Friday, September 30, 2005


...And here's one I made earlier (from 2000AD Prog 1423, Jan 2005):

Second City Blues was designed as a retro-futuristic nod to Old Skool UK Comic-Book Sports-Strips from the 70's and 80's, so one of the ideas I played around with was having 1st generation alien "immigrants" coming to the UK and getting lumbered with all the shitty manual-labour jobs that the "British" no longer wanted to do. Basically, an obvious and fairly unsubtle reflection of the tribulations faced by the first wave of UK immigrants from the Commonwealth in the 50's and their children, the first major wave of Brit-Born Asian and Afro-Carribbean kids, who hit their teens in the 70's and helped change the face of English music and culture: enriching, mutating and re-energising the very idea of "Englishness", and laying the foundations for most of the cool shit that we take for granted now.

At our worst, us Brits can be fucking petty and xenophobic; we specialise in reductive abuse: snotty, single-syllable swear-words; short, clipped Anglo-Saxonisms designed to cut-down and intimidate those who remind us how crap we are as a race. Therefore, the alien races in SCB are merely referred to as 'Spuds', 'Squids' and so forth: snide, nasty little derogatory terms. As insults go, these are stark, raw and stripped-down almost to the point of Minimalism, specifically (and sonically) designed to remind other species of their place in the scheme of things.

Artist Warren Pleece and I got quite carried away with this idea: in the strip, walls were covered in Squidist graffitti ("Squids Out!" "Squids Go Home!", etc), but equally there were Pro-Squid graf tags for Squid street-gangs, Squid Sound Cru's ("King Ink Cru"), Squid clubs, etc. We got into the idea that, like previous generations of immigrants before them, they were adding their own ingredients to a bubbling cultural stew that's constantly changing and shifting emphasis...I started to wonder what Squid Music sounded like, what drugs they fact, Minger, one of the 2nd City Blues actually sold blotters of Ink, a powerful Squid halluncino-narcotic, to finance his life-style...

Mourn Salter, the Squid gangster: well, his name was supposed to be a rough English translation of his Clan or Caste profession. A 'Mourn Salter' was, literally, someone who salted the bodies of dead Squid; that is, they chemically preserved the deceased bodies of their species as a job...the closest translation of what they did would, I guess, be an undertaker. It was also a mischievous bad joke referencing old Gangster Films or Spaghetti Westerns where the chief bad-guy or bandito would be nick-named "The Undertaker" or something equally ridiculous.


Wow...they look just like me, Chris and the kids. Wonder if there's some idealised caucasian Meta-family looking down on us inside our 3-D hab-bowl?

So eager to please! We can even be trained...