High weirdness by mail (or phone →): Take 2.
Douglas Baptie, Hawick – “With regard to Conspiracy Corner, security cameras are a particular pet hate. I’m not convinced they work for a start – the ‘Abbie’ case being an example…Despite dramatic claims, senior police officials quietly admit crime just gets moved to the areas not being covered. Logically, of course, cameras should cover every street in the country, so that every citizen is protected, and not just the business community wanting to protect their property. Cameras in every household might help stamp out child abuse and spouse battery. I guess the cost might be prohibitive. [However, surely the only people who could object would be those with something to hide? Decent, law-abiding citizens surely have nothing to fear!] I am always surprised at how susceptible many of the cameras are to a spot of teen-terrorism. Most are rarely positioned higher than above first-floor level and could easily be pulled from their stands by a well-aimed rope and a couple of brawny scallywags. The only other equipment required would be a balaclava and a decent pair of running shoes…”
We at TC do not condone any behaviour in breach of the law. We do not suggest you try the tactics discussed above. Or, at least, we suggest you don’t get caught. Particularly not carrying a copy of TC, carefully folded to this page.
Rik Rawling, Morley – “All my neighbours have got these fucking searchlights in their gardens – every time a cat goes for a shit, it lights up the backyards bright enough to be seen from Alpha Centauri. This climate of fear revved up by the media carefully smokescreens all the Big Brother shit that’s really going down. Bar codes on wrists – not long now. I brought up the subject with some friends, and they thought it was bollocks. It’s going on around them and they just don’t feel the fire…Let loose the Overfiend! Bring on the Apocalypse! Eternal death in the fiery lake of Oblivion, under the hateful gaze of the one true dragon of the Eternal Night, is infinitely preferable to endless hours trapped in a grey room (pink blinds), with John Major clones, forced to watch re-runs of ‘May to December’. Forever.”
Paul Mallinson, Eynsham – “I would expect that the links between the IRA and our own government are closer than they like to admit. All governments, when they reach such a high level of control and influence, are nothing more than legalised criminal organizations. If the Mafia ran Italy legally, I’m sure it wouldn’t be much different to how it is run today! [Oh, I dunno, would probably be a good bit more stable. And the government/IRA thing: interesting how the peace truce was negotiated with the Conservatives at their lowest poll rating since the first caveman was asked whether he preferred mammoth or bison. Let’s face, it’s the only thing that’s got a chance of saving the Tories’ necks, unless they can convince Argentina to invade the Falklands again] The ‘wondrous visions’ page after the letters? Why is it that I’ve never managed to get one of these bloody things to work yet. I tell you one thing – when I eventually ‘click’, and I do actually see what I’m supposed to, I’m worried that my head might explode. Should make a good scene in the middle of Athena, if nothing else.”
Ah, yes. The 3D picture. Some interesting responses: a Scottie dog; the Statue of Liberty; and we’ll draw a veil over the identity of the person who stared intently at the picture for several minutes, and then said “Is it a penis?”. And now we hand you over to one of the aggravating bastards who can actually see them:
Tim Greaves, Eastleigh – “I assume you’re joking when you say you can’t see anything in that 3-D design. [That’s right, make me feel really inadequate, why don’t you?] It shows the words “Trash City”, with “Trash” being small in the upper foreground, “City” very large just behind and below it, and what looks like the skyline of a city along the bottom. Do I win a prize? [Bah. Hope you go blind] You want a tip? They say you have to pick a point behind the design and stare fixedly at it, but I can’t do it. I mean, what exactly are you supposed to fix on? The only way I can see ’em is by placing a clear acetate sheet in front, then fix on my own silhouetted reflection. Gradually the images blur and the three dimensional picture just pops into focus. Give it a try, it works for me!”
Hark. That sound in the distance. Must be Paul Mallinson’s head exploding.
Andy Collins, St Leonard’s-on-Sea – “The DJ decided it was that time of the evening to air a Ministry tune. Out of the corner of my eye, a demonic looking guy, large for his height, joined us, looking very similar to Henry Rollins. I became a little wary…then he went up to my friend, roared loudly in his face like a sexually repressed water buffalo and went ape shit, huge arms flailing, mental illness apparent. We backed off to the edge of the dance-floor, expecting imminent death as he ripped off his shirt and went even wilder. No tattoos – this wasn’t a ‘Cape Fear’ situation – but fists were clenched and chest was straining. To my relief, the song cranked down. We were all still standing, faces intact. He then roared again, proclaiming very emotionally that “I fucking love that song”. Great. We’re so pleased for you. Piss off home and go knock through a wall or something. We came to a conclusion that he was a thoughtform created by Ministry in some heinous black magic session to infest various clubs, reassuring people that their fan-base was still as strong, and active, and manic, as ever.
Andy Waller, Magdeburg – “We sampled Berlin a couple of weeks ago and it turned out to be a classic – if disastrous – weekend. The Friday in the city was fine, but when it came to Friday night, we had no accommodation. Our solution was just to ignore this factor. Thus, we played cards, went out for a pizza, consumed a few litres of red wine (I followed my usual principles – “If in doubt about anything while in a big city, just get horribly pissed”), rode down Tiergarten in shopping trolleys for a couple of kilometres, and then collapsed on the grass next to the Brandenburg Gate. This kind of improvised “summer campout” was problematic for a number of reasons, and rather ill-considered. It wasn’t yet Summer, and was therefore very cold, we had no tent, no sleeping-bags, we didn’t even have a mat. The next day, everybody was ratty as fuck, I was still drunk from the night before (I kind of overshot the required amount of wine needed for intoxication purposes) and nobody had succeeded in getting any sleep. It was a total disaster, but was one of the most memorable weekends I’ve probably ever had, in a funny sort of way…”
Given the above, I feel lucky to have got out of Paris alive. Maybe there is a market for nightmare holidays? “Kids go free on our tour of Romanian orphanages” – and if you’re lucky, they don’t come back, but are kidnapped by some rich but infertile parents from suburbia.
John Weller, Bournemouth – “I’m thinking of putting together something ‘zineish myself, but I’m not sure yet what form it’ll take…Another aim would be to load for bear, and stalk a few of the counterculture’s sacred cows [er, shouldn’t that be “load for cow” then? – helpful editor] – vegans, ‘animal rights’ and hunt sabbing, the gut reactions that pass for thought among people whose only contact with the countryside is a day spent chasing red-coated fools. Liz and I hunt rabbits to feed ourselves and our animals (17 ferrets and a red-tailed hawk) and we take responsibility for what we kill. What we don’t need are the fools who told us (at the Food and Farming Show in Hyde Park) that “all hunting is blood lust” and that “all ferrets should be released into the wild”. Pure, thoughtless compassion: 90% of any animals released into the wild would die in the first two weeks, and the survivors would gravitate to poultry sheds, or wherever there’s fast food. But who wants to hear the truth when righteous anger is so much more satisfying?”
I would deeply love to produce a contentious, hard-hitting ‘zine that succeeds in annoying people and getting up their noses. Difficult, though it may be to believe, inside this mild-mannered editorial body, there beats a heart of purest sulphur. Unfortunately, I think after 17 issues of TC, people probably know me too well to actually take it seriously. This has been one of the appeals of the Internet; the chance to talk to a lot of Americans, to whom concepts such as “sarcasm” and “irony” are mostly alien and anathema. Anyone feeling in need of an argument should go onto the “alt.cult-movies” newsgroup, and say something derogatory about “Schindler’s List”. Oh, and be sure to put on asbestos underwear first. But in the hallowed pages of this publication, I guess I’ll just have to keep on with the political incorrectness.
Pam Creais, Sidcup – “I have doubts about most things that are supposedly ‘good for us’. I think too many people are influenced by what they read in papers and magazines, and talked into doing things that they wouldn’t normally do. I mean, do you go around supermarkets examining tins of food for ‘E’ numbers? I thought perhaps not! [Actually, I do – and refuse to buy anything unless it has at least three additives] As for vegetarianism, it’s not a philosophy, I could adopt myself, and I’m an animal lover. I especially love them when they’re on my plate at meal-times. Too many people exhibit ludicrously idealistic sentiments when it comes to animals. Obviously, I’m not saying that it’s right to ill-treat them, but it’s always sensible to get matters into perspective. An animal is, after all, just that – an animal. They shouldn’t be made fools of, or the subject of idolatry.”
I agree. It’s like the recent controversy over calf exports; in terms of valid, commercial alternatives, the only other option is really killing all male calves at birth – this would scarcely please “Friends of the Furries”, but to use them in the nice, kind, humane British veal trade, we’d have to increase 100-fold the amount of veal that we eat. Not that I personally mind, being a great fan of a nice escalope. But certainly, animals shouldn’t be made into fools. Casseroles, possibly, or certainly sandwiches, but it’s gooseberries or some similar summer fruit you want if you want to make a fool…
Speaking of which, more letters for this column are always welcome. They needn’t be anything to do with the ‘zine, as the above show, and I am quite willing to keep them hanging round until an ‘appropriate’ moment arrives; at least one of the above letters dates back to ‘93. You have been warned…