The Conan of the Future

This afternoon devoured Riad Sattouf’s The Arab of the Future 3: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1985-1987. May have more to say but I must get in that Riad and his buddies obsession with the 1982 Conan the Barbarian movie was an utter surprise hoot (Sattouf does a marvelous job of capturing the kids’ imitation of the Schwarzenegger scowl).

The Edgar Rice Burroughs reissued paperbacks had been thrilling me since Junior High School and the same Frazetta cover art drew me to Robert E. Howard’s Conan books when they first appeared. And it was a serious graduation — Howard was more modern, more violent, more weird, more fevered than ERB.

I outgrew Howard and his hero (who I started calling “Onan the Barbarian”) before the reissue series finished up. I needed fiction characters with interiors. I knew little about Howard’s life except that he was from Texas and most of his Conan material had appeared in the sacred Weird Tales. Everything came flooding back when I saw the captivating and wonderfully realized 1996 film The Whole Wide World (Vincent D’Onofrio performance of a lifetime). I immediately tracked down the Novalyne Price book One Who Walked Alone (more apt title, but I see why they didn’t use it). Both the film and the memoir are hugely recommended for their presentation of the value fantasy had for certain isolated souls trapped in the vast Western horizons. The Price book makes a more explicit case for Howard’s fatal fixation on his mother.

Stuff in the Air That Came Out of Speakers Today #65: Reggae From Guam

Always Love by the For Peace Band survived the serious first round of listens, which means it will be that (nowadays) great rarity, a reggae album I will keep. Bit platitudinous, bit recycled riffs and hooks, but with enough catchy inventions and surprises on vocals and instrumentals (percussion and guitar especially) and warmhearted love songs that you will want to slap it on every so often.

Screamin’ J

I see that Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s ’90s albums are going to be reissued. Back in the day I had a real mixed response: I was glad they were out there because he could use the moolah; these numbers were just (sometimes good) jokes — his earlier renditions had been both jokes and not-jokes. And this is one of my all-time favorite Hairy Who paintings (very sad to see it is not on display — first discovered it visiting the museum in Chicago):

http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/109886

 

Oy! “Trolls de Troy”

Just when you think Oggy and the Cockroaches is the biggest French-cartoon import you’ll ever run across, the Brookline Booksmith Used Book Basement comes through again and yields up the first volume of Trolls de Troy, which I understand is enormously popular in France and some other non-English-speaking countries. I loved the crazy action and the vibrant artwork so much, I didn’t mind my merest spattering of French. Closer viewing at home revealed the comic featured fabulous monsters and, wow, horror-movie violence (just for starters, the Trolls kill and eat humans with impunity and regularity), not to mention a human “child” of a lead character who wants to become a Troll but who really seems to be there so we can have a Hot Babe around (who happens to be a cannibal).

I can’t follow the plot — the only English versions of Trolls de Troy is the animated cartoons, very simplified and toned waaay down — so I may only need an example of this series. But yowsah, if yer a serious comic-book person, you got to have a look at this one.

Flashback #1: 2007 Mixdiscs

Usually in the slow days of summer, I get the urge to re-listen to the older homemade CDs I have moldering in the basement. The rock item is a bit ruder and rowdier sequence than I might make now, but I will stick up for all the tracks listed here. (As always, does include some beloved tracks I simply discovered that year.)

ROCK ‘N’ WHATEVER 2007 — PART TWO

  1. Tracy Thorn, “Get Around to It”
  2. The Scoff, “Nasty”
  3. Budos Band, “Deep in the Sand”
  4. Les Savy Fav, “Pots & Pans”
  5. Against Me!, “White People for Peace”
  6. Brakes, “Porcupine or Pineapple”
  7. Rudder, “Squarefoot”
  8. Rilo Kiley, “Breakin’ Up”
  9. Fu Manchu, “Shake It Loose”
  10. Queens of the Stone Age, “Sick, Sick, Sick”
  11. Modest Mouse, “Dashboard”
  12. Gore Gore Girls, “Where Evil Grows”
  13. Cafe Tacuba, “Agua”
  14. Loudon Wainwright III, “Grey in L.A.”

 

JAZZ DIARY 2007 — Vol. Two

  1. Nino Josele, “Turn Out the Stars”
  2. Bobby Hutcherson, “The Omen”
  3. Alan Pasqua, “The Anti-Social Club”
  4. Philly Joe Jones/Elvin Jones, “Le Roi”
  5. Benny Carter, “Frenesi”
  6. The Nils Cline Singers, “Caved-In Heart Blues”
  7. Max Roach Quintet, “Ezz-Thetic”
  8. Christian Scott, “Katrina’s Eyes”
  9. Mark Murphy, “Angel Eyes”
  10. Billy Bang Quintet, “Nothing But Love”
  11. Massacre, “Return”