Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Review of "Zones of Chaos" by Mick Farren

Mick Farren is one of the unsung heroes of the modern "underground" - writer, musician, journalist, anarchist, prankster and unrepentant sinner. A godfather of punk and heavy metal, his bands have shaped the music of two generations - He has worked with The Deviants, The Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, Motorhead and many more. As a writer, his dystopian visions helped lay the groundwork for much of what we now expect of science fiction, yet always with a smirk and sense of humor often missing from most recent books and films.

In "Zones of Chaos", Farren throws down with a collection of prose and poetry (and even cartoons) with titles like "Vinnie wants to sell me Hitler's Brain",  "The Aztec Calendar Just Ran Out" and "Just a Poor Dogpoet Who Finds Himself Locked Out Of The Cathouse".

"Zones" is an outwardly chaotic mixture of lyrical storytelling, but each piece in the book is a gem, strung together on a broken guitar string that changes quickly from a charming necklace to a garrote, and back again.  In" Jailhouse Rock" he tells the tale of spending the Northridge Earthquake locked in the Van Nuys jail. The story, in seven short pages, has it all- drama, humor and biting social commentary. The poem "Anthropomorphism", a eulogy to cartoonist Edward Barker, is full of sweetness and anger, and "Envy" tears apart rock'n'roll idolatry in a mere handful of words.

Farren is unafraid to show his roots and cultural references- reading his work is like watching a great poker player playing an open hand. No tricks, no secrets, no bluffs- just raw talent, well-honed skills and a lifetime of experience that tells him what to throw out, what to keep in, when to fold early, when to go all-in.

The great Michael Moorcock, in the introduction to "Zones" describes Farren's work best - "Mick Farren is an original. Read him and rage. Read him and laugh. Read him and weep. He still has more energy, more life and more creativity than most of those who have come after him. And He's still ahead of his own game. Doing what comes naturally. Cocking a snoot at convention. Telling it like it is. Living in a present made incandescent by his very existence. Showing just how good it is to be alive. "

Friday, March 5, 2010

Vintage Undergrounds from the Vault....

Check out these images from the incredible vintage undergrounds that my buddy Ed gave me yesterday! Thanks Man!!!!

Yipster Times, Overthrow, Rural America- All from the early 80's. Reading the articles,  it's amazing how much things HAVEN'T changed. The one thing that does seem to have changed is the ability of people to stand up to their government! Prozac anyone?  Busch Lite chaser, sir? Enjoy the ball game! SLEEP!

The revolution really won't be televised,  and you're gonna need something to read when the internet goes away!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chicago Comics Symposium

For you Windy City comic mavens, next week is a big week! Not only is Zinefest happening,  but a two day geek-out dedicated to the artform we all love...

From the website:
 "The stubborn work ethic of Chicago’s comic scene will be explored in the first ever Chicago Comics Symposium, hosted by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) on March 11th and 12th 2010. Through panel discussions with over fifteen local comic makers, the Symposium will investigate the city’s influence on the comic making process, tackling the sad, serious, and silly topics that reign supreme in the realm of sequential art. All events are free and open to the public. "
image by Sarah Becan

When I.T. was cool....

The International Times Archive is an amazing collection of highlights from the original voice of the UK 60's cultural revolution. The psychedelic graphics, the dangerous prose, the radical politics - International Times was launched in 1966 and help define a style of publication now known as the "alternative weekly". But it was so,so much more....

Editors have included photographer John Hopkins whose portraits of British Rock'n'Roll royalty have become iconographic, as well as Deviants lead singer Mick Farren, who's work we will be including in an upcoming issue of OBSOLETE Magazine.