Sunday, 26 March 2017

Clean Room Book 2: Exile (#7-12) NSFW

NSFW:  Boobs and Pony-man tackle.


"Ugh Earl Grey.  How does she drink this stuff?" - Killian

Time to wrap up this ladies month with a story that stars several lead female characters in a tale of mystery and horror, written by Gail Simone and art by Jon Davis-Hunt.  Now summing up the premise behind Clean Room so far is going to be difficult because were still close to the start of the narrative, things are being put in place that will pay off further down the line so I recommend you check out my post on Book One first.  But in a nutshell we have two main characters, Astrid Mueller who is a writer of horror fiction and since an accident as a child has been able to see monsters preying on other humans.  She has set up her own Scientologyalike cult to figure out what these things are and how to fight them, with the titular Clean Room being used to communicate with and exorcise these beings.  Our other main character is Chloe Pierce who, after attempting suicide in book one greiving the suicide of her boyfriend (a member of Astrid's organisation) who killed himself upon being told the ultimate truth behind Astrid's religion, has found herself being unwillingly groomed by Astrid as a potential ally.  Now she can also see these monstrous beings as well, although her friendship with one who actually saved her from an attack by a third party means things are not as cut-and-dried as it would seem.  So let's continue into the sinister world of the Clean Room.

The story begins with a teenage Astrid visiting a hospitalised girl called Anika Wells.  Anika tells Astrid that she was taken by mysterious beings into a white room, "they ripped me open from above, like I wasn't worthy of their touch".   They felt contempt for her but also liked hurting her.   She also dreamed the same word over and over, "Exoduction".   Astrid looks at the word, "a portmanteau.  How interesting."

Seventeen years later we are back at Astrid's building in Chicago.  She takes a meal into a darkened room.  Inside on hospital bed is Anika, her left side horrifically wasted and withered.   Astrid tells her about Chloe, "tremendous promise. Off the scale."  Anika weakly says Astrid has to let her go, but Astrid says she can't do this without her.

Anika Wells
Back in the past, Anika describes hearing white noise then having her left side peeled open.   Astrid tells her when she was six she was deliberately run over, the driver backed up to do it again.  Since that say, "I've been able to see things others cannot".

Astrid: "I believe these entities... mean to do us harm.  I believe they can hide inside of us.  Do things to our flesh.  And I've been tracking them, Anika.  Starting with my own father."

Then we cut to Chloe Pierce being informally interviewed by Detective Avil Demakos.  He wants to know how much she knew about the death of a man called Michael Parks.  She didn't really know him, just bought him some new socks as he was homeless.  He was found tied in a knot.   She invites him in for tea and asks if she knows of Astrid Mueller. Back with present day Astrid she is getting ready for a private session in the Clean Room.
Chloe and Detective Avil.
We return to Chloe and Avil, he says he knows there have been a rash of suicides linked to her followers.    They chat for a bit and she wonders if she's a suspect.  He says no, he'd checked her whereabouts on the night in question.  Chloe laughs saying "cheeky bastard." Avil smiles and says "That's detective cheeky bastard, if you please."  He wonders why she asked him about Astrid, did she have some to do with the death of her fiancee?  "Not directly, maybe" says Chloe. They contemplate the moon and Chloe refers "horrible things, these shades."

Chloe: "What if we were just in the road when they drove through?  What if we're jaywalkers in a never-ending hit-and-run?  What if we're just...just... road-kill?"

Astrid enters the Clean Room and into a memory of her own, her and her family at church on the day she was hit by the car.  A man in black, comes and sits next to her saying his name is Doctor Potter, "you may know me as the Surgeon".

He tells Astrid he engineered her childhood accident.   They wanted her dead because she would be able to see them, but just ended up unlocking the ability faster.  When Astrid blows him off and makes to leave and this enrages him.   He hands her a bag with a disciples genitals in and says they'll come for her when she is weak, then take all the others who have ever got close to her and with that he leaves.  Astrid shuts off the Clean Room and also leaves gagging for a cup of tea.
The Surgeon and Astrid.
We then cut forwards to Astrid on stage giving her new disciples a talk.  As she does so, her furious lesbian right-hand woman Killian wonders to another employee called Duncan how Astrid gets people hanging on her every word for two grand.  Her head of security a woman called Capone is sweeping the audience when suddenly a man stands up and calls Astrid "Goddamn.  Goddamn daughter of Satan. Goddamn bitch".  Before everyone can react he pulls a gun and shoots Astrid through the torso.
The shooting aftermath.
Capone shoots him in the shoulder as Duncan yells they are going to keep this "in fucking house".  Killian tells Astrid she'll be fine, but Astrid calm scolds her for using "meaningless words of comfort".  She tells to go to her office and follow her instructions there and also bring her Chloe Pierce...

...who is currently out for a meal with Detective Avil, unsure if it's a date or an official interview.  She's told him all about Astrid's goals her organisation and all the weird stuff and wonders why he believes her.  He says that when they untangled the hobo they found he had two right hands.  So yes he believes the weird stuff now. Then Killian phones her and summons her to Chicago.

The injured assassin is being questioned by Capone and he tells her his name is Peter Mueller, Astrid's brother.  A helicopter arrives at Chloe's house where she and Avil had returned to. Her three neighbours, the brothers who keep a look out for her say they are coming too.  Meanwhile Killian uses the threat of losing his "Utopian" status on the best heart surgeon in Illinois to get him to come out to Astrid.  She then goes into Astrid's office alone and starts watching a video Astrid left her if something were to happen to her.

Astrid:  "This next thing might be a bit of a shock. Hell is real and the Devil is coming".

Meanwhile Duncan kisses his male lover and goes outside to deal with the Chicago Police.   When one of the cops starts saying they'll get a warrant for the scene, Duncan whispers that he understands his daughter works in one of their outreach centres in Africa.  And if he doesn't "turn around and leave... you'll never see your daughter again."
Collecting Chloe and friends.
In the helicopter Chloe says she will take one of her neighbours with her before going into the Clean Room.   Everyone else is suited up with Astrid laid out still alive inside the room.  The surgeon says there is nothing he can do.  Upon arriving at the building Avil asks if they'll let him in as a boyfriend rather than a cop and they kiss.  But Chloe brings in Rene Havelin her neighbour, but as she introduces him to Killian she says he actually has someone attached to him.  And we see a monster stuck to the side of Rene's face. "His name is Spark" says Chloe.
Introducing Spark.
While Astrid deteriorates on the table we are introduced to some new characters in Austin Texas, two men running a business called "Perma-seek".   They discuss what has happened to Astrid and one says they must do the "Christian thin" and help her followers, "it's our duty".  In the Clean Room, Killian is holding a gun to Chloe's head for bringing Spark inside.  She pulls back and says she trusted her, Astrid is dying, "everything I care about in the world."

Chloe says she's been seeing monsters everywhere and so is not afraid of Killian's gun.  So Killian uses the Clean Room to make a bigger one.  Astrid stops them arguing and weakly asks why Chloe bought it in.   Chloe explains Spark was "blessed by the church right the fuck out of a young Spanish girl... and he's here now for me." When the Surgeon came for her she survived because of Spark.

Chloe: "I think they gospelled the dark shit right out of him Astrid".

So the plan is that he rides her flesh and puts her back together again.  She asks Spark to say he'll save her but he says "no."  Astrid goes into Vfib and as she begins to die, Chloe pleads with Spark to help.

Then we get a flashback to Astrid seventeen years ago driving through the desert with a couple of friends.  She gets out the can and sees a huge winged thing hovering close by.  The other two can't see it.   Later Astrid finds a bright white spheroid and shows it to her friends, the same one now inside the Clean Room.
Spark does his thing.
Chloe realises Astrids perfume is putting Spark off so they wash it off.  Chloe then reassures Spark they won't hurt him and he reluctantly starts melding into Astrids flesh.   Killian starts to panic but Chloe has her gun and trains it on her while Spark does his thing.  Meanwhile Capone is interrogating Peter who says he did it because "she murdered our father."

Spark finally heals Astrid, but at great cost to himself as he is very weak.  Astrid thanks Spark, then orders 60,000 volts be run through him which leaves him a smear on the floor of the Clean Room.  Astrid asks for some tea and clothes, "I've decided to go on holiday."

We then return to the old men in Texas.  One of them starts changing into a gimp mask and is naked apart from that and an apron.  Their company started with the "idea of selling healthy products to a nation that didn't know they wanted them".   The reason he is getting pervily dressed up is to deal with a couple whose sales quotas have been missed. They are naked and strung out on a rack as the man, Reston Wenuka, says "welcome to the Dark Room my friends".
Incentivising!
Then we cut to Killian watching a TV report about Wenuka offering to help Astrid's flock in their time of need.   Astrid is currently incommunicado and Killian is running things.  Disgusted she tells Duncan to turn it off.  He comments that she is dressing and drinking tea like Astrid.  Duncan asks if Astrid is coming back.  Killian says she has sent someone, because she isn't talking to her.

Up in the mountains of Colarado, Capone gets out of a car and stumbles through the snow finding Astrid sitting outside a lodge quietly contemplating the scenery.   She says to Capone she isn't going back, "I've given quite enough don't you think?"

Astrid:  "Do you know what the worst thing in the entire world is. The worst curse you can inflict on any human being.  The very worst thing?  Seeing the world as it actually is."

Back in Florida Chloe is trying to get ahold of Astrid.  She believes Spark isn't dead and they have him.   She says she never forgive Astrid for caging him in the "shitty room".  She has also been doing some research into Astrid's company and Avil tells her he knows two of the properties and they are empty.

Inside the Clean Room, poor Spark is still alive and being zapped in a laser cage. He is being interrogated, what the nature of his species is, what invasion plans they have.  Spark just whimpers, "Chloe... help Spark."  The interrogators shock him again, "cook this demon piece of shit".

Capone sits with Astrid and asks her how much of the mountain she owns.  Capone goes on to say she lived on a cardboard sheet behind a dumpster.  It was Astrid's message that told her she didn't have to live that life.  She told her taking care of yourself was job one.  She goes on to say, "You never apologise.  You never let anyone else's horsehit stick to you. Where is that woman?"  Astrid says that woman was shot through the heart by her brother and now can't crawl out from behind that dumpster.
Gifts from Astrids organisation.
Chloe is trying to puzzle out why Astrid would own so many empty properties.  Then she hears her car being stolen and she and Avil run outside.  But when they get there a new car awaits, courtesy of Killian who sends her "personal regards".   The unctuous man also hands over an unlimited credit card.  Chloe says she won't forget what they did.  The man says they are gifts not bribes.  He passes on the message that although Killian wants to "fuck you until your legs fall off" there are no obligations attached to the gifts.  She also gets a blue card allowing access to one of their arks, "should the worst occur". The world is going to burn, hell is returning, the card will keep her and one other safe. "Choose wisely".

Killian and Duncan are watching Wenuka on the news, Killian grimly says he's going to worm his way in and destroy everything she built.  What would Astrid do she wonders. Duncan says she'd fight back.

Duncan: "She'd bite and scratch and kick.  She'd hit his groin with a flamethrower.  She'd demolish him Killian".

Killian gives him a hug then sends him home to get some sleep, tommorrow they'll start fighting back.   As Duncan leaves, Killian orders a search into any dirt they can find on Menuka.  Duncan returns home and gets into bed with his boyfriend.

Later Duncan is woken up by the Surgeon.  Duncan says he fed him info once but he won't let him take down Astrid.  But the Surgeon won't take no for an answer and shows him what he did to the last man who rejected him, he turned him into a half human hybrid "Pony man".  He knows he can't get results threatening Duncan directly but his partner, now that's a different story.
More incentivising!
Next day Killian calls Capone for an update on Astrid and also to tell her something about her brother, we don't hear what that is just that it surprises Capone.  Capone then finds Astrid standing on the edge of a cliff, she tells her that her brother has a daughter and "he says she takes after your father."

Killian is rallying a defence against Wenuka.  Duncan is preoccupied but will look into finding out who in Astrid's organisation might be vulnerable to blackmail.  Then Chloe arrives. She comes out and tells Killian her "very dead fiancee... has been showing up at unexpected times"  He's not haunting her but warning her.

Wenuka is chairing a special meeting of Astrid's foundation board members.  He tells them, "if your beloved Ms. Mueller goes psycho, my friends,, who in this group will piss in your followers mouths and tell them it's lemonade?"  One of them saying her taking some time to recover doesn't make her a runaway.  Wenuka says he admires the loyalty, but their ship is sinking "and I don't think any of you boys got the dick to paddle."

Back with Chloe and Killian they are suited up to go into the Clean Room because her dead fiancee has told her bad things are happening in there. Spark is still in there all caged up, Killian sends the others away.  Meanwhile, the news Capone passed onto Astrid has caused her to admit to Capone she was testing her.  One of her "Rooks" has been leaking information, then suddenly Capone pushes Astrid to the ground.
Oh Duncan...
Just outside the Clean Room, Duncan appears and apologetically shoots one of the staff.  Capone had pushed Astrid down because there was a sniper who Capone takes out with her pistol.  Inside the Clean Room, Chloe fusses over Spark, while Duncan follows her and Killian inside. Capone demands to know who sent the sniper as he lies bleeding out.  He says it was Wenuka, he used his wife as blackmail.  Astrid tells him to call him and say he succeeded.  Wenuka announces the tragic news to the board.

Duncan shoots Spark, apologising again saying, "they got me... they'll get you too." Spark tells Chloe he is dying, he tells Chloe she has the power to move the room "anywhere, any-when".  She needs to concentrate on Duncan's pain, Chloe says she can't do it. "Then we all die" says Spark.   Killian and Duncan start fist fighting. Chloe tells Spark they need his darkness back so Spark conjures up a weird bio-mechanical being which slices off Duncan's hand.  Chloe tells Spark to call it off, but Spark grins evilly and says "don't think Spark wants to."

We get another flashback to Astrid twenty-three years ago.   She is in therapy for stabbing her father who is now in a coma.  She tells her therapist she believed her father to be possessed by a demon, who ate his essence, sent him to hell and rides his shell like a toddler rides a bicycle.  Her therapist says they will discuss this more next session.
A monster unleashed.
Back in the present, the monster is running amok in the Clean Room.  Chloe pleads with Spark but he won't stop it.  "It's too late Chloe" he says "Nobody is friends now.  Nobody is friends ever again".  Astrid, Capone and Todd the assassin are back at the lodge. Astrid says he is now under her protection and his wife can come and work for her.  He drops to his knees and thanks her.  Astrid says some people only "shine when they have an opponent" and Mr. Wenuka has provided one.  She has an "invader to decimate" now.

Killian is trying to fend off the bio-mech monster, things are looking bad when Chloe's eyes suddenly roll back and the enviroment inside the room changes.  But they aren't in Duncan's memory, they are in Sparks.  He doesn't want to be here but they go through the church door to where the girl is tied to a bed and being exorcised.
Spark's dark secret.
In Chicago, Wenuka is still convincing Astrid's board that they should join up with his organisation now she's dead. But then the viewscreen flickers on and Astrid appears saying, "I'd like to make a counter proposal."  Inside Sparks memory Chloe is shocked at the state he left the girl in, and worst of all he caused the girl to bite out the throat of her mother.  Killian says they were right to burn Spark, but Chloe asks how many people she killed as she kneels by Duncan's body.

Chloe: "I never believed in sin.  I never believed in repentance.  But Jesus Killian. What if it's all true?"

At the board meeting Weknuka yells at Brother Pete to shut the feed down.  She retaliates by firing the entire board.  She then asks him how a "mediocre little deviant medicine show carnie" got into a postion to challenge her.

She tells him events conspiring to favour him wasn't an accident, and also the loyal soldier at his side isn't what he thinks.  Now that he's failed "they" won't want him to be chatty, and Brother Pete turn into a monster and rips Wenuka's head off. 

Back in the Clean Room the bio-mech is inert.  Killian is about to shoot Spark, but Chloe pleads with him to repair Duncan, "Spark is good boy" he says and does so.   Then the three of them leave, Killian tells security that Duncan was hypnotised by their enemies.  Capone and Astrid discuss what happened.  Capone asked why she didn't take Wenuka out sooner.

Astrid: "The conspiracy you know about is always better than the one you do not".

She then tasks Capone with fetching Todd's wife and to make it look like terrorists got her.  Capone says she'll enjoy that.  Astrid then calls more of her people at her brother's home.  They have found the baby and say it looks normal, but when Astrid looks at it via one one of their smartphones she sees a horrific monster. End of volume two.
Eek!
Another enjoyable read from Gail Simone who has a Garth Ennis knack for dialogue and characterisation. There are several women in this book all with different personalities; the emotionally distant Astrid, the firey Killian, the sensitive Chloe and the no nonsense Capone.  With plots, counter plots and counter, counter plots going on it can be a confusing read at first but I am confident that plot threads will pay off down the line and that Simone is playing the long game here.  The exact nature of the monsters still remains unclear and giving us a "good" one helps muddy the issue further. The fact they show intelligence in doing such things as propping up Wenuka to get to Astrid shows they are not to be underestimated and of course the mysterious Surgeon and his horrific nature give us another particpant to be wary of as he has not given away what he ultimately wants at all.  The art by Jon Davis-Hunt is gorgeous.  Crisp, clean with some fantasticly grotesque monster designs as well as rendering every character unique and sensible, no gratuitous cheesecake here undermining the female characters authority.  Astrid remains a fascinating character, driven albeit someone who keeps her cards close to her chest but not one who has been out-gambitted so far. Chloe is her polar opposite - open, trusting and not afraid to show her emotions.  Astrid seems to see a potential leader in her and it will be interesting to see how things develop along those lines.  All-in-all a fine comic and I am looking forward to the next trade.

40 comments:

  1. Doctor Zoidberg; what happened to you?!

    Hey, glad you're back. Wow, the least confusing thing about this was the horse dong. Still, really enjoyed it. Artwork excellent and I liked the ideas. Especially that this might just be an incidental clash and we're just roadkill. Combines two of my favourite ideas.

    "The most terrifying thing about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent"

    and the truly alien. Back to my theme that real aliens wouldn't even recognise us as beings, and vice versa. We'd just have no common perspective.

    Again it's an interesting mix of female characters without being "SJW". You don't even notice. Well as a woman you might. Like how some of my friends spent the 70s yelling "Come quick, there's a black guy on TV!" But they're all very different without you getting the impression that there was a committee meet allocating the roles "she can be the quirky one and she'll be the tough chick..."

    Body horror isn't a fave genre of mine (although I do love me a bit of Cronenberg) but it's done well here. Speaking of seeing monsters, you ever watched "Odd Thomas"? If not, won't spoil it for you. Just warn you to have a box of hankies on stand-by (not that a macho sort like me sniffled of course; I just had something in my eye)

    But back to this, nicely weird with an excellent dollop of macabre. Gail is quite talented isn't she? I like her take on established characters but it's interesting when she's let loose on original stuff.

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  2. There was a let up in the weather and my sinuses stopped feeling like they were exploding :D

    It's an interesting series because normally you'd expect the Scientology expy to be the bad guy. Maybe it still is, but Astrid's motives seem pure (ish) so far. Plenty of mystery round her still though.

    Gail does excel at creating varying female characters without as you say it all feeling SJW and tokenistic. They all come across as well rounded characters first and foremost.

    I'm a big fan of horror in all it's forms (as I think prior comments have shown), genuinely creepy body horror can be hard to pull off in comicbook form but she's definitely got a knack for it. Pony-man should be in it again.

    I just googled "Odd Thomas" which I haven't seen, and it looks interesting. It might just be making it's way to me as we speak, hem hem hem. If you're interested in weird and surreal horror a film I really love is "In The Mouth Of Madness" which is the closest films have come to doing Lovecraft justice and is by John Carpenter.

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  3. Odd Thomas is such a sweet film. You will blub though.

    I still need to check out some Lovecraft. It does seem right up my street. I'll have to dig out that Gaiman story again for you. I really enjoyed that.

    Was thinking of you the other night. Saw a film called the Man with the Iron Fists. Martial arts flick. Flawed, but made with such love for the 70s films it was easy to forgive.

    Oh and Tamy (the girl who do it) used that pic I sent you for a 'red nose' day thing. Had to laugh.

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  4. It's being a bit slow getting to me so most likely will watch it tommorrow. I shall have tissues at the ready, I'm a real sobber at sad films.

    If you do check out Lovecraft in the original you'll probably be surprised at how much influence it has had on the horror genre and that you've probably come across stuff influenced by it before.

    The Man With The Iron Fists also sounds like a film I need to see.

    And ouch again at your poor nose!

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  5. Oh I thought downloads were instantaneous. Still, to quote an old Future Shock "the speed of light's not what it used to be".

    It doesn't surprise me that Lovecraft is so influential. I do find a lot of old books are surprisingly modern. There's a great meta example in I, Claudius. That was written in the 30s but is so modern. But within the story the characters talk about how the ancient (to them) writers seems so contemporary and someone makes the point that stories about shagging and murder will never go out of style. You can almost imagine Graves giving a little wink there.

    Tamy has now changed her Facebook profile pic to some bloodstained barbarian lass butchering a guy so I'm assuming she's still enjoying the memory. And I remember when she was such a shy quiet girl.

    I'm still on mission to get back into shape. Went for a very out of character run this evening. Some girl overtook me and then pulled over.

    "You want a lift?"

    "S'ok. I'm just running"

    "I know, but you look fucked"

    So probably still some way to go there.

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  6. If it's something obscure your download speed is a bit more limited if only a handful of people are offering it. But I have it now and will watch it tonight.

    Lovecraft gave us things like Cthulu and the other Great Old Ones which have expanded waay bigger than he originally wrote. Also he's a master at giving you horror that is too much for the human mind to conceive, his heroes often go mad or have nervous breakdowns. Sadly there is quite a bit of racism in some of the stories, you sort have to read around it in some places.

    I'm still limited in what exercise I can do, but I've been slowly shedding weight thanks to my new diet. I don't think I could manage a run though, I feel for yah :D

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  7. I won't be doing it again. I can't figure out if the pins and needles in my feet are from pounding the road or the prelude to a heart attack.

    That 'expansion' of Lovecraft is like Sherlock Holmes. Irene Adler is only on one story briefly but there's a whole mythology round her now. Mycroft and Moriarty aren't in the stories much either. But to use this as an excuse to divert into one of my favourite topics, ju-jitsu suffragettes...

    In the books Holmes is supposedly an expert in the martial art 'Baritsu'. Now you know my obsession with Edith Garrud. She's the lass who trained the Amazon bodyguard for the suffragettes. Her hubby was also into martial arts. He teamed up with a guy called Edward Barton-Wright. They promoted an early form of MMA contests. But Barton-Wright also created his own self defence system. He called that Bartitsu (note the spelling)


    There was an article about him though in a journal that Conan Doyle was believed to have read. In the article they spell it without the first 'T' like in the Holmes story. They also use some phrases that crop up in the stories generally when Holmes talks about his skills.

    So it seems Doyle himself didn't have any personal experience of Bartitsu but he just got the info from that one article and used it for Holmes.

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  8. It's interesting to note that Lovecraft was basically a very early nerd and is was via traditionally nerdy pursuits (pen and paper rpgs and videogames) that his work slowly leeched into popular conciousness. The main reason there have been few film adaptations of his work though is because he very often ended the story on The Reveal with no aftermath, the build up was what was important. Guillermo Del Toro has been trying to get an adaptation of the novella "At the Mountains of Madness" (well worth a read of you decide to check ol' HP out) off the ground for ages but seems to constantly run into issues with the executives wanting a traditional monster in it. What Could Have Been... as TV Tropes says.

    I first read about the ju-jitsu suffragettes on Cracked and was surprised I didn't already know about them. I mean I'm pretty well schooled on feminist history, one of my middle names is after a famous suffragette. Anyway, I made sure to tell mum and sisters about the ultimate fighting feminists. You could probably get a really awesome comic out of them.

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  9. Ooh now I'm going to guess.

    But beaten to it on the comics

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suffrajitsu:_Mrs._Pankhurst's_Amazons

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  10. Some friends and I are having a Facebook reminiscence about our old mate Charger. I think I told you about the time he pretended to be Jesus at the Diana funeral.

    Well someone's just reminded us of the Brits when Chumbawumba tipped the ice bucket. They were being all self congratulatatory when Charger just walked over and said. "If you was any kind of real anarchists you'd have shot him.

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  11. I'll tell you what it is, it's Emily after the one who chucked herself under a horse. I really like it, it's a nice name.

    Also about that comic. COOL. I may track it down now.

    True fact, the only band I have ever seen live was Chumabawamba at a free festival in Plymouth in the mid-nineties. It was when they were going through their Pop phase and I had a couple of their albums and twelve inch singles. They did appeal on a politcal level, I was a member of Class War back then (my sister's mock this by saying is it really Class War when you pronounce it "Claarse War"? Bah) as well. I reckon I could have got on pretty well with your mate, he sounds like a couple of friend my parents had in the early 80's.

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  12. Wow, I guessed that! I was thinking Emmeline at first but Emily sort of goes with your first name. It's elegant without being pretentious.

    I'm now thinking of Al Murray's pub landlord "Women's lib has come a long way since that lass ruined a perfectly good horse race..,"

    Personally I subscribe to the 'return ticket' theory that it was just meant to be a disruption.

    Ah class war and the 80s. As you know our little circle couldn't stand Chumbawumba. I loved Crass though. Still do. I wasn't overtly political but I thought they were part of the movement that was actually pretty clever and thoughtful. Albeit a lot of the Dial House mob are if anything quite upper class. But we thought Chumbawumba were in the Student Grant from Viz or Rik from the Young Ones mould. As a friends band at the time put it:

    "A in a circle. Hate hate hate. Run to your mum's when your giro's late"

    The first of those comics is great cos it's basically a not very fictionalised version of real events. Less bothered about the sequels. They're fine as general steampunkish fayre, but I much prefer the reality.

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  13. Heeee, love the Pub Landlord.

    Funny thing about Class War, I bought the T-shirt (still have it, use it as a nightie), bought the manifesto, bought the collected writings and read the newspaper. I didn't realise until much later how amusing it was an anarchist organisation had so much merchandise. Still has someone who has bumped along through life as a member of the Underclass it held an appeal. Of course now I am just apathetic, my 21 year old self would be disgusted with me. Woe.

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  14. Sorry, meant to respond sooner but just thought I'd listen to a bit of Crass. Then one thing lead to another.

    Heh, for some reason I can't help but giggle at the thought of a Class War nightie. That is so perfect though. (one of my old flames used to wear what transpired to be the Bologna FC away kit. It was so perfectly Italian, but I especially loved it was the *away* kit for some reason. Just so surreal)

    And yup, anarcho merchandising. I'm not a big fan of Anonymous (love the bit about them on the IT Crowd). So I get a slightly perverse pleasure knowing the copyright in those Guy Fawkes masks is owned by Fox Media and they made $600,000 off them one year.

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  16. If you want a laugh I've just stuck some embarrassing photos from my youth up on Mammoth.

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  17. Nice pictures! I always liked a variety of music but my university years were spent in the gay clubs of Manchester and Bristol where I wore the Official Lesbian Uniform of Doc Martins, combat trousers (handy for keeping keys and cash in), T-shirt and check shirt. Which is pretty much what I wear now. I still used to get accused of being straight because of having waist length hair. I'd have to snog my girlfriend in front of the bouncers sometimes because they were getting tired of straight girls intruding. Different times etc.

    My mum hates it when I say I'm a member of the underclass. She says anyone with two degrees can't be a member and that I am "bohemian" instead. She can be a terrible snob sometimes.

    I believe Alan Moore and David Lloyd also get a cut of the money from the V mask, which makes it fine in my book.

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  18. There was a great little mockumentary about a boy hand years ago. There was a funny bit where they got a gig at a gay club but one of the lad's dad's acted on the door and he didn't realise.

    "Sorry lads, mixed couples only"

    For bonus points the club was called Ring of Fire.

    Yeah I think my working class hero credentials were blown a bit when I started having lunch at the Athenaeum. Funny thing is, their Facebook page describes them as 'social club'. They weren't too amused though when I asked what time the bingo started.

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  19. Finally got hold of Mountains of Madness. Wow, not what I was expecting at all, but you keep recommending stuff, loved it.

    See what you mean about how modern it is. For some reason I always imagine Lovecraft to have a Victorian/Edwardian vibe. Maybe because of that Gaiman story. But this could have been set in contemporary times (apart from we have explored the Antarctic a bit). You could film it with a modern setting though. Just such a surprise to have an aeroplane. I had visions of pith helmets and machetes. Which of course would be a bit daft down there.

    But also it's a real 'trope maker'. How many films today have that 'deciphering the wall art' to get the backstory thing? Also I'm presuming that's where we get 'starfish aliens' from?

    It reminded me a lot of "Who Goes There", the story that was adapted as "The Thing". That's probably deliberate. But what I particularly loved wad the fact that the story not only references "Arthur Gordon Pym" or seems to be set in the same 'universe'. I love 'AGP'. Not just because it eerily predicted that real cannibal case I'm fascinated by, but it's also such a brilliant story and told so well. 'Mountains' is in the same vein, and basically a sequel.

    Glad also to see someone else finds penguins a bit suspect. They're cute and all. Until you imagine they're at a fascist rally.

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  20. Oh brilliant glad you liked it, I'm pretty sure Lovecraft in general has inspired many tropes, "Go Mad From The Revelation" is probably his most used one! As for other recommendations, of his short stories "The Colour Out Of Space" is generally considered his best by most fans, including me. Also "The Rats In The Walls" is great (bar the racist name the beloved black cat of the main character has, HP loved cats), and "The Call of Cthulu" kicked off the mythos of the same name. I could overwhelm you with many more suggestions, but those are the ones off the top of my head. When I am done catching up with the Resident Evil videogames I shall do a reread and pick out some more you might like.

    You might find this short article on the Lovecraft wikia interesting, it talks about Robert E. Howard and how Lovecraft basically created the idea of a shared universe that many people contribute towards via his correspondence with fellow authors around at the same time.

    http://lovecraft.wikia.com/wiki/Robert_E._Howard

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  21. Possibly my favorite (or at least least likely) Lovecraft thingy is this:

    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Sweet_Ermengarde

    I feel like I've to apologise in advance now. ˇ^^;

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  22. Where did my comment go... O.o

    I was talking about the Lovecraft story "Sweet Ermengarde" and that I might need to apologise for even mentioning it. ^^;

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  23. I can see why he got on with Howard. They have very similar styles. REH also died very young of course and had certain issues in his life. That may have been a bond too.

    I'll track down those two. I like the title Colour of Space. Sounds like a Hawkwind album.

    Enjoy your zombie splatting. I've never seen the games of course but I like the films.

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  24. You know I have just finished reading the latest Mammoth post, how coincidental, a tasty blend of Lovecraft and cookery and the with the addition of the bitter taste of Incels to season.

    Also, huzzah someone else who likes the Resident Evil films, they are one of my guilty pleasures even though bar some of the second one they have literally nothing to do with the games. The games don't even have zombies in since Resident Evil 4, it's all about weirdo mutants instead.

    @Malitia: My collections of Lovecraft were the first ones published in the UK in the early sixties that I nicked off my dad, so they are a bit all over the place when it comes to his non-horror stuff and I haven't read that story.. yet.

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  25. My Lovecraft collection is this (it's also pretty much the only halfway complete collection of it published in my language):

    https://www.goodreads.com/series/105372-howard-phillips-lovecraft-sszes-m-vei

    No, I've no clue how the Hungarian publication got on goodreads. ^^;

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  26. Obviously a lot of Hungarians have good taste in their literary horror?

    Anyway, I definitely need a new compilation or set of compilations, my volumes are over 50 years old now and getting very delicate. Hmmm, I might add that to my Easter present list now.

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  27. I like coincidences like that. I seem to go through phases where it happens a lot. Probably just some confirmation bias thing but I'm happy to assume it's magic. Clearly though fate wants me to read more Lovecraft.

    The RE films are great. Pure popcorn fun. What I don't understand in zombie films though is why they don't just pre emptively smear themselves with Domestos so it wouldn't matter if they got bitten.

    I sometimes wonder how I'd do against zombies. There's a Krav training exercise called 'zombie drill'. Basically one person is the target. Everyone else walks slowly with there arms out and tries to strangle you. So you have to continuously do the front and rear choke defences. Even though they go slow it's surprisingly knackering. Probably easier with a kukri.

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  28. I've often argued that having a sword in a zombie apocalypse would be way more useful than a gun. To kill a zombie you have to de-brain it and I contend (m'lud) that flailing at them with a sword would be much easier than having to pull off perfect spine severing headshots everytime. Plus as long as you can keep it sharp you won't run into eventual ammo scarcity.

    I don't think domestos would work. Most zombies are created by viruses not bacteria. In the Resident Evil games the experiments were to create a virus that mutated people into Bio-Weapons like the Tyrant you see in the second film. That only happened in a few cases and everyone else ended up as zombies. Later games has the virus improved upon so infected people are still vicious and feral but capable of using weapons and operating under orders.

    I've spoken of my love of dvd commentaries before and the ones for the Resident Evil films are hilarious, especially the first one. Milla Jovavich is a right laugh.

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  29. A kukri would be a good choice. It would be tempting to go for something with more reach so you can keep a bit of distance, but then it gets a bit unwieldy. And I don't think that's worth the trade off. Shotguns have a lot of blam power but heads and especially spines are a small target. I'm not sure how familiar you are with them but they have a thing called 'choke'. That's how much they spread. At short range that's pretty much as tight as the barrel diameter. Even sawn off shotguns are pretty close grouping, but they are very maneuverable. I'd probably keep one as a back up.

    Love Milla. She's great in those films.

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  30. Oh I only know shottys via videogames and they happen to be my fave weapon of choice in games like Gears of War which have both pump action auto, a mid-distance choice and sawn-offs double barreled which are lethal at close range but balanced by the fact you have to reload after each shot. In Resident Evil 5 which I have just finished the story of and am now replaying to find all the collectibles and level up my weapons, the first weapon I fully upgraded and bought Infinite Ammo for was my trusty M3 shotgun. Makes packs of virus addled monster humans much easier to handle, knockback ftw. I tend to play my shooting games like I see in cop shows though, I always aim centre mass not the head. So any achievement relying on a certain number of headshots is a pain for me because I can't help shooting in the "correct" manner.

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  31. I love the sound when you eject the cartridges from double barreled shotguns. I don't know if they emulate it in the game but it's just one of those sounds that gives you a tingle. Sort of 'wub'. Of course being a snob I prefer over/under than side by side. I like to think I'll bring a bit of class to any zombie apocalypse.

    Center mass is the best approach. If you ever shoot a pump gun in real life remember to cycle the gun round the action. So basically you hold the slide grip still and push the gun forward, rather than pull the pump back. It's more reliable and it brings you back on the same target quicker.

    Semi autos are nice. They're heavier and need maintaining more but they absorb the recoil better. Firing a regular shotty is like being punched in the shoulder. I'd be properly black and blue after a clay session.

    Now you've got me all nostalgic. I want to go shooting now.

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  32. I'd LOVE to go shooting. I'm quite obssessed with guns, I like to nitpick them when wrongness about one appears in a TV show. My not-brother in law went to a stag do in Poland where they got too shoot stuff and he got to bring his target sheet home too. Sounded ace fun.

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  33. When my ship comes in (do you have that saying?) I'll definitely take you shooting. It is great fun. Target shooting is quite zenith. All that 'fire between heartbeats' stuff, but there's also something brilliantly visceral (and a bit childish) in just filling some old containers with water and blamming them with a shotgun.

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  34. I love Kim Newman:

    https://youtu.be/d8eMR94rewg

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  35. My US gal pal told me of all the fun you could have with water melons and a shotgun. Messy but satisfyingly so.

    As for Kim Newman.... ooh info. Both that he's done a comic and two that he's updated Nightmare Movies, the first edition of that which I got in 1992 was pretty much my horror bible for ages. Will be checking both those out.

    Sorry I haven't done a post today, I like to kick off the 1st of the month with one but halfway through writing it up I spilled boiling oatmeal on my right hand and my fingers are too tender to type with. Hopefully I'll be able to finish it in the next day or so.

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  36. I saw about your hand on Mammoth. Ouch, my sympathies. You poor thing though. You're so always in the wars. Are you related to that unlucky chap in the Fast Show perchance? ("Oh, bugger"). Mind you, isn't oatmeal supposed to be good for skin? They put it in expensive skin care products, so it'll probably pay off in the end.

    I haven't read a lot of Kim Newman. Although what I have I've loved. I just think he's a very insightful and knowledgeable critic and commentator. Used to see him pootling around Upper Street when I was in London. Should have said hello really. I smiled at his comments about the options not being exercised just earning him money. I admire his attitude. Now I'm reminded of a story of his called Tomorrow Town. I love that and I must send it to a friend. It's got that real 60/70s vibe and it really reminds me of her for reasons. (Basically she's Barbarella, the original comic version actually looks like she modelled for it! It's just her). She's the other Manc lass so I'm hoping you get to meet her soon.

    Oh, and yet another email sent.

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  37. I am a massive klutz it's true. Always been clumsy and not particularly concerned with my phsysical well being, which I am trying to change. Diet of broad beans, oatmeal and much fruit. It seems to be working. I now fit back into my shorts, They are fat bastard shorts so I still have a ways to go but at least its going slow and steady. No crash dieting here.

    If the updated Nightmare MOvies is as good as the original you owe to yourself as a horror movie fan to pick it up. He crams so much in yet it remains very easily readable and interesting.

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  38. I'm glad your healthy lifestyle is going so well. I've slipped a bit. I was doing so well but then I got a massive chocolate craving. Luckily I found an old box of Nesquick in the fridge. I'm now looking at an incriminatingly brown spoon. If anyone asks though I'll just say I was shooting up some smack.

    Speaking of horror. I've had access to a TV recently and there's been a Ben Wheatley season. Don't know much about him but I like his films. There's one in particular called Kill List. Don't know if you're familiar with it but it's the nearest thing I've ever seen that captures the spirit of the Wicker Man.

    I'm in a nicely surreal place anyway. There's been a piece of work I've been avoiding for over two months now. Had that thing of going to bed thinking "Right, *definitely* tomorrow". But finally got round to it last week. It's just so weird not having it hanging over me. Keep thinking 'sure there's something that I should be worrying about'. It's like mental phantom limb syndrome.

    It's also finally proper summer here. I need to get some new shorts though. Someone asked me "are you intentionally going for the paedophile scout master look?"

    You're such an inspiration though I think I'll head out and stock up on fruit. And maybe a pack of Nesquick, just for emergencies.

    Oh, and did you get chance to see the video? Curious as to your thoughts.

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  39. You've inspired me as well, getting me back interested in martial arts again. Of course you shouldn't feel too bad about the occasional craving, though I'm at least fortunate that I don't much like chocolate, toffee popcorn is my vice.

    I still have a long way to go, but weight is safest off at a slow and steady rate without crash dieting and yo-yo dieting. I'm just unfortunate in that the pain meds give me a big appetite and ridiculous constipation, hence going for a high fibre diet to try and get things moving down there.

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