series back when I was twelve! The Human Torch one's the last of the original Silver Age series to get reprinted (unless they think up a Dr. Droom one which I certainly could use!), and as usual the series shines with the great Kirby/Ayers art, not to mention Stan Lee's typically hackneyed-yet-intense crankout storylines which are only ever-so-slightly different from the reams of monster/supernatural comics he, Kirby, Steve Ditko and Don Heck had been churning out for the previous four or so years. (Which is cool for a guy like me who just adored the early-sixties monster reprints proliferating the newsstands at the time!) Only by the mid-sixties did the series start flopping around (with the addition of the Thing as a comedy foil), but at least Lee knew enough to drop it and replace the floundering duo with Nick Fury which must've seemed like just the right nudge at the time.

4) HUNGRY MAN FROZEN DINNERS-Back when I was on the Atkins diet those ads where two beefy he-men in a shower room discuss what they had for dinner and the beefier one who had the watercress sandwich gets blown away by the other's hairdryer sure had me going crazy! Face it, man does not live by pork rinds alone, and it was such a relief to get off that diet even if it meant gaining thirty hulking pounds...when it comes to my tastebuds I must be dutiful! Anyway, now that these Hungry Man dinners have made their way to my icebox I don't have to go Biafran anymore while the rest of the clan gulps down such never-liked-it, never-will dishes as baccalla and scalloped potatoes (believe me, you don't wanna know!). The fried chicken dinner is my fave even though I got gypped a leg in yesterday's package, while the boneless chicken one's OK even if them patties look meatier on the box! Still have the popcorn fish and Buffalo-styled chicken strips (actually, boneless chicken planks you dip into a hot sauce) to try, but all I gotta say is that after eating one of these dinners you don't need to go looking for leftovers in the fridge to help keep up the ballast, unless you tend to glutton out as I do at times! One thing...don't pay attention to the cooking instructions on the box where it says to take the chocolate brownie (!) out of the tray after one takes MUCH LONGER for the dessert to cook properly and all you'll get for your early efforts is chocolate sludge! Keep it in the whole time and it'll "bake" just perfectly!

5) JUSTIN RAIMONDO-This distinguished writer, editor of, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE contributor and all-around gadfly is yet another reason why I haven't gone totally bonkers over the total capitulation of anti-left/communist sentiments into the pious drivel one sees paraded around as conservatism today. I spent the earlier part of the day listening to Raimondo on Scott Horton's internet radio show (press here to access the interview) and if you're of the (patented) politically-(un)aware variety who seems to have had certain concepts of "left" and "right" bestowed upon you by hippie high school teachers (or just wanted to be "hip" with the babes and get "with it"), this interview may change some of your opinions as to not only where I, but even you stand politically. Then again, maybe not, but it's the next best thing to me coming over to your abode and whacking some sense into your noggin!

6) Sparks-PROPAGANDA CD (Island Japan mini-LP sleeve edition)-Although it may seem like heresy (and although I mentioned it a few posts earlier), I never did go for the early Bearsville-period punkier version of Sparks which reportedly influenced a number of New York luminaries when the aggro played Max's Kansas City back in 1972. I prefer the Mael Brothers' first two Island-period UK disques which (I know) disqualifies me from ever holding membership in the ROUGH AND TUMBLE ROCK & ROLL FANS DRINKING CLUB AND LESTER BANGS MEMORIAL BIKER GANG BANG, but since I've been a guy who's always tried to be as up-front as Jayne Mansfield about what I like and don't I guess I better just lay it all down on the line for yez and BE TRUTHFUL! Gotta admit that I find PROPAGANDA the best of the mid-seventies Sparks albums (that I've heard...never did get to absorb their later-on disques that actually got Columbia releases over here inna states)...not only does it have a bright mid-seventies demur to it, but the mix of early-sixties pop smarts and seventies pre-manure decadence (!) with a LOTTA 1967 British art rock moves (Beatles, Tomorrow, Move, John's Children...) seems to make for just as big a power-packed hit with my personal listening modes as all of those groups that were just popping up from the New York scene at the very same time and doing a lot of what Sparks did three years later. Not only that but the lyrics seem pretty teenage pop-snat as well, or perhaps a tamed-down British cool as in the Modern Lovers to Roxy's Velvets. I dunno, but if I were to snuggle up by the fire with some cute and sexy Japanese maiden I'd much prefer this on the ol' turntable to Mantovani or even METAL MACHINE MUSIC. Now, both of 'em have their proper place in life but if I wanna hit the bullseyes (no sic!) amongst other things it's Sparks for me and nothing else!!!


Anonymous said...

Not related to the post, but in the newest issue of BTC you seem to be reading a few collections for old/ non reprinted comic strips -- where are you finding them? Is there a good (and easy) source for this kind of thing besides spending hours printing out microfiche myself?

Christopher Stigliano said...

You can try Bud Plant Comic Art who are on the web and can be found easily with the aid of a search engine. Other than that, ebay seems to be rife with old and out-of-print collections that pop up once in a blue moon.

Christopher Stigliano said...

Another place to go is Ken Pierce books, also available on the web, or you could bid on newspaper clippings of fave old-time strips (uaually taken from bound newspaper volumes recently discarded from libraries nationwide) via ebay. Given that these comic strip reprint books aren't exactly topping the bestseller lists, clippings may be the way to go if you want to familiarize yourself with some of the rarer and less-known comics of the past.

Anonymous said...

excellent; thanks.

Jack Dee said...

chris - thanks alot for the kind words. i'm actually american i've just been living in montreal recently. glad to hear someone out there reads the damn thing. i'm always picking up on stuff i read about here, like henry flynt's teen garage band for example.... way cool. keep up the good work. cheers, jack dee