Is anyone else sick of employers bleating that the minimum wage is hindering their business?
They must think we're all stupid.
A few of them were on the BBC's Any Answers on Saturday, saying the minimum wage keeps pay down, and that people can't afford to go to work - especially if they live in London - because their housing costs are paid by benefits.
So its official, Lou Reed is dead. With him dies part of the age of great rock and rollers.
Whether you listened to his stuff or not, I’m sure many of you have at least heard ‘Perfect Day’. To to frank, I was born long after his heyday. I was pretty young even when the Beeb did that weird cover with everyone from Bono to Bowie in it. Are people even talking about him a few weeks after his death? I would wager not. The conversation has moved on, because no-one has the time to decompress, to look back, to revisit things.
With Lou Reed its even harder, because whilst he skirted the mainstream every now and then, hes never seemed to consciously do it, even rejecting it if it got too overbearing and started to interfere with what he wanted to do. Most of his music will be impenetrable to anyone who doesn’t have their eye on change, who doesn’t rebel at the thought of seeing their favorite bands play the same 10 songs over and over again for their entire career. He tanked his own mainstream career with Metal Machine Music, despite it being a precursor to most Industrial music that exists today.
From the stories I’ve read, he didn’t particularly get on with people well either. So theres one inescapable conclusion I can make of Lou Reed. He did what he wanted and he wouldn’t mince words. That was part of the reason his fans loved him. The unwillingness to compromise on what he wanted to do, write or say. Its so rare in a world today, where everyone’s so eager to make it they won’t say a bad word about anyone. Not even rock bands!
By just being him, he approached topics with such an intensity and truth about them, that he was talking about transvestite and transgender sex workers back when most people didn’t even know they existed, or if they did, it was a taboo topic, full of stigma and shame.
Not many people can say they did everything they wanted. Not even Lou I bet. But he came damn close I think. Even with all his wrinkles and his imperfections, he was an artist.
So one last time, take a walk on the wild side. Rest in peace you asshole.
So, a weird thing happened. I reviewed a comic a few months ago when I started writing for the Cult Den (the date for the review says it was back in July, it seems like just yesterday). I quite liked it, as it played a really stupid premise completely straight. I chatted with the guys who wrote it on a few social networking sites. I mostly forgot about it to be honest.
Then today, whilst reading through a trade copy of Volume 1 of the series (I assume this means there will be a volume 2) I got to the back page and there was my something I had written, used as a quote and attributed to me.
As someone who’s never really courted fame or been into the writing thing for the purpose of self promotion, its really an odd thing to see. I’m not sure what to make of it. I mean, will this compromise me now? Will I be unconsciously writing in sentences that are short and punchier to try and get more back quotes? Who knows, but its fun to see that I still have First World Problems a few months into this writing lark.
Regardless, its nice to see that out of what I’m doing, someone has taken notice. So thanks for the honour of sticking my scrawlings on your picture book.
In general though, I’m not really a fan of Bluewater Comics. Most of their output is shitty and it sounds like they don’t treat their creative staff very well. But its an interesting discussion to have. Is it possible to have a line of comics that are pro feminism, pro gay rights and so on have worth because of the education potential they possess? Even if, by all standards I hold (bar the positive messages), they are terrible comics?
I’m not sure I know the answer to that question. I just know that the Tina Turner biopic comic made me want to bleach my brain via my eyeballs. I guess if it means they can allow for comics like Jesus E. Lee and Liberator then it may be worth it.
But I also wonder if just my view of what constitutes comics is skewed irreparably by the current dominant American form, that of superheroes. They are really just a niche of a niche, that’s only getting so much attention because of the current Hollywood obsession with them.
I’m not sure myself. I’ve always viewed the superhero thing as a slight outsider, despite my liking of comics where people punch other people really hard. Perhaps its because I grew up with 2000AD and the Beano, which between them had more variety, vitality and originality of storytelling in them than superhero comics have had in close to 20 years.
The Beano also let me see early on, the way in which most comics, and stories in general, are inherently cyclical, so I was debased of that notion that comics have to be constantly bound by continuity if it sacrifices fun.
Where am I going with this? I’m not sure. I’m just saying I would rather read a comic where Jesus and Mary Magdalene fight in downtown city area with superpowers whilst a one armed man beats daemons to death in hell, over something as cynically calculated as Avengers vs X-men. Or hell, 90% of X-men comics these days, which as standard tend to treat their readers as if they have 25+ years of intimate knowledge about the (many, many) series. It bores me, because I don’t have the time for that shit anymore. Certainly now when the internet allows me to access a world of far more interesting comics at the tap of a few buttons.
At the end of it all, perhaps what I want when reading hilariously stupid and fun comics, is something thats got some love in it, over something so cynically calculated. That’s all I can ask for. Love
That and a London cabbie mooning the corpses of daemons he just beat to death. Thats always a winner.
So in doing lots for others again this month, I managed to completely miss out on posting here. Well, fuck it.
Anyway, heres the things I’ve done this past month of note. Considering how much I’m writing for effectively free, I really need to dedicate some time to not only book writing, (that never ending battle) but getting paid for this, especially considering I’m being made redundant at the end of this year, so every penny helps batter away the bailiffs for a while . I’ve come to realise that I’m at least 50% more organised and professional than a lot of people I write for, even if that makes for dryer text, so perhaps that will help.
But I let you be the judge of that.
Things I did done this month
A did a lot of things for the Cult Den, though most of it was behind the scenes. I still wrote tons too. Not that its possible to find due to bloggers rather shit search engine. But its there anyway. Highlights include writing about Stephen King’s magnum opus The Dark Tower, visiting a con and enjoying it (you can see shots of me in real life, if you want the run the risk of seeing a pale white guy) and did a review of a book that had the author offering to buy me a pint for being honest.
In the spirit of Halloween, I did review of a Rob Zombie film that was actually good for Alwyn Ash and Movie Maker. Though structurally similar, theres enough differences to make it worth a visit to each. Though I was writing it whilst tired so my spelling and grammar is atrocious, thats no excuse. Still, interesting ramblings.
On a bad note, I also bid farewell to a long time friend, over him not being able to cope with any sort of discussion of his work that wasn’t glowering praise or supplication. Its a real shame and upset me a lot at the time. I’m someone who believes honesty is a trait thats so rare these days, it should be something you grapple onto with both hands if you find a friend willing to be that way, so I’m over it now (of course subtle honestly is even rarer). But I knew that person for a long time and stuck with him even when everyone else told to get the hell away, so it feels like there a big part of my life gone.
But on the upside, I actually had some time to spend with the other half, which was nice. We watched a bunch of Halloween films last night and carved our own pumpkin! In short, though they will develop into full posts in time, Halloween Resurrection (how did they get this so wrong?), Motocross Zombies From HELL (dull), Pandorum (dull but pretty) Doom (Karl Urban!) and Pontypool (really really good).
So, a fresh month. Lets see how it goes eh?
Chaos and Addiction
Now this isn’t going to be a happy topic to talk about, but its something that needs to be said. I got the demons codex recently, and whilst I toy with writing a review for it (its coming, trust me) its given me time to think back on Chaos. From the time of learning of the existence of Chaos in the 40k and WFB settings, to me, its been by far the most fascinating concept of the two universes and as as far as I’m concerned, its the best thing Games Workshop have ever come up with. It’s close to perfection as a concept. To poorly mangle a famous saying, if Games Workshop hadn’t invented Chaos, someone would have had to invent it anyway. The concept of Chaos is so intrinsic to both settings, so key to how they work, that without them I truly believe that GW would not have half the fan base it does now.
But what makes the concept of the Chaos Gods so appealing? Beyond simple power fantasies and wish fulfilment that is? I believe its that there is a complexity to them. Admittedly theres always been a section of the fandom that like to pigeonhole each of the gods into something simple like Khorne=close combat, Nurgle= disease etc etc and I can understand why. Since 3rd edition 40k, GW have always tried to keep things simple in the main army books. Its only been the introduction of books like the Liber Chaotica (who’s author I’ve had the pleasure of talking to multiple times) in recent years and the original Realms of Chaos books that came close to truly describing the eldritch terror of the Chaos Gods.
More than that I think what makes people identify with them so much is because of how, deep down, we recognise how easy it would be to become a follower of them. Because to truly understand nature of chaos, you have to understand that all the gods are intrinsically linked to one underlying theme. Addiction.
Pic- nurgle deamon
“insert joke about quitting smoking here”
Now am I saying that all addicts are potential chaos worshipers? Or that to truly understand the nature of them you have to be an addict yourself? Of course not. For a start, thats completely denigrates anyone involved in the argument and is a disingenuous one at best, that undercuts the real world horror of addiction. Its just acknowledging that to me at least, that the two groups share some similarities and that it may be why a lot of people have trouble grasping that nature of Chaos. As a society, unless we have gone through or know people in such situations, we have a real hard time grasping the concepts like addiction and depression because there has been a lot of false information given over over the years. The afflictions are aren’t ‘one size fits all’ topics either.
From a personal perspective I have to explain, I’ve been an addict. I still am in a way, because being an addict is not something you just ‘give up’. You just replace it with something else*. But before all that, I remember reading the origin of Haargroth the Blooded One was when the idea of Chaos first properly ‘clicked’ with me. The story of a young man abused by the society he finds himself in who finally snaps and gains fulfillment and acceptance in mindless anger, it really struck a chord with a younger me. I realised how in reality he wasn’t much different from how I felt at that age and just how seductive that could be to a person who had had no power before. Thats what Chaos is at its core. Its a way of seeking refuge from a world you can’t quite gel with, be it elevating yourself above it via Tzeench or Nurgle, or succumbing to always chasing a high via Khorne or Slannesh. But what all their followers have in common is obsession. Thats the key driving point of addiction.
Ok, I can see I’ve already lost a lot of you, perhaps because theres no frame of reference. So lets bring up an easier point without me having to launch into a aside thats several thousand words long. Did you ever watch the film ‘Get him to the Greek’ a few years ago? Film starred Russel Brand as a washed up rockstar and Jonah Hill before he blew up and became the star he is today. Its ok, if not brilliant. But something Brand (and if anyone has experince of being and addict its him) said struck a chord with me:
“You know I used to be sober. When I was sober I was worried about: ‘Aw, is this the twilight of my career?’ ‘Is the mother of my child a cruel, evil, brilliant, savant, idiot genius?’ ‘Am I bringing up my kid the right way?’ Now, I just worry about drugs. Your life’s to-do list must be a baffling document. You’re worried about so many things, Aaron. You’re worried about: “Will we get to the show?” “Will I perform well?” “Will you get the credit that you deserve?” Mine has on it but one word. Do you know what that word is?”
Now, go and approach everything you have ever thought about Chaos and its worshipers from that perspective. See how that changes everything?
To be a worshiper of Chaos is to start from a point where every addict starts. Its one where you, interested, dip your toes in and get a taste for something thats. Then, thinking you have a handle upon it you slowly take more and more until the effect generated compared for the side effects is no longer an equal balance. Until thats all you can think about. Sure, releasing that urge can give you a few hours or days of clarity, but it won’t be long before you need to do it again. Thats what makes the World Eaters bloodthirsty maniacs, or the Emperors Children chasers of excess in any form. Their addiction has rewired their entire brain and body chemistry until they can only experience the world properly via an ever increasing excess. Of course they can still rationalise. Of course they can still operate as functional beings. But to those Chaos worshipers who are so far down the path as to be almost unreachable, the world is a grey to them unless they are experiencing that high.
I mean sure, real world addictions don’t end up with you growing an extra arm or becoming a writhing ball of mutation/a Deamon Prince. But the path taken to that end is very similar.
Its a reminder that we aren’t so far removed from desperation and just how great fiction of any sort can be at exploring the parts of humanity that we would rather not dwell on. Its what makes the Chaos Gods so scary to me, because I know, that if the Chaos Gods existed, we wouldn’t have a chance in hell. I would have already joined them. I think you, dear reader, probably would have too.
Forget super powered marines of death. Forget hell deamons that want to feat on your soul. The Chaos Gods would have most of our souls within seconds and it would have been something we would have willingly offered. Now THATS terrifying.
*I could talk for thousands of words about this, but its not the time or place**. As it is though I’m so far left field from most normal topics covering wargaming that I don’t want to invite even more Editorial wrath
**But seriously, fuck people like Phillip K Dick who said only weak people got addicted to things. Ever wonder why he was so prolific after he gave up amphetamines? Now you know.
Not really a massive post as such, more just a way of keeping you all up to date with what I’m doing and why my latest break has been even longer than usual.
The laptop the other half and I use for everything broke about a week and a half ago and had to be sent away for repairs. It came back borked anyway, but at least the mechanical problem was fixed. One backup created and a reset to factory settings later and we have a functioning laptop again.
In that time, I’ve been generally exploring what I want to do with writing. I’ve been made Books and Comics Editor over at the Cult Den which is pretty cool, so I will be spending more time on that it seems! I’m also reviewing books for the Self Publisher’s Showcase whilst I make up for my lax attitude the past week and a bit on Nerditis and The Shell Case. I’m also editing a book for a friend.
One of these days, I’m gonna have to figure out how to make a living off this lot
See you all soon.