June 2nd, 2015




“So like with this second album we really wanted to just totally get away all the stuff that everyone associated with that first album y’know? Like, we really wanted to strip out a lot of the poppy stuff and just really let the tracks just like find themselves y’know? We’d been listening to a lot of Can, Neu! y’know Krautrock stuff but also like a lot of Italo-disco y’know? And that just totally informed the epic, spaced out grooves we kind of ended up with. And like we were really getting pressured to come up with a hit single, like something that the label could totally pitch to, I don’t know Radio 6 or something, but we were so totally against that, because like really we felt we’d really done that whole three minute thing y’know and Gavin was trying out this weird singing style, kind of trying for that Liz Frazer ethereal stuff y’know but with this real kind of screechy falsetto y’know, and he’d totally just given up with traditional vocals and moved into some kind of impressionistic moaning and shit y’know? Really pushing the boundaries. And Tiny Darren was just totally entranced with all that Bollywood soundtrack stuff so he was really into just bringing that vibe into the rhythm section and then Kath was really intent on everyone swapping instruments on the final track cos she’d been using Eno’s Oblique Strategies and wanted to get like a sort of Tortoise jamming thing going, but much more primitive and skronky y’know. Really bold, challenging stuff.  And we were really really pleased with the way the whole album hung together, even though the label were really nervous about the fact that we sacked Terry Nuggins and ended up producing the whole thing ourselves, which I actually think really kind of brave actually, considering that Terry had just produced the Brontosaurus album, but we like knew that we’d done the right thing, the honest thing, y’know. And when the reviews came in they were mixed and kind of sometimes terrible and a lot of our fans like tuned out, like a lot, and we got fully dropped, but I still totally stand by the record. Y’know?”

“Listen mate, can I just get my burger?”

<ITEM> It’s an extra big portion of SILENCE!, the only podcast to have started in the Elizabethan era. ZOUNDS! Peppy new recruit Bobsy joins those grizzled street veterans, who are gettin’ too ol’ for this shit, The Beast Must Die & Gary Lactus.

<ITEM> Admin, get yer fresh admin! Only £50 a portion! Sponsorshizzle, Blue Peter, the Harmontown documentary and Big Hero 6? They’re all here and ready to please

<ITEM> Reviewniverse? Why yes I will, and and I’ll go large as well! Material, Providence, Necronomicon (film), Insufferable, Millar Vs Morrison, Resident Alien, Convergence, Secret Wars, Shazam!, Optic Nerve, Swamp Thing, Kitchen, Wytches and oh so much more.

<ITEM> Y’know what that sound is? the smallest violin in the world playing just for you cos the podcast’s OVER! Boo Hoo!

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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! Comicsof London.

14 Responses to “SILENCE! #144”

  1. Derek Says:

    Finished my walk mid-episode, but I’ll chime in while my wheels are turning because I just have to say that, although I generally admire the audacity of Kot’s work, I’m a little troubled by this comic.

    It begins with the professor, who on top of reflecting an entirely imaginary model of the university as an institution and resembling Chomsky for reasons that remain unclear (not unlike his equally ambiguous “Zizek” character), expounds emptily on the _concept_ of accelerated culture. At the same time, the caption/footnote points us toward the _political project_ of accelerationism.

    Maybe this conflation has some purpose, but I’m not yet convinced he isn’t just throwing terms our way. Accelerationism has a fairly codified meaning and a vexed currency. Thoughtful people are worrying over the idea. It’s not particularly complex, but it’s incredibly relevant. It’s also a bit of a bill of goods. If in fact Kot is sowing confusion on purpose, then why? What is he up to?

    This imprecision extends to Solnit’s “Men Explain Things to Me,” which is invoked for a scene that fails to represent the dynamic described therein. What function beyond decorative are her ideas playing here?

    And then comes this list of murdered black people, which operates somewhat more like pop cultural referencing than a solemn or seething litany of the dead. What seems like a rather dubious “concept” finally takes shape.

    I’m not ready to call Kot cynical. He’s given us little reason beyond his relationship to Marvel to question his good faith (tho his status with the company haunts some of the depictions in this book, particularly the knowing AI’s comments on “material” (maybe this is a reflexive move?(Does that make it okay?))).

    But I am uncomfortable with the formal work of “currency” here. I get that there’s a feeble thematic “justification” for populating this work with politically charged “material” (the names of murdered black people and political prisoners). That alone does not make Kot’s fast-and-loose agit-Tarantino referencing UN-cynical, and if he’s going to adopt this approach, then it’s on him to prove that he’s no charlatan in the ensuing pages.

  2. Derek Says:

    I am moved by Bobsy’s reading of the captions as an act of pure populism, a vessel for ideas, but I’m still leery of how this trades in these ideas in ways that appear, for the moment, insubstantial.

  3. bobsy Says:

    Understand & appreciate the note of caution, but I think the stimulation/provocation of ish1 is purpose and meaning enough for now? I don’t think I agree that the conflation of cognitive turbo-capitalism and accelerationist politics is problematic, and might even go so far as to say deliberately looking at both phenomena simultaneously could be useful: if we are to go further into capital in the hope that we come out on the other side with a better mode of production, it’s worth exploring what that process might look and feel like to the individual subject undergoing it, which is where Bifo’s work can be useful – ‘it will get worse (precarity, affectlessness, alienation from labour etc.) before it gets better, so be careful what you wish for’ etc. AND where spec-fic funnybooks can be useful in exploring and testing this out.

    We could be waiting years to have someone sensitively, thoroughly and with full awareness of the implications use comics to look at #icantbreathe / #blacklivesmatter etc – but why wait, when we could have something that is dealing with it raw? Not that sensitivities surrounding these issue should be dismissed of course, but maybe diving in and trying to work it out here and now is worth doing too.

    I guess, just cos I *like* Material doesn’t mean I have to *agree* with it (I found the conflation of ‘personal relationships’ and ‘solidarities’ in the back essay more annoying than you found the blurring of ‘accelerateds’ for eg) – but it’s good to have a mainstream comic that is probing and engaged.

  4. Thrills Says:

    I think the stuff mentioned in the podcast about Material feeling absolutely contemporary is spot-on. It feels like a piece by someone who is actively engaged with the world and wants to talk about it, as opposed to maybe use part of current events as a slim ‘political’ metaphor in a superhero comic two years down the line.

    I like that, yes.

    (just deleted a digression about child soldiers and suicide bombers in Mad Max, you’ll be pleased to know)

    It DOES feel a lot like Change, and I think that’s fine for the first issue. I’m interested to see where it goes, though.

    On a more PERSONAL note, I read Material on a day when I had left the house worrying my outfit had a rubbish colour scheme that didn’t quite work. Turned out to be the blue and brown of much of Material, which means I walked home after reading it, feeling confident in my sartorial choices.

    I read an Ales Kot Secret Avengers tpb this week, and, well, it was a modern Marvel ‘signifiers-of-funny but not actually funny’ thing, as you’d expect. Awful team – Hawkeye, Black Widow, Coulson, Spider-Woman – but I did enjoy a bit of MODOK, though Marvel needs to ease up on using him for a while,I think. LOL MODOK SO ZANY etc

    Some great stuff about Providence in the podcast (I especially like the Robert Bloch stuff, hadn’t thought of that), and the suicide booths, which I did inititally just think “oh that must be referencing something from new york in the 20s that I am unaware of”, before realising “hang on, suicide booths?”.

    Bit wary of expecting the variant covers to in any way relate to the wider story, though. Remember those fucking awful ones for Neonomicon with the big stupid spider and that? Avatar, eh.

    Have never liked Tomine’s comics. I agree he’s good at what he does, but I also agree what he does is ‘take the wrong elements of Clowes’. Sadboy comics.

    I see the Bret Easton Ellis comparison, the moral void of wealth and privilege etc, but gimme Easton Ellis anyday.So much of culture is about the trials and tribulations of the rich folk, but at least Easton Ellis sometimes chucks in a pulpy bit of SOMETHING, instead of just some young white guy looking at the floor, then looking sideways, thinking of a childhood memory about stealing a toy from a pal, or something.

    I am an insufferable grump. Sorry.

    PS this episode was a lot more crisps-free than I was led to believe, which is great, as I have a bizarre crisp phobia. Even writing the word gies me the boak.

  5. Thrills Says:

    PPS The Sandman. Mother Earth? fucksake.

  6. Tim B. Says:

    So is The Beast Must Die trapped in the Reviewniverse? don’t recall him formally singing his exit.

    I read Providence digitally. Comixology really needs to sort out how it deals with pages of text on phones. Ended up having to read the letter at the back on my PC, had the same problem with Bitch Planet. Apart from that much to mulch over, really want to know if they’re going to keep the page layout for the rest of the series.

  7. Illogical Volume Says:

    I would* definitely buy The Sandman: Mother Earth: Fucksake.

    Like Bobsy I welcome Derek‘s caution about Material, even if I also agree with him about why we might want to try to look at those two different types of acceleration together.

    Derek’s totally right to flag this stuff up early though. It’s one thing to put it all in there, because folk like me will be overly grateful to you for doing even that much, but doing so invokes a sort of responsibility hinted at that’s slightly outside the scope of comics’ familiar platitudes: the responsibility to actually make something other than a mess out of it.

    Really good pod this week boys, loved the Providence chat, as you know I didn’t get much out of it first time round (it seemed slow and distant compared to Material, which as Bobsy and Thrills have both said, felt like a part of what’s going on around me right now) but the suicide booths and secret romance plot kept nagging at me, the second reading was much more convincing than the first, and now I feel like you lot have ripped my “oh yeah, Alan Moore, Jacen Burrows, Avatar” ennui away and I realise I’m at the start of something horrible and I’m excited.

    I will flatter myself that my opinions on Adrian Tomine’s comics are TOO COMPLICATED FOR A BLOG COMMENT, and I will add delusion to flattery by suggesting that I will probably write a blog post about them even though I almost certainly never will.

    That Ales Kot Avengers book is my favourite modern Marvel “signifiers-of-funny but not actually funny” comic. It’s a team built for maximum #brand exposure, cross media blah blah blah please kill me now, but I like the way it tried to work through the cute militarism, to try to find a way out of it that wasn’t totally horrible.

    It wasn’t entirely successful, of course, despite Michael Walsh’s brilliant art (rarely have I wanted to use the term “cartoony” with such conviction), and it’s still nowhere near as good as Kot’s creator-owned work.

    The crisp consumption levels were just fine by me, but I know a certain Mindless who will have been wincing along at home at – prick that I am – the thought makes me laugh.

    Sorry Zom!


  8. Matthew Craig Says:

    Bobsy invoking Mother Nature made me think of those tampon commercials where she tries to stop some poor woman surveying a quantity.

    The portal opens:


  9. Derek Says:

    Knew I could count on you guys to take my anxieties seriously and thoughtfully. Was worried I might come off like a concern troll.

    I have every intention of continuing with the book, and it’ll be interesting to see how this develops. Sexy politics set off my alarm bells just generally, a kneejerk aversion to radical chic that has somehow outlived any respect I ever had for Tom Wolfe. (And, let’s be real: Kot’s a happening dude, and his muse is named BEEF-O. Way more sex appeal than David Harvey or Peter Linebaugh.)

    At the same time, I’m of the mind that radicalism doesn’t necessitate coherence, so maybe I should just relax.

  10. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » I Am Not a Comics Critic #2: Wolf Emotions Says:

    [...] perfect comic for that generation of white men Bobsy was talking about, then, the one’s who feel alienated from their labour but haven’t read any Marx? [...]

  11. tam Says:

    I think Gary should name his kittens ‘Mek Quake’ and ‘Lois Lane’

  12. Frank Says:

    I believe, from reading interviews with Waid, than Insufferable is not about his supposed falling out with Morrison and Millar, but rather about Morrison and Millar’s falling out with each other–

  13. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Material #1-4: Breaking Free Says:

    [...] stands, Material leaves me feeling like one of its sketchily drawn background characters.  Contra Gary Lactus, I enjoyed this aspect of the book’s aesthetic, thought it was politically resonant and gave [...]

  14. Wade Says:

    I 100% agree with your assessment of Dan Clowes and Adrian Tomine.

    Wilson really was a brilliant self-parody/closing comment on the genre tropes he inspired. That’s the amazing thing about Clowes’s work: even when its sampled from and patterned after, those tropes really just make up one layer that reveals even more to enjoy once peeled away. Throughout Eightball, that purposefully off-putting tone acts to give him room to experiment with narrative, indulge his influences and explore his worldview while maintaining this unique semblance of assurance and authority over his characters, even when, as Jaime Hernandez would say, it’s the characters that are dictating the story’s direction. A very human and interesting fellow doing very nasty and interesting comics.

    I feel like I haven’t engaged Tomine’s work because he’s too conscious of how he wants the reader to feel about his miserable characters and his airy, malaise-ridden aesthetic only exists to fight his natural tendency to spell out “This guy is shit! Hate him!” and convey the illusion of open interpretation. The illusion unravels once one realizes how many tics his protagonists share over different stories and how most critics come to the same conclusions about them, regardless of their appraisal or dismissal of the work as a whole.

    Anyway, I’ve been binge-listening to your podcast since discovering it through the Secret Convergence. It’ll definitely be a mainstay along with Wait, What? and Comic Books are Burning in Hell. Stay hilarious.

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