One Song For You

the notes I wrote on hollow walls

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‘Six Degrees’ (music by BadBadNotGood, guest verse by Danny Brown)

The fact that Ghost’s first verse has been re-purposed means that there’s nothing in there that’s quite as dazzling as the way Danny Brown rides out the drum clicks when the beat switches. As always, Brown makes the most of his guest spot, setting up a vivid scene in which some of his goons get in the way of Danny’s attempt to watch his favourite scene from Juice – it’s the DJ battle, so he threatens to scratch them. Compared to his rhyming partner on this song, Brown’s still got something to prove, and like the bold misprision of ‘Mighty Healthy’ that he opens his verse with, the picture he paints here makes it just that little bit harder to forget him when he’s gone.

Brown also turns out to be a great hype man (“I don’t know what you know/But if you know what I know/You’d better be ghost before I get Ghost”), and by the time Ghostface comes back in for a second, more agitated verse you’re ready to be freshly impressed by his scabby self-mythologising. I now realise that the line is “Stappleton niggas keep their guns in strip bags”, but I prefer the way I originally heard it – “Stappleton niggas keep their guns in shit bags”, an all time great gross boast!

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Filed under ghostface killah badbadnotgood danny brown hip-hop patterns of a diamond ceiling mindless self promotion

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Ghostface Killah: King of the Wasteland

On ‘Centre of Attraction’ and ‘Enemies All Around Me’, Ghost’s voice cracks as internal conflict enters his world for the first time on this album – external conflict being something of a non-issue for a super-competent gang boss who can overcome death in order to take revenge on his enemies. These songs see Ghost’s character (Tony Starks, natch) wading through both his own deep reserves of sexism (“Bitches is sneaky, triflin’, and not to be trusted”) and the waves of suspicion that are coming towards him from his crew in order to keep faith that his girl isn’t just setting him up for a hit. In typical Ghostface style, he is able to convince himself of this only by way of conjuring up a visual that’s as striking as it is unprompted: “That’s my lady, she would never backstab or double cross me/Standing butt naked in the storm, sipping the frosty.”

Of course, this script being predetermined, it turns out that his sexist instincts were correct…

Filed under ghostface killah mindless self promotion twelve reasons to die

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No Bluebeard: Eddie Campbell in the funny pages

Audrey Niffenegger and Eddie Campbell – ‘Thursdays, Six to Eight p.m.’

Back at the end of April the Guardian ran an experiment to see what would happen if real writers were involved with comics, and the results were pretty much what you’d expect, ranging as they did from the mediocre (Dave “David” Eggers’ ponderous buffalo comic) to the merely gorgeous (Frazer Irving’s whatever the hell it was that Frazer Irving drew) by way of the profoundly functional (Dave Gibbons and Gillian Flynn’s clockwork deconstruction of vigilantism).

As a showcase for a variety of semi-respectable comics art styles it was a success, but as a pop culture moment it lacked a sense of novelty or excitement.

The exception was Thursdays, Six to Eight pm, a modern romance comic with a faint hint of the gothic to it.  A man and woman are in love and they get married, but she can’t stop worrying about why he wants two hours to himself every Thursday night.  For his part, he keeps quiet about the details, so Ellen does what we all do unless we’re sinister enough to work for the NSA already: she calls in some spies.

The result of a long-distance collaboration between Audrey Niffinegger (The Time Traveller’s Wife) and Eddie Campbell (all the best comics), this strip stood out from the others by virtue of the fact that both of the involved parties contributed to the art. Well, according to the contents page Dave “Dave” Eggers was “collaborating with himself” but this does no damage to my argument: the lines on Eggers’ pages were the work of only one artist, while the Campbell/Niffenegger strip bears the mark of two “primary” artists.

According to Niffeneger’s write-up, she drew the Charles – the guy doing the proposal in the above panel – and the two spies his wife hires to investigate him, while Campbell drew Ellen, the suspicious wife and protagonist on the right hand side of the same frame.

Even though Campbell apparently modified Niffenegger’s line work to make it look of a piece with his own, my eyes mostly confirms that these characters are not made out of the same materials.  This plays into a classic romantic conceit, suggesting as it does that while these two characters may share their lives with each other they’ll always be fundamentally distant.  Charles’ thin, defiantly two-dimensional features provide an impermeable barrier between the contents of his mind and the blown out, fuzzy world he lives in with Ellen – being an Eddie Campbell character, she is made out of the same fuzz and clutter as everything else.

The fact that Campbell was also responsible for the lettering and page layouts will be immediately obvious to anyone who is familiar with his autobiographical comics…

Filed under eddie campbell audrey niffenegger mindless ones mindless self promotion gud comics the guardian

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Movie Chat #7 - The Wind Rises

Before we start, a warning: this is probably not a fun night at the movies for your eight-year-old, unless said child is prematurely obsessed with flat-head screws. I mention this not out of a new-found commitment to providing consumer advice but because my friend Adam was frustrated by the apparent inability of movie reviewers to clarify this matter for him.

Studio Ghibili’s long standing trust in the ability of children to stay interested in quiet moments and make sense of the senseless is admirable, but The Wind Rises seems to have been made in a different spirit from, say, Howl’s Moving Castle (which combined frantic scene-shifting with portraits of stark devastation to great effect) or Princess Mononoke (which grew slowly, steadily monstrous in front of the patient viewer).

This film is realised with the lush, painterly attention to detail that characterises Hayao Miyazaki’s other movies, but this is definitely a film of and about our world. Its magic is not of the kind likely to intrigue a child into attentiveness: its wonders are the result of late night meetings as much as they are the product of dreams, and even its most hard won miracles taste of ashes.

The most jarring note in this regard is the use of human voices to simulate the sounds made by everything from earthquakes to passing planes…

Filed under movie chat The Wind Rises hayao miyazaki studio ghibli Movie Reviews on the Internet mindless ones mindless self promotion

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Cut-Out Witch - now available online, for cheap!

A collaboration with Edinburgh based artist and ghost merchant Lynne HendersonCut-Out Witch contains twenty five pages worth of lost souls and lo-fi monster magic – imagine a teen goth Terminus and you’ll be on the right track.  Lynne provided the pictures, I added the words, but if you want to cleanse yourself with holy water after reading then I’m afraid you’ll have to bring your own bottle.

The print run is pretty much gone now (I think maybe Lynne still has a few?), but Cut-Out Witch is now available in PDF format for the princely sum of 50p!

Click here to buy it now, and trust that no ghosts were harmed in the making of this product!

“Cut-Out Witch is really good… Lovely creepy stuff”Twitter’s own James Baker

Almost every page made me laugh or smile or feel things” - comics’ own Ales Kot

"You do seem to be able to dash such things off quite easily, I kind of wish I could do that…" - A Trout in the Circus’ very own Plok

Filed under Cut-Out Witch Lynne Henderson comics Ghost notes collaboration mindless self promotion

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Patterns of a Diamond Ceiling #1: Mogwai Reborn/Remurdered

This started out as a Tumblr post but then it kept going so I decided to put it on the Mindless site because fuck it, we’ve been talking about putting more notcomics writing up there for a while now. 

It’s all about local heroes Mogwai and the mess of quiet contradictions they contain and how none of them matter cause they play really fucking loud in concert. 

Filed under Mogwai Mindless Ones mindless self promotion

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Nothing

Here’s a super-short post I wrote about The Dial and Other Stories by Chris Reynolds.

I’ll let you in on a secret - this is pretty much the same post I wrote about this comic way back when, but Chris Reynolds’ work deserves more attention so fuck it!  

image

I’m hoping to get some more time for bloggy writing in the next few weeks, but some Annoying Real Life Shit is eating up all my spare time right now so we’ll see. 

Filed under Chris Reynolds The Dial Mindless Ones Mindless Self Promotion

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Pages 5-7 of ‘The Blowdown of Barry Brown’, a comic strip I drew on my phone and published in Looking Glass Heights #1, a zine about hubris, housing, suicide, customer service, Frank Miller, and Eddie Campbell..

I’m pretty happy with the way it came out, given that I can’t fucking draw!

UPDATE: issue #1 is now available to buy online, if you find yourself with a few extra pennies and a sense of curiosity:

http://mindlessones.com/2013/11/30/looking-glass-heights/

Here’s what the cool kids are saying about Looking Glass Heights #1:

“David Allison has produced something of a winner here, combining comics and essays into a powerful zine… one comic, one essay into the sociopolitical message behind it, one essay that critiques comics that have influenced the comic, and a critique of the comic itself. Jesus christ, if more comic creators did this I would be an extremely happy bunny! Though I’d also be out of a job…”Laura Sneddon, The Beat 
 

“…made me feel thing with a limited size and toolkit”Twitter’s own James Baker

Quite who he thinks he’s calling a tiny toolkit I’m not sure.  Just as well I’m not a hideous egomaniac in need of constant reinforcement, right? 

Right.

(Source: illogicalvolume)

Filed under Looking Glass Heights comics social housing The Blowdown of Barry Brown mindless self promotion