Sunday, 23 August 2015

"It Came From THE BOX..." - Flying Saucer From Mars

If you read the second volume of The Bulletproof Coffin (Disinterred) you may remember that the renowned UFOlogist George Adamski featured prominently.

Rooting around in that bottomless box I keep under the bed I stumbled across this book by Britain's own expert on UFOs, the legendary, Cedric Allingham.

Like Adamski, Allingham witnessed the appearances of flying saucers, in this case in the skies over the north of Scotland in 1954. 

If this amazing photograph isn't enough to convince you, here is an even more stunning image of the UFO moving in to land.

Note the uncanny resemblance to the UFOs sighted by Adamski himself...

Surely this must be more than mere coincidence!

What's more, Allingham was lucky enough to meet the Martian pilot and engage him in a limited conversation. As the alien departed, Allingham managed to snap this remarkable image.

As the author notes: "The Saucer itself is just out of the picture to the left." One can only lament Allingham's failure to take a shot including the UFO, that might have more closely resembled the cover image, and laid to rest any lingering doubts among sceptics.

Here is a photographic portrait of the author. 

Cedric Allingham spent most of his time travelling the length and breadth of the UK in his caravan, searching for more evidence of the aliens among us. When he was not pursuing his scientific endeavours, Allingham was a prolific author of exciting thrillers, which he wrote under a pseudonym. He was also a keen birdwatcher.

And let's have none of this nonsense about the whole thing being a hoax perpetrated by Patrick Moore!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Hastings Grafitti

A few pictures snapped this week in the back streets of Hastings...

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The Sequential Summer Sale - Ends July 31st!

If you buy digital comics you should know about SEQUENTIAL, the comics and graphic novel app for iPad. Sequential is more than just a gateway for digital versions of comics, it is a genuine store front, with free samples, author biographies, special editions and back issues of the free digital magazine INFINITY. I've plugged Sequential before, particularly the exclusive edition of my own STRANGE EMBRACE.

There's lots of information on this edition, with extras and commentary here. Right now and until the end of July, Strange Embrace is available for 50% of normal price and there are over 350 other graphic novels on sale at between 50% and 90% discount! You can see the full list of sale items here: SEQUENTIAL SUMMER SALE.

With so many amazing books on sale, I've been asked to list 10 recommendations. That's a near impossible task. Seriously I would be happy to have almost all of these comics in my digital collection. Here, then are 10 books I have read and own and love. I'm not going to talk about Hellboy  and Sin City, because I'm sure you already know about them. You may not have heard about some of these...

1) Heroes of The Comics by Drew Friedman is a collection of portraits and potted histories of the greats of Comic Book history, from Ditko, Toth, Krigstein, Frazetta, to lesser-known artists like Ramona Fradon and even including a painting of Frederic Wertham, ageing and lonely and very far from a 'Hero' of the comics. I've been following Friedman since his Warts And All collection of celebrity portraits. Those illustrations were laboriously detailed pen-and-ink works, these new painting are in colour and are more a case of 'freckles and liver spots' but the uncompromising style is intact. At 60% discount the portrait of Wally Wood lighting a cig against a backdrop of stars and planets is worth the price on its own.

2) DKW by Sergio Ponchione is on sale for only $1.99. It's a fabulous piece of work that pays homage to the three greats, Ditko, Kirby and Wood, using their various styles as inspiration while getting to the core of what these three creators meant to everyone working in comics today. Ponchione is new to me, but a creator to keep an eye on.

3) The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez is 60% off at $6.99. Love and Rockets has always been up there in my top ten best-ever comics. The Death Of Speedy storyline was the first comic to make me weep. The Love Bunglers did it again. No one has ever depicted the developing lives of  characters like Jaime Hernandez in any medium. Just when I though I was getting over her, I fell in love with Maggie all over again, dammit!

4) Room For Love by ILYA has a massive 73% knocked off its price at $5.99. This story of a doomed love-affair between a middle-aged, middle-class author with writer's block and a young, bisexual homeless man is poignant and utterly authentic. Ilya's ear for dialogue is flawless and this story of everyday tragedy is up there with his best work, like End Of The Century Club and Skidmarks.

5) Supercrash by Darryl Cunningham is reduced to only $5.99. I came across this book recently when I had the pleasure of sitting alongside Darryl for the second half of the Glasgow Convention. As soon as I realised that this book started with a biography of Ayn Rand I had to have it. I am one of those noble few who have waded through Rand's Atlas Shrugged, often listed as the most influential book among young Americans. If you know anything about the book, or Ayn Rand or her philosophy of 'Fuck The Poor, I Love Dollars!', otherwise known as Objectivism, you will realise how horrifying that is. This book goes into just how influential Ayn Rand was on people like Alan Greenspan and how that influence had a massive bearing on the current economic mess the world is in. Darryl somehow manages to be calm and objective as he dissects the consequences of rampant self-centred capitalism. I realised by the end that there is actually an undercurrent of quiet anger running through this book that is much more effective than fist-waving outrage could ever be.

6) The Park by Oscar Zarate is yours for only $5.99. The setting for this everyday story of love, hate and revenge is a city park where petty confrontations gradually assume the proportions of Greek Tragedy. Pigeons, dogs, swans and stag beetles all have their part to play, as do Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Both the story and art display Oscar's habitual delicate touch. Completely, unpredictably unique.

7) Cherubs by Mark Stafford and Brian Talbot. For only a quarter of the usual price at $4.99 this book is written by the inimitable Brian Talbot and illustrated in black and white by my frequent collaborator, Mark Stafford. I'm going to be a bit cheeky here and simply quote the blurb from the web site because frankly, its the best blurb you're ever likely to read: "Falsely accused of heaven's first homicide, five churlish cherubim escape to New York in pursuit of the renegade archangel Abaddon on the eve of the Apocalypse. Befriended by exotic dancer, Mary, and chased by unstoppable Seraphim terminators, the Cherubs stand alone against Hell's hordes as Satan prepares to make war, not love." Blimey! The writing is hilarious, the drawing manic. Also the writing is manic and the drawing hilarious. 

8) Fran by Jim Woodring is on sale at $7.99. If you are familiar with Woodring's deceptively horrific surrealism then you will know what to expect from this. If you have never seen his work, you are in for a treat. Wordless, beautifully crafted, there's a perfectionism to his work that is a rare pleasure. Woodring is impossible to categorise but I guess there are elements of Basil Wolverton, Charles Burns and George Herriman in his work - only a lot trippier. This book should be read a hundred times and more.

9) Pinocchio by Winshluss is reduced to $5.99 from $27.99. This book is a work of pure genius. I've talked about other books here being unique and this one is too. But more so! I've honestly never experienced a comic that has so many surprises at every turn of the page. This feels like it was created by someone who has not so much ignored or broken all the rules, but simply isn't aware that there are any rules. Pinocchio is an absolute delight and it's a crime against Art, Nature and Commerce that it isn't a massive best-seller.

10) I can only recommend one more and there are so many I haven't mentioned yet. It's going to be a toss-up between Bomb Run, collecting the war stories of Harvey Kurtzman and John Severin and Charley's War by Joe Colquhoun and Pat Mills. And it's...heads...Charley's War. An amazing collaboration that covers no less than 16 volumes of 30 pages each at 99 cents each! These stories were told as weekly episodes of only 3 or 4 pages, and it's a testament to Pat Mills' skill that he could tell such an effective story under those constraints. Joe Colquhoun's illustration is breathtakingly detailed and painstakingly researched. The ultimate anti-war story, told from the point-of-view of the ordinary working-class Tommy. You can also download the first volume for free here.

There you go, just 10 of over 350 amazing titles at remarkably cheap prices until the end of July. Check out the full list here: SEQUENTIAL SUMMER SALE!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Last Tuesday Society

When I visited ELCAF a couple of weekends ago, I was advised to visit this...

Not only is this a very fine cocktail bar but, more significantly, it houses the Viktor Wynd Museum Of Curiosities. I can't believe I didn't already know about this. Here are a few samples from the wonderful, chaotic collection...

In the lower part of the picture, a human skeleton, sealed under glass in the table (This room available for dining)

A gold-plated hippo skull, formerly in the collection of Columbian Drug Baron, Pablo Escobar

Actual Dodo skeleton

Actual Human Vagina

Actual Mermaid

Actual Stuff

More Stuff

Stuff and Nonsense

If you can't wait to learn more about the inimitable Mr Wynd, watch this documentary...


Monday, 15 June 2015

Hustlers, Beats and Others

Written in 1967, this is the Pelican edition from 1971.

This is what Ned Polsky had to say about Beats and Hipsters in the chapter 'The Village Beat Scene: Summer 1960'.

Until recently 'hipster' meant simply one who is hip, roughly the equivalent of a beat. Beats recognized that the hipster is more of an 'operator' - has a more consciously patterned life-style (such as concern to dress well) and makes more frequent economic raids on the frontiers of the square world - but emphasised their social bonds with hipsters, such as their liking for drugs, for jazz music, and, above all, their common scorn for bourgeois career orientations. Among Village beats today, however, 'hipster' usually has a pejorative connotation: one who is a mannered show-off regarding his hipness, who 'comes on' too strongly in hip talk, etc. In their own eyes, beats are hip but are definitely not hipsters.

And in case you've wondered where the term 'hip' comes from...

The few Village beats with any opinion suppose it comes from the 'hep' of early 1940s jive talk.  Actually 'hep' and 'hip' are doublets; both come directly from a much earlier phrase, 'to be on the hip', to be a devotee of opium smoking - during which activity one lies on one's hip.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Bulletproof Jukebox

I haven't done one of these for a long while. Some kick-ass live performances from the sixties...

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Didn't It Rain - Live in Manchester 1964

Nina Simone - Mississippi Goddam - Holland 1965

Lesley Gore - You Don't Own Me - 1964

More Sister Rosetta - That's all...

Sunday, 31 May 2015