Posts Tagged ‘credit crunch’

Bloody Mary!

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

I haven’t written many blog posts recently. Blame the credit crunch. With Halloween on the horizon, (not to mention Charlie Brooker’s imminent Big Brother Zombiefest Dead Setwhy not check out our own entry into the world of fear, suspense and brain eating, Flying Monkey Comics’ Musical Halloween Spectacular…

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The Prophets are probably happy

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Hooray. Yes, of course it’s good that America (and the world) now has a Democrat in the White House. And it’s a no brainer that a young black guy is most likely going to have a more progressive outlook than an old white guy. But the best thing is that there’s now a president who sounds like a character from Deep Space Nine.

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FMC! The True Hollywood Story!

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Critics may suggest that today’s post over at our sister site, Flying Monkey Comics, is sour grapes because of that fact that we don’t have a Wikipedia page, and all my contributions to that particular site keep getting deleted. There may be a smidgeon of a shadow of an element of truth in that. But with our appearance at Leeds’ Thoughtbubble Festival coming up, not to mention the credit crunch, I thought it was time to have a look back at the history of this planet bestriding comics collossus.

Of course, in order to celebrate our tenth anniversary of sequential farts, we have already posted up some of our old strips, including this semi fictionalised account of our artistic development. The current strip, however, is the true story, so if you are compiling the definitive story of our rise, fall and then semi rise, this is the place to look. And don’t forget to check back at the site later in the week for the next two parts of the sensational true life story of FMC, featuring celebrities, sex, nudity, scandal, and incongruous resignations.*

 

*Some of this is lies.

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Thoughtbubblin’

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Comic conventions are a peculiar phenomenon. For a start most of the organisers of these events go out of the way to discourage them from being referred to as “conventions”. As an exhibitor, you can go with the express purpose of trying to make money, or to just make friends and get pally with like minded individuals. Here at Flying Monkey International, we are far too idiosyncratic (or possibly stubborn) to do much of the former and way, way?too misanthropic to do any of the latter.

In fact, one of our major directors and creative lynchpins, Mr Andrew Livesey, isn’t attending the forthcoming Thoughtbubble Festival in Leeds at all, instead opting for a weekend of sex, drugs, violence and miscellaneous debauchery. He swung by my house to drop off a stack of his new collection Chimpanzee Democracy, and his legendarily limited Tasty Fanzine T Shirts, with the veiled threat of evisceration if I dared not to sell any of them.

Tasty!

Despite this we shall be in attendance at Thoughtbubble. When someone decides to put on a Comics event pretty much on your doorstep, it seems rude not to show up (except last year, when I waited far too long to order any books, so didn’t have any on the day).

However, if you wish to purchase any of Andrew’s blood money funded merchandise, or any of our wonderful Hope For The Future collections and back issues (including the new(ish) issue 10), or even one of the few remaining copies of the epochal small press anthology Flying Monkey, come on over to our table and say hello. Underneath our irascible exterior we are actually quite friendly, and happy to chat about anything from the new Clone Wars cartoon, last week’s X Factor result shocker, the Credit Crunch, or Instru-Metal.

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Gig Review: Leeds Lights 6th Nov 2008

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

I’ve noticed that a lot of comics blogs include gig reviews. What, comics not cool enough for ya? So in the best spirit of copying everyone else, here I go.

Every year my wife suggests we go and see the Christmas lights in Leeds being turned on, and every year it’s exactly the same. Some schmucks from local radio introduce a pop group you’ve never heard of, someone that used to be in a pop group you have heard of, someone who was on The X Factor the previous year, Santa, the Lord Mayor (why are we expected to cheer that guy?), and then someone else from The X Factor. However, in these times of crunch being credited, you can’t really complain because it’s free.

Over the last few years I’ve seen more rubbish pop groups than I can remember. These include, but are not limited to Rachel Stevens, McFly, four fifths of Girls Aloud, Darius Danesh and Cannibal Corpse. That last one might not actually be true. Last year one time X Factor winner Shayne Ward was being helicoptored in from Manchester (take that, environment!) but was running late, so his “set” ended up being shorter than Chico’s. Oh the indignity! Dick and Dom were a laugh though, with their constant chanting of “Shayne Loves Dick!”.

Usually “Santa” appears and does a bit of business with Rudolf, or elves or some such. Santa appears to be a bit of an egomaniac, though. His party piece is his rendition of Santa Claus Is Coming To… LEEDS! I see what you’ve done there to make it a bit more unique, but talking about yourself in the third person? That’s not cool man. I dunno, but seeing some guy (spoiler alert: he’s not the real Santa) leering into the camera saying “I know when you are sleeping!” is a little unsettling. At least this year he didn’t do I Believe which is always a rather excrutiating and this is me moment.

The eyes of a killer

Same Difference: Cute, perky and unthreatening. And her slightly creepy brother.

 

Santa was joined this year by X Factor (I’m getting sick of typing that) runners up Same Difference. Saying anything bad about these two would be like kicking a puppy, possibly while shooting fish in a barrel, so I shall leave it, except to note that they did a cover of Starship’s “classic” Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.

Starship were a bit weird, weren’t they? Originally Jefferson Airplane, one of the most radical psychedelic acts of the 60s, they morphed into Jefferson Starship (sci-fi credentials cemented by an appearance in the infamous crapfest The Star Wars Holiday Special), and then simply Starship. I still can’t get my head around the fact that the band that sang “I’d rather have my country die for me” ended up soundtracking Mannequin. Let’s be honest, Mannequin is terrible. I can just about accept the idea of a shop dummy coming to life as Samantha from Sex and the City (it was the eighties, after all), but don’t expect me to care about the cutthroat world of professional window dressers.

The evening was rounded off by Simon Webbe out of Blue (think about that: he’s a quarter as good as Blue!), Alesha out of Mis-Teeq, and Leon Jackson, who resembles a cleaned up, but terrified Pete Doherty. Leon may have won The X Factor, but it has to be said, he really isn’t cut out for a career as a performer.

Oh well, roll on next year. Steve Brookstein, Matt from Busted and someone from Atomic Kitten. Possibly.

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Gig Review: Marillion, Leeds Met 13 Nov 2008

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

I don’t go to a lot of gigs these days, for a number of reasons. The ever present credit crunch notwithstanding, it’s mostly the fact that I generally hate people. However I do always go to see Marillion when they’re on tour. It’s a very blokey thing to do, follow a particular band through thick and thin. In Chuck Klosterman’s excellent Fargo Rock City he talks about the fact that he buys every Motley Crue album even though he knows, these days at least, they’ll invariably be rubbish. It’s the same impulse that drives men to support crap football teams I suppose. Marillion’s fans are so devoted that they actually pay for the albums before the things are recorded.

That’s not to say I’m joylessly following a hopeless band, as Marillion have been going through a particularly rich creative spell for a number of years now, and the new album Happiness Is The Road is superb, melodic, mature and inventive. Not sexy, fashionable terms I’ll grant you, but it’s a bunch of guys who have been playing music since the late 70s, not some bunch of 19 year old haircuts from East Twattington.

Weirdly enough though, back when he first joined the band Q Magazine described vocalist Steve Hogarth as a “leather jacketed sex bomb”, and mentioned his “shaggy dreamboat good looks”. He’s a bit more grizzled these days. In fact he seems like a weird eccentric little dude who should be running a second hand shop in a sitcom with limited appeal on BBC2. Mind you, I’m sure he makes women of a certain age wet.

I’ve actually lost track of the amount of times I’ve seen Marillion live now, and with their best songs, not to mention their musical abilities they don’t have any problems putting on a great show.

Marillion, honest

Some brilliant photography by me

They could do with varying their setlist a bit though. They’ve been playing emotional, stirring versions of songs like The Great Escape and Afraid of Sunlight for so long that they could do it in their sleep, but I would rather they give those songs a rest and play something a little more surprising. The highlight for me was The Invisible Man from 2004’s Marbles album, a performance so dramatic and atmospheric that I think my mouth was hanging open like a particularly stupid whale shark for the duration.

Whatever. The probelm with writing about stuff you genuinely like is that you tend to come off sounding like a bit of a dickhead. It’s far easier (and more fun) to slag stuff off, or be sarcastic. And so to Razorlight.

One suspects that if the record company support dried up, Johnny Borrell’s boys wouldn’t be able to rely on a fanbase as committed as Marillion’s. They’d have to get proper jobs. Professional gits, probably.

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Gig Review: Extreme + Hot Leg, Leeds Academy 14 Nov 2008

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

As someone who loved The Darkness, I was made up at the chance to see Justin Hawkins’ new band Hot Leg. He has teamed up with a bloke from a band called Anchorhead (who play what they describe as “Darth Metal“, which it would appear is what I’ve been waiting to hear my whole life), to continue the legacy of riffs, awesome guitar solos and high pitched vocals. Sentimentally, it made me happy to see Justin looking and sounding so good, not to mention having such a good time, seeing as he’d been a bit fucked up for a few years. I can’t wait to see them again once their album is out, as I had only heard two of their songs previously (including Trojan Guitar, the title of which should let you know the sort of thing you’re in for.)

 

We Are Hot Leg

We Are Hot Leg

 

There aren’t many bands that had the rug pulled out from beneath them as spectacularly as Extreme. After the massive one-two punch of the throbbing cock rock Get The Funk Out and the swoonsome romantic ballad More Than Words in 1990, the world was at their feet (although I always preferred the acoustic 12 string stompalong Hole Hearted). They then went ahead with their Big Statement, which, as they had clearly grown up not only in thrall to the tight trousered histrionics of Van Halen and Kiss, but also the meticulously constructed fantasies of the likes of Queen and Yes, resulted in a triple (!) concept album. However, it was now 1992 and the public no longer had time for either raucous metal anthems or twenty minute orchestrally augmented song suites. Grunge had arrived.

This led the band to follow up with a raw sounding album full of angry, bitter songs, such as No Respect, Cynical Fuck and Hip Today (“You’ll be gone tomorrow” etc etc). And then they split up.

But they’re back back back baby, with a new album (the implausibly named Saudades De Rock) and tour, and good grief they’re pretty much the same as when I saw them back in ’90. Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt are practically unchanged, Cherone resembling an Easter Island moai, and Bettencourt being possibly the most ridiculously beautiful man I’ve ever seen. Surely being that talented should be enough, and some universal justice would kick in and make him look like a guitar toting Joseph Merrick, but no. How utterly unfair.

I had initially been taken aback that the tickets were a credit crunch baiting thirty quid, a bit cheeky for a band that have been absent for so many years, but my god, they gave it their all, and it was worth every penny. I think the rest of the audience were in agreement with me (for once), considering how mental they were going. Usually these nostalgic shows tend to be a little subdued, but the band and the audience acted as if the early 90s had never ended. The new songs were pretty good too,?my only grumble being that they didn’t play the hilarious King of the Ladies. I even sang along with More Than Words. Well, you have to, don’t you?

 

Nuno. And some other blokes

Nuno. And some other blokes

 

Now, when are Living Colour coming back?

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We Got Served!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Due to various server changes, our regular schedule has been thrown into disarray. You may have noticed that the site has been absent, replaced temporarily with a picture of a friendly dog. Awww!

You may need to change your RSS subscription settings. And by “may” I mean “will”.  But make no mistake, we’re back baby! And just in time for our (sure to be) heroic and historic appearance at the UK Web and Mini Comix Thing this year, on March 28th. Check us out at table number 70. That’s the best number.

UKWMT

We may not have any new merchandise (because of laziness), but there is plenty of all the stuff we had at the last con. And don’t forget we have Hope for the Future back issues for sale at the credit crunch busting price of 50p a pop.

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When Gillan joined Sabbath

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

I grew up in a time when references to popular culture on TV were rare. You might get a very broad Frank Spencer impersonation, but even that would have no specifics or attention to detail. Even in the nineties, the teenagers on Neighbours and Home & Away would refer to “that band” and “that CD”, seemingly terrified to name actual artists, which was weird because Frente! would pop up every other week (“Music supplied by Mushroom Records”).

Round about the same time The Mary Whitehouse Experience were self consciously spoofing Suede and Reservoir Dogs, which seemed fairly exciting at the time, if only because the squares didn’t get it. After The Mary Whitehouse Experience came Lee & Herring’s Fist of Fun, which eventually morphed into This Morning With Richard Not Judy. This featured a character called The Curious Orange, who was named after The Fall’s I Am Kurious Oranj. Now that’s an obscure reference.

It gave me untold joy to hear Stewart Lee, on his Comedy Vehicle show, compare DFS’ merger with Allied Carpets to the time “when Gillan joined Sabbath”, with not a word of explanation. I would wager that even most metal fans, let alone the majority of the mainstream TV audience, don’t remember that particular misbegotten branch of the Black Sabbath and Deep Purple family tree.

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