SILENCE! #102

May 27th, 2014

GOD BLESS DONALD DUCK, VAUDEVILLE AND VARIETY

<ITEM> There’s no robot, we’re clear on that, OK?

<ITEM> The X won’t X itself, you learn, and so The Beast Must Die be gone for now. Fear his return, when the goose of the moon gets fine and fat.

<ITEM> Unforkunakely, Gary’s hunger for space rocks will not be satisfied by merely genuine good reasons0000000, and as per, bobsy has nothing else to do and dutifully hobbles by.

<ITEM> Tell us what you think of the The Making of the Making of Star Wars the Musical bit at the beginning. You can see that it’s all about the admittedly brilliant ‘intuitive/diminutive’ moment, but we’re really keen for feedback ahead of rollout do let us know what you think via the special survey.

<ITEM> There is some admin at the beginmin too, and a recap of the Bank Holiday weekend, when they watched the X-Men Dofp movie and had a barbecue at Zom’s and it was bobsy’s birthday. They talk about Hotel for Dogs during this podcast portion.

<ITEM> And then the Galaxy eater (a bit too sugary, and made by Nestle to boot, prob) and his mewling supper travel to the Reviewniverse, where they talk about…

<ITEM> Caliban, Elephantmen, Original Sin, Prophet, Batman Weakly, Uber, Julian Cope, Zero, Hypnotic Induction Technique, The Boy in Question, Copra and Adapt. Possibly some other stuff too, but they weren’t keeping very good notes.

<ITEM> You know the joke about the guy needing a microscope to see his own cock? Well, this podcast is respectfully – and resexfully – dedicated to Sir Darren of Oxon.

<ITEM> So listen to SILENCE! #102. There is nothing in your life nearly as important.

Click to download SILENCE!#102

Click to download SILENCE!#102

Kontak:

silencepodcast@gmail.com
@silencepod
@frasergeesin
@thebeastmustdie
@bobsymindless

This edition of SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the greatest comics shop on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton.
It’s also sponsored the greatest comics shop on the planet GOSH! Comics of London.

 

The Wind Rises – Hayao Miyazaki, 2013

Before we start, a warning: this is probably not a fun night at the movies for your eight-year-old, unless said child is prematurely obsessed with flat-head screws. I mention this not out of a new-found commitment to providing consumer advice but because my friend Adam was frustrated by the apparent inability of movie reviewers to clarify this matter for him.

Studio Ghibili’s long standing trust in the ability of children to stay interested in quiet moments and make sense of the senseless is admirable, but The Wind Rises seems to have been made in a different spirit from, say, Howl’s Moving Castle (which combined frantic scene-shifting with portraits of stark devastation to great effect) or Princess Mononoke (which grew slowly, steadily monstrous in front of the patient viewer).

This film is realised with the lush, painterly attention to detail that characterises Hayao Miyazaki’s other movies, but this is definitely a film of and about our world. Its magic is not of the kind likely to intrigue a child into attentiveness: its wonders are the result of late night meetings as much as they are the product of dreams, and even its most hard won miracles taste of ashes.

The most jarring note in this regard is the use of human voices to simulate the sounds made by everything from earthquakes to passing planes…

One thing that disappointed me about the commentary surrounding Time Zones was a general unwillingness on behalf of most critics to get stuck into not just Freddy’s pitch but the first scene generally. I understood why well enough, it was a depressing episode and seasoned fans have been well trained to mistrust the surface glamour of Mad Men’s premiers, which in the normal course of things turns to crap after the first half hour. But in the end that didn’t cut it for me, for two reasons. Firstly, because the opening pitch so often serves as the key to unlocking a season’s trajectory, and secondly, because Freddy’s first words, a confident and joyous starting gun on a gloomy story, were designed to nag.

“I want you to listen carefully. This is the beginning of something.”

The idea that these words heralded the beginning of the final season and nothing else seemed unlikely. Because, come on everyone, this is the final season. Every detail is important.

Initially the main effect of this nagging, this jarringly incongruous celebratory voice echoing across the ruins cheering the new day, was to force me to re-evaluate many of the scenes and plot beats most reviewers took for granted were evidence that things will never go right for Don. Then it got me thinking about the downward spiral of the season more generally, eventually concluding that this, like Don’s descent in six which led to that beautiful final scene, was probably a good thing too. I was listening, I was paying attention, and it occurred to me that the Something Terrible Don drew down with that first ad pitch in The Doorway probably wasn’t through with him yet. Megan leaving him to pursue her career in California and his getting fired was only the start of it. Things needed to get about as bad as they could before the pendulum would swing the other way.

Quite simply, I realised this season is about nothing less than the destruction of Don Draper.

How marvellous!

Zadie Smith – The Autograph Man

For someone with my particular literary damage, reading this novel for the first time in 2014 was a lot like having the arguments of 2001 all over again.  If literary critic James Wood’s attack on what he deemed “hysterical realism” has a fitting target it is this over-eager, initially likeable but ultimately tiresome second novel from Smith.

The story of “twenty-something Chinese-Jewish autograph dealer” Alex-Li Tandem’s frantic, free-wheeling attempts to lose himself in the search for his pop culture obsession, The Autograph Man spends its four hundred plus pages tilting after a curiously overdetermined sort of oblivion.  To mangle a Samuel Johnston quote most boys of my age know by way of popular wise guy Hunter S. Thompson, Tandem acts in the belief that he who becomes his hobbies spares himself the pain of being a man.  The novel follows suit, hence the ever-egressing framework of Kabbalistic associations, Zen progressions, verbal tics (“the popular” and ”wise guy” chief among them), Rabbinical comedy routines and generally excessive detail.  All of this by way of keeping Tandem from dealing with the world’s tendency towards impermanence and disorder: these events take place in the build-up to the tenth anniversary of his fathers’ death, and in the aftermath of a destructive trip that seems like it might cost Tandem most of his established relationships, and also his car.

The overlapping structures of this novel are all fine and sturdy, and have elsewhere proven themselves more than capable of supporting, variously: an Oscar Wilde aphorism, an essay by Walter Benjamin (“wise guy” and recipient of the novel’s worst punchline), the occult adventure comic Promethea, and an excellent graphic novel by Eddie Campbell.  There’s nothing to say that they couldn’t provide the framework for an excellent Zadie Smith novel too, but the difference between The Autograph Man and all of the aforementioned works is that Smith’s imaginative scaffolding seems to exist around very little that was worth supporting in the first place.

Click here to read more nothing for longer!

A collaboration with Edinburgh based artist and ghost merchant Lynne Henderson, Cut-Out Witch contains twenty five pages worth of lost souls and lo-fi monster magic – imagine a teen goth Terminus and you’ll be on the right track.  Lynne provided the pictures, I added the words, but if you want to cleanse yourself with holy water after reading then I’m afraid you’ll have to bring your own bottle.

“Cut-Out Witch is really good… Lovely creepy stuff”Twitter’s own James Baker

Almost every page made me laugh or smile or feel things” - comics’ own Ales Kot

“You do seem to be able to dash such things off quite easily, I kind of wish I could do that…” - A Trout in the Circus’ very own Plok

The original print run has sold out, but Cut-Out Witch is now available in PDF format for 50p!

CLICK HERE TO BUY IT NOW!

If you already bought the print version, please feel free to email me at bigsunnyd @ yahoo dot co dot uk and I’ll send you the PDF for free.

Click here for a preview!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Anthony Mackie, brought to you by the power vested in me by the great state of Wyoming 

While I will surprise approximately no one by saying that the action in this movie was nowhere near as inventive and exciting as the violence that gives The Raid 2 its reason to exist, this movie still confounded my expectations by impressing me more with competence than raw thrillpower.

A lot of people feel differently, of course.

Cerebus

May 6th, 2014

image from Cerebus 1

The problem with Cerebus is that it’s simply the wrong place to start

The interesting thing about the free, original comic that Rian Hughes and Grant Morrison created for the BBC’s freedom2014 season is that the very qualities that make it such an effortless, immediately accessible read are also the ones that leave it feeling quite trite in the end.

They don’t hand out Comics Critic Oscars to anyone who still feels the need to point out that Hughes’ art is heavily and beautifully design based in 2014, but Morrison makes expert use of this aspect of Hughes craft throughout this strip, artfully reducing big ideas like freedom, meaning, what we’re all here for and why” down to a brief flurry of scenes and images in which the fate of a hooded figure inspires the general public to collectively realise their individual agency:

The Key, then, is not a story about freedom but an advert for the idea of freedom. The BBC quoted this line on their website, and sitting on its own it carried the vague air of approval, so to be clear: in saying this, I meant that it had about as much to do with actual freedom as the famous 1984 Apple advert.  All the craft on display here is put to the purpose of making sure one Key fits all readers, and while the counterargument would surely be that this smooth quality allows the reader to project their own meanings on top of this scenario I would argue that this immaculate surface would absorb all light that shines its way without giving much of anything back.

And what use is a dystopian fiction if it doesn’t disturb, reflect or challenge our present reality in any meaningful way?  The Key Morrison and Hughes have created here doesn’t refer to any actual map; if we recognise the symbols in it, then that’s only because they look like the mental shorthand we’ve created as a guide to other stories on the same theme.

To put it another way: the masterful evocation of The Key would be perfectly at home in an issue of Seaguy, but it would never be an issue of Seaguy.

I’m surely not alone in having bemoaned the fact that much of Grant Morrison’s best work requires a prior investment in comics to be fully engaged with.  With considerable help from Hughes, The Key builds out any such issues, but in doing so it also removes any of the struggle that makes so much of Morrison’s work worthwhile.

***

(This article was originally posted at the end of March, in a slightly different form, on my Tumblr.)

SILENCE! #101

April 29th, 2014

 

NOW THAT’S A GOOD IDEA, SHE SAID SHE SAID

And what costume shall the poor Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 wear
To all tomorrow’s SILENCE?
A hand-me-down dress from who knows where
To all tomorrow’s  SILENCE

And where will Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 go and what shall Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 do
When SILENCE comes around?
Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 will turn once more to Sunday’s clown
And cry behind the door

Yes, it’s that time when the party goes sour, when the brave and the beautiful have gone home, or on to wilder more fabulous parties, and all that’s left is the desperate dregs and the too far gone. The man that no-one knows who smells of milk. The broken, the twisted and the boring. And Gary Lactus & The Beast Must Die of course, sat in the corner pretending they have a podcast, shouting at the wall, laughing, singing idiotic jingles about imaginary people and talking, talking always talking.

Time to go home.

<ITEM> Admin time, with Batman Eternal, start at the middle, Hollyoaks vs Game of Thrones, Dinner Dance on Douglas Mountain, jingles and PREMIUM BONUS CONTENT.

<ITEM> The 100the anniversary self-congratulations continue with another gruelling session of The Quizzlertron! Think that scene in Clockwork Orange, but no-one’s wearing any clothes and there’s a lot more comics lying around. The ramblings include: Image comics jam session, De LA Soul’s Fallin, Judgement Night, Jack Kirby and Bernie Wrightson, The SILENCE Comic, Brightonandhove, The Secret Origin of Silence, Young Love, Fame, The Full Gronch, Penis Fancy Dress, Joe Sacco vs Frank Quitely HOTTTT, 2000AD Prog 626, Frank by Jim Woodring, Dave’s and Gosh, Micronauts, ROM, James Stokoe, The homo-eroticism of Johnny Alpha, the hunkiness of Rogue Trooper, Rob Liefield on Wireheads, Fantasy 2000AD, 21st Century Tank Girl Kickstarter, Geoff Darrow & Pat Mills on Flesh, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ryan Gosling, Claire Balding, Eric Stoltz, Steve Gerber, jack Kirby’s Fourth World, 1986, Little Nemo, Krazy Kat, Gleat, Machines taking over, and so very much more.

<ITEM> A brief dip into the Reviewniverse to talk about Evan Dorkin’s excellent Eltingville Club, then it’s home for tea and biscuits.

So stop grubbing aound those ashtrays looking for stub-ends, stop mine-sweeping those half-empty beercans, and plonk yourself down next to Milk guy for a nice listen to…SILENCE!

Click to download SILENCE!#101

Contact us:

silencepodcast@gmail.com
@silencepod
@frasergeesin
@thebeastmustdie

This edition of SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the greatest comics shop on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton.
It’s also sponsored the greatest comics shop on the planet GOSH! Comics of London.

SILENCE! #100

April 21st, 2014

 

BLANK FRANK IS THE MESSENGER OF YOUR DOOM AND YOUR DESTRUCTION

Happy Birthday to SILENCE!

Happy Birthday to SILENCE!

You look like  a monkey

and you smell like…Brian Blessed’s beard…?

I think that’s how the song goes anyway. It is the return of original and best of the Narratorbots, Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735! No fractal distillations of self, or parallell versions, just the real motherboard-flipping deal. Back to celebrate 100, 000, 000 episodes of reality’s most beloved poddlecaste, SILENCE! What once was a mewling, quivering babe, is now a stooped and saggy old man, with low slung testicles and a shuffling gait. And it’s all because of you enabling those two Radio Hams Gary Lactus & The Beast Must Die in continuing to fool themselves into thinking the world wants to hear their unwelcome opinions. So congratulations dear listeners. this is all your fault.

What we need is an intervention.

<ITEM> As a special 100th birthday reward, The Dear Listeners have provided the twosome with a list of questions. You can guarantee that the important issues of the day will be cogitated over, digested and thoroughly dissected… there are so many quizzlers that we JUST HAD to call this Step Into The Quizzlertron, part 1! Comics Dialogue – John Ostrander, Del Close, Garth Ennis, Chris Ware, John Wagner, Wolverine deathcamp, Danny Beastman & Gary Lactenberg – where are we now?, Alex Ross, American Horror Story, Superhero movies, Jeff Goldblum, Gary eating eggs, Dr Strange movie – Burt Reynolds, Sam Elliott, Widescreen comics, Samuel L Jackson, Beano, Dennis The Menace, Early comics memories – missing Knight Rider tied to a tree, 2000AD, Ro-Busters, Secret Wars, Dredd mug, Flaming Carrot action figure, Comics day breakfast, Bob-Z, Ronin, Fantastic Four, Stan The Man Lee making breakfast, James from Twin Peaks made of plastic, Digital comics v analogue comics, Copra, indy vs superhero, Flaming Carrot, the rules of writing questions, Synth pop, Nu-Rom Antics, Lemmy, Keif Llam and so much more…

<ITEM> A sideways crab-like slide into the Reviewniverse to uncover the contemporary delights of Doop, Batman Eternal, weekly comics, Avengers Undercover, Stray Bullets, Auteur, Starlight

And this is just part 1! Aren’t you EXCITED? Couldn’t you just SCREAM?

Well go on then.

No-one’s listening.

Click to download SILENCE!#100

Contact us:

silencepodcast@gmail.com
@silencepod
@frasergeesin
@thebeastmustdie

This edition of SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the greatest comics shop on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton.
It’s also sponsored the greatest comics shop on the planet GOSH! Comics of London.