Posts from 26th August 2003

Aug 03


The Brown WedgePost a comment • 398 views

Cat Yronwode on her unfinished Steve Ditko biography – “The unexpected core of the book became the issue of how and why an obviously brilliant young boy with great natural art talent was placed in the “industrial track” in a steel mill town while his teachers justified their plans to make him a mill worker — followed by how and why he left there and became an artist in New York and a proponent of Objectivism. Through the yearbooks, i saw Johnstown as the dripping wet “ten-ton doo-hickey” and Steve Ditko as the plucky teenager who somehow finds the inner strength to throw it off of himself and take control of his own destiny.”

After reading through that, you might want to reacquaint yourself with Ditko’s akimbo career via Steve Ditko’s World (including this rejected cover to Amazing Fantasy #15), and the more recently updated Ditko Looked Up. For those of you looking for something a bit more esoteric, there’s Ms. Yronwode’s companion to the Dr. Strange comics, The Lesser Book of the Vishanti.

(Link to the Ditko letter pilfered from The Comic Journal’s Journalista blog.)

THE BROWN LOG: Woman’s Own

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 233 views

THE BROWN LOG: Woman’s Own

Weekly, 72p

DESIGN: The cover features no less than 5 smiles, these being i) an Emmerdale star, ii) Emmerdale star’s screen lover (this smile somewhat roguish), iii) a toddler eating a biscuit, iv) a woman who has lost some weight, v) a woman with her hand on a male stripper’s arse. There is one frown on the cover, that of the weight-loss woman before she lost the weight. Paper stock is glossy but flimsy, content is very colourful with lots of photos.

WHO’S IT FOR?: Presumably it’s for women, though I liked it a bit more than Isabel, who thought it was boring, and plainly and badly written. The magazine seems to have shifted its target age downwards since its dentist’s waiting-room heyday, hence the male stripper and a general emphasis on small children’s antics and true-life stories of family trauma. At a guess the intention is to give stay-at-home mothers/housewives something to read and talk about: I’d be interested to know whether its circulation has held up over the last 20 years or so.

WHO ISN’T IT FOR?: Men; people wanting celebrity gossip; people who don’t care about losing weight; women with no interest in having kids.

STYLE: Plain language in short paragraphs, but never particularly sensationalist ‘ it’s going for the nod of sympathy, not the gasp of shock. Lots of pictures, some very basic fashion and diet tips, a generally positive outlook on life. One infuriating habit it has is of telling the entire story in a headline, eg. ‘I sleepwalked straight into my ex’s bed’. This particular story is trailed on the cover with the words ‘Oh really!’ which is as close as Woman’s Own gets to a joke.

BEST BIT: Easily the best article was on faddish child eaters, who are so attuned to foods at age 2 or 3 that they can tell the difference between different supermarket own brand mince.

WORST BIT: An excruciating short story about a father finding contraceptive pills in his daughter’s bedroom with a rotten twist ending that they only remember to set up in the first half of the final sentence.

VALUE FOR MONEY: Will give you change for a pound but celebrity magazines are racier and cheaper. Not a keeper.


It was a nice day and a nice meal

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 350 views

It was a nice day and a nice meal (a wedding supper), but does someone teach caterers to write like this, and if so, does it affect how and what they think to cook?
To start: Basil crust chicken Caesar salad with grain mustard croutons
To follow: Seared duck breast, wild mushroom boulang’re, red wine jus and caramelised shallots
To finish: White chocolate and pistachio cr’me br’l’e with peppered strawberries

One question about LCTR:TCOL

Do You SeePost a comment • 227 views

One question about LCTR:TCOL. What is the BBC doing as one of the production companies? Sure it is as shoddy as much of their idea of adventure fayre (hello The Lost World or Walking With Bob Hoskins), but is this type of tosh really what the British Broadcasting Company should be involving themselves in?

Possibly the most interesting things about the film is how
a) the still don’t let Lara get her end away (and she has to end on a downer)
b) most people find the whole thing rather inevitable as if this is a franchise which has legs.

The fact that it is better than the first one is neither here nor there, when this one is still rubbish.

This is my dream job, I think.

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 235 views

This is my dream job, I think.: no, not skating or even sk8ing but being the record company suit who puts together compilations like this. You can see on these CDs the taxonomical confusion when a new genre is ‘spotted’ by the men upstairs, and some exec is told to get 40 tracks together by yesterday. “We’ve licensed Avril! 2 CDs of modern skate pop NOW, O crawling one!” So Cave-In and Reef (Reef!) and Run DMC and Busted all suddenly share disc space. It’s halfway between making a mixtape for some imagined mate, and being Simon Reynolds and giving birth to a new genre direct from your Zeus-like brow. Except unlike neurofunk et al. the Frankenstein styles birthed in record company labs are actually directly tested in the marketplace.

The only downside of the job (apart from being fired when it turns out that Sk8er Bois don’t like Tight Fit after all) is the disillusionment and ennui that set in when successful ‘genres’ are hit upon. The compilers of the very first I Wuv Them Eighties, Me compis would have had a grand old time but years of identical 2CD sets later and the parameters of 80s nostalgia are rigidly patrolled with little room for liveliness. It’s doubtful Sk8erpop will ever suffer the same fate but we should be prepared to enjoy this oddness while it lasts.

Hurrah and hoopla went online on Friday

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 262 views A large (and growing) slice of the Poetry Library‘s magazine collection can now be found here, as part of their ongoing digitisation project. As well as the creative content of current and previous issues, there’s an ‘about’ section, subscription rates, submission guidelines, staff lists and cover art for each publication represented.

The site is a marvel of understated, ergonomic design, which is a relief. There would have been little point making this stuff accessible outside the geographical confines of the South Bank if the text was then swamped in complicated navigation and silly graphics. But we do get a spiffy search function which can find an author’s name, a title, a year of publication or any words from a title or poem text.

It’s pure browsing heaven, and I will not get ANY work done today.