Wednesday, July 31, 2002

One Day Very Soon I Will Watch The Movie 'Bully'

As I continue fantasising about seeing Larry Clark's new film BULLY, here is a very funny little piece of criticism I found, written by some dumb retard. I like the breathless, zero punctuation style. And I thought Burroughs and Kerouac were radical!

* [one star (out of five)] HORRIBLE, July 11, 2002
Reviewer: A reader from Cooper City, Florida
This book was horrible as was the movie it was disgusting and POORLY depicts the kids of the area as sex addicted drug addicts. I live in the area where this happened and actually went to the set while they were filming the movie and watched a little of it but when i finally saw the movie i was disgusted in the opening scene the girls are seen half naked walking into a supermarket a winn dixie which is around the corner from my house in the embassy lakes shopping center i live in embassy lakes its HORRIBLE and i was sick just watching it depict us a little more humanly and not stupidly...

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Constipation Horror

well goddamn fuck it - I haven't got enough goddamn money to go and see BULLY tonight. I'll have to see it on Thursday when I get paid.

If you have a weak stomach, do NOT read the following:

Jesus H Christ, this morning I had the most FEROCIOUS battle with a MOBY DICK turd. I was sweating and pushing for all I was worth, just like a woman in labour. Of course, it's all because of the M-potion.
This is pretty disgusting, but will illustrate how desperate I was: it got so desperate at one stage that when I finally got the bastard part way out, I put my hand down there and tried to manually pull it out, because it seemed to have stopped its progress. It felt like a chocolate crackle. In a horrifying realisation, I recalled a passage in a book I read recently (Hamsun's HUNGER, I think) where a woman admits she sometimes has to lubricate her anus to make the shit come out, she is so constipated. So in desperation I tried that myself with all I had at hand: soapy water. It definitely helped. (Make a note of that advice, dear readers!)
[Later...] OK, the day is almost over but still the most noteworthy event was my battle this morning trying to get that humongous turd OUT of my body. I'm not exaggerating when I use the term "battle", either - it was just like a violent, exhausting fight with this damn turd that seemed to be trying to exit SIDEWAYS. I was CURSING at it, sweating, worried about a heart attack but really determined to be rid of this massive passenger I would no longer put up with. Finally out it came. What a relief! I went over and looked at my face in the mirror - I looked like I had really been through hell.

Friday, July 26, 2002


INCEPTION: What was your reason for producing Sick Puppy Comix, which first saw print back in 1996?

At that time I had just discovered minicomics, and they were locally produced. The idea of self publishing overwhelmed me, I couldn’t sleep at night thinking about this concept. Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner? I knew I had to make my own publication. Since my intent was to collect and present other folks’ comix that I really liked, rather than solely my own primitive drawings, I decided to make an anthology.

As SICK PUPPY evolved over the years, did your reasons for publishing it evolve along with it, or did you stay true to your initial ideals?

It’s evolved I’d say. One thing that became very obvious was that I had discovered that I was actually quite good at this – making SICK PUPPY matched my abilities and it was something I actually enjoyed, it didn’t feel at all like work.

Another good reason to continue publishing was that there was so little exposure for comix in this country, it struck me that in this case, one person COULD make a difference (as corny as that sounds).

Considering the content in the comic offended people, did you find it hard to distribute, and get into shops?

A couple of times. Like once when I was in Perth and I rolled up at a shop that I had been assured was “cool”. The guy I showed it to just about flipped his wig. He wanted no part of it.
But mostly it’s OK because I only take it to the kind of stores who deal in that kind of underground stuff, a fine example being Paul Elliott’s PolyEster Books in Melbourne. Paul has been great, he’s supported SICK PUPPY for a long time with such solid commitment that he sells more copies than all other stores put together.

Over the years you’ve had many people inform you of their dissatisfaction with all, or part of the content. Not just by readers, but even by regular contributors. Some fair, others clearly reading the story/article wrong. How do you handle it, and did you fear that some of these people may publicly have point a finger at you at that time?

How do I handle negative feedback? I welcome it. I actually enjoy having to defend SICK PUPPY, I’ve become pretty good at it by now, that’s for sure. The biggest surprise I admit was related to what you mentioned – about contributors offended by something, and that was Mannheim’s columns, and the person who was offended was an icon of the underground comix scene in Australia, I would say, so I was definitely surprised at the reaction. And because I respected this person so much, I felt I really had to justify my decision to run Mannheim’s columns. I certainly never felt guilty or in the wrong, though. I think it comes down to black humour – sometimes it may just be too much for some folks, but ultimately it’s just humour. I have no problem with the fact that SICK PUPPY is not for everybody, my main concern was focussing on making it for the people who I knew WOULD enjoy it.

In the final issue of SP [#13], you published a letter by Ivan Brunetti, who said it was time you, and everyone else stopped producing works of a juvenile, and pathetic nature. It seemed very self-righteous that he was happy to submit stories when he was interested in explicit confronting humour. Yet as soon as he decides he’s “over it” he tells everyone to “grow the fuck up.” What’s the reaction been from that so far?
Most people seem to think it’s a bit rich coming from him. And apparently he’s still doing stuff like that anyway. Still, I can see what he’s trying to say, I feel the same way after doing SICK PUPPY for 13 issues. The problem is it’s very tricky to put this into words. It’s like for me, I am pretty damn sick of the word “sick”. People constantly saying “Aw man I gotta come up with something SICK enough for SICK PUPPY!” When I hear that I think: “Good grief what have I created here? I’ve created a monster!” I’ll admit that I encouraged it to begin with so I’ve nobody to blame but myself. Nevertheless, suddenly it seemed so stale and predictable. So it’s natural to demand something more, you just have to watch how you put it otherwise you could come across like the big been-there-done-that know-it-all like Brunetti is in danger of representing with that letter.

Perhaps one of the best letters summing up SP was also seen in #13. Chris Mikul mentioned that when SPC first came out it was a liberating experience for many contributors, yet in time he, and I guess others struggled to produce comics that were sick enough for your anthology. Were you aware of this, and how did you feel about it?
Yeah I was aware of it alright, but by then it was too late. For many people that’s what a SICK PUPPY contribution demanded – that kind of ‘oneupmanship’ in terms of ‘sickness’. What can you do? Nothing, that’s what. Nothing could be done about that problem.

Was there any story/article that you look back upon now and regret printing due to the confronting content it had? Or are you happy to say you never once stepped over the line I assume you drew for yourself as an editor.
There’s only one strip I regret putting in there, but that’s because it’s so lame. (I won’t say who it’s by, only that it’s in SP#7)

The myth is that women like to hang around bad boys. Did SP prove that to be true or false? I read in the Dr James King interview that friends of one of your ex-girlfriends tried to convince her to stop dating you. I was shocked to read that.

Well, I sure don’t have any groupies. Then again, that could have something to do with the fact that we’re talking comix here.

Yes it’s true that with my girlfriend Kathy, some of her friends were very concerned for her welfare when they found out she was going out with “the guy who does that SICK PUPPY COMIX”. She assured them that I was a very nice boy, yet they would hear nothing of the sort. “No no no! Just look at the comic he does!” They were quite horrified and convinced she was in real danger.

During your time on the comic, did you receive any weird gifts, or letters that made you laugh, freak you out?

I haven’t really received any “weird gifts”, but naturally I do receive some pretty weird zines. One of the more noteworthy of those would have to be The Necroerotic – a newsletter devoted to love/lust of dead folks.

I get the occasional weird letter. Not so long ago I got a letter from a guy telling me how much he enjoyed masturbating over a recent issue. I’m not interested in hearing about stuff like this.

The letters that made me laugh the most, and surely my favourite letters of feedback ever, are the ones from the two ex-girlfriends – reprinted in SP#12 and SP13.

Now that it’s over, do you think SP was a success for you, and where does it stand in the history of Australian comics?

I’d say it definitely was a success for me since publishing SICK PUPPY was where I learnt how to put a comix publication together. You only have to look at SP#1 to see how little of an idea I had to begin with. And it shows what can be done. I’m proud as hell of how far SICK PUPPY has come.

Where does it stand in the history of Australian comics?

I don’t think that’s for me to say. I’m nowhere even near being any kind of authority on the history of Australian comics.

Your new project is called ATOMISER. You’ve hinted that it will be more zine-based, but still contain comics. With the infamous Mannheim Jerkoff who was a regular with SP confirmed for Atomiser, does this mean we will expect similar themes in your new series?

Actually, ATOMISER will still be mostly comix. I think what you’re referring to about the zine thing is that I’m interested in picking up another columnist to join Mannheim Jerkoff and The J Man.

As far as Mannheim is concerned, I think we will see him branch out in new directions from his previous porn themes, although that is not to say that he will finish with his porn-related themes.

What is your main objective with Atomiser, be it personal, professional, or both?

My main objective with ATOMISER will be to make the kind of publication that has the following effect on our readers: they could not possibly imagine a world without ATOMISER in it, and if ever such a day did come it would be beyond sadness. Utter despair. But that is not even a possibility, because even if I were to, say, die prematurely, it would be OK because there would be somebody chosen to step directly into the role as editor and publisher.

Some people are aware of other titles you threw around before selecting Atomiser as the new publication’s name. What made Atomiser your final choice?

I get my best ideas very late at night. After trying so hard for weeks and weeks to come up with a name for the new publication, I was so frustrated I gave up. Some days later, real late one night when I couldn’t sleep, the word ATOMISER appeared in my head. One minute it wasn’t there, the next it was. I instantly knew that was the name I had to use.

Will Atomiser be your publishing project alone, or do you plan on bringing in others to help edit, compile, finance it?

If somebody was prepared to help fund the production and promotion of it, I would certainly be happy to explore that possibility. As far as creative decisions, I wouldn’t dare let anybody else near it.

SP had contributors from around the world, which is rare in local comics. Will this continue with Atomiser?

Yes, definitely. It’s a good thing because overseas contributors show it around to their friends, so a whole load of people internationally get to see what Australian comix folk are doing, what their stuff is like. I’ve had people from overseas admit they had never known there was such a “vibrant” comics scene here.

Will there be an Atomiser web site, I assume that SP web site will go off-line?

Yes, I will soon get around to building an ATOMISER website. The SICK PUPPY site will remain online indefinitely. [actually for some reason I have yet to solve, the site is down]

Are you seeking submissions, or have you already worked out who will be involved?

Yep, always seeking submissions from new folks as well as folks who may have submitted something that ended up not being included.

Finally what will be the one important difference between SP, and Atomiser.

Probably that when I started SICK PUPPY I had very little idea – it was really a case of beginning a creative project with absolutely no knowledge of how to go about it, so I had to learn everything along the way. ATOMISER will emerge with 6 years of experience (putting a comix anthology together) behind it.

ATOMISER will be sharp as a tack from the get go!

Monday, July 22, 2002

Brats Removed, Peace Restored

I'm so happy to report that the horrible little monsters (see below) who have been making my life such a goddam misery lately have been collected by their *owners*. It seems they had been staying with Grandmaw and Grandpaw, and boy did this poor old couple look relieved to be getting rid of the two screaming horrors.
I really felt strong sympathy for this elderly unit, as I noticed the tension visibly melt from their faces as the station wagon drove away. They could finally relax after what must have been an entire week of almost unbearable torment.
It's not so easy for old folks, I guess. When you're young and strong, troublesome kids are easily dealt with by, for example, gagging and binding and leaving in the basement for days (with no food) until they learn their lesson.
Anyway, all I wanted to say was that the dark days are behind me, peace is restored once more and I may return to my quiet introspection and intellectual pursuits.

Friday, July 19, 2002

Traumatised By Children

To my great horror, three small children seem to have moved into my neighbourhood. Not only into my neighbourhood but into one of the apartment blocks where I live.
Last weekend as I was reading a book (one of the very few things in life that I really enjoy; one of my too few means of escape from this shitty world), I was assaulted by the ridiculously high pitched voices of small children playing hide-and-seek.
These weren't just ordinary little kids - there were two girls and a boy, the boy's voice was unlike any other I had ever heard in my life. He was SUPER loud, like he had a megaphone lodged in his throat. And the only way I can put it, is that he sounded like a tiny version of a very flamboyant, mincing homosexual. Did I mention how loud he was? Well, brother was he loud. That shrieking, faggoty little voice caused me intense discomfort, let me tell you.
He was playing with what I guessed to be his sister and his sister's friend. You could tell that one of the girls was his sister because she was just as loud, but not faggoty sounding. The other girl I could barely hear.
So it was this little brother-sister duo, come to make my life a misery, and my weekend a very traumatic, disappointing one.
Anyway, I figured that they must have come for the day or something. They would leave soon, and peace and sanity would be restored. How wrong I was! The next day they were there again! This miniature, homosexual foghorn and his sister. It was beyond belief.
All week they are there. Every time I get home I'm a trembling, nervous wreck, because I know I'm going to hear those voices any minute. As if work isn't demanding and nerve-shredding enough - now the sanctuary of my tiny apartment has been taken from me.
Well, we are in the middle of school holidays at the moment, so I can only hope they will go when the holidays are over. If that doesn't happen, and they stay, I fear for my sanity.
As if I'm not just barely managing to hold onto that as it is.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Wanked Over To The Emergency Lane

While flipping through a bunch of different folks' Blogs yesterday afternoon, really wading through them, depressed and horrified to find so much lame crapola there, a FUNNY one popped out of the sad bunch. Titled BRING THE HATE, it's written by an Asian-American kid (I figure he's a kid, he goes to school, although he writes about working in the Summer) called Gordon Cheng. He calls anybody who pisses him off "fag" and writes stuff like: "He got wanked over to the emergency lane... f'ing moron, you got wanked. step down or die... aint' gonna happen you inferior white bitch" and on and on. He's obsessed with the latest technology, which the vast majority of the little brats seem to be these days, but this little brat made me laugh.
This world is full to exploding with little shits who write what are commonly known as "rants" - thank Christ that once in a while you stumble across one of the little bastards who is genuinely amusing.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Be Calm, My Pain...

Be calm, my pain and venture to be still
You clamoured for the Night; it falls; is here;
The city shrouds itself in blackest chill,
Brings peace to some, to others fear.

'Neath pleasure's lash, the grim high executioner,
Mortal souls, that vile and worthless throng,
Reap grim remorse amidst the abject ceremony,
Pain, take my hand and let us now along...
- Baudelaire

Monday, July 15, 2002

Stratu: Weekend Glo-Stick Salesman

Another weekend down the toilet, so to speak. Now, you may be curious as to what Stratu gets up to on his weekends. Well sometimes, he sells 'glo-stix' to kids at big rave parties, like he did on Saturday night.

See, my brother is a techno DJ here in Sydney and he and his friends put on rave parties. They need somebody trustworthy to work at the glo-stix stall, and since I don't make much money at my regular job, it is in my best interests to moonlight now and then for extra clams.

So Saturday night Mikel (my brother) drove me out to the Super Dome at Homebush Bay and from 9.30 pm to 3.30 am I worked my arse off, hustling glo products to kids half my age.

Most of the kids I deal with are OK. Well mannered, polite, friendly, and selling them their glo-stix for the evening is a pleasure. What drives me bananas are the rude, obnoxious little brats, and believe me, out of a crowd of 7500, there's more than enough of that sort to really take the glamour out of the glo-stick selling business.

You get kids who come up and simply point at whatever colour they want. I guess to them I am below having to actually talk to. Couldn't a monkey do this job? That's probably what they think. Then there are others who ask for a free one. "Aw come on! just one!" with a cheeky grin. "Run along you little scamp," I say, grandfatherly. Then one kid demands his money back because his glo-stick doesn't seem to be as bright as the one in the little electric display box. He looks like he's going to hit me. I feel sick. I don't wanna be here, why is this horrible kid talking to me? I wish he would disappear. I don't give him his money back. I win. Finally he walks away without any violence erupting. Phew. Then, a girl, hysterically yelling at me because there are no FAT glo-stix left; only THIN ones, and I have made the mistake of selling her THIN ones. She's so loud and upset I picture her in a straitjacket. Is this really happening? It doesn't make sense.

The problem is, all I notice are the little turds; the worst ones, the ones that make me so goddamn frustrated and mad it feels like my head is spinning, I may black out. I wish I would - then the first aid guys would have to take me out on a stretcher, and maybe I'd have to be sent home. That would be great. But it never happens, and there's hours of this torment to go.

When that time finally comes, I feel dirty, and getting the hell out of there, back on the road home at 4.00 in the morning, I can breathe again. I got the money, that's all that counts. I made it through another night selling goddamn glo-sticks to a stadium full of kids I wound up hating, barely disguising my loathing of them.

I don't know how long I can go on doing it. It's only every two months or so. One night out of two months. I don't really NEED to do it, but there's the money, see? It's pretty good money just for seven hours work. It's just that that work really makes me sick with disgust. I'm a whore. Yes, that must be it. A whore. Whore's do that kind of thing, don't they?

Friday, July 12, 2002

Recognised In A Bookstore

This really great thing happened to me recently. Well, it made me feel pretty great, anyway.
I was at the counter at Ariel paying for a book (Celine's 'Journey to the End of the Night" for those who MUST know, and I'm that sort, too), then the other girl, the one who wasn't dealing with my purchase, said to me: "You're the guy that does SICK PUPPY, aren't you?" I said: "Yes, I am!" She asked how it was going, I told her that I'd just finished SP#13, and about launching a new anthology, and that I thought my idea of finishing with #13 was a fine idea indeed, and that from now on each series I publish will be 13-issues long. (Perhaps, in fact, I went on and on like an idiot. A depressing thought...)
Anyway, that was that. I said: "Bye!"; she said: "Bye!"; both smiling away. She had short, dark, 'modern' hairstyle and those college-type glasses those hip young girls wear these days. Cute; bookish and cute.
Well, I walked outta there feeling considerably taller than when I walked in, that's for sure. I felt quite big and powerful walking home - the underground publisher who gets recognised in hip Sydney bookstores!

Scorpion Smoking

New High
Scorpion-smoking is becoming popular in Quetta, Pakistan. Users dry the scorpion's stingers, grind them, light the powder, and suck in the smoke. "When I smoke scorpion," said Ghulam Raza, "then heroin is like nothing to me." Smokers hang out at a local cemetary, where outsiders will not bother them.
Fortean Times June 2002 FT159

A Place to Wizz

I was in an enormous building (auditorium? shopping mall?) I really had to take a wizz but the only toilets was this huge room; everybody sitting around in circles. It was like a coffee house. Everybody there sat sort of propped up, half standing. There were women and children there, too. I tried to find a quiet part but it was so packed, I couldn't do it. I walked right out the back where it was not so crowded. There was a gutter and I walked along and saw a huge breast in there, a torpedo-like monstrosity with stretchmarks. It was right there in the gutter by itself yet it didn't strike me as unusual, it actually turned me on. But I kept on walking around, looking for a place to wizz. I found a paper, The New York Times Review of Books. I flipped through it, keeping some sections, one with photos of monkeys having what appeared to be homo sex, another part some writing by zine guy Jeff Levine. Well, I then walked back to the huge breast. I wanted to take a photo of it but didn't have my camera with me. I sat down near it to wizz, holding the paper up to my left so some people nearby wouldn't see. At this time it started raining. The people were too close, I had to move on.