The French phrase ‘M’aidez!’ from which we get Mayday as a shorthand cry for help, apparently originated as ‘merde merde’. Translating as ‘we’re in deep shit.’ Dunno why we thought that was pertinent but there it is, make of it what you will. We hope you had a pleasing Bank Holiday week, Star Wars Day and whatever other excuses for celebration came to you.
This week, spend some time with us in the woods, The Batcave and in a queue.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
It’s amazing what you can spot in old bits of pop ephemera you’ve lived with for decades. Take this extremely niche bit of trivia from Flashbak, who spotted a hitherto unseen link between two great English bands slapped on the side of a boom box…
Curiosity is our superpower. We are always nosing around, greedy at our feeds for the next nugget of interest to ping our radar. Mike Sowden of Everything Is Amazing knows this feeling well. He explores the sense of connection which often comes along with an enthusiastic, questing spirit like what we have got, and how it makes us better writers. Well, not based on that ugly last sentence, but you get the idea.
As an example of the above: we couldn’t tell you how we came across this great bit from writer, archer and all-round outdoorsman Dan Koboldt on how life in the woods is more complex than we think. But we’re pleased to have bumped into him, whatever path we took to get there.
Content warning on the next post, and not just because it’s about comics. We have long asserted that The Ninth Art is an excellent medium for education. In light of the new threat to abortion rights in
Gilead The USA, we present a great strip by Lux Alptraum and Erika Moen on how the tools which enable women to take control of their bodies have evolved since Roe Vs. Wade was first ruled. This one is not for everyone, of course. But if you’re curious, it’s worth a look.
This next clip speaks to our black little Gothic hearts and brings back memories of too much hairspray and nights spent moshing in dank basements. An old Nationwide story on the denizens of Goth club The Batcave in 1983 is somehow sweetly innocent and even-handed. No teen-cult scares here. Just pancake makeup and inventive ways to use fishnet tights.
If you need Zoom backgrounds, here’s a resource. The set dressings for Looney Tunes cartoons seem existentially bleak when stripped of Daffy, Bugs and the gang. They’d work well behind a production of Waiting For Godot, or maybe even King Lear. Another example of the artistry at play in works which were at the time considered to be throwaway entertainment for kids.
The story of Connie Converse is one of mystery, rebellion, lost chances with an unsolvable mystery at its heart. We are really enjoying James McMahon’s Spoook newsletter, from which this comes. Initially based on his time in music journalism, the narrative soon took a hard turn into frank discussions about his fragile mental health. He’s worryingly unfiltered but when James is on form he can spin one heck of a yarn.
Bob Stanley is another writer whose knowledge of pop is river deep and mountain high. He loves the form so much he even started a band to get the music in his head out to the world—you’ve heard of St. Etienne? He’s one of the po-faced boys poking at keyboards behind the saintly Sarah Cracknell. Anyhoo, Bob has written a new book on the birth of his favourite music. In this extract he talks about the English dance bands of the 30s. A very distinctive brand of popular music.
The story of Robert Samuel’s day job sounds like it should be satire or even lurching towards SF. But the fact remains he can run a successful business by simply waiting in line to snag tickets to hot shows on Broadway for other people. This is what capitalism in 2022 looks like, folks.
And finally. A few months ago we mentioned a resource for searching out fictional films and books which featured in real films and books. Spotifictional provides the same service for made-up bands, allowing you to easily check out music from Wyld Stallyns, Spinal Tap or Sex Bob-omb. It’s a little spare at the moment, but has the potential to be pretty darn handy.
Our Exit Music is the campest and most joyful clip you’ll see this week. Pop weasel Harry Styles was at Coachella 2022 and covered an iconic bit of 80s cheese as part of his set. A surprise guest arrived to help him out. Everyone involved seems to be having the time of their life, Harry in particular goofing around in spangled bliss. This one will put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step. We offer the prerogative to have a little fun.
See you next Saturday, pop stars.