Tim Hall – Business Reply Mail

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About 15 years ago I got so sick of those BRCs that fall out of magazines that I began painting/writing nasty messages on them and mailing them back, then liked them so much I began keeping them for myself. It’s my medium, my amanuensis…even my oeuvre, you might say ...”

“Tim Hall’s latest book is How America Died.

Buy it here:  http://undiepress.timhallbooks.com)

Interview & Art – LUIGI CLEMENTE by Jason Michel

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I’ve been unlucky enough to know Luigi for a number of years now.
He is an Italian, from Genova, living in London.
His photography is something special. Decadent and , at times, has an everyday Surreality. It reminds me of listening to Madder Rose with him over a beer in London.
He is a wry & miserable bugger, though.

JM – Luigi, inspiration. Where in God’s Balls does it come from?LC – From the nose.

JM – I’ve seen your nose and I have to say, it is inspirational.

I’ve noticed that you use a lot of masks in your Portraits, what’s with that?

LC – Thanks for your question. Now I need to think, and you know I hate doing that.

Masks. They don’t hide the identity. They reveal it. They create an identity where there is no identity. Our social avatar (the face we paint, the hair we cut, the body we shape) is not us. There is no us, to be precise. And this disturbing vacuum is revealed in all its inescapable horror when we wrap it in a solid, clear, coloured, definite structure: the mask. Like insects, like cicadas, we need an exoskeleton to move, laugh and sing and live, made of plastic, cardboard or simply sick imagination, as you prefer.

Masks. I got one from my cousin.

JM – It is interesting that you mention that “there is no us”. This is an old idea, that goes back to Buddhist thought and modern neuroscience is showing us that it may in fact be true.

What influences outside of photography have found their way into your particular art?
By this I mean, books, other artists, music?

LC – Influences. In photography. A classic one, sorry for being so banal: Cartier-Bresson.
I like the composition, the equilibrium of shapes and lines and focus points, the delicate tension, the irony. I like the photoshop artists, like Dragan. I like painting: Renaissance masters, like Raffaello.
And for the portraits, may I dare to mention Rembrandt?
His masterful way of handling light and darkness?
Sharp details and softness?
Music. There’s nothing more visual than music. I like dark, gloomy, gothic soft musical textures. Try Hope Sandoval, try Cranes. Dim the lights. Close your eyes. There’s no picture like that. Low saturation, diffused background, high contrast. if you want to smile, a slightly sad smile, listen to Paolo Conte.

Books? I can’t read …

JM – Okay, last question …
Luigi, how important is place for you?
You are Italian, from Genova, yet you live in London.
Why did you choose Deare Olde Londinium to live?

Grazie tante!

Ciao!

LC – The city is both a physical and a metaphysical space. A city is a background for your pictures, portraits or landscapes. It sets the mood and the rules. It gives you subjects: bridges or people. I was born in an old and dying city. Genova is dying of old age. You can walk in the alleys, and get a sense of history, of the past, but no sense of future. The present is confused, still, frozen in amber. People live awaiting. Godot is not coming yet. And when the wind is strong, the voice of the sea grows louder, and you forget where you are, who you are.
I missed that sometimes. I missed my sea. I missed my dirty alleys, and small vineries.

So I feel out of scale here in London, but then there is the metaphysical aspect. London offers me the gift of the long tail, a chance to socialise around an interest, whatever it is. In this case, photography. I chose London for this. It gave me, and probably will still give me (for a while, at least), the hope of being surprised.

And life without any surprises, what kind of life is it?

Luigi’s magnificent work can be found : HERE!

A Conversation With Ed Mironiuk By Jason Michel

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Ed Mironiuk paints women. Curvy & delectable Goddesses peering down on us weak male-of-the-species. His art looks back to The Golden Age of Pin-Ups and drags them through a Pop Culture mudbath to his own style of Low Bizarro Art, as his website says – “a hybrid of pop trash and fetish culture kissed by Dr. Moreau himself”.  Sounds interesting? He agreed to a Conversation with yours truly.
JM – Hey Ed!So, tell me.
Pin ups.
Why pin ups (Besides the obvious – blood rushing through male members) and why do we still look back to the “classic” age of the fifties and sixties and seventies for our ideal sauce packets?

EM – I discovered Alberto Vargas in a bunch of old playboys. Already being into Frank Frazetta and comics the pinups really spoke to me. I enjoyed the cheesecake and the teasing along with the cute poses. It’s the same reason I would rather watch nudie cutie movies from the early 60′s instead of soft core skinamax. Titillation is more fun than straight out in your face.

JM – “Titillation is more fun than straight out in your face.” -
Agreed, the brain is indeed the greatest sexual organ. One can let the imagination just ooze out at your heart’s content. Drip. Drip.

You mentioned comics. Who? What?
Why do you think the “funny papers” have been put down & patronised for such a long time as some kind of lesser art form?

Actually, here in France (where this loafer resides) they are called the “ninth art form” & are seen with some respect. I have a feeling it’s all down to class but then being a Brit, I tend to view everything through class goggles. Even that misnomer “Graphic Novel” reeks of some kind of kowtowing for middle class acceptance. Comics, they are and comics they shall always be.

EM – I used to sell comics at antique shows when I was a kid. Thus I had access to some great old stuff like Barry Winsor Smith’s Conan comics, Vaugn Bode, Wally Wood, EC comics (before the comics code and the whole Seduction of the Innocent trials), and real old Mad magazines. Later I fell in love with Milo Manara, Liberatore, and Dave Sim’s Cerebus.

I think comics have gotten a better rep nowadays than it did when we were younger. I used to have to search drugstores and smoke shops just to find issues.. In the late 80′s I think cartoonists and writers started getting the respect they were due. Walt Simonson’s Thor was one of the first comics to become so collectible due to an artist and people like Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman also started getting recognition.

Although we have a very long way to go until it’s revered the way comics (er manga)are in Japan. Mandrake books puts all other comic shops to shame.

JM – Ach! Hopefully comics will never be respectable …

What about the other influences for your work?
Literary or musical?
What tunes do you like to work to?

I sense a dark sense of humour in your stuff, have you ever heard of the UnPop! movement?

EM – I enjoy reading bizzaro fiction and subversive non fiction on survivalism, cannabalism, weapon re-arming manuals, eugenics, lock picking, religion, disease…. all that kinda fun.

Usually when I’m working I listen to black metal or industrial music. I find it really relaxing, it’s too bad that it drives my wife absolutely bonkers.

I first heard of UnPop via Gidget Gein. I was incredibly flattered to find out that we both loved each other’s work. Damn shame that he died

JM – I’ve got an old copy of the SAS survival manual at my shack in Wales. Used to enjoy myself making pungee stick traps in the woods and hoping the local farmers would step in them.
Don’t think I ever caught me one though. Boo!

Extreme music does have a calming effect on the mind, I concur.

What was the standout 2009 album for you?

I would say that Monoliths & Dimensions by Sunn O))) blew everything else out of the water.
An absolute masterpiece. With Attila Csihar‘s growling to boot.

EM – Yeah, anything by Ragnar Benson is usually good fun survival reading. I still need to get a copy of his Mantrapping book.

I really enjoyed Sunn O)))’s M&D  (I finally picked it up 2 months ago). The soundscapes remind me of Ulver. Which is a good thing seeing as I thought Ulver’s Shadows of the SunNachtmystium, Satyricon, Immortal and Watain so last year was a banner year for me. Generally if I have a big workweek ahead of me, I need to go to the music shop and stock up on new tunes…it’s my fuel…that and large amounts of caffeine. was one of my faves last year. I think the topper for me though was Enslaved’s Vertebrae.. With every cd those guys get better and better. I’m also a HUGE fan of

JM – I’m a White Russian & Pina Colada man meself. Actually all booze helps grease the mind-streets.

Being an artist, what’s your opinion on the state of so-called “art” in our modern world?
Does it still have any biting relevance or is it just another commodity, like mouthwash or condoms?

EM – White Russians will forever remind me of The Big Lebowski.

I’ve always felt that creating art is rather masturbatory. When money is involved it becomes a commodity and an investment. It’s a slippery slope, you want to be able to do your own thing for your own personal enjoyment but that doesn’t pay the bills. So you have to try and sell what you do so you can eat and keep creating. It then in a sense can become diluted because now the prime drive is tainted by the need to sell. At least that’s the way I feel…personally I see myself more as an illustrator than an artist because of that.

Now if you can still be relevant and not trite or cliché then that’s a major bonus.

Does that make any sense?

JM – Indeed it does, Sir!

I tend to think that the word “art” has become somewhat debased in our society.
I blame Puritanism in all its forms where the outcome is that You’re Rich ‘Cos God Loves You, Not Those Other Bastards. Things were more colourful before. Even the way we dress. For example, during the Industrial Revolution & The Victorian Age(that expression of Puritanism that our esteemed leaders seem bent on recreating) the Top Hat and straight trousers were the height of fashion & they were based on nothing more than pipes and Industrial towers!

Makes me want to run naked through the woods with antlers on my head shouting Crowley’s Ode To Pan.
But, hey, that’s just me.

Talking of Dear Old Nutty Al, you’re work seems to have a slight occult nuance to it.
Would you agree?

EM – That’s a great way to look at things and also is one of the reasons why I like the steampunk aesthetic and also latex fashion designs. Have you seen Skingraft or Steamtrunk Couture?

Gotta love Al’s syphilitic brain. I appreciate a lot of occult concepts. I discovered the magician, Eliphas Levi’s quote “To affirm and will what ought to be is to create; to affirm and will what ought not to be is to destroy” just a couple weeks after I had the words “create” and “destroy” tattooed on my wrists. Quite symbolic and coincidental.  Generally though, I align myself more with LaVey Satanism. At the same time I also really dig Taoism which is kinda ironic since “going with the flow” isn’t exactly a satanic proactive attitude.

So needless to say, I definitely have an occult tinge… good eye

JM - I read The Satanic Bible years ago and found it to be a mix of Nietzsche and Crowley. Also used to know members of The Temple Of Set. I painted a picture for them of Set to use in their rituals. It was kinda ironic as they would preach Redbeard’s Might Is Right, yet were all on welfare & the leader was so asthmatic that he was practically housebound. . They put a curse on my neighbours, though. Never did find out if it worked!

Anton La Vey was an interesting cat, though. Part occultist, part entertainer & part charalatan..

I think we all have those dichotomies in us, Lao Tzu & Vlad The Impaler, The Dude & Walter etc …

“Have you seen Skingraft or Steamtrunk Couture?”

Nope, but I can guess the Steampunk connection. It’s an interesting subculture that I need to go beyond my copies of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the William Gibson novel.

Where do think we as a culture are heading? Is the End Of The World Nigh!?

EM – Oh, we’re doomed. I think all signs point to that this is going to be a very dark ride. It’s not going to be 2012 or the second coming of christ (lower case c on purpose)… we as humans have screwed the pooch all by ourselves. James Lovelock’s “Revenge of Gaia” really opened my eyes. I truly don’t think there is going to be any kind of “fixing” that will bring us back from the precipice that we’re standing on.  I know that every generation has it’s hardships and there has always been the the guy saying that the sky is falling but I’m having a very hard time feeling warm and fuzzy nowadays. Don’t get me started on what’s going on in the states. I think it’s starting to get to that point in time when I grow my beard, find a cabin in the woods and write my manifesto.

JM – Well, I’ve already got the beard.

Yeah, Lovelock’s a thought provoking read. His almost boy scout-like outlook for the dangerous times ahead.
I recommend John Gray‘s “Straw Dogs: Thoughts On Humans And Other Animals” as a philosophical accompaniment. You won’t be disappointed.

Okay, Ed; Last question.
Future projects. What of them? (except, of course, the living in a shack with semi-automatic weapons)
It’s been a blast Daddy-o!
Thanks!

EM – Oooh, I’ll have to check that out!

Last question?!? Aw, I was having fun.

Right now, I’m concentrating on new work. I’ve got a couple solo shows coming up plus another version of The Golden Gals Gone Wild event that will be at the Erotic Art Museum in Miami. This year is looking to be rather hectic and exciting. Lotta creativity brewing and even some side projects that I won’t jinx by saying what they will be but are gonna be pretty rad.

I’ll make sure to keep you updated. Thanks again for this opportunity. This was one of my most fun interviews

In 1993 Ed was anointed reigning illustrator for Tattoo Magazine, a role he still kicks ass at. He and his wife started Cha-Pow!, an animation ink and paint company that is still thriving and well known for its work on MTV, Nickelodeon, and Saturday Night Live. Since then, they’ve expanded their empire into custom made dolls and Ed’s illustration work has been featured in everything from The LA Times to Equus Eroticus and used for bands as diverse as The Genitorturers and SPiT LiKE THiS. Ed throws all this work into the world from his cocoon in the boondocks of Jersey, where he lives with his loving wife and chihuahuas.

The first book collecting some of Ed’s art was released just a few months ago.

You can see more of his stuff at www.edmironiuk.com

Cocktail Lounge – Flyin’ High Pomtini & Lavender Lemonade Martini

Pomegranates? How easy are those to find for a Stellar’s Jay? Not fuckin’ very. But a good martini is worth lugging huge fruit in one’s talons. A good martini is worth just about any inconvenience. If you’re a simp. Dirty Bird prefers to simply lift the juice from the nearest convenient store rather than pick the pulp from around the seeds after a capricious flight home from the pomegranate field. Wherever you get your heady pom-juice, it makes for a sweet-tart refreshing sort of cocktail. Pomtinis will add lift to your flight. But be careful, they go down easy.

Dirty Bird is always on the look-out for something to cool him down on hot summer days. One afternoon, outside his secret cabin in the forest, Dirty was drinking martinis—as he likes to. He passed out after staggering toward the lavender patch to inhale their uplifting odors. When he came-to, he’d saved his cocktail (of course), though it was full of lavender blossoms. He drank it down after doing his best to blow the purple flower-cups out of his glass. Its flowery finish refreshed Dirty like sunshine spring-water splashing off chiming stones. He went straight to his mixing-lab, snatching up a glassful of flowers on his way. After a day of experimenting, many recipes were born. This one with lemonade comes closest to the refreshing experience of awakening in one’s garden, surprised and delighted by the luck of letting Nature pick a bed of flowers for one’s nap.

The Big Bamboozler speaks! – The Musings Of Paul D Brazill

And There?s More … By Paul Brazill

Posted by Jason Michel on June 13, 2010 at 11:34 AM Comments comments (0)
In his introduction for the crime anthology KILLER YEAR, the thriller writer Lee Child talks about buying records as a working class lad in 1960’s England. At the time, 45 rpm singles cost an ‘affordable’ six shillings and eightpence  but LP records cost so much more that they were a twice a year only event – birthdays and Christmas. Continue reading

Art/Comics#The Latest

An Interview with Matthew Coleman by Jason Michel

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Matthew Coleman’s images of the world around us are the images of an outsider. They distance us from ourselves. I had the opportunity to interview him.
Hey Matthew!Tell those ignorant swine amongst us a bit about yourself & your influences.Where do the ideas for your photographs come from?
What inspires you?

Art/Comics Archive

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Jodi MacArthur serves imagination raw on an open flame. Bring your fork to www.jodimacarthur.blogspot.com. Published online and in print, she is currently working on her first novel, Devil’s Eye.

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You are invited to Kristin’s virtual home, Le Salon, at the web address http://www.fouquet.cc/


Celluloid -The Story So Far …

Arizona International Film Festival – The Art Of Storytelling

By Matt Dukes Jordan

*Don’t Let Me Drown, 2009, USA

Be Calm and Count to 7, 2008, Iran

Psycho Guru, 2009, USA

The Crimson Mask, 2009, USA*

The cool thing about film festivals is that one can discover hidden, rare, and very innovative films that might not otherwise be widely seen. Along with feature-length films, tons of short films are shown and some are experimental and non-narrative. Unless you search out such films on the internet, you probably won’t see them. It’s good to give them a venue. It’s also good to give indie dramatic features a chance to find an audience and be reviewed… and maybe pick up prizes and distribution. Continue reading

Music May/June/10

OM ~ Cabaret Sauvage, Paris 3/6/10

OM ~ Al Cisneros (bassist, formerly of the Doom Metal Gods « Sleep ») & Emil Amos (drummer, also with the mighty Grails) ~ are my kinda band. Imagine if John Paul Jones, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward & John Bonham went on a journey around Kashmir & smoked far too of the local greenery & ended up in some mad Tantric monastry in Shambhala & decided to do a concert.

That is what OM sound like to me.

Who wouldn’t want to be there?

Music Archives

Mary Byker – Everything’s Groovy! – An interview with Jason Michel

Mary Byker has been rocking & moving in his own weird way around the music for decade. From the psychedelic madness of the Gaye Bykers On Acid through the Industrial Grit of Pigface to success with Apollo440.I had to the opportunity to speak to him about his past, present & future.*JM : Hey Mary.Let’s first take a trip down memory lane.Tell me … all those years ago in Leicester, why would a bunch of guys want to start a band & call it Gaye Bykers On Acid?

Continue reading

Non-fiction Archives#2

Above Ground : A photo essay by Kristin Fouquet

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The term “six feet under” has no meaning for the dead in New Orleans. Early settlers discovered coffins and caskets would unearth from graves due to a high water table and sometimes float away during heavy rainfalls. The Spanish custom of interring the deceased in wall vaults was adopted. Families of means soon commissioned their own tombs.

Some families combined their funds for bigger tombs.


The wealthiest families built temples or extravagant family mausoleums.


Most cemeteries were comprised of perfect rows and many with functional streets. Tombs resembled small houses and buildings. Lawn crypts were constructed. Some graves were trimmed with wrought iron fences. An old racetrack became the land for Metairie Cemetery. “Cities of the Dead” became a popular sobriquet for New Orleans cemeteries.

Coping graves, also turf-top crypts, are uncovered empty chambers framed then covered with soil and sod. These can be built up to three feet from the ground, granting an earthen burial, a requirement for some religious customs as in Judaism. They also provide rapid availability for recurring internments.

Repeated burial in the same space is called reuse. A vault in a tomb may be reused following another in one year and one day if a wood casket was chosen. Ten years and one day must pass if the last inhabitant was put in a metal casket. The remains are transferred into a burial bag and placed into what is termed the receptacle or the back of the tomb. The casket is destroyed and the vault is prepared for the next occupant.

Angels are popular Christian funerary imagery, second only to the cross. These “messengers of god” are believed to lead the deceased to the afterlife.

The final resting place may also be seen as a reflection of social status. When a famous brothel madam of Storyville, Josie Arlington, spent a small fortune to have her tomb erected in Metairie Cemetery, it caused a scandal among those of prominent social standing. After she was entombed there in 1914, it quickly became a tourist attraction. This horrified the Arlington family, so they had her remains transferred to an anonymous vault elsewhere in the same cemetery, then sold her tomb. The Morales family took ownership. The brass sculpture of a young woman carrying roses stayed behind. Some believe she represents Josie being turned away from her father’s home. Others assert she is a symbol of a virginal girl seeking employment, but not permitted into the house of ill-repute. Arlington claimed no girl’s innocence was ever taken away due to her establishment. Despite the legend, the more likely explanation would be that it is a copy of a sculpture Josie admired.

While pragmatism may have been the initial incentive in burying our dead above ground, aestheticism and personal or familial pride has elevated the practical and enriched the unique architecture in the “Cities of the Dead” that are the cemeteries of New Orleans.

Kristin Fouquet worked as the weekend internment coordinator for Metairie Cemetery and Lake Lawn Park Cemetery and Mausoleum while she attended weekday classes at Delgado Community College to earn her associate of science degree in Funeral Services Education. It was her fondest achievement there to discover the final resting place of Josie Arlington while researching old cemetery records in the vault. You are invited to Kristin’s virtual home, Le Salon, at the web address http://kristin.fouquet.cc

Post-Apocalypse Now !

(A personal reflection on a few favourite films for The End Of The World)

By Jason Michel

The film “The Road” has just been released in France. It is the latest in a long line of films dubbed sweetly, “Post–Apocalypse”, and seen and classified by such people who classify such things as a kind of sub-genre of Horror or Sci-Fi, yet really they seem to occupy an odd place that is theirs and theirs alone. It is a place that starts with a barren and arid hope and often ends with even less.
It is a place that I can hang out in like Beatniks are drawn to a café full of black coffee.
I’ll tell you poor mortals why.
Let’s start at the beginning here. What exactly does Post-Apocalypse actually mean?
The origin of the word “Apocalypse” is something very, very different from the Mushroom cloud or pale white horses. In fact, the word comes from the Greek apokalyptein which simply means – to uncover or to reveal. A “lifting of the veil” or revelation. A moment of insight. How almost enlightening and Buddhist that seems.
It was, of course, with the wig out end-times schizophrenic St John’s Revelation that we get all our modern connections to the word. A word that has inspired every millennial cult from Crowley’s Thelemites to the Jehovah’s Witnesses that lurk around train stations and knock on all our doors. The Rapture, The Four Horsemen, The Anti-Christ, The Whore Of Babylon, The Seven Seals, The Lake Of Fire. That’s a wheelbarrow full of cans of whupass right there. Scared the living shite out of me as small child, I can tell you. When I was a child of five or so in the windy valleys of Wales that we went to the local desolate chapel to see this lay preacher rant. He was doing  his Hellfire & Brimstone  spiel, and a particularly nasty one it was too. And I went ballistic. I ran up and down the aisles waving my arms and screaming like a little Damien Thorn. It was so shocking that my embarrassed parents had to bundle me there and then into the car and away to home.
Being the child I was and still am, I found that my fear was sated once I had embraced it.
So, here we are.Now for a history lesson.
Your more famous Science Fiction Movie has had its fair share of big bucks scapegoating governmental propaganda in its history. The political influences know that people always want to see a bigger explosion. With Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in the 50s and War of the World’s supposed Anti-Commie message and Independence Day with its blatant scenes of Islamic Fundamentalists adding to the overall horror experienced by its “civilised” audience of a money leeching SFX extravaganza with a plot so simplistic that even a member of your average Reality TV show could have done better.
Horror tends to show us things that go bump in the night and taps into that irrational and unreasonable side of us that only really comes out in everyday life in our dreams or after four bottles of wine.
Post-Apocalyptica pops its scorched head up from time to time.
This is one of those times.
And its message has always been a lot more subversive than its first grizzled impression.
Charlton Heston was the 60s godfather of such films, before he became the gun wielding fiend that terrified liberals from California to Manhattan. Each of the characters he played came from the same basic mould; a tough world weary misanthrope angry at his species for their greed and stupidity, snarling and shouting so whenever the opportunity allowed. A hippie gone bad.
And the zeitgeist scarred each of these films and showed what could still be.
The threat of nuclear annihilation and the idea that humans were not the end all of the evolutionary process inspired such films as Planet Of The Apes and its subsequent sequels. Anybody remember those mutant nuke worshippers? Brrrrrrr.
The threat of the baby booming generation and humanity’s voracious appetite for breeding without control and to the detriment of all other species informed the classic Soylent Green.
Finally, The Omega Man showed us a world after the threat of biological weapons of mass destruction in the wake of The Vietnam War became a reality. The Omega Man was, in fact, itself a remake of an earlier flick, The Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price fighting off infected vampires and was subsequently re-remade in the 2000s as I am Legend (the original name of  the novel by Richard Matheson) with Will Smith taking the Heston/Price role.
The Sixties also saw the rise of the most famous sub-genre of all Post-Apocalyptica. The zombie flick. Shuffling into our consciousness in 1968, George A Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead changed our perception of the zombie forever. Gone was the idea of  Voodoo witchdoctors reanimating corpses to do their bidding. It was now replaced by something all the more insidious. A creeping mindless horde of undead cannibals. So influential was this film and its sequels that oddles has been written about them. From their satirical counter culture stance on the military and The Vietnam War in the form of the pompous General to their comment on our consumer society. Also The Night featured a black hero. This was considered subversive enough for your average Middle American in 1968. To say that these films were mindless rubbish was really missing the point. They are a glorious modern day Grand Guignol.
The Mid-Seventies brought with it its own social upheaval and counter culture – Punk. Its chaotic battle cry of “Anarchy!” mixed with the nihilism of Heavy Metal and permeated throughout pop culture from the seminal Brit comic 2000AD to the bedsits of a thousand potential record labels and fanzines. Film was no exception and another great piece of Post Apocalyptica was George Miller’s 1979 feature, Mad Max and its sequel Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. Pre-Catholic lunacy leather clad Mel was the coolest anti-hero on Earth beside Johnny Alpha as he drove like a demon to avenge his wife and child while around him punks raped and pillaged their way around a Third World War stricken Australia in search of precious oil. In 2006, the co-scriptwriter James McCausland wrote in an article on peak oil, “George and I wrote the script based on the thesis that people would do almost anything to keep vehicles moving and the assumption that nations would not consider the huge costs of providing infrastructure for alternative energy until it was too late”.
Throughout the Eighties and Nineties there were the odd one or two of note, such as Gilliam’s pandemic fantasy 12 Monkeys but in general the films were poor such as the utterly pitiful Waterworld, which even Dennis Hopper couldn’t save and the turgidly vacuous Tank Girl which should have stayed a comic. The films belied an era built on dreams that are turning on us today.
The Noughties on the other hand have brought with it a slew of worthwhile efforts not seen since the Sixties, such as 28 Days Later, a film that added a new slant to the zombie movie and showed that normal humans are even more frightening than the infected that they are running from. This film also heralded a new wave of zombie flicks that continues today including a decent remake of Dawn Of The Dead and Romero’s own Land Of The Dead as well as the emergence of the Zombie Comedy with Shaun Of The Dead. Zombies have well and truly gone mainstream with even Channel 4 in England showing Charlie Brooker’s splendid Dead Set, a zombie story set in a reality TV show.
Another of note is the intelligent almost biblical Children Of Men with some fantastic action scenes and genuinely gritty sets, in a story concerning the worldwide infertility of women and the consequences on a species knowing it’s going to die.
Then there is 2012. Based on a Mayan prophecy, the Apocalypse has finally gone fully sooper-dooper SFX mainstream entertainment.We are now living in our own Sci-Fi world, with portable communication devices and a worldwide communication network. We have everything we want at our fingertips. Computers are everywhere and are so ingrained in our way of life that most are invisible. We can enter into virtual worlds of our own making and live out our fantasies however high or tawdry. Our species life expectancy is longer now than at any time in the past. Bubble-headed TV shows designed to take the worries of the big bad world away from us. Ice cream in a thousand flavours in the average supermarket. We should be happy. But we’re not.
It all comes at a price.
New viruses appear weekly to make us wash our hands in anxiety; our species is breeding so rapidly that if every family in the world had the lifestyle of the average American family, we would need five earth’s to support us; there are CCTV cameras on almost every street corner for our “safety”; our governments are playing with our money willy-nilly and getting away scot free; the proliferation of nuclear warheads to so-called “rogue states” is imminent; our society is based on a fundamental resource that not only poisons us and our environment but is depleting fast, and as for Climate Change, don’t even start me on that one. Tornadoes in Derby?! A Lovelockian tragedy feels more and more real everyday.
I see the Post-Apocalyptica all around me and I have to admit that I don’t feel that much hope for the future. Not to say that I am right. Or some kind of eco-avenger. I do my bit, don’t drive, don’t want kids. If there is any hope in all this it is a quote from the biologist Lynn Margulis, “Gaia Is a Tough Bitch”. Nature will sneeze and off some of us tumble, but when Rome begins burning I’ll be on my veranda with a Strawberry Daiquiri, searching for my violin.

Writers Interview June 2010 – U.V. Ray & Richard Godwin

Jason Michel talks to the irrepressible U.V. Ray

Q1: Hey, u.v.ray. Tell the readers a bit about yourself.
I was a child prodigy. By the time I was just 6 years old I was already well on my way to inventing a self-stirring saucepan. I tell you, if I could have solved the problem of the melting rubber band I’d have been a millionaire today. As it stands, I dropped out of school at the age of 15 without any qualifications and spent the 80′s and 90′s drifting around the backstreet bars and clubs of Birmingham City. Several of my friends from that era are dead. But I don’t remember anything with any real clarity, I mean a lot of crap went under the bridge. But I think I had a good run and I’d do it all over again if I was younger. None of us had shit to our names but at least everyone seemed to be trying to do something; either form bands, make films or, in my case, be a writer. I would ask behind the bar for a pen and write on torn up beer mats and cigarette packets and the likes.

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Non-fiction Archives#1

Crime & The City Solution: Tony Black By Paul D Brazill

Edinburgh crime writer Tony Black is an award-winning journalist, editor, and novelist.He is the editor of the brilliant PULP PUSHER ezine and the author of three novels featuring punch drunk, boozy Gus Dury, an ex  journalist turned Private Investigator.Paying for It, Gutted & Loss see Gus sniff around the back streets of Edinburgh and follow the trail of crime and corruption to the top. They’re gruelling, intenese and exciting journeys – not without moments of humour and tenderness. You feel as if you’d like to give Gus a smack every few pages but the pitbull proves himself again and again and it’s down to Black’s great writing that when you you finish one of his novels you feel Continue reading

Fiction#June 2010

Diamonds Inc’ By U.V. Ray Norton saw a spider crawling across his desk. He bought down his glass of Scotch and crushed it. He buzzed his secretary and said, “Send in Offenbach .”

Offenbach came in and leaned his black umberella against the wall in the corner of the room. He adjusted his suit and sat down in the leather chair opposite Norton, crossing his legs.

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