The Good, The Brad And The Spoiler

Brad Day @ Black Rock – How To Deal With The One Who Gave It All Away…

continued from: The White Lion And The Dessert Rats

“Every gun makes its own tune” – Blondie.

Spoiler, ALERT!” cried Touche Turtleneck as the security breach signal rang out.

Damnation and blast!” raged Major Spoiler“He’s here!”

The disgraced Galactic Defence Militia officer stared intensely out of his office window on the 14th floor of Black Rock Block. Here, in one of the more seedy districts of Duggan’s Run Spaceport on Beta Lugosi, torrential rain lashed down relentlessly.

Touche and his gang of hoodlums – who had been hanging around in the office most of the day, just for this moment – drew their blasters and rushed to the door.

JarJar Kushner, the Major’s twisted right-hand man, sitting languidly at the desk, his heavy, ultrawornout boots perched impudently on the blotter, snapped at them:

“Watch it, idiots! This is no ordinary cake-scoffin’ bum we’re dealing with here! He’s good… even by my standards… And for pity’s sake, watch yer backs, he could be anywhere!”

They nodded and piled out, marching off down the hallway.

The two remaining villains listened to the monotonous clatter outside until Spoiler spluttered:

“Do you think he will catch me…?”

“Oh yes, most definitely…”

“How can you be so sure?”

“I am… ‘cos I already ‘ave…”

“Wha-?!”

With one deft flick, the henchman tugged off his black ponytail to reveal a beautifulbut rapidly thinning – mess of blond hair; a device behind one ear was deactivated, and a holographic mask removed to reveal far more agreeable cheekbones. 

“Stone the bloody crows…! YOU!” the Major barked.

Yeah, me…” the Commander growled. “Told ya ‘e could be… ANY… where…”

“You smell like a pig already. Let’s try not to make things any worse” – Corporal Wallace.

“Spoiler… sheesh, you gave away too many Militia plans to the Empire, and now ya- ‘EY! Move away from that cabinet, Major… Disaster… Ah ah! ‘Ands where I can see ’em, fella…

Brad sprang to his feet and glared at the disgraced officer.

“Patheticlong ago, you had potential… Now, Brad, you’re nothingJust a dumbass with a blaster…”

“Quite a dumbass thin’ ta spout, seein’ as the blaster is trained right on ya…”

“Doesn’t matter. C’mon, Fartlighter, you’re kidding nobody – you’re too much of a wholesome hero to just blast me away… like that. No, it doesn’t matter what prison barge you send me to, I can enjoy the last laugh, watching… what unfolds… What does it feel like to be the Most Wanted Man In The Galaxy?”

“Fine an’ dandy, baby. Comes with the territory… o’ bein’ a galactic ‘ero. ‘Ad ta split Bitumen ‘cos the belly dancers couldn’t queue up in an orderly manner…” 

“No. Not that. Do you realise that the Empire has slapped a bounty on your “really ridiculously good looking” head? They were offering 20,000 creds-“

“Why, that’s despicable! A measly 20,000 creds?! Me pecs alone are worth a lot more than that-“

“Shut it. I said they were. Obviously, you’ve been too busy “saving the galaxy” to check your Notifications – they’ve shanked the bounty up to 50,000 creds-“

“Goody gumdrops! Sounds abaht right…”

Brad wiped the smirk off his face; his abrupt ashen-face seemed to take the officer aback.

“How much did it cost ya?” the Commander snarled, “…To direct those Zandokan cruisers ta intercept us?!”

“Oh, that was… free of charge! It was a futile move, anyway! You’re the “good guys”despite impossible odds, you always, insufferably, inconceivably, get through unharmed-“

“MITCH DIDN’T! He wuz wounded during the surprise attack. Me Company managed ta get ‘im to a med-unit on Epsilon, but he-”

“Hmm? I don’t recall- Which one is Mitch?” the Major frowned.

“Mitch Quintana, our newest… and youngest member-“

“Ha, yet another cocky young whelp, no doubt! Never heard of him – how young?”  

“Jeez! As sensitive as an earthquake, ain’tcha, fella?! Damn you… he was only 19-“

“Ah…! Same age as you when I took you under my wing twenty years ago-“

“No… NO! Don’t go there…” 

“…And made you into the leading man you are today. No worries! The boy will pull through – it’s in the script, right?! He will, most likely, turn out to be just as annoying and indestructible as you – ha!”

“Nah… we just got back in time… to watch ‘im pass away…”

“Aww! Where did he die…?”

The Commander held up his arms, and croaked dejectedly:

“In these…”

“Hey, amigo! You know you got a face beautiful enough to be worth $2000?” – Mexican Bounty Hunter.  

“Heh, are you the golden-haired angel sent to watch over me?” Major Spoiler remarked in disbelief.

“Nah… no such luck. There ain’t no songs o’ praise reserved fer… moofmilkuz like you…”

“Ha, cute… What did u do with Kushner?”

“‘Oo…? Oh, that useless scrote. Flung ‘im in the basement, din’I? Funnily enough, I don’t think ‘e belongs anywhere else. Blimey, ‘e’s a waste o’ space even dahn there…”

“Uff, hilarious… You know, in a strange way, I’m actually proud of the way you assembled that pathetic bunch of losers…”

“Me Company, ya mean…? Twen’y years ago, ya used to be a good mansomeone ta look oop ta – jeez, what the blazes ‘appened?!”

“I got wise! Listen to me for once, Brad! You, your Company; the Militia; Rajendra’s Free Fighters – you’re ALL finished. The last remaining Federation Planets WILL fall to Zan Doka and the Empire will prevail – the one true light in a moribund galaxy! Let me take you to the Emperor; he will grant you anything, and you can savour the fruits of the Zandokan Empire, as well as I! At last, your miserable existence will have a sense of purpose…! Just think of the immeasurable power we shall wield… Come with me. It is the only way!”

“Uff, spare me… I’ve just about ‘ad enough of yer insuff’rable monologin’…”

Spoiler spat sarcastically: “Aww, I hate to see you suffer… so much, Commander!”

“Fine,” Brad snapped back, levelling his blaster between the startled officer’s eyes. “Then lemme put ya outta yer misery…”

“No, wait! It’s-!”

“Waitin’s over. Adios, pret’y boy…”

.

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk” – Tuco.  

KERR-RAAAAASH!!

The shards of the shattered plexi-screen mingled with the shower as the ex-Militia officer’s body hurtled to the street below. The Zandokan sentries stood aside and simply averted their gaze away from the sickening impact. Upon reaching the foyer, Brad had just readjusted the wig and realigned the mask. He stumbled out of the elevator, desperate to erase from his fevered mind that hard day in the office…

Spoiler’s gang congregated by the revolving doors, adding the mess on the street to their Instagram accounts.

Touche came running up, all-flustered.

“Mr. Kushner! The Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger is still in the building?!”

“Aye affirmative, that ‘e is, dipwit! If ya ‘urry, ya might jus’ catch ‘im!”

The hoodlums dashed back up the stairs.

Two of the Zandokan guards marched towards Brad, but, in character, he managed to keep composed.

“Secure the area!” he barked, putting on his nastiest authoritative voice. “Make sure the Earthling does NOT leave the building!”

The guards nodded in their usual, slavishly obedient way.

And – just like thatthe Earthling left the building…

“I think his idea was that I kill you. But you know the pity is when I’m paid, I always follow my job through. You know that” – Angel Eyes.

Around the corner, Brad tore off his accessories for the last time and chucked them furiously into a bin.

Over the deafening din of the monsoon, he opened his earpiece and hailed the Calista.

“‘Ey, whassup, mate?!” the Chief chirped.

“Uff, stow it, ‘Arris – I’m not in the mood.”

“Did ya do it…?”

“Yeah, wha’s done is done-“

“‘Eyyy, attaboy, Commander! The ‘ero strikes again, eh?!”

“Nah, far from, Chief… this ain’t NUTHIN’ to celebrate. This… this wuz bang out’a order…”

“Ne’er mind, eh? Got gateau fer ya an’-”

“NAH… dahn’ wan’ any cake…”

“WHA-?! Is that Brad?! ‘Ere, Kushner ya div! Givvuz our Commander back NAHW, ha ha ha!”

“…This ain’t no laffin’ mat’er, Chief… I’ve gone ta this vile dive ta terminate me ol’ superior officer…! Not only that… he wuz a fellow Englishman… This ‘ole thing… ugh… Jeez, it stinks to ‘igh bleedin’ ‘Eaven… This is NOT wha’ savin’ the galaxy wuz supposed ta be abahtTough ‘ero?! It’s really tough tryin’ ta be one… Gawd, this is pants…”

“…’Ey, Brad, ‘e ‘ad ta go, mate… ‘E doublecrossed uz all… nah one coulda done wha’ you jus’ done…  Kudos to ya, fella… Some good hasta come from this – it’s jus’ gotta… I-I know whatcha goin’ through right nahw-“

“Tha’s jus’ it, fella, ya dahn’t. ‘Ope ya nevah havta, an’ all…  Gotta bit’er taste in me mahf that ain’t gonna shift, an’ a lump in me soul that ain’t NEVAH gonna lift… …

“‘E wuz… dammit – ‘e wuz the one who made me Battleforce Commander in the first place…! Rot ‘im… … …”

 

“Sooo… … … ya wanna come back nahw?”

“Nah… thinkin’ o’ openin’ a resort dahn ‘ere…”

“Wha-?! Really?”

“O’ course, bleedin’ ‘o course I wanna come back!! An’ I’m gonna be one ‘elluva soggy moggy if I stay aht ‘ere much longer! Beam me oop now, ya donut…”

BRAD FARTLIGHTER WILL RETURN

 

Pecs, Pies And Videotape: Confessions Of An ’80s Video Junkie

Slap It In The VCR And They Will Come…

WARNING: Contains strong violence, some mild language and scenes of a dodgy sexual nature

time slip

“Lay me place and bake me pie, I’m starving for me gravy” – David Bowie.  

Know you now of days long past.

A time when the world was young, when video recorders thrived;

the worldwide web but a twinkle in its inventor’s eye,

and wild adventure was fore’er in the offing…

What better way to spend this Bank Holiday Weekend than traipse through the Mall of Nostalgia?!

My life changed forever in mid-August 1984, when we acquired our very first video cassette recorder: VHS you understand (the cool one); the sole kid who often touted the “merits” of Betamax would invariably get beaten to a pulp by the bigger boys.

From that hallowed point onwards, life revolved (spooled?) around tapes: tapes of action movies, tapes of TV comedy shows, tapes of planes, trains and automobiles for Dad, and ballet for Mum, tapes of this an’ tapes of t(h)at. Back then, you see, being able to watch a TV programme a day, a week – or months(!) – after its broadcast date shouted sheer genius! 

And don’t forget the pies… 

Possibly the main reason why best school-buddies: Ed and Boz dropped by my gaff at weekends, and during holidays, involved the double fix of excellent videos and scrumptious pies! In those days, our considerable larder came ram-packed with meaty goodness: steak and kidney, minced beef and onion… but one couldn’t stomach cheese and mushroom – still can’t. All supplemented by a kitchen drawer overflowing with potato chips of every possible flavour!

Probably the coolest addition to the high street was the video rental store. Our local awemonger: Video Stop received frequent visits by yours truly. Don’t regret admitting that more time was spent in there browsing around its ram-packed shelves than in the school library…  

If you – like me – are a child of the 80s, then you will know all-too-perfectly-well what this blogger is blatherin’ on about.

“Don’t insult my intelligence! Please, don’t make me kill you… It will spoil all my fun” – Diana.

For weeks, the latest sci-fi TV sensation from the States had been advertised.

Just known as V – Earth’s first encounter with extraterrestrial visitors! Arriving in fifty motherships, they seek water and resources to save their dying planet, and in return they will bestow upon us all the fruits of their knowledge. TV cameraman Mike Donovan (Marc Singer) stows away aboard the LA mothership and discovers the shocking truth: they are reptilian invaders come to collect humans as food!

The original 2-part opener thrilled me and Ed on the Monday and Tuesday nights respectively. As it went out @ 10:30pm, Dad stuck around to check its suitability for us; he got swept along qith the engrossing drama and SF thrills, and – seeing how enraptured we younglings clearly were, he went out to purchase a VCR on the Wednesday morning.

Way ta go, Daddio!

For that night, the 3- part series: V The Final Battle began, and the whole caboodle got so much better.

Marc Singer was a revelation. Or – more precisely – his pecs motivated me to build upon my embarrassingly weedy frame and maybe – just maybe – rather than beat me up in the playground, the girls would instead start to respect and, perhaps, fancy me…

Another main reason to watch V, of course, was Jane Badler as scheming scientist: Diana – hotter than a pie that’d just come outta the oven.

‘Tis a pity she’s a lizard…

Really, we could not move on without mentioning one of the ultimate SF badasses:Ham Tyler. He holds a reserved place in Brad’s Badass Brigade. Take a butcher’s @ this classic scene and you’ll see why:

“Now that’s a waste of good luggage” – Ham Tyler.

“Just give me some meat an’ a bowl a’ noodles, and make it snappy!” – Hsiao Feng.

Back in the day, you could, inevitably, get titles so indescribably bizarre.

Take – for instance – Time Slip aka GI Samurai: a madcap Jap piece a’ crap. Caught in a sinister storm, an army division is hurled back to the Samurai Era. In the batshit-bonkers carnage that ensues, their tank fires on cavalry charges and all Sonny Chiba (yes! for it is he!) can do is watch his men wiped out by wave upon wave of arrows…

Most of the titles on offer in Video Stop seemed to be rip-offs of either Alien or Mad Max. The latter – fantastically awful titles that had more cheese than, well, a cheese pie – already received somewhat “fervent” attention in this Post.

If a rental proved too turgid to sit through, one constantly-reliable go-to could always be slapped back in the VCR.

Beach Of The War Gods – directed, and starring, that great Taiwanese action-star: “Jimmy” Wang Yu (yes! the one and only!) – is a gloriously hard and funky epic from the legendary Golden Harvest stable. During the 16th century, the Japanese laid siege to the Chinese coastline: killing, looting, burning and other frightful deeds. The petrified plebs of the Windy City dread imminent attack until-!

The Stranger moseys on in…

He persuades Iron Man (yes! Iron Man!) and Brother Li Love (a moody paleface with twenty daggers strapped onto his tunic) to aid him in leading the locals to fight off the Jap hordes.

As to be expected, the dubbing is hilarious, the foley artist is having a gas, and the surf guitar (yes! surf guitar!) soundtrack is outta sight, man!

The climactic battle – hackin’-an’-a-slashin’ through the city streets – is faster and more furious than your average Chinese flick, featuring scintillating choreography, and it just keeps on going and going!

…And going!

But the very first bout a’ blade-battering – when Hsiao Feng Two-Blades kicks off! – is particular gobsmacking. To me, this scene will ALWAYS be a frenetic fave and as-cool-as-fudge:

“Anything you say can and will be held against you…in the court of Robocop” – Jerry.

ALIEN BODIES…

One classic film that constantly eluded me was the original Alien. Although one unforgettable day did come mighty close to changing that…

The box read: “Alien: Starring Tom Skerritt” written in black felt tip. Aha, that’s the bunny! methinks, me quest is over!

Sure enough, Ed and Boz stopped what they were doing and pedalled frantically over to my gaff. Ed had the king-size steak and kidney, Boz tucked in (rather unbelievably) to the cheese and mushroom, while Brad had the beef and onion. Three chip packets rustled in unison as the video started playing. Hmm, no 20th Century Fox logo; funny, not even those iconic credits came on neither…

Strangely, the screen opened, NOT on the dark, foreboding world of LV426, but in a brightly-lt bedroom. On a huge double-bed reclined three young women, with barely one bikini between them.

We gawped in horror as they proceeded to do something unmentionable. With a light bulb…

Searing into my soul, Boz fixed me with his most intense where-the-fudge-is-Tom-Skerritt?! stare: “Jeez, Brad! Ya tryin’ ta corrupt us, fella?!” he blurted. “This must be one of dem Video Nasties that Mrs. Shufflebottom warned us about in class last week! Fer pity’s sake, mate, put Beach Of The War Gods on again, willya?!”

“BLAZES!” yelled Ed, almost spitting his pie out. “I can ‘ear yer Dad comin’ up the hallway! Eject, fella! EJECT!!”

The jittery vid-jockey lunged towards his VCR, an itchy finger quivering over the Eject button.

The bally thing!

It clicked; it whirred. The picture took FOREVER to switch off.

The tape chugged out, just as Dad marched in. To pick up a pencil…

Remember only too well THAT looong, wretched slog back to Video Stop. Too embarrassed to glance at other passers-by – felt like they were staring at me with utter disgust.

Honestly!

A boy of my age…

Carrying SUCH SMUT through a densely populated area…

Too timid to look the video store worker in the eye and hand over THAT TAPE Or have the nerve to inform him that this was definitely NOT the version “directed” by Ridley Scott…

Imagine my utter relief to find, upon arrival, the lad-in-charge had popped out for a pie! The offending article could simply be dropped in the Returns box. Huzzah, my anonymity – not to mention my dignity! – remained intact! To be on the safe side, managed to avoid the store for a WHOLE WEEK so they wouldn’t be able to trace me back to that… that ghastly horridness.

Of course, the three amigos never spoke about it…

Don’t think any of us dared go near another Tom Skerritt movie…

“Okay, who ordered the Burly Beef?” – Sarah Connor.

My dear father and the joy of video rentals granted one of the most memorable birthdays of this boy’s life. Inevitably, Ed and Boz came round for my 14th – with cards and gifts (tapes, obviously).

And lo!

It came to pass that Dad had got me a swell gift – he’d sneaked out and rented a video! (blub)

The cover alone was ultracool – a futuristic dude holding a groovy shoo’er, but sporting the MOST IMPECCABLE PECS! Suddenly, such good vibes emanated from this tape…

Two groovy fellas travel back in time to Los Angeles to hook up with the same clumsy waitress. And then the big guy gets blasted away. Uff, so what…? But then – SWEET BABY JESUS! – he only gets up and spends the rest of the movie chasing the other two across LA! Turns out that he – ha! get this: happens to be a cyborg, sent back to terminate that po’ woman presumably before she can do any more damage to that Diner.

It’s the most ridiculous thing, but pulled off with such great gusto; the action is top-notch, while the pace? Relentless! You know its title; it’s become one of THE iconic SF greats of the 80s – and deservedly so.

Dad was absolutely delighted to see me so happy, and – bless ‘im – only rented ANOTHER video!

He felt chuffed to bits, convinced that he’d got THE PRIZE. As you well know, Aliens is the sequel to the film that would, eventually, take another THREE YEARS to reach my Christmas stocking…

The awesome merits of Aliens appeared not so long ago in this Post.

But what turned out to be really mind-blowing? Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn) is also a stalwart member of the the Badass Brigade – Hey! This is turning into quite a nifty reunion! Plus, Biehn had already showed off his pecs in that other Movie of the Day!

A Michael Biehn double-bill the perfect birthday present for anyone!

GOD BLESS MICHAEL BIEHN.

“You could warn them… if only you spoke Hovitos!” – Dr. Rene Belloq.

“Yo, fella, save the BEST till last.”

The BIGGEST movie of Summer ’84 had to be something called: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Knew that it was an old-fashioned action/adventure movie, but that was all. Until Ed clarified that it was actually a sequel to a blockbuster that caused a sensation back in ’81: Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Not only promising the ultimate pie-eating experience, we reckon this was our VERY FIRST rental. Whoa, what a visual feast to get the ball – or, in this case, boulder – rolling!

Raiders is a MASTERPIECE; yes, yes, Brad concedes – it IS BETTER than Beach Of The War Gods…

Here is one of its undisputed highlights – one of the finest action sequences EVER produced. John Williams excelled himself here. On my all-time chart, his pieces that give me goosebumps include: The Imperial March; the Tattooine Theme, and the sequence that begins here @ 1:54

Best moment? 4:38ha ha!

Let’s go!:

“Didn’t any of you guys ever go to Sunday school?” – Indiana Jones. 

That, my fellow thrill-seekers, wraps it up for this May Day Weekend.

Since our TV set switched to a digital network, access to our video channel has become a bugger to fix; mould has damaged some of the tapes; Video Stop vanished long ago – the unit is now a softcore hardware store; those friends are long gone; Brad himself is still chooglin’.

However: “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage” – his teeth are worn and bent; his hair is thinning like no tomorrow; and he doesn’t seem to remember ever owning a droid…

But his pecs are – by Jove! – still as firm and pliant as ever!

HUZZAH!

Be Kind, Rewind

 

“I Don’t Need No Reasons To Keep Laughin’!”: Song A Day Challenge – Day #3

Manic Music Monday: Welcome To The Song a Day Challenge!

Thank You To Danica For Nominating Me!

Here are the rules:

  • Post a song a day for five consecutive days (I’m posting consecutive Mondays!)
  • Post the name of the song and video
  • Post what the lyrics mean to you (optional)
  • Nominate two (or one) different blogger each day of the challenge

My Song of the Day:

The Fall – “I Wake Up In The City” (2005)

Feel free ta po-go – y’know ya want to… 

 

What The Fall means to me:

The Fall is Mark E. Smith. Mark E. Smith is The Fall.

Over four decades, and having gone through about 66 band members – and countless artistic directions – this outspoken frontman, influenced by Can and The Velvet Underground (but hey! who hasn’t?) remains the only permanent member of this cult fave Mancunian band.

As BBC DJ legend John Peel’s favourite band, The Fall’s album and session tracks received constant airplay. Their sound – embellished with those distinctive vocals – constantly veered between the weird and the wonderful, but there was NEVER a dull moment.

They say he even sacked a band-member on the spot for daring to ORDER SALAD – uff, rock n’ roll, man… 

Have a happy Monday!

*

 

My Nominee:

Where it’s at: hannahkatt

 

Fantastic Beats And Where To Find Them

Get Into The Groove…

starlord-4

“Dance-off, bro, me an’ you… I’m distracting you, ya big turd blossom” – Peter Quill.

Listen to the ground,

There is movement all around

There is something goin’ down

Can you feel it? After a hard week’s grind, you gotta unwind. You should be dancing, yeah. 

However, in this particular sector of the galaxy, it’s Saturday Night Fever, Bradstyle, baby.  

So get in!

Prepare to intercept some heavy duty stomps – this stuff ain’t yer average hazy cosmic jive…

Just picture this: alone in my studio flat while at university – October 1998 to be exact! – stuggling with a particularly challenging essay, and then, this comes on the radio(!):

Could Have Played: Wanted to play anything by Pacou, but his stuff gets constantly withdrawn due to endless copyright violations; 

“Never miss a chance to dance!” – Danica Piche.  

On the waves of the air 

There is dancin’ out there

If it’s somethin’ we can share

We can steal it. 

Keep coming back to this. This stellar Regis set really is one of the most exceptional sessions to ever rampage across my eardrums. And playing all seventeen minutes of it over and over, it invigorates the right dose of adrenalin ALWAYS setting me off on a frenzied bout of writing. Regis – aka Karl O’Connor – is one of the most phenomenal producers active @ th mo. He and several other technomeisters can be found on the legendary Tresor label of Berlin.

The laugh you can hear @ the very end of this vid belongs to John Peel: the late great National Treasure of the BBC airwaves (and responsible not only for about two-thirds of my record collection, but immersing me into the zone of repetitive beats in the first place!).

Next on our awesome play-list is Karenn: a collaboration between two techno producers: Blawan and Pariah.

Sounds of the future? You’re not wrong!

Their frenetic and experimental Boiler Room Set is constantly thumping out from Brad Manor – honestly, land at a distant – but welcoming – spaceport; chances are this is what the local bar will be playing:

Could Have Played: Karenn – Studio 3; Sailing Solvents; or Clean It Up!

em5

“Don’t like to dance? She does. Come on buddy… you gotta unwind… I’m gonna tear up the fucking dance floor, dude, check it out” – Nathan Bateman. 

Tha’s right, fella – you gotta unwind…

Shortly after making our dream of escaping to our own home by the beach come true, a laptop to get THAT NOVEL thumped out became a much greater investment than expected – yours truly discovered YouTube…

Not only could old faves be rediscovered, but the opportunity to catch up with a whole plethora of unknown records proved too good to pass up. Although my original project – a merchants and pirates adventure set in the ancient Andaman – never came to fruition (don’t worry: some of the plot-line has been recently recycled!), the beats kept me going…

IT may come as NO surprise to learn that – given half the chance – Brad would gleefully embrace a Roland 303 and experiment with his very own cosmic sounds!

They would, most likely, turn out something like this next platter to matter.

Ah yeah, this groovy yet grungy lil jive – man, the times this writer trudged down the sidewalk/promenade with this thumpin’ his eardrums.

Behold! My ring-tone:

Could Have Played: Freax – Dark Sync; Fresh – Straight Outta Faergestrade;

“Well, I see dancing’s come a long way in 500 years… Don’t think I’m too up with these latest dance steps… No, that’s not it. Just let yourself go – go with the music! That’s it, right! Yeah…! It’s called gettin’ down – it’s a little before your time if it frightens ya!” – Buck Rogers.

As revealed in the latest Fartlighter Bradventure, one can never resist the Drop Bass Network – a formidable techno label that churned out the heaviest, most chunky grooves this side of the Crab Nebula.

Consistently cool stuff: hard, uncompromising, innovative, often deliriously crazy, it’s more than enough to make me take on the Empire all by myself…

Also in my office-by-the-sea, this next top producer came into my life (my headphones).

There is nobody more cosmically groovy than Paul Birken. His stuff doesn’t even sound as if it’s been created on this planet – but glad it is! Listened to this fella so many times and can’t resist poundin’ me heels to every track he’s produced.

Which one to play here? Gee, that’s a toughie…

This one though comes with a fantastic vid: a delightful tale of romance blossoming amidst a dystopian wasteland – aww!

technov

“Diggi diggi diggi diggi ! Groovy! Get on down!” – Twiki.  

Lately, a chap who goes by the moniker: Ancient Methods has been charting his own distinctive course through the technosphere, and the latest sensation to be picked up by my sensors. He has some amazing Sets online; again they have helped fuel some of my more intriguing flows of words. And – more crucially – they aided in the completion of some of my more gobsmacking blog work. This year began with the release of his stunning four-track record: The First Siren; arguably the best piece is presented here, to round off this frenetic Post.

Forever fascinated by the advances in music technology, the techno genre helps satisfy my curiosity as well as sustain my creative writing sessions.

What better way to confront the impending Future than with future music?

Get on the good foot…

“You call this noise music? Whatever happened to Tommy Dorsey… and Sinatra?” – Nick Fury. 

 

The Quesadillas Crisis!: Brad To The Bone In The Raid On Revlon

A Fistful Of Lollipops… 

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“Ok, let me see if I’ve got this straight. In order to be grounded, I’ve got to be crazy. And I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I’m not crazy anymore, and I have to keep flying” – Capt. John Yossarian. 

“Well, bless my blueberry muffins, what’s going on?!”

Crisis!

Revlon – one of the last remaining Federation Planets to resist being assimilated into the mighty bad Zandokan Empire – has called on the Galactic Defence Militia to bolster its defences. But with Zandokan Zkorpion Zquadrons wreaking havoc on what’s left of the Federated supply lines, vital munitions [AND FOOD!] can’t get through.

Secretly, Brad Company have flown in to help out, but Major Baumer – Revlon’s notorious Commander-in-Chief – has found out and is preparing to arrest that irreverant cake-scoffer: Brad Fartlighter, who – on the other hand – has encountered a far more pressing problem in the canteen…

“Whaddya mean, ya don’t ‘ave any quesadillas left?!” 

“I mean we’ve completely run outta Mex grub, Commander…” Sandy the Grubserver moaned.

“Jeez, that’s a bummer, man!” Brad huffed.

“No, that’s Baumer – Major Ritegard Baumer – he’s the Head Honcho you need to take this up with around here

“Wha-?! NO quesadillas, an’ THAT jackass in charge?! BLAZES! This war’s becomin’ even more intolerable…” Brad grumbled.

Suddenly, Harris Wrench – his Chief Engineer – staggered disconsolately through the door.

“Whoa, fella – you’re dischuffed about the quesadillas situation as well?” Brad sniffed.

“Nah, worse than that, mate… Y’know the squadron they sent ta intercept those incomin’ Zandokan figh’ers? Control just confirmed: they’ve bin wiped aht… ALL a’ them…

“An’ this base is on alert fer imminent attack…!”

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“What the hell were you thinking?” – Master Sergeant Farell. 

“I’m tellin’ ya, fellas, ’twas a scandal on a grand scale,” Brad grumbled to Harris and Barb Degoya: their huge Rontavahrian handyman as they strolled across the Main Precinct.

“Once upon a time, ya could get a bag a’ ‘pops an’ be guaranteed ta get those lovely red ones: the Strawb’ Supremes, but since Zan Doka shuffled onta the scene, ya can ‘ardly get ’em! Instead, “they” just put in these lousy orange ones that nahbody likes, ev’ry bloomin’ time  – gah! Bloody Zandokans…”

“Don’t you fret, Commander,” Barb consoled in his deep baritone drawl. “Oi’m quite partial to the orange ones meself. Oi can help you wiv dem if you loike.”

“Uff, typical – asleep fer the danger, awake fer the cake as per frickin’ usual,” Brad muttered, but with a wry smile so as not to upset his gargantuan alien buddy.

“Cake?! No cake here, Commander. It’s bad enough trying to get any quesadillas around this base…”

“Ya can say THAT again, fella…”

Suddenly, the three amigos froze in horror.

“LANDO’S TEETH!” Brad hollered. “They’re ‘ERE already!”

On the horizon, darting about like dark gnats, but soaring ever nearer: twenty Zandokan Zkorpions – supersleek and as deadly as fudge – infested the mauve sky. The trio raced towards the hangar, just reaching shelter as the initial Imperial laserfire began strafing the Precinct.

“We gotta get up there!” Brad shouted boldly. “Come wiv me, Barb… Let’s BOTH grab a fighter an’ sock it to ’em! Whaddaya say, big fella? Ain’tcha gonna risk it fer a biscuit?” 

“Mmm, Oi loike biscuits…”

“Yay! Attaboy – c’mon Barby, let’s go party…!”

Barb heaved the hangar doors open; they both rushed in.

“What the blazes-?!” the Commander cried, mortified to learn that NO fighters remained. “This is nuts; there’s gotta be-”

And then he perceived the familiar sight of a standard BrtFtr-X2 fighter lurking in the shadows over at the far wall: “-ONE!” 

As he dashed over, Barb cried: “Don’t bovva, Brad! It’s probly a dud! Don’t-!”

But the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger didn’t listen. With one effortless bound, he jumped up into the cockpit; he’d already got the fighter moving before closing the canopy. While the Zkorpion-driven carnage raged outside, Brad charged the BrtFtr’s boosters and catapulted it skywards.

“Groovy, baby…” he mouthed gleefully.

“…’Ey, m’man, I’m in the Control Tower – I’ll be lookin’ out for ya,” Gaz drawled into Brad’s ear-piece. “Besta’ luck, Commander…”

“Cheers, fella… Right, let’s see what we can see- aow, donner und blitzen!” Brad cursed as he fumbled with the onboard Stereo soundsystem. 

“Where ist der Holzplatten?! Ya know I can’t engage in a dogfight wivaht it… AHA, ausgezeichnet!!

“There’s the bunny…”

“This is it, fellas – locked on Intercept Course. Dozen raiders @ 2:10 – three of ’em peelin’ off in me direction. Gonna engage. Lasers locked on…”

Like countless times before, Brad opened up the Attack-Scanner but in that mo, the weirdest sensation came over him; flashbacks reeled across his feverish mind – Jeez, what a time to get Aviation Sickness!

Panic and confusion swept through the Control Tower. 

“BRAD!” Harris cried. “Ya switched off yer targetin’ computer! What’s wrong?”

“Huh, did I? Ulp, Blimey Charley! Musta flicked the wrong switch…”

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“Never let me catch you doing a victory roll over my airfield again. Understood?” – Squadron Leader Colin Harvey. 

Okey dokey, fellas, this is where the fun begins!”

The first Zkorpion fighter veered into Brad’s sights; he opened up his laser console to click the raider into smithereens.

Brad clicked. And clicked again. Nuthin’ happened!

His cannons would NOT fire.  

“Whut in the name a’ Edrio Two-Tubes is goin’ on?!” he barked, but then chilled out. “Never mind… Y’know me – I got some tricks up me sleeve! ‘Ow about the Affleck-Hartnett Manoeuvre?”

“Ah nah, mate – ya wouldn’t!” Harris – who had raced up to the Tower to observe his Commander’s progress – cried in dismay. “…Would ya?!”

“Sure, why not? Works ev’ry time…”

Brad sent the BrtFtr into a wide arc – making sure that a gaggle a’ Zkorpions were latched onto his tail – and hurtled straight twards other incoming fighters.

As he veered stunningly close to them, Nacho squealed: “YEEE! El grande testicolos! Commandante, DON’T!”

He did.

The collision culminated in a colossal fireball that billowed across the sky.

“Yo, works EV’RY time…”

But still too many gnats hounded the hero.

In mid-swoop, the BrtFtr shunted violently, Brad rocked in his seat; his cake sprawled into smithereens across the console.

“AOW, bloomin’ ‘ECK!”

“Brad! Ya’ve bin hit!” Harris yelled out.

“Madre de Dios! BAIL OUT!” Nacho screamed.

“Aow, cobblers…” Brad muttered, jamming the controls aside.

The fighter banked sharply to starboard and slammed into the nearest Zkorpion raider; two fireballs erupted instantaneously. The onlookers in the Control Tower gasped in silent disbelief.

“BRAD!” Lexi yelled…

“Oh, let’s just wing it, shall we, Mrs. Bell?” – James Bond. 

Gaz beamed a wide grin, as he scanned his console: “Be cool, y’all – he hit Eject just before impact…”

“Phew! Jammy beggar…” Harris sighed. “So where the ‘eck is ‘e nah…?!”

One Imperial raider cruised past the point of the collision. The pilot failed to detect a small device being attached to his sidescreen; a short burst, and the canopy slid open. The Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger lunged in: “‘Ere… gerrahtavit!”

He yanked the startled occupant out; as the Zandokan hurtled groundwards, his Wilhelm scream gradually muted in the mauve air…

Brad hurriedly clambered in, closing the canopy and relevelled the craft’s wild and wavering course.

“Hiya, fellas!” he chirped. “I’m back-! ‘Ey, ‘Arris! Jeez, man, ya gotta take a butcher’s inside this ‘un! Blimey, when the Emperor said ‘e wuz gonna increase ‘is Offence Budget a gazillionfold, ‘e wuzn’t gassin’! Whoa, this is one helluva cool crate…

Excitedly, the Ace opened up the throttle: “Let’s see ‘ow fast this baby can g-WWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAA-HA-HA-HA-HEYYYYYY!!”

Beware! Brad in a top-a’-the-range Imperial Fighter = the crafty ol’ Terran found himself in his element. Swiftly, and surely, he ducked, dipped, dived and dodged through the aerial battlezone, picking off each raider with lethal – if a tad cocky – precision. Within minutes, the once-formidable Zquadron had been depleted to only three fighters; two of those lost their nerve and fled back across the wastelands…

Your hero’s final laser-salvo of the day turned out to be his weakest – with one wing merely scraped, the last fighter glided gently into the city outskirts.

“‘Ey, Gaz, this ‘un’s goin’ daan in the vicini’y o’ the Ponda Baba Charm School; despatch a Fuzzwagon ta pick ‘im up, will ya? See ya on the graand.

“Cheers! Brad, out…”

“You’re over-revving…” – Mrs. Bell.

A group of Benjhazi refugee boys had been playing Pookball outside; obviously, they’d scattered when the Zkorpions attacked, but one bright-eyed lad: Trey-Va Zinc – who harboured dreams of joining General Rajendra’s Free Fighters Rebellion when he grew up – had stayed to gawp at the unfolding dogfight; Trey-Va thought he recognised the maverick style of that lone fighter ace…

Watching the spluttering craft limp to the edge of the airfield, he sprinted over. In one effortless bound, the pilot leapt out of the cockpit onto the ground. Before the fighter had slid to a halt. Both now-setting suns glinted behind the hunky figure, casting him in a snazzy silhouette; but the boy realised that it was HIM. When he popped another ‘pop in his gob, there was no doubt.  

“THAT’S how ya save the galaxy, kid…”

Boyoboy, I KNEW it!” the lil fuschia-skinned alien chirped. “It’s YOU, innit?!”

“Betcha Pookball trainers, kid! It’s me, awright…”

“The Cakecharmer! I recognised ya from yer Military Fuzz mugshots!”

“Ha, didya now? Clever fella, Trevva! ‘Ere, ‘elp yerself…” Brad enthused, offering his bag of candy; Trey-Va eagerly delved in.

“Cor! It’sa real ‘onour ta meetcha, Mr. Fart! I’ve got all yer- HEY! Haven’tcha got any red ones?!”

Altaira Morbius: “Where have you been? I’ve beamed and beamed.” 

Robby The Robot: “Sorry, miss. I was giving myself an oil-job.” 

Harris moseyed on over to Brad and Zinc, guffawing hysterically.

“HA! ‘Ere comes the ‘Ero of the ‘Our! Yet again, ‘e expects cheerin’ masses ta come aht an’ celebrate ‘im, but whut is there? Ha ha ha! Just  – heh heh! – some lil Benjhazi boy, ha ha ha!”

“Uff, laugh it up, fuzzball – I didn’ see YOU in- uh-oh…”

“BRAD!! Brad Burrito Fartlighter! STOP right there, smartass…!” Major Baumer boomed as he marched across the airfield to berate the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger. “YOU… have tried my patience for the VERY LAST TIME… Just what the blazes do you think you’re doing, idiot?!”

“Er, savin’ the city from Imperial attack y’know, the sorta objective anyone would-”

“Stow it! You acted without orders – you could have put the whole base in danger-!”

“‘Ey, Dumbo! Flap yer ears an’ ventilate yer brains! Yer whole base WUZ in danger! That’s why I-“

“Stole a fighter, which you subsequently destroyed! You attacked without getting proper authoriz-”

“Well, technically, I did NUT attack – couldn’t! The figh’er’s bloomin’ laser-toobs were EMPTY!”

“Hmm… DAMMIT anyway! That was a really expensive piece of hardware you wreckedyou’re-!”

Jeez, man, ‘twuz a wreck awrightI’m lucky I got orf the graand in that obsolete hunk a’ junk-” 

“YOU, Mr. Flash, are the obsolete hunk. Just had a vid-conf with Major Spoiler, and you know what he said to me?”

“Don’t break wind in the elevator?”

“What?! NO! Goddammit! Why does everything have to be one big joke to you?! No, he said you’re for it now! And I concur! We’re going to put you on a charge… and- and for goodness sake, DO your jacket up, man! This is NOT the time or place for flashing your abs…”

“Heh, wha’ever ya say, Bummer-“

“DAMN you, Brad! For the umpteenth time, it’s Baumer! BAU-mer!!”

“Gezund’eit, baby…”

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“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room” – President Merkin Muffley. 

“DAMN your eyes, Brad…” Baumer boomed, as both men marched across to the Major’s office. “NOBODY’S impressed with what you just pulled! You’re finished-“

At that moment, Brad Company and assorted members of the gound crew hangin’ around outside the hangar let out a huge, resounding cheer; Brad acknowledged them by pumping a triumphant fist in the air.

All of a sudden, Taz De Maria – one of the new, young rookies – raced across the airfield to meet the beaming hero.

“We all think it’s like really cool what you just did, Commander, so I like got you this…” she cried, handing over a foil-wrapped package.

Brad gleefully opened it to reveal a whoppin’ great piece of nutty chocolate fudge cake.

“Aww, bless yer ‘eart, Taz…” the hero spoke softly, fondling his prize with the utmost care.

“You like deserve it, Brad,” she continued. “An’ it was like, really great how you- WHOA! Nice abs…”

She gave him a quick, nervous hug before rejoining the crowd; Brad turned back, in smug-mode, to the enraged Commander-in-Chief:

“NAHBODY, huh…?”

“Hmm, well…” the Major growled furiously, clearing his throat. “This doesn’t change the fact that you are, quite simply… the most unreliable, recalcitrant waste of space I have ever had the misfortune to manage… You are an utter disgrace to the Militia! And our Resistance! There is nothing remotely heroic in your brash idiocy! Heck, you wouldn’t know Discipline if it slapped you across the kisser! I will make sure that you are stripped of your rank, thrown out of the service and shipped back to that godawful English estate from which you crawled out! Also, I will see to it personally, Commander, that there will be no one to stop us from deleting your miserable little blog! You’re finished, Fartlighter – you’re NOTHING! The bums ALWAYS lose!

“You got that, Brad…? [AHEM!] Brad…?”

“Huh… whassat…? Did ya say some’t, fella? Only I’ve jus’ bin tryin’ ta get these nut’y-crumbs outta me beard…”

The officer face-palmed in despair.

“Ugh! Just take your accursed Company an’ get the hell off my base… Do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal, baby… Jeez, any gaff that does NOT serve quesadillas deserves to be reprimanded in my book-”

“You are NOT qualified to have your own book, Fartlighter,” Baumer sighed. “But I’ll gladly throw mine at you ANY DAY…!”

Brad stepped forward, defiantly licking chocolate cream off his luscious lips.

“Ya know some’t, Bummer? I always thought of ya as a cold, unfeelin’ twitface, but… yer really a rootin’-tootin’ emotional bundle a’ fun…

“Ain’tcha, coochie-coo…?”

And with that, the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger trudged nonchalantly back to the Calista.

The Major just stood there, speechless, but seething… 

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“How many times have I told you nerks? Never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in a combat area!” – Darth Vader. 

Kong: Skull Island: The Bradscribe Review

Let’s Get Down To Monkey Business…

“My Kong is more of a god. He represents the unknown in the world. I wanted to make a movie that was as much about the big moments of Kong punching a helicopter out of the sky as the small lyrical moments” – Jordan Vogt-Roberts.

“Skull Island… shit…

“I’m still only on Skull Island…”

Scientist John Goodman wants to explore an uncharted island in the Pacific and ends up discovering an Eden just too primal to handle. Enter Tom Hiddleston’s ex-SAS survival expert: Captain Conrad (nice nod to Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness), who curiously knows all the dangers that will confront them on the island…

The essential military escort is provided by Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his hapless – and characterless – band of monkey snacks. Also tagging along is Brie Larson’s war photographer and Tian Jing as a scientist to help sell this movie to China… 

Personally, another Kong movie was the last thing on my wishlist; the 2005 remake was so insipid, and the 1933 original is one of my most beloved movie faves, so this outing was never going to top that…

…or was it? 

“I don’t know that there was an alpha male pecking order. Although I did mess with the young guys. If they started up, I would go: ‘What’s your number on the cast list?'” –  Samuel L. Jackson. 

Notice how the ‘King’ epithet is excluded from the title – his eminence is subdued here by the other – let’s face it, poorly-conceived – prehistoric beasties. The much-touted helicopter-destruction scene came and went with barely a flutter on the Bradmonitor. Apart from ripping out the tongue of that… that – whatever it was – there is very little here to remind you why Kong became such a big screen icon in the first place. And, hey, what’s the point of character development if most of the ensemble are not going to make it out alive? Sheesh! Some snappy dialogue should have been on order – notice how no cool quotes were available at the time of going to Publish…

Must admit the opening sequence with Marlow crashing on the island back in ’44 looked like a neat set-up; considering how this character – played by the usually quite dependable John C. Reilly – could have been the one to bring in some much-needed comedy moments; alas, his performance became a tad too goofy for my liking. 

But honestly, what is with Tom Hiddleston, here?! He looks like how Brad feels: vacant, bored, wishing he was someplace else…

How apt that The Animals’ We Gotta Get Out Of This Place played on the trailer – that was going through the minds of the other twenty cinema-goers, all unaffected by what had just flooded over their retinas. So, watched the post-credits sequence all by me lonesome… 

And am strangely less-than-enthralled by the prospect of a Kong vs. Godzilla clobberfest lined up for 2020…

“Jordan told me he wanted to sneak an indie film into a blockbuster… [Conrad is] a hard, capable man who knows his way around a sharp object” – Tom Hiddleston.

Never a skull moment? 

Upon viewing the first few stills from the movie, was amazed to see the crew armed with ol’ Armalite rifles; oho, methinks – going for a a retro feel here? Only later did news break that Kong: Skull Island is actually set in 1973; does Tom Hiddleston have a phobia of flares and sideburns?! Absolutely no effort to immerse himself in the period! This setting, however, presents the opp to go for a groovy soundtrack: The Stooges! Black Sabbath! Vera frickin’ Lynn?! And of course, three of the most beautiful words in the English language: Creedence Clearwater Revival, with which we are treated to snatches of TWO of their awesome classics. Nice to have Bowie included as well, but all these tracks can be enjoyed in my own time anyway!

Ho-hum, roll out the old monster-movie cliches: (un)naturally, there is yet another attempt to freak out any arachnophobes in the audience; the token pansyass official nerk who is inevitably consigned to meet a grisly end, and other fillers too numerous to mention. Gone are the sacrificial brides, but also woefully absent is – thanks to the CGI, here as abundant as the “lush” vegetation – any sense of terror or menace. 

Or excitement, while we’re at it.

If only Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ direction had been as gung-ho as Samuel L.s “performance.”

By the time Kong engaged in his climactic tussle, my yawns just would not let up. Not even the shenanigans aboard the jolly ship USS Junkpile could salvage my flagging interest…

After a hard week, rather than allowing me to escape into the realms of movie magic, this lame viewing experience felt like being stranded on an inhospitable island for twenty eight years… and eleven months…

and meh…

“John C. Reilly’s Marlow makes you feel like you’re watching a version of Apocalypse Now where Dennis Hopper’s been replaced by Fozzie Bear” – Larushka Ivan-Zadeh.

BRADSCRIBE VERDICT: Uff, monkey nuts…

A Zarjaz 40 Years!: A Celebration Of 2000AD

Borag Thungg, Earthlets!

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“Welcome to the galaxy’s greatest comic: a subtle blend of thrills, some old, some new, all of them zarjaz. 2000AD: thrills from the future at an old-fashioned price!” – Tharg The Mighty. 

“It’s wild! It’s sensational! It’s your future!”

In the last week of February 1977, the first zarjaz issue of 2000AD was unleashed on an unsuspecting planet. It contained three stories and a free gift – a ghafflebette Space Spinner! – attached to the front cover.

Nobody had any idea that it would not only become a sensational hit, but dramatically transform the British comics industy. Back then, you see, the average life expectancy of new comics lasted no more than “a few issues.” Up until that point, there had been no market for SF in the UK comics market, so – oddly enough – it was automatically assumed that 2000AD would fare no better…

Each issue – or Prog as it is affectionately known – came adorned with the legend: “In Orbit Every Monday.” But more intriguingly, the Editor happened to be Tharg The Mighty: a green-skinned Betelgeusian responsible for delivering these weekly doses of “thrill-power,” and regarded plastic cups as his fave delicacy; Betelgeusian phrases made regular appearances in each Prog.

Published by IPC Magazines, it was aimed at young boys who craved something other than the usual “war and football fare”. Studying it’s awesomeness down the years, what is most striking is its formidable – and consistent – array of writing and artistic talent – cheekily referred to as “the droids” – who would garner international acclaim and go on to develop projects for Marvel and DC Comics.

In the beginning, it looked rather tame: Dan Dare – the Pilot of the Future – was more commonly associated with Eagle comic, while Mach 1 was a direct copy of the Six Million Dollar Man

Ironically, another sci-fi comic released in 1978: Starlord – produced on better quality paper – enjoyed higher sales figures. However, production costs meant that 2000AD survived, and Starlord disappered after only 22 issues. Strangely enough, Strontium Dog and Ro-Busters were transferred from Starlord and became some of 2000AD’s most popular stars.

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“Dredd to Control! Some kind of ruckus going on, Hank Wangford Underblock! Better get me a Catch Wagon!” – Judge Dredd. 

Can remember reading the comic at school – 1984 was a classic year for 2000 AD. Not sure who brought the copies in, but they were widely circulated around the classroom.

Although the comic’s most popular character was Judge Dredd, who made his debut patrolling the ultra-mean streets of Mega-City Onein Prog 2 – my Vinglop Hudsock (reading enjoyment) always concentrated on the exploits of the A.B.C (Atomic*Bacterial*Chemical) Warriors such as Hammerstein, Deadlock – and perhaps the COOLEST comic book character EVER – Joe PineapplesRogue Trooperthe GI (genetic infantryman) roaming the Morokk desert of Nu-Earth, in the eternal future war between Norts and Southers with his helmet, backpack and gun containing bio-chips of his three fallen buddies, brilliantly illustrated by Cam Kennedy.

And DON’T exclude the extraordinary awesomeness in the form of Nemesis The Warlock, wonderfully created by Brother Mills and Brother O’Neill and extolled the virtues:

“Be pure, be vigilant, behave!”

At a time when sci-fi was still considered as Boy’s Own fare, it is amazing to reflect that part of its innovation lay in its impressive range of strong, female characters including: Halo Jones, Venus Bluegenes, Durham Red, Tiffany Rex and of course Judge Anderson: Head of Mega-City One’s Psi-Division. 

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“Military fuzz, dammit. Gotta move. I ain’t gonna be shot by my own side… Sorry to disappoint you, fuzzballs!” – Rogue Trooper.  

Also that year, in London, just round the corner from Grandma’s gaff, a newsagent had a half-price box. Therein lay Progs: 365 and 370 – my very first purchases of thrill-power!

Having just retrieved them from my files – the covers have inevitably yellowed and the edges are crumpled – they now sit in pride of place on the desk beside me.

Bizarrely, one of the comic’s most ensuring characters was Slaine: a Celtic barbarian – with its delirious mix of dragons and sorcery this strip looked so incongruous, but was well-received all the same. Another script-hit from Pat Mills – does it come as a surprise to learn that he is one of my all-time favourite writers (in any medium)?

Both these Progs were graced by one of my very favourite characters: Strontium Dog: the adventures of Johnny Alpha, the mutie bounty hunter and his “norm” partner: Wulf Sternhammer. Featuring the terrific artwork of Carlos Ezquerra, it was honoured in this Post: 

And – grok! Had almost forgotten D.R. & Quinch. My most immediate memory to flood back from Prog 365 was this hilarious pastiche of Hollywood written by Alan Moore – yes! That Alan Moore.

“Man, this was a problem of mind-liquefying majorness. The script had about fifty-eleven-hundred pages. Of this, eight words were completely readable. These were ‘Oranges’ in the title, and ‘Close the curtains, Geoffrey, I’m amphibious,’ which was right at the end. To be perfectly frank, man, I wasn’t even 100% sure about ‘amphibious'” – D.R. Dobbs. 

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Torquemada: “Only I stand for order! And discipline! Especially discipline!”

Nemesis: “Basically I stand for having a good time…”

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“Some day soon we’ll all be feeding the worms… so why waste time playing heroes when we could be killing for kicks and riches?” – Thrax. 

And then there was Bad Company: a weird, but wonderful, future-war tale created by Pete Milligan, Brett Ewins and Jim McCarthy. Rather than focus predictably, and monotonously, on the horrors of war, this irresistible classic centered on its absurdities.

It offered a truly bizarre roster of characters, including the young wide-eyed narrator: Danny Franks; the mad, monocled mutant Frankenstein’s Monster-like Kano; and my personal fave: the ghoulish dude with the over-sized overcoat: Thrax, distinctive with his long, supercool fringe, and his amusing tendency to call everyone: “turnipheads”.

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“I want to feel alive again. That’s why I keep a heart in my chest locker” – Joe Pineapples.

My days as a Nonscrot (someone who does NOT read it regularly) were numbered. At the end of June 1988, a bolt of unavoidable thrill-power hit me in one newsagent at the end of June 1988 in the form of 2000AD Prog 581 (above). Who doesn’t dig large-taloned dudes with even cooler swords? One excited flick through: and it was immediately purchased.

There then followed a really scrotnig Summer, hunting local comics emporia for the most recent back issues. Having designed a major facelift – new format, new logo – for Prog 555, Tharg The Innovative reinvented the entire package with Prog: 650, adorned with the slogan: “New Thrills! More Colour!”   

With two stints at university, leading eventually to an overseas job, following the galaxy’s greatest comic became virtually impossible. In the last two years whilst working on this blog, re-energizing my taste for SF, my thoughts inevitably slide back to those golden years of 2000ADcan still smell that grotty classroom even now… 

But memories of that classic thrill-power lingers much longer…

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“Don’t want to hurt other Strontium Dogs unless we have to – electro-flare!” – Johnny Alpha.

Months ago, rummaging through the basement of a secondhand bookstore, looking – as is always the way – for something else, my heart leapt as a pile of 2000 AD back issues (from the classic years of 1983 and 1986) emerged at the back of the bottom shelf! 

The biggest problem is: how does one catch up with a quarter-century of Progs? So much thrill-power – so little time…

It is absolutely staggering to think that 2000AD still thrives to this day; it’s constant formula of experimental characters and witty cultural/political refs is hopefully winning new converts. The magic Prog 2000 came out last September, but all the drokks have been reserved especially for this week’s Anniversary Special. It is heartening to see the return of personal fave: Strontium Dog.

And of course, Joe Dredd just had to make a special appearance: shutting down the Prog’s birthday bash, disapproving of such a “seditious freak-out weirdo trashzine.” Hey Joe, what’s wrong with that? Don’t be a Grexnix, old man! This Squaxx Dek Thargo used to create and edit his own trashzines back in his juve-days, y’know! If anything, you should complain that today’s droids have failed to offer a Space Spinner or suchlike with this Prog…

Quaequam Blag!

As Tharg himself said: “2000AD: it’s not a comic… it’s an attitude!” 

drquinch11

Splundig Vur Thrigg!