December 18th, 2013
Special “Two years late and several thousand Bitcoins short” Edition!
People still do linkblogging, right? I mean not here, not recently, but elsewhere. Feels like a holdover from the “internet as big magazine” approach to broadcasting into the void, and given that I’m too scare to commit myself to any other model that suits me just fine!
EMBARRASSING ENTHUSIASM DEPT: You read it somewhere else first, but we’re in a celebratory mood in Mindless HQ anyway, so fuck it – STRAY BULLETS IS COMING BACK!
It’s too early in the day for me to get totally shameless on this, so you’ll have to go read that interview to find out about the massive collected edition of the first forty issues, the continuation of the old series, and the launch of a new one. Suffice it to say that Stray Bullets is the best, most unsettling crime comic out there, and that we’re glad all those kittens weren’t sacrificed in vain.
If you’ve not red the series before, issues #1-4 are apparently free to download right now, and Zom (or “Ad Mindless as he now likes to be called) wrote a piece about issue#1 that should set the scene just nicely:
A car speeding into the night, a lonely county road, as an establishing shot it’s hardly setting a precedent. But the first panel in SB #1 transcends its over familiarity by actually saying something meaningful about the book and all that follows it. This is a story that will make good on the panel’s familiar metaphorical properties. What we need to keep in mind here is that this road is black, to see anything we’re going to need a torch, and that things probably lurk in those woods. For that matter, things probably lurk in that car – what’s it doing out there in the dark, anyway? The world of Stray Bullets is a dangerous place, and the road travels on until you die.
We should also consider the notion that Lapham doesn’t want to simply transcend cliché, that he’s keen to set-up certain expectations in the reader. So later, when the tires on the car blow out and that familiar scene with the cop and the dead body in the trunk rears it’s head, we shouldn’t be surprised at the lack of novelty on offer. What’s interesting about all these little genre ticks is that, by issue 2, you could be forgiven for forgetting you were reading a crime comic in the first place, and that’s a recurring pattern throughout the series. The effect being that just when you think you know where you are Lapham pulls something entirely unexpected out of the hat, and suddenly definitions like ‘crime fiction’ start to feel inadequate or in serious needs of revision. If I was hunting around for words to describe Stray Bullets #1 I’d eschew genre definitions and settle on adjectives like macabre and gothic.
MISSING PERSONS DEPT: Free Batman/set Batman free.
For serious though: this is the best(/most horrible) Batman comic I’ve read all year, the tactically deployed evil of Batman Incorporated notwithstanding. Twitter account here, if you’re interested.
April 19th, 2013
‘Nothing of note was to be inherited by her loved ones, and nor was anything ever expected to be. She was put to rest with exactly the same title as the one with which she was born. She never ruined anyone’s life and never once considered a career in the deliberate, violent immiseration of her fellow citizens.’
‘Easily the current century’s first landmark work of fantasy and ranking amongst the best pieces ever written in that genre, with The Vorrh we are presented with a sprawling immaterial organism which leaves the reader filthy with its seeds and spores’
‘I would say, that if you’re talking about a line of progress, if it can be called progress, that runs from Berthold Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, to Donald Cammell’s Performance, to Harry Potter, I don’t think you can really see that as anything but a decline… and also I would say that if you’ve got the Avengers movie as one of the most eagerly attended recent movies, and if most of those attendees were adults, which I believe they were, then if you’ve got a huge number of contemporary adults going to watch a film containing characters and storylines that were meant for the entertainment of eleven year old boys fifty years ago, then…’
‘We shall attack, we continue to wait… This gesture, which can never be fully grounded in reasons, is that of a Master. It is for the experts to present the situation in its complexity, and it is for the Master to simplify it into a point of decision. … The Master is needed especially in situations of deep crisis.’
April 14th, 2013
Amy and I might be posting about Mad Men over at our new Mad Men tumblr, She’s an Astronaut, but that’s not going stop us putting up the occasional post here. We love our Mindless.
Here’s four of the best links from around the web.
The number one spot has to go to Sean of Sean T Collins fame. His superb post on the nature of the Hawaiian “experience”, Something Terrible Has to Happen, is an absolute must read, and his episode thought dump isn’t half bad neither.
The ever insightful and spiky Molly Lambert comes in second with her post on just about everything in The Doorway. Molly’s view is often tougher than mine, especially her take on Don, but in a way that suggests she actually knows these people. She’s judgemental in all the right ways. Go read A Lighter, a Mistress, a Lot of Facial Hair
Third place goes to the Internet’s most reliable and comprehensive Mad Men fansite, Basket of Kisses. In a post that typifies their thoroughness, BoK founder Deborah Lipp looks at how how The Door Resonates Throughout the Seasons. Every self respecting Mad Men fan should have BoK bookmarked.
And last but by no means least is glam image blogger (all the best Mad Men images evar) Bohemea on Don’s absence.
Amy and I will continue to update SaA a few times every week. Here’s my latest post on the state of Megan and Don’s marriage, Break a Leg.
RECEIVING TRANSMISSION – “A LITTLE MORE POWER OVER THAT MEMORY…”
Sorry, what’s that? You were waiting for the second part of my Tygers and Lambs series? Well hey, thanks for checking in mum, glad you still read the site - that post should go up over the weekend! 
The rest of you are probably looking for more SILENCE! or more League of Extraordinary Gentlemen annocommentations or something , and who can blame you, but you’ll have to wait a while for all of that because right now we’re doing Dirty Thoughts From Other People’s Comments Section!
Okay, so over on The Comics Journal’s website, Sean Rogers wrote a review of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Flex Mentallo that posited the aforementioned comic as a prime example of the “strenuous vapidity” of Morrison’s writing. I think it’s safe enough to say that most of Team Mindless  are pretty into Flex Mentallo – the manifesto like “Candyfloss horizons” posts that graced the site during its early days are definitely written in the key of Flex Mentallo, with its “candy-striped skies”  – and I wrote about the book again when the freshly recoloured “deluxe” edition was released in April of this year. As such, bearing in mind that FEELINGS ABOUT COMICS ARE THE ONLY TRUE FEELINGS , I decided to have a go at taking Sean’s review apart.
Sean seems to think that Flex Mentallo is a guide to better living through superheroes, whereas I think it’s more like a Dennis Potter drama in two-dimensions , a strange story in which a grown man cracks and finds himself trying to make sense out of everything with reference to a lifetime’s worth of ruddy superhero comics.
My comment is up on The Comics Journal site if you want to check it out and see what you think.
October 18th, 2011
OR: MINDLESS LINKBLOGGING, SPECIAL “ALL BASTARDS MUST BE AGGRAVATED!” EDITION!
As you hopefully noticed, we spent a large part of last month bringing you the best in bastardry. We’ve got some spooky Notes From the Borderland coming up in time for Halloween, so right now seems like as good a time as any to collect all of our bastardly musings together and to celebrate the cruel simplicity of the banner The Beast Must Die created for the event:
Hopefully you’ll be able to forgive me for indulging in a little bit of back-patting here while I take you through AN INDEX OF BASTARDS!
August 26th, 2011
SPECIAL “BAD TOUCH IN GOOD COMPANY” EDITION!!!
Anyway, enough of that (You’re telling us! – Ed) – I want to put some filth in you . Best take your shots first, unless you actually want to catch something…
April 29th, 2011
Special “Repeat after me fuck queen and country!” edition – UPDATED WITH A RIGHT ROYAL REWARD FOR ALL OUR LOYAL READERS!
It’s been a while since the Mindless did some linkblogging, but it’s a sunny Friday morning and I’ve been working away like a good little republican (Best not mention the fact that you’re taking a day off in lieu eh? - Ed), so here we go!
January 7th, 2010
- If you spend all day on your hands and knees with no one to talk to then a good podcast can really perk you up. In particularly dire situations an amusing man may even save your life. Paul Foot has amused me greatly of late since his Resonance FM show has been made available in podcast form. His mode of address is charming, like he’s being constantly distracted by his own head until a gush of comedy concept pours fourth. He look a bit like a Roxy era Brian Eno too! (gl)
Not pranksters. Serious men
After watching the Coen’s latest film A Serious Man, I found myself dwelling upon the fact that many, many film critics simply aren’t up to doing their job. Far from being the architects of empty cathedrals of meaning – a description of their work that is heavily implied if not outright stated in far too many positive and negative reviews – the Coen’s movies are and perhaps always have been very concerned with tackling deep and important issues. The fact that there are paid critics out there who don’t understand that A Serious Man, amongst other worthwhile things, poses difficult questions, troubles me immensely, but thankfully notable pundit Matt Zoller Seitz isn’t amongst them. Even better, he’s written an essay (one of ten on the best film makers of the decade) that attempts to undermine the popular and specious view outlined above. Personally I don’t think his analysis goes deep enough in that he seems to miss the point that much of the Coen’s work is explicitly philosophical – I doubt that anyone who knows anything about the studies of epistemology and intentionality would fail to see that A Serious Man has Serious things to say on those subjects. (z)
- Sesame Street + Phillip Glass + the geometry of circles = wonderful (z)
October 22nd, 2009
- Kick off web of the week this week with Horror Panegyric on Supervert – an essay-length digest of the book of the same name, a critical overview of David Britton/Michael Butterworth/John Coulthart et al.’s impossible to find/even harder to untangle verboten splatterpunk masterpiece Lord Horror, its sequels, and the variant iterations of the icon in other media. The essay itself is tight and very readable, and most interestingly through it you can find throughout and parrallel extracts from all three super-obscure novels (Lord Horror, Motherfuckers: The Auschwitz of Oz and Baptised in the Blood of Millions).
- Have a link to the Savoy site as well, and try and untangle the whole bloody (very, very bloody) mess of it out for yourself.
- Also from Supervert, thanks very much had a lot of fun there recently, well look – you’re not 19 so you don’t want to read Confessions of an English Opium Eater, you don’t want to bore yourself crazy so forget Recollections of the Lakeside Poets, but look here, De Quincey’s seminal, twisted, never-in-a-bookshop essay On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts as a nice little .pdf for you to download and read and that. Loads of other Opium Tom goodness there too.
- But that’s all a bit dark and nasty, so try this. No matter what kind of a nerd this poor kid grows into, he will be able to look back on this moment and feel comfortable in the knowledge that for one wonderful day he was indeed the most excellent thing on Planet Earth: (b)
- Why are you reading this blog? Why aren’t you, right at this very moment, reading this one? Hmmmm HMMMMMM! The good old Brutal One over at Teatime Brutality just keeps on churning out some of the best comic blogging on the internet and you owe it yourself to go and have peek. The latest topic: narrative, and why chucking beginnings, middles and endings out the window can be a very good thing. All that via ongoing superhero comics, Final Crisis, Doctor Who, Big Brother, Charlie Chaplin, The Sims, Faye Weldon, Dickens, ‘n’ more.What’s that? You don’t like Doctor Who? Big Brother is boring? I don’t particularly like them either, but you know what?Shut up go read won’t regret shush (z)
October 1st, 2009
- Thanks to David Allison I stumbled across this article on Mullholland Drive, a veritable critical smorgasboard that opens up the prevailing critical approaches to the film and brings some fresh ideas to the discussion. Not only that! Some of it is really annoying! Is it just me or do readings of MH that position it strictly as a critique of Hollywood drive anyone else up the wall? The idea that David Lynch is cynical also pisses me off – the guy’s work suggests to me that he’s incapable of straightforward cynicism. It’s probably worth noting that the chap who puts forward the latter of these opinions (and who I find myself agreeing with very strongly later in the discussion) also suggests that Lynch “cultivates” an irrationalist persona in interviews, which kinda leaves me baffled. Am I supposed to buy the idea that his talk of “the eye of the duck”, his vocal support for Transcendental Meditation, and his constant emphasis on the feel of things is in some way a contrivance? I’m not sure I’m prepared to pigeon-hole Lynch as an irrationalist, but I certainly don’t see his irrational tendencies, in particular the fact that he often produces texts that cannot be entirely reduced (hey, that’s my assertion!), as anything approaching false. My next bugbear comes in the form of the idea that Lynch is a tricky trickster, a kind of narrative huckster who’s goal is to lure us into thinking we’ve found the correct reading only to undermine our noodlings at the last minute. To be fair, that position never comes roaring into view, but I spotted it lurking in the background more than once. I appreciate that this sort of reading has certain charm, but it strikes me as very simplistic and more than a little specious. But enough with griping, I can really get behind this:“Now, I’m always surprised at how people view Mulholland Drive primarily as an intellectual mystery to be solved, rather than as one of the saddest, most emotionally devastating movies ever made.”Oh yeah, and Abhay and David Fiore feature. You like them, don’t you?(As an added bonus, here’s some of what Amy had to say about the movie yarns ago on Barbelith:
“I do think the film is ostensibly *about* a woman who arrives in Hollywood, falls in love and kills her lover, and I do think the 1st part is best described as “fantasy”. But all this “she is wanking/dreaming and then she wakes up” business…..
The whole thing seems…haunted, somehow – all the heavily emotionally charged objects/spaces/beings/etc: the black bedroom, the box, Mulholland Drive…. The film…it seems as though someone’s trying to work through something, a mind reworking an old trauma, devouring itself. It’s all very “hungry ghost”.
There is the sense of an absence; as though something is forced to play itself out, some violent, habitual process – a psychic scar that won’t heal – but we know where it leads: Death. The absence looms over everything, and occasionally makes itself visible, as the cracks begin to appear in the cute, comfortable love story the deluded spirit clothes itself in.”
The rejection of the word “dream” for “haunting” equals a big yes in my book. It should be noted that Amy *isn’t* saying that anything straightforwardly supernatural is going on, his view is more abstract than that, and far less literal. Personally I think there’s something in the idea of a haunting that could potentially reconcile David Fiore and Charles Reece’s views, in that, to my mind, it lets you have your subject and eat it) (z)
- Whatever. Let’s have some real class. Picture this – you’re a kid growing up in a small, relatively rural village in the South East of England. You’re bored, up late, and watching shitty TV. Then these opening credits appear and you see a vision of ultimate shiny corporate splendour that seems a billion miles from the trees, grass and middle England cosiness of your immediate surroundings. Look at that hair! Those smiles! That Corbin Bernsen! That embarrassment of stereotypical cuddlytardness that is Larry Drake! Now I had something to aspire to. That vision of shimmering skyscrapers and power dressing has haunted me ever since. One day my life will have those opening credits. I just know it. (tbmd)
- While we’re at it, remember this? Has there ever been a more grown up man then Jack Killian? I wanted to be part of his little radio crew so bad. Heck that crew rolled with the awesome little kung fu master from Big Trouble in Little China, sporting a totally boss uber-mullet. Saxophones, skyscrapers and silky tones. We be all about the smooth, sensual and serious 80′s here at Mindless HQ. (tbmd)
- Nearly five years ago now, K-Punk broadcast a kind of sound-collage thing on Resonance called londonunderlondon (parts 1, 2, 3, 4 – takes a bit of downloading if your kit’s anything like mine). It’s a deep topography thinkpiece, Stewart Home eets Eno if you like, on The Tube and the conceptual framework underneath London that it represents. I’m not sure it works entirely – the mixing is a bit frustrating in so far as you can’t hear the words over the music (deliberate probably, annoying definitely), and the thrilling radiophonic flourishes don’t sem to merge with the whole as well as they could. Ultimately, it sounds like music as made by a philospher, which is never going to be ideal. However, this bit of prose, something of a companion piece to the audio, focusing on Wells’ and Kneale’s interpretations of the problem of life and London is electrifying.
- Sorry if you’re outside the UK, you probably won’t be able to hear this, but Will Self on JG Ballard. Swearing on Radio 4! (b)