Sunday 16 July 2023

2000 AD - June 1985.

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

Do you like getting your kicks?

If so, June 1985 was a terrible month for you because that was when Route 66 - the only place you could officially get your kicks - was decommissioned. 

Granted, I don't actually know what, "decommissioned," meant but I would assume it meant you couldn't use it anymore.

Not that I knew why you'd use it, as I never had a clue where it started from and where it led to.

For that matter, I still don't.

A safe bet is it didn't lead to my local cinema.

Which is a shame because, lurking in that theatre was a whole feast of offerings, including but not limited to, The Goonies, Prizzi's Honor, Cocoon, Return to Oz, Pale Rider and St. Elmo's Fire. The latter of which featured a theme song which briefly made an unlikely US AOR star of John Parr from Doncaster.

Return to Oz made a star of Fairuza Balk and is one of those sequels they always say should never have been made. But it also happens to be one of those few sequels I prefer to its predecessor. Yes, I am the man who preferred Babe: Pig in the City to Babe.

It does seem weird to see that Pale Rider came out in the 1980s and not the 1970s. Then again, that could be because I always get it mixed up with High Plains Drifter which did come out in the 1970s.

The UK singles chart, that June, kicked off with Paul Hardcastle's 19 at the helm before it was dislodged by the Crowd's charity single You'll Never Walk Alone which was dislodged by Sister Sledge's Frankie.

The British album chart ushered the month in with the Style Council's Our Favourite Shop on top. But even that had to make way for Bryan Ferry's Boys and Girls which had to make way for Marillion's Misplaced Childhood which had to make way for Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA, rendering the LP chart's summit a veritable revolving door.

But what of the galaxy's greatest comic? What was that up to while all this churn was occurring?

As so often in the past, it was giving us a diet of Sláine, Tharg's Future-Shocks, Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper and Strontium Dog. While, less familiarly, Judge Anderson was still battling the Dark Judges.

But what's this? Judging by the cover to Prog 424, it would seem her colleague Dredd was about to come up against Mega-City One's answer to the Silver Surfer.

2000 AD Prog 420

2000 AD Prog 421

2000 AD Prog 422

2000 AD Prog 423

2000 AD Prog 424


dangermash said...

[Hesitates to point out where Route 66 started and ended because he's wondering whether Steve's trying to be funny]

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, I genuinely don't know where it started or finished. Why? Was it circular? Did it not have a beginning or an end?

Matthew McKinnon said...

Return To Oz was great. I’m surprised it seems it was apparently a really fraught production. Walter Murch in tears at times, and George Lucas flown in to lend support. The end result is never but wonderfully eccentric.

Does anyone here like The Goonies? I thought it was poor when I was 14, and have been startled to see it grow into some sort of mainstream cult classic for the undemanding.

I haven’t seen Pale Rider. My Eastwood is very patchy. Is it a good one?

Oh. 2000AD. Right. Well, I’m bored of saying mean things about the covers.

Anonymous said...

The British music press seemed obsessed by Bruce Springsteen in 1985, Steve, but I've never understood his appeal. Or Paul Weller's for that matter, although fair play to him for being a bit prickly, doing something different and going in an unexpected direction.

Personally, I was more interested in checking out Propaganda's 'A Secret Wish' album this month... although unfortunately as you might expect with ZTT it suffered a bit from Frankie-syndrome, and you'd have been better off buying the 12" 'p-Machinery' single to go with your copy of 'Dr Mabuse' instead. Which is what I did, one of the clear vinyl ones, which unfortunately has a somewhat light brown tinge these days):
But it still sounds great(:

The comics: alright I suppose. At least we got two Fabry Slaines this month, and not just because there's five progs instead of four. Actually, it would have been three in a row if you were reading from prog 419. The two artists alternating fairly regularly is how I remember it, so maybe the relative Glennlessness is a quirk of the first month or so of the series. We shall see.

There's a Milligan/McCarthy Future Shock in prog 420, 'Breathless'. Its nothing special though.


Anonymous said...

For those interested in tracking the Transatlantic brain drain from the House of Tharg, also out in June '85:
Green Lantern #189, with a GL Corps back drawn by the still to be purged by the Comics Code Kevin O'Neill, 'Insect Trust'. And Alan Moore wrote Swamp Thing #37 - in which Swampy regrows himself after 'The Nukeface Papers' - and Vigilante #18, drawn by Jim Baikie.

In related developments, Marvel/Epic put out Black Dragon #2 drawn by the mighty John Bolton, and Eclipse a reprint of his old stuff in John Bolton's Halls of Horror #s1 & 2 (its an off month between Pressbutton #s5 and 6, so I suspect we're not far off from their relationship with Dez Skinn resulting in a certain superhero with a tortured publication history making his first American appearance).


Matthew McKinnon said...

Sean -

I bought ‘A Secret Wish’ as well. My expectations had been thoroughly lowered by Duel earlier in the year though. I quite liked it, though I wish the production had been sharper. Trevor Horn’s work on Dr Mabuse is a hard act to follow.

I got the clear 7” of P-Machinery. Loved ‘Frozen Faces’ on the b-side,

The Saturday after A Secret Wish came out I cycled into town to buy it, and when I got home I phoned up my friends to see what they were up to. They were astonished I wasn’t watching Live Aid, which was on all that day. I didn’t even know it was happening. I didn’t watch any of it anyway as I didn’t like any of the acts. Still haven’t seen more than clips.

dangermash said...
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dangermash said...

There was a TV ad about 45 years ago, maybe for peanuts, where someone said "Who ever heard of a peanut farmer becoming famous?" We the viewers were all supposed to chuckle to ourselves but I piped up "I have" and my Dad took the piss out of me for years for not understanding the joke.

So I'm scarred. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, Steve, and sing you the answer. Crank up the karaoke machine Charlie. Here we go:

If you ever plan to motor West
Travel my way, take the highway that's the best
Get your kicks on Route 66

More than two thousand miles all the way
Get your kicks on Route 66

Anonymous said...

Ah-HA - you didn't understand the joke, dangermash!
Only kidding. If there was one there, I didn't get it either. But who knows with a cheeky northern rascal like Steve?

Can you imagine someone trying to do a song about, say, the M4 like that, singing about about getting your kicks heading out west from London to Bristol? Even if you could get it to rhyme, it wouldn't work, would it? And its not necessarily because of New World romanticism - 'Autobahn' just wouldn't be the same if it was called 'Motorway'.

Matthew, I actually liked 'p-Machinery' more than 'Dr Mabuse', in part because 'Frozen Faces' was such a strong b-side (oddly, 'Duel' was the closest they got to a big hit in the UK though). I only had a tape copy of the album someone made for me - it didn't seem worth it if you already had the singles. Although I did get the 'Wishful Thinking' remix lp that came out later in the year, which was a more interesting twist on the same material.

Have you heard their recent stuff - well, the two women and Steve Lipson - as xPropaganda? The album from last year, 'The Heart is Strange' is pretty good, as is 'Strangely' the lp of remixes that came out recently on Record Store Day.


Charlie Horse 47 said...


Charlie has traveled portions of it numerous times over the last 35 years.

It does (did?) start in Chicago basically at the Art Museum. Winds(wound?) south via Lake Shore Drive to Highway 55 South. Follows (followed?) Hwy 55 south at least to St Looey.

Anyhow I suspect my present and past tenses were why it was decommissioned. "Federal" Rt 66 had been absorbed or replaced by other Federal roadways e.g., Hwy 55; so why go through the mental gymnastics?

Brief story... my uncle told me he drove Hwy 66 all the way from Chicago to Cali in the mid-50s. I looked at him like he was forking nutz, since it was only 2 lanes at the time. I asked, "how many weeks did that take???" He said, "Joey... at that time most people still did not own cars, and those that did only had one. There was no traffic! Very few stop lights, very few stop signs, no traffic jams. All that malarkey started in the late 1960s. So it really was smooth sailing except for the few bigger cities!"

Between 1950 and today, the US population has gone from 150,000,000 to 350,000,000. So I take my Uncle Tony at his word, lol.

DM: Thanks for the lyrics to "Route 66!" They reminded there are still reruns of the TV Show "Route 66" on METV and The Decades Channel. It ran from 1960 - 1966. I occasionally will watch it. I do NOT know if that hit song was from the TV show?

Cheers All.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie does not get the "peanut farmer" joke, lol.

I assume it refers to Jimmy Carter but why would your old man give you a razzing about answering it, DM?

Anonymous said...

I think these prog are all pretty solid. The stand out is 420, with a particularly good Fabry Slaine, Ian Gibson on Dredd and a solid Brett Ewins Anderson. Also, I rather liked Cliff Robinson's first two Andersons (replacing Brett Twins in prog 423 - not that the cover is particularly good).

Steve, I'll also mention the 1985 Sci-Fi Special, which came out his month in 1985, as it included a new Moore/Davis DR & Quinch, plus a colour Halo Jones poster by Gibson.

Sean, surely you jest about a UK Route 66. Billy Bragg's 'A13 Trunk Road to the Sea' is exactly that. And perfectly captures the journey from Wapping to to Shoeburyness:

If you ever have to go to Shoeburyness
Take the A road, the okay road that's the best
Go motorin' on the A13

Well, if you're looking for a thrill that's new
Take in Fords, Dartford Tunnel and the river too
Go motorin' on the A13

It starts down in Wapping
There ain't no stopping
By-pass Barking and straight through Dagenham
Down to Grays Thurrock
And rather near Basildon
Pitsea, Thundersley, Hadleigh, Leigh-On-Sea
Chalkwell, Prittlewell
Southend's the end


Colin Jones said...

Matthew, you didn't know Live Aid was happening??? I remember one of the Philadelphia acts (a woman but I can't recall who) saying "Children of the '80s, this is your Woodstock". That's my only memory of the entire day apart from switching over to ITV to watch 'Battle For The Planet Of The Apes' at some point in the afternoon.

Colin Jones said...

It was Live Aid that caused Madonna's career to go stratospheric in the UK. Up until then she'd been just another American female singer.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough DW, I was not aware of that and will check it out.
I'm afraid the only record about the A13 I am familiar with is Jah Wobble's er, 'A13'. Which didn't seem to be the same kind of thing...

The spiritual path
From the crumbling shop facades of Commercial Road
Many flyovers to marshland of Essex
Land reclaimed,
Oh land of my fathers
Ancient Celtic warrior race
How are your tomatoes doing?

Oh A13, forever 3am around and around
The Rainham Roundabout in the rain...


Anonymous said...

Right there with ya on THE GOONIES. Thought it was utterly mediocre when I saw it at the theatre. I’ve never EVER understood its appeal. For years I thought it was a purely generational thing — die-hard GOONIES fans tend to be ten or more years younger than me. So it’s interesting to hear that someone who was a teenager at the time was likewise underwhelmed.

I also saw PALE RIDER at the theatre that summer. I was disappointed that it wasn’t more like HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER — I vaguely remember the marketing campaign implied there was some kind of mythic/supernatural element. But there sure didn’t seem to be. It was a very by-the-numbers Western. It’s nowhere near as good as DRIFTER, or JOSEY WALES or UNFORGIVEN. I’ve never revisited it, and have zero desire to do so.

I also saw RETURN TO OZ in the theatre. I didn’t love it it hate it. I remember thinking it was visually spectacular and pretty damn dark and scary for a Disney “kids movie”. I should really check it out again one of these days.


Matthew McKinnon said...

Sean -
I was aware of the xPropaganda thing but never gave them more than a cursory listen. It sounded sort of solid enough but not enough to entice me to buy anything. And I have fairly stringent rules about acts from decades ago that deter me from getting too involved.

I honestly had no idea it was happening. It’s not a badge of cool or anything, I just lived in my own world a bit. The Madonna thing makes sense, though I’d forgotten she was even a participant until you mentioned it. I do remember how white-hot she was in the UK over the summer of 85 though: a friend of mine was mad about her, bought albums, singles, picture discs, you name it.

dangermash said...
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dangermash said...
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dangermash said...

Back then, Charlie, everyone knew Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer. It was rammed down our throats at every opportunity. So when someone asked about famous peanut farmers, we were supposed to just roll our eyes.

Just like in the final scene of Friends, someone suggests going for coffee and Chandler says "Where?" If I was at home and suggested they goto Central Perc because that's where they always go, and sounding like I thought Chandler really didn't know where to go, it would have been fair to label me as clueless.

And one other bit of trivia for you Charlie. England cricketers have their name and a shirt number on their backs these days. Joe Root wears number 66.

Anonymous said...

In Steve's defense, Route 66, to many people, relates to 'Easy Rider' or the 'Grapes of Wrath' Oakies, fleeing the Dustbowl. Now, Easy Rider terminates in New Orleans, and the Oakies don't start their journey in Chicago! This confused me, when I was younger. In more recent years, however, to Brits, Chicago has been reinforced as Route 66's termination, by every celebrity & his dog doing Route 66 (Billy Connolly, Hairy Bikers, etc.)

According to my memory, Madonna went stratospheric in 85, with 'Into the Groove'. I recall returning from holiday, to hear & see it seemingly being played everywhere, all the time. I can't remember if this was before or after Live Aid, but I'm pretty sure it was well before.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Madonna - She was a hit machine from 1984 - 1990. Charlie's personal fav being "Vogue" with its perfect dance beat, moves, etc. and reference to iconic Hollywood types in 1990.

But she did bust out in 84/5 with Into the Groove and Borderline, in the USA.

Heard her at an awards ceremony two years ago or so where she whined about the horrors of "ageism" in the recording industry that she was battling. Seems she can't accept that 15-year olds aren't going to buy 60-year-olds record?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Live Aid was some cool stuff. I knew nothing about it, having just moved to Schwabisch Hall, Germany and living in the officers barracks.

Charlie battled the jet lag, went to the lounge, flipped on the TV.

It was evening in Europe, not sure about Britain... probably, though, since it was pre-Brexit.

And there was Phil Collins opening the show in Philly. The announcers going on about how he flew the Concorde over.

Is it fair to say the more of the UK's more popular musicians were actually performing in Philly, e.g., Bowie, Duran Duran.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I was talking to the missus about Route 66 and she and her former hubby rode it out to Arizona around 1990 just for kicks. (heh, heh)

She said they stayed at numerous "motels" along the way and each one suggested Norman Bates and axe murders and she got quite fed up with Route 66 nostalgia!

A bit of trivia: During war games in the USA around 1940, General Patton literally ran out of roads trying to move his tanks / forces from the east of the USA to the west. Literally. This eventually was seen as a risk to national defense and in the 1950s, President Eisenhower launched the Highway Building Initiative which gave birth to 50,000 (!) miles of highway in the USA.

Btw... if you guys want, I can stop with the US trivia. I was just thinking it might be fun to share, though.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

DM -Thanks for the Cricket Trivia! We had to surrender our Over-50 soccer games in June, on Sundays, to these immigrants from India, Paki, etc. so they could play a month-long cricket tournament on Sundays!

This is in Woodridge, IL. not Chicago, NY, Hoboken..

Charlie was chaffed... I mean, we got every nationality under the sun here. We can't give them all their own sports, holidays, etc. can we?!

I think the US needs to quit like the UK did! Not sure what we'd quit though?

That said, there is this really kick-ass Indian restaurant on the other side of the tracks from me! Love me some Lamb Vindaloo!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP - Did President Eisenhower build a Hwy in the Dakotas? Maybe he thought we'd all be in a hurry to see Mt. Rushmore?

Anonymous said...

Charlie - There's a low-end UK menswear chain, called 'The Officers' Club'. Maybe making 'Walter Mitty' male clothes shoppers believe they are 'Officers', by shopping there, fools them into convincing themselves the clothing's better than it actually is!


Anonymous said...

Who wouldn't want the army being able to move tanks around inside their country more easily, eh?


Colin Jones said...

Phillip, Madonna's 'Into The Groove' became a UK hit because she sang it at Live Aid which took place on July 13th and then the song reached #1 in early August.

Charlie, here's a bit of Eisenhower trivia - apparently somebody called him a conservative when he was president and he was furious, regarding it as an insult which implied he was narrow-minded and backward. Can you imagine what he'd think of today's Republican party full of MAGA Trumpists, climate-change deniers, gun-nuts, white supremacists and Christian fundamentalists?

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I'm not sure what Madonna was complaining about with regard to ageism there. A lot of the record biz seems geared to the ah, more mature demographic these days, and I'm forever reading in online comment threads about how modern music is sh*t compared to the good old days of proper songs or keeping it real, yo, in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, or now even 00s.
Not to mention how great coffin cheaters like the Rolling Stones, Dylan, the Who, Neil Young, et al still are (maybe Madonna should have whinged about sexism instead?)


Charlie Horse 47 said...

The music industry would sell anybody, anything, if they thought it profitable.

We've had this discussion before, but for a few exceptions like McCartney, once these performers hit 35-40 no one's interested. It's worked very occasionally for Sir Paul b/c he's a Beatle.

But Madonna's tour's selling out world wide and not on the cheap! So do like the other old bones and replay your hits from 40 years ago and "shut up already.... damn."

Charlie Horse 47 said...

The back story I've read and heard is that the republican party begged Eisenhower to run for president as a republican for "the good of the nation."

The republicans painted themselves as near collapse. They had not been president in 20 years and they were disintegrating which would be bad for amerika. (Not sure how the congress looked proportionally.)

Also, Eisenhower unequivocally did not trust Nixon as his VP, but... ahhh... the things one does for the good of the nation, huh?

I don't know what Ike did / did not do. He sounds like he just moaned about shit... like the emergence of the so-called "military - industrial complex" and then just went along.

And, he did get us started in Vietnam.

And of course Nixon went on to prove he could not be trusted.

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, Charlie and Philip, thanks for the Route 66 info.

Matthew, I don't remember liking The Goonies but I haven't seen it for at least 30 years.

I think I enjoyed Pale Rider but I haven't seen that in decades either.

Bt, isn't the protagonist in Pale Rider supposed to be a ghost? That was the way I read it.

Everyone else, thanks for your comments. I think I managed to see every minute of Live Aid, apart from when I had to flee for toilet and food breaks.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else stocking up on Birkin handbags by Hermes, given she passed a few days ago? Might be a real collectible?!

Charlie still digs “69 - Annee Erotique” with Gainsbourg. And it’s interesting how it still seems to get its fairshare of air play in France along with “Je t’aime.”

Anonymous said...

Jane Birkin's 'Di Doo Dah' was a good one, Charlez.


Anonymous said...

Good one Sean!


Anonymous said...

After I posted yesterday I googled PALE RIDER and sure enough, Clint flat-out said that his character was a ghost during the publicity tour and at one point we see that he has six bullet holes in his back. I forgot all of that.


Anonymous said...

Pale Rider was memorable for thug 'Jaws' (Richard Kiel), whom Clint decked with a piece of hickory wood!


Colin Jones said...

Charlie, I thought JFK got you started in Vietnam?

I'd much prefer Eisenhower as POTUS than Trump or the vile DeSantis.

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, Madonna didn't stop being a "hit machine" in 1990 - the hits continued all through the '90s and well into the 21st Century. Madonna's magnum opus is considered to be the 'Ray Of Light' album from 1998.

Colin Jones said...

Back in the '80s I read an interview with Whitney Houston in which she said "If my children grow up to be like Madonna I'll shoot them" so it's rather ironic that Madonna ended up writing childrens' books and adopting African orphans while goody-two-shoes, church-going Whitney became a hopeless crack addict who was dead at 48.

Anonymous said...

Colin! I think you are correct regarding JFK! Good catch!

Anonymous said...

Was the "ghost" in Pale Rider the same "ghost" in High Plains Drifter?
If so, that was one ghost who liked women and whiskey, and not adverse to violence. But maybe that was the afterlife to which he was condemned.
Repetition and all, you know. That would be the very definition of Hell, at least according to Dante.
Phil, I've seen the movie, but I dunno if I buy anybody taking out Richard Kiel with a hickory stick, even one aimed at his marbles.
I wouldn't attempt it. Hey, I can still run if I have to.
Not very fast, but still...


Anonymous said...

Pedantic Daz points out Madonna already had six top 5 singles before Into the Groove (which was, admittedly her first UK no.1). I remember Like a Virgin and Material Girl getting loads of airplay in 1984, probably due to the reasonably sexual (at the time) videos.

I remember rushing home from my Saturday job at Sainsbury's to catch the end of Live Aid. Bowie played Wembley, not Philly. I actually saw all of Queen, Bowie and the Who (despite the TV feed dying for a few minutes). All three brought thier A game.

Sean, I also know Jar Wobble's A13, which is about the same road but, obviously, treats it very differently. Both sets of my grandparents lived directly on the road at times (which was much quieter back in the day), and so I have a strong nostalgic connection to it. However, as roads go, it has a colourful history. I'll actually be staying on it in mid September (first time in 12 years).


Steve W. said...

MP, I suspect the films featured two different ghosts.

Anonymous said...

Surely the French got you lot started in Vietnam, Charlie?
Actually you were right in the first place, about Eisenhower - he was the one who began sending American 'military advisers' to the south in '55.
I think he also approved the Bay of Pigs plan to invade Cuba.


Anonymous said...

Sean, I'm not defending the overall policy, but Eisenhower felt he needed French support in Europe during the Cold War. He despised De Gaulle.
That's my understanding, anyway. Something of a Faustian bargain.
As for the Bay of Pigs...that was only stupid because it didn't work.
If it had worked, it woulda been...less stupid, anyway. Unfortunately, Teddy Roosevelt was still dead at the time.
But I take your point, Sean. The CIA were doing all kinds of, ah, interesting things back then, including propping up military dictatorships.
The CIA was originally conceived as being an intelligence gathering agency after the wreck and ruin of WW II, to prevent wars rather than start them.
But the road of good intentions...


Anonymous said...

One smart thing De Gaulle did was eject the US forces out of France on April Fools day 1967. (That’s why the US has the massive base in Kaiserslautern Germany, just over the border.). But all those guys like De Gaulle and Ike and Adenauer had to deal with a weird, new world of nukes, global communism, de-colonization, minority rights… Funny all the change we’ve seen.