Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Like anyone with a brain and a soul, I'm a massive fan of Stevie Wonder. Who isn't? Who can honestly say they haven't danced, cried, laughed and loved to his plethora of hits? I have nothing but admiration for brave Stevie's extraordinary musical journey. Some twisted bigots said he'd never learn to play piano - but he proved them wrong, every contemptable, worthless one of 'em. In 1981, it wasn't the black and white of 2-Tone that brought the kids together; it was the chart smash Ebony and Ivory. He's survived blindness, assassination attempts by Marvin Gaye's father and onstage electrocution. So it's hardly surprising that he's celebrated as the world's best loved songwriter/performer, and one of only a handful of true innovators in an industry plagued by stuffed liggers and butterfly collectors.

Not many people know this, but Stevie was also the first person to start a blog, back in 1980. Using Prestel, Stevie more or less kicked off the whole online scribbling phenomenon with Stevie Wonder's Personal Blog - still going strong to this day, if not until, er, 2038.

The blog is packed with thousands of insightful posts, tackling topics such as fashion, sex and commerce. Without a doubt, though, the most powerful post is THIS one - in which Stevie makes a passionate plea to a bunch of self-absorbed, lazy wastrels who haven't the courtesy to respond to his earlier emails.

I mean, if your Inbox alert sounded and you discovered a brand new missive, with the subject heading "I JUST E-MAILED TO SAY I LOVE YOU", wouldn't you at least fire back a "THANKS STEVIE"? Shame on them. Also check the comment at the bottom - "legal action will be taken by the University"???? Er, legal action against STEVIE WONDER??? Don't think so, you overeducated buffoons!

Legal action against Stevie Wonder - as if!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


When I got back from outer space, she was stuffing my clothes into orange bin liners and hurling them to the pavement below, they looked like corpulent, decapitated Western hostages in freefall. A Diamanda Galas LP frisbee'd through the open window and made a large SKRAK sound as it exploded on the pavement. Diamanda's bloody face now nursed a fractured jawline of snapped vinyl. I was going to try to save it, but fuck it, I knew I'd never sit through her hoodoo screeching again anyway. And then I spotted him, inside the bedroom, face pushed up to the glass....him, orchestrating this chaos and heartache, his face twisted into an evil sneer as she raged against my good name and slandered me with abuse...her filthy pet mandrill, the one she really should have been firing through the bloody window, the shit-stirring bastard!

And as I looked up skywards, a bird spat in my eye. And I never really loved you 'til the day I saw you cry. A bra stuffed tight with anger, and a mandrill and a knife. This Solar System cowboy, dispossessed and dumped by wife.

And as Lee Marvin's lonesome song wound to an end, I asked myself - Why does it always end this way?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


When does mental illness become a bit rock'n'roll? When does schizophrenia become revolutionary? When Lee Perry comes onstage, with a saucepan on his head and claiming to be Hitler, whooped on by an audience of tye-dyed, whistle-blowing gwailos? When some smirking hippie forms the Socialist Patients' Kollektiv in 1970 and encourages vulnerable persons unknown to blow things up, while he goes back to his flat to smoke dope and listen to Henry Cow? When Mark E Smith bullshits naive, insecure music hacks with streams of incoherent junk? When Hasel Adkins kicks a synthesizer off the top of a pick-up? When some six foot taxi driver collapses in his plastic chair, drops his plastic coffee cup on the ground, breathes in the stink of the ward, and sobs, "I just can't do this anymore"? Tell me?

Monday, October 20, 2008


Is the word 'cunt' really sexist? Is it OK if I just call men 'cunt'? Is it really terrible to say "She's a right cunt"? What if the woman in question passes by a wheelchair-bound Big Issue vendor, snatches a copy of the paper from his paw, and chucks a couple of coins on the pavement? Can we call her a 'cunt' then? Was Lynndie England a cunt? Surely Beverley Allitt deserved a bit of a stronger epithet than 'fucking cow'. The nun who attacked me with a steel ruler when I was six: Queen of Cunts, without a doubt. When I was 14, my mum once put the phone down on the only girl I'd found who liked the band Conflict, informing her: "He doesn't want to speak to you". Is that cuntish or what?

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Sorry, not trying to be wilfully thick here, but there's a few things I just don't comprehend watching a clip from the SWP protest against the bankers from 2 weeks back (below). I mean, is this what it's come to? Responding to bit of shoving from the police with the chant "Shame on you"?? What next, a full-blown riot down Trafalgar Square, echoing to the refrain of stewards roaring "What a palaver"??

Also, check when they start chanting Who let the dogs out? and the bloke in white who lumbers across the screen at 0:54, raising his fist and replying "GEORGE BUSH!" But my favourite bit starts at 2:24. Here's the voice of the workers ((or might be, once they've finished their degrees)), the seething socialist horde, swarming the streets of London, determined to PUNISH the scheming, overstuffed bankers who've unleashed this tide of horror upon us..get rid of the rich and their lackeys, tear the bastards to pieces...but go to 2:24 and LOOK! There's a stream of bankers walking right past them on their way home, right til 2:40! Oh don't worry Michael, they haven't spotted us...they're too busy shouting at people on the bus...

What Ray Winstone's doing on it at 3:12 is beyond me as well.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Right, so apparently Steven Pearce, "a chemist and managing director of a fragrance company" ((ITV journalists couldn't be bothered to source the name of this enterprise)) has been asked by NASA if he can recreate the "smell of outer space" in a laboratory. Pearce has interviewed a couple of astronauts, posing such vital questions as "Does the Solar System stink?" and, based on this waffle, he's come up with the following:

"For them, what comes across is a smell of fried steak, hot metal and even welding a motorbike, one of them said."

Hot metal? Fried steak? Well, let's not piss around the bush: we're obviously talking frazzled astronaut corpses. We all know Laika must be beginning to whiff by now, but how many snuffed-it space explorers are floating around up there too? It's not very respectful, is it? How about simulating the smell of the Potters Bar train crash? "It smelt a bit of hamburger and burning rubber" I suppose.

Apparently, this experiment's for the benefit of US astronauts, who want to 'acclimatise' to space before they go up there. Oh for God's sake, it's a smell. Can you imagine Yuri Gagarin behaving like this? Pearce confesses to be struggling to get the hot metal / motorbike smell right, though he had a little more luck nailing down the pong of fried steak. Why don't NASA just tell their wannabe astronauts to toss a rib-eye steak in the pan and hang out round a garage, if they really need to 'acclimatise'. Maybe then the organisation could get back to doing 'proper' stuff, like checking the shuttles' safety seals before they launch people into the Texas desert.

Perhaps the trainee astronauts could also neck a few aspirins, to practice eating "space food" in 2047 - mmm, just imagine sitting in your pod, watching dust clouds swirl around Mongolia, and scoffing down a delicious shepherd's pie and rhubarb crumble....IN A PILL!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


A copy of Whitehouse's Right to Kill LP on Discogs, going for a paltry £40; entire shelves stuffed with Psychic TV rarities, rendered worthless overnight; obscure United Dairies tapes, tossed into the bin like soiled kitchen roll. Welcome to industrial record collecting, 2008 recession style.

The first signs of the downturn manifested themselves in October last year. Maurizio Bianchi reissues on the EES'T label - then changing hands for approximately £20 on eBay - began to shift for as little as £7.29. A significant number of Japnoise collectors were dismayed to learn that their copies of Senzuri Champion by the Gerogerigegege - sourced for £100 in the previous quarter - were completely failing to attract interest when punted at a 'Best Offer' price of £70, let alone the £150 demanded on a 'Buy it Now' basis.

The end result is that industrial and power electronics fans are currently sitting on what one analyst describes as "piles of worthless trash". When the boom was at its peak, the merest hint of a 16-minute concept LP about child abuse, nazi death camps, male domination and surreal sex rites had international investors slavering. Now, with the shadow of financial insecurity looming like an unshaven highwayman in a gibbet, it is proving near impossible to give these counter-cultural artifacts away for free.

In summer 2007, the situation didn't seem so bleak. Some stocks had already been written off - mainly appalling vinyl releases by the likes of Sleep Chamber, Die Form, Con-Dom and Intrinsic Action - but it seemed that industrial mainstays, such as Come Org, Broken Flag and LAYLAH product, would continue to appreciate, despite major tail-offs in consumer demand.

In many ways, the 2006 implosion of the Messthetics/Killed by Death compilation trading market provided a timely warning of things to come - though few industrial investors, as it now transpires, had their eyes on the ball.

Some have blamed Stewart Home's campaign against neo-folk nazi nuts for the rapid depreciation in Death in June, Blood Axis and Sol Invictus stock. But, as one analyst explains, this approach is simply a case of blaming the horse for shitting in the stable.

"The industrial crash has been a long time coming," our expert opines. "People were spending money they could barely afford on 7" platters limited to 50 copies. Badly xeroxed images of Treblinka commandants, naked women with knife wounds and balaclava'd, armalite-totin' terrorists lulled them into a false sense of security - when, realistically, these records should have been selling at Woolworths bargain bin prices.

"Unfortunately, it appears a lot of people hammered the plastic without thinking of the consequences. Right now, you'd have more luck punting snowshoes to an Eskimo than recouping 10% of your purchase price when flogging a Sutcliffe Jugend box set."

There have been vague mumblings about 'bailing the record collectors out'. Freeshare sites, such as Mediafire, Megaupload and Rapidfire, are currently being petitioned to clamp down on the obsessives who offer up releases by Nurse With Wound, Bladderflask, Current 93,Test Department, Coil, Merzbow and Factrix for free. But the bitter truth is that industrial trading has fallen on its own petard, after years of robbing Peter to pay people in glass houses.

Yesterday, guaranteed sales and a nice wedge for an unblemished copy of the first SPK 7", on the Side Effects label; today, the sound of silence, and Cold Spring battening down the hatches, as snake oil seeps into the drain. Somehow, the catchphrase The End of Music has never seemed more apt.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

CROSSFADER DOMINATOR: an exclusive interview with DAVID SEE

David See is a man who needs little introduction to anyone who genuinely loves dance music. He's been pounding the mean streets of Britain's disco beat since the 1970s, having spun, mixed and scratched more 12"s than you've had sad, lonely wanks into your older sister's laundry basket. Pete Tong? Don't make me laugh, his mum used to pre-record his mixes for him at home, while he just slouched around the Radio 1 studio, sucking love hearts and pretending they were Es. Seb Fontaine? A wannabe rapist, by all accounts - "the man who puts the 'hip' into 'rohypnol'!", as the sleazy bastard used to joke in the Ministry of Sound toilets. Grooverider? Couldn't mix a scotch and coke, let alone two records together. Jon Pleased Women? Straight as a die, straight as a die! These buffoons pale into insignificant spatters of kebab vomit on a cold Finsbury Park pavement, compared to the godlike dynamism of David See.

Anyone who's serious about DJing for a living NEEDS to track down See's INCREDIBLE manual, "How to be a Disc Jockey" - still the first and last word on the subject. Those who've encountered this precious, yet obscure, tome will verify just what a life-changing read it is. The fact that thousands of ill-informed clowns neglect to study this masterpiece before racing down to the shops to buy a pair of turntables and a mixer probably accounts for the sheer volume of pathetic, instantly forgettable 'mixes' out there in the world today. The dole offices of this country are heaving with burnt-out MDMA casualties, out-of-work DJs and bitter, washed-up MCs...none of whom had the nouse to consult See's words of wisdom before attempting their conquests of Clubland. Discotheques are battlezones, and See is the Disco Paratrooper who'll get you through the mortar attacks in one piece.

Recently, this blog had the tremendous privilege of being able to secure an interview with the elusive See, the importance of this coup barely requires an explanation. We met up for a few ales in the Lamb & Flag in Covent Garden - the same pub where poet John Dryden had his head kicked in after he slagged off Guy Fawkes. Like yourselves, I certainly had a lot of questions to ask DJ Dave. But be warned: See doesn't mince his words, and some of the following views may cause self-styled 'mixmeisters' to redden and sob with shame...NOW READ ON

BTi - When I was 16, I pretty much believed in armed revolution against the state, loud basslines and motor-goth girls with forearm tattoos, riding Honda CX500s. But deep down, I used to get my kicks from drinking snowballs and dancing around my room to Linx and Freeez, with Xmas tree lights draped around my neck. Everyone thinks the only music that 'mattered' in the late '70s was punk, post-punk or reggae - disco gets pretty short shrift.

DS - Ha! Tell that to the tens of thousands of nubile groovers I've whipped into a frenzy over the years. Yes, disco's always been belittled by disgruntled bigots. I never thought that much of punk. John Lydon advertises butter these days, so I hear. Can you imagine Sylvester wasting his time doing Stork commercials? Mark E Smith's a pathetic alcoholic who can't even string a sentence together - the only people he intimidates are 14-year old NME hacks. Jake Burns looks like a gerbil that can't stop eating. Punks always looked so bloody ill, I never understood how that caught on! But, 30 years on, Frank Farian's productions still sound like they were recorded in 2034 - on a spacecraft - and the Clash might as well have recorded their first album in the 1950s, for all it's worth sonically.

However, I was always partial to a bit of reggae, even though I'm not black. In fact, I was involved in the production of a few recordings, in the late 1970s, for a small but innovative political reggae label.

BTi - I'm not trying to kiss arse, but "How to be a Disc Jockey" seems to be the only book worth reading on the subject.

DS - Listen, I know my stuff. I've DJ'd at youth centres in places you'd never find on an Ordnance Survey map. I've humped a JVC turntable down the Old Kent Road at 3 in the morning, and I always designed my own flyers, meticulously, by hand. I've also made a fortune in this game - I signed off the dole in 1976 and haven't needed to do an honest day's work since. Quite frankly, if you ignore the book...well, I can't help you.

BTi - Since I started doing the blog, back in May 2004, I've met quite a few people who've done DJ mixes, some of whom I've become quite friendly with. But, even though they've selected some OK tunes, and I appreciate the spirit behind their efforts, I can't help but find these mixes depressingly poor, technically. I wish some of these people would bother to read your manual.

DS - Some people don't want to learn, I guess. Like in 1994, I had some girl track me down, asking me to teach her how to mix. Lisa Lashes, I think she called herself. Absolutely hopeless. She didn't even know what I was talking about when I asked her if she had a Pulsonic Plus. I cut my teeth on the mobile DJ circuit and, let me tell you, you learn bloody quick in that environment. This girl just wanted to sit on her arse, put on some sunglasses, take a chill pill and let the turntable do all the work. All my advice went in one ear, out of her navel. That's why I wrote the book - to let youngsters know what DJing really entails.

BTi - I guess you've got some crazy stories from life on the road.

DS - You have to understand - I'm from a generation of REAL DJs. We drank 20 pints a night and never mis-cued a 7", not once, what we were doing was too important. It's a far cry from the Evian-sipping flakes you get manning the decks these days.

I remember this one time I DJ'd on a Scandinavian ferry crossing. There were loads of Swedish birds really getting into it, especially when I slipped on the latest single by Munich Machine. One of them came up to my control booth and whispered what she'd do to me if I played some Tavares, for her best mate's birthday. I could hardly refuse - considering that she'd promised to blow pure cocaine up my urethra while stimulating my prostate with her nipples! I bet you don't get many offers like that in Fabric. But this was 1979, and anything went. Unfortunately, I didn't even manage to get the Tavares record out of its sleeve, as, seconds later, a bunch of Finnish skinheads started trashing the 'disco deck', and I was concussed by a flying Danish pastry.

Then there was the time I did a set at the Starlight Youth Club, when I came on wearing a bed sheet with the eyeholes cut out and DISCO DUPPIE painted on the back. I was experimenting with my roots reggae alter-ego, 'The Cool Ghoul'. Unfortunately, the 99% black crowd mistook my ghostly garb for a Klansman uniform, and I had to flee the venue under a hail of ashtrays, tankards, bar stools, pool cues, pool balls, bottles, tables, drip trays, cheese baps and darts.

As you probably know, the UK was split across subcultural lines back in the old days. Heavy metal and disco were ideological opposites, in every respect. But this didn't stop me being very good mates with Neal Kay, who ran the Bandwagon HM club in North London. I didn't enjoy his championing of garbage like Def Leppard and Iron Maiden, but he was a top DJ, certainly one of the best this country's ever seen. I can't fault him on that score. I suppose, in a way, he was the first 'superstar DJ'. Anyway, I remember me and Neal went along to the Miss TV Times 1982 Contest. I had a 20-minute DJ slot, so I was spinning Angel 43 by Marsha Raven while Neal kept the booze coming. Suddenly, a couple of birds came up and asked if we wanted to head back to theirs, to have a go on their 'dreamachine'. So we got a taxi to their gaffe - a swanky pad in Fulham - and spent hours soaking up flickering strobes and tripping out to visions of Atlantis, before it got flooded. I don't want to sound soppy, but I really think I saw Jesus that night, whirring around in the lights, and he told me I had a very special gift. Mind you, I say "that night" - by the time we'd unplugged the bloody machine, 22 days had passed! I ended up missing several club bookings. But one of the girls shoved her tits up my arse.

I used to be good mates with the Italo Disco troupe, La Bionda. Great lads, had a cracking time with them. Not many people know this, but I was one of the first DJs to play Italian club tunes in Britain. La Bionda seriously knew how to party. One of their tricks was to buy condoms in bulk, and then fill the rubbers up with Chianti. They'd then tie a knot in the end and swallow the Trojans, international smack smuggler-style. When their gastric juices eventually dissolved the flimsy rubber coatings, umpteen quantities of red wine would simultaneously erupt into their bloodstreams. It was the Omagh Bomb of getting wasted. Unfortunately, I never saw them after they had their big hit I Wanna Be Your Lover but I heard their record label was forced to feature La Bionda in 'cartoon form' for the promo video, cos they were too trolleyed to turn up for filming.

BTi - OK, we've taken the piss out of all the wannabes who upload crap mixes on the Web, so what would advice would you give to the 'Blogariddims' generation of hopefuls?

DS - Learn to annunciate clearly. You're not just there to push records around, you need to communicate with the dancefloor as well. You're a pilot, flying at 45RPM, guiding your passengers to DESTINATION DISCO, estimated arrival time: HALF PAST THE GROOVE. And don't just deliver 'shout outs' in some mumbled slang terminology - you're an ambassador, not a bloody town-crier.

Decent lights are everything. Get yourself a proper rig. People want flashing lights in a variety of colours, not just some vague green or orange hue behind the booth. Ask any Mescalero Indian: intense, flashing lights play a crucial role in generating libido and excitement.

If you get nervous before a set, sink a few pints. I used to drink at least 12 before I went on the wheels. It helps you to relax and steadies your hand.

If people are smooching on the dancefloor, don't play some 'industrial punk rock' record. It will kill the mood. You think it makes you look clever and subversive: well, let me tell you, little fool - you just look like another spotty scrote who doesn't know what the bloody hell he's doing. One thing's for sure, these couples won't ever return to one of your disco parties, and then it'll just be you, alone in your bedroom, sobbing over some 'twisted deathcore' record you only ever bought as a statement of your own naive insecurity...because no-one wants to listen to that tosh, no-one.

Be courteous to women. I have had sex with over 20,000 women in the past 30 years, but I've always said "ta" when they laid out the bacon and sausage the morning after.

And - if people ask you if you've got a certain record, try to be a bit civil when you reply, or you might get a fist in the eye. I saw an inferior DJ in Blackpool get chinned for telling someone's wife to 'eff off' when she asked if he had anything by Ten Tons of Fun.

BTi - Finally, the big question - whatever happened to you? Why did you retire from Clubland?

DS - I became disillusioned, the scene had all changed, lowered its standards, got sloppy. When you have people turning up to nightclubs in baseball caps, something's wrong. Also, I'm getting on a bit now, and my sexual appetite's diminished somewhat - though, God knows, I'd hardly need it to pass myself off as a 'DJ' these days. The magic's all gone. I'm currently working on a crime novel - it's taking a while, but it'll be worth the wait. It's set during the 1979 EMI Disco Dancing Championship.

I'll tell you something, put me against any of these current so-called DJs and I'd show them a thing or two. I could do a better mix on one deck than they could on eight. The book's been out of a print for a while but, every now and then, I receive an email begging me for tips and advice, and I'm aware it's revered as a cult item, from Hitchin to Osaka. I'm amazed people still manage to track me down, but it just confirms that every word I wrote in 1980 is gospel. That's enough for me - I'm not a greedy man, and I have nothing to prove to anyone.

Monday, October 06, 2008

KINO FIST REVIEW: "..and it sucks the sun out of your Sunday"

What a depressing week. Heard all the jokes: What's the difference between Spurs and a triangle? A triangle's got three points...Did you get the train OK today? Heard there was a points failure in the Tottenham area.... Yeah, whatever. A Sunday with a grey slate sky, chill wet wind, half-arsed drizzle and almost nobody on the streets around my way, except a lost taxi driver who I had to help out with directions to Hendon (what the - ?). Well, I needed a bit of cheer - so what better way to unwind than a trip to the PICTURES?

Actually, I associate cinemas with sex and danger. Get this - when I was younger, my mum used to warn me: "Whatever you do...don't go to the toilet in the cinema! You'll be snatched by the white slave trade!" No shit. The bogs down the flickhouse were allegedly bustling with cackling maniacs, desperate to chloroform a kid or two and ship them off to the filthy paedo parlours of Amsterdam and Tangiers.

But, no! You dare mock the woman who spawned me?? Why, she had evidence beyond doubt that these stomach-churning, one-eyed dealers in virgin flesh were lurking in the Odeon pissoirs, with their whips, rohypnol and Milky Bars. Apparently, when she was a teenager, she'd gone to see some rubbish (probably Doctor in the House)down the cinema with a female friend. Five minutes later, said mate popped out for a pee - but never returned.

I mean, what else would you conclude? Surely not that said wench found my dear old ma boring and legged it home to catch Cliff Richard on 'Ready Steady Go' instead? No, the poor girl was abducted by the white slave trade, alright. To be honest, at that age, I didn't realise that child-snatchers did things like stuff their genitals up your bum, so I used to hang out in cinema toilets quite a bit, dreaming of the loving surrogate parents who'd pay handsomely to raise me as their own in the hills of Honolulu. I missed a lot of film action while I was posing around the urinals - but hey, what was there to watch back then? Sylvester Stallone beating up a metrosexual Russian and David Bowie wearing tights and serenading a bunch of puppets down a sewer?

Enough - anyway, I decided to spend my Sunday watching films down the Kino Fist. This event was held in the Wenlock Building on Wharf Road, a strange venue that's like a cross between a halls of residence, a gallery, a conference centre and a plush block of apartments. Each floor even has its own shower facilities, dunno if this is so performance artists can hose off the blood after writhing around in a sack of offal for 30 minutes. Two foxy American girls were dabbing at a white wall with damp cloths. A stroll past some foam objects led to an alcove featuring about 80 drawings of Hitler. Fucking hell, you counterculturals can't get enough of that man. One of the offices served as a pen for a flock of electric fans, blowing gusts of stale air at each other. The 4th floor was apparently off limits, God knows who or what lives up there. But I wouldn't mind it being me. A drumkit was set up in one room, another small chamber projected a video feed of a canal, with the odd dogwalker shambling past to break up the monotony. Oh, and one room with 'KINO FIST STARTS AT 2.30PM' scribbled on a scrap of paper on the door.

Being a communist event, nobody had bothered to supply seating (save three benches that screamed out DON'T SIT ON US, WE HURT), so it was either slob out on the floor, school assembly style, or stand at the back - we went for the latter. The first film was "LA SOUFRIERE" by Werner Herzog, it was about a volcano that was meant to erupt and kill everyone, but didn't. I was well impressed to start with, because I thought it was actually a work of fiction, and couldn't figure out how Herzog had managed to evacuate the whole town - the first 10 minutes has some incredibly desolate shots. When I realised it was a documentary, this mystery became clear. It was interesting, but I was really here for the main event, the screening of Barry Hines'/Mick Jackson's '84 epic "THREADS", in which Sheffield, the home of Coldwave Industrial, gets nuked.

Now, I was a bit of a sceptical old cunt about my second encounter with this film, I'll admit. I first saw it when I was 18, 10 years after it was made. I remembered it being grim, but when one of the Kino Fist organisers, Dr.Pygge, described it as being "THE SINGLE MOST DEPRESSING FILM YOU'LL EVER SEE! DON'T COME DOWN HERE IF YOU'RE FEELING DOWN! YOU'LL PROBABLY END UP THROWING A SEVEN!", I thought, Yeah, right. Just slightly overhype it, why don't you. I know Conflict tea-leaved loads of audio samples from it for their completely bloody angry '86 LP The Ungovernable Force, but I had the feeling this viewing was going to destroy the myth of the memory I'd stored away from the first sitting. Surely the acting was going to be laughable, the plot sloppy and sentimental, the effects dated? I mean, Reece Dinsdale's in it, for Christ's sake...

5.30pm, and fuck me, "Threads" has lost none of its savage potency. I feel like I've been cracked over the head with a baseball bat. I don't know what to say really, except the trudge back down Wharf Road afterwards wasn't helped by the monochrome surroundings, empty police van and piles of earth heaped up across the road. Thank fuck for The Eagle pub, it was going to take a few jars to shift the mood of utter despondency that seemed to be engulfing City Road like a dirty radioactive cloud. Well, til some prat grabbed a microphone and announced it was quiz time, at least...

Yes, "Threads" is up there with Elem Klimov's "Come and See" and Nick Broomfield's documentary "Tattooed Tears" as one of the films absolutely guaranteed to suck the sun out of your day. Weirdly enough, one of the bleakest scenes in "Threads" for me (well, apart from the radiation sickness, post-apocalypse totalitarian street hangings, rape, stillborn babies and charred cadavers) is towards the end, where a group of dead-eyed teenagers huddle around a flickering TV set, soaking up a pre-apocalypse educational programme aimed at kids half their age, on a semi-knackered video cassette (check out the parallel chilling scene in "Tattooed Tears", where the "trainees" incarcerated by the California Youth Authority sit slumped before speak'n'spell machines and computerised 'aptitude tests', quizzing which section of a hammer should be used to drive home a nail...) Anyway, "Threads" and its US counterpart, "The Day After", appear to be on Youtube, so feel free to have a gander, if you fancy a completely blue night in.

Spurs lost to Hull and all.

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