H.P. LOVECRAFT HATED T.S. ELIOT - Dangerous Minds
HP Lovecraft's reputation as an avid correspondent with fellow weird fiction writers is quite charming, but I find his fits of bitchiness quite captivating as well. Male bitchiness in general is a riot, if only because it tends to be categorized as "critique," but WE know the truth of the matter, don't we? (This doesn't have to be a Royal We situation--someone out there is nodding). The thing Lovecraft's emotional composition is that one always knows where one stands in his esteem, and if you happen to be TS Eliot, you measure up very poorly indeed. It turns out that Lovecraft got in quite a snit over the publication of The Waste Land and wrote his own response, titled "The Waste Paper." It's pretty funny, to be honest, and now you can read it along with its history at Dangerous Minds. Plus an appearance by the wonderful Alan Moore! (It deserves to be said that boiling down the work of Lovecraft and Eliot to "two racist reactionaries" feels rather... Of The Current Awful Cultural Moment to this reader, but full credit for unearthing a lovely one-sided literary slapfight).
Mark Trail - The Comics Curmudgeon
I know this is bananas, but classic comic strips still exist, and by golly they might be better than ever. Thanks to the tireless work of The Comics Curmudgeon (a daily source of joy I cannot recommend enough), I now know that the current Mark Trail storyline involves a horrible circus train crash that has left the animals and clowns wandering the countryside, terrifying children. This riveting tale has involved a monkey riding an ostrich, a clown known for his "loud screaming," and now THE ABOVE STRIP. *chef kiss*
A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite - The Atavist
True crime is sizzlehot right now, but I'm just exhausted beyond belief by bad reportage, reductive TAKES, and all those dead people (bummer, right?). Well, this article from Adam Higginbotham on The Atavist is a terrific antidote to all that nonsense: a wild tale of excessive spending, scheming, masterful bomb-making, dumb chance, and egos gone wild that resulted in a giant explosion in a casino with no casualties. It's like we all win! This is a great American story and I can't stop thinking about it.
A Brief History of Metal Umlauts - Kerrang!
The German pronunciation mark pops up all over the dang place in metal, but why? Well, intrepid reporter Mike Rampton is on the case in this run-down of some of the umlaut's most notable metallic appearances. This anecdote from Vince Neil particularly thrilled me: "When we finally went to Germany, the crowds were chanting, ‘Mutley Cruh! Mutley Cruh!’ We couldn’t figure out why the fuck they were doing that.”
Parodying heavy metal is a dicey proposition for any number of reasons, chief of which is the fact that the genre is de facto incredibly over-the-top. The comedy has to come from an insider's understanding of the aesthetic, and most folks who sip from the metal comedy stream seem to stop well short of that and satisfy themselves with dumb stoner humor (disclaimer: dumb stoner humor can be fun, but it's not of itself enough). Heavy Trip looks like a pretty good-natured bit of fun. Catch it in the US at SXSW on March 10th (or avoid that pit of horrible marketing scummery and catch it on VOD at some point like a sensible person).
Fans of pipe organs and loud screaming rejoice, for there is a new Lychgate album coming out at the end of the month! Pre-order your copy on Season of Mist.