No, I’m not wearing a silver suit, I’m not wearing a metallic string vest and I’m most certainly not launching myself into space to fight spinny flying saucers. The year 2000? What a letdown. The nearest thing we’ve had to an apocalypse so far is the petrol “crisis” and people slagging the Millennium Dome off (no, I’m joining in on that one, I really couldn’t care one way or the other at this stage of the game). Strangely enough (and yes, my first bizarre tangent of the whole article), Jim has actually been chasing me for the reviews, I’ve had the things for ages, and now, here we are, Tuesday 3rd October 2000, with Jim descending on my house this coming Saturday to pick the finished reviews up, and I’ve not even started. How terribly Julie Burchill of me – minus the face like a spastic bulldog chewing a wasp.
So, what’s been happening with me? Hmm, well, quite frankly, it’s really none of your business. I could ramble on about various job offers that had been made to me involving £3000 cash bonuses for moving (that I turned down – email me for the full story), or the fact that little Nick, who is basically my bitch at work (I promised I’d give him as many name checks as I could), has been offered a contract to play “soccer” for 2nd division Reading football club which means I’m going to lose him at the end of November, which really is a shame because, and this is being polite to the point of making even myself ill, Nick is one of the nicest people I’ve had a chance to work with. Ok, so when he started as a temp 2 years ago, at the age of 17, he was a freakishly tall, mute, scary-looking fella, but since we took him on full time, and he started talking, and more importantly, since my bleak, “cup is half empty” view of life has rubbed off on him, he’s turned into quite a normal human being, and it really will be a shame to say goodbye. Well, unless I can bribe someone to run him over with a forklift.
What else, what else, oh, yes: my new game. Shopkeepers across the country (I’m assuming it actually is across the country, and not just in London) have started installing cashpoint machines inside their shops. A genius idea. Ok, so it costs £1.25 to get money out of the thing, but as I’m with the Abbey National and the only other cashpoint machine between my house and work is a Nationwide one that charges me £1.50 to get money out I’m not complaining (bear with me, this does get interesting and is in no way an attempt to put off reading fanzines, no, sir). Anyyyyyway, my new game involves said cashpoint machine in shop, me and an unsuspecting minicab driver. You ask the cab driver to stop at the shop: “Keep the engine running, I’ll only be two minutes”, then you go to the shop, take, ohhh I don’t know, lets say £50 out (it always seems to pay out in £10 notes) then, clutching the money in one hand, come running out of the shop (or the closest approximation of running I can manage), jump into the car and yell “Drive! Drive! Drive!”. Fine, so it doesn’t actually freak the cab driver out, but it keeps me entertained. Try it, it’s… Ok, don’t try it. Ok, damn you, I’ll start reading, you stay there and wait: believe me, it won’t take very long at all…
Arteries – Issue one (£2.50). Oh, this really is priceless… I picked this up and was instantly transported back in time. I have tears of joy in my eyes. Anything with a picture of Bad Taste on the cover automatically gets my thumbs up, and the reviews, oh please, how totally wonderful. Here are some sample quotes; these alone will have you searching out a copy, believe me:
- Mothers Day: “an effective little shocker which will offend some and delight others, personally I liked it!”
- Android of Notre Dame: “Definitely for people who like body dismemberment in movies, Disney this ain’t!” (my personal favourite!)
- Sleazefiends (Muhahaha) will love the movie [Caligula: The Untold Story] but don’t expect a UK release any time in the near future”
The editor also appears to have an unhealthy fascination with turds, mentioning them in almost every other review. The video game reviews and insightful Internet overview are merely the icing on a very, very wonderful cake. Oh, my aching sides…
Cashiers Du Cinemart – Issue 10 ($3). From the ridiculous to the sublime… This is more like it, and hell, I don’t even mind all the advertisements scattered throughout the issue if they manage to keep the cover price down to $3; good luck to them. Issue 10 has enough material to keep you reading for well over 10 minutes (probably longer if your attention span is…er, what was I saying?). Bang! A six page look at the Babycart movies (including an exploded view of the baby cart itself – they never did that on Blue Peter). Bang! An interview with Keith Gordon, who you’ve probably never heard of (he was in Christine remember?): excellent stuff, and I still rate Static as one of the best films I’ve ever seen. Bang! Ok, that’ll do, otherwise I’ll just go through the entire thing saying you should read it, when in reality, all you want to do it go out, buy it and read it. Now, if it had a picture of Drew Barrymore wearing only little Victorian boots and a red ball gag it’d get my Magazine of the Millennium award, but well, you can’t have everything, can you?
Vex – Issue 4 ($3.95). Ok, now I swear, I’m just pulling these things out at random, it’s not some bizarre “Oh look, he’s just putting all the stuff he likes in the article first”, but I really do like Vex, this issue being no less funny that the preceding three. In-depth, stupid, sick and very, very, very entertaining. Disney this ain’t! (heh, see what I did there, that was quite funny). You! Buy! Now!
Roadworks – Issue 5 (£2.50). Ok, look, it’s Thursday, Mr Editor is coming around to my house on Saturday, I have no time to read all of this so, er, well, here we go…Wow, £2.50 for a magazine packed full of quirky short stories and poems, what a bargain. 64 pages long, that works out to around 4p a page. I can’t recommend this highly enough, and the cover is green, which, as you all know, is the Celts good luck colour. What more recommendation do you need?
Hey, you know I think I bluffed my way through that last review quite well, I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing this ages ago, I would have saved myself so much time, and I don’t know about you, but I welcome a “Price per page” count. And now…it’s time for the “Annual Bumper-Mega-Huge-Combo-Multi-Issue Mansplat review 2000” Right, we can play this two ways, you can have all four issues reviewed in one huge blobby concoction or each of the issues reviewed, one after the other. Make you mind up and call now on 020 8900 %$(“. Oh, the phone’s ringing, how exciting, excuse me… “Hello?” “Get on with it! No-one has even bothered reading this far, so it doesn’t matter how you review them as long as you do review them!” “Ok, thanks, Jim – I’ll get straight on that, see you on Saturday.”
Mansplat – Issue 17 (No charge, which reminds me of a country song). Ok, so I actually looked at this after 18 & 19, but you’ll never know as I’m cunningly sliding it at the top of the Mansplat section. You fools! Muhahhahaa<cough>hahaha. Heh… The first thing that struck me about issue 17 was the “Movie villain guide”; my favourite villain from that article? “Fu Manchu – So solly – you must die”. Excellent! Elsewhere is the TV guide we really wish we had, a Spiderman vs. the Internet face-to-face showdown, pages of video reviews, a picture of a cute Asian girl in strappy boots holding a gun (no, the boots aren’t holding the gun. Look, I don’t get paid for this, so grammar is out the window. Hmm, actually, even if I were being paid for this, the grammar would still suck) – ok, so that picture is from an ad, but it caught my eye. Talking of ads, there’s also one for something called “Trash City”, apparently, according to the ad: “Trash City is a magazine published out of London, England by a dedicated group of insane writers…” Blimey, I wouldn’t want to meet any of those wacky sorts!
Issue 18 (Free!). Hmm, Julie Strain. We like Julie Strain, even though she is knocking on a bit, bless her, but she looks wonderful on the cover of issue 18, I think I’ll just retire to the toilet so I can examine this issue more closely… Ok, I’m back, and it’s quite easy typing with sticky fingers, don’t believe what they tell you.
The sky is bright blue
Clouds are so fluffy, so soft
I’ll kill everything
What’s that? Well it’s one of the Godzilla haikus that appear in issue 18: genius! Ok, what else is there? Lemme carry on reading…
Oh, look: “The 100 Women who Wrecked the World” article.. No. 43: Alanis Morrisette – “Geez, she gets dumped by one guy and 12 million have to hear about it.” Marvellous! Also contains the Top 12 greatest women of all time, Hmm, Drew Barrymore is no.6. I knew there was a reason I loved Mansplat. Moving on, elsewhere in issue 18…nestled softly next to the “Where have all the fat wrestlers gone?” article (shut up, Jim!) is the invaluable “Burpology: cool words to say while belching” article, and hell, for the sake of journalistic completeness (ok, so completeness is the wrong word), I have in the space of the last 40 minutes burped my way through three quarters of the words listed. The easiest? “Keno”. The hardest? “Duran Duran”. Go! Now! Write! Email! Get Mansplat! This phrase is guaranteed to be repeated at the end of the reviews for the next issues of Mansplat, or your money back.
Issue 19 (Yep, still free). More of the same (see those four words? I’ll be using those a lot), centre-page madness looks at American cereals. You know, I always maintain that American cereal is so much better than ours. Ok, we briefly had Lucky Charms, and there was the mad period where Ricicles had marshmallowy bits in, but look, you’ve not lived till you’ve started your morning with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles (what do you mean, you don’t like lemon flavoured pieces of cereal?). Terribly informative guide to road rage – I do hope you’re paying attention at the back, Mr. McLennan. And also in issue 19, Mansplat staff reveal the things in Batman’s utility belt; I knew that bulge was a butt-plug.
Issue 20 (Free, probably…see below). Er, I haven’t got a copy of issue 20; I do have two of issue 19 though. I’m sure that issue 20 is lovely. Next!
Issue 21 (Free, to do what I like, any old tiiiiiiiime). Here we are then, the last issue of our marathon “Annual Bumper-Mega-Huge-Combo -Multi-Issue Mansplat Review 2000” 4 issue splurtathon. Wow, look, there’s an article on psycho lovers, I wonder who I know that could have done with reading it a couple of years back? A centre-page double-spread A-Z bra guide, bucketloads of video reviews, a loving look at greasy fast food (hmm, grease) and beer. Did you know that certain Americans think of Harp as the best beer in the world. Just sit back and digest that fact. Harp. The best beer in the world. How frightening is that? Last but not least, a classified section!! Oh, lets go read that now, shall we? Hmm, it was ok, but I was longing for the old Fangoria days (I’m assuming it is the old Fangoria days as I’ve not picked a copy of that particular rag up for years), where the classified section held lines and lines of “Jason Rools” and “Freddy Cuts Me Up” missives.
There you go: that’s the end of our Mansplat journey, and what have we learned? We’ve learned that even over the course of four issues (let’s forget the fact I didn’t have an issue 20), Mansplat is one of the most consistently entertaining fanzines to come out of the States. So there, and what’s more it’s free, they’ve got a website, and er, pictures of ladies’ soft pillows. How’s that for a recommendation?
Heh, Jim and Vanessa (top-class arty designy layout type person to the stars) popped around last Saturday to pick up the fanzines I’d already looked at, and in-between conversations about Jim attacking Vanessa’s nose with a Stanley knife in a fight over who got the last peanut (I think it was something like that), I stupidly mentioned that I only had four more fanzines to look at and was sure I’d written around 2,700 words. Well, that was wrong; bad and wrong. I just did a quick check and it turns out that I’ve actually written over 3,100. So, I guess I’d better not waste any more time and get straight on with the next review. Or should I? The more I think about it, the more the thought of Jim cutting swathes of rubbish out of this whole mess entertains me. No, no, ok, you’re right, I’m bad.
The ‘Mazing Adventures Of Captain Cadwallader (Issue one – Price erm, unknown) No, I’ve not lost the ability to spell even the simplest word, it’s actually “’Mazing”, and is according to the inside front cover (which, incidentally, has also got 22/100 written on it in silver pen – this makes me wonder if it’s actually worth carrying on with the review as all the copies have probably gone by now, but whatever), a melodrama in seven parts. Think of it as a kind of Around the World in 80 Days if Jules Verne had been sniffing Vim (or Drano if you’re reading this in a country that wouldn’t have the first idea what Vim was) It’s a lovely, small, A5 30-page piece of fiction (with some nice full-page illustrations). The ending is a bit of an eye-opener too: I say, that’s not cricket! Worth a read if you can still track a copy down (here’s a hint, Jim has got the copy I’ve just finished with, just think, issue one touched by Jim and myself!).
Arteries (Issue 2) He’s only gone and put another issue out hasn’t he? The conversation I had with Jim on Saturday night went something along the lines of this. “I see I’ve got another issue of Arteries to review, you know, I think I’m going to slag it off”, “Awww no, we like Arteries” replied Jim. Hmm, I’m in two minds now. On the one hand, I don’t think this is really doing anything that wasn’t done 5000 times over 10 years ago, on the other hand, you’ve got to admire the effort that “Lord Brendan MBE” has put into both this and issue one. Just the general slagging off of Jess Franco’s Faceless has me wanting to tear this issue into little pieces and throw it away (although knowing Jim’s hatred of Jess Franco it’s probably why he likes Arteries so much), and I have to wonder, if he hates the movie Forced Entry so much – “I don’t recommend it to anyone. Women will find it incredibly offensive and if any man enjoys this mean spirited, unsavory movie he needs to see a shrink and get his head examined!” – why he bothered reviewing it in the first place. Or more importantly, why he bothered buying a copy at whichever film fair it is he enjoys visiting. Ok, let’s be objective.
Not everyone here has been around that long, so final word. If you’re new, and want an easy way of knowing what’s what with “video nasties”, get yourself a copy of Arteries (although I would do something about the £2.50 cover price); on the other hand, if you’ve been around forever and a day, this really won’t tell you anything you don’t already know. How’s that for partisan? No, not the cheese, that’s Parmesan you maroon.
Little Shoppe Of Horrors – Issue 14 ($7.95). Fuck my old boots, he’s put another issue out! Huzzah, Tiny Tim will eat some turkey this fine Christmas morning. After the nasty hiccup a few issues back when it seemed like Richard Klemensen (who seems to have lived a far more entertaining life than I could ever wish for) was going to stop working on LSOH (don’t you just hate it when people put initials in instead of the full title, it’s so slack, and in this case, almost as if the author is typing really, really quickly to get everything done before the editor arrives to collect the finished article. Finished? Hah! Anyway…). Luckily for us, that hasn’t happened. Hell, I don’t really love Hammer films, apart from getting all nostalgic about getting off the train at Kenton station and walking to school on the morning after one of the Hammer films had been shown on the TV. It’d be easier for me to tell you what isn’t in issue 14, namely no pictures of Kelly Brook strapped to an X-frame with a bit gag. Hey, I’m nothing if not inconsistent.
Let me give you a quick rundown on what is in the issue so you can decide if it’s worth shelling out the eight dollars. [Three hours later] Oh God, no, there is too much in here, really, far too much for just $7.95, oh and it’s got nothing to do with the fact that the review of Trash City in there has choice quotes like “Probably the most fun reading fanzine coming out of the UK”. Hmm, he doesn’t mention me though, which is probably an oversight on his part! Go on, give Richard some of your money: well, give him some of your money if you like Hammer movies, don’t bother if you hate them. Hmm, if you’re rich and want to send him money anyway, you can do that. No, send it to me instead, I can always use extra money. Happy now?
Hog – Issue 4 (£2.50). This is more like it. Nick has just walked past my desk. He pointed at the cover and said “That is the best front cover I’ve ever seen”. How’s that for an unsolicited quote? Balls-out comic art from people I’ve never heard of, but want to hear a lot more from. Damn, this is all good, and hey look! Teresa Scott “comic strip” with a gag! Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Get this, get a copy of the first three, and a copy of anything they’ve done after issue 4; you won’t be disappointed! Without doubt my choice of comic fanzine of the month – or year, probably. No, it’s the best comic fanzine I’ve seen all Millennium. So there!
The Fugazi Virus (one-off). Judging by the “96/100” written on the inside front cover, I’d say that this was from the same publishers that brought you “The ‘Mazing Adventures Of Captain Cadwallader”. Once again taking the form of a complete short story (this time with half page illustrations), and according to the inside back cover it was produced for the Break 21 Festival in Slovenia, May 1999 (oh, how I wish I was there). Fairly bog standard science-fiction story, without anything to recommend it. Sorry, boys. Probably not a good thing that I’m looking at this the morning after I had the most disturbing dream concerning a nuclear war. Remind me to tell you about that sometime: it’s not often that I’m actually woken by a dream and have had to go and do something before I can get back to sleep.
I found a copy of something else hiding at the bottom of my drawer, so this is officially the final review (perhaps ever <sniff>).
Bomba Movies – Issue 7 (£3.00). Hey, look, the Bomba Movies boys are back, going all A4 sized and everything! <Sniff> It’s like my little boys have grown up. I actually read this one through cover to cover (yes, yes, I read allof the fanzines through cover to cover, honestly). Pages of reviews for some obscure stuff that even I haven’t heard of! They win extra points for a look at some of Jess Franco’s women in prison movies, but lose points for slagging Tintorera off (I love all killer shark movies). Perhaps the Bomba Movies people could send a copy of this off to the people behind Arteries, just to show them how it could be done! My last review, and it’s something I enjoyed. Isn’t that sweet?
There we go then. That’s it. It’s all over. The end. With Jim disappearing to Cuba to start his own jazz band. will this be the end of Trash City and more importantly the end of my cutting edge fanzine reviews? Who knows, but I think, if we’ve learned one thing in the time we’ve spent together, it’s that I generally don’t like much, but I’ve got to the stage where I’m too old to really hate anything. Well, apart from those miniscooters, and commercial breaks, oh, and plastic wrapping that needs scissors to get into, and work. Yes, that’s about it. No, I also don’t have much time for old people whining that they don’t have any money. Balderdash! (Christ, do you remember that game Boulderdash? I loved that). Everytime I see old people they are either driving around in brand new cars or lugging around shopping trollies full of groceries, piss-smelling old liars. Not to mention the fact they are vicious at bus stops: don’t be messing with an old lady when the 18 bus arrives, let me tell you!
So, just before I go, some thank yous. Thanks to Nick for putting up with my constant mood swings over the past three years and good luck at Reading football club (someone tell him that they really do eat oranges at half time, he doesn’t believe me). Thanks to everyone else at work (you know who you are), another thank you to Toby Russell for keeping me supplied with chocolate from Marks and Spencer (and for still being the most insane person I know: “Go out, spend money, stupid”). Thanks also to Jaime who, despite everything, is still lovely (things have a habit of working themselves out, no matter how long it takes). Thanks also go to the people who actually read this column – both of you – and to the one person who mailed me after the last issue wanting me to send them the Xena story (which of course, I did). Final thanks go to Jim, who has the patience of a saint going through the rubbish I spew, and working it into something vaguely legible; good luck in Cuba and don’t forget to send me some cigars occasionally!
If you have any comments (or pictures of Drew Barrymore), just send them along to: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to send them straight to the trashbin. Oh, and Jimmy S is not a dirty old pedophile, no sir, no way, no how. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have 26 episodes of Sooty Heights to watch – now with added Scampi, who actually makes Scrappy Doo look entertaining. I’m looking forward to the Brian Blessed episode. And people say I have a boring job!
- Arteries – Lord Brendan, 49 Oxford Rd, Waterloo, Liverpool, L22 8QE.
- Bomba Movies – Try Media Publications.
- Captain Cadwallader + The Fugazi Virus – Noel K Hannon, 18 Lansdowne Road, Sydney, Crewe, UK, CW1 5JY
- Cashiers Du Cinemart – PO Box 2401, Riverview, MI 48192, USA
- Hog – 94 Emet Grove, Emersons Green, Bristol, UK, BS16 7EG
- Little Shoppe Of Horrors – Richard Klemensen, PO Box 3107, Des Moines, Iowa 50316, USA
- Mansplat – Hairball Press, 2318 2nd Ave, PMB 591, Seattle, WA 98121, USA
- Roadworks – Trevor Denyer, 7 Mountview, Church Lane West, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 3LN
- Vex – PO Box 2067, New York, NY 10108, USA