Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Last night I dreamed I was in California, or Mars, walking along beautiful clifftops as blood red waves roared and crashed against the copper shore. I looked up into the sky and it opened for me, and I fell into it, tumbling soundlessly, infinitely. Then Kreayshawn showed up and gave me a joint. It was nice hanging out with Kreakshawn. She was very realaxed about tumbling infinitely through space.

It should come as no surprise then, that in so-called real life I was hanging out with Grant Morrison last night. His wife, The Legendary Kristan hit me up last week to let me know they were going to be in London this week, to congratulate me on the release of The Life Equation (which opens with Grant’s voice) and to see if I fancied hooking up while they were in town. So me and my nearly-wife and my messed-up back went down to Foyles, where dude was having a public conversation about his new book, Supergods, with the encouragingly informed, competent and erudite Sam Leith, in front of a packed room of 200 deeply serious humans. It was a great talk, Grant musing amusedly on things like godhood and fiction and the fifth dimension, dealing smartly and merrily with each and every question that Mr Leith, and then half of the assembled audience, had to throw at him.

You can, natrually, read all about it on Bleeding Cool, where Rich Johnston already has a complete blow by blow account of the proceedings online. We ran into him in the lift. I knew I’d see him. I gave him a CD.

Grant came over after he’d finished, and we had a bit of a chat, then he went off to sign seventeen hundred thousand books, and Charlotte and I retired to the Green Room with Kristan, where we discussed the glory and madness of Los Angles and were supplied  posh crisps and wines by the nice Foyles people. We were later joined by the aforementioned Mr Leith, and a former UK Vertigo bawse and self confessed “dope addled buffoon” Tim Pilcher (he’s starred in lots of brilliant comics too), both of whom were excellent company, and thus got a CD each. After he’d finished his seventeen hundred thousand books Grant joined us and repeated his assertations that Living In The Future and The Life Equation are both brilliant and amazing, and that I’m his “favourite new band”. It also turns out we have a large shared musical ancestry, and he could hear a Graham Fellows influence in my stuff which NO ONE HAS EVER NOTICED BEFORE. (If you haven’t either, check the Jilted John album, a conceptual work of genius and a brilliant, timeless pop album about Becoming A Man).

I was also cheered that everybody present got the Blake reference in the Life Equation artwork, which, again, not a whole lot of people seem to have.

Anyway. Longtime wanderers of these hallowed halls will have been reading me banging on about Mr Morrison’s works for years, and anyone that’s actually read it will have noticed the profound influence its had on my shit, and my development as a sentient human. Doom Patrol, Animal Man, Seaguy, The Filth, Seven Soliders, all that stuff has been an integral part of my expansion. I read The Invisibles shortly after completing my first album in New York, and it enunciated quite perfectly and beautifully everything I’d been trying to say on that record. That the dude digs my shit is a truly wonderful feeling.


So, today I have been in the dentist, getting the inside of my dead tooth drilled out, no painkiller necessary cos that thing is DEEEEEEEEEEED. I kilt it when I was 13. It was a cold, dark winter’s morning in North Wales, and the netball court had frozen solid, and we took the opportunity to bomb around it with joyful abandon before assembly. The bell went – brrrrrrrrrring! – and in the skidding rush of bodies I found myself flung faceward into the ice, where I landed with a mighty CRACK. I lay for a little while, ice greedily lapping up the crimson gushing from my face, my right-front tooth smashed in half, pondering my lot. My creepy sexist pederast dentist used a brace to pull the remaining half tooth in line with it’s unharmed brother, but it never recovered from the ordeal, and died.

RIP that tooth.

Anyway, over the years that dead tooth has become discoloured, has started looking like one of those fake missing teeth we used to make with little black squares of paper at school, and it suddenly dawned on me last week that I was going to have a stupid gap-toothed-looking Mad Magazine smile in my wedding photo, so I rang my dentist and demanded he fix it immediately. So now I am sat with a hollow front tooth full of bleach and a rubber mould of my top row of teeth pressing a bunch of bleach against the outside of the poor dead shell. So we shall see how we get on over the next few days, and we shall also see how having a rubber grill in my  mouth affects the two songs I’m vocalling this afternoon that you will be hearing next week.


— Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

“I’ve been plagiarising my whole life. It’s called learning.”
Akira The Don, 2008, paraphrasing Hunter S Thompson

So, I was taking a break from the rent-earning task I was doing today that I kinda hoped I’d have got out of the way by this point what with having loads of really important stuff to do like songs and comic strips and whathaveyou, riiiight, and I had a look at Tweetdeck, and at the top of my mentions column, which is essentially an inbox, I had the following, from fellow Death’s Head fan @jaykayell_ :

@AkiratheDon Sorry to beg of your services good sirrah but could you let your followers know about this http://bit.ly/a5Frv9

And I thought, sheee-it, who am I, Neil Gaiman? Then I clicked on it, cos I am totally into helping people out. I figured it might be a song that needed some promo, or a charity, or something. But it was not! It was a link to a message-board, seething with outrage over this indie comic that’s full of art that rips off other comics, that’d I read about already earlier on Robot 6 while I was eating my hot buttered toast.

So I was like,

@jaykayell_ The thing about Gene Simmons’ son? I saw that earlier. Silly boy. Why’d you want everyone to know?

And he was like,

@akirathedon Art theft really pee’s me off. Speshly when it’s so blatant, just thought you’d be the man to report them :)

And I was like, HMMMMMM. I suppose I AM that man.

I am, after all, an authority on comic books – well, the comic books I’ve read at any rate. Or the one’s I’ve read that I can remember. Like, I read a lot of Justice League comics at one point, but I’m buggered if I can tell you what happened in any of them, apart from that one where everybody fell alseep. Actually, that’s all I can remember about that one. Batman probably figured it out. He usually does.

ANYWAY! I know stuff. And you know what stuff I probably know most about? Ripping stuff off. Shee-it, I even called my second album – well, my first album-mixtape, my Hatfull of Hollow, shall we say – Thieving. That’s something I do. I steal stuff, bubba. And make new stuff with it. And that’s what this kid Nick Simmons did, right? He ripped off some stuff and made some new stuff with it. For example, a panel from Tite Kubo’s famous Manga Bleach, and a panel from Simmons’ Incarnate:

OK, that’s pretty similar. I’m not quite sure what he’s added there. Other than laughter. Laughter’s good, right?


Oh no, I just noticed the other guy’s laughing too, just with a uniform typeface. Oops. Well, Simmons got rid of the drooly blood stuff! That changed it, right?


Further investigation reveals that much of Incarnate is copied from Bleach, from fight sequences to character designs right down to personality types. Simmons is obviously a big Bleach fan.

Now, as I mentioned, I am an authority in the field of creative theft. I have sampled the crap out of most of my favourite artists, and have always been as brazen as possible about it. Like, when I ripped off a gang of Jack Kirby art for my second album-mixtape, The Omega Sanction‘s sleeve. I said I’d ripped off a load of Jack Kirby art. I’d changed it a bit, I’d made it look like me, and arranged it in a big Omega Symbol, so it was something new – it looked like something else now, and, more importantly, it said something else.

Not that saying something new with your stolen art is necessary. The message I put across in CLONES was pretty much the same as Alice Cooper’s in his Clones (We’re All). I just went into more detail – my detail. And I went crazy with the drums and bass.

I also credited Alice Cooper on the record. Maybe if Nick Simmons has put a nice “inspired by Tite Kubo’s Bleach” at the start of his comic people wouldn’t be calling for his immediate DEATH by ANGRY BLOGGING. Then again, maybe if he was someone other than Gene Simmons’ son, and people weren’t already suspicious that he’s got his own comic book because of that monied parental bonus, rather than any of his own talents, maybe there would less of a giant shit being given. I mean, it’s not like this sort of thing is rare in comics. They have a word for it: “Swipe”. Some of the industry’s biggest names have been doing it for years. People like Levi’s Ad star Rob “Crosshatched Groinal Area” Liefeld, for example:

And so on… Sheee-it, Rob even has his own character called SMASH!, who’s a, shall we say, hulking individual with purple skin and a propensity for city-levelling fights with other super-types.

But so what, right? Doesn’t Alan Moore steal all his characters from out of copyright Victorian books? Wasn’t X-Men a rip off of Doom Patrol (super powered outcasts lead by bloke in wheel chair)? Wasn’t Batman created by drawing on top of a picture of Superman? Wasn’t Superman himself a big rip off of Doc Savage, Man of Bronze?

The Stones Stole. Led Zepplin stole. Kool Herc stole.

If we dismissed all stolen works from popular culture we wouldn’t have any popular culture.

So Sayeth The Don.

As for Nick Simmons, he’s only 22, give him time to learn. You gotta copy a whole gang of pictures before you get good at making your own. He obviously loves what he’s doing, so let him get on with it. He will learn from this. Either way, I’m not salty about any jump-starts he might be getting. I don’t imagine having Gene Simmons as a dad is all that fun in real life.

Well, that’s my 5pence worth anyway. What do you think?

— Thursday, February 25th, 2010

By Akira The Don on Friday, January 22nd, 2010

This looks fucking funny as fuck. Props to Joey2tits for hipping my lame ass, I didn’t even know it was coming out.

Jacked from The Guardian.

— By Akira The Don on Friday, January 22nd, 2010