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The Curmudgeon

I apologize for the delay with getting this out. I have been insanely busy and I had to kill vacation time from work or lose it, so I’ve been in a state of flux since early September.

Finally the autumn has arrived to save us from humidity and yucky hot weather. I always like this time of year. It’s the time right before winter where it’s cool enough to wear black boots, leather jackets, groovy scarves and boss overcoats without consternation form others. Plus somehow wearing all black is much more acceptable. It’s also a great time to see the leaves change and generally enjoy more time indoors reading or hanging out. It also means I can bust out my Liverpool soccer scarves!

Speaking of books, I am one of those boring people who bounce around form book to book with no reason. I also am so backlogged with stuff to read that I shouldn’t buy anything new.

Nonetheless, I have spent a lot of time in transit over the last few months and have found time to read a whole bunch.

I have thoroughly enjoyed Drawn & Quarterly’s The Push Man & Other Stories. Besides featuring a nifty intro by Adrian Tomine, The book collects the work of Japanese comic pioneer Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Tatsumi’s work has a pulse that beats emotionally through every page. This is great stuff with feeling, wit and poise.

The third issue of Or Else is out. It’s an indie mini-comic from St. Louis comic artist Kevin Huizenga.

I am also finally getting around to reading Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys, which is much better than I expected.

I also am the last person on the planet to read Identity Crisis, which is sad I know.

James Chace’s 1912 is a must read for fans of politics, Teddy Roosevelt or political non-fiction.

But enough of that….

Kate Bush has returned from a twelve year hiatus with a new album entitled Aerial. The two-disc record picks up where she left off and shows us all that that amazing voice is still in great shape.

With Kate Bush coming back I guess Tori Amos will have to get a new shtick.

I for one am eager to see Saw: The Musical. Seriously though, they should cross Saw with a big musical like Rent. That would be great.

Limp Bizkit is covering The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.”

And then there were three: this winter, Blur will go into the studio and record a new album for a tentative late 2006 release. Lead singer Damon Albarn is also working on his first solo album. The band will release a new EP early next year.

David Byrne and Fatboy Slim are collaborating together on a musical based on the life of Imelda Marcos.

Massive Attack

Massive Attack is readying their new record for mid-2006. The yet to be titled album will feature guest vocals from Liz Frazer, Beth Orton and Horace Andy.

How stupid is Boy George? Stupid enough to get caught in NYC with oodles of cocaine. Doh! He is due to in court next month and faces a possible prison sentence.

Kate Moss needs a sandwich.

Ex-KLF and Orb member Jimmy Cauty is curating an exhibition of stamp designs for London’s Disorder Gallery.

Q and Not U has split up.

INXS should have split up ages ago. You’d think that the dangling lead singer would’ve been a big hint. But no, they had to go out and recruit a no-talent scrub to sing. What’s worse, carrying on with a no talent scrub, or getting a no talent scrub to sing someone else’s songs? Really, the whole thing is just a sad progression of the myth that aging rock stars can’t let it go.

The aging Morrissey is getting ready to record Ringleader of the Tormentors with David Bowie and Dandy Warhols producer Tony Visconti.

V for Vendetta is going to be T for Terrible.

There is no metric measurement for the joy I feel at the cancellation of The Simple Life. Now Paris Hilton can stop being a TV star and go back to being a celebrity whore.

It was sad to see Serenity do so poorly at the box office.

Over the next few months Yep Roc Records will be reissuing back catalog material from Billy Bragg. Bragg’s first 3 albums and two EPs (dating from 1983-1990), will come out early next year with re-mastered sound, a liner note book with notes from Bragg himself and extra tracks.

Composer Paul Hiller has put together a tribute CD to Avant Garde/Modernist composer Arvo Part. “Arvo Part: A Tribute” features Hiller conducting various groups and symphonies.

Maybe it is just me, but I am getting tired of seeing The White Stripes everywhere.

Sufjan Stevens has been issued a cease and desist order from DC Comics. It seems the folks at DC did some detective work and discovered the likeness of Superman gracing the cover of his recent album, Illinoise.

Bill Griffith and Jaime Hernandez are just two of the big named comic vets involved with the newest Ramones compilation, Weird Tales of the Ramones. This box set features three CDs, a DVD and a fifty-two page comic book about the band drawn by different comic artists. I don’t know about you but I am a bit tired of them mining the same old Ramones back catalog and repackaging it as something new. Enough already!

Big Audio Dynamite drummer Nick Hawkins has passed away at the age of 40.

Midge Ure of Ultravox recently recently received what every tired, boring British solo artist eventually receives, an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen for his involvement in Live Aid and Band Aid.

Bloc Party will record their second full length album this February for a summer 2006 release. If you can’t wait until then is always their recent Silent Alarm Remixed which has just been released.

Isobel Campbell (ex Belle & Sebastian) has teamed up with Mark Lanegan (ex Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age) for her new solo record, Ballad of the Broken Seas. Lanegan produced the album and sings on several tracks. Campbell recently signed to V2 records.

The Rakes

It is just a matter of time before The Rakes make it big on this side of the pond.

Depeche Mode needs to stop now while they are behind. Their new CD, Playing the Angel is a mish mash with a few good songs and lots of disappointment. The magic is clearly gone and they need to turn their tails and run.

Bill Berry recently rejoined REM for a short set in Athens at the wedding for one of their friends.

Garbage recently announced that they are going on hiatus.

The Futureheads return next month with a new EP entitled Area.

Okay, I am going to lay it out for you. It was so good to see many of you at this year’s Dragoncon. It’s always weird to match faces with online aliases, but most of you did look like your mug shots at the Post Office. I’d like to thank the three people who read this column for saying “hi” and being polite. For the most part I had a great time this year.

The guests were mostly nice and cordial. The Walk of Lame wasn’t as proliferated with has-beens this year as in years past. For the most part all of the guests were actually still working on something. (Where have you gone Soupy Sales, a con turns its lonely eyes to you….)

Most of the music acts were still the same. Maybe some year they’ll have two or three industrial band/EBM bands that don’t sound alike. Maybe it is just me, but Luke Ski’s act is getting kinda old. There’s this guy named Weird Al Yankovic who does it much better.

Danger Woman was in full effect again this year, but nowhere near as annoying as in years past. Her cabaret show was hilarious.

The dealer room sucked ass buts that ok. I needed the money for hookers and crack.

The Needcoffee panels and programs were always fun and lively and good natured. As I said, it was good to see all of you, even the one guy who spat at me for making fun of Paris Hilton.

I enjoyed most of the panels I went to. Dean Stockwell’s panel was terrific fun and LeVar Burton’s solo panels were too. It is a shame that Marina Sirtis is still telling the same stories at her panels that she did in 1994.

As I prep for 2006 I only hope that next year’s Dragoncon sees a tighter, better rounded set of track programming. Many of this year’s tracks were a mess. The panels started late and really had no direction or focus at all.

Maybe I am being biased but it looks to me like everyone and their brother is trying to copy the Gonzo Film Fest. With that in mind, imitation is not always the fondest form of flattery. For one, in order to make a good film festival you have to suffer. You have to stay up late before during and after. You have to genuinely love your target audience, and you have to be able to work with people. Nuff Said.

Next month I’ll take on the evil bastard known as the Christmas CD and look at some of the year end releases that will be out to annoy each and every one of us.


  • No one cares what you have to say, dumbass. Stop writing on this website.

    And another thing. Better Than Ezra has endured because they have a lot of talent, not just “an ounce.”

  • Hey Bobo, last time I checked it was my website. And I say who writes and who doesn’t write on here. Which means I care what Rob has to say if no one else. So you can go fuck yourself because you’re an arrogant prick, first of all. Just to establish the chain of power here: me editor, you arrogant prick. Got it? Good.

    Second of all, you’re also a lying jackass because *you* obviously cared enough about what he wrote to take the time to comment. So here’s a question, prick: who’s the dumbass here? The guy writing a column or the guy stupid enough to write a comment revealing what a clueless shit he is?

    BTW, let me save you the trouble: coming back and commenting again will only prove how much you yourself care about Rob’s opinion. And mine. So prove to me what a dumbass you are and hit the Say It! button again. Please. I need some entertainment today. Dance for me, Bobo the Spider Monkey. Dance.