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Saturday, January 10, 2009

ABANDONED #5

Yet another of those pesky occasional on-going series...




















BRANCH LINE TO BURMA



I've only skimmed thru this so far, but what's truly remarkable about it is how parochial-sounding the author's voice is. Published in 1958, it's like a dispatch from some lost corner of Middle England where the horrific abuses suffered by the POWs are oddly muted by a narrator who talks in clipped BBC English...the appalling chronic starvation and disease are described in terms that sound more like some awkward muddle involving members of the Village Fete Committee. A far cry from the constant ramped-up hyperbole and mediaspeak of Post-Millennial Airstrip One. Religion and cricket are mentioned constantly and there is a mixture of condensation and contempt for all foreigners - not just their Japanese tormentors, but the Australians, the French, anyone born outside of Surrey.

"Frasier was a cheerful, scrounging Cockney, whose father had brought him up in an atmosphere of boxing-booths and East End boozers."

The section in which starving POWs put on musical reviews and variety shows, making their own props and scenery, and dressing up in drag to sing popular songs is like an episode of "It Ain't Half Hot, Mum" on acid. Senior officers are excused from the hellish work-details, but "do their bit" by reading extracts of John Buchan novels to soldiers who are delirious with chronic malaria.

The foreword is by 'Earl' Mountbatten of Burma, 'natch.

WOOFAH #3



A big belated thanks to the mighty John Eden for sending me a copy of Woofah #3 a few weeks ago. It seemed kinda daft bigging this up in the run-up to Christmas when everyone was preoccupied w/ the Kollapse of Kapitalism and assorted family shit - but now that the New Year Madness has receded to a vague Lee Perry-like shimmer of analogue echo it seems an appropriate moment to reiterate that this mag is essential reading if you have any interest in Reggae, Dancehall, Dub, Grime, Dubstep or UK Urban Bass music of any shape and shade. The contributor list - which occasionally even includes yrs truly - is a veritable who's-who of UK music writers, bloggers, 'experts' and (more importantly) fans...it's a helluva lot of fun, as well as being informative and illuminating. Hats off to everyone who put their time and effort into producing this - Droid has really excelled himself on the layout and design front. There's some cool visual contributions from Woebot and Doppelganger, and oodles of pieces incl. a lovely interview with Flow Dan by Tom Lea.

It's cheap as chips innit, so credit-crunch aside, there's really no excuse for not buying this. The last couple issues have pretty much sold out - and I mean that in the sales sense, not the sociopolitical one, maaaaan - so hoof on over to their site and snag yerself a copy now, kids!

But, whatever you do - don't buy a copy off this man if you see him lurking outside FWD. He's the Flash Harry of Dubstep.