Trash City ‘zine #5



Trash City was an old British digest sized ‘zine that focused a lot on exploitation movies, but had an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach for the most part.  All kinds of film (this issue even included an article on Danger Mouse), letters , reviews, film festival reviews (this issue featured 2- the Black Sunday film festival and the Splatterfest ’90 film festival), opinions, travelogues, even stories and fiction.  It’s layout and design were kind of boring, but the writing was lively and informative.

Here are some pages from issue V (1990) for your perusal:

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A Christmas Carol (1984)


“I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me.  May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

Their faithful Friend and Servant,
C. D.
December, 1843.”

The 170th anniversary of Charles Dicken’s classic Christmas tale has just passed, and there have been hundreds of versions of it produced in that time.  Everyone from Alastair Sim to Jim Carrey, Patrick Stewart, Albert Finney, Bill Murray, Mr. Magoo, Scrooge McDuck, and Michael Caine (in the Muppets version) have played the main character, miserly Ebinezer Scrooge.  It took Dickens just 6 weeks of intense writing to finish his little ghost story, but it’s one of the most adapted stories of all time.

“Marley was dead: To begin with.  There is no doubt whatever about that…”

To celebrate the 170th anniversary Neil Gaiman recently dressed up like Dickens and read the story to a crowd at the New York Public Library.  You can listen to it here.

Neal Gaiman as Charles Dickens

Neal Gaiman as Charles Dickens

My fav version of it comes from Britain, 1984.  A television production (tho it did play in theaters in Britain), it stars the awesomely talented George C. Scott as Scrooge.  If ever there was a person born for a role, this was it.  His Scrooge is a miserable, gruff, stingy old bastard, but not a monster.  Not a caricature or a cartoon, like many performers fall back on.  Scott’s Scrooge seems real, acts like a person with Scrooge’s past would act, like a very shrewd (and heartless) businessman.
The supporting roles are all also fantastic, featuring a bunch of talented British character actors lead by David Warner (one of my favs) as Bob Cratchit.  It also has Donald Pleasance’s daughter Angela as the ghost of Christmas Past, Edward Woodward (who got immolated in The Wicker Man) in a booming performance as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Frank (Lifeforce, The Deadly Bees) Finlay as Marley, and one of Tim Burton’s regulars Michael (The Horror of Dracula, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Alfred in Batman (1989)) Gough in a small role.
The production is lush, with a lot of atmosphere and period feel.  You can almost smell the roast turkey and the smoke from the last burning embers in the fire in Scrooge’s workplace.  Feel the biting cold and snow.  They don’t shy away from getting creepy when it’s called for (after all, it is a ghost story), and the special effects are pretty good for it’s time and budget.  I’ve always been a sucker for a movie with great atmosphere.
The thing I like best about it is that it follows the book closer than any other version I’ve seen.  Most everyone knows the plot- Ebinezer Scrooge is a miserable old miser who thinks that love, sentimentality, and Christmas are a waste of time and money (“A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every 25th of December”).  His one assistant, Bob Cratchit, has a large family including a sickly and disabled son, Tiny Tim.  On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old business partner Jacob Marley with a warning- change his ways or he’ll pay in the afterlife.  He is then visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present, and yet to come to help illuminate his choices, mistakes, and possibilities.

In this day and age, Scrooge would probably be considered a great businessman hero, and have his own show on Fox News.  Fortunately in the days this was written charity was viewed favorably and greed looked down upon, so the story comes to a satisfying conclusion.  It is a classic tale, and this version of it is told and performed perfectly.  Seek it out for your Christmas viewing pleasure.

I Hate Dave Mustaine ‘zine #2



Another cool old music (death and thrash metal mostly) ‘zine was IHDM.  I actually got to contribute a couple of live reviews to this, the second issue.  It featured interviews with AUTOPSY, NOCTURNUS, DECEASED, HELLWITCH, ABOMINOG, EVICTION, PRIMEVIL, IMPETIGO, DERKETA, RIPPING CORPSE, and REVENANT.  It also had album and demo reviews (plus the above mentioned live reviews), and a ton of ads.

Here’s some pages to peruse:

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The Greatest Albums of All Time: Godflesh – “Godflesh” (1988)


This is the one that started it all.
In the early ’90s it seemed that every grindcore, crust, and death metal musician formed a side band that mixed industrial and metal (and every label seemed to have some)- MALFORMED EARTHBORN (featuring members of BRUTAL TRUTH), SPINE-WRENCH (DEVIATED INSTINCT), OPTIMUM WOUND PROFILE (EXTREME NOISE TERROR), MEATHOOK SEED (OBITUARY and NAPALM DEATH), CANDIRU (EXIT 13), BLOOD FROM THE SOUL (NAPALM DEATH), NAILBOMB (SEPULTURA), SKREW (ANGKOR WAT), SCORN (NAPALM DEATH), PUNCTURE (GAMMACIDE) and plenty more.  On top of that, many industrial bands began putting heavy guitars into their sound (MINISTRY, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, CONTROLLED BLEEDING (which had members who even formed a side industrial metal band SKIN CHAMBER), KMFDM, ELECTRIC HELLFIRE CLUB, and NINE INCH NAILS) that was not there before, and tons of bands formed who mixed metal and industrial, as well as rock and industrial (RAMMSTEIN, SISTER MACHINE GUN, SOULSTORM, GRAVITY KILLS, PITCH SHIFTER, STABBING WESTWARD, BILE, MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE, STERIL, 16 VOLT, THE CLAY PEOPLE, MARILYN MANSON,  MALHAVOC, tons more).  They owe it all to GODFLESH and their self titled debut  album, which came first and blows most of them away.

The feel is cold and dark.  The guitars sound like bent metal girders that are being grinded together, bathed in feedback with a rhythmic, inhuman drum pounding out the beat.  The vocals are processed howls mixed with echo washed gloomy moans; this album was as heavy as most any death metal band, and as bleak as most any nihilistic industrial band.  The songs bring to mind the soundtrack to a bulldozer crashing through your bedroom wall, but with a bit of a groove to them.

It wasn’t created in a vacuum, of course- you can hear a heavy early period SWANS influence, as well as BIG BLACK and KILLING JOKE mixed with CELTIC FROST.
The members who created this masterpiece were two young men from Birmingham, England- G.C. Green, who came from a KILLING JOKE inspired band called FALL OF BECAUSE; and Justin Broadrick, who came from the grindcore band NAPALM DEATH (tho he only played on the A side of their debut (and best) album Scum).

Godflesh conjures up an atmosphere of cold brutality and depression, but it is still quite catchy in places.  I doubt you’d ever hear any songs off of it on the dance floor, but they mix their dirgy crushers with a couple of upbeat (tho still quite heavy) crashing ragers.  When listened to as a whole, it’s a magnificent piece of work- you hear the word “epic” tossed around so much these days that it’s completely lost it’s meaning, but this album is the essence of the true definition of epic.  Grand.  Powerful.  You really have to hear it to understand.
Most people prefer their follow up album Streetcleaner, which is also excellent and can be described in similar terms, but this self titled debut is the superior release for me.  It came directly out of the punk rock and grind DIY scene (the cover is even a folded up paper cover like C.R.A.S.S. used to use on a lot of the records on their label), on a smaller label (which started as a record store) called Swordfish (while Streetcleaner was produced by the rising indie giant Earache records).  It’s just a bit rawer, more primal and hungry.  The distorted, creepy cover image (a still taken from John Frankenheimer’s film Seconds) is suitably desolate and mysterious looking, but doesn’t prepare you for the pounding you’re about to receive.

It was re-released on cd by Earache with two bonus tracks, both more experimental and non-musical (tho still beat oriented) than the 6 songs on the original version.
They would go on to put out a lot of albums, featuring many different variations on their industrial metal style, mixing in drone, techno, breakbeat, shoegaze (which they also helped invent), and post metal (once again, which they also helped invent), but for me they never recaptured the bleak, epic power and raw grandeur of this debut album.

They’ve recently reformed (after splitting in 2002 during Broadrick’s nervous breakdown) and seem to have returned to their heavier roots (they’ve released one song so far- a cover of the Canadian band SLAUGHTER’s song “F.O.D. (Fuck of Death)”).  I doubt they’ll ever put out another brilliant, game changing album like Godflesh, but we can always hope.