Thursday, 18 December 2008

Crap Christmas Songs: I Wish It Could Be A Wombeling Merry Christmas Every Day

Clearly someone thought it would be a great idea to take two Christmas classics: The Wombles, and Roy Wood ( out of Wizard) and cross breed them. Presumably someone fed all the facets of Christmas into a super-computer and this came out. What results is a song that is hauntingly familiar, and absolutely unlistenable. Total Bollocks

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Unedited reviews: Verbal issue 21

Pentti & Deathgirl

Emma Rendel

Jonathan Cape

On July 22nd 1990 I was involved in an incident at a dog show in a field in County Donegal... On that day I was 12 years old, and I was attacked by a rather large Pit-bull Terrier and sustained a wound on my leg that required 12 stitches to close. As I lay in that field , bleeding, surrounded by a bunch of complete strangers who were gawping at me as I cried in my clown boxer shorts, I thought: “ this is the worst thing that will ever happen to me!” . This remained true until last night when I read Pennti & Death Girl.

The book is split into two parts. ‘Pentti’ is the story of two Finnish brothers and their reactions to a homosexual couple that moves in next door to them violence, anger and repression). Deathgirls Diary is the story of a lonely and friendless girl and her obsessions with stabbing beheading strangling and poisoning. So, it’s a barrel of fun all around then. The stories are threadbare and hateful and I found the artwork at times to be nauseating. This book made my head hurt.

NOW I realise that there may be some cultural differences between here and Sweden, the home of writer artist Emma Rendel and It is possible that I am two shallow to appreciate the deeper meanings of these tales or the artwork . It is also possible that you will love this. However it will cost you £12.99 to find out and I don’t think you’re willing to take that risk. I found the artwork at times to be nauseating

This book is so bad that it actually hurts the reader’s feelings.

Aya of Yop City (Hardcover)

By Marguerite Abouet (Author), Clement Oubrerie (Illustrator)

Jonathan Cape Ltd (15 Jan 2009)

I received the first volume of Aya about a year ago. I read it, put it to one side, and paid it no heed. Or so I thought. Upon receiving volume 2, I realized that I remembered every plotline character and situation. I enjoyed reading this so much I immediately went back and read the first.

The Aya Series tells the story of the titular teenage girl and her friends, family and life in the Ivory Coast during the earl part of the 1970’s. It’s very much a soap opera style affair, with romance, business and family problems. I am very surprised by how much I like these books. This is exactly the sort of thing that I should hate and yet I found myself reading two volumes cover to cover in one sitting . Why?

The key to its success is twofold: Firstly is the beautiful art. In sharp contrast to the books mentioned above this is a real pleasure to look at , being at the same time cartoonish and realistic. The characters and in particular the cities and villages are drawn in such a striking fashion that its very easy to loose yourself in some of the more detailed pictures .

French artist Oubrerie has done a fine job in making the city one of the characters in the book, as much as any of the human protagonists.

Secondly is the laid back tone of the writing. Like the dialogue from an episode of Desmonds the words and accent are both strange and at the same time reassuringly familiar and comforting. The major events are simple( a new baby, a beuty contest, a mysterious stranger in town) yet gripping , my only gripe is that it ends on a cliffhanger.

I cant wait for volume 3

Dawn Of The Dumb

Charlie Brooker

As a 30 year old Curmudugeon with a chip on my shoulder and a hatred for mainstream television, I don’t often get the opportunity to have my prejudices reinforced. Three cheers then for Charlie Brooker,Host of ScreenWipe and the Guardian TV reviwer whose Screen Burn columns have been neatly collected in two volumes. The latest of these Dawn Of The Dumb is so funny that if you don’t laugh out loud at least three times when reading it , I will personally give you ten British Pounds. For real.

Im serious.

Three thumbs up.