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HYSTERIA IN REMISSION Robert Williams ‘rir‘fii'i'ay' 0.00 When the Lord gave us Walt Disney he knew we were going to need some kind of Pepto-Abysmal to milk out the corporate bile of his creations. So he gave the world MAD magazine, and more importantly creator Harvey Kurtzman’s inexpensive spin-off, Help, which utilised young and unpublished artists like Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton. Just to make sure the underground comix plant took root, he planted it in soil rich in hot-rod and surf art, psychedelic rock posters (best epitomised by the Grateful Dead), war (Vietnam) and under the counter pornographic bibles. It took just over ten years for comix to really blossom, and then in 1967 came the first Zap comic, a collection of the most far-out, sick, freaky strips anyone had ever seen. The contributors list now reads like an anarcho-boho-aristo family tree: Spain Rodriguez, S Clay Wilson, Rick Griffin, Shelton, Crumb, Victor Moscoso and the sickest puppy of them all, Coochy Cooty himself Robert Williams.

Williams was the country gent of the bunch. His swept backed hair and tweed jackets were always immaculate, but his graphic tales belied a psychopathic vulgarity crossed with a precocious intelligence that few could match. Here for the first time is the complete collection of his work, subtitled The Comix and Drawings Of, and if you like your counter- culture filth baked with that strangely indefinable late GOS/early 705 Bay Area misogyny and ultra violence then this is your bag, man.

Patchouli oil and Baader Meinhof shamanism scream from every page. The work ranges from the 1963 to 2002 and the good stuff far outweighs the bad (and occasionally lazy). In his moments of genius, however (Cocaine Comix in particular) Williams is untouchable. He truly is, in his own words, ‘poison for the impressionable’.

Sadly, Williams cleaned up his demonic act and now spends most of his time doing oil paintings and writing long editorials for his art magazine Juxtapox, all of which makes Hysteria in Remission seem that little bit more valid as a testament to two score years of artistic dementia. This, after all, was the man who penned that immortal quote: ‘the drawn line is the devil's jiz stain.’ Priceless.

(Paul Dale)

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Surely by now Arab Strap were supposed to have imploded in a flurry of personality conflicts blamed on a ‘musical differences' smokescreen? Having kicked off their career by being hurriedly removed from the Falkirk tourist board's Christmas card list and performing some audience- antagonising live shows, a continuing sense of boozy bitterness has appeared to fuel the Strap aesthetic. There are even rumours of a session on the Breezers with a Scandic ubermodel.

But a snatch of albums down the line and Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton are reaping the benefit of a drying out period from one another: while Moffat morphed into Lucky Pierre, MM shed the tears of Crappo the Clown. The result is Monday at the Hug & Pint, another caustic and cursory collection that reaches the parts other chart-unfriendly miserablists have little concept of.

The agony and ecstasy of sex still dominates the Arab agenda (‘every man needs a tit to suckle’ and ‘you can be my teenage Jenny Agutter, swimming naked in a pond‘ are but one choice coupling). Throughout, the Moftat vocals are as elegantly fraught as ever and Middleton continues to weave glon’ously moving guitar patterns, aided by accompanying players (including pipe band, no less) who are in control from the off.

But isn’t all their stuff just the same? Hear the thumping Fucking Little Bastards and the fragile Who Named the Days? and feel the width. Their most divine creative spurt since the member-measuring days of Philophobia, Monday. . . serves up many a happy hour. (Brian Donaldson)

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Martin Kershaw makes; an irnrirefruw; recorded debut wnh his; EKIOUSUC quartet. aided by the Jerwood .Jaz/ Progresmons. prograrrime lhe Edinburgh based alto land soprano) SQXODHOHICt ems this now well«established group featuring CHICK Lyall (piano). Mario Caribe (bass) and Stuart Brown (drumsi as a vehicle for his; own (:ompOSitions. and the grOur) work through a strong set of his; tunes (plus his arrangement of a theme from The King and l which is Virtually a rC-C()l71()of.ition) in assmed and coheswe fashion.

The musr; alludes to diverse influences. from John Coltrane in ‘Sketch' through to Erik Satie on 'Hope'. but Without seiinding second-hand in the prOCQSS.

(Kenny Mathieson)