Welcome to the Videodrome

After the nomadic TC9, normal service is now resumed with our 2nd Annual Orient Excess. About this time last year, we predicted that Eastern culture was going to be BIG. Thanks to things like ‘Akira’, the Black Sunday festivals and Channel 4’s ‘Chinese Ghost Story’ season, this has come true and hopefully, things will continue to expand. At the moment I’d far rather sit down in front of a randomly selected Hong Kong action film than a randomly selected American horror movie…

This is despite the twin problem of getting hold of them to start with and then trying to understand the damn things. If you visit a Chinese video library, the reaction to a ‘gwailo’ wanting to join varies from surprise – “Are you sure?” said the girl in Videosino on Shaftesbury Avenue here (probably the best place to start if you’re in the area, despite a hefty £30 deposit) – and at worst, a flat refusal, with some very nasty stories about places with bad attitudes. Generally, it helps if you can mention a few names, just to prove you’re serious: Tsui Hark, John Woo & Chow Yun Fat tend to get good reactions.

Once you have your anime or Hong Kong film, you still have to work out what’s going on. If you’re lucky, it’ll have subtitles, though in many Hong Kong films, half of each line will be missing due to pan-and-scan and what you can see will only vaguely resemble the language we know (I’ve seen the phrase “I’ll give you a decent burial”, spoken in English, become “I’ll give you a dace and barrel”). Best not to try and read them, just let them wash over you – spot a verb here, a noun there and don’t worry about the rest.

Even then, you still have to filter it through Western culture. I’ve not bothered greatly about that here – I could have spent ages wondering if I was laughing in the right places, but it’s perhaps better just to enjoy them on whatever terms you can, as you’ll absorb the culture by a process of immersion. I would ask tolerance, however, since what may seem perverse or sick to you might be absolutely natural to the Japanese. There’s an entire new world out there waiting to be discovered. Take the plunge, and you’ll be in for a delightful experience.

One date to ring heavily in your diary, in a variety of fluorescent colours. 26th October sees a joint lmaginator/Eastem Heroes triple bill at the Scala here in London. ‘A Better Tomorrow III’, ‘Class of Nuke ‘Em High II’ and ‘Nekromantik II’, with Jorg Buttgereit there as well. For more details, send an SAE to Imaginator, Unit 1, Hawk House, Peregrine Park, Gomm Road, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP13 7DL. I’ll be there, and suggest you should be too, unless you want to risk Chow Yun Fat, the Troma boys and Mr.Buttgereit popping round for your kneecaps!

Thanks to John London at Copyprint for his sterling work last issue (sorry about page 42!), Anthony Cawood, Dan Pydynkowski, Helen McCarthy, Paul Mallinson, Paul Higson, Damien Drake, George Houston, Alun Fairburn, Stefan Kwiatkowski, Brian Bower, Steve Moss, Graf Haufen, Sally Young and the other Associates, Peter R.Evans, Claire Blarney, Greg Stark, Ken Miller, Rick Baker (without whom Firm Britz would have been very plain!), Gerald Smith and my psychic twin Jim Swallow. TC9 was available from FP, Fantasy Inn & Psychotronic Vids, all in London, plus Videodrom, Berlin.

ART ED EXTRA: The Kanju on the cover of TC6 and in this issue are “miyako” (capital, metropolis) and “kuzu” (rubbish, waste, trash, rags). Literally “Metropolis of Filth”!