It’s Eurovision Day! Here at The Cut we have a complicated relationship with the greatest international song competition in the world—there were times in the early 2000s when we nearly gave up on it all together, sick of the politics and the lackluster United Kindgom entries. We’re here and we’re paying for most of this, seemed to be the attitude. What more do you want?
Nowadays we’re more relaxed, simply enjoying the eccentricity and joy of the show. This year the UK has an adorable rock teddy-bear bringing the goods with a huge amount of goodwill behind him. Even though it’s blatantly obvious which country will win this year, we know it’s going to be a fun night. Editor Rob will, as usual, be hanging out and live-tweeting the experience—feel free to join @conojito as he rants and raves on that Twitter.
Meanwhile, we have a newsletter to bring you! Comics-heavy this week, but we know you all love that really.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
In the pre-Internet times, if you wanted to get the word out about your musical or artistic passions, the quickest and easiest way was to make a zine—a cheaply-printed, home-made pamphlet which you distributed yourself as best you could. Glue, typewriters and photocopiers were the tools of choice. A number of very famous comics names made their debut out of this vibrant, punky scene. Creativity was the fuel, talent was the engine.
We loved this bit from Reading’s own Steve Charnock on how a Henley bookseller has leveraged TikTok to help sell his rare volumes. It’s not the most obvious of platforms, but he’s made it work, and we can only applaud the innovation.
How do you feed a stadium full of hungry sports fans during a game? Well, it’s a challenge which Chris Giacalone faces every week at the Barclays Centre in New York. If you like your infrastructure and logistics, you’re gonna love this.
The Doctor Who theme is credited to composer Ron Grainer. As is often the case, the real work was done by someone else—in this case, electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire. The story of how the most famous SF theme in history was built is fascinating, especially when you consider the tools Delia and her team had to work with…
Twenty years ago no-one knew what a show-runner was. Now, as the broadcast TV scene mutates and expands, the notion of a visionary guiding the production of your next Netflix obsession is an important part of the promotion. Auteur theory creeping in through the back door. For many writer-directors with an idea and a dream, it would seem like the perfect job. But, as Vice shows, it’s a poisoned chalice lined with razors.
Editor Rob insisted we put this bit on the Scala Cinema Club in the mix. He was one of the ghouls haunting the back row in the 80s, hanging around all night and drinking in the horror and sleaze on screen. He’s mellowed now. He must have been a monster back then.
The script is the starting point, foundation and mortar of any dramatic presentation. As such, its format is standardized. Submit a film script which isn’t set out in a very particular way and no-one at the studios will even look at it. However, comics have no such standard and it seems every writer will set out their story in their own way. Attempts have been made over the years to come up with the One Format To Rule Them All. Here’s the latest. We like it—it’s clean and easy to use. Whether it’ll take off is anyone’s guess. Comics writers are a curmudgeonly, stubborn bunch.
We were sorry to hear from Chloe Maveal that Neo Text Review is shuttering at the end of the month. The site has been home to some of the best comics-related writing we’ve come across in years. NTR’s focus on British strips has been especially pleasing. Check it out while you still can. Here’s a great example of what’s on offer—the different approaches boys and girls comics in the 70s took towards one particular crisis, and how their audiences were expected to deal with ideas of courage and capability.
Last week, we highlighted a strip on how science was helping women take control of their bodies and make their own choices in the face of the looming threat to Roe Vs. Wade. It seems that threat has gained momentum, and you can now be imprisoned in
the USA Gilead for daring to make those choices. We’re frankly horrified.
In further angry-making news, our esteemed government is seeking to put the blame for food poverty in the UK on the shoulders of the victims. Worse yet, they’re seeking to enlist Cut Crush Jack Monroe on their side, citing her work in giving poor families the skills to eat well on almost nothing. Even worserer, they’re trying to use her as an example of what these families should do instead of using food banks. Needless to say, Jack is not prepared to be misrepresented. Cannons loaded, fuse lit.
OK, we’re not going to leave angry. Our final bit is on Glyn Dillon, writer and artist behind the Tao Of Brown (which we highlighted earlier this year) and costume designer for Star Wars. His brother Steve was a leading light in the Brit-comics firmament, a distinctive and prolific artist. He left us too soon. In dealing with that loss, Glyn found a renewed sense of purpose, channeling his grief into remarkable paintings. This bit is sad but also hopeful, mournful but celebratory. It’s a fine way to finish up the week.
Here we are, then. Russia tossing out threats and brickbats, America losing its marbles, a Tory government treating the poor and disenfranchised like dirt on their loafers. The Cut Crew largely grew up in the eighties. We’ve seen this shit before. It’s all just a little bit of History Repeating…
No. We won’t leave angry. Not on Eurovision Day. We send our high hopes and best wishes to Sam Ryder as he prepares for launch. We don’t really care if he wins. It’s just great to see the UK taking the silliness seriously.
See you next Saturday, space babies.