Friday, July 31, 2009

Good scenes

This is the best scene from a tv movie called “Woman In Black”,, which was a Susan Hill novel. But it is a SPOILER!!! The whole film is on Youtube, but not very good quality. Universal is not allowing it to ever be shown on tv again or be released on DVD. Why in the world would they decide to keep it away from people. It’s a decent film, I wouldn’t urge you to watch it or anything.
I recently saw Martyrs, I had mixed feelings about it but the only thing I really loved in it was that wild woman, That was actually surprisingly scary. I just wish the whole film was supposed to be scary. I’m still a bit angry at the lack of films that even try to be scary, it seems so obvious to me that there should be horror films that try to be scary. I’ve encountered so many people who are too scared to watch horror films, I envy those expectations they have.
I think the whole “unpleasant and thought provoking” movement is not nearly as intelligent as people convince/lie themselves that it is. I dare you to scare me, stop trying to find a way to convince the literary crowd that your horror stories have some political “relevance”.
Just over a year ago, before I got my job, I felt like I could really bite into an atmosphere in any given place/room/time as if I could taste and smell it. The autumn of 2007 had a really vivid flavour and I haven’t felt anything like that in the last year. Every season used to have this strong feeling about it which would grow over time and become exaggerated in the memory.
I’m a bit worried I’m losing some sensory sensitivity. I used to be able to walk into a place and really relish the atmosphere, maybe I’ve just got bored of my surroundings or maybe the fascination with these things just comes and goes at certain points in your life.
I used to be of the opinion that comics should be a small cult thing that could be further “ruined” by the masses if the masses started liking them. Then I changed to think that comics should be for everyone,, as big as any other medium and therefore there would still be 90% trash, but the 10% of good comics would expand along with the expansion of trash.
Now I’m starting to wish the medium just died and it would be a tiny niche of people who really NEEDED to express themselves that way.
All the comics I see look like they don’t really truly need to be doing this, they just cant find a better way to make a living. I don’t want to insult these people, I truly want to help them now. I think if everyone was shown the more amazing ends of what can be achieved, they would start wanting to be something amazing.
I don’t mean to ass kiss, but Monster Brains and various other art blogs and all the great music has shown me the light, I would’ve been a much lesser artist if I hadn’t looked at these things. You only go for the good things when you have seen them and know they really exist.
I want to be like a motivational speaker who shows people what they can achieve if they pull themselves out of the muck and aim for the sky.

But part of me feels a little sad that a lot of these movies and comics don’t have the same power over me that they used to,,, but it’s actually a beautiful thing, it makes us want to find something more powerful and even create something great. All my disappointments turn into motivation. People often complain that humans are never content with what we have,, but I think that dissatisfaction is one of our greatest qualities,,, you’ve heard me say this stuff again and again and again,, but I feel like I need to refine the argument and drum it in. Prepare to hear me repeat this stuff again and again, but hopefully in a more inspiring way each time.

I think I could really make people hate me for all my preaching, because in the comic shops I just want to go up to people and say “Do you really really want this? Why do you want this? Will it really make you happy?”,, the fanboy reaction to this could be really hostile, because most of them have convinced themselves over decades that they really do need Star Wars toys and all sorts of merchandise that I think has no real artistic value.
It was painful when I realised I how much crap I had spent hundreds of pounds on, but it had to happen or else I’d be one of those collectors who ends up believing that he really is getting his moneys worth.
There is a music journalist called Mick Mercer and he writes a series of books on goth music and I bought his 1997 book the other day,, he is really funny and sometimes a bit rude about bands and fans he doesn’t like. But there were two really interesting things about the book. One thing was that in 1997, that he was saying that the “real” goth had not even begun yet, and his books were part of an effort to help the genre push in more ambitious directions. Everyone has an idealised version or versions of their favourite genres and subcultures, but I thought it was odd that he had a vision of an ideal future version of goth. I wish more people would dress like characters in Cabinet of Dr Caligari and less of the leather and hair dye((( a little bit of that is fine here and there))). More church organs and ghostly choirs I say!
The other bizarre thing was that how much exhaustive info there was. There was a worldwide list of bands, people, clubs, shops and all sorts of cult societies. He was disinterested in all the pagan, fetish and vampire cults, but he included them because they asked for it. The interesting thing is that I used to see lots of odd looking people and shops when I went to town around 1990-2004,, and it all disappeared. The obvious explanation is that all the shops moved to the internet and all the people stay on the internet chatting, only coming out at night to go to obscure clubs. But that doesent explain why I NEVER ever see any odd looking people anymore at all. It’s almost scary,, you used to be guaranteed to see atleast one person dressed like a freak, it’s as if someone has killed them all. You still get your standard looking metalheads, but you never see anyone who looks really extreme or “out there” anymore.
You must have read or heard atleast one sci-fi story where all the outsiders are being picked off the streets by some sinister organisation.
That book proves to me that there was lots of those people going around, I wasn’t imagining it. Where did they all go?
Some nice art in Monster Club by John Bolton...



Keep refining it & repeating the message. It's a good one & made better by the fact that i agree with it.

Funny thing you mention Mick Mercer, i got his first Goth book a while ago, it's fantastic, much better than the second one, the first one is about the old goth world, more from a music journalist/historian mode, while the second one is more like a goth yellowpages or something... it was a fun read for sure, but the earlier one was cooler. Anyhow, what's weird is that i've been on a goth kick for the last month, listening to the more rockin' goth stuff like the Cult, Sisters of Mercy & the like, but i just downloaded Mick Mercer's "Gothic Rock ultimate collection" this morning & then you post this. Anyhow, check that collection out, i used to have the cassette version of it, which was much less exhaustive but it was a fantastic selection of the music.

I'd love to see you prosletyzing the comic nerds. I do it already when i go to the shops but they're afraid of me so nothing happens, the girls usually want to argue because they know i wont kill them though. The guys are like, "why is this terrifying man telling me to not buy this."

Robert Adam Gilmour said...

There are 6 Mick Mercer goth books, a new one((600 pages!!!))) just came out this year. I might just buy them all.
Funny thing, I still havent really heard a lot of the classic goth bands, I got a Bauhaus((Flat Field))album and I only understood a couple of the songs, I'll probably get some more. I have mixed feelings about the sound of a lot of the original goth music, because a lot of it is really rocking and fun, which is fine, but that is not what I'm looking for most of the time.
As you would imagine, I strongly lean towards the Banshees/Cure/Dead Can Dance/Cocteau Twins/4AD side of things where atmosphere is prioritised with strong shoegazing, ambient and folk elements. Mercer is a fan of that stuff and it has became one of the dominant styles, but a lot of the bands dont actually consider themselves Goth.

I looked at the tracklisting of that compilation and I'm going to buy the albums of most of those bands. I like Christian Death.

The thing about Mercer which is surprising is how mocking he can be for a goth fan,, people have actually tried to kill him several times and he just brushes it off as if he didnt care.

I have to admit a lot of his mocking really made me laugh,, but I've come to feel that mocking and agressively criticizing anything is a bad idea and it creates long term problems which are hard to shake of the consequences. I think everyone really benefits when you are criticizing in a thoughtful and helpful manner, you feel better about yourself and the people you are criticizing are more likely to accept your criticisms if you show them you actually want to help them,, rather than just calling them "shit". It's really satisfying when you politely articulate why you dont like something.

...That brings me to the fanboys and poor comic artists,, I dont want to call them idiots, I want to show them what they could be if they are prepared to let go of their habits.
I think when you learn the truth about the comic industry and the cycles it goes through, you feel insulted. I recently read a writer talk about how most of those "kill the character off then bring them back" storylines were motivated by copyright and liscensing issues. I just hate to see people buy into these superhero events.
The sad thing is that even if DC and Marvel do die, the characters are worth so much money that we are likely to see Spiderman being exploited in all sorts of poor products until we die. The business men wouldnt let go of such a big property and would fight tooth and nail to make money off of the characters.

One recent thing that ticked me off was overhearing two guys talking about how they were saving up for Doctor Who figures and an expensive metal replica mask of the Terminator. I dont have the guts to confront them about it, and the shop owners are too nice for me to take away possible sales from them.
How could someone feel okay about making money off of cartoony Chtulhu stuffed toys?

This stuff drives me over the edge, look at the prices...
The toys and models I do like are few and far between. They have to stand up by themselves and not just look like "merchandise". The reason I think t-shirts are okay is that if I'm wearing a t-shirt of my favorite character and an obscure prog band, it serves as clothing and people can come up to you and say "I like that thing too, lets be friends!"

What was it you were discouraging people from buying?

Human Mollusk said...

I live in a city (and a part of that city) where you see some kind of freak every time you step out your door(a lot of goths, too).
But yeah, I have the impression we live in a period of conservative roll-back, a Neo-Biedermeier.

Those John Bolto images are real nice, especially the final two, with the dancing ghouls.

Human Mollusk said...


Human Mollusk said...

That woman in the first clip totally looks like a character out of a drawing of yours, Robert.

Robert Adam Gilmour said...

Yes, I liked that scene because it looked like something I might have done, that is the way a large percentage of my taste goes.

Those "freaks", goths and other somewhat extreme personalities I used to see partly puzzle me because it seems that there used to be people who were into a totally different set of things and maybe even a totally different way of life and I wonder if they could have been potential friends or atleast an interesting bunch of people to overhear their conversations. I assume that a lot of them got tired of dressing up ((( I never started dressing up because I dont feel it is worth the time, money and effort))),, but there is a strong feeling that they have gone somewhere. I did actually see lots of those types of people at a Butthole Surfers concert last summer, but that was the only time in a very long time I seen anyone who looked like that.

It's not even that I think these people were all cool or anything, I'm sure a lot of them were unpleasant as anyone else,,, but the sad thing is the idea of variety in people dying.

When I was 4-8, I often imagined I would grow up to be this goth with crazy hair, strong white and black make-up, piercings and chains everywhere, wearing long leather coats, smoking and drinking in graveyards all night long.
It was mostly the appeal of cartoonish excess, not really a desire to smoke or drink((I have never done either of those)) and even into my early teens I toyed with the idea of make-up, but I knew it wasnt worth the bother.
The dying of subcultural minorities is like the sadness of finding out there are not any amount of scary horror films... my childhood ideas of the way I thought the world was are being killed. Those gothic cathedrals and baroque mansions are something to cling onto that reminds me of how I thought the world should look.

Human Mollusk said...

Robert, are you in contact with the crowd that does this scottish horror comic?


Robert, it's all well worth it, the excess, dressing up, drinking in graveyards etc. You still have time! Think of it as art, which can be very easily seen as "not worth the time", i guarantee that it's worth it. But, then again, if you haven't done it all ready, if you don't already have the tendency... that air of romance is very attractive to the ladies... i've always wished for artists to better resemble their work, provided of course i like their art in the first place!

Human Mollusk said...

In a cemetary around the corner where we sometimes go for a walk there's a gravestone on which it actually says "Ghoul Family" (only it's the German word for ghoul).

Chad Verrill said...

One of your drawings is in the August issue of Previews magazine here in America. I expect you knew that but I just saw it and thought I'd let you know just in case.


Aeron said...

What is Robert's artwork associated with in the magazine? I didn't know you were getting stuff published, Robert!