8 August 2013
One of the most important things I ever read was a tiny RPG fanzine called SNOWED INN. Actually it wasn’t even a fanzine in its own right. It was a bonus edition of a zine called ASLAN, which was – or so I was given to believe – the most controversial and groundbreaking RPG zine of its day.
By the time I saw Aslan its existing reputation as a thoughtful, warm RPG zine had been overlaid by its support for and love of “freeform” RPGs. Snowed Inn was a write-up of one of these – the first time I’d really come across writing which was a description of a game that had been played, not a scenario, or a debate about how to game well or just tinkering with rulesets. Snowed Inn was set in, yes, an inn, and was a kind of multi-player fantasy farce with tens of characters. It sounded as intoxicating and strange as the first RPGs I’d ever played. more »
Tom in FT • 3 Comments
31 July 2013
“The environment” is something of a pop graveyard, and no surprise. Beyond specific conservation efforts, the problems we’ve created seem simply too vast for us to cope with as a species. No wonder our pop singers have mostly failed to rise to their own challenge and write great songs about it. “When I think about the hole in the sky,” a Lennon simpered, “Salt water wells in my eyes”. And that was about the level of it.
“Earth Song” isn’t strictly about green politics – whales and elephants get a cameo, but it’s more of a general ‘why oh why’ address-stroke-sermon-stroke-meltdown on the general rottenness of mankind. But actually, if you were to write a song which really captured the impotent 3AM anguish of the environmentalist, their horror at human civilisation’s slow, placid self-immolation, it might sound a bit like this. more »
Tom in FT /Popular • 127 Comments
Marvel comics exist as part of a very extensive meta-verse, a plethora of multiplicities which, in canon, play out many scenarios and worlds. It’s extensive, pervasive mechanic to the way things work in the comics, affecting technologist and magic-using superheroes alike,
I know it’s by no means unique to Marvel but there is something fantastic about a fictional multiverse that embraces its own multiplicity, which throws itself wholesale upon the principle that every event is a branching, that there must be thousands of variants on every element of minutiae. It’s partly interesting to me because it makes fanfiction meta-canon and partly interesting because it gives creatives an excuse to go apeshit fucking ball-crazy.
Warning: some little spoilers for Young Avengers #8 ahead
Hazel in FT • 4 Comments
25 July 2013
SO MANY BRIGHT LIGHTS TO CAST A SHADOW
[IMPORTANT TIMESTREAM INSTABILITY NOTE: This is not about the current issue of Young Avengers. This is an old thing about issue #2 that I'm just slipping in here because my chronal transporter has stopped being able to go into the past. I mostly wrote it slightly drunk, at about 2am, just before Young Avengers #3 came out in some desperate attempt to pretend to be current even at the time. As you can see, I've since entirely abandoned that particular timey-wimey ambition but I still quite liked it when I read back through the draft while trying to write an up to date thing so here you go. Also, as a nice touch, it's now super-painful to think about since #8!]
The good news is there’s not much left to spoiler about Young Avengers #2, now. And even better, I haven’t followed through on the elaborate and disturbing Kid Loki-as-brunch-fiend-Carrie-Bradshaw angle I was originally planning, so it’s all turned out for the best, really. Better horribly late than with alarming photoshop. more »
Hazel in FT • 1 Comment
19 July 2013
One of the things you develop, over your lifespan, is control over your impulsive disclosure urge. Some people are naturally inclined to never tell anyone anything about what’s going on with them, some people can’t stop themselves; the middle ground is roughly what you move closer to, as you learn various, frequently incredibly painful lessons.
There’s massive connotation to either end of the spectrum; people who are too private are considered at best mysterious or shy and at worst suspicious, people who share too much are considered stupid, brash, outrageous or at best, naiive. ‘Trustworthy’ is a hard thing to learn to be, sometimes, especially with different standards in different contexts (trustworthy with your BFFs is a lot more detail than trustworthy at work) and getting a balance as well as a personality is something that takes time. And the aforementioned painful lessons.
Reading Charlotte Geater’s excellent piece on the diner motif and Grease in Young Avengers, especially in issue #7, I was earwormed by the Tell me more tell me more refrain from Summer Lovin’. Which was kind of the theme of this issue, in a way, being packed full of exposition and catch-up. The terrific Not-stagram page (more on this story later) showcases the full gamut of exaggeration, stolen stories, personal landmark documentation and social currency bank account statements and dodgy selfies that you’d expect from any healthy extrovert’s online presence- no need to ask Loki. Or more accurately, no point. But he appears to be so open and he’s sharing all his (and Kate’s) photos! Ah, lying by admission.
Hazel in FT • 3 Comments
I need to stop listening to this damn album, so I’m writing in this ever expanding box on the internet, the geography of the mind map I find myself in. Just in the hope that I can move on – just a little – to the next grid reference. I feel sorry for poor Little Boots and even Rudimental who only got a couple of weeks before relegation to listening time’s opportunity cost.
Every now and then an album digs its many hooks into me and just gloms on and drags me through a cycle of compulsive listening, through a trough of listening and hating-that-I’m-listening-to-it to to the exclusion of all else, and through to the other side to a place where I can consider leaving it, maybe a week, before coming back later with an ‘oh, yes this IS still awesome’. During that, listening out of order is hard (such an album rockist), and the point where I’m skipping around is the point where I know I’m on the voyage home to sanity.
This mania happened to me most recently with the Nero album (yeah, what of it?) but not as intensely (I found quite a few tracks on it patchy in the end), and I have to go back to when I lost all perspective over Late of the Pier (2008, 9?).
Which I think was also the last time I went to a gig (thinks again that doesn’t sounds right, wait there was that Scooter gig). And I did get to the point with Charli of hovering over a BUY button for an Islington Academy gig a few weeks back now. I had to stop myself, because then it started to feel creepy. more »
Alan in FT • 7 Comments
18 July 2013
Now That’s What I Call Music! 85 (Not A Review)
It’s no secret that Popular, my main feature for this website, and a project that’s now run through almost 10 years of my life, spent much of last year beached – only 6 entries in 6 months. I never imagined I’d given it up, but I turned over possibilities as to why my enthusiasm had so clearly dimmed. More responsibilities? Sputtering energy? Reading too many comics? Maybe, maybe, but there was another factor too. Popular is a journey of indefinite length, but one where I can always see the future mapped out, and in 2011 and 2012 that map showed a miserable prospect. Clouds of grey hits in a chart I hardly paid attention to. Was this it? Had I stopped caring about pop? Bound to happen one day, of course – and it doesn’t need me as a listener. But if I had stopped caring, why care to write about it?
But then something happened. The pop songs I noticed seemed to be the ones a lot of other people noticed, but then – to my surprise – they were also the ones a lot of other people bought. Even better, songs people bought that I hadn’t yet heard turned out to be crackers too. 2013 has been a springtime for the Top 40, with a remarkable sequence of good Number Ones, some the kind of records I can’t wait to write about, others singles I know I’ll struggle to capture – but I’ll enjoy trying anyhow. Something has changed in my appreciation, though. For the first time I don’t have a mental model for who is buying singles, and how (and with whose money) – overall sales keep twitching up, setting new records each year, so “mostly digital, mostly cheap” feels like a good starting assumption. But how singles get to Number One? I could hardly even guess. more »
Tom in FT • 30 Comments
11 July 2013
I was reading this piece on Ernst & Young and it struck me – not for the first time – that growing up reading IPC comics was the best possible preparation for a career in BUSINESS esp. mergers and acquisitions.
Just look at the history of Ernst & Young, or EY as we now call them.
Ernst & Ernst became
Ernst & Whinney became
Ernst & Young became
What does this remind you of? THAT’S RIGHT. more »
Tom in FT • 4 Comments
9 July 2013
This post is my contribution to Harkive - an opt-in mass ethnographic record of a day in the lives of music fans worldwide. (A bit like Nick Southall’s Music Listening Day from the last couple of years). The post will be updated occasionally through the day, so read from the bottom up if you want a chronology.
Michael Jackson – “You Are Not Alone” (twice)
Once before I write the entry, once after. I often play other records when writing, but didn’t this time. The final play – and the overall intensity – bumps up the intended mark by 1. Hasty rewrites after I discover it wasn’t written by Jackson, then it’s good to go.
And that turns out to be it! I was about to put something else on but realised it’s turned midnight. John Newman wins the repeat play cup, Genius/GZA the best record I played today prize, and the best to actually work to award goes to the Cocteau Twins. Night night!
MIA – “Feel The Noize” (twice)
MIA – “Bad Girls”
Migos ft Drake – “Versace”
I have a bunch of Tumblr posts and Tweet links bookmarked with people’s picks of the best of the year so far, and I’ve been dipping into that. Looking for something to play while I did the washing up, I remembered I hadn’t heard the new M.I.A. single, so I picked up that on iMusic (good, spiky, bit like “Bird Flu”, though maybe I’m projecting because that’s a favourite). That made me want to hear “Bad Girls” again, so I cued that up on iMusic too, and also the Migos track I’d just read about on Tom Breihan’s tumblr. Standing in the kitchen cleaning plates with a speakerless iPhone playing YouTube quality sound out loud is about the worst possible way to hear new music, so I can’t really draw any conclusions from my listen to “Versace”.
Rudimental – “Feel The Love”/”Not Giving In”/”Waiting All Night”
Walking home from the station, playing the three Rudimental singles from this or last year, to remind myself of the context of the Newman song and because I’d not really given “Not Giving In” its due before. more »
Tom in FT • 10 Comments
8 July 2013
It’s come to my attention that FT made a post about loathing Andy Murray awhile ago. Now, not to completely blow apart my role as FreakyTrigger’s resident hate-filled, bile-spewing attack dog but I feel I have to dispute this.
Having only traumatic memories of being expected to ‘hit’ a small moving, spherical object with a ‘racquet’ on a judgemental arena that could only be called a ‘court’ by the most draconian of 2000AD’s creations, I am not much interested in tennis. Apparently it’s supposed to be fun or something- I am deeply unsure about this, what with the way you had to apparently ‘volley’ ‘shots’ at people. Surely that’s the sort of thing you’re meant to get out of your system a normal way, like Call of Duty or Saints Row 3?
But (and to gleefully and without regret peel another layer off the supposed geezaesthetics here) I am someone who has lived in London whilst the not-exactly-offensive-to-the-eye posters of Roger Federer in his undercrackers have been on buses. Sure, there have been times when I’ve felt like I should leap in front of children and shield their eyes with my hands upon seeing the number 23 approaching but as someone easily old enough to appreciate all that; gosh, yes. 10 of whatever he’s selling- the Jungfrau or Toblerone or something, right?
Home-grown tennis totty, though, has not exactly been in abundance. more »
Hazel in FT • 6 Comments