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“Snake Plissken? I heard you were dead”.

“I notice from issue #62 of ‘The Dark Side’ that Trash City may be no more. Can this be true? I hope not! I’ve been with TC for quite a while, it’d be a shame to see “the old dear” finally go under…Hope that Mark Twain’s maxim applies”

This morning, the above plaintive little letter drifted into TC Towers. You will understand that I was intrigued, and rushed out to grab a copy of said magazine. After giggling madly at the letters column (1 know at least one person whose hobby is getting fake missives printed therein), I came to Steve Green’s ‘Fanzine Focus’ and read: “We’ve also seen such worthy titles as Dark Terrors, Invasion and Trash City slip into the shadows, perhaps for the duration. No disrespect to the other two, but it’s the last which I’ll miss most.”

There follows a warm tribute which I am far too modest to re-print. Touching though it is, I do wish that he’d made some attempt to contact me and verify that TC was indeed dead, before writing its memorial! I mean, a postcard would have done. However, after, ooh, twenty months, 1 can hardly criticise anyone for believing that we’d shuffled off this mortal coil, so I guess it’s time to rev up the old word-processor, and deliver the latest issue before any other obituaries hit the outside world. As you can tell, reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated — though perhaps what you are holding is merely a figment of your deranged imagination and Steve Green was right after all.

The delay is simply a result of competition for my free time/ Back when I started, I was a sad git with no life, living in a bedsit in Farnborough, Hampshire. Now, however, I am a sad git with no life, living in a house in Tulse Hill, but also possessing a large amount of things to distract from the task at hand. I’ve probably contributed several TC’s worth to the Internet, notably the alt.cult-movies group. I finally cracked and bought a Playstation. This is the first issue produced 100% under non-celibacy, shall we say. All of this, plus the usual beer-drinking, film-watching and so on. You get the picture.

But I like TC, and would like to state publicly that I have no plans to stop doing it in the near future. It may be very sporadic, but when or if I go, it will not be with a whimper, but a loud bang — for no other reason than that I’ve a lot of subscription money to drink my may through.

At the moment, I feel like a character in an H.P. Lovecraft short story, desperately trying to finish his life’s work before the (Shapeless, Indescribable, Nameless) Things scratching at his door get in. In my case, the things are biological and viral in nature, as I can feel my head filling up with what promises to be a cold the size of Alabama. Valiant attempts are being made to drive it off, by cramming so many pharmaceuticals down my neck that the cold thinks it’s trying to infect Hoffman La Roche. If that fails, I’m off to bed, and this will probably not see the light of day until 1997.

Speaking of which, TC will be sprinting back from its Christmas vacation for Shinnekai, the 1997 European Anime Convention, which takes place from January 3rd-5th at the Radisson IEdwardian Hotel, Heathrow. There’ll be guests, a dealer’s room, and yours truly will be in a video room over Saturday night, showing some favourite HK flicks. For info, send an SAE to Jonathan Weeks, 65 The High, Streatham High Road, London, SW16 1EY. See you there.

The bizarre stories scattered through this issue come most from Chuck Shepherd’s wonderful ‘News of the Weird’. To subscribe, send $16 to him at PO Box 8306, St. Petersburg, FL 33738, USA or drop an e-line to notw-request@nine.org with the word ‘subscribe’ as the subject of the message. Or, you could rush out and order his 5th paperback, “The Concrete Enema and Other News of the Weird Classics” (Andrews and McMeel, $6.95). Just walk up to the counter and ask the salesgirl, “Give me a Concrete Enema, please!”

While talking about publications you might like to buy, as Christmas is coming, after all – or Easter, depending on when this appears! – you might want to consider ‘Hog #2’ and ‘The Lina Romay File’. The former would be perfect for a little nephew, as it’s full of delightful comic strips like ‘Arseman’ as well as the latest adventures of the charmingly named Jack Shit. Call it £2, including p&p, from TC cover artist Rik Bawling, 4a Hardy Ave, Churwell, Morley, LS27 7SJ On the other hand, that “difficult” uncle might appreciate ‘Lina’, the latest offering from that one-man army, Tim Greaves. Er, except this was done in conjunction with Kevin Collins. A hundred glossy, fulsomely illustrated pages for £5.95; Lino’s bit has Tim’s address.

I suppose at this stage, I should insert a rant about ‘Crash’. But you know about it all, and I’ve little doubt you think exactly the same thing as me, so I won’t bother. I will point out, however, that the Daily Express has called for a boycott of Sony, because they own the rights to ‘Crash’ in this country. You will not be surprised to hear that I have written to the Daily Mail, to tell them that this long-term reader [well, a bit of literary exaggeration never hurt anyone – somehow, I think that the truth would be slightly less effective!] has had enough, and will not be buying their newspaper again. I also rushed out and bought a dozen Sony videotapes and three new Playstation games. I would heartily recommend you do the same. We love you, Sony!

It’s all down to election fever, and things will only get worse until it’s all over. On one hand, you have Tony Blair and his “Christian socialism”. On the other, we have the likes of Virginia Bottomley, who seems to think that “National Heritage” = “getting councils to ban films”. In the middle, we have the party that spawned David Alton. What do you think I’m going to be doing on election night? I’ll give you a clue: it involves lots of beer. Oops, said I wasn’t going to !let into a political rant. Sorry! Well, that’s it. I’m off to open the sluice gates and chug down another six-pack of Lemsip. TC will return, hopefully in 1997, but hell, don’t hold your breath!

“The Attorney General says there’s too much violence on TV and that should stop. Rut even if you took out all the violent shows, you could still see the news. And so, until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there’s no point taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value”

— Alicia Silverstone, definitely not ‘Clueless’!