Thursday, 3 December 2020

December 3rd, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.

Strange things were afoot in 1909.

Amongst them was that a group of people staged a play in Egypt, in an attempt to lift a curse that had, allegedly, been placed upon the pharaoh Akenhaten in 1354 BC. I only know this because, on this night in 1980, BBC One broadcast a documentary about the attempt.

Whether the bid to lift the curse succeeded, I cannot say and that is why I've resisted all temptation to try and locate his tomb, even though it's already been located.

Titans pocket book #2, Captain America

It's clear we're being treated to the origin of Captain America. Surely, the least-told story in comic book history.

But that's all that's clear, as I've no knowledge of what else occurs within this month's publication.

However, from that corner box, I'm assuming Thor's also appearing.

Star Heroes pocket book #9

And it's another one whose contents are a bigger mystery than a Toyah Wilcox hit. All I can say with any kind of certainty is the stars of Battlestar Galactica would appear to be up against a monster.

If that's the bad news, the good news is this issue's a hundred pages long and doubles-up as a winter special.

Hulk pocket book #2

It's virtually doubtless this issue contains the tale where the Hulk's blasted into space, returns with no will of his own, becomes a puppet of Rick Jones, learns to leap and has to tackle the awe-inspiring might of the Circus of Crime before they set their sights on victory over their true nemesis Howard the Duck.

Chiller pocket book #9, Man-Thing

And it's another hundred-page special, as a group of occultists takes an interest in the Man-Thing for reasons that are not altogether clear to me.

In another Man-Thing tale, some kind of plague of madness is sweeping the globe - and I assume the swampy protagonist will, somehow, be the key to ending it.

Conan the Barbarian pocket book #2

Conan tackles the peril of the grim grey god, goes up the tower of the elephant and enters the clutches of Zukala's daughter. All in one issue. It's never a quiet moment for the world's most heroic criminal.

Fantastic Four pocket book #9, Dr Doom

Cheeky Dr Doom's stolen the Silver Surfer's powers and is now in the process of trying to take over the world with them.

And only the Fantastic Four can stop him.

Or can they?

What's more, it's another hundred-pager.

Spider-Man pocket book #9, the Human Torch

And yet more hundred-page madness, as Peter Parker and Flash Thompson agree to settle their differences, in the boxing ring.

However, that's the least of their worries, as a killer robot, with the smarts to guess Spider-Man's true identity, is let loose in their high school.

Unless I miss my guess, this is the tale in which our hero disposes of his glasses for good.

Also, we get the story in which Spider-Man decides to gatecrash Dorrie Evans' birthday party and finds himself coming to blows with the Human Torch.

Young Romance pocket book #2

More tear-stained love trauma for a hapless bunch of young women in need of learning a valuable life lesson.

Rampage Monthly #30, X-Men vs Magneto

The X-Men find themselves up against Magneto again - and then find themselves being quickly defeated by him.

It is noticeable that the phrase, "X-Men," is now larger on the cover than the word, "Rampage."

Frantic #10

It would appear we're about to receive Marvel's take on The Shining.

Savage Action #2, the Punisher

We're treated to yet more of the Punisher's origin, which, judging by that cover, may be a little violent.

Night Raven's up against the Phantom of Walpole Towers.

Dominic Fortune has to thwart a plot to cause an earthquake in California.

And Moon Knight must defeat a plan to steal an ancient Egyptian artefact.

Doctor Who Magazine #47, Patrick Troughton

The Fourth Doctor encounters a bunch of people who've ditched their televisions because they prefer to spend their time dreaming.

There's only one problem. A number of the dreamers have started dying!

Elsewhere, we get a retelling of the show's 10th anniversary story The Three Doctors.

And, because that event was a long time ago, there's also an eight-page pullout celebrating the show's 17th anniversary.

As if that wasn't enough, we're also treated to a text version of the 1960s Ice Warriors adventure The Seeds of Death.

And that's all before we finish off with Deathstar, a tale about the creation of time travel.

Marvel Superheroes #368, Avengers vs the Collector

It's another bad day at the office, as the Avengers find themselves captured by the Collector.

Meanwhile, the X-Men take the injured Havok to be treated by a doctor.

The only hitch is the Doctor's Karl Lykos who promptly drains off a chunk of Havok's life force and turns into Sauron the pterodactyl man!

I hate it when doctors do that.

In the Champions' strip, the Black Widow has to take on Darkstar, which sounds like it should be a fairly one-sided fight.

Starburst #28, Flash Gordon

What's this?

Flash Gordon, Joanna Lumley and Paul Darrow?

What more could one demand of a magazine?

Empire Strikes Back #141

It would appear that Lando Calrissian meets his boyhood idol who lets him down greatly by having turned into a pacifist.

Killraven finally manages to bump off his old nemesis The Keeper but finds he gains no pleasure from it.

We get a two-page report about the 1980 Marvel Comics Film and Fantasy Convention.

And we get more from Marvel's adaptation of the original Star Wars movie, in which Luke, Han, Chewie and Obi-Wan make a hasty getaway from Tatooine.

Savage Sword of Conan #38

Conan's still blundering his way through the Hour of the Dragon.

I have to say that's a very long hour. He's been at it for months now.

Elsewhere, it would appear Red Sonja's in mortal combat with Conan, though I'm not sure what the tale is.

Could it be the Frank Thorne drawn epic from Marvel Feature #7 in which the pair clash over an attempt to acquire a page from the Book of Skelos?

Team-Up #12, Daredevil

Spider-Man and Iron Fist are still trying to stop the man who's living his life backwards.

Meanwhile, the Watcher continues to ask what would have happened if the world knew Daredevil is blind.

Franklin Richards is still being possessed by Agatha Harkness' son.

Ms Marvel's in the process of fleeing Modok's lair.

The Torpedo's out to discover who the mystery person is behind the Rocketeers gang.

And Morbius has been captured by a bunch of cat-people.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #404

Belladonna's trapped Spidey and the new Prowler in an inescapable room she's about to fill with gas.

And the Hulk's on Jarella's world, living the life of a barbarian. I suspect this may be a Tales of the Watcher story.

Future Tense #5, Adam Warlock

Odd John's captured Arcturus and is about to skewer him on a pin.

But he'll be doing nothing of the sort if Marionette has her way.

Meanwhile, Odd John's killer-insects are on the loose - and nothing can stop them.

But Ant-Man's going to have a good try.

In a totally different strip, a barbaric world sees a woman called Shandra blundering around with her yetis and having flashbacks to when she lived in more hi-tech surroundings.

Elsewhere, Adam Warlock emerges from his cocoon to thwart the Man-Beast's attempt to kill the High Evolutionary.

And Star-Lord rescues a man from some people with wings.

Valour #5, Devil Dinosaur

A gang of cavemen attacks Devil Dinosaur and Moonboy.

And then, just to make things worse, an aggressive iguanodon shows up!

Elsewhere, some bloke or other tells Merlin and Arthur the story of how he once fought a fire-breathing dragon.

But can this tall-tale-telling stranger be trusted?

Clea's gone missing and Dr Strange hires himself a new assistant before setting out to discover where his girlfriend's got to.

Conan's now chief of the Bamulas but they're about to come up against a bunch of vampires.

And, in this week's Tales of Asgard, the youthful Thor tries to single-handedly fend off an attack on his homeland. An attempt for which he gets rewarded with a big hammer.

Forces in Combat #30, Kull

It looks like Kull's about to tackle the monster from Night of the Demon. I have no doubt the king shall prevail.

And ROM gatecrashes a phoney Dire Wraith funeral.


Anonymous said...

'Spider-man & Hulk Weekly' # 404

As well as the two stories Steve mentioned, this issue has a third tale - the She-Hulk! On side-kick Richard Rory's first date with Jen Walters, he decides to bore her, by reviewing all his recent hard-knocks stories. Maybe Rory didn't want a second date! Yet strangely, Jen Walters survives Richard Rory's recitation without falling asleep, skewering his problems with some neat psychobabble - which Rory himself elaborates on! Rory pays his chauffeur off, letting him keep the limo, before whisking Jen off to Citrusville (how romantic swamp country is!) As Jen's a lawyer, she's perfectly placed to help Richard with his land purchase - but first they need to find the mysterious Mr.F.A.Schist!

'Spider-man & Hulk Weekly' is different this week - for a start, Spider-man has 17 whole pages, so you can really sink your teeth into the story, for once. The art is by Marie Severin, which is quite interesting, with Belladonna & her alter ego drawn to look like Lauren Bacall. Gas seems to be used as a weapon in almost every Roger Stern story - also Peter once again displays 'outdated attitudes', referring to his date, Debra Whitman, as "Kid." The Prowler is, of course, a fake Prowler, who has stolen Hobie Brown's costume, as Spidey learns, when he finds Hobie.

In Hulk, the Banner-Hulk fights alongside Jarella's champions (a bit like the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, but not individualized) against the Voice of the Dark Gods. Eventually, the Hulk fights a duplicate Hulk (yawn), before the Watcher's head pops up in the final panel, just to make sure the reader knows it's a "What if?" Not very good.


Anonymous said...

'Forces in Combat' # 30

The cover boasts, "BRITAIN'S PREMIER FANTASY & ACTION WEEKLY" - does that mean 'Valour' is second rate? Don't answer that! Also, the cover's monster fighting Kull is a furry demon when, in reality, the monster is an intangible shadow!

ROM - at the start, a shadowy figure starts bumping off dire-wraiths - it looks like one of those lizard monsters Ms.Marvel will later fight. At the fake funeral, the dire wraiths are getting stroppy, so the elder wraith/priest threatens them with Deathwing - and after ROM gate crashes the funeral, the wraith priest order Deathwing to attack ROM, combining Wraith science & Wraith sorcery!

In Kull, the hunchback sends Kull to retrieve a flower (like the millennial bloom, in Captain Marvel?) in the heart of a shadow - ostensibly to revive Kull's mysterious lady-friend. But this was a trick! The shadow comes to life, and attacks Kull - his axe proving useless, as it passes straight through the shadow, which can nevertheless drain Kull's life-force!

Just like the hunchback in Kull, in 'Weirdworld' the wizard Grithstane holds Tyndall the elf's lady friend hostage, demanding that Tyndall, like Kull, perform a mission, if he wants his girl released! The ugly wizard wants Tyndall to retrieve some dragon's blood, so he can bathe in it, and regain his lost youth ( vaguely like Elizabeth Bathory?) The old wizard wants to impress his own maiden, who is chained up. The dragon's blood is on a ring shaped island in the sky - Ringworld? No!

Machine Man starts with Pamela Quinn defending Aaron Stack from some office gossip, at the water cooler. Meanwhile, a mysterious lady "clean energy" scientist is caught in the heart of an industrial explosion - Aaron Stack's boss, who knows his secret identity, sends him over to investigate!

Rawhide Kid returns, with the Kid rescuing a family from a bunch of "owlhoots"; but the story ends with the family thinking the Kid, himself, was the meanest of all the owlhoots! No good deed goes unpunished!

The Fury story, showing bad editorial judgement, includes those two German words every Fury story taught you, "Achtung!" & "Jawohl!" The page count ends with a "Great Escape" device, with the Howlers using a tunnel, not to exit the prison camp, but to enter the admin centre, to steal some German uniforms, to breakout!


Anonymous said...

'Team-up' # 12

Public knowledge that Daredevil's blind leads the Owl to deduce DD's other senses must be hyper-sensitive. So the Owl overwhelms DD's supersenses! The Owl also realizes Karen Page is a weak-spot for DD, too. Daredevil just survives. Karen tries to get Matt to visit a doctor who will cure his blindness, thinking it makes no difference now. Daredevil has misgivings.

The Fantastic Four send Johnny to fetch Dr.Strange, but he's unavailable. A woman near Dr. Strange's place calls a mysterious arcane-type, named 'Gabriel.' In the end, the FF sedate bonkers Franklin, and take him to Agatha Harkness - who is expecting them!

In 3 measly pages, Ms.Marvel escapes Modok.

In the Torpedo, the mysterious Mr.Big is Senator Stivak, the uncle of the original Torpedo (like Paladin, Torpedo started out in Daredevil, with better art!) The Torpedo gets captured for being too cocky, and is chained up by Spivak, like Spider-woman (Hangman) or Ms.Marvel (Modok). But will Torpedo be bored to death by a lecture, whilst chained up? Or does this only happen to female superheroes?

Morbius has appalling art this week - the Cat demons throw Morbius in a river. That's all the story deserves, really.

Phillip - just finished before 'Public Eye'at 9pm!

Anonymous said...

Unaccustomed as I am to being picky about your marvelous posts Steve, I do feel obliged to point out that the Dr Who story about the creation of time travel is actually called 'Star Death'.

Its notable for being an early Alan Moore short - with artist John Stokes - and for (I think) introducing a Time War into Dr Who, although that doesn't become clear til his follow up short with David Lloyd, '4-D War' a few months later.
If you're interested - and why wouldn't you be if you're into Who? - you can read all three Time War stories posted together at:

They make for a fascinating read, really compressed old skool British style comics - a whole trilogy packed into 12 pages (as well as the Time Lord stuff, theres also the first appearance of the Special Executive) - and you can see Moore really improving as a writer as he goes.


Anonymous said...

Sweet Christmas! Rampage Monthly seem to be reprinting Luke Cage out of sequence.
Having jumped from his origin to that story where Luke goes to the South Yorkshire of the east, Latveria, they appear to have backtracked to the one where a geezer imitating the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future threatens to nuke Noo Yawk.

If Marvel UK were going to jump around, its a pity they didn't reprint the three issues of Power Man (and pair of MTU stories with Iron Fist and the Daughters of the Dragon} by Claremont and Byrne later, as they had a bit of a crossover thing going on with their X-Men stories.


Anonymous said...

The X-Men story on Rampage's cover, taken from X-Men # 112, is the first X-Men comic I ever read. Moreover, I think it's the best single X-Men issue ever - everything you need to know about the New X-Men, perfectly encapsulated in one issue. Byrne is at his best; the soap opera elements don't get out of control - and, what's more, you get a Perez cover & a Byrne interior - the best of both worlds - like Avengers # 166 (Nefaria), & Marvel Team up # 65 (Captain Britain vs Spidey.) Sean - I expect you strongly disagree!


Steve W. said...

Phillip, thanks for those awesome summaries. Peter Parker's relationship with Debra Whitman really never felt healthy to me.

Sean, thanks for that link, and for the correction and elucidation. :)

Anonymous said...

Don't know about #112 being the best single all-new, all-different X-Men issue, Phillip - I preferred #111 (hey, its set in a circus!) and the Savage Land ones just after, probably because I remembered Garokk and Zaladane from Ka-Zar reprints in Planet of the Apes - but that is probably their best run, and had it been my first I expect I'd think the same.

But I don't want to disappoint you, so I will strongly disagree about the Spidey/Captain Brexit team up. The Claremont/Byrne MTUs are a bit of a mixed bag imo, and that isn't one of the better ones.
C'mon, Brian Braddock goes to the US on some student exchange scheme and just happens to be paired with Peter Parker - what are the odds? And then theres Arcade, who must be the last word in Batman tv show-type super-villains (you're supposed to be a top assassin - just shoot 'em both in the head you f****** moron!)
Obviously you have to accept some cliches in superhero comics, but thats going too far.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Call Charlie crazy but Young Romance has the freshest looking cover. Charlie would read that one first, should all end up on his coffee table.

Anonymous said...

Waitaminnit. Phil, R.E. the She-Hulk, are we talking about the same Richard Rory from Man-Thing?
...wasn't there a Richard Rory in Man-Thing?

...Uh, there was a Man-Thing, right?

M.P., no longer sure of anything anymore

Colin Jones said...

I didn't know there was a curse on the Pharaoh Akenhaten but it's not really surprising as he was a heretic who ditched Egypt's traditional gods in favour of the sun god, the Aten. Apparently this event was the first time in recorded history that a single god was worshipped rather than a multitude of gods. But it didn't last long and Akenhaten's successor Tutankhaten (who re-named himself Tutankhamen, yes him!) returned Egypt to the worship of the old gods.
I never thought my interest in Ancient Egypt would come in useful for Steve Does Comics :D

I was in Tesco yesterday and I saw this month's issue of Starburst (yes, it's still around but I don't know who publishes it nowadays) and as a bonus you could get a free copy of Starburst #1 from 1977. But this must be a digital copy to download because I couldn't see any physical copy of Starburst #1 accompanying the latest Starburst issue.
Anyway, I bought SFX magazine instead.

Anonymous said...

Richard Rory also turned up in Omega The Unknown M.P., which made a kind of sense I guess but it did set a precedent for him turning up in other Marvel comics, like a Rick Jones 2.0.
To be fair though, at least he never tried to be a new Bucky. So far as I know.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Sean. Rory was sorta like the '70's answer to Rick Jones, who was the '60's answer to Bucky.
All capable of being annoying, in their own way.

Colin, I'm not convinced that monotheism might not be a mistake. After Constantine the Great established Christianity as a state-sponsored religion, the religion and the Empire went straight to hell.
He was proclaimed Emperor in Yorkshire!!
Now, they were nice to me when I was up there, but I still had to pay my bar tab. No laurels placed on my head.


Anonymous said...

What did the rest of the known world make of him being emperor in Yorkshire, M.P.?
Ha, no - I know what you mean. I believe it was in York. Seems it was a bit of a tory town even back then.
They also sucked up to Scandinavian royalty during the Danelaw in York, or rather, Jorvik.


Anonymous said...

Sean - but...did you like Spidey & Captain Britain's cover art? (MTU # 65) Come on - it was great stuff by Perez!

Objectively, Spidey & Captain Britain had its flaws. However, as a kid, Captain Britain was my favourite superhero, so objectivity didn't come into it! From first seeing Captain Britain in SSM # 247 (fab art), I was hooked! In fact, aged 8, I felt Captain Britain was me!

Sean - I also rate the Savage Land New X-Men arc highly. However, I mark it down a notch because Wolverine slaughtered a guard, for no good reason, and Storm seemed to rationalize it, saying Wolverine was like the great cats on the veldt (?).

As regards, Arcade etc - I think Murderworld, Ms.Locke & Marshall are all inspired by a particular episode of 'The New Avengers', in which Steed is kept in some kind of facility, observed like a rat in a maze. Arcade himself owes something to Elton John & Pinball Wizard.

Sean - X-Men # 112 is pure class - right from the evocative first scene, with Magneto's carnival wagon flying at the edge of space, barreling along, so fast that South American fighter pilots below are left scratching their heads. Byrne sometimes just "goes through the motions" - but he wasn't in this issue. Every picture was top class. I could go on...

Colin - thanks for the tip about Starburst # 1 - my interest is piqued. My interest in Egypt started with the Sphinx, in Nova, & FF # 212. Tut's dad features on either Blaze tv (or channel 5) regularly.

M.P. - Yes, I remember Richard Rory, particularly from the Man-thing's Foolkiller story. She-Hulk also fought the Man-thing, with him throwing her by her hair. Rory figured prominently.

M.P. - I never realized you'd been to Yorkshire! It's snowing here, right now, but the snow isn't settling. As regards Constantine (I've just googled it), I've been to York many times, without noticing that Constantine statue - just shows I walk around with my eyes half shut! Next time....


Colin Jones said...

Looking back, the stupid thing about Captain Britain is that Brian Braddock lived in Braddock Manor so was meant to be posh and upper-class but he was portrayed as an everyman Peter Parker type who attended "Thames University" (which sounds like one of those polytechnics that was re-branded as a uni in the '90s - did he fail the entrance exams for Oxbridge?). Like Phillip, I was a big fan of Captain Britain for a while, mainly because our very own Marvel superhero was such an oddity and the Captain Britain comic was in colour (well, until #23).

The Hindu religion has around 300 million gods - now that's what I call a pantheon!

The Emperor Constantine legalised Christianity throughout the Roman Empire after he supposedly saw a cross in the sky at the battle of Milvian Bridge and concluded that the Christian god had delivered victory in the battle but Constantine himself didn't become a Christian until the end of his life and he had his own son killed or something so he was hardly a paragon of Christian piety. Later in the 4th century the Emperor Julian The Apostate tried to turn the Empire back to the old gods but it was too late (and Julian was only Emperor for two years) - and by AD 395 the Emperor Theodosius was such a Christian fundamentalist that he abolished the Olympic Games because they were held in honour of Zeus. Spoilsport!

Unknown said...

The Lando story in Star Wars was only published in its original form in the UK. Lucasfilm didn't like Lando agreeing with a pacifist and hard Marvel change it. Talking with J.M. on Twitter a few months back and he didn't even know the 'real' version had been published anywhere. See bottom of this link if interested.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info and the link, Unknown. I suppose I can see why Lucasfilm had a problem with one of their characters accepting pacifism in a series that's all about, basically, fighting people but it does seem petty of them to not cut Lando some slack.

Colin, the thing I always remember about Brian was the idea that he refused to mix with working class people because it was beneath his dignity to admit he had no money.

Colin, Sean, Phillip and MP, I once saw the biggest maggots I've ever seen in my life, in York. It is a place with many claims to greatness.

Anonymous said...

Murderworld's inspiration? Caroline Munro would have been perfecting casting as Ms.Locke:

I think that guy - Ms. Locke's colleague - may have been called 'Chambers', not Marshall.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Phillip, reading your earlier comment again its clear you were asking about the George Perez covers. Duh.
Can't say I'm a big fan of Perez. Nothing wrong with his work - clearly he was one of Marvel's better artists in the late 70s, and just right for a comic like Avengers - but theres something about it that isn't quite to my taste. Not knocking anyone else's preferences - I think a lot of it is down to the artists who made an impact on us when we first read comics (as you imply).

Here, you and Steve'll like this - apparently York was set up by the Romans to be the capital of their (then) new province, Britannia Inferior. Yep, thats what they called the north of England. The south being Britannia Superior (hey, don't shoot the messenger).
Plus ca change as they say... I look forward to Boris Johnson trying that one on his new northern voters the next time he chunters on in Latin.


Colin Jones said...

Sean, you said that York was "a bit of a Tory town even back then" but I checked and York (or York Central to be precise) has a Labour MP (but York Outer has a Tory MP).

My apologies for continually blathering about history on a comics blog but York isn't the furthest north a Roman emperor travelled on the British mainland. The Emperor Septimius Severus (reigned AD 193-211) personally led an unsuccessful campaign to conquer Scotland (Caledonia).

Steve, I didn't realise Brian Braddock (how may upper class twits are called Brian?) refused to mix with the working class. I just remember that he lived at Braddock Manor but otherwise seemed like a UK version of Peter Parker. I must admit that I haven't actually read any Captain Britain since he was originally cancelled in December 1977. I have no knowledge at all of the later version of Captain Britain.

Anonymous said...

I did visit York many years ago, and I remember really liking the place. Wonderful people and a beautiful city. I spent a few days just walking around.
I may have visited a tavern or two, just to, ah, soak up some of the local flavor.
Not just that, but being a kid from Iowa, standing in a place where both the ancient Romans and the Vikings had stood really blew my mind.

...Steve, I have to ask, against my better judgement.
What were those maggots feeding on that they got that big?
When I saw "maggots" and "York" in the same sentence, I thought for a second you were referring to New York.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Geeze - let ole Charlie the Stickler bring this back on course! Were there any great british synth / new wave bands from York?

If York and Sheffield got into a fight, who would win?

IF York didn't have any great synth bands, may we assume they didn't have cheap bus fares?

How big are the maggots in Sheffield?

If Sheffield is forever caught between the past and the future, where is York caught?

You guys leave a lot of loose ends dangling for us Yanks!

Anonymous said...

Never mind maggots, I know what those are, but what exactly is "synth"?
Charlie, are you some kinda closet hippie, or hipster, or raver or general weirdo?

I view these modern trends with a jaundiced eye.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP! Oh my sweet stars... I'm so sorry buddy but jaundice of the eye is a class cast of taking umbrage to excess!

But, assuming your eye recovers, I strongly encourage you to watch the following: Sythn Brittania! All will be revealed including an appearance by our very own SDC! (Well... so it is rumored.) P.S. the link below to the show must be abridged a bit... e.g., it does not elaborate on why Sheffield is stuck between the past and the future or York is just stuck.

Ohhh boy... Charlie is tripping on the "The Movie Channel." So much great stuff... I was just watching The Bedford Incident filmed in the UK. What a tense thriller!

Anonymous said...

I'll take a look at it, buddy!
I'm not promising I'm gonna like it.

I've been getting into jazz, lately. I find it soothing. I don't understand any of it, mind you.

...Is that wrong of me? Does this mean I'm turning into an old fart?


Steve W. said...

MP, the maggots were in York Minster. It contained a scale-model of the centre of York, and the maggots were blundering around in its streets. This was somewhere around 1974. What nightmare creature spawned them, what they were feeding on and how they got there, I have no idea.

Charlie, off the top of my head, I can't think of any bands at all that have ever come from York.

York is definitely caught between the past and the even-more-past. It's what it does best.

Anonymous said...

Colin, unaccustomed though I am to checking facts when sounding off I did actually look that up about MPs beforehand. York council website lists 5 - for the region (Harrogate, Selby as well as the city of York itself) - 4 of which are tories. Which was quite striking for Yorkshire, although I do accept that might show me to be out of date in 2020 now that Boris Johnson's lot are levelling up Britannia Inferior.
Yet further investigation shows York voted Remoan by quite a large margin in the referendum, which I didn't expect. Perhaps they were nostalgic for the Danelaw?

Charlie, just for you, heres a piece on the fab Dreams To Fill The Vacuum: The Sound Of Sheffield 1978-88 comp -

In a fight Sheffield beats York, obviously. In the first round, by a knockout.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - As always I am awed at your prodigious powers of research! Thanks!

MP- I ask my son the same regarding Jazz. HE played jazz guitar at school 4 years and does a nice job with it. As he says, "There's jazz for jazz purists and jazz for the masses..."

What was odd for me though is that much of the popular music, even big band in the late 30s, is consider jazz: Louie Prima, Artie Shaw, etc. And generally "the death of jazz" is marked as the beginning of rock n roll. It seems to be a slowly-passing (i.e., dying) musical form though.

And for what it's worth, our local College of DuPage streams jazz daily at 90.9 FM WDCB. It's especially great Saturday mornings b/c they focus on the 20s - 40s and then do old time radio from 1 - 5 PM. Also it's kind of nice to listen to a human being moderate a show... which also is dying.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - As I read your article, yet another Cocker musician from Sheffield! (Also writer of the article.) This town must have something in the air, the water, the food that is a catalyst for all this artistic genius!

Steve - are there like street musicians everywhere in Sheffield?

Steve W. said...

Charlie, there are plenty of street musicians in Sheffield. I'm not sure any of them are necessarily destined for stardom.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean, Steve, and all you UK chaps... This is actually a semi-serious question!

Sean's article has a most poignant remark about "time!" Indeed it's the opening remark!

‘Sheffield in 1977 had a slight feeling of being the city of the future,” recalls Jarvis Cocker. “I didn’t realise that it was all going to go to shit. It was Sheffield before the fall.”

But what the hell is it about "time" and Sheffield... forever caught between the past and present (and that line and much else is edited out of the "Synth Brittania" now on youtube which I linked above.)

Perhaps b/c Sheffield is now / has remained vibrant unlike the great rust belt of the USA (Gary, Cleveland, Detroit...) which are really prime settings for films with dystopian futures, folks are impressed that it "overcame all odds?"

Anonymous said...

Charlie - One can only speculate...Sheffield had the World Student Games fiasco; the dry ski slope fiasco. Meadowhall was the side of the motorway - whilst later the monumental Tinsley/Blackburn meadows cooling towers were demolished - take your pick! Steve will explain all this better!


Anonymous said...

Charlie - Sheffield's old industry died (Thatcherism). In the 80s/early 90s, Sheffield tried cutting edge projects - some failed (to some extent) - e.g. the World Student Games. Sheffield also built the Meadowhall centre (mall) - one of the biggest in the country - at the side of the motorway. Right next to this super modern (at the time) shopping centre, you could see the (very old) Blackburn Meadows cooling towers - symbolizing Sheffield's (only recently gone) industrial past (?) The two cooling towers stood beside the motorway, like sentinels, so Yorkshire people, returning from holidays from airports "down south", knew they'd arrived back in Yorkshire, when they saw the two towers! These towers, juxtaposed with Meadowhall, at the side of the motorway, were a powerful piece of symbolism! A few years ago, they were demolished - I went on the train to Meadowhall, and took some photos the weekend before the towers came down - so did many other people.


Steve W. said...

Charlie, I think the relationship between Sheffield and time is the same as the relationship between anywhere else and time. Things wax and wane. Things ebb and flow. Sometimes, you're up and sometimes, you're down. The more time passes, the more things change.

However, that particular point in history saw the end of the industrial phase, which had defined Sheffield up until that point, and the beginning of a new, post-industrial, phase. It saw the end of an era in which the city was prosperous and knew exactly what its role was and the start of an age in which it was newly-impoverished and wasn't sure what its future direction was.

The World Student Games and the dry ski village were part of that attempt to find new things for the city to be.

The World Student Games lost a lot of money and failed to gain the media coverage they were intended to but they did leave the city with a bunch of new and revamped sporting and cultural facilities.

As far as I'm aware, the ski village was a success but the company that owned it went bust and took its properties, including the ski village, down with it.

The Meadowhall shopping centre was a highly successful attempt to bring economic life back to the East End but managed to almost kill the city centre for decades after its opening.

The demolition of the Tinsley cooling towers was either a scandal or an overdue relief, depending on your viewpoint. Personally, I saw them as beacons that told you you were arriving back home and, therefore, worthy of preservation. Others just thought they were monstrous eyesores.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - I have never heard "time" more associated with a town than Sheffield, lol. That said, it is always in the context of the british synth sound. Now, I am wondering if it is just a trope used by writers?

What you gents write about though, Sheffield's industrial past being juxtaposed upon a retail future, is interesting. Growing up in Gary, IN which had the largest steel mill in the world (United States Steel's Gary Works) I had incredibly filthy industry juxtaposed on woods and sand dunes I grew up among, a few miles down the street from Gary Works. (Michael Jackson grew up in downtown Gary, fwiw.)

And as I re-watch Synth Brittania just now, I chuckle that the Human League's Oakley was moaning that "the future had passed them by" with OMD bashing out 3 #1 hits in 1981 and they still hadn't had one, lol. They were chaffed, split up (Heaven 17 left) and then started raking in some $ as did Heaven 17. They were thankful to cash in on the present "me and greed" generation of Thatcher, Reagan, et al.

But what the hell are these riots they show from 1981? What's that about?

Steve W. said...

Rioting was Britain's big summer activity of 1981. Most major cities - and a fair number of smaller ones - had them. They were mostly sparked off by racial tensions with the police, and anger about Thatcher's policies and the economic downturn. The Specials' Ghost Town hit Number One at the peak of them, making it one of the most zeitgeisty chart-toppers of all time.

Anonymous said...

Most major cities had them... except Sheffield, Steve!
Which is kind of puzzling - my token northern mate used to have a theory that it was because Sheffield was a left-wing peoples republic. But I'm dubious about that, because a. you still had to put up with the South Yorkshire cops, and b. east London was run by loony lefties too, and it used to kick off all the time (actually, the kids round our way were at it just this summer).


Anonymous said...

I have just got to see Sheffield before I die.
The place sounds like some sort of Nexus of Realities, a thin spot on the border of our known universe where physical laws break down. Did Hawkings ever say anything about it?

Then again, after seeing The Full Monty, I dunno...maybe it's best avoided.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP - A lot of folks don't know this but Einstein had, in addition to the General and Special Theories of Relativity. the Sheffield Theory of Relativity.

Apparently, Sheffied is forever trapped between the past and the future thus requiring free bus fares and eliminating hitch hiking but this was unfortunately too late to keep Joe Cocker from losing his voice during his youth there and to avoid a repeat of lost voices synthesizers became standard fare leading to the world's greatest synth bands of Heaven 17 and Human League much to the chagrin of Cabaret Voltaire.

But yea... when I get over to England (next summer) I am definitely stopping in at Sheffield. I mean, if for no other reason than it is between Hastings and Hadrian's Wall.

(It's not a coincidence that the two greatest sites in the UK start with "H" like the world's two greatest synth bands! Stick with me MP! I got deep insights and all shall be revealed! I may even bring Charlie along as we are into menage a trois, you know.)

Steve W. said...

Sean, my suspicion is it's because Sheffield's too hilly and it takes too much effort to rampage uphill.

Anonymous said...

But Rome was built on seven hills too Steve, and they've rioted regularly for well over the last couple of thousand of years.
Mind you, it is often hotter there than in Sheffield.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Bands from York. Even I've heard of Shed Seven, although I thought at first they were a compilation album rather than a band, and m6 wife and kids reckon they've seen Asking Alexandria as a support act for some bigger name.

Steve W. said...

I must confess I thought Shed Seven were from Huddersfield. I think I may have been getting them mixed-up with Embrace.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

It¡s like you're talking a different language Steve. What's Embrace? What's Huddersfield?

Steve W. said...

Embrace were a band who were sporadically successful in the 1990s and early years of the 21st Century.

Huddersfield is a town in Yorkshire.