Posts from 1st October 2004

1
Oct 04

Further to Tom’s note about horror comics.

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Further to Tom’s note about horror comics. Here is Stephen Grant on why horror comics are not scary (and therefore why horror comics are not horror comics at all.)

Freaky Trigger Top 25 Scariest Things No.25: Spiders

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Freaky Trigger Top 25 Scariest Things

no. 25: Spiders
I see no dishonour in confessing to a fear of spiders. But let’s get this in proportion: I’m no arachnophobe, and am happy to take on the gentleman’s burden of deporting 8-legged strays from the house. That being said, they DO have to go: except maybe the tiniest. Oddly, however much I dislike the beasts, I won’t kill them. I returned home after a couple of days’ absence to find three up-turned glasses on the floor, dead spiders under each (the lady of the house not being so keen on the second part of the job) and it just didn’t feel right. (Hmm, having confessed to irrational fears I’m now owning up to superstitions. Soon I’ll be running off to join a cult.)

What’s scary about a spider? Something about the way they lurk, I suppose. I remember having to switch off the TV during Neighbours once. There was a large (and venomous, one presumed) spider in some poor Erinsburger’s living room, and the slow tension-building shots of the advance of this creature upon its accidental prey were just too much for me. Quite the opposite of Arachnophobia, a film I happily screamed all the way through. (And Ptee is dead right (link inserted for lazy hack – lazy hack), but giant spiders just are NOT scary).

With your common-or-garden house spider it’s not size so much as bulk that sorts them on the fear-factor index. Long gangly legs? Not a problem. Thick, hairy, rotund bellies: urghh get the dustpan. Web-based spiders? At least you know where they are. It’s when they scuttle that you’re in trouble.

Ultimate spider horror? It’s got to be their wall-running and ceiling antics: anything that can DROP ON YOU is scary.

Weltmeister 2006

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Weltmeister 2006

The organising committee of the next World Cup have put a selection of posters to a vote in Germany to decide the official poster. Sadly, there’s little to be done about the logo, but my favourite was this one:

but the winner was this:

Oh well.

Woebot on MP3 blogs

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Woebot on MP3 blogs: I did some thinking about MP3 blogs for that article I wrote earlier in the month. One of the things I thought – which didn’t make it into the piece – was that MP3 blogs don’t post enough tat. It’s laughably easy to upload and download MP3s and the medium is well-suited to disposable sounds, plus of course it’s free. It’s nice of MP3 bloggers to work at offering only the finest sounds but often as I skim through the grabosphere my eyes glaze over a little – I would prefer, sometimes, something rubbish (but amusing) to something worthy.

The thing that I find really disappointing – and I imagine it is for the people who run the sites, too – is that so little debate is sparked by the MP3s that get shared. You have an audience who’ve all heard the music – so where’s the conversation about it? Only Fluxblog really seems to get comments going, and even then Fluxblog is read by, what, 3000 people every day, so a 15-comment response is a bit puny, no? I’m as guilty as anyone else, though – even though I know from my own short-lived MP3 blog how rewarding comments can be I am often too lazy to leave one.

I think if I wanted to get back into the MP3 game properly I’d go to ilxor.com and set up an I Love MP3s board, with every ‘question’ being a file and the threads encouraging people to discuss it.

(Woebot is right by the way that NYLPM is not really an MP3 blog. It’s a blog that happens to put up the odd MP3 to illustrate a point or as a bonus to loyal readers.)

Gutterbreakz on Dr.Who novelisations

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Gutterbreakz on Dr.Who novelisations – plus MP3s and a terrific photograph of Malcolm Clarke looking mental as he (I fondly hope) composes the music for “The Sea Devils”.

NOT FOR THE NERVOUS!

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NOT FOR THE NERVOUS! – lavish website devoted to Scream!, IPC’s 80s attempt at a weekly British horror comic. I did not buy Scream as I thought (wrongly I suspect) it might be frightening: I was a timid child. The comic only lasted fifteen issues – I don’t know whether low sales, strikes at IPC or disapproving parents forced its demise. It was a slightly confused creature, never sure whether it wanted to be actually frightening or comically gruesome (an editor called ‘Ghastly McNasty’ set the tone). The horror in Scream was very much in a Hammer style – human sacrifices, leering skulls and people crying “Ye Gods!” abounded.

Plenty of its stories are online here – including the two I remember best, which found their way into Eagle weekly when the comics merged. Monster! was tremendously boring and its robust portrayal of a deformed person as a crazed brute would probably not pass without comment today (nor could you get away now with having your stories introduced by ‘The Leper’). Much better was The Thirteenth Floor, a rather original series about a super-intelligent computer who managed an office block and who would hypnotise bad sorts and then make them experience their worst fears. The victims were generally 80s bogeymen – taxmen and yobboes. Worth a look.

Sports of the future!

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Sports of the future!: bit of a missed opportunity this since the only advances the BBC seems able to imagine involve robo-referees of one sort of another. As we all know real actual future sport will involve jetpacks and be called something like “Killball”. The one thing in here which does make me think “cool!” is the idea of javelins leaving laser trails in the air. YES PLEASE.

Yesterday I started sneezing.

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Yesterday I started sneezing. Fair enough, I have a cold after all. But every time I start sneezing I always remember those poor children who would appear on Record Breakers having sneezed uncontrollably for weeks, months or even years. How could they bear it? How had they not gone mad? The thought that a sneeze might not be an isolated event but might instead be the first of an endless uncontrollable series frightened me greatly. Even worse were hiccups – someone was featured on the show having hiccuped for three years. I felt ropey after twenty minutes hiccuping, how would I feel after a thousand days of it? I’m no longer scared of not being able to stop hiccuping, but the mental echo of that childhood fear remains, a little ‘what if -?’ reflex.

This month Blog Seven is all about fear. The writers’ fears, other people’s fears, the fears we enjoy and the ones we don’t. If you think this is because October finds the nights drawing in and ends with Hallowe’en (not scary) you’d be quite right. Hope you like it.