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IN 1989, the City of Calgary, Canada, promoted the place with a song. It featured the joyous lyrics:
There’a feeling in the air that you can’t get anywhere expect….
Makes no difference where I go, you’re the best hometown I know.
Other Canadian cities realised they needed a theme song.
AS things heat up in Ukraine and the ever-precarious Middle East continues its pattern of unrest, we feel a tinge of concern for our Western economies hanging by a thread and our natural resources plundered at an unsustainable rate. In such a state of affairs it is only natural that we, as a global community, band together and take a look at some truly awful toys. It’s the right thing to do.
“Luscious Limbs” is more than a little bit macabre. Sissy’s fiendish delight at gnawing on a human ear is particularly distressing.
WE get to see the face of God in Robert Crumb’s Book Of Genesis. But was the representation of the Creator accurate? In 1974, Crumb gave us another image of God, one based on Philip K. Dick’s memory.
Dick’s Divine vision was triggered by seeing a delivery girl,who was wearing a Jesus fish on a chain about her neck. Dick had taken LSD:
In that instant, as I stared at the gleaming fish sign and heard her words, I suddenly experienced what I later learned is called anamnesis—a Greek word meaning, literally, “loss of forgetfulness.” I remembered who I was and where I was. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, it all came back to me. And not only could I remember it but I could see it. The girl was a secret Christian and so was I. We lived in fear of detection by the Romans. We had to communicate with cryptic signs. She had just told me all this, and it was true.
For a short time, as hard as this is to believe or explain, I saw fading into view the black, prisonlike contours of hateful Rome. But, of much more importance, I remembered Jesus, who had just recently been with us, and had gone temporarily away, and would very soon return. My emotion was one of joy. We were secretly preparing to welcome Him back. It would not be long. And the Romans did not know. They thought He was dead, forever dead. That was our great secret, our joyous knowledge. Despite all appearances, Christ was going to return, and our delight and anticipation were boundless.
Fred Phelps’ Dying Words: ‘I Do It With Boys’ And Other Magic Moments In The Westboro Baptist Church
Across the Church’s website and its “sisters sites” – GodHatesIslam.com, GodHatesTheMedia.com, GodHatesTheWorld.com, JewsKilledJesus.com, BeastObama.com and PriestsRapeBoys.com, tributes are flowing.
It can’t be too long before a couple meet on WestboroMingle.com and name their first son Fred Phelps. And, yes, the WBC dating Petri Dish exists:
On the WBC website, beneath the title “Your Dashed Hopes”, we are invited the lament the 84-year-old’s passing:
The world-wide media has been in a frenzy during the last few days, gleefully anticipating the death of Fred Waldron Phelps Sr. It has been an unprecedented, hypocritical, vitriolic explosion of words…
It’s like every journalist in the world simultaneously set aside what little journalistic integrity they have, so that they could wait breathlessly for a rumor to publish: in-fighting, succession plans, and power struggles, oh my! How shameful! You’re like a bunch of little girls on the playground waiting for some gossip!
And then as God shows Phelps the final message on the last placard, the WBC issues a statement:
“This is a very difficult time for us, so we ask that the public have a little decency and respect by allowing us to mourn a great man who served God and tried to protect America from the threat of fags and perverts (i.e. gays and U.S. soldiers).”
As Peter Kaufman puts it:
The Westboro Baptist Church has upped the definition of chutzpah, for all eternity.
It is, of course, the last desperate stunt of a dead man. Without Phelps, the Church is rudderless.
What we really want to see are not millions of people protesting the death of a traveling sideshow, but the great man’s death bed confession “I like doin’ it with guys” become his lasting epitaph.
Anyone offended by Phelps’ ravings is thinking too much. He was ridiculous. His purpose was to give us something to lampoon. As Brick Stone asked one of the church’s members:
“Have you ever wondered how good gay sex must be if people are willing to go to Hell for it?”
Lauren Drain, 27, a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church who wrote Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church, discussed with The Advocate why Fred hated gays so very much.
I never understood why, when [the media asked him], “Why are you so against the homosexuals? Did you have a homosexual experience? Do you have homosexual tendencies?” And he would get so mad, he would shut down. And he’d be like, “I can’t talk to this person anymore, they’re stupid.” His reaction to that was stronger than any other question you can ask him. So I always wondered that — why does he get so mad? If I’m not gay, I’ll just say I’m not gay. And I’m not going to freak out, like, “Why are you calling me gay?” I always thought that was super strange. … I don’t know what happened there, so [speculation] is all that I can leave it at. But something happened, and something made him change his mind about the military, and in turn have kind of a crusade against sexual immorality and homosexuals.
Many of us will miss Fred Phelps, the ludicrous lunk. He was just about the most recognisable Christian bigot out there.
So. Let’s not picket his funeral. Let’s not sell that story of the time with Fred(a) at Chariots Sauna and Plunge Pools. Let’s enjoy what the man gave us: laughs.
MADELEINE McCann: Anorak’s look the missing child in the news. In 2009, Cape Verdean national Euclides Monteiro, 40, died in a tractor accident. His name has been linked the missing child. There is no evidence in the media that he stole the child.
The Guardian notes:
A suspect in the Madeleine McCann case who may have sexually assaulted five British girls in the Algarve up to 10 years ago died in 2009…
We’re noted that the dead black immigrant cannot be easily questioned.
The source also said there had been another so far unpublicised incident in which another British girl on holiday with her parents was sexually abused, although he did not go into when this came to light nor where or when it took place.
Any more facts?
The revelations came the day after the Metropolitan police in Britain appealed for information on a total of 12 incidents in which an intruder entered holiday accommodation in three resort areas including one where Madeleine, then three, went missing in May 2007. Four of these cases, between 2004 and 2006, involved assaults on girls aged seven to 10 and one involved two children, according to Scotland Yard, although police in both countries have looked at incidents up to 2010, three years after Madeleine vanished.
The Guardian’s source was careful to say the police had come to “no definitive conclusions” about Euclides Monteiro
IN 1936, German toy maker Günther & Co. released the board game “Juden Raus! Das Neue Gesellschafts-Spiel” (“Out with the Jews! The Game of the New Society”).
ONE thing you’ll find when looking through magazines from the 1930s and 40s is an amazing array of soap and constipation adverts. It’s as if the world was ravaged by body odor and irregularity. Ad after ad proclaims the wonders of this fantastical object called “soap” – lives are changed by its tremendous power to rid even the smelliest among us of their funk. But that was only half the battle, because mankind still cowered helplessly beneath the specter of constipation. Countless adverts announce their special cure for this dread disease.
THE MIRACLE OF SOAP
This bride literally would have died a miserable old maid had it not been for Lifebuoy soap. Evidently, her fiancé was so disgusted by her rank smell he was about to call off the wedding – until her friend introduced her to the World of Soap. A close call – but it does make one wonder what other basic hygiene tools our young bride has yet to discover.
“Sure he picked a beautiful bride…. but oh, that ‘B.O.’!”
This advert is from ten years later (1947) – The War is over, Western Nation economies are on the rise, and all is right with the world… but the women still smell horrible. Let’s take this ad step by step: Here we have a newly married couple who are attending a party. Unfortunately, the young bride is shaming her husband by her amazing level of body odor.
“Oh, darling, I’ve failed you!”
Yes, honey, you may as well purchase a one-way bus ticket out of town. Ted will explain that you “had an accident”. Indeed, with the neighbors whispering about your incredible funk, your job as wife is an abject failure….. but wait, what’s this? It seems Ted just happens to have in his possession a bar of soap.
And, of course, the miracle of soap once again saves a marriage, and possibly a life…. but not before we get to see Ted’s wife naked.
“You know how men are, Gail! They like to be proud of their sweethearts and wives! Besides, you must admit there’s not much allure in dry, lifeless, old-looking skin!”
As usual, soap is sold to guard against shaming the godlike husbands. In this case, the woman’s repugnant smell isn’t the issue, it’s her disgusting skin. Back then, that was grounds for a husband to literally put his wife out to pasture.
Yet another woman spared eternal shame because she hasn’t been exposed to the wonders of soap. You’ll note it has an endorsement from film noir dame “Joan Bennett, Walter Wanger Star”. Wanger was a film producer and Bennett’s third husband. He ended up causing quite a scandal when he shot Bennett’s agent (he suspected they were having an affair). Bennett went on to star in Dark Shadows and Suspiria (1977). But I digress…
THE SCOURGE OF CONSTIPATION
“Actual cases on record of constipation relieved” – and all it requires is for you to garrote yourself in the most foolish way possible. Personally, I’d choose bran flakes cereal over this spectacle of degradation… but that’s just me.
I know constipation is a bummer – God knows it can put a damper on a day. That being said, if your constipation is causing the sort of misery where life isn’t worth living, you’ve got a very special constipation indeed. I don’t know what HOOD-LAX is, but it sounds potent. Might I suggest some late night Mexican food and a frothy pint of HOOD-LAX and make life worth living!
From devastated to cheerfully building a wall within two hours – that’s pretty damn impressive. I understand it’s not exactly fun to wake up constipated, but she seems clinically depressed – “the world’s all wrong” she exclaims. I wonder if that Sal Hepatica not only helps loosen the stool, but also has a little “happy sauce” in the ingredients as well. Either that or this chick is bi-polar.
Are you noticing a pattern here with the constipation symptoms? It’s not annoyance at abdominal pain, it’s depression. Clearly, there was something else going on here in women that was erroneously being blamed on constipation. Any armchair sociologists out there who’d like to posit a theory? I’d love to hear it.
HERE’S a challenge for the intrepid researcher: Go to Google and search for five or so reviews of the Veronica Mars (2014) movie from the mainstream press that don’t include the following term: “fan service.”
For the uninitiated in such things, fan service is a descriptor widely understood to mean the act of “giving the fans exactly what they want,” and for some reason, it is being applied to Veronica Mars on a remarkably consistent, nay universal basis.
UNEXPECTEDLY to most, the Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me?’ went top ten midweek. No-one really knew why, especially die-in-the-wool Human League fans. Everyone was pleased all the same.
However, what had happened was Aberdeen FC fans (with excellent taste it has to be said) had been buying the song in droves after they rejigged the famous chorus into “Peter Pawlett baby!”
So with that, let us look at Aberdeen fans being brilliant and some of the other magnificent football fan reworkings of famous pop songs. Some of them might even be better than the originals!
MICHAEL McIntyre has millions of fans. I’m just not friends with or related to any of them. I don’t think I’ve ever met one. Michael McIntyre is the Tony Blair of standup – charismatic enough to get millions of people to back him but embarrassing enough that they’ll all deny it. I don’t dislike McIntyre because he’s mainstream. There are loads of comics who walked the middle of the road who were wonderful. There’s nothing wrong with acts that can play to massive BBC One audiences. Look at Billy Connolly or Jasper Carrot in their prime, Dave Allen at his most palatable or even Bob Monkhouse, for all his joke lifting tendencies.
IT’S actually amazing when you stop and think about it. A counter-culture movement originating in homosexual night clubs somehow wound up overtaking every nook and cranny of the pop culture landscape. From Hollywood to the fashion industry to ridiculous albums like the one pictured above – nothing was safe from the marauding cash cow called Disco.
So, why did it die a horrible death in the early 1980s?
There were plenty factors at work, such as a very real homophobic backlash. But that is an issue best reserved for a more serious discussion. Instead, let’s focus on 7 other primary suspects all wanted for “discocide”.
Pat Robertson’s Fever Dream: Four Times When Horror Movies Met The Devil’s Own Rock-and-Roll Music In The 1980s
JUST last week, the 700 Club’s Pat Robertson spoke out about the hidden scourge of our modern society: those demons from Hell who like to crash your car.
Yes, it turns out that devils can cause really horrible road accidents because — by merely watching horror movies — you have “granted them permission” to do so.
You know who you are…
WATCHING the Oscars and other such events lately, it’s becoming disturbingly common to spot actresses, now in their sixties, desperately hanging onto their youth. It seems overnight, all my favourite actresses from the 1970s and 80s have gone under the knife in a vain attempt at retaining their former sex appeal. It’s something we haven’t witnessed before – actresses from earlier days didn’t have plastic surgery at their disposal, and the intense need to “stay sexy” wasn’t perhaps as strong. Thus, the previous generation of starlets appeared to age much more gracefully than the ageing actresses of today. Here’s a few comparisons….
Here is Myrna Loy and Goldie Hawn, both age 26. They’re much alike in that they epitomized the sex symbol look of their time. However, as the years wore on, they showed their age very differently….
Here they are again, both approximately the same age: Myrna age 69 and Goldie age 68. Myrna looks like an elderly woman (which you officially are at age 69); whereas, Goldie looks like someone desperately clinging to a youth long gone. Seeing the aged Myrna and Goldie side-by-side is truly shocking. One woman accepts the fact that no one can escape the passage of time, and the other is in complete denial.
Katharine Hepburn age 32 and Cher age 20. Both actresses were stunning in their younger days, and Cher was able to reap the rewards of a seemingly ageless figure in the decades to come. However, you can only hold onto your sexy appeal for so long.
Here are Hepburn and Cher both aged 67. Hepburn has gracefully accepted the passage of time, wearing pants and putting her hair in a bun. But this doesn’t mean she had to act old; indeed, Hepburn was a vibrant as ever in 1973. The difference is that Hepburn is no longer trying to look sexy; whereas, Cher is still sporting the micro-miniskirt. Plus, Cher has had her wrinkles surgically wiped away.
Here is Hepburn age 68 and Cher age 67. Hepburn wasn’t afraid to play roles befitting her age – this picture is from Rooster Cogburn, where she wisely makes no attempt to cling to her former youthful allure. Instead, she bangs out a terrific performance alongside The Duke, wrinkles be damned. Her age may be showing, but it by no means subtracts from her onscreen charisma.
In stark contrast, Cher still plays to crowds wearing outfits borrowed from Brittney Spears’ 1998 wardrobe.
Lauren Bacall and Meg Ryan both age 55. Bacall still retained her confident panache, but thankfully retired the attempt at sex appeal. Meg Ryan, on the other hand, still wears the same haircut she wore in Sleepless in Seattle. Even worse, in her futile quest for eternal youth, she has turned her face into an unnatural mask.
Ava Gardner age 29 with her man, Sinatra, and Melanie Griffith, age 31, with her guy, Don Johnson. It’s probably unfair to compare Ava to Melanie, but both were knockouts. Yet, only one opted to age gracefully. Can you guess which?
Ava age 52 and Melanie age 55.
Melanie’s plastic surgery disasters have been much in the tabloids. As awful as they were, it’s wrong to keep pointing fingers and mocking. Instead, maybe someone should ask why these aging actresses feel the need to go under the knife time and again. There’s obviously something wrong here.
We shouldn’t give old Hollywood a pass either. Many of these old Hollywood actresses didn’t age gracefully – once their youthful sex appeal was gone, many couldn’t find work and receded into obscurity. Take for instance, Kim Novak, popular during the 50s and early 60s. She shocked many at the Oscars with her new “look”.
In the images above, Novak is 33 on the left and 81 on the right. EIGHTY-ONE-FREAKING YEARS OLD! Hollywood prides itself as being a liberal bastion, but there’s obviously a very old code still in effect that hasn’t aged one bit.
SNOOPY is back. The best cartoon do of them all is to star in a new Peanuts movie, coming to a screen near you on November 6, 2015.
That’s the good news?
Do you flinch a little when you learn that it’s produced by Charles Schulz’s son Craig Schulz and the screenplay has been co-written by his son Bryan Schulz?
DR Christian Jessen is the star of the Channel 4 documentary Undercover Doctor: Cure Me, I’m Gay.
Can you be “cured” of your homosexuality? Some want to change. They sign up to schemes to become healthy and straight and good.
He tells viewers:
“Reparative’ techniques used across the world, primarily by some extreme right-wing organisations, have included electric shock therapy, exorcism, hypnosis, and even sessions with prostitutes.”
Because this is Channel 4, the main premise of the show will be to portray the curing community as freaks and nutjobs. But you needn’t tune in to know that, although the penile plethysmograph to measure Jessen’s post-cure arousal is an interesting reworking of TV clap-ometer.
You see all Channel 4 need do is show viewers pages from Richard Cohen’s Coming Out Straight, Gay Children Straight Parents, Let’s Talk About Sex, and Alfie’s Home, published in 1993 by Cohen’s International Healing Foundation (IHF).
The IHF website states:
Our goal is to promote healthy individuals and relationships, while assisting in the healing of families, communities, and places of worship.
In this film, Cohen, an ex-gay who is now married with 3 children and president of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays), is seen playing with magnets. He says opposites attract, like magnets. Same things repel, like magnets. D’ yer see the point he’s making? Richard does.
This is book for children:
It’s all batshit mental. And it’s being promoted in Uganda:
Listen To Aldous Huxley’s Talks On The Visionary Experience’ And Read His Advice To Albert Hofmann On Taking LSD
ON February 29 1962, Aldous Huxley wrote of psychedelic drugs in a letter to Albert Hofmann.
Hofmann had invented LSD, first synthesising lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in 1938. He experienced the world’s first acid trip” on April 19 1943 as he cycled home from his Swiss laboratory. That was Bicycle Day.
He tells of his discovery in the book LSD, My Problem Child (1979):
Time and again I hear or read that LSD was discovered by accident. This is only partly true. LSD came into being within a systematic research program, and the “accident” did not occur until much later: when LSD was already five years old, I happened to experience its unforeseeable effects in my own body—or rather, in my own mind
Looking back over my professional career to trace the influential events and decisions that eventually steered my work toward the synthesis of LSD, I realize that the most decisive step was my choice of employment upon completion of my chemistry studies. If that decision had been different, then this substance, which has become known the world over, might never have been created.
Hofmann took a measure of the drug and made his way home:
“On the way home, my condition began to assume threatening forms. Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror. I also had the sensation of being unable to move from the spot. Nevertheless, my assistant later told me that we had travelled very rapidly.”
Did the drug have a use? Could LSD have a medicinal purpose? Maybe.
Even after LSD was banned in 1966, Hofmann maintained his belief that it had the power to solve psychological problems induced by “materialism, alienation from nature through industrialisation and increasing urbanisation, lack of satisfaction in professional employment in a mechanised, lifeless working world, ennui and purposelessness in wealthy, saturated society, and lack of a religious, nurturing, and meaningful philosophical foundation of life”.
He spoke with Huxley, who had in the 1950s written The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, books dealing with states of mind and body produced by hallucinogenic drugs. Hofmann was impressed, writing:
The alterations of sensory perceptions and consciousness, which the author experienced in a self-experiment with mescaline, are skillfully described in these books. The mescaline experiment was a visionary experience for Huxley. He saw objects in a new light; they disclosed their inherent, deep, timeless existence, which remains hidden from everyday sight
These two books contained fundamental observations on the essence of visionary experience and about the significance of this manner of comprehending the world—in cultural history, in the creation of myths, in the origin of religions, and in the creative process out of which works of art arise. Huxley saw the value of hallucinogenic drugs in that they give people who lack the gift of spontaneous visionary perception belonging to mystics, saints, and great artists, the potential to experience this extraordinary state of consciousness, and thereby to attain insight into the spiritual world of these great creators. Hallucinogens could lead to a deepened understanding of religious and mystical content, and to a new and fresh experience of the great works of art. For Huxley these drugs were keys capable of opening new doors of perception; chemical keys, in addition to other proven but laborious ” door openers” to the visionary world like meditation, isolation, and fasting, or like certain yoga practices…
In The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, Huxley’s newly-published works, I found a meaningful exposition of the experience induced by hallucinogenic drugs, and I thereby gained a deepened insight into my own LSD experiments.
Huxley called. They would meet in Zurich:
He considered experiments under laboratory conditions to be insignificant, since in the extraordinarily intensified susceptibility and sensitivity to external impressions, the surroundings are of decisive importance. He recommended to my wife, when we spoke of her native place in the mountains, that she take LSD in an alpine meadow and then look into the blue cup of a gentian flower, to behold the wonder of creation.
As we parted, Aldous Huxley gave me, as a remembrance of this meeting, a tape recording of his lecture “Visionary Experience,” which he had delivered the week before at an international congress on applied psychology in Copenhagen. In this lecture, Aldous Huxley spoke about the meaning and essence of visionary experience and compared this type of world view to the verbal and intellectual comprehension of reality as its essential complement.
You can hear Visionary Experience here:
In one letter Huxley wrote to Hofmann:
. . . I have good hopes that this and similar work will result in the development of a real Natural History of visionary experience, in all its variations, determined by differences of physique, temperament and profession, and at the same time of a technique of Applied Mysticism—a technique for helping individuals to get the most out of their transcendental experience and to make use of the insights from the “Other World” in the affairs of “This World.” Meister Eckhart wrote that “what is taken in by contemplation must be given out in love.” Essentially this is what must be developed—the art of giving out in love and intelligence what is taken in from vision and the experience of self-transcendence and solidarity with the Universe….
You don’t have to endorse the use of drugs to see that they can be useful to some people.
12 Ways 2000AD Is Zarjaz
IT GAVE THE WORLD JUDGE BLEEDIN’ DREDD
Arguably better known than the comic itself is its main star, leather- suited, permanently-behelmeted Judge Dredd, tough-ass humorless moo and saviour of the streets of Mega-City One. His catchphrase (“I am the law”) and iconography are huge, and impressively, his story has happened in ‘real time’ – it’s been permanently 122 years ahead of the Earth year, so he and his supporting cast have aged appropriately. Sort of. “It’s a debatable point exactly how old he is now, but he’s in his 60s at least,” says editor Matt Smith. “Where it becomes a grey area is that Mega-City One has face-change and rejuve facilities, so you never know, he may have had a bit of help. He’s certainly as sprightly as he ever was”.
…AND THE REST
While Judge Dredd remains the best-known character, a lot of 2000AD’s other stories have become firm fan favourites…
SLÅINE: A Celtic barbarian who battles everyone from demons to aliens to real-life historical figures, Sláine is like a multi- weaponed Irish Conan.
STRONTIUM DOG: The story of Johnny Alpha, a mutant bounty hunter in a post-apocalyptic world (yeah, fun). He was killed off in the 80s but he’s back now.
NEMESIS THE WARLOCK: Created by the fiercely left-wing Pat Mills, Nemesis is a fire-breathing demonic alien anti-hero who does battle with the KKK-looking Torquemada.
ZOMBO: A newer creation, Zombo debuted in 2008 and is a human-zombie hybrid, top- secret government project and wannabe pop star all in one.
ROGUE TROOPER: A blue-skinned genetically- engineered soldier on a war-torn future planet, co-created by Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons. He’s potentially set to become a movie star, with Sam Worthington from Avatar set to play him.
DREDD BEAT HOLLYWOOD
The 1995 Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd movie is appalling – he barely wears the helmet, he gets off with Judge Hershey (which in the comic he’s totally not allowed to do) and Rob Schneider keeps showing up being all Rob Schneidery. Howevs, 2012′s Dredd, directed by Pete Travis, written by Alex Garland and starring Karl Urban, is awesome, and despite non-amazing box office takings, there might be a sequel because fans just dug it so much.
IT LONG OUTLASTED ITS FUTURISTIC TITLE
Something that often dates sci-fi is when real life goes past the far-off date it’s set in (even in Terminator 2, Judgment Day was in 1997). When the comic started in February 1977, the year 2000 seemed impossibly futuristic, but it’s ended up going on long past that date without changing anything, delivering a two-fingered salute to the passage of time. In your face, temporal causality. “I queried it at the time” says writer Pat Mills. “I said, ‘What happens when we reach the millennium?’ The publisher didn’t think we would, but I knew we would.”
IT’S PRETTY MUCH PUNK
“On the surface, we were aiming to sell a lot of copies” says Mills. “This meant not appealing to fanboys who would have been into Gerry Anderson or Marvel or Warrior, but to mainstream readers, who are usually the last people comic buffs think about. But beneath the surface, we aimed to subvert. We weren’t punks, but that’s a quick way of saying it.” Mills’s strip Nemesis The Warlock essentially had the Devil as the hero, battling the fascistic efforts of the vaguely Pope-like Torquemada.
IT’S EDITED BY AN ALIEN
2000AD has always been fronted by Tharg The Mighty, a green-skinned alien from Betelgeuse who refers to humans as “Earthlets” and speaks in a dementedly wordy manner. “It seems slightly anachronistic now to have a green alien as the face of 2000AD, but I think the readers would be up in arms if we got rid of him,” says editor Matt Smith. “He’s good fun to hide behind – if any readers ask awkward questions you can just have Tharg come out with spiel about how everything’s going to plan.” Tharg also starred in his own series of photo-stories back in the day, which haven’ really aged incredibly well (they starred a dude in a pretty bad suit).
IT MADE THE WORLD SCROTNIG
Tharg introduced a lot of his own ridiculous slang, including “Zarjaz” (meaning excellent), “Grexnix” (an idiot), “Scrotnig” (also excellent), “Nonscrot” (a non-reader of 2000AD) and “Splundig vur thrigg” (goodbye). Yeah, why not, right?
IT’S BRITISH, GOD DAMN IT
The comics industry is almost totally dominated by U.S. companies – DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, IDW… But 2000AD is part of Rebellion, a British company run by two brothers who grew up reading it. While talent tends to end up where the money is on the other side of the Atlantic, 2000AD’s open submissions policy (which very few U.S companies have) means it’s still the first place most up-and-comers get published.
IT INVENTED FUTURE SHOCKS
One of 2000AD’s acest features is the Future Shocks – self-contained one-off stories that usually end on a mind-twatting twist. They’re like the most economical pieces of storytelling ever, like mini episodes of The Twilight Zone. Mega-bearded comics supremo Alan Moore (creator of Watchmen and V For Vendetta) did 50 or so, and basically, if you name a big-shot British comics creator, that dude started off doing Future Shocks. Grant Morrison (The Filth), Mark Millar (Kick-Ass), Garth Ennis (Preacher,) and Neil Gaiman (Sandman) have all done them, and those bastards are RIIIICH.
EVERYONE WHO’S ANYONE’S WORKED WITH THEM
The world of comics would be a much more barren place without the writers and artists that have come through 2000AD’s pages. As well as everyone already named, there’s Alan Davis (X-Men), Alan Grant (Batman), Simon Bisley (Lobo), Peter Milligan (Unwritten), Steve Dillon (Preacher), Andy Diggle (The Losers), Kevin O’Neill (League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen), Rufus Dayglo (Tank Girl)… tons of ’em. “Going to seek work in America, having worked for 2000AD is seen as something of an academy to have earned your chops at,” says Matt Smith.
SHAUN AND TIM DIG IT
When Shaun Of The Dead came out in 2004, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright filled in some of the backstory with There’s Something About Mary, a strip in 2000AD, co-written by Wright’s brother Oscar and illustrated by Frazer Irving. Pegg’s character in Spaced was named after 2000AD artist Simon Bisley, and was said to have cried when Johnny Alpha died in the comic.
IT MADE THOUSANDS CRY
The Ballad Of Halo Jones, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Ian Gibson, is one of the high points of 2000AD’s history. It’s a sweeping, epic tale that goes from farcical comedy to being absolutely heartbreaking. If you’re at all skeptical about comics, pick up the collected edition, it’s brilliant and you’ll sob like a tiny baby at the end.
IN 1985, Tipper Gore’s Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) released their “Filthy 15” – fifteen songs they felt were the most objectionable on the planet. Prince’s “Darling Nicki” topped the list, Sheena Easton’s “Sugar Walls” came in at #2, and Cyndi Lauper’s “She-Bop” rounded out the list at #15.
Not surprisingly, the PMRC only managed to increase sales for all 15 songs, and made the US government look even more like an overbearing nanny state. Far from holding back the tide of explicit music, you might say the dam burst not long after. Indeed, the songs on Tipper’s Filthy 15 look quaint by today’s standards.
Well, it’s been almost twenty years, so I think we’re due for another Filthy 15, don’t you? It would be much too easy to draw from contemporary music (Where does one even begin?). So, rather than shoot fish in a barrel, let’s look at the 1960s-80s, when artists couldn’t be so direct– when they had to lay it between the lines. These aren’t necessarily the raunchiest, just some great moments in filthy songwriting. Please feel free to add your own – if a Filthy 15 is good, a Filthy 50 is even better!
15. “Penny Lane” by The Beatles (1967)
“A four of fish and finger pies”
For shame, McCartney, for shame! Most listeners interpreted this as a charming recount or memories at “the shelter in the middle of the roundabout”; not realizing a “finger pie” isn’t something from a dinner menu. I’ll leave it to you to extrapolate this one.
14. “Love Gun” by Kiss (1977)
“You pull the trigger of my love gun”
It’s painfully simple and obvious, but what makes it special is that it was such a popular song among the grade-school set. There’s something very, very special about millions of 1970s pre-teens singing along to a song about Paul Stanley’s penis.
13. “House of Fun” by Madness
“Sixteen today, and up for fun.
I’m a big boy now, or so they say.
So if you’ll serve, I’ll be on my way.”
I’ll admit, I’ve heard this song a thousand times, but never made the obvious connection to what it’s all about. Like Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax”, you get so caught up in the hopping beat, you don’t stop to think about the meaning of the words. While Frankie’s song is about graphic sexual advice, this one is much more innocent:
“To this day I can barely mention the title onstage without wanting to throw up. It’s about the embarrassment of going to a chemist’s shop to buy a condom for the first time.”
- The Daily Mirror, September 18, 2009
12. “Pearl Necklace” by ZZ Top
She was really bombed, and I was really blown away,
Until I asked her what she wanted, and this is what she had to say:
A pearl necklace.
Maybe not the most romantic song ever written, but what do you expect from the boys who brought you “Tube Snake Boogie”? And if I have to tell you what a pearl necklace is, it’s probably past your bedtime.
11. “Like a Virgin” by Madonna (1984)
“Like a virgin, Touched for the very first time”
According to Mr. Brown in Reservoir Dogs (1992), this song has a very explicit connotation (too explicit to recite here, in fact). Suffice it to say, the theory is that the singer has seen her share of action and can no longer be stimulated… that is, until she meets a “John Holmes” whose girth makes her feel like a virgin all over again.
10. “My Sharona” by The Knack
Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up, for the touch of the younger kind
Fieger (the lead singer) wrote this about a girl he’d just met at a clothing store, Sharona Alperin. She was only 17 (8 years younger than him) and had a boyfriend, but no matter. The man was obsessed, and it shows through in the manic vocals.
9. “Little Red Corvette” by Prince
I guess I must be dumb
‘Cause you had a pocket full of horses
Trojan and some of them used
There’s a fine line between innuendo and stating it plainly. For instance does Marvin Sease’s plainly stated “I Ate You For Breakfast” (1987) qualify as innuendo? How about the ribald “Hot Nuts (Get ‘em from the Peanut Man)” by Georgia White (1931)? It’s in this erogenous zone where Prince’s music falls, with one foot in radio-friendly innuendo, and one foot in the gutter.
8. “Brand New Key” by Melanie
Well, I got a brand new pair of roller skates
You got a brand new key
I think that we should get together and try them out you see
I been looking around awhile
You got something for me
Back in ’71 there was a lot of hoopla over what this song actually meant; it even got banned on radio stations. Melanie insists it was completely innocent, but admits she can see the Freudian symbols throughout.
7. “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” by England Dan & John Ford Coley
“I won’t ask for promises
So you won’t have to lie
We’ve both played that game before
Say I love you, then say goodbye”
I love it when soft rock gets dirty. It sounds deceptively light and radio-friendly; however, the wholesome veneer is just a disguise. This song is basically one long argument to get into a woman’s pants. Even worse, he’s promising no commitment – just one screw and then he’s outta there.
6. “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors
I’ve got your picture, I’ve got your picture….
You’ve got me turning up and turning down and turning in and turning ’round
I’m turning Japanese I think I’m turning Japanese I really think so
It’s supposedly about masturbation (the title references the face men make during “the process”); however, this may be just urban legend. Either way, it’s a schoolyard myth that’s kept going for a couple decades – a distinguished accomplishment in the annals of music history. And speaking of annals….
5. “Knocking at Your Back Door” by Deep Purple
“Feel it coming
It’s knocking at the door
You know it’s no good running
It’s not against the law”
A nice little ditty 100 percent about anal sex.
(awkward silence) So, there’s that information. Queue the next song.
4. “The Lemon Song” by Led Zeppelin
“Squeeze me baby, till the juice runs down my leg.
The way you squeeze my lemon, I’m gonna fall right out of bed.”
Zep combined a Howlin’ Wolf song called “Killing Floor” and Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues” to create this R rated classic. This and “Squeeze Box” by The Who were the first instances where I became aware that something dirty was going on in my record collection.
3. “More, More, More” by The Andrea True Connection
“But if you want to know how I really feel
Get the cameras rollin’
Get the action goin’”
This disco classic is made all the more illicit by the fact that Andrea True was an actual porn star.
2. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf
“I can see paradise by the dashboard light
You got to do what you can
And let Mother Nature do the rest”
The song was so over-the-top that it was initially labeled a novelty record and the studio musicians thought it was a practical joke. Indeed, the sexual innuendo is laid on thick for eight straight minutes. If this doesn’t deserve a place on this list, nothing does.
1. “Afternoon Delight” by The Starland Vocal Band
Thinkin’ of you’s workin’ up my appetite
Looking forward to a little afternoon delight
Rubbin’ sticks and stones together makes the sparks ingite
And the thought of lovin’ you is getting so exciting
What has always made this so disorienting is the benign delivery coupled with its pornographic lyrics. It’s one thing to hear Aerosmith sing about their “big ten inch”, it’s altogether another when a folksy, seemingly family-friendly band gets in on the action. We expect it from Aerosmith, but when an EZ Listening folk rock quartet dips into the gutter, it’s downright magical.
PEPPA Pig was in the news again this week, and once again the news wasn’t good. Following previous complaints about her disrespectful and naughty behaviour, there are now claims that one of the characters in her DVD used the f-word, and that this has caused a young Welsh child to use the same foul curse.
In the event, it turned out that the actual word in question was ‘rocking’, but the pronunciation left enough ambiguity to cause mischief. Judge for yourself…
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Stolen By Pirates And Other Batshit Mental Theories In The British Tabloids
WHAT happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is exciting the British tabloids:
She told the Mirror: “I first heard about the website at 9.30am and looked at 867 images before I had a break. My partner thought I was mad, but I just had to go back and after looking through three more images I found this. I just went, ‘Oh my God, I think I’ve found the plane!”
Ms Eyre has tagged the image to bring it to the attention of the website, although it is thought the image might be of a plane in flight.
And the winner is:
But wait a moment…
And the news that the plane is…behind you!
THE Internet has certainly done its fair share of mockery when it comes to vintage album covers from America and the UK. How about we spread the snarkiness to a less traveled geography – say, the Netherlands? Yes, I know Dutch singles are a ridiculously small niche, but there are some ridiculously bad covers to explore. Take a look.
Was there a social program in Amsterdam which allowed the city’s homeless and insane to make records? I’m just curious.
THE found-footage horror film genre is one that isn’t often appreciated. The late Roger Ebert himself once wrote that movies of this type often consist of “low quality home video footage,” are “usually under-lit,” are “lacking in pacing” and seem “intentionally hard to comprehend.”
Indeed, there seems to be the pervasive misconception that a found-footage horror movie is somehow easy to shoot and produce. You don’t need a star, for example, or much of a budget either, to make such a film. You don’t even need expensive equipment.
All an intrepid film crew needs is a good concept, and a whole lot of shakin.’
None of this is true.
A good found-footage horror film — while cut-off in large part from the elegance, structure, and language of traditional film grammar — nonetheless has its merits.
For one thing, found-footage films ramp-up the experiential or immersing aspects of the genre. The hand-held camera-work provokes a brand of immediacy and urgency that other horror sub-genres can’t necessarily emulate.
Horror movies in general concern situations that are impossible to escape, set in isolated locations. The found-footage genre runs with this idea, landing its stars in frightening landscapes and then charting a kind of pressure-cooker intensity as terror boils over.
For another thing, the compositions in found-footage films must appear spontaneous and on-the-fly, all while simultaneously capturing crucial action. This balancing act requires quite a bit of legerdemain.
A unique development of cinema-verite documentary techniques, the found-footage horror film thus requires patient preparation of shots, split-second timing, long takes, and a certain brand of non-theatrical or “naturalistic” performance that not every actor can easily master.
The overt critical dislike and disregard for the found-footage genre reminds me very much of the critical hand-wringing that occurred in the 1980s over the slasher movie formula, or in the mid-2000s over so-called “torture porn.”
Basically, movie critics are always finding some reason to object to horror’s latest trend, even as audiences are ahead of the curve, and excavating reasons to appreciate the new format.
In short, a good found-footage film — such as the genre’s classic, The Blair Witch Project (1999) — isn’t just a case of point-and-run film-making. In The Blair Witch, for instance, artistry can be detected in the escalation of the film’s throat-tightening terror, and there is even a clever sub-text about the camera operating as a “filter” that occludes reality.
The found-footage film genre has many undisputed highs, from [REC] (2007) to Trollhunter (2008), but the five found-footage horror films featured below have generally been dismissed by critics, even though they possess abundant virtues not necessarily associated with this derided sub-genre.
1. Apollo 18 (2011)
You know your movie has been poorly received when it is the butt of a joke in another found-footage horror movie (Grave Encounters 2 ).
But reception aside, Apollo 18 boasts a value that found-footage movies aren’t supposed to reflect: excellent production design.
The movie is actually a period piece, set in 1972, during the last days of NASA’s Apollo program. The film concerns a failed space mission to the moon, and the discovery of terrible creatures on the lunar surface.
In this case, tremendous attention has been paid to making certain that the film’s sets and wardrobes are appropriate and correct to the disco decade epoch. The film grain is right too, and the result is that Apollo 18 looks very much like footage of a real space program venture. The retro (low) tech wonders of the film are actually quite remarkable, from the Lunar Lander interior and astronaut spacesuits to the Rover mock-up. There is no hint in the visuals that this is modern fakery.
Similarly, if the game of the found-footage movie is to find an inhospitable or dangerous terrain, and then chart the mental and physical disintegration of the characters’ trapped there, then Apollo 18 must represent an apotheosis of sorts. The whole movie is set on Earth’s moon. The vast, desolate landscape is recreated ably on a low budget, and viewers understand immediately that this is a realm of a million dangers, and virtually no sanctuary whatsoever.
With convincing mock-ups and locations, Apollo 18 asks its audience to dwell, essentially, in an extended moment of fear and isolation, with no genuine hope of escape. One touching moment involves an astronaut – knowing he shall never see home again – playing a recording of his wife and son over and over; reaching out for something, anything human and comforting.
Again, critics want to tell you the characters in the film are indistinguishable and you never care about them. But this scene of human longing and separation puts truth to that lie.
2. Grave Encounters (2011)
Again, this is a found-footage movie that received largely negative reviews, but a positive audience response. And again, it boasts an intellectual or aesthetic quality that found-footage movies supposedly don’t possess: satirical insight.
In this case, the filmmakers mercilessly and humorously roast reality-TV conventions, and especially those of the Ghost Hunter-type show variety. In programs of this type, every little cold spot and door squeak is made into a paranormal event of historical proportions. Accordingly, Grave Encounters involves a team of reality-star wannabes, led by Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson), as these actors investigate a purportedly haunted mental institution.
In short order, the audience sees Lance pay a gardener on the sanitarium grounds twenty-dollars to claim that he’s seen ghosts. And the group’s psychic, Houston, is worried about possibly missing an important audition. When Houston goes “big” and suggests that there’s a demonic presence in the asylum, he asks — after the take — if was “too much.”
What Grave Encounters tells audiences is that everything you see on reality TV is phony.
Of course, horror movies must punish those who transgress, and these narcissists in Grave Encounters soon find themselves in a hospital where there is no escape. The asylum seems to rewrite reality itself, and the blasé actors – who have used real life tragedy as the source for their “drama” and stardom – are suddenly faced with a true understanding of madness.
Grave Encounters bucks all the stereotypical criticisms of the found-footage genre, and meaningfully (and scarily…) critiques an aspect of our culture: the quest for fame at all costs.
3. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
The best of the durable Paranormal Activity films, Paranormal Activity 3 is simply a superior scare machine.
It features some of the best jump scares in the franchise, and more than that, does so by generating the rare quality of attention, or patience. Again, critics of the found-footage format want to convince audiences that these films are slap-dash cash grabs that appeal to the lowest-common denominator. They’re cheap and gimmicky!
If that’s the case, how does one account for a film like Paranormal Activity 3, which possesses long stretches of silence and stillness, and demands engagement on the part of the viewer? Here is a film that instead of rewarding a short attention span, rewards patience.
So much of this sequel’s running time is devoted to a camera panning back and forth in a room, or the quiet recording of apparently vacant areas of a suburban house. This technique not only generates suspense, it encourages one to look closely at absolutely everything, to make a mental snapshot in your head of what item is where, what light is turned on, and what, if anything, is moving in the frame.
In a way, this very technique mirrors how it feels to wake up, sleepily, in the middle of the night (after hearing a noise) and scanning the environs. Paranormal Activity 3 is all about the potent idea of sleepy twilight, of being awake at 3:15 in the morning, and not quite having an accurate sense of what is going on. The world is at slumber — or should be — but something insidious lurks just at the edges of perception.
We’ve all experienced this feeling, and can relate to the characters’ situations.
4. V/H/S (2012)
The first found-footage anthology, this omnibus film is a social commentary on the fact that the home video revolution of the 1980s — now thirty years old — has transformed all of us into directors, actors, historians, journalists…even porno stars.
Imagine for a moment millions of people possessing home movie tapes, and then imagine what becomes of those tapes after three decades.
In whose hands to they end up? What purpose do they serve? What value do they possess?
V/H/S explore five unsettling genre stories vetted from a first-person perspective, and the wraparound narrative device involves a group of small-time miscreants desperately searching for one particular video tape in the house of a (presumably) dead tape collector.
Several tapes are viewed, and all are recordings of dark, sinister events. In virtually every situation, the video camera is used to hurt someone: to trick a gullible woman into sex, to record a carefully-plotted murder, to convince a scared girlfriend not to seek help when something strange starts happening to her, and so forth.
I once called this film “America’s Scariest Home Videos,” but it’s more than that: V/H/S is s chronicle of the weird turn that the home video revolution has taken.
Today, we have cameras on our phones and on our tablets, and we have the capacity to record our entire lives. But what if we are recording something else too? What if all the recording technology of the last thirty years is merely creating a tapestry of suffering and inhumanity? What if we are simply documenting our cruelty?
Again, it’s all too easy to dismiss this film (and its good, 2013 sequel as well…) as a gore-fest, but V/H/S explores – in horrifying fashion – the nexus of modern technology and modern morality.
5. The Devil’s Pass (2013)
This found-footage effort from Renny Harlin starts out as a meticulous exploration of the (still-unsolved) Dyatlov Pass Incident in Russia. A group of hikers died under mysterious circumstances in 1959, on the so-called “Mountain of Death.”
A film that seems in danger of being a simple Blair Witch Project knock-off, however, instead showcases something else that found-footage movies are often accused of lacking: imagination.
Before The Devil’s Pass is over, the movie has devised a (crazy…) solution to the real-life mystery, offered up a unified theory of conspiracies and the paranormal, and even had the grace and literacy to wink at Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5. The movie incorporates Indian cave drawings and the Philadelphia Experiment, and ends with an audacious final twist that will leave your jaw agape.
Sure, the actors aren’t great, and the early scenes are clunky, but The Devil’s Pass’s final act runs on pure, unadulterated, gonzo imagination. The movie goes courageously for broke, breaking out of format conventions and generating a lingering horror that lasts long beyond the end credits.
Each one of the aforementioned films is worth watching, and each one puts truth to the lie that the found footage genre is running on empty.
Apollo 18 is an accomplished period piece, Grave Encounters a satire of reality TV culture and ethos, Paranormal Activity 3 a waking dream that requires active participation on the part of the audience, V/H/S a dedicated critique of our modern technology, and The Devil’s Pass is the most imaginative and daring horror film to come down the line in quite a while.
ONE hundred and one years after the evangelist William Booth preached his first open air sermon outside the Blind Beggar Public House on the Whitechapel Road – a sermon which ultimately led to the establishment of the Salvation Army – Ronald Kray walked into the very same pub. Or at least it would have been the same pub had it not been rebuilt in 1894 by the Mann, Crossman and Paulin’s Albion Brewery at the same address. It was 8.30pm on 9 March 1966 and Kray was accompanied by his right-hand man Ian Barrie, while his driver, John ‘Scotch Jack’ Dickson, was told to wait outside in his Mark 1 Cortina.
A pub had been on the same spot in Whitechapel since 1673 and it was named after Henry de Montfort, the son of the Earl of Leicester, who is said to have posed as a blind beggar to escape detection after the battle of Evesham in 1265. Of course Ronald Kray wouldn’t have been the first villain, big-time or otherwise, who had found themselves in that infamous East End pub. Before the First World War the Blind Beggar was the meeting-place of a gang of pick-pockets and ne’er do wells. One of them called ‘Bulldog’ Wallis got into a fight with a Jewish couple and ended up killing the man by pushing the tip of his umbrella through one of his eyes. The East End code of silence prevailed and ‘no one saw nuffink’ and Wallis had to be released from police custody through lack of evidence. Accompanied by his cheering supporters he returned to the Blind Beggar a hero.
SO. What did X Factor winner Sam ‘ScrewBo’ Bailey do next? A Hollywood biopic? A number one album? A chair on Loose Women?