Tuesday, June 25, 2019

It's never Bouncing Boy

I used to dream I could fly, like Superman or Zenith, and could soar over the clouds. Sometimes I had real trouble just hovering a few feet off the ground, and sometimes I'd take high to the sky.

I don't really dream of that anymore, but I do often have dreams where I'm Speedball, falling down to earth, and then bouncing off the ground like a hyper-rubber ball, leaping off tall shit and rebounding around city streets, ricocheting through the urban landscape.

I don't know what my brain is trying to tell me here - Freud thought flying was a metaphor for sex, but he thought everything was a metaphor for sex, so bouncing probably means I need to masturbate more often or something.

It's fucking fun, whatever it means. Speedball had the best power.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Sergio Clause

I made a few hundred bucks by offloading some generally average comic books at a market day over the weekend, and then totally undid all my good work by buying a bloody big box of Groo comics.

They were stunningly cheap, and included issues going back to the earliest Pacific days. but the lovely wife rightfully pointed out that I'd completely missed the point of going to this thing to get rid of some comics. I had to activate the Sergio Clause - of course I was going there to thin out the collection and make some room in our rapidly shrinking house-space, and of course I wasn't going to add to the pile, unless there were a bunch of Sergio Aragones comics, because everyone needs more Sergio Aragones comics in their life.

Luckily, my pal Nik was there and was able to confirm that the Sergio Clause is a real thing, so I think I got away with it this time.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Kubrick v Scorsese

I can't tell you how many times I've watched this video while slightly-less-than-four-drinks drunk, and the bit where Travis Bickle is walking in the howling wind to Radiohead, a man alone in an existential void, gets me every time.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

No mercy!

I am 100% ideologically opposed to the death penalty - the lovely wife and I frequently disagree over the whole idea - but I seriously think people who steal the free CDs from the British music mags in the local library should be fuckin' shot.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Dead People I Have Known, by Shayne Carter: It's not for you to say

I used to think Shayne Carter was the coolest motherfucker alive when I saw him around in Dunedin in the mid-90s, scowling into a southerly wind on George Street, blasting his guitar in solo gigs at the Empire, or bitching with Roy at Records Records. I had just left home and never had the guts to go up and tell him how much I loved the Straitjacket Fits, but he looked like he had it going on.

I've been reading his new biography about his relationship with music, the people it has brought him into contact with and the places he's traveled to for performances, and it's fucking excellent. Carter's sly wit is everywhere, and it's constantly laugh-out-loud funny, from his recollections of getting into drunken feuds with other musicians to the brilliant revelation of what his favourite record was when he was 10.

But he has also shown that so much of that cool aloofness was a defensive front, and he was just as much a mess as any of us, especially after the tragic death of his best mate in a dumb train accident. Even as he's out there trying to conquer the world with his shredding guitar licks, he's miserable and worried that everything he does is not worth the effort.

I can't speak for how he feels about his work, but Carter has created some incandescently great music with the Fits and the Doublehappys and Dimmer, and he's left behind a legacy in NZ music that is unmatched. To find out that he's just as screwed up as anybody else doesn't tarnish that at all, it makes his riffs soar even higher, to know he's finding his own way out of that misery.

I just wish I had bothered to tell him how much his work meant to me all those years ago. He might just have sneered at me, but the coolest of us could still always use a kind word or two.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Batman: Last call for the last knight

Mainstream superheroes are trapped in never-ending cycles of reboot and rebirth, so there is always something appealing about an actual ending, when somebody tries to put their last word on a character, especially if they've been working on them for a while. The desire for a full stop - the last, definitive story, an epilogue to all that has come before - is strong, even as the next issue of Batman comes out next month.

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have created a butt-tonne of Batman comics in the past few years, and have said just about all they have to say with the character, but they're getting in one last shot with the current Last Knight On Earth story.

And after one issue, they've already nailed one of the best things about this type of story, and are throwing everything into the mix. There are goofy puns, super-science and existential dread. The story starts on the mean streets of Gotham, gets in some classic Batman-in-the-asylum stuff, has Alfred making one last plea and a Joker in a bowl, before Bats even gets his suit on and heads out into a dark, dusty future.

It's not really doing anything new, but is happily divorced from the main continuity, which has become so polluted. And it's as gorgeous as anything else Capullo has done with the character, which sparkles beneath the neon colors that have worked so well on his Bat-comics ,giving life to the end of the world.

And, best of all, it has nothing to lose, and anything could happen from here. There have been dozens of 'proper endings' to the Batman saga, but there is always room for one more.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

When I go to sleep, I always think of True Lies

When I'm drifting off to sleep at night, I always think about the stories I would like to tell one day, and the way I'd tell them, and how I'd always be trying to capture something honest and exciting.

And the image that always, always pops up in my head, for no goddamn reason I can ever figure, is Big Arnold grabbing Jamie Lee Curtis' hand as the limo she's in goes off the bridge at high speed in True Lies.

It's like that's all I ever want to see, ever.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Just start the fucking movie

There were 24 minutes of advertisements before a movie at my local cinema recently. The film was close to three hours long, and adding nearly half an hour was a bit fucking much.

It's particularly galling when it costs so damn much to go the movies in the first place - it's becoming a real luxury - and you're such a captive audience that you can't get away. You can skip past the endless Grammerly ads on Youtube, or go and make a cup of tea while broadcast TV tries to sell you shit, but in the cinema, you're stuck in your seat and just have to put up with it.

At the very least, they could have cut out the two ads telling me to buy really fast cars, and then they wouldn't have had to have the two road safety ads telling me to slow down. They all cancelled each other out, so what's the fucking point?

Monday, June 17, 2019

Vertigo: At the end of the road

As uncool as it always sounds, Vertigo comics really did change everything for me. I was 17 when they launched and absolute primed for stylish, pretentious and fucking weird comics, and Vertigo certainly provided all of that, and more.

I was getting at least one Vertigo comic every month for the first 10 years of the imprint, although I've only bought the odd one-shot for years now. They've still been putting out a lot of quality comics, but few of them really appeal that much to me, probably because I haven't been 17 in a long, long time now.

There have been many attempts to give the line a push, and I always hoped more of their comics would catch on, although they never really did. The entire imprint never really got over its Sandman fetish, and while it had plenty of big hits like Preacher and 100 Bullets and Fables and Y The Last Man to keep things ticking over, Sandman always hung over it and there have been countless attempts to recapture that magic, including one in the past year.

Now there is a lot of chatter that Vertigo may soon be shut down by its corporate overlords, who only see the bottom line, and can't understand why they don't own so many of the properties they publish. It would be sad to see it go, not just because of my own personal history down Vertigo way, but for all those other stylish, pretentious and fucking weird 17-year-olds, who might need stories that make them feel less alone in this cold, cruel world. It always worked for me.