Thursday, 12 October 2017

A Chronicle Of Doom....


A brief and decidedly dispiriting visit to Ice Station Zebra on Tuesday of this week as Agent Rob yet again (and somewhat unwisely) stirred Agent Johnny from his slumber, the resulting couple of hours crawling by in awkward silences, Our Man In Pester Wails spending much of the time dozing in his chair, bare feet boldly on display. When the chat did eventually come - following, rather bizarrely, a long pause for a change of trousers - it was horrendously one-sided, and a much anticipated conversation concerning recent viewings of The Fly (1959) and its various sequels was simply caught short in the web of despair....


Still, there was life in the old slog yet.... and also in the topic of Commando ComicsAgent Rob talking at length about the most memorable issue from his childhood, The Cat, the Rat and the Cobra and Agent Johnny duly responding with honourable mentions given to his favourite titles Crash Dive and Rogue Bomber. At one point Johnny rallied himself enough to reel off a (very pertinent) quote along the lines of, "if you are able to help someone as you pass along then your life has not been in vain".... 


There then followed a brief thumbs up for the exploits of Alf Tupper, before, unable to even finish his first can of swill, Agent Johnny turned down the duvet and announced/whispered he was fer 'hitting the sack', leaving Agent Rob to 'consolo' himself for an hour or so, swilling to the epic sounds of Crippled Black Phoenix, live dreaming wistfully of the days gone by Hope Street 'view to a swills'....

Sounds: (selections from) The Resurrectionists & Night Raider by Crippled Black Phoenix....

Saturday, 9 September 2017

A Chronicle Of Doom....


Yet another bon voyage of Agent Rob's 'fer ter visit' Agent Johnny at Ice Station Zebra on 'Thor'sday' of this week. This well coordinated exercise - postponed from last week and honed by years of secret agent training - allowed our two 'men in Pester Wails' to settle down in very good time 'fer to watch' the exceedingly leery The Masque Of The Red Death on The Horror Channel. Indeed, this followed a failed attempt to retune the 'one-eyed-god' to find Talking Pictures TV and a brief interlude of Bob Dylan live in 1966, the swill soon cranked open to smooth over the cracks, the cheese rolls munched, the outside world quickly forgotten by those it's forsaken....


As soon as Vincent Price had laughed his last laugh Agent Johnny was suddenly (swill?) inspired to give a reading - yep, a reading! - of Edgar Allan Poe's original The Masque Of The Red Death short story. And so, like any good kiddie-winkie, Agent Rob - opting against sitting cross-legged on the floor to complete the picture - listened as Our Man In Pester Wails growled (mumbled, snuffled, coughed and hacked) his way atmospherically through the 7 pages of this twisted tale. Fillums and television - You Only Live Twice, The Gauntlet, Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea and, of course, The Invaders - then occupied the rest of the afternoon's contented chuntering before the 'great white bus' into town beckoned and where, in Deadhead Comics, Agent Rob picked up Wakeling, the newie by Braw Books favourite Magda Boreysza....


SoundsLive 1966, "The Royal Albert Hall Concert" by Bob Dylan: A Saucerful Of Secrets by Pink Floyd: Sea Within A Sea by The Horrors and Nerve Pylon by The Lines (the grande finale!)....

Visions: The Masque Of The Red Death (1964)

Pink Floyd - A Saucerful Of Secrets (Live 1970)

Thursday, 31 August 2017

You Seen The Set, Part Four: Marshall's House....

Edward Hopper - Marshall's House, 1932

In the last of our 'exhaustiving' You Seen the Set posts we're playing 'fast and loose' with the format, Agent Rob (seriously) indulging (and outing) himself in his (genuine) affection for (ex?!) Stone Roses guitarist John Squire's 2004 retro-pop solo elpee Marshall's House as well as staggering at the works of some of the finest American modern painters....


John Squire - Swimming Through The Holes In Dead American Painters, 2003

Best to let aul' Johnny boy take it away, “Hopper painted American scenes and American people – usually quite solitary and depressed-looking individuals. The reason I wanted to write about them was that I find them all quite haunting – superficially light, and awkward and ordinary, but there was something disturbing about some of the characters. So each of the songs is an extrapolated story around those images....”



It all started innocently enough with a visit to the Highland Lighthouse in Cape Cod where, on the downward journey from the lantern room Agent Rob spied a framed print of Edward Hopper's Highland Light painting. Of course, Squire's very own Cape Cod Morning song had never been too far from the mind throughout the entire sunny sojourn and a seed was secretly sown (and a postcard hunted down and duly purchased)....

Highland Light, North Truro, 2017....

Edward Hopper - Highland Light, North Truro, 1930

Edward Hopper - Cape Cod Morning, 1950

So far so what? But the "what" that happened next was during a visit to the Boston MFA, a trip as highly recommended by ex-Hope Street Studionaut Jason Mathis....


Baby Big Head! Er, wasn't that the Mondays...?

There on the 3rd floor, in the Art Of The Americas - the most manageable of the vast range of collections the museum proudly houses - Agent Rob finally came face to canvas with some of those inSquiring classics, including several pieces by the king of splatter himself, Jackson Pollock....

Hopper's Room In Brooklyn in the back room 2017...!

Edward Hopper - Drugstore, 1927

Hmm, just try identifying a Jackson Pollock online....

There's a pretty comprehensive and rewarding, if a little clunky, gallery of all Squire's paintings here. It's definitely worth persevering to have a punt about the lesser known leaner years between 2005 and 2011 before things suddenly went all Roses shaped glasses....

"I'd rather live my life than attempt to rehash it."

"Let it be! Let it be! Let it be! Let it be!"

Coming fool circle we can even divert this (s)tale via Agent Johnny's city of Edinburgh, when Agent Rob made the effort to visit Squire's Nefertiti exhibition at the Henderson Gallery in, wait for it, 2010! Old school Edchester in the area....







But to take this all one step beyond the pale, earlier in 2010 John Squire illustrated a series of covers for the Penguin Decades (the 80's), including this rather spiffing effort for one of Agent Rob's favourite authors, William Boyd. In fact, on Boyd's recent visit to Glasgog as part of an Aye Write! special there was nothing for it but 'fer to queue' up and have this prized edition of An Ice-Cream War signed by the master wordsmith himself....


John Squire - Summertime