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February 2009
By Akira The Don on Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Sheeet, Wales got danced all over last night. That last ten minutes was gansgter though, chwarae teg…

— By Akira The Don on Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Edit: The entries are in. I so had the biggest slap! Go vote please I wanna win!

Fight!

The Don enters the ring with one panel of Pain! Let’s get it!

Thoom!

From the pages of Grant Morrison’s most excellent Rob Liefeld piss-take, Doom Force # 1, published by DC Comics back in 1992!

Hit the jump for more of that awesomeness.

(more…)

— Saturday, February 28th, 2009

By Akira The Don on Friday, February 27th, 2009

WOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Vintage shit.

DOWNLOAD: Raekwon ft. Ghostface & Method Man – Wu Ohh

Spotted at Nahright.

— By Akira The Don on Friday, February 27th, 2009

By Akira The Don on Friday, February 27th, 2009


I don’t have time in my life for the live action Dr Who, but I might watch this. This is gangster.

Spotted at The Bad Librarian’s gaff.

— By Akira The Don on Friday, February 27th, 2009

By Akira The Don on Friday, February 27th, 2009

mozzerFrom The Quietus:

The battle lines were clear in the 1980s: you either loved Iron Maiden or you loved The Smiths, you couldn’t love both. So how did it come to pass that Morrissey has just released a pop punk album, while being one of the most dropped names in metal and heavy rock, asks John Doran

Without wanting to come across too much like one of those guff-spouting wazzocks off I <3 1983, that particular year arguably saw the peak of divisiveness and tribalism in UK youth culture. The make of T-shirt you wore, the haircut you sported and even the type of footwear you favoured was either the membership to a quite exclusive club or an invitation to at best derision, at worst a good hiding. This country had never seen so much diversity in its musical loyalties and never would again. Despite already being dead in the water in terms of creativity, punk’s mohican shadow loomed still large. As well as relative newcomers goth and psychobilly there was the intransigent, ugly and thuggish offspring of the blue note boys, skinhead. Elsewhere electro, hip hop, two-tone, soul, synth pop, new romantic and pop all had their own dress codes and modes of behaviour. But enjoying a huge flush of popularity off the back of the NWOBHM bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, was heavy metal.

One thing that was very interesting about the time was how, finally, feminist thinking of the sixties and seventies was starting to cascade down into the steadfastly male dominated arena of rock music. Punk and post punk bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Slits continued to stick two fingers up at the objectification of women but for some even punk was no good; expecting, as it often did, women to behave like men, favouring boorish violence at gigs and a relatively macho attitude. For the most part rock’s attitude towards women was institutionally misogynistic: stay away from gigs which feature rock music for men and stick to the discos where they play pop music for girls. Never was this attitude more apparent than in the closed society of heavy metal, where the credo appeared to be: hanging out with girls? That’s for poofs.

But the feminisation, not just of rock, but the entirety of popular music’s canon was underway and it was proving to be unstoppable. It’s just that it would take much longer for it to even dent metal’s armour.

It was into this dayglo mix that The Smiths were born. Morrissey became almost overnight a beacon to the disaffected and alienated. He was a construct of contradictions; resolutely working class yet a foppish aesthete; there was, in the vernacular of the day, a whiff of lavender about him, yet he came across like a 50s matinee idol; his lyrics protested a shyness that was “criminally vulgar”, yet he can easily be pinned down as one of the most arrogant and self-assured frontmen this country has ever produced. He pioneered a new and subtle form of dangerousness: no one could fully explain what he was or what he stood for.

In times of such fierce youth tribalism, Moz was the figurehead for people who wanted to be truly individual.

So The Smiths represented the heart-quickening excitement of danger – but not one of brute violence at gigs, but one of ideas. Both women and men who felt disenfranchised by other scenes, suddenly felt represented by this odd figure, this gangly mix of Oscar Wilde, James Dean and John Lydon. His refusal to give straight answers about his sexuality signposted a time (still yet to come) where people didn’t need to be straight jacketed by their orientation. His everyday flamboyance appealed to those with a less theatrical bent than the goths or new romantics. In times of such fierce youth tribalism, Moz was the figurehead for people who wanted to be truly individual. Movements such as punk and goth may have been started by people who wanted to express their individuality but it was not long after the inception of each scene, that the uniform and code of conduct became set in stone. (This is not to say that the charity shop individualism of The Smiths hadn’t become a fashion statement itself by the time the group split. Check the video to ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’.)

Metal and The Smiths did not see eye to eye though. There was no overlap between the two circles on this particular Venn Diagram. In fact the circles were miles apart and separated by a no man’s land covered in mines and razor wire. If some of The Smiths’ more morbid and literary interests were shared by the goths; if some of the bile at social injustice was shared with the punks; if the same love of sparkling hooks was shared by the pop mainstream; if some of the self-aware lyrical games were shared with new pop; nothing connected them to heavy metal (bar possibly the guitar solo to ‘Shoplifters Of The World Unite’). Leaving one question: if you fast forward 25 years, how have The Smiths and Morrissey become cited as a key influence by a sizeable proportion of young metallers and rockers?

Put simply, rock has changed rather than Stephen Patrick.

At the Kerrang! end of the scale you can’t read an interview with Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance, Colin Doran from 100 Reasons or Matt Davies from Funeral For A Friend singing the praises of this none-more-grey Manchester band. You may dismiss this, as just an emo fad but that would be to ignore such unambiguously METAL statements as Sepultura covering ‘How Soon Is Now?’, ‘Vicar In A Tutu’ by Therapy?, ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ by Slapshot and ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’ by Million Dead.

Put simply, rock has changed rather than Stephen Patrick. As much as fans of this genre like to believe it has remained as steady as an, erm, rock over the years, it is their music that has proved to be malleable. Whereas once gigs were mainly male affairs, strangely homoerotic events of naked male torsos, slick with sweat, beer and testosterone-fuelled camaraderie, the balance of power has shifted dramatically. Go to your average metal gig now and sometimes female punters can even out number males. Bands such as Iron Maiden, Venom and Motorhead dressed in a way that some aspirational blokes followed. It is undeniable that a sizeable minority of women may have loved this blend of outsider, Viking and biker chic but this was little other than an unintentional fringe benefit for the boys in the bands and the fans who looked like them.

Avenged Sevenfold haven’t got so buff to keep their male fans happy, Gerard Way isn’t wearing all that eye shadow to keep the boys coming to gigs

The image of metal and heavy rock, thankfully, has been stage-managed to appeal to young women. Avenged Sevenfold haven’t got so buff to keep their male fans happy, Gerard Way isn’t wearing all that eye shadow to keep the boys coming to gigs, and so on and so forth. This feminisation (rather than the emasculation that some see it as) started snowballing with the surge in popularity of emo that happened about six years ago. This is probably one of the few tangible benefits to come out of this mass-movement of whingeing, fringe straightening, emotive fist clenching and lip piercing.

Metal had always been concerned with the confrontation of male angst and defining the individual through aggression and rebellion; the idea of the lone outsider being quite a masculine one. But the confessional element brought to the table by bands such as Thrice and Taking Back Sunday as well as industrial bands such as Nine Inch Nails helped to further unsettle this stereotype.

If it seems that we’re being too hard on old school metallers, then we don’t mean to be – these are the broadest of broad brush strokes. In the 70s and 80s working class men were the whipping boys of the media and the educated elite. It was no wonder that they wanted a gang that only they could be members of; that of the tight trousered, bullet belt wearing, beer swilling rock outlaw.

Seen from this position of splendid isolation, it is no wonder that they would be suspicious of what they viewed to be a university phenomenon (none of The Smiths had higher education of any sort but they were championed by the then “student bible”, NME). For the protective and insular rock community to accept Morrissey, he had to fall from grace with the London based media and the chattering classes they serviced – while he was still the favourite of exactly the sort of middle class taste makers who continuously derided metal as being gauche and provincial, he was deemed to still be persona non grata.

But after the split of The Smiths, when Morrissey started mining darker and darker lyrical concerns (or his pursuit of controversy took on a slightly hysterical and annoying edge) it soon became clear that this critical fall from grace wasn’t going to be that long in coming. After Madstock at Finsbury Park in 1992 it would be false to suggest that his career was in tatters but his popularity waned; his dedicated fan base could still be relied upon to buy concert tickets and albums but it genuinely felt like he was about to become a footnote in the history of music.

By the time it was clear that there was a fully fledged critical rehabilitation of Moz on the cards around the release of You Are The Quarry, scores of American rock bands washed up on these shores praising the unlikely influence of The Smiths. Before you could say introspection, ‘How Soon Is Now?’ became the emo ‘Smoke On The Water’ and the sight of a tattooed rock god wearing a Strangeways Here We Come T-shirt became a common rather than unthinkable sight.

Of course there are other factors at play here. The way we consume music has changed so much because of MP3s and downloading that the fierce music-based youth tribalism seems vaguely ridiculous in 2009. As much as it might annoy the man himself, Viva Hate probably nestles up to “vile” reggae on many people’s iPods now.

As a youth himself, Morrissey was obsessed with rock culture being a long haired dole head and, weirdly, was in a rock band with Billy Duffy before he formed goth/classicist rockers, The Cult. This obsession ran so deep that the bequiffed one had a book on proto-punk glam rockers, The New York Dolls published before he became a singer. So perhaps it is just a case of him traveling full circle by hiring producer Jerry Finn and keyboard player Roger Manning (both of whom have previously worked together with Blink 182) to work on Years Of Refusal.

So the differences are not really that great after all. When Gerard Way declares himself the “king of the faggots” he is, no matter clumsily, aping Morrissey’s complex attitude towards his sexuality (something he in turn, learned from stars such as David Bowie). It is fitting that the last clearly defined outsider youth tribe has finally taken to one of the last great iconic outsider figures of pop.

— By Akira The Don on Friday, February 27th, 2009

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Watchmen? Wastemen more like...

So, Luke rang me yesterday. I was like, word up Luke! Seen any good steam trains lately? And he as like, never mind that Dr The Don, I have an assignment for you. Fancy going to see Watchmen tonight at the Imax and reviewing it for The Quietus? And I was like, dude! No way! OMFGdotcom forwardslash FUCK YEAH! And he was like, stop talking like a twelve year old. And I was like, NEVER!

Then I crashed my bicycle into a white van but I didn’t care because I was SO EXCITED!

Then I went home and my new PC got delivered. Then I went to the Natural History Museum to see the Darwin Exhibition courtesy of my good friend BJ who works there. The I went to see The Watchmen with my hot girlfriend, who was suffering some terrible agonies. Then we came home, and I wrote this.

From The Quietus:

Watchmen Reviewed: Has Zack Snyder Killed The Comic Book Adaptation?

Adam Narkiewicz, February 27th, 2009 04:10

It’s one of the most talked about graphic novel adaptations in cinema history. But will creator Alan Moore’s misgivings about filming Watchmen be realised?

You probably know that Watchmen is a movie based on this totally awesome comic book that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons did in the 80s that pretty much single-handedly dragged the superhero genre (and the public’s perception of it) kicking and screaming into the Modern World. This led to comics being sold in book shops and all sorts of neat stuff like that (it was also responsible for acres of really shitty comic books about ridiculously emo superheroes with creepy sexual hangups, but so what? Hunter S Thompson was responsible for more shit “journalism” than you could shake a sack of coke at – cough – but I was still hyped about that Fear And Loathing movie.)

The work’s author, world-famous magician and Northampton resident Dr Alan “RZA Rings” Moore has notoriously refused to have his name on the credits, and has been telling anyone that asked for as long they’ve been asking that the comic is unfilmable, and that any attempt would fail harder than the Titanic did at Being A Reliable Method Of Water Transportation.

But no-one listens to comic book writers, especially when comic book movies have been making almost as much money as drugs and guns and bestial ninja pr0n lately. “Fuck Alan Moore,” my overtly-manly geek-off Welsh buddy Gwilym spat at me, when discussing the subject recently. “Unfilmable my arse. That hairy fuck hasn’t got a clue. They’ve got the technology to do anything in films now.” Gwilym loved 300, incidentally – Watchmen director Zack Snyder’s last comic book adaption, an intensely racist and magnificently dumb affair, that manged to be both homophobic AND homoerotic all at once.

“I would rather not know [about the movie],” said Moore, last year. “[Zack Snyder] may very well be [a very nice guy], but the thing is that he’s also the person who made 300. I’ve not seen any recent comic book films, but I didn’t particularly like the book 300. I had a lot of problems with it, and everything I heard or saw about the film tended to increase [those problems] rather than reduce them.”

Yeah, but so what? Watchmen is based on Watchmen, and Watchmen is the best comic book ever! Or one of the best comics ever, anyway. Zack Snyder says he loved Watchmen more than his mother and his God combined, and has made an “unprecedentedly faithful adaption”… How could it go wrong?

Wow.

You have no fucking idea.

Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is the most incredible feat of “faithful adaption” fail this side of The Bible (ask Jesus if you don’t know what I mean). It’s like somebody traced a picture of a lovely shiny tasty apple, then scrawled maggots all over it, then wiped their arse with it, then decided to feed it to a passing toddler and draw a picture of a banana dipped in pestilence instead.

You kind of realise it’s going to be shit from the first moment. The Bob Dylan song used to illustrate the effect superheroes had in this alternate reality between the 50s and the 80s is about as subtle as a Spiderman outfit at a funeral, and then they go and set their stall out for all to see by adding a load of unnecessary post-Matrix superviolence to The Comedian’s death scene – those cartoonish, slow-mo blood-spatter sequences that gave all those 12 year old boys who loved 300 all those cute little erections. That shit runs rampant through this movie like acid diarrhea. A part of you does go, “ooh, that looks just like the comic!” when he gets chucked out of the window. It really does, and that happens a lot during the film – most of the key moments are indeed, perfectly executed, filmed versions of panels from the comic book. But that’s it. That’s the only thing that is any good about the movie. And that’s where any connection between the comic and the film ends.

A comic book is – shock fucking horror – more than a storyboard. There’s stuff that goes on in a comic book, in the panels, in the drawings, in the speech bubbles, and in the gutters (the space between the panels, ign’ant non-comic reading scum). To successfully adapt Watchmen, a filmmaker would have to be able to recognise this. He would have to be able to read, and understand a comic book. Something eight-year-olds the world over have learned to do just fine, but something that, on this evidence, Zack Snyder has not.

Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is a travesty. Dialogue and plot points are butchered, moments of true emotion are rendered lifeless, dull, and at some points quite mirthful, by a combination of bad acting, bad editing, bad direction and outrageously populist, woefully inappropriate music choices (Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ is dropped on a sex scene, seemingly for comedic effect) Stunningly bad lines are added willy nilly (there’s even a tacked on “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” at the end, which made me laugh out lout), and that’s not even getting to the wholesale abuse of the characters and the story. The most important stuff is gone, and what’s left is exaggerated beyond reasonable comprehension (right down to giving Dr Manhattan Donkey Dick) and dragged out for what feels like seventeen years, until all memory of what was great, moving, beautiful and true about the comic is gone, and all you’re left with is a gang of whiney arsehole lead characters you don’t give a fuck about (Jackie Earle Haley put in an admirable effort as Rorscharch, to his credit), a convoluted, nonsensical mess of a story, and an outrageously shitty 911-evoking new ending (!!!!!!!!!!!) that ruins the whole point of the book. Were it a horse, it would be dragged out back and shot. And made into that knock-off Pritt Stick that doesn’t work. And sniffed by NME readers at Pete Doherty lookalike parties.

Incredibly, Snyder has taken one of the greatest comic books ever published, and made the the single worst comic book movie ever to see daylight. Batman And Robin was Apocalypse Now compared to this. Watchmen: The Movie! is a goonish, damp, moronic, downright rude travesty. Alan Moore’s worst fears could not prepare us for what Snyder has done to his most beloved work. Watchmen may have single handedly killed the comic-book movie genre. And you know what? Good. Maybe Snyder and his ilk can try coming up with their own ideas, and curling off huge diseased shit-heaps all over them, and maybe comic book scribes can stop trying to write movies, and get back to doing what they do best, and what only comics can.

— Friday, February 27th, 2009