Nine of my writings elsewhere on the web, just for posterity. Be warned: whilst I generally don’t adopt internet personas per se, I do have a number of various tones that I apply for each subject, and going from one to the other might seem jarring for anyone who is used to this blog.
Arkham Shitty, a review of the new Batman game and a muse about its larger political context.
My Night With Wonder Woman, concerning how I would reboot the character if I could muster a shit to give.
Garth’s Heroes, comparing Garth Ennis’ Preacher with his Hitman, and their debts to the works of John Ford and Sergio Leone.
I Would Fuck An Editor To Fuck Paul Verhoeven. In the grasp of a horrible shamanic fever, I declare my admiration for the great director.
The Modern Epic, on Kenneth Anger and his Magic Lantern Cycle of films.
My Problems with Game of Thrones, on why I don’t watch the hit series or particularly enjoy the books.
The Ten Greatest English Football Coaches Unheard of in England, which I feel speaks for itself.
Hiddink: As Good As You Think? A piece on the career of Guus Hiddink as he looked poised to take over the vacant Chelsea managerial position.
Would Everton Have Won the European Cup? A retrospective on the great Merseyside team of the 1980s.
These days I primarily write under my own name, Laurence or L.K. Thompson. But if you see a piece by JerryCornelius, Grim North, OfLegend, Doctor Vile, Chicken Fox or Luther Blissett, it’s probably mine.
Only joking about that last one.
Or am I?
In other news
This week I’ve been listening to DROKK, which is a new album by Geoff Barrow of Portishead fame and Ben Salisbury. As the name would suggest, it’s inspired by the Mega City One of Judge Dredd, probably my favourite comic book character. For that reason alone, it’s my favourite album of 2012 thus far, but the startlingly unsubtle electronic textures and ominous viscidity of the sound recall all the brilliantly bleak music sountracks of 80s sci-fi films such as The Terminator. Those were the days when everyone suspected the worldwas going to end in horrible nuclear war, so it’s somewhat fitting to have an eschatological 2012 album. That said, it’s alloyed with enough of the sort of sweeping scape-structures you’d expect from Barrow and Salisbury for it to also be about the future, thematically and musically. You can listen to the whole thing for free here.
On a similar note, Carter Tutti Void’s 2011 recording, Transverse, was released last month. Some days I wish more industrial music had gone down this route: it’s abrasive rather than harsh, interesting instead of impermeable, psychically involving rather than needlessly mystic, driving rather than grinding. For a live album it’s unusually well structured… until you realise the tracks are actually being improvised. Industrial was in many ways sci-fi, a what-if story of how music might have progressed without a blues influence; this is one of the few times the electronics that grew out of that movement have provided, for me, a level of detail and ‘anarchic order’ to rival free jazz for pride of place in my record collection. It’s excellent and you can hear samples here.
I’m still catching up with a lot of the acclaimed records of 2011. I find myself agreeing with Steven Hyden’s article that it was a year of many good albums but no important ones. Even so, I’m struggling to find one I actually like. There’s nothing intrinscally wrong with the efforts of M83, Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs, Destroyer or Shabazz Palaces (though I’m starting to actively dislike Bon Iver, which felt overdone and underwhelming) and there are lots about those albums that I like, but none that are likely to stay in rotation over the next few years the way My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or I’m New Here from 2010 have.
That said, I think there must be something wrong with me, as for the second year running I’ve loved the Mercury Prize winner, which last year was of course PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake. Unlike a lot of Harvey fans (like Hyden), who seem to be put off by her latest reinvention (and perhaps her most shocking yet, in that she’s basically stripped away her voice and built a new one from the group up), I thought it was absolutely fantastic, the ‘war album’ in the same way as For Whom the Bell Tolls was the ‘war novel’ and All Quiet on the Western Front the ‘war film’. I’m also still enjoying St. Vincent’s Strange Mercy from last September, and eagerly awaiting her new effort with David Byrne: the best thing about St. Vincent is you feel the best is yet to come.
2011 was fine, but… 2012 for the win.