South Park Self

I have to force them blinking and cursing into the light

I feel all virtuous: before 10am this morning I'd taken the car through to Diep River to be assessed for bodywork (it leaks like a sieve and they're going to have to remove the front and back windows and do some serious repair to rusted edges) and hit the bank to finalise complicated transfers of money to artisans in France. (This house is costing me a fortune. But the lease is signed and my agent has the cheque for the first month's rent and the deposit: in the next few months it'll hopefully be bringing in money rather than draining it like a giant plughole some bastard just installed on my account).

And all this activity was achieved in the morning's joyously pouring, bucketing, giant-blatting-raindrop rain, accompanied by madly gusting winds and my small cries of uncomplicated glee. I'm now sitting at my desk with the heater cranked to the max, warming my feet and drying my jeans from the recent dash to do some shopping, which necessitated stomping through puddles under my enormous umbrella with a huge and ridiculous grin on my face. I also had to brave the elements to take the gardener to the station on the grounds that there's no way he can possibly work today. The recent lawn-planting activities plus the downpour means that the garden is a treacherous bog, and I rather fear that at any moment the poor guy might step on a particularly soggy patch and vanish up to his neck, there to be trapped in the sucking mud while bedraggled moles gnaw on his lower extremities. I'm not a huge fan of our gardener, but there are limits to my sadism.

I'm not sure why there are limits to my sadism, actually, given that I've spent odd moments of the last few days distracting myself from recalcitrant vampire Snow Whites by devouring the first five volumes of Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan graphic novels. These function more or less as a depraved, cynical, evil-minded, hyperactive and deeply political mash-up of gonzo journalism, cyberpunk, black humour, ultraviolence and an extended drug trip of the nastier variety. I love them, but I'm quite frankly surprised that I'm enjoying them as much as I am: there's a level of unabashed nastiness - and bodily fluids - which would usually alienate me completely. Spider Jerusalem, the insane journalist who's the centre character, uses a bowel disruptor as his weapon of choice, and kicks heads in with cheerful abandon and buckets of blood wherever it seems deserved. The various horribly logical and filthy things the future world does with tech have been dreamed up by a particularly acute, corrupt and fevered imagination, although the political beastliness is straight out of the here and now. As literature goes, it's Not Nice.

I think I'm responding to the stories because they're so intelligently angry and so bleakly despairing as well as being so funny: this is a projected future on speed jerky fast-forward, a bewilderingly diverse, cynical, consumerist and corrupt milieu which allows Ellis to point accusing fingers at our own world through the dizzying clouds of exaggeration. The storytelling is superb, built around Spider Jerusalem's own blistering rants which employ a beautifully-balanced dynamic tension between his iconoclastic personal amorality and his bone-deep political morality, and the artwork has a level of nastily vivid detail and hyperactive, unhealthy life which is very, very telling. (Also, Patrick Stewart1, with measured British grace, introduces the fifth volume, which completely blows my brain).

These books are not at all my sort of thing, and I love them unreservedly. I shall aquire the other half of the collection posthaste, once I've tamed my credit card a tad, while somewhere my inner Victorian governess is eroded just a little more. And a good thing too - she's prissy.



1 Whose birthday it was yesterday. You must go here to celebrate, if you're the kind of person who'll dissolve as helplessly into giggles as I did at a perfectly wonderfully horrible STNG joke.

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TransMet was my favourite run of comics. Then it ended and I was sad. Then I discovered 100 Bullets and lo, I was happy again.
They do seem a particularly good fit to what I know of you, mostly the political rage :>. 100 Bullets, strangely, is also on my wishlist, that's the noir one? I can't remember who else recommended it to me, probably someone's blog somewhere, but I'll get there too.
"on speed"

It distresses me to see "on speed" abused in this manner. Do you mean it can do normal things for far longer? That it feels an overpowering urge to do the hoovering? That it knows that tomorrow its jaw will be sore from chewing gum all night? That food will sicken it?

"on speed" is rarely used by those familiar with speed, I find.
Re: "on speed"
Well, I associate it with relentless energy, which is the sense in which I meant it, but I am perfectly open to correction on this as on all other points to do with drugs, which I have never actually done in any form. Then again, one can absorb quite a lot of drug experience second-hand through the more demented class of writers ;>.
Don't disparage your Victorian governess. The political does not justify the personal.

Supposedly the best speed comes from Belgium. Which got me to thinking about soggy waffles.
Was it just me, or was that a slightly wayward and disconnected comment? I'm the one who's supposed to have had my head rearranged by Warren Ellis ...

My inner Victorian governess has her moments, but she does need to be kept in check or I start turning into a prude, which heaven forfend.
I'm not sure who rearranged my head, but wayward and disconnected characterises a lot of its activity. Apologies if I wandered too far or wasn't clear.

Edited at 2010-07-14 01:49 pm (UTC)
No, no, no apologies needed, it was amusingly wayward. Never let it be said that I stand in the way of creative non sequiteur, or semi-sequiteur, or sheer random wayward puppy pseudo-connectivity. I am, after all, no one to point fingers in glass houses. Or something.
This is not right
I'm frankly deeply disturbed by your embrace of all things Warren Ellis. Which is mostly by way of it supposed to be "not your cup of tea" with the violence and the filthy assistants and so on.

I suspect the Ironman Extremis as being some sort of gateway drug.

For your next course I recommend "Crooked Little Vein". This will separate the evil witch from the Victorian governess!
Re: This is not right
Actually, the gateway drug was FreakAngels. And Warren Ellis's football commentary, which is profane and disgusting and hilariously insulting.

I actually have no problem with the filthy assistants, they amuse me no end - mostly I have a problem with the shitting and the throwing up and the flying blood and entrails, but I seem to be suppressing it remarkably well. Probably, I think, because while my personal idiom is very different I very much share his bleakly cynical view of our world, and it's curiously satisfying to see my own despair externalised into images I'd never use in a million years but which express it perfectly.

I have been eyeing Crooked Little Vein with a not unhorrified interest. I suspect it's a matter of time.
Re: This is not right
Read Crooked Little Vein and your journey to the Ellis side will be complete.

There's things in that book that will never leave you, no matter how hard you wish they would.