A Cultural History
I remember this comic quite fondly, it reprinted the material from the US magazine, magazine rather than comic because of the need to circumvent the comics code. The work of Alfredo Alcala still holds a particularly strong appeal for me, his ink seemed to flow from his pen in a river of expression but he was by no means the only notable artist, with masters like Mike Ploog being amongst them. I don't know much about the US edition but the UK one suffered an abrupt drop in quality. When Apeslayer made his appearance (US Killraven strips refinished with apes pasted over original artwork) I left it behind.
Issue 9 was my starting point and I bailed when it teamed up with Dracula comic. In between those two points it made one hell of an impression on me. Some of those images in the main ape strip and in the back up strips remain still today burnt into my brain. Wished I still had them but mother decided they should go to the jumble sale at the school. To add to that I had the pleasure of then seeing them rolled up in an elastic band, 5 copies for 10p. Those are the moments that truly shape us.We're clearly around the same age DSE, what are you thoughts, if any, on hauntology. Musically, televisual and just generaly?
I had to look it up, from what I gather it's revisiting the past or reworking old themes. Personally I'm getting to the stage where I view a lot things presented as -innovation- with a bit of jaundiced eye, something of a curmudgeon, although I'm not quite Victor Meldrew yet. I think it is valid to mine the past, that's where most of history is located after all, so you ignore it at your peril but mining is a selective process, you gotto go through a lot of worthless rock before you hit gold. For every Hendrix there's a dozen Applejacks.When looking at the past I think it's more valuable to cast and eye on items that perhaps didn't get their fair crack at the whip in their own time, maybe they were out of the mainstream or were just ignored, The public perception on talent is always focused on just a few individuals, there's a whole crowd of people knocking out stuff that never gets the attention it deserves.Television wise, I don't watch it any more, I stopped for a few months cos I got sick of the drivel, then I couldn't get back into the watching habit, because it just makes me too fidgety. I'll watch a dvd now an then but even that can be a bit of a chore, if there's no beer around. I'm more into reading now because it's not constrained by a linear progression that you have no control over. How many times have seen a tv documentary where they spend about 30 minutes waffling, teasing you with blurred photos and shakey eye witness accounts, only to conclude in the last few seconds that: no, the Loch Ness Monster doesn't exist after all? Some of the old tv stuff I do remember fondly are things like: Public Eye, 1990 with Edward Woodward, Sky a kid's tv series about an alien with weird eyes. Other things I miss are the spinner racks with trashy novels at the train station, in fact any novels that aren't three inches thick and concerned with -relationships-. Comics printed in black and white or just two colours, Giles cartoons, Sugar Smacks with pictures of the latest Gerry Anderson TV series on their boxes. I've think there's been a lot of contraction in popular culture here, there's lot of hype and flash but it's the little things that have disappeared.Sorry I waffled a bit, is that on track?
Not waffle at all. Interesting thoughts. Thank you. For me Hauntology is less about revisiting the past as was and more about the nostalgia of things that never quite were. Revisiting the past to find the future that was promised. Ideally, if one is to create rather than consume its about bringing into being what should, could or might have been. It's about reclaiming a lost version of England, as hinted at in Gerry Anderson, The Avengers and some Doctor Who to name but a few story-scapes. Growing up in the 70's England's Dreaming was a place of stone circles and spies, space men and ghosts, secret research centres and devils worship. We imagined ourselves in the future and it was further away than the next I-phone App. Everything was possible it seemed. We dreamed of colonisation, evolution of ourselves into the next species. Big, big imaginations. Somehow over the next few decades our dreams got smaller and they all had a price on them. It feels like we got lost on the journey and hauntology is a bit like going back and finding the rout again to where we should have been by now. I love the list of things in your last paragraph. I know them exactly. Cultural landmarks. It's about going back to them, understanding what they represented and then striving forward again. Mad rambles are the nearest I can get to explaining it to others or myself but the desire to recreate what is no longer here is probably fuelled by those same frustrations that you mention; the sense of jaundice and cultural contraction. Does any of that make sense or feel familiar?
Yeah it does feel familiar, it's interesting you referenced The Sex Pistols with England's dreaming because I recall getting breakfast in town just before going to work. After my abortive tenure at art college I got job selling carpets and I'd put something a bit lively on the jukebox for those few minutes I had to myself, the pistols didn't make it the play list, so was usually Strange Town. Which was apt because the world, not just the town, had turned weird, it had started even then. I occasionally visit the topic with a friend of mine, who as it happens, was at the cutting edge of the punk revolution, well that's what he claims. I bemoan the passing of cheesecloth shirts draped over the moderately full breasts of a braless girl as her tassels waft in a gentle breeze, he regales with tales of Siouxsie Sioux and band in-fighting. I tell him the world turned grey in 77, he says it was the rebellion that consigned the beardy weirdies to history. I suppose what that proves is that every perspective on history is different. He's got a point because things did need a shot in the arm, but I was thinking vitamin supplement not mescaline.By the mid eighties, the moon landings had become history for most us, for a few people with a poor understanding of lighting and photography they even became mythology. I'm not sure it's possible for anyone to swim against such tide, there are a few trying: Zubrin, Musk et al but confidence in them is thwarted by suspicion meanwhile the world's appetite for exploration is sated by a few thousand pixels from Mars. There's always something more important to expend time and resources on, funny how those tasks always seem to entail shooting someone in the desert while photographing them in infra red, it's never something like tackling Ebola. In one of the final interviews Gerry Anderson gave, he expressed his own disillusion, noting that we're still fighting wars and killing each other, the difference now is that we get the latest shots of the mayhem beamed to our mobile device while were eating our breakfast, waiting to get into work.
I think Punk was less a revolution than a purging. It needed to happen but it was never going to be the thing that replaced the thing. Post Punk was interesting but I think the 80's with it's ubiquitous money men took music, via video, into strange places it would never have got to on its own. Music was tribal through the 60's 70' then it became culture and sub culture/counterculture. Then the money men snapped up all of the independents so that they might have all of the sales and everything became suspect for a while. Modern computer tech probably means the artists are getting control back and can produce and sell their own thing I just wonder if the mainstream audience is there any more. On mass I don't think the general population is up for diversity, challenging ideas, or work you have to meet half way. And that's true of film, TV and books. There is always exception and moments intelligence and innovation but the public wants what the public gets, to quote The Jam. All that said, it doesn't depress me, I just think there's a fair bit of work to be done to get it back to where it should all be. If you've a few quid spare you might enjoy reading "Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures" by Mark Fisher. Various samples chapters available in the usual places. Interesting conversation
I'll give it gander, from the Amazon review it looks kinda deep though. I don't have much of a philosophical bent myself (I usually say thinking if overrated--only half jokingly) so I might struggle with the precepts and received wisdom.Punk-wise, I view it as contrived albeit a contrivance which was subverted, quite successfully as it happens, by a few figures but essentially a ploy to shake some revenue out of a jaded market. It was presented as a parody of aspects counter culture, one that figures like Bill Grundy could safely shake their fingers at, things didn't quite go according to plan did they? Well that's the power of anarchy for you, something you can never stamp into vinyl and stick a label on. Aunt Sally -- is the term I use for that tactic, Aunt Sally is the game played in rustic settings, a wooden doll set up to be knocked over for the gratification of the the punters, a vicarious outlet for their every day frustrations. Of course she was previously a representation of the matriarchal Victorian era, hence the manifestation as a censorious aunt.I see Aunt Sally a lot these days, not the pub game, I'm sure that would offend ascendant sensibilities but brash and gaudy diversions for those maligned by inequities to focus their attention upon. It seems to work pretty well, the new media being exploited to channel discontent down blind alleys, the -- revolution, being postponed, indefinitely it seems.