I live in Tokyo now but most of my friends and family do not. The main idea here is that I can tell these people about interesting things that happen and are seen.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Comic, Thoughts on the Year 1996, and BONUS

I dunno if anyone ever clicks the link off to the right labelled "A Small Kobold" Web Comic - I know I wouldn't, given that it has not been updated in months... but anyway that is a comic that I work on sometimes. A man ought to have a hobby you know.

Well, I finally did another comic... only to discover that something has gone awry and I can't get the update script to display the sorry thing. If you visit the site now, you can read me complaining about this.

I will probably fix my site once Jeremy tells me what to do. Shitty thing needs an overhaul anyway (any volunteers, by the way? I don't know about inter net stuff and don't have a lot of time to learn...)

So anyway, for the time being you can see the comic right here - if you click on it, it should spring up into a legible size... be aware that it contains adult (adolescent?) references to DRUG USAGE... only stuff I learned from reading educational materials though of course.

I set this comic in 1996 because I needed to distance it from the continuity of everything else I've been doing, and also because 1996 is when Civilization 2 came out. But I had a hard time trying to give it a 1996 feel... in fact, I can remember very little about what 1996 was like. This got me to thinking - I figure that 1996 retro must be about due - and for some reason, this filled me with loathing and dread. But why? I wasn't sure.

So I took a look at the top 10 songs of 1996:

1. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio
2. One Sweet Day, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
3. Because You Loved Me, Celine Dion
4. Nobody Knows, Tony Rich Project
5. Always Be My Baby, Mariah Carey
6. Give Me One Reason, Tracy Chapman
7. Tha Crossroads, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
8. I Love You Always Forever, Donna Lewis
9. You're Makin' Me High / Let It Flow, Toni Braxton
10. Twisted, Keith Sweat

That's why. 1996 Presents: "Music to Cut Your Own Genitals By..."

Actually I'm pretty worried about mid-to-late 90s retro altogether. Things got worse as the decade went on - I'm talking about shit like Aqua, the boyband revival, "Candle in the Wind 1997" (which was STILL in the top 10 in 1998!), all that terrible vocoder crap that Cher kicked off in 1999...

As for the fashion - who else remembers the remorseless ubiquity of lime green and orange? Skeletal models, heroin chic anyone? (Anyone???)

If it hits us consecutively, we're due for about 6 straight years of nostalgia for one of the most apalling slump periods that global culture has ever known. In all honesty I would be happier doing "Aztec retro" and have my still-beating heart cut out with a stone knife and brandished before my agonized, disbelieving eyes... there would probably be some half-decent drumming happening nearby.


Paranthetically, 1996 also brought us the phrase "no diggity", which I still don't know how to use.

Is it like:

Q: "Would you care for a cigarette?"
A: "No diggity!"

I dunno, is that plausible? Is it? Friends... I really don't know. (I have "no diggity"? Maybe?)

Advice is being accepted on that one.



Would you drink out a glass designed by this man?

Currently, there is a 7-11 promotion here in Japan where if you buy a bunch of beer you can take home a glass that he designed. My flatmate bought a bunch of beer and that is exactly what happened. The glass itself is kind of a wonky shape and has angel wings on the side. You couldn't fit much beer in it... actually it sucks pretty bad.

The picture above is on the side of the box - don't it just make you want to... drink a laughably small serving of beer? Or go fox hunting?


Anonymous ShagPile said...

1996 wasn't that bad, it just depends on where you were. The NME top 10 singles of 1996 were.

Underworld -Born Slippy
Manic Street Preachers - A Design For Life
Beck - Where It's At
The Prodigy- Firestarter
Orbital - The Box
Folk Implosion- Natural One
Beck - Devils Haircut
Tiger - Race
2pac - California Love
Suede - Trash

Okay, so it's not exactly 1990 when the NME top singles were

Groove is in the heart - Deee-lite
Step on - Happy Mondays
Nothing compares 2 U - Sinead O' Connor
Where are you baby - Betty Boo
Loaded - Primal scream
Being boring - Pet shop boys
My definition of a jazz style - Dream warriors
Come home - James
World in motion - England/New Order
Different drum - The Lemonheads

But it's still better than what you're suggesting.

Thu Jan 11, 01:59:00 PM PST

Anonymous Amanda said...

I need to stress that both "Give me one reason" by Tracey Chapman and "Nothing compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor are in fact pretty good songs IF YOU ASK ME (perhaps only if you ask me, but the fact remains).

Thu Jan 11, 06:00:00 PM PST

Blogger Murray said...

"Gimme 1 Reason" is easily the most tolerable song on that list - I would not in fact cut my genitals with that as a soundtrack. I'd feel way too upbeat and end up having second thoughts and maybe humming to myself a little. That Celine Dion song, on the other hand, has me reaching for the meat cleaver, putting it back, and then going for something serrated instead like a breadknife.

You gotta concede, it's the high water mark on a very, very shallow pool.

(A green pool, slick with algae, and a-squirm with the larvae of foul, malarial things.)

I realize I'm cheating a little bit here buy just using the most popular songs in the US... I mean that's always gonna be pretty terrible. And it's certainly never going to compare to a critic's pick list (or is that just the UK's top singles by volume?). '96 was definitely a decent time to be listening to bFM back home - Odelay was out - JSBX "Now I Got Worry" (act like ya know!) - doubtless all kinds of good stuff. But the good stuff ain't what's gonna get served to us...

Anyway, bearing the perennial shittiness of the top 10 in mind, we can do a direct comparison to some other years...


1. End Of The Road, Boyz II Men
2. Baby Got Back, Sir Mix A-lot
3. Jump, Kris Kross
4. Save The Best For Last, Vanessa Williams
5. Baby-Baby-Baby, TLC
6. Tears In Heaven, Eric Clapton
7. My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It), En Vogue
8. Under The Bridge, Red Hot Chili Peppers
9. All 4 Love, Color Me Badd
10. Just Another Day, Jon Secada

Definitely some ropey material in there, but come on, Mix-A-Lot at #2??? That's like my theme these days... it starts playing when I enter rooms.

And I think we're all adult enough to admit that we actually like "Jump " by Kriss Kross now. And "My Loving" by En Vogue is THA JOINT (hated it when it came out though, I confess).

How about '84?

1. When Doves Cry, Prince
2. What's Love Got To Do With It, Tina Turner
3. Say Say Say, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
4. Footloose, Kenny Loggins
5. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now), Phil Collins
6. Jump, Van Halen
7. Hello, Lionel Richie
8. Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Yes
9. Ghostbusters, Ray Parker Jr.
10. Karma Chameleon, Culture Club

Definitely some shite, but "When Doves Cry" takes all... also Yes and Ray Parker Jr are peddling a little redemption down the end of the table there.

This is all coming from here by the way - take a look. I had to go back to 1978 to find a year that was quite as bad as '96 (waaaay too much Bee Gees...)

Fri Jan 12, 04:24:00 AM PST


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