dominance of the island. Stephen Armstrong's account of the shenanigans of everyone from the Old Testament to present day is entertaining. if a little star-struck. Dazzled by the characters he encounters and determined to portray Ibiza as the antithesis Of all things British. the one voice he neglects is that Of the locals. Like a band he hears at the Nuit de San Juan. the resulting book is ‘energetic. but a little confusing'. (Katie GOuld)
LITERARY THRILLER STEVEN SHERRILL Visits from the Drowned Girl (Canongate) COO
This second novel sees Steven Sherrill in less ambitious and more linear territory than on his debut. The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break. and the results are rewarding but occasionally frustrating. The basic premise of the novel is cracking: from high up a pylon. Benny Poteat witnesses a woman setting up a video camera and recording her own apparent suicide by drowning. This act changes Benny's life as he slips and slides from one chaotic. tense scene to the next.
The thrillerish nature Of this story is handled admirably as Sherrill skilfully builds tension from page to page. but his cast of American white trash characters are slightly over-familiar in these post-Vernon God Lift/e days. He also has a tendency to drift wildly off the point. indulging in aimless rambles. inevitably detracting from the book's impetus. DeSpite its faults. this is a decent story well told by an obviously talented writer. (Doug Johnstone)
COLLECTION MOSWEENEY’S 13: THE COMICS ISSUE
Chris Ware (editor)
(Hamish Hamilton) 0000.
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Chris (Jimmy Corrigan) Ware‘s guest editorship of the thirteenth McSweeney's quaterly magazine has produced something of a gem. While politics feature highly. from Joe Sacco's moving meditation on Sarajevo to Art Spiegelman's attempts to reconcile 9/1 1. there are still plenty of moments of hilarious depravity. Other
, heavyweights include
Daniel Eightba/l Clowes. the Hernandez brothers and that irascible misanthrope Robert Crumb. but their dominance is challenged by younger artists emerging from the comics underground. From the feculent humour of the gallery of obscene oddballs who populate Kaz's ‘Underworld' to the tender grace Of Charles Burns. via the Surreal vignettes Of Ben
Katchor's ‘Hotel & Farm'.
this is a feast of visual pleaswes from the best Nonh American comic writers around.
The contributors are true auteurs — individuals free from commercial pressures to explore. in writing and illustration.
3 very personal. sometimes painful ideas.
Chester Brown's ‘The Death of Thomas Scott'.
MONTH S LATE R
between implied and explicit violence. is a dizzying feat of emotional sleight of hand. and David
; Hartley's shOrts
chronicling his relationship with his father are touching. cringe inducing and profound within a mere three panels. Some of the strips have been culled from longer work.
' giving the impression
that they are snatches from larger transmissions. but this ellipsis is rarely frustrating. lending instead a wistful quality to their abstruse meanings. This is a grand symphony of sequential art. high notes of comedy and the low bass rumble of tragedy crashing together for your viewing pleasure; truly. all life is here.
The illuminating articles are either meditations on the comic form or biographies of famous
Creators. These include a
profile of Randolphe TOpffer. known as ‘the inventor of the comic strip‘. much admired by Goethe. and whose Original 1827 panels
have been reproduced
here. A second exercise
' in artistic archaeology is
the resurrection of some crumpled Charles Schulz Peanuts pencil sketches.
presented in all their 7 crumpled glory while
Ware rhapsodises in commentary. Alongside John Updike's musings
on his pictorial
obsession. these give an
' added poignancy. and
LtTTLE 1?; HURR‘d.HOU'LL 7 BE HAPPB To » KNow THAT THERE‘S BEGN A MIRACLE.
contrast with the doodles and scribblings in this collection. Often
crudely etched. but always deeply felt. simple yet bristling with inspiration. these are
paintings. and this is our modern at (Dave Martin)
NEWSPAPER STRIP JAMES BOND 007: OOTOPUSSY Ian Fleming, Jim Lawrence, Yaroslav Horak
‘All right. Confucius — Outside!’ quips Bond before dragging a Chinese tail from his vehicle and subjecting him to a jolly good hoofing. Clearly Her Majesty's finest isn't going to be any more loveable here than Fleming's gritty gentleman thug ever was in prose. You would suppose that a compilation of the Daily Express' three panels a day teaser strip would be admirable post-ironic fair for adult boys everywhere. What raises the eyebrow. however. is that this stuff isn't much more than a decade old. WOrse still. much of the subtlety Of the tale is fleshed out in stolid action sequences that would have taken the original reader a week to resolve. Brought together here in all its scratchy completeness. it's a wonder anyone bothered.
THE LAST OF THE UNICORNS HAS GIVEN BIRTH.
Excerpt from Kaz’s Underworld from McSweeney’s 13
100 THE LIST 24 Jun—8 Jul 2004
INDIE ROCK HOPE OF THE STATES
The Lost Riots (Seeker) 00000
3.} 7H ‘
labelling this Chichester five-piece the new Radiohead to the tragic suicide of their guitarist Jimmi Lawrence a few months ago. there was always going to be a sense Of drama surrounding HOTS' debut LP. SO hold your breath. it‘s finally upon us. and by golly it's good: grandiose. apocalyptic and burning wildly with ambition. boasting soaring melodies buffeted by swirling strings. raggedly raging guitars. pianos and thundering drums. Sam Herlihy's beautifully haunting vocals only add to The Lost Riots' outpouring of emotion. but far from the morose listen it could have been, it's ultimately uplifting and made all the more essential by its heartfelt lyrics and sideswipes at Blair. Bush and US-led globalisation. A staggering achievement indeed. (Camilla Pia)
The Blue Album (iht records) 0000
When was the last time you heard a record that sounded like Orbital? When. for that matter.
i did you last hear
Orbital? Phil and Paul Hartnoll have made some truly sensational
music and played some
phenomenal gigs in their time. but it's been a while since the
mainstream cared. This
final album (they will
formally split shortly after
their T in the Park date) wraps it up very nicely.
running with themes (bad technology. good technology. weird stuff) that have prevailed throughout their work and overflowing with fine music. from the space symphony of ‘Lost' and the endorphin-charged Crusty atmospherics of “One Perfect Sunrise‘ to
, gloriously stupid Sparks
collaboration ‘Acid Pants'. We may never see their like again. (James Smart)
HUW WARREN Hundreds of Things a Boy Can Make (Babel) OOOO
The jokey titles (‘How to make a shocking coil'. “More than the average number of Iegs'. ‘How to make a violin out of a cigar box') and iaunty air of much Of the music belie a serious and wide- ranging musical intelligence at work in this impressive outing from the Welsh pianist and composer. The music flows in attractive fashion. swept along on urgent rhythmic figures in the uptempo material. but full Of contrasting shifts in tempo and dynamics. colour and texture.
The core quartet is augmented by various guests. and the shifting line-ups add their own sonic variation to the genre-hopping — and genre-subverting — mix. (Kenny Mathieson)
ELECTRO FUNK CHROMEO She’s In Control (V2) OO
There is a daring Charm to duo Pee Thug and Dave 1 that nudges and winks its way through the bold and bizarre of this Canadian debut. It's novelty retro-funk that