Kieron Gillen's workblog




And after just under three years, that's all, folks.

Thanks to all and sundry for reading. Bid farewell to the little earless robot, update your bookmarks and move on. It's been a pleasure.

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Welcome to the official "Please by our comic" post!

Please feel free to pass the word onto other, wrong-minded individuals, you may know. Ideally, not loyal employees of major libel-hungry corporations. For sample art and stories, scan this friendly thread at the ever-lovely Isotope Comics. The US ordering will be set up shortly, but buyers of a more European persuasion should get right onto us.

Those with Paypal should head to the Commercial Suicide Site to order. £8+P&P.

Those with copies already, feel free to comment.

And later, hopefully, something entirely unexpected.

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Request from the management. Can anyone using the comments add their name at the bottom of the posts? It's beginning to really annoy me.

I know everyone before only ever used pseudonyms, but that's not really the point.

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When I heard which courier company was making the delivery, I knew something would go terribly wrong. Last time they were meant to be delibvering to my Bedminster hovel, when I finally managed to locate the errant package at a Bathroom-tile warehouse a half-mile away. For no discernable reason.

So, just because we've taken every precaution to make sure the incredibly expensive boxes full of Commerical Suicides and Alex's own Defective Comics turn up in time to sell, it doesn't mean that I had much hope that we'd actually recieve them. We throw down the money for guaranteed pre-lunch delivery. Knowing that people have trouble locating my masonette, due to it being above an empty shop, I attach my phone-number and inist that they call me if they can't find the place.

And then we sit back and wait. At 10:30 the bell sends me running to the door to discover that it's actually another delivery which went awry: the Router to allow Jane to get online. It's the second one Amazon have had to send out. Grateful, but still antsy, I return to the wait.

Phone rings at 11. It's the dispatcher from the company, saying that the driver can't find the actual building, and wanted to know where it is. I tell them to go around the corner, and sit back.

Time passes. Neurotic energy is funneled into increasingly baroque web-postings, including the the 1500 words of nonsense about post-punk down the page.

It's now 2, and I decide to check up on where the bastard thing is. I call the printer, who tell me they'll phone the courier to check on its process. They do so, phone back and tell me that the guy had left the area before the dispatcher phoned him back, so he's going to make a second delivery later in the afternoon.

More time passes. I've gone past the point where it's possible to turn the nervousness into anything other than sweat.

I phone back the printer at 4, getting the parcel number and the actual depot number. At this point, I've been hammering WHERE! IS! THE! PARCEL! in increasingly large font size to all my online IM friends for the majority fo the day. People, being lovely, are occasionally messaging me, asking if it's there yet. They mean well, but it's a torturous drip-drip-drip on my head.

Wired, with details in hand, I phone the depot. Chat to a woman who says she'll phone the guy to check up. She says that the notes say that he'd go back at the end of the day "If he has time". I stress how this really isn't on. I need to get them to the con by six, so we can actually set them up. I say that I'm willing to go anywhere in the city to get hold of the bastard things rather than them be delayed. She says she'll phone up the guy, and get a meeting place if he isn't going to delivery soon.

I wait. At 4:50, knowing they phone people will probably fuck off home at 5, I call again. I'm so tightly strung now that you could use me to garotte someone, which is exactly what'll happen if I don't actually get those bastard books. I stay on hold while she calls the driver. She returns to say that he was apparently waiting at a place for 45 minutes for me to turn up there. Of course, the original woman never actually phoned me back to tell me any of this. I finally get the actual driver's number, calling him up.

His next drop off is in an industrial site outside Bristol at 5:30. I, resisting the urge to ask why he didn't just phone the fucking number as he was meant to this morning since he *has* spent the last 45 minutes doing nothing due to the incompetence of his swotchoard, shower (having spent the entire day stinking, worried that I'd miss a call or door-bell ring if I have a proper wash) and run to the local taxi firm. He drives me out into the middle of nowhere, before having another series of quick-exchange phone-calls with the Delivery van to get us all to the next identical-looking bit of layby.

Eventually, we meet, lob the nine boxes of comics in the back of the taxi, and drive to Bristol Meads Station, just in enough time to lob them into the con to be sold in the mornings.

I then get awesomely drunk. Because it's the only sensible thing to do.

The name of the courier company is being witheld from the story until we find out whether we can get a refund or not. And if any of you with Paypal want a copy, the ordering system for CS3 is up at the site.

In short: Bastards.

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"Guild Wars is my favourite game of the year so far, but I'll get back to that.

It's also a bit different. In one of the more ritualised and obscenely formalised sub-genres the PC offers, being a bit different to most Online RPGs isn't the hardest task in the world, but Guild Wars takes it further. It also confuses expectations, in that a glance at the screenshots could lead to you just filing it alongside every other persistent-world fantasy game playing across the net today. So we're going to break it down into bullet points, press the review's barrel against your temple and fire each one home deep into your brain, just to make sure everyone understands.

Also, get yourself a cup of tea and a tasty biscuit. This is a long one."

Guild Wars for Eurogamer. As the intro says, a long one.

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Alisdair posted some interesting things about Post-punk, which set me thinking, related to what a few other people wrote. And then Joshua Ellis set me off, thinking about what it means when I listen to the period described in Simon Reynold's (brilliant) RIP IT UP. And... well, here's the ramble:

I was born in 1975. I was listening to my parent's Motown rather than post-punk in 1980, so it's not really a question of nostalgia, but of *history*.

Except, to steal Blur's phrase from when they were vaguely relevant circa Modern Life Is Rubbish, legislated nostalgia - Having nostalgia for something you've never experienced. One of my takes on Britpop (at least its start) was less ancestor worship, rather an artistic Oedipal thing. I want to fuck what Daddy did, and have the wife, the house, the swimming pool, the reputation.

History is a different thing. I remember when I started seriously thinking about music that I was aware there was SO MUCH MUSIC that I knew absolutely nothing about. Or rather, I knew about, but hadn't had a chance to listen to. If you take 1990 or so as my year zero, that's 15 years since punk and thirty since the start of the modern age of pop. That's a lot of records to listen to before you can talk credibly about the whole flow of things, in terms of real understanding as opposed to a sampledelic dillentante thing.

I don't think the generation after me even think of things in those terms. It's post-pop-history now. While 15 years post-punk was vaguely dealable with, 30 years post-punk is an obscene figure. It's that sensation I get when I walk into a decent library and realise I'm never going to know even a fraction of it. So you just take what you can, and live with it.

So, People may know that there was once a Band called the Gang of Four who The Futureheads rip-off, but don't care at all. While someone like Elastica reappropriated early-Wire, it was reappropriated *for their own purposes* (which I always read as a indie-fication of sampling culture in a guitar-set up, a paradoxical mix of absolute respect (Ace! We'll use it) and disrespect (Why shouldn't we use it if we like it?)), most modern hair-cut Indie doesn't even *care* about history enough to attempt to remix it. To the Futureheads, the Gand of Four are just some angular guitars. Nothing else matters.

And, by their succcess, The Gang of Four are just reduced to some guitar sounds. A Futureheads fan's responses to the noise are conditioned to see them in the context of the Futureheads, and since they're just a four-square band, that's what the Gang of Four are. The Rapture's (brilliant, annoyingly) House of Jealous Lovers reduces the Pop Group's We Are All Prostitutes, and so on.

This leads me to thinking that there's always been different sorts of revival culture. Two-Tone could be read as a sixties-Ska revival, but actually was infused with the post-punk scene and used for a specific, urgent purpose. Britpop was nothing but a revival movement, but was actually talking about specific, current state of mind in the Mid-nineties (and was mostly shit, but isn't really the point). Conversely, the Mod revival of the early eighties (and the mini-one in the UK of the mid-nineties), is nothing but coping the stances of the earlier period, and in doing so, missing the point entirely. Modern Mod takes are quintissentially English, taking it as a traditionalist conservative thing. Actual Mod was virulently ANTI English, based around black American music, italian suits, etc. It's an obvious point, but real mods today would be listening to hyper-tech R&B or similar, not Paul Weller. And the array of eighties/post-punk indie at the moment are nothing but pure formalists.

It was mainly music about ideas. Why, if you're in a synth-edged band like the Bravery or whatever, should you dress in clothes similar or inspired by the period? They haven't even engaged their brains (or even REALISED they should be engaging their brains enough) to move past that state.

I only got around to reading the Julian Cope autobiographies recently, but one thing that struck me was how absolutely literate everyone in the scene was. People read the reviews, and tried to apply the belief structures of the journalists (which were processed from other sources) to the making of music. It's notable that the absolute intellectual emptiness of the mainstream music press (Which has expanded from just the inkies to coverage in "real" papers) just begats more intellectually empty bands. If it's music about ideas, and they're not digesting any, they're not going to create anything which has them.

As a corroloary, these sorts of leap of creative faith I'm describing require exactly that: faith. Belief. That's one thing everyone is deeply short of in the music scene, and the population at general. Believing in something is deeply unfashionable. Being Reasonable is the watchwords, and all that begats is reasonable, small things. Great pop is always based on grand, stupid designs. And this is why kids today (from the same social niche as the people who were primary forces in Post-Punk), despite having better tech and access resources than the period described by RIP IT UP, aren't doing as interesting stuff. They don't have the ideas, they don't have the grandeur, they don't have the absolute stupidity. Which is stupid.

My other thought about RIP IT UP that, despite the general disdain for what Pete Wiley coined Rockism, and eventual embrace of Morley's Popism, that's a very different thing from what people today mean by Popism. What's interesting about that cusp-of-the-eighties was that it was people from a Rockist culture (and totally infected by it), trying to deliberately take a Popist stance. It was a volunary thing, rather than them coming from a culture where that's actually the dominant belief structure. Religious converts have, on average, more faith than those who are born into it. In the same way, people in my generation - where Rockism has always been dumb and evil - are popist by default. We don't really BELIEVE in it. It's just what we're supposed to think. So the popist escapades are a simultaneous smaller, lesser thing.

Which leads me to start thinking about a possible useful synthesis position, but that's a different rant.

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My card has just taken an enormous biff on the head and is wandering around the room in a confused state, due to having to pay for the printing of Commercial Suicide The Third.

Copies arrive tomorrow, and we'll be selling them over the weekend. I want to sell as many as possible to avoid Jane ever finding out exactly how much money I've just spent. This means that there's a possibility - remote, admitedly - that they may all sell out. Since this is the entire UK print run, if you want one, mail me now to say so. I will put one aside for anyone who wants to purchase the thing.

£8 to you, squire. Over 100 pages. Mail me at Kieron dot gillen at gmail dot com.

And don't tell Jane.

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Four recent, vaguely amusing things.

1) Gigs. Arcade Fire at the Academy. Regulars will be aware of my terrible love for the Arcade Fire, but finally managing to see them was simply glorious. References which I've previously only been aware of intellectually suddenly come into focus, like the Talking Heads structures. Simultaneously, the records are reworked from 3.a.m. Existentialism to 11.p.m. at the best Wake in the World. In terms of propulsiveness and the shared voices, I find myself thinking of the legend of Live Dexys. The entire band sings, all the words, even the ones without microphones, like the secular hymns they are. I find myself wandering home, rambling to The Concubine about how they were part of a recontexualisation of the rock idiom for talking about the 20-something experience of genuine young adulthood and fear of that rather than perpetual adolescence. The exist exactly at the cusp where you realise that it's pointless rebelling against your parents, as they're either dead or soon will be and you know it's all too late. Still, despite this as the formative factor in the music, it's about life. They're an indefatiguable, relentless band.

2) Gigs 2. Had only caught the Kills once briefly at a festival, and despite thinking their second album lacked teeth and lapsed into self-parody, I did want to see exactly how they operated live in a more appropriate (i.e. With a roof and bad ventilation) venue. Was amused by how right I was about them. As I wrote in the singles of the year list, God This Makes Me Wanna Fuck. And yes: It's all about the fucking, to the point where we end with simulated fucking punctuated, girl on her knees, flat on the floor, back arcing while geezer brandishes guitar like a sexual crucifix before her. Subtext becomes text to the degree that it's actually funny. So, sure, they've got a limited musical repertoire (Girl saying "Fuck", Man saying "Fuck", a retro drum-machine and a guitar going crunch once a bar) and Alison Mosshart looks like a model GQ would get as a stand-in for a Jennifer Herrema, but no-one cares. A big, sexy noise. Ended up with Tinitus so bad that it sounded as if an ocean was washing around in my right ear, which is always an added bonsu.

3) Games: Been playing Guild Wars to death. Review on Eurogamer in the next couple of days.

4) Gamespot do an editorial on the NGJ in a prodding-beehive manner. Splendid.




Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.