Welcome to the Videodrome

“High culture will survive, but it’s for the elite. Trash culture has to be created.”

Prof. Peter Gyorgy, Communications professor, Budapest University

Another year, another TC – which, as a rate of production goes, is actually a marked improvement on the past couple of issues. But it seems that no matter how long it takes to produce an issue of TC, I always find myself in a race against time at the last minute. Normally, it’s because I’m going away on holiday, or there’s a major sales event looming, that kind of thing, but this time, it’s largely a desire to remain on the cutting edge of creating trash culture, as the Professor says above.

One of the inevitable risks of an irregular schedule such as ours is that someone else will steal your thunder and leave you with the publishing equivalent of an out-of-date pork pie. Discovering such things does tend to concentrate the mind, and I’ve just learned that the next issue of ‘Bizarre’ magazine will be a wrestling special, which is distressing close to our theme for this issue, though the odds probably favour theirs being more fat blokes, and less cute babes. If not, then they must have a spy in TC Towers… While it is another indicator that the ‘sport’ is on the verge of breaking through into mainstream culture, it does rather put a damper on my plans to sell them an article on Japanese women’s wrestling.

It also means I’m currently running round in a panic, trying to complete the remaining 25 pages and get this out first – typically, our computer has chosen this occasion to die: anyone know what ‘Windows Protection Error’ means? So if this doesn’t come out by August 10th, probably because of Lino (some things never change! Though I now know the effectiveness of pizza as a tool of bribery against him…the words “I’m buying” rapidly equate to a finished article), I want to say it’s clearly just a case of great minds thinking alike. On the other hand, if we do get there first, obviously they are nothing but a bunch of plagiaristic bastards. J Still, they didn’t include ‘Jail Babes’ in this month’s selection of the ten weirdest porn mags, so we’re one up on them there at least.

We’ve kinda gone retro. Back in the prehistoric era of TC, before we had any technology of our own, it was written, produced and published using the technology at work. Though the office photocopier isn’t quite up to the equivalent of 25,000 A4 sheets, it has largely been laid-out and the masters printed there. This is purely because Word 97 sucks. And this suckiness extends right the way down to the annoying animated paper-clip which is the help system: someone, deep in the bowels of Microsoft, no doubt thought that was “cute”. They probably like Furbys too. While you can turn this particular facet off, the whole interface has been redesigned, for no readily apparent reason, and things that worked perfectly well before have mutated in some arcane way. Rather than re-learn a whole new system, I’ve opted to remain Luddite, at least until TC gets out. Besides, the laser-printers at work are a lot spiffier.

You’ll notice one or two other slight changes to this issue, largely in response to…well, popular demand might be claiming a bit much, let’s just say I got fed up with fabricating reasons for the lack of page numbers, and for why we only ever published double issues. The former was not without its problems, especially in a publication with all the solidity of slam-dancing mercury, and the latter necessitated fiddling with subscription lists, to halve the number of future editions subscribers will get. [This will have no effect on the TC in your pocket, however.]

So I hope you’re happy. I know I am.

Yes, actually, life at the moment isn’t too bad. The production of this issue has been untroubled by personal traumas of any significant sort, and life is sailing serenely on. No psychotic girlfriend, imbecile boss, or even any trouble with HM Customs & Excise to report – I think they got fed up opening parcels of microwave popcorn. About the most traumatic thing to report is losing my window seat at work after we moved offices, and even I can’t wring a TC article out of that. Either I’ve finally sussed this lifestyle thing, or perhaps more likely, this is fate lulling me towards a sense of complacency, in preparation for a fall.

The TC website continues to grow apace: we seem to be getting about 500 visitors a week, though I’m not sure how many of these are just me, checking on to see how many visitors we’ve had. Stop on by for a huge selection of exclusive film reviews, weird news, editorial chat and strip-club reports: http://www.trshcity.demon.co.uk. And while we’re shamelessly plugging our own products, this issue’s cover has followed the previous three into the realms of T-shirtdom. Available in a wide range of colours and sizes (XL and black, to be specific), the breast pocket has the words “Trash City” while the back has an enormous depiction of the cover. Eight pounds for that, including postage, or get in touch with me or Chris for full details of the range of TC apparel.

We’re pleased to announce that another TC-writer has followed Todd Grimson into the ranks of professional novelists: Peter J. Evans, former correspondent on the phonetics of luxury cars, has had “Mnemosyne’s Kiss” published, a typically dark slab of cyberpunk – any book that starts off with the heroine’s death certainly satisfies me. And cover artist Rik Rawling has produced another issue of the twisted and demented offering which is ‘Hog’: obtainable for £2 in only the most disreputable newagents or, more likely, from him at 94 Emet Grove, Emersons Green, Bristol BS16 7EG. Guaranteed to be absolutely free from morals whatsoever.

Speaking of names in the TC hall of fame, bumped into Alex Chandon at the weekend, director of low-budget classic ‘Bad Karma’ – he’s still slugging away there, having just finished a promo/documentary for Cradle of Filth. Keep an eye out for it on MTV. And further down the line, I almost fell off my comfy armchair watching C5’s bizarre SF show, ‘Lexx’, when I spotted Jorg Buttgereit working as a creative consultant. Mind you, given one of its major themes is a woman’s lust for a dead guy, perhaps it wasn’t really to surprising to find the man behind ‘Nekromantik’ involved somewhere…

As I write this, we’re three days away from the cinematic event of the year, the opening of ‘The Phantom Menace’. Or rather, the box-office event of the year, since most neutral observers (and not a few fans) have been severely disappointed by the film. Not that this will make a difference, since it’s less a film with an associated range of toys, as a merchandising juggernaut with a tie-in movie. I may go see it, I may not – I’ve been taking advantage of Virgin Cinema’s monthly passes, and it’s been a revelation, in that I happily take filmic risks unprecedented since the days of Scala triple bills. It’s amazing what you’ll go see, when it’s not actually costing you anything.

However, I may reject ‘The Phantom Menace’ purely on principle, since there are times when I yearn for the days of intelligent SF cinema, and by that I don’t mean over-rated action flicks like ‘The Matrix’ which, while possessing absolutely stunning visuals, think that lobbing in a couple of references to ‘Alice In Wonderland’ will do for depth instead of characters. Mind you, when was the last time Keanu Reeves played a character that wasn’t so shallow, they’d need a set of water wings to cross a puddle?

Thanks: Chris Fata for…well, pretty much everything. If it wasn’t for her, you certainly wouldn’t be reading this, least of all in six months less than the last one! And the following people, in no order, have also bought me drinks, talked to me, and supplied information, films or just a good laugh: Rob, Andy, Lino, Ian + Kini, Steve, Rudy, Andrew, Brian, Vanessa, John, Jim, Jonathan, Nick, Martin, Pam, Simon, Nicolas, Mitch + Karim, Richard at the Associates and Miles.