15 August 2004

The Boredoms / Neil Gaiman

The Boredoms are psychedelic without being meandering, occasionally folky (though they're not exactly Fairport Convention), sometimes simply head-down skronk jazz blues a la John Zorn with enough stops, starts, gurgles and, er, barks to prevent them ever being used as an effective aerobic impulse. Sometimes they start slow and you think you might be listening to a late-period Hawkwind intro before they take a wild sideways step into oblivion and turn into Melt Banana or early Butthole Surfers. At other times, they get weirder than that.

In terms of albums, Super AE is a decent place to start, highlighting their different tempos and moods, as is Pop Tatari and Chocolate Synthesiser which are slightly moe noisy and Vision Creation Newsun is an excellent album documenting their wigged-out, space-rock, drone and drums side ( a bit of Loop, a pinch of Hawkwind, a touch of the slab-rock of Sunn 0))))

It's probably just best to listen.

Super Are

Super Good

both from Super AE

I'm Not Synthesiser

Acid Police

both from Chocolate Synthesiser

I Get A Little Taste Of You (with Ween)

I first got into them listening to the radio streams at Weirdsville, which is probably the nearest this blog ever gets to it's own radio station (where else do you hear The Shaggs, Throbbing Gristle, Joe Meek, The Yugoslavian Army Choir, Xenakis, The 13th Floor Elevators and Martin Denny?) so maybe you ought to be listening right now.

Neil Gaiman

Someone help me out here...

I've just finished reading another book in Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics series and I've finally broken down. I know he's almost universally acclaimed as an innovative genius in the medium but I just don't get it. Is Sandman really any good? Isn't it just a bit, well, dull and meandering? Isn't it all a bit uneccessary? Do adults really get anything out of it?

Okay, Death's pretty cute.

I've tried hard to like it. I really have. I've bought several trade paperbacks and some novels (American Gods is apparently being made into a film by David "Fight Club" Fincher but I thought it was a great idea that went to very dull places) but I've yet to find anything he's written that's truly interested me.

I saw Neverwhere and it was rubbish. I read the book. It was rubbish too.

Wasn't it?

It's annoying me. It seems like I should like this stuff. He seems to be one of the good guys. He has nice hair.

Is there something wrong with me? Have I missed the point so spectacularly that everyone will laugh? Or am I right and any minute now someone's gonna burst into his office yelling: "The Emperor's got no clothes!"

I need guidance. Maybe there's an evening class or a group therapy session where i could discuss my feelings. Maybe I need to take some time off; a dip in Lake Me. Maybe I'm just too goddamn repressed.

I need to know. Please help. Have I read the wrong books? Are there Neil Gaiman masterpieces out there that've passed me by?


Jim H said...

Well, it's been awhile since I read Sandman and when I did it was month to month. It seemed all so new at the time. Question - are there any graphic novels that you do like? Because I think the art is also integral to the graphic novels. So you can't look at a Neil Gaiman comic as just being Neil Gaiman as the art creates a parallel narrative. anyway, just a thought.

My interest in Gaiman was his ability to create unique universes but still pull obscure things from history to build stories around. The whole sequence with William Shakespeare in Sandman was among my favorites. I did think he had a hard time coming up with an ending and it was a bit of a letdown - I've found that with most writers who take and manipulated the "DC" or Marvel universes. Hell, they know someone is going to come after them anyway and resurrect any characters they might have killed so it makes it all anticlimatic. About the only guy who was able to get around that was Grant Morisson who made characters that were so wierd (like Danny the Street) that no one is going to come around and try to redo them.

Death is his most popular character because of his unique, some say trite, interpretation of her (him). She's not one of my favorite characters though - I just can't get into a death that's so friendly and likable. I prefer his other minor characters like the librarian, Matthew the crow (which was sorta Alan Moore's character) and Pumpkinheaded helper from the land of Dream. I also like Dream's family - Desire, Delirium, etc.

20jazzfunkgreats said...

I'm trying to find a Boredoms track which has a sample of, or may even be a cover of Money by the Flying Lizards.
Anyone able to tell me what it's called or what album it's on?

thor said...

Both the Boredoms and Gaiman are touchstones of mine, so it's wild to see them show up in a single post! I think Sandman may be suffering from a case of over-hype at this point -- when the comic-book headz get something that appeals to the mainstream, we tend to burn everyone out by screaming how great it is.

That said, there are definately some parts of the saga that are better than others (the beginning couple of books are particularly weak), and if you don't have a bit of a love for mythology I don't think they'll resonate too well either...

Moreover, I really like the tone of your post on Gaiman. I find myself in that place quite often -- feeling like everyone I know loves X and yet I can't work out what's so special about it. Modest Mouse, Lost in Translation...artistic works that seem to have all the things going for me to like them. And yet I don't.

I recommend staying up until 2am, cranking VisionCreation at full blast and reading Season of Mists. Psychegothadelic.

This blog is really great...keep up the good work...

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of Neil Gaiman and I've read just about everything he's written, but I've definitely found that even amongst my friends whose interests run parallel to my own, some of them just can't do Neil Gaiman. Some of them just can't stand the comic format, some of them are scifi geeks but not fantasy fiction, some of them are much more ground in reality. For me, the idea that there are beings out there that embody 7 of the primeval aspects of humanity, and that these beings are just as petty and stupid as humanity, is a pretty appealing one.... Also the idea that as gods cease to have believers they begin to die, is definitely cool in my opinion. Finally, the illustration of the story is superb, at least after Season of Mists... :) However, it really depends on what you look for in a story. If you're not a fan of comics, then obviously you won't like Sandman. If you like comics, but want more reality, then you won't like it either. If that is the case, I suggest you read Gaiman's Signal to Noise... that is a great piece of work. Finally, if you read comics for the same reason I do, which is to get away from reality and have my brain tickled simultaneously, then Sandman is for you.

M said...

I'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman, but I can sorta see where you're coming from. One book that I would highly recommend if you like humourous fiction is Good Omens, Neil's collaboration with Terry Pratchett. It's good stuff.

GTTRBRKZ said...

Reckon I must've read all the Sandman graphic novels from the various South Gloucestershire libraries over the years. Excellent brain food - I love 'em! You must learn to, too...

kek-w said...

Nah, you didn't imagine it, Loki...Gaiman is rubbish. People need to face up to that fact :-) You're far, far better off sticking with The Boredoms.

mvo168 said...

Hi, I wanted to say 2 things
1. you may like this site http://www.musicplasma.com
2. no witty or insightful remarks on yr gaiman question, prehaps reading his online journal and tottering about his website may help. How about giving Kabuki by David Mack (Intense, deep, dark, beautiful art) and Bone by Jeff Smith (laugh-out-loud hilarious, all issues just released into 1 bumper issue) a try? :)

Meido* said...

Just passing by, I wanted to say that I share your dislike of Neil Gaiman's works. I should love them, since I dig comics and really dark stories and I like fantasy and mythology. I've also met him in person, and found him cute and nice.

If I try to pin down what I don't like in his books, well it's not easy, but 1) I may sound PC, but I detect a clear misogynist, homo/transphobic and generally reactionary stream buried under lots of “just kidding” irony (especially around the character of Death, am I the only reader to consider her a self-righteous bitch?), and 2) well, he's not that deep… I mean, I'd rather read Joseph Campbell for this kind of treatment of mythology.

That said, I liked his collaboration with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, but it's a light, unpretentious read.

My two cents.

Anonymous said...

So first and foremost I must state that I love Neil Gaiman's writing, both in comic and prose format. I've never been a huge sci-fi fantasy fan when it comes to literature, preferring old beat writers like Thompson, Ginsburg, Salinger and Kerouac, however I have never found an author quite as visual and surreal as Gaiman. That being said; don’t worry if you don't like his work. It's like butt sex, some people like it some don't, there's nothing wrong with you either way, just different strokes (pun intended) for different folks

Anonymous said...

I just happened by here, on a search for some Sandman info. Your post just pulled me back down to earth - I'd just read the Gaiman interview in the New Yorker, and suddenly felt the "need" to check out the Sandman series. It sounds so interesting! But then, so did American Gods, until I read it, and Stardust, and number of shorter Gaiman pieces I've stumbled on here and there. I have to say that overall, I too have been underwhelmed. I like his ideas, I like his persona, I like that he loves Amanda Palmer, even. But his fiction doesn't grab me - it has its moments, but it also is pretty boring at times, meandering, as you found in the Sandman comics, or not tight enough, as I felt with American Gods. I do have to say, though, that I really do adore his reading of The GraveYard Book, which can be heard on his Mousecircus site. He has fantastic oratory, and his voicing of the characters adds so much to the narrative.

Glenn Paolo A. Goopio said...

The guy is awesome! My girlfriend made drawings of his Sandman characters! Check it out:


Bryan said...

Where else can you hear all that awesome music? WFMU, that's where. The greatest radio station in the world. WFMU.org

Bryan said...

Oh, I see you are already aware of WFMU. And I didn't see that this post was from 2004! Ha ha. Good job!

Loki said...

Lol. Easy mistake to make. Glad that some people are still getting to the old stuff. Fuck, 2004 seems years ago! ;)

Anonymous said...

Neil Gaiman is underwriting Scientology. Not only is Gaiman listed in Scientology’s Cornerstone Newsletter along with Mary Gaiman, (contributing $35,000.00 in 2009), Gaiman gave half a million In 2010 to the Scientology Super Powers Center. Mary Gaiman was awarded the "Gold Humanitarian Award" for her contribution of $500,000.00 to Scientology. This contribution was made by The Blank Corporation, Gaiman's company which he owns with Mary. The Blank Corp is Gaiman's Scientology front and how he pays the cult. The Gaiman Family are listed as Silver Meritorious for that year in Scientology's own magazines (Impact 123). These listings mean that Gaiman can reincarnate into another Scientology family, according to the Cult's bogus teachings.

Gaiman will never leave the cult because he is the vitamin heir of Scientology and a spineless weakling. The Gaiman family owns G&G Vitamins which reaps 6 million a year from selling The Purification Rundown Vitamins and Gaiman's two sisters, Claire Edwards and Lizzie Calciole are not just high-ranking Scientologists, they are the Head of Recruiting and the Head of Wealden House ( the Scientology stronghold in East Grinstead where Gaiman was an Auditor). These two high-ranking Scientologists cannot associate with Neil unless he is in good standing.

There is a clear money trail leading to Gaiman. All documents are available on Wiki.

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