Spot the Logic Competition

Using your skill and judgement, see if you can find any traces of common sense or intelligence in this ‘Times’ editorial of 26/11/93.

Answer: well, I’m damned if I could find any. For a supposedly reputable publication to print such hypocrisy is astonishing. I say “hypocrisy” because, if I’m not mistaken, the same people who own The Times also have a large stake in BSkyB, a company which stopped submitting the movies it shows to the BBFC last year. I know I’m probably preaching to the converted with this, but it’s easy to forget there’s a sizeable minority who view genre fans as being barely above the level of child molesters. Perhaps what that editorial proves more than anything else is this:-

“Quality” journalism is just gutter journalism with longer words.

We now return you to your normal reading orientation…

Welcome to the Videodrome

They said it couldn’t be done – they were wrong. They said it wouldn’t be done – they were wrong (just). They said it shouldn’t be done – er, ok, maybe we’ll give them that one.

Theory stated you should be reading this just before Christmas; I did make a solid attempt to get it out in 1993, but in the end, for the second year in a row, this supposed quarterly has managed precisely one issue! But at least I’ve not been idle: flick through the three-figure page count; run your hands over the perfect binding; stroke the laminated, wipe-clean cover…

This monster is a one-off. Those who are aware of the teething pains this has gone through (especially those unlucky enough to get the infamous “TC has folded” letter) will know why. Not only had I to write TC, but also do the bulk of the layout too: Per’s simultaneous job- and house-change means his talents are restricted to the covers. While kinda fun – on a one-off basis! – future endeavours hinge on the supply of clip-art as much as anything else (when it comes to great inventions, CorelDraw on CD-Rom is definitely up there with The Wheel and Fire). But a round of TC applause for Kanji Bates, who is responsible for most of the non-Corelled sections! [as well, it must be said, for some of the delay!]

This is the Japanese issue, or at least, how-we-see-Japan-from-here issue, as for the main, the contents are less first-hand, and more Western reactions to various pieces of Japanese culture. We are less concerned with whether ‘The Ultimate Teacher’ is an accurate representation of Japanese high-school life than whether it is funny. The next fix, coming your way in mid- to late-1994 (provisional!), will have an American/French flavour. All contributions, as ever, are welcome: again, an excess of beauty over truth is not a problem.

This, of course, assumes I’m not in jail for thought crime. After the Bulger case, it’s now “Return of the Video Nasties”, as the government go “back to basics” – see opposite for a prime example of press hysteria, and as I write, David Alton has tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill which would all but wipe out 18-rated vids. Well, I’ll sleep a lot safer knowing that no-one can rent films like “Jesus of Montreal”, “Heathers” and “Deathstalker 2”. I tried to interview Mr. Alton, but when it became clear that I was intending neither tabloid hysteria nor personal powder-puff, the MP’s diary became mysteriously full… More next issue on this one.

Just as worrying was the government move to outlaw “simulated child pornography”; this exhibits the sort of inability to differentiate between reality and fantasy which would get you or I locked up. How long till we see prosecutions of Streetfighter II owners for “simulated GBH”? I can hear it now; “M’lud, the accused was seen kicking and punching his victim, Mr. Honda, into unconsciousness. After this, he bounced up and down, yelling ‘Ya-taa!'”.

We’d better get going, it’s going to get worse… Thanks to all the Steves, Mikes and Peters, Kanji, Per, Jim, Paul, Lino/Tony/Cheryl/Damien/Dan/Greg/Mr.X, John, Helen, Darren, Dave, Max, Dan, Nicolas, Manga, Crusader, First Independent, Andy, Antony, Lorraine, Rick and Phil.

Contents

Trash City 14/15

Winter 1993

Ingredients

This issue of TC contains:%
Gutter journalism0.96
Cute (Miyazaki flavoured)8.65
Prague3.85
Japanese non-animation4.81
Lino6.73
Cute (Japanese-girls-without-horns flavoured)6.73
Live action anime3.85
Paranoia1.92
An obituary1.92
Japanese animation7.69
Not-so-fast cars2.88
An interview4.81
Cute (Japanese-girls-with-horns flavoured)2.88
Weirdness (fictional)1.92
Exploitative surgical movies1.92
Traci Lords1.92
Edward, er, the manually challenged3.85
Philosophy of sleaze3.85
Anne Parillaud4.81
Comics7.69
Weirdness (Tokyo-based)2.88

WARNING!

May contain editorial, letters, covers, an ingredients list, subliminal messages and miscellaneous slices of weirdness. Sold by weight not volume; contents may settle during transport. Editor under pressure: do not puncture, incinerate or expose to naked flame. Registered at the newspaper as a Post Office. Keep children out of reach. Product of more than one country. Outlook: cloudy with scattered showers. Contains assemblies and components sensitive to electrostatic discharge.

This issue of TC contains 50% extra free! [Mind you, you’re paying double for the other extra 50%] Texts, except where otherwise labelled, are a Jim McLennan joint – probably an elbow. Layout by an unholy alliance of Jim McL. & Kanji Bates. Covers by Per ‘Nomad’ Porter. Printed, for a change, by Juma Press, Sheffield. Subscriptions: four gets you four (in Britain: Europe, $8 gets you four, elsewhere, $12 gets you four). This is a price increase. All copyrights respected. Communication to: Jim McLennan, 34 Perran Road, Tulse Hill, London, SW2 3DL. Next issue: yes, Virginia, there WILL be one…

Trash City 14/15

Issue available in:


Articles

Subscriber-only supplement

It was impossible to think of anything for this issue’s subscribers-only freebie that would out-do last issue’s little exercise in gratuitous nudity, so in addition to the Cicciolina postcard, there’s an extra freebie in the shape of this ‘It Must Be True’ supplement.

Some explanation of the source may be necessary. In our office, we have a feed from the Reuters news agency: this is used by our computers to get foreign exchange rates, but there’s a lot of other information available; everything from sumo wrestling results to weather forecasts. It’s a bit like Ceefax or Oracle. One of the facilities is news reports – call up page NEW1, and you’ll get something that might look like this:

However, what this doesn’t tell you is that hidden away, in some of the pages between those listed, are the small-but-beautifully-marked items, far more interesting than the latest troubles in Bosnia…

So, in the wee small hours of the morning, when no-one’s about, I’ve set the computer up to automatically trawl the uncharted depths of the Reuters pages, and produce a list of all the headlines. The next morning, when I came in, I’d examine the list and pull out the stories that looked cool, weird, or just interesting. The best of these are reprinted in the pages that follow, divided roughly into the following sections:

  • Page 2 – Our Animal Friends
  • 3-5 – Law and Disorder
  • 6 – Sex…
  • 7 – …Violence
  • 8 – The just damn strange!

If you enjoy them, let me know and this may become a regular feature. Incredibly ultra-cute it maybe isn’t, but on the other hand, it’s a lot less embarrassing to read on the train…!

The Ones That Got Away

Although the computer grabs the headlines every day, at weekends and bank holidays I’m not there, so sometimes intriguing sounding stories vanish before I can capture full details. Here are a few I regret having missed:

  • NUDITY EXPOSES GERMANY’S MORAL DIVIDE
  • RELIGIOUS FREEDOM STOPS AT VIRGIN SACRIFICES
  • SCANTILY-CLAD GIRLS TAKE TO THE WILD
  • BRING OUT YOUR DEAD – THEY HAVE TO VOTE
  • U.S. PILOTS ARRESTED FOR ABUSING DUMMY COP
  • BURMESE TROOPS TAKE ELEPHANTS HOSTAGE
  • COLD-HEARTED BURGLAR IN BUDGIE BANGER MAYHEM
  • MAN USED JOB SCHEME TO HIRE PROSTITUTES
  • ELVIS PRESLEY BACKS DEMOCRATS
  • CANADIAN WHO MISTAKES DOG FOR COUGAR, KILLS COUSIN

CHINA SCIENTISTS IN SLIME-AND-MOTION STUDY

BEIJING, REUTER – CHINESE SCIENTISTS ARE STUDYING A MASSIVE SLIME MOULD THAT WEIGHS 35 KG (77 LB) AND “CAN MOVE SLOWLY ACROSS THE GROUND ON ITS OWN”, THE OFFICIAL XINHUA NEWS AGENCY SAID ON TUESDAY. 1 THE SLIME WAS FOUND IN A RIVER IN THE NORTHWESTERN PROVINCE OF SHAANXI IN AUGUST AND PUT ON 10 KG (22 LB) WITHIN THREE DAYS. “SPECIALISTS AT THE BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT OF NORTHWEST UNIVERSITY IN XIAN HAVE DETERMINED THAT IS IS RELATED TO FUNGUS AND IT IS STILL ALIVE. IT IS USUALLY FOUND IN COOL, MOIST AND DARK PLACES SUCH AS GRASSLAND, ROTTED LOGS AND WITHERED LEAVES, AND IT CAN MOVE ACROSS THE GROUND SLOWLY ON ITS OWN,” IT SAID.

13-OCT-1052. HHK038 HA102622 NEVL ENDS

HUNDREDS OF BIRDS FALL OUT OF MEXICAN SKY

MEXICO CITY, REUTER – MIGRATING BIRDS ARE FALLING OUT OF THE SKY IN HUNDREDS OF OVER THE MEXICAN COAST AND EXPERTS DO NOT KNOW THE REASON, ACCORDING TO A REPORT HERE. THE MEXICAN NEWS AGENCY NOTIMEX SAID ON TUESDAY THAT BIRDS OF SOME 16 SPECIES HAD PLUMMETED TO EARTH, DYING ON IMPACT, AROUND THE COASTAL CITY OF CAMPECHE OVER THE PAST THREE WEEKS. MORE THAN 200 HAD FALLEN ONTO A RANCH NEAR THE CITY. ENVIRONMENTALISTS WITH THE PRONATURA GROUP SAY MOST OF THE BIRDS APPEAR TO HAVE DIED OF HEAD INJURIES FROM THE FALL. THEY RULED OUT SUCH CAUSES AS CONTAMINATED AIR OR A DETERIORATION IN THEIR FEATHER COATING.

21-OCT-0121. HHK126 HA110791 NEVM ENDS

FIFTEEN ATTACKED IN CHINA PANDA-MONIUM

BEIJING, REUTER – ONE OF CHINA’S RARE GIANT PANDAS ATTACKED AND INJURED 15 VILLAGERS WHEN THEY ATTEMPTED TO CATCH IT FOR SCIENTIFIC OBSERVATION, THE OFFICIAL CHINA DAILY SAID ON WEDNESDAY. THE ANIMAL, WEIGHING SOME 80 KG (176 POUNDS), WAS FOUND ON MOUNT EMEI IN THE SOUTHWESTERN PROVINCE OF SICHUAN. WHEN 20 VILLAGERS ENCIRCLED THE ANIMAL, “THE PANDA, FRIGHTENED BY THE SITUATION, ATTACKED”, IT SAID. AFTER A STRUGGLE THAT INJURED 15 PEOPLE, INCLUDING SOME WHO WERE GORED, THE PANDA WAS BROUGHT UNDER CONTROL AND SENT TO THE LOCAL FORESTRY DEPARTMENT, IT SAID.

11-NOV-0435. HHK152 HA149736 NEVK ENDS

THE CASE OF THE 100 HEADLESS CATS

HONG KONG, SEPT 24, REUTER – POLICE IN THE PORTUGUESE TERRITORY MACAU STOPPED A CAR AND DISCOVERED 10″ 0FADLESS CATS DESTINED FOR THE DINNER TABLE. THE CATS HAD BEEN SMUGGLED IN FROM NEIGHBOURING CHINA AND WOULD HAVE BEEN FROZEN BEFORE BEING EATEN DURING THE WINTER, A LOCAL NEWSPAPER SAID. THE PORTUGUESE NEWS AGENCY LUSA QUOTED A VET AS SAYING THE CATS HAD BEEN BEHEADED BECAUSE OF THE PREVALENCE OF EAR INFECTIONS. HE DECLARED MOST OF THEM UNFIT TO EAT. CATS, DOGS AND SNAKES ARE CONSIDERED CHOICE WINTER DISHES IN MOST PARTS OF CHINA, WHERE EATING THEM IS LEGAL.

24-SEP-1056. HHK865 HKG2055 NEVN ENDS

BANK STAFF HELD AT POINT OF INVISIBLE GUN

DUBLIN, REUTER – IRISH POLICE ARE HUNTING A DRUNKEN ROBBER WHO ATTEMPTED TO HOLD UP A BANK WITH AN INVISIBLE GUN. THE INEBRIATED MAN IN HIS MID-20S ENTERED A BANK IN THE WESTERN TOWN OF MACROOM AND SAID: “THIS IS A STICK UP.” HE POINTED HIS ARM, HIDDEN BY A COAT, AT STAFF AND CUSTOMERS, ORDERING THEM TO LIE ON THE GROUND. THE COAT SLIPPED, REVEALING HE WAS UNARMED. THE MAN TOLD THE PEOPLE IN THE BANK “IT’S AN INVISIBLE GUN.” HE RAN OFF WHEN THEY STARTED TO LAUGH.

08-OCT-1021. HHK497 HA132385 NEVQ ENDS

ALL-FEMALE ASIAN GANGS TO HIT NORTH AMERICA

CALGARY, ALBERTA, JULY 16, REUTER – ALL-FEMALE ASIAN GANGS, TIRED OF TAKING A BACK-SEAT TO THEIR VIOLENT MALE COUNTERPARTS, WILL BECOME AN INCREASINGLY COMMON PHENOMENON IN THE U.S. AND CANADA IN THE NEXT TWO YEARS, AN EXPERT PREDICTED ON THURSDAY. THE FEMALE GANG MEMBERS, 10 TO 18 YEARS OF AGE, WANT THE FEELING OF POWER THAT COMES WITH COMMITTING CRIMES WITHOUT THE HELP OF MALE GANG MEMBERS, SAID MARCUS FRANK, A DETECTIVE. “THE FRUSTRATION LEVEL FOR SOME OF THESE GIRLS GOT REAL HIGH. THEY WANTED TO HAVE ALL THE FUN, TYING UP A VICTIM, TERRORISING A FAMILY, AND THE MALES WOULDN’T LET THEM,” FRANK SAID AFTER SPEAKING TO A CONFERENCE ON ASIAN ORGANISED CRIME.

17-JUL-0055. HHK950 HA171645 NEVN ENDS

RED FACES AFTER CRIME SCHOOL HEIST

BRUSSELS, REUTER – THERE WERE RED FACES AT THE BRUSSELS SCHOOL OF CRIMINOLOGY ON WEDNESDAY AS THEY SHEEPISHLY ANNOUNCED IT HAD TAKEN THEM THREE DAYS TO DISCOVER THAT THEIR OWN OFFICE HAD BEEN BURGLED. A SPOKESMAN FOR THE CITY’S CRIMINAL COURT WHICH HOUSES THE SCHOOL’S SECRETARIAT SAID A THIEF USED A KEY STOLEN FROM ONE OF THE SCHOOL’S EMPLOYEES TO GET AT A CASH BOX CONTAINING 18,000 FRANCS ($580). MICHEL PEYTIER SAID THE THEFT HAD TAKEN PLACE OVER THE WEEKEND BUT HAD NOT BEEN DISCOVERED UNTIL TUESDAY, EVEN THOUGH THE EMPLOYEE HAD NOTICED HER KEY WAS MISSING AND THE OFFICE HAD BEEN FOUND UNLOCKED ON MONDAY MORNING.

24-SEP-0012. HHK387 HA183864 NEVJ ENDS

ITALIAN THIEVES RIP OFF TOILET PAPER

NAPLES, ITALY, SEPT 24, REUTER – EVEN TOILET PAPER IS A PREY FOR ITALY’S HIGHWAY ROBBERS, WHO USUALLY SPECIALISE IN HOLDING UP TRUCKS LOADED WITH VALUABLE CONSUMER GOODS. ON WEDNESDAY, TWO ARMED MEN HELD UP A TRUCK IN NAPLES AND DROVE OFF WITH $16,000 WORTH OF TOILET PAPER — DESPITE PROTESTS FROM AN INCREDULOUS LORRY DRIVER WHO TOLD THEM THAT HE WAS ONLY TRANSPORTING LAVATORY ROLLS. POLICE SAID THEY HAD NO CLUES WHERE THE TOILET PAPER HAD GONE.

24-SEP-1046. HHK862 HA13776 NEVM ENDS

DIAL M FOR MURDER

HONG KONG, REUTER – A MAN IN HONG KONG, THE ELECTRONIC PAGER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF STRANGLING HIS ELDERLY FATHER FOR THE MONEY TO RENT ONE OF THE DEVICES, A NEWSPAPER SAID ON TUESDAY. THE SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST QUOTED PROSECUTORS AS SAYING LUNG CHICK-NGAI STRANGLED HIS 82-YEAR-OLD FATHER LUNG YUNG-YIU LAST NOVEMBER AFTER HE REFUSED TO GIVE HIM MONEY. LUNG, 20, THEN TOOK HK$1,000 ($128) AND RENTED A PAGER, PROSECUTORS SAID. LUNG HAS DENIED MURDERING HIS FATHER. MORE THAN 15 PER CENT OF HONG KONG’S SIX MILLION PEOPLE USE PAGERS, THE HIGHEST PROPORTION IN THE WORLD.

13-OCT-0426. HHK758 HA74263 NEVJ ENDS

DUTCH POLICE GRAPPLE WITH IDENTITY CRISIS

AMSTERDAM, REUTER – POLICE IN THE DUTCH TOWN OF ROSENDAAL ARRESTED A NIGERIAN FOUND IN POSSESSION OF 186 FALSE PAPERS, THE ALGEMEEN DAGBLAD NEWSPAPER SAID ON SATURDAY. THE MAN, IN HIS EARLY 20S, HAD 29 NIGERIAN PASSPORTS, 30 BRITISH PASSPORTS, 74 DUTCH WORK PERMITS, 12 BRITISH DRIVING LICENCES, 18 BIRTH OR DEATH CERTIFICATES, TWO BRITISH STUDENT CARDS, AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVING LICENCE AND 20 FORGED CHEQUES. POLICE SAID HIS IDENTIFICATION WAS NOT YET 100 PER CENT CERTAIN.
04-OCT-0244. HHK962 HA163921 NEVK ENDS

THEY SHOOT COWS, DON’T THEY?

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, REUTER – A NEW CRIME HAS POLICE IN RURAL AMERICA PUZZLED — DRIVE-BY COW SHOOTING. TEN COWS HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THE PAST WEEK, MOST IN CLAY COUNTY ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF KANSAS CITY, A COUNTY WHERE CATTLE RUSTLING IS STILL A HANGING OFFENCE. AUTHORITIES AREN’T TOO SURE WHAT THE PENALTY IS FOR COW SHOOTING. “IT’S NOT A SATANIC THING, OR A CATTLE-RUSTLING GANG,” DETECTIVE SERGEANT RON NICOLA SAID. “IT’S DRIVE-BY COW SHOOTINGS.” “IT’S REALLY NOT THAT EASY TO INVESTIGATE,” NICOLA SAID. “THE REMAINING COWS MAKE POOR WITNESSES.”

19-DEC-0204. HHK081 HA70956 NEVP ENDS

JAIL SWITCH PAIR NO BUDDING GENIUSES

LOS ANGELES, REUTER – A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED, SO WHEN WILFRED GENUS WAS SENTENCED TO 15 DAYS IN JAIL HE ASKED HIS OLD BUDDY, ALBERT FLOWERS, TO SERVE THE SENTENCE FOR HIM, AND FLOWERS AGREED. BUT GENUS, 20, WAS CAUGHT WHEN HE VISITED THE JAIL WHERE FLOWERS, 32, WAS INCARCERATED IN HIS PLACE. SINCE HE HAD COCAINE AND A PISTOL WITH HIM, HE FACES 10 YEARS IN PRISON. “THESE ARE NOT ROCKET SCIENTISTS,” COMMENTED SHERIFF’S DEPUTY GABE RAMIREZ IN ANNOUNCING GENUS’ ARREST ON THURSDAY. FLOWERS WAS CHARGED WITH “IMPERSONATING ANOTHER IN ORDER TO SERVE A SENTENCE” AND FACES UP TO A YEAR IN JAIL.

22-JAN-0112. HHK073 HA22549 NEVP ENDS

ARGY-BARGY PENSIONERS IN RIOT FRENZY

BUENOS AIRES, REUTER – HUNDREDS OF IRATE ARGENTINE PENSIONERS DEMANDING HIGHER PAY ON WEDNESDAY CLASHED WITH POLICE DURING A RALLY OUTSIDE CONGRESS, WOUNDING AT LEAST THREE POLICEMEN. LOCAL TELEVISION SHOWED SCENES OF PENSIONERS AND THEIR SUPPORTERS BEATING AND KICKING POLICEMEN AFTER SCUFFLES BROKE OUT OUTSIDE THE CONGRESS BUILDING IN CENTRAL BUENOS AIRES. THE POLICE HAD TO DEPLOY ANTI-RIOT CORPS AROUND CONGRESS TO CONTROL THE PENSIONERS WHO WERE PROTESTING AGAINST THE LOW SALARIES PAID BY THE STATE TO RETIRED WORKERS. PENSIONERS WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO RAISE THE MINUMUM MONTHLY PENSION PAYMENTS FROM $120 TO $450.

24-SEP-0211. HHK452 HA185046 NEVJ ENDS

BLUEBEARD PARDONED AFTER 550 YEARS

PARIS, REUTER – SOME 552 YEARS AFTER HE WAS HANGED AND BURNED FOR THE SEXUAL ABUSE AND MURDER OF 150 CHILDREN, THE REAL-LIFE MODEL FOR THE FICTIONAL BLUEBEARD GOT HIS DAY IN COURT AGAIN ON MONDAY — AND WAS CLEARED. A SELF-STYLED COURT OF ARBITRATION, INCLUDING REAL MAGISTRATES AND A FORMER JUSTICE MINISTER, FOUND THAT GILLES DE RAIS HAD BEEN WRONGLY SENTENCED. GILLES DE RAIS, A TOP BATTLEFIELD COMPANION OF JOAN OF ARC AND ONE OF THE RICHEST AND MOST POWERFUL MEN OF HIS TIME, WAS EXECUTED IN 1440 AFTER A TWO-WEEK TRIAL. THE COURT WILL APPEAL TO PRESIDENT FRANCOIS MITTERRAND TO CLEAR THE NAME OF GILLES.

10-NOV-0125. HHK278 HA1985 NEVL ENDS

SOCCER – GROPING COSTS SPANIARD 5,000 DOLLARS

MADRID, SEPT 19, REUTER – REAL MADRID’S MICHEL GONZALEZ HAS BEEN FINED 5,000 DOLLARS FOR GROPING A FELLOW PLAYER’S GENITALS IN A SPANISH SOCCER MATCH EARLIER THIS MONTH BUT HAS ESCAPED SUSPENSION. THE STAR MIDFIELDER SWORE HIS ACTIONS TOWARDS VALLADOLID’S COLOMBIAN INTERNATIONAL CARLOS VALDERRAMA WERE JUST A JOKE. BUT JUDGE JOSE JAVIER FORCEN OF THE SPORTING DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE SAID ON WEDNESDAY THAT THE ACT — “PUBLICLY MANIPULATING THE GIFT NATURE GIVES ONLY TO MEN” — COULD ONLY BE TAKEN AS A LOSS OF THE PROPER DECORUM AND COMPOSURE EXPECTED OF SPORTSMEN.

19-SEP-1249. EQUO93 PF1901784 ENDS

REPUBLICAN SUES CLINTON FOR “EMOTIONAL STRESS”

LOS ANGELES, REUTER – A CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN VOTER IS SUING DEMOCRAT BILL CLINTON FOR EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS SHE SAYS HIS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY HAS CAUSED. IN A LAWSUIT FILED ON TUESDAY IN A LOS ANGELES SUBURB KATHERINE BALOG, 60, ALLEGED THAT CLINTON WAS A “DRAFT DODGER” AND “COMMUNIST SYMPATHISER” AND SAID THE PROSPECT OF HIM AS PRESIDENT WAS CAUSING HER “SERIOUS EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL STRESS.” THE SUIT, WHICH BALOG PREPARED BY HERSELF USING THE COUNTY LAW LIBRARY, ALSO NAMED THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AS A CO-DEFENDANT. A SPOKESMAN FOR CLINTON’S CALIFORNIA CAMPAIGN CALLED IT “AN OFF-THE-WALL PUBLICITY STUNT.”

15-OCT-0921. HHK192 HA180295 NEVK ENDS

LUST IN SPACE A NO-NO SAY NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA, REUTER – THE SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR IS SCHEDULED TO LIFT OFF ON SATURDAY WITH THE FIRST HUSBAND-WIFE TEAM TO GO INTO ORBIT BUT OFFICIALS INSIST SEX IS NOT ON THE HORIZON. NASA HAS BEEN FIELDING MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT POTENTIAL HANKY-PANKY IN ORBIT THAN ABOUT THE EXPERIMENTS ON SUPERCONDUCTORS AND EMBRYO DEVELOPMENT THE CREW WILL CONDUCT. ASTRONAUTS MARK LEE, 40 AND JAN DAVIS, 38, MARRIED IN JANUARY 1991. NASA OFFICIALS ARE ADAMANT THAT SEXUAL INTERCOURSE BETWEEN CREW MEMBERS IS FORBIDDEN. “THESE PEOPLE ARE PROFESSIONALS,” SAID FLIGHT DIRECTOR MILT HEFLIN.

10-SEP-0234. HHK548 HA74533 NEVO ENDS

SPANISH FLY INTO RAGE OVER DIY SEX MANUAL

MADRID, REUTER – A CAMPAIGN TO CURB THE P;TE OF TEENAGE PREGNANCIES IN SPAIN HAS HORRIFIED CONSERVATIVES AND SCANDALISED THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BY SUGGESTING SEX IS FUN. THE CAMPAIGN IS ABOUT TO HIT HIGH SCHOOLS WHERE STUDENTS AGED 15 AND UPWARDS WILL BE GIVEN A BOOKLET CONTAINING FACT SHEETS ABOUT HOW THEIR BODIES WORK, CONTRACEPTION, SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES AND A NOW NOTORIOUS PAGE ON MASTURBATION. BUT BLAS CAMACHO, A CONSERVATIVE POLITICIAN SAYS, “I THINK MASTURBATION MAKES YOUNG PEOPLE WEAK-WILLED, INTROVERTED AND IS NOT GOOD FOR THEIR WORK RATE.”

02-NOV-0347. HHK735 HA68352 NEVK ENDS

BUT WHAT IF THEY WANT TO BURN?

AMSTERDAM, REUTER – A NEW DUTCH BOOKLET RECOMMENDS SPECIAL FIRE SAFETY REGULATIONS FOR BROTHELS CATERING TO SADO-MASOCHISM — IN CASE CLIENTS ARE TOO TIED UP TO MAKE A QUICK ESCAPE. DUTCH TOWN COUNCILS, WHICH WILL SOON ISSUE LICENCES TO BROTHELS, WILL BE ABLE TO CONSULT THE BOOKLET WHEN GRANTING PERMITS TO THOSE WITH A SADO-MASOCHISM ROOM. IT RECOMMENDS STRICTER FIRE SAFETY REGULATIONS BECAUSE “PEOPLE WHO ARE HANDCUFFED OR TIED UP NEED MORE TIME TO GET OUT OF A BUILDING,” A SPOKEMAN FOR AUTHORS VWA SAID. VWA, SAID IT PRODUCED THE BROCHURE BECAUSE “THE AVERAGE CIVIL SERVANT CANNOT BE EXPECTED TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH SADO-MASOCHISM”.

03-NOV-0125. HHK291 HA52129 NEVH ENDS

VIETNAMESE SINGER BANNED AFTER ‘ORGY’

HANOI – VIETNAM HAS DETAINED A LOCAL SINGER, BANNED HIM FROM PERFORMING AND ORDERED CASSETTES OF HIS MUSIC CONFISCATED AFTER HE HELPED ORGANISE A BIRTHDAY PARTY THAT TURNED INTO A SEX-AND-DRUGS ORGY, NEWSPAPERS AND RESIDENTS SAID. THE COMMUNIST PARTY NEWSPAPER, NHAN DAN, REPORTED ON TUESDAY THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAD FORBIDDEN PRAM NGOC SON, 24, FROM GIVING ANY PERFORMANCES BECAUSE HE HAD SUNG POLITICALLY INCORRECT SONGS AND ACTED IN A “DEPRAVED WAY”. IT SAID HE HAD IGNORED EARLIER GOVERNMENT WARNINGS AND “CONTINUED SINGING BANNED SONGS AND SHOWING INCREASING SIGNS OF LIBERALISM, NON-DISCIPLINE, ARROGANCE, OBSTINACY AND UTTER DEPRAVITY”.

12-JAN-0742. HHK452 HA10569 NEVP ENDS

FISHERMAN TRIES TO FEED WIFE TO SHARKS

TOKYO, SEPT 24, REUTER – POLICE ARRESTED A JAPANESE FISHERMAN AFTER HE TRIED TO FEED HIS WIFE TO THE SHARKS FOLLOWING AN ARGUMENT, POLICE OFFICIALS SAID ON THURSDAY. THE 40-YEAR-OLD MAN FROM EHIME PREFECTURE, SOUTHWEST JAPAN, WRAPPED HIS 22-YEAR-OLD WIFE IN A FISHING NET AND DRAGGED HER BEHIND HIS BOAT FOR ABOUT HALF AN HOUR, POLICE SAID. “I WAS TRYING TO FEED HER TO A SHARK,” POLICE QUOTED THE MAN AS SAYING. THE WOMAN SUFFERED ONLY MINOR INJURIES. A FISHERMAN WENT MISSING AND WAS BELIEVED KILLED BY A SHARK IN THE SAME AREA IN MARCH WHILE DIVING FOR SHELLFISH.

24-SEP-1040. HHK861 T2465252 NEVM ENDS

ESTRANGED WIFE TAKES REVENGE ON EX-HUSBAND

DHAKA, SEPT 22, REUTER – A BANGLADESHI WOMAN WAS ARRESTED AFTER SHE CUT OFF THE PENIS OF HER FORMER HUSBAND AND FORCED HIM TO HOLD IT UP BEFORE LAUGHING FRIENDS, POLICE SAID ON TUESDAY. THEY SAID SHARMIN BEGUN, DIVORCED SIX MONTHS AGO, CALLED HER EX-HUSBAND ABDUL MOTALEB INTO HER HOME ON SUNDAY NIGHT, SAYING THEIR TWO-YEAR-OLD SON WAS VERY SICK. WHEN HE ARRIVED AT THE HOUSE “SOME PEOPLE” HELD HIM TO THE FLOOR, POLICE SAID. BEGUN THEN TOOK OUT A RAZOR BLADE AND SLICED HIS PENIS OFF. “THEN SHE FORCED THE SCREAMING MAN TO HOLD UP THE SEVERED PENIS IN FRONT OF LAUGHING FRIENDS,” POLICE SAID. MOTALEB WAS TAKEN TO DHAKA MEDICAL COLLEGE HOSPITAL AND DETAINED BEGUN.

22-SEP-0625. HHK356 HA68791 NEVJ ENDS

WOMAN TAKES REVENGE ON FAITHLESS LOVER

MOSCOW, REUTER – WHEN 35-YEAR-OLD TAMARA’S YOUNG LOVER TOLD HER HE WAS LEAVING BECAUSE OF A 10-YEAR AGE GAP BETWEEN THEM, SHE LURED HIM BACK TO HER BEDROOM WITH PROMISES OF A FINAL BOUT OF PASSION. SHE KEPT HER WORD…AFTER A BOUT OF LOVE PLAY, SHE CUT OFF HIS PENIS AND TESTICLES WITH A KNIFE. ITAR-TASS NEWS AGENCY SAID POLICE IN THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST PORT OF NAKHODKA HAD OPENED A CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST TAMARA FOR “ORGAN-SABOTAGE”. TASS SAID MANY LOCAL WOMEN WERE GLOATING OVER THE BLOODY DRAMA AS A BLOW STRUCK BY THE “WEAKER SEX” AGAINST FAITHLESS PARTNERS.

21-OCT-1118. HHK526 HA42931 NEVO ENDS

MAN CUTS OFF BODY PARTS AFTER ROW

PERTH, AUSTRALIA, REUTER – A PERTH MAN CUT OFF HIS EARS, PENIS AND TESTICLES IN A FIT OF RAGE AFTER ARGUING WITH A WOMAN AND HAS REFUSED TO HAVE THEM RE-ATTACHED, POLICE SAID ON THURSDAY. THE 32-YEAR-OLD MAN SEVERED THE ORGANS WITH A KITCHEN KNIFE AT HIS SUBURBAN HOME AFTER AN ARGUMENT WITH A WOMAN LATE ON WEDNESDAY. POLICE SAID THE MAN PLACED THE ORGANS IN A FREEZER AND DROVE HIMSELF SEVEN KM (FIVE MILES) TO HOSPITAL. HOSPITAL STAFF WOULD NOT COMMENT BUT A POLICE SPOKESMAN SAID THE MAN HAD REJECTED ATTEMPTS TO SEW THE ORGANS BACK ON.

08-OCT-0625. HHK298 SYD004329 NEVO ENDS

STREISAND GUSHES OVER “ZEN MASTER” AGASSI

NEW YORK, SEPT 10, REUTER – ANDRE AGASSI HAS’WON ANOTHER GUSHING FEMALE FAN IN BARBRA STREISAND. AGASSI, LOSER TO JIM COURIER IN THE U.S. OPEN QUARTER-FINALS, IS “VERY, VERY SENSITIVE — VERY EVOLVED, MORE THAN HIS LINEAR YEARS,” ACCORDING TO THE ACTRESS/DIRECTOR/SINGER. SHE MADE THE COMMENTS AFTER WATCHING AGASSI DASH AROUND THE COURT, EARRING DANGLING, SHIRT BILLOWING PERFECTLY TO REVEAL A TAUT UPPER BODY AS HE DISMANTLED SPANIARD CARLOS COSTA THE OTHER NIGHT. “HE PLAYS LIKE A ZEN MASTER. IT’S VERY IN THE MOMENT. AND IN FACT, VERY CONCENTRATED, VERY FOCUSED, BUT VERY MUCH AWARE OF WHAT’S HAPPENING,” SAID STREISAND WITHOUT OFFERING A TRANSLATION.

10-SEP-1053. HHK963 HA107540 NEVH ENDS

JAPAN SCENTS NEW WAY OF IMPROVING TIES

SEOUL, REUTER – JAPAN HAS GIVEN PERMISSION FOR THE RETURN OF SOME 20,000 NOSES LOPPED OFF KOREANS NEARLY 400 YEARS AGO. PUSAN UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR KIM MOON-GIL TOLD REUTERS HE HAD BEEN GIVEN PERMISSION TO EXCAVATE THE NOSES AT THE 1,000-NOSE TOMB, NEAR THE JAPANESE TOWN OF BIZEN IN OKAYAMA PREFECTURE. THE NOSES BELONG TO KOREAN SOLDIERS AND CIVILIANS CAPTURED AND KILLED DURING THE JAPANESE INVASION OF KOREA IN 1597. THE JAPANESE MILITARY COMMANDER ORDERED HIS TROOPS TO CUT OFF THE HEADS OF KOREAN GENERALS AND THE NOSES OF SOLDIERS AND CIVILIANS AND BRING THEM BACK TO JAPAN AS SPOILS OF WAR.

22-SEP-1226. HHK597 HA181497 NEVM ENDS

DEADLY CAESIUM-137 STOLEN IN KAZAKHSTAN – TASS

MOSCOW, SEPT 23, REUTER – A CONTAINER OF DEADLY RADIOACTIVE CAESIUM-137 HAS BEEN STOLEN FROM A SILO IN WESTERN KAZAKHSTAN, ITAR-TASS NEWS AGENCY SAID. THE THIEVES USED A CRANE TO LIFT THE LEAD-CASED CONTAINER FROM ITS SILO AT AN OIL-PROCESSING PLANT IN THE CITY OF GURYEV NEAR THE CASPIAN SEA. THE AGENCY DID NOT SAY WHEN THE THEFT TOOK PLACE AND IT WAS NOT CLEAR WHY THE CAESIUM WAS STORED AT THE PLANT. TASS QUOTED A LOCAL NEWSPAPER AS SAYING THE THIEVES WERE LIKELY TO TRY AND SMUGGLE THEIR DANGEROUS CARGO ABROAD, WHERE THE CAESIUM WOULD FETCH THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. BUT IF THE THIEVES WERE AFTER THE LEAD AND WERE NOT AWARE WHAT WAS INSIDE, THE PAPER SAID, THEY MIGHT TRY TO REMOVE THE CONTAINER COVER. “IN THAT CASE, A SOURCE OF RADIATION MORTAL TO EVERYTHING LIVING AROUND WILL BE EXPOSED,” THE PAPER SAID.

23-SEP-1336. MON320 L238762 NEVN CONTINUED FROM – YJLI ENDS

Which seems like a suitable place to finish! This one does illustrate the most galling thing about so many of these reports, the tendency to throw the reader a mere hint and then nothing more is ever heard. “What happened next?”, I often find myself asking – but at least in the case above, I think we can safely say that if the container had been opened, we would probably have heard something by now…

San Futuro Chronicles

The Vertiginous Abyss

It’s an odd feeling, there I’ve been getting the “best” half dozen (subjectively speaking) DC titles and thus showing refined “taste”. So wadda they go and do??? Go and give those titles their own imprint thaz what. Now I just get (nearly) all the Vertigo titles… pah!! Ah well, at least I should do them some justice and mention them here…

Animal Man
Once a superhero, then he died, then he came back as a demon-type creature from a stegosaurus egg, then he was born again as a human. Now his wife’s in New York avoiding rape and getting pulled in as a hooker. Errrmmm… I guess we aren’t in Toto anymore Kansas.

Doom Patrol
Wow. This one has a really original basic theme. Group of people with super-powers go round defeating the bad guys. Well, it’s actually a tad more original than that. One of the team is “Danny the Street”, who’s a… errrm… street. The group base themselves on the street and try to do good. Things don’t work out quite as they should though, as most of the “team” seem to be psycho’s. Recently the head of the group died, after killing one of the main characters. Something weird I guess, but a little too superhero for my liking.

Death: The High Cost Of Living
Ahhh… this is more like it. Less of the superheroes and more of the cute-if-blackly-dressed babes in skimpy tops. However, this babe (Didi) is really the personification of death. Once a century, she gets to spend a day on Earth mingling with the mortals without taking life… and this is what this three issue mini-series is about. Only one more issue to go, but it’s good stuff so buy it. P.S. as a follow-up tale to the TC cover someone had tattooed a while back… TC has a scoop on getting people to have secret Death tattoos… Honest, it’s not our fault that we know a load of weirdos.

Sandman
What is there to say that hasn’t already been said a thousand times… How about “Don’t buy the current story-line ‘cos the artworks crap”? Next issue may actually have an artist again instead of someone who does a wonderful impression of a 5 year-old with a crayon, so have a look as it may be back to the good old days.

Sandman Mystery Theatre
Gosh! What now? A new title? Well, yes actually. In fact it’s sort of as return to the olden days of “Golden Age” Sandman – before he went all creepy and Endless, when he was just a bloke in funny clothes that was into spraying stuff at bad guys. So far, so bad. Now for the good news… It’s written by Matt Wagner, and seems to have a huge lack of superheroes! Yippee!

Shade – the changing (wo)man
Well, there was this alien called Shade, then he changed into a woman (growing bits & losing bits & all that), then he realized he was dead, and so tried to recreate himself, this didn’t work, so he went away and came back in the head of an empty body that was wandering around a lunatic asylum. Meanwhile, his girlfriend had shacked up with one of her (girl) friends and was staying in a nearby hotel. The girlfriend got captured by a psychopath who uses pain to get into his “garden” and Shade’s giving his girlfiend’s friend a quicky. Errmmm… but that’s not quite what’s going on or summat. Maybe the next issue will explain it (and maybe I ought to have the comics I’m “reviewing” on hand so I know what I’m waffling about).

Enigma
Another new title! Tada! This one’s an eight issue mini-series. Weird art and a weird plot. It’s got something to do with a superhero known as the Enigma (very appropriate considering how enigmatic he’s been in the first two issues!) and a chap who goes around with a straw sucking peoples brains out through their noses. The chap with the straw is somehow related to a cute little lizard that people keep finding… but buggered if I know what’s going on. Not that I’m thinking of giving it up… there’s only six more issues, and it can’t get more confusing.

John Constantine – Hellblazer
So, he’s defeated lung cancer & demons at a stroke, he’s shacked up with an Irish bird, and now he’s getting up the nose of a bunch of National Front types who have plans for the archangel Gabriel. Signs of a return to good old-fashioned blood & guts horror for JC here. I’m actually quite looking forward to the next issue of this at the moment.. we’ll just have to see how it develops.

Swamp Thing
You’ve heard it all before, so I won’t waste time & space on it here. Suck it & see, it may be just your thang.

That’s it… well, that’s the titles that are currently in the Vertigo line-up. They’re all that bit off the wall, and they’re all worth a look. The only thing that I find myself wondering is just how will they decide which titles are Vertigo worthy, and which are just plain old DC ? The obvious things are that the current Vertigo titles are vaguely outside the standard “DC Universe” – not many of the characters have much by way of cross-overs (well, excluding John Constantine, but he generally just pops up in Swamp Thing anyway), and the few occasions that the standard DC characters have popped in it’s been a pretty blatant ploy to boost sales. Hopefully those cross-overs will now be a thing of the past… hopefully. Let’s wait and see.

Back to the (sur)real world…

Spawn
Tod McFarlane has finally called in the heavy mob to write for him. Not that Spawn necessarily needed much assistance, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens. The up-coming special guest writers are… Alan Moore (for issue 8 – out now!); Neil Gaiman (9); Dave Sim (10); and Frank Miller (11). Each of these issues will also have a “poster” by someone-or-other… actually just a glossy centre-spread (roughly A4 size), but I’m sure someone’ll be overjoyed at their presence.

Twisted Image – Loompanics collection
Good selection of Ace Backwords’ strips. Including quite a lot of funny ones. Includes some of his more “underground” (i.e. crude lewd and generally rude… but still funny) work. Well worth a look, but the chances of spotting it around are low. Then again, I spotted it so why shouldn’t you!

Enchanter
This is finally coming out in full after having been abandoned by Eclipse after 3 issues. The basic story-line is pretty standard fantasy stuff – elves and a big bad evil critter and all that. However, the artwork is good, and the story showed promise in it’s initial issues. Hopefully it’ll get to finish this time!

Necroscope
Oooh… this is fun, innit? Brian Lumley original story about Vampires & psychic powers and drowned women. I haven’t read any of the books, and don’t think I’d really like to – but the comic definitely works… or so I reckon.

Sap Tunes.
Cool shit. Just a couple of weird black and white tales per issue with cool art & a load of style! Probably completely unsuitable for TC readers…

Ren & Stimpy
As raved about by Jim, and now in their own comeek book… The weird humour of Krisfaluci lives on, even if the animated version has had his plug pulled… and the comic has a completely different author! The comic keeps faith with the original series – Powdered Toast Man, the Space Yak and Muddy Mudskipper Meals all feature and it’s even got adverts for Log in it. What more can we ask. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Faust – The Movie
Errrm… this is more Jim’s area… apparently Stuart “Reanimator” Gordon is looking at making a movie out of the sickest, most violent comic-book of the past few years. Ahhhh… what a blissful idea… However, if the comics can’t get through Customs, what’s the chance of the film not getting chopped to shreds by the BBFC. Faust vs. the BBFC, maybe that’d make a good sequel… hehehehehehe…