Monday, 20 January 2014


We believe that long suppressed apocalyptic neurosis is the reason the US government are still so aggressively paranoid about everything, i.e. having unleashed the atomic genie seventy years ago, they are still psychologically scarred by the idea that someone might turn it on them. We understand entirely, but they need to get over it - talk it over with a good psychiatrist, perhaps - maybe take up golf.

There's that obsession with strength again. These comics are over fifty years old, but the message is like a sound bite from today's news. No country wants to be weak, of course, but, just like a Friday night, if you go out expecting trouble, you usually get into a fight - and the consequences can be unpleasant.

They call this era of US comics THE GOLDEN AGE, by the way, but pretty much everything is overshadowed by war (the last one; the current one; the next one) and the horrors of science. Bit like TOMTIT loving the seventies and forgetting about immersion heaters, strikes and the IRA, of course.

In 1967, country music renegade Johnny Paycheck recorded ‘The Cave’, a strange, time shifting paean to the end of the world. It’s one of a number of unsettling songs that Paycheck released on the Little Darlin’ label, including ‘(Pardon Me) I’ve Got Someone To Kill’, ‘(Like Me) You’ll Recover In Time’ (sung from the perspective of a jilted husband - in an asylum), ‘Don’t Monkey With Another Monkey’s Monkey’ and ‘If I’m Gonna Sink (I Might As Well As Go To The Bottom)’. 

For us, the best Country music is a perfect blend of the searingly honest and the completely contrived. Paycheck walked that line, his mannered delivery and sensational subject matter counter-balanced by his apparent sincerity and real life behaviour (drugs, drink, forgery, rape, shooting people), which established his credentials as a man permanently on the edge of a brawl or a breakdown. There was nothing fake about Johnny, except his name (his real name was Donald Lytle). He died in 2003, much older than his 64 years.

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