Saturday, August 18, 2007


Most folk I know are aware I have a total antipathy towards The Beatles, but I've been looking for this bloody single by Ringo Starr for ages:

Sure, I could've found it on eBay inside 3 minutes, but that's not the way my mind works. If you're looking for 80's Afrobeat or obscure French Disco cuts, then great, but I still prefer the viseral thrill of flipping thru a box of sevens and physically finding something I really covet - which is what happened to me in Glastonbury last week: I literally squealed with delight when I plucked this out of a knackered old cardboard box. That moment will now be forever embedded in my memory when I play this. I don't care if I have to wait years sometimes to score something I really want; it's far better than a coupla lazy digital clicks and well worth the payoff.

Still, my memory had played bad tricks on me w/ this one - I'd convinced myself it was effectively a lost T.Rex song...I'd even retro-engineered some Visconti-produced strings and backing-vox into this and was shocked to find how much it deviated from my alzheimer-blurred memory of hearing it on my trusty old transistor-radio in ' still sounds great tho, but the drums and gtr are far more prominent than I expected and I was amazed to find it was produced by George Harrison. I was up in Clifton, Bristol, a few months ago when a backstreet record-seller who I know had just got in a pristine original copy of Harrison's "Electronic Sound" LP and offered it to me on the spot as he knows I like 60s electronics (and fake ethno shit)...he already had a buyer lined up, but was up for letting me have it for cash there and then...we cranked it up (I'd never heard it all the way through before) and I confess I really enjoyed it, but the asking price was too much for something I'd only play occasionally and mainly as a curiousity piece...instead I bought some UFO and Budgie albums LOL!

There's a great vid of "Back Off, Boogaloo" here...unfortunately, someone's turned off the embedding, otherwise I'd post it now. Ringo looks fucking great in the film - an underground star in waiting (he's great in "Born to Boogie" and "200 Motels" too). He's skinny and hairy and cool as fuck - looks like he should be in Devendra Banhart's band or something. Lennon, eat yr heart out.

I rather like "It Don't Come Easy" too, so here it is:


A coupla days after I posted on the tragic loss of artist Massimo Belardinelli I found this 1979 Action annual in a junkshop in Crewekerne:

No Bellardinelli onboard here, but there's transgressive thrills aplenty, particularly in the Hookjaw strip...Jaws cash-in aside, this really is gloriously violent stuff, exactly what yr pre-pubescent 12yr old boys and college kids want from a comic. Definitely a half-forgotten golden age for Brit newstand weeklies. Action kinda straddled the classic 60s old school of britcomix and the its-a-comin' era of New Futurist-Realism of the just-blossoming 2000AD. Still, this is wonderful stuff, terrifically gory and strangely in tune with 70s/80s Italio-exploito-splatter cinema, yet also still running Sexton Blake rip-off strips that hark back to an earlier age:

Somewhere in here there's what looks suspiciously like an early pro-strip by Brian Bolland. A year or so earlier, he was being published in Mal Burn's legendary UK underground Graphixus - at one point, sharing an issue with my own first published strip. But I always had problems producing sequential art; I was too lazy to get my chops together and had no idea how you made the jump to pro-work - it was all a complete mystery to me. Besides, I was caught up in the whirl of Punk and, later, Post-Punk. I had a bunch of artwork published in the Bristol Punk/Music mag April Makes me Vomit (later, Cover) and the cover of the (eep!) Bristol University rag-Mag. Gaaah: the memory of how bad my stuff was (still is!) makes me blush, but it was still great fun.

The 80s sublimated in a swirl of drugs, alcohol and failed love-affairs. I had some insane plan to do a degree in Graphic Art (after getting a Bsc. in Microbiology!), but life somehow got in the way. I was too impatient and lazy to do much beyond the odd doodle; or maybe I kinda knew I really didn't have enough talent to cut it. Either way, it wasn't until the early 90s when, inspired by Acid House, Bill Burroughs and a copy of Gary Gygax's "Cyborg Commandos" that I found in Seaton, I started writing (again) rather than drawing. It took me a whole bunch of years to find a voice or something even faintly resembling one. I spent a period in the early 80s sitting in pubs and feeling sorry myself, listening to people talk, watching how they held themselves and moved, frantically/drunkenly scribbling words in notepads...but it took nearly a decade to realise that I was subconsciously practising writing...I had no goal or ambition or reason to be doing this, but somehow some natural instinct within me was trying its damnest to felt weird but right in some way.