This was received accompanied by a letter scrawled in the hand of what looked liked an unhinged six year old in brown crayon on sheets that appeared to have been roughly torn from a school exercise book. I was sold before I’d even opened the ‘zine which turned out to be one of the most deranged series of disturbing illustrations of strange dick-nosed devils, dismembered, tattooed bodies and masturbating Mexican wrestlers with vaginas for assholes that I’ve seen since, well, ever. Please write to again Phil, we want you to draw stuff for us. Look, even his MySpace URL is great!
DANCING EYE ISSUE ONE
Mark Oliver and Peter O’Dowd
Dancing Eye Illustration & Small Press
Coming on the heals of Phil Hawkey’s schizoid ‘zine, which you hopefully should have read about up there, and with all hope thoroughly abandoned it was with trepid hand that I picked up Dancing Eye. Fortunately this lovingly put together collection of illustrations was just the right side of slightly weird to pull me out of the fug and come out smiling. A bit like doing just a little bit of ketamine as opposed to that time you did a whopping great line you thought was something else only to spend the rest of the evening eating your shoelaces.
THE LAST MAD SURGE OF YOUTH
Sorry Mark, I am not going to lie, this book spent a while by my toilet looking neglected. Then one day I was having a good session and picked it up. And then I couldn’t put it down. Literally. I even read it walking down the street. I don’t recommend this; you look like you are trying to be a character in a Belle & Sebastian song and tramp straight into bus stops. If you can imagine The Rotters Club, Saturday Night & Sunday Morning and The Commitments being melded as one then you would be vaguely in the right ballpark but if you are the owner of a penis and like music then don’t sleep on this one.
THE JUNIOR OFFICER’S READING CLUB
If you want to know what it would be like to be a soldier in the British army circa right now then stop reading this and go buy The Junior Officer’s Reading Club. Not only do you get the grit, blood, sweat and horror of what really goes on on the frontlines of Iraq and Helmland but Hennessey also ably describes the boredom, futility and seeming pointlessness of so many aspects of a soldiers day to day life. He almost makes it seem like being in band. Albeit a band that could get killed by SCUD missiles at any given moment.
A hulking great doorstop of Hernandez courtesy of the never less than brilliant Fantagraphics. If you are not familiar with Love & Rockets (aka one of the greatest comic series of all time) which Gilbert made with his brother Jamie (and sometimes their other brother Mario) then I am jealous that you will get to go and discover those books for the first time and you probably should before having a go at this. Luba was one of the main characters in the final Love & Rockets arc Palomar and this phone book sized hard back collects literally everything the hammer wielding ex-mayor got up to after her former home was leveled. I won’t give anything away other than let you know that it is just as good as anything else Los Bros Hernandez have had a hand in. In other words: perfect.
LOOPS ISSUE ONE
Well-liked independent record label teams up with fusty but well-respected publishing house to have a go at cornering the kind of music writing that Greil Marcus would get excited about. In fact where is Greil? Nick Kent’s here. Nick Cave too actually with a new bit of fiction from his forthcoming novel. The standout is an essay on Spacemen3 by young whippersnapper Richard Millward who you may remember from the Fiction Issue two years ago. Not blowing our own trumpet or anything. Just saying. If you can imagine a version of Granta for people who subscribe to Mojo you’d probably be selling Loops a little short but you wouldn’t be too far wrong.