Three more links from the past…. (the just-the-content version is here)
June 1999: Let’s Just Say That Sometimes ? > ! – naturally, having decided to establish Freaky Trigger as a trailblazing website about modern pop, one of the first big projects I did was a three part essay series on the Beach Boys’ then-unreleased Smile! I wrote one of the essays, the others being by Fred Solinger and Mike Daddino, whose piece is the one I’m spotlighting here. (There’s a fourth part, a reply by Paul Pasquerella which he sent via email). I can’t exactly remember the genesis of this, other than that all three of us were enthusiastic Beach Boys fans: I think the ecology of the music internet at this point was very much organised around USENET and the rec.arts.hierarchy – this series seemed a good way of perhaps getting us some links here. All three of us seemed to agree that Smile was better off unfinished – while I like the record released a few years ago, this doesn’t seem like a bad judgement now.
July 1999: The Best Of Funny Folk – one reason I started FT was to showcase some of the ‘webcomics’ my brother had been doing (sometimes in collaboration with me). We didn’t call them or think of them as webcomics, obviously. They were primitive one-page gag and parody strips rendered with primitivist verve by Al in MS Paint, like a kind of gonzo superhero Fast Show. A vast number, in my memory anyway, were dedicated to taking the piss out of James Robinson’s Starman, then the most-admired superhero comic by webfolk. Here are 7 of the ones we actually ran, including takes on Ditko, the Invisibles, Chris Claremont’s scripting of English characters, and the New Yorker. Al has of course gone on to write REAL ACTUAL comics and I am enormously proud of him – hopefully one of the people who commission him will realise at some point how funny he can be and give him some humour work.
August 1999: Happy Like Pop Stars – meanwhile, the more I wrote about music, the more I was starting to find some kind of voice. This review of The Auteurs’ How I Learned To Love The Bootboys was one of the pieces I remember being most pleased with at the time, and I think it captures some of that record’s curdled intensity quite well. I’m still overreaching myself in terms of being scared to admit that I don’t know stuff, so a lot of the background opinions here are second-hand at best. In August ’99 I also kicked off my Top 100 Singles Of The 90s, which was the feature that really started to build an audience for the site (the rec.arts.beach-boys dudes having been entirely unmoved by my linkslutting!). Selections from that next time, probably.