Echo & The Bunnymen – Full Concert – Liverpool – 2009

This band, one of my most beloved of the long lost 80’s, effectively died for me w/ 1990’s Reverberation which featured a shitty replacement singer and hooks lifted straight from The Stone Roses, the reigning alt guitar gods of the day. So when the reunited Echo released Evergreen in 1997, I flat-out ignored it, despite the avalanche of praise the album received. No, strike that “despite;” I ignored Evergreen because of the praise which i took for mere corporate-funded hype. I was (and remain) a cynical prick. So I ignored all the subsequent releases as well, all five of them, all the way up to Meteorites (2014). Which strikes me as odd, writing this now. Cynical as I am, I have never been so steadfastly incurious about a band or writer or artist or filmmaker who once gave me pleasure. And man, I loved Echo’s first four albums so much, and maybe that was my problem. Those first four albums were the incessant soundtrack for a very potent period of my life, two C90 BSAF cassette dupes that were always in my car or in my stereo’s deck and played endlessly at 11 while I nursed a broken heart and endured Earth-shattering disappointments and shit like that. Yeah, this is something we can all relate to: one really can love something or someone too much. Duh.

Anyway, Echo came up in casual conversation the other day at The Creep’s new dayjob, and in the course of the chat a deep embarrassment fell over me like a lead-weighted net: one of my favorite bands, huh, yet I had willfully thumbed my nose at their last six albums? My poor widdle heart had healed a long time ago, I was a big boy now. I resolved to give the “new” Echo albums a spin.

I was pleasantly shocked.

The material felt familiar, yet new! That special, original and unique spark was still there! (Yes I’m making fun of myself.) Bottom line: the music was good. Very good. A certain band couldn’t hurt me. “That was long ago in another country, and I am a different man. Besides, the bitch is dead.” Chesterton. I think.

In the course of my explorations youtube kindly shoved this live performance from 2009 down my throat, and I said “Thank you sir may I have another.” This is an enormous concert, recorded right off the sound board so if somebody fucked up it would have been a sonic Nagasaki but amazingly there is not a single misstep, the entire gig is “note perfect.”


Here’s to resiliency, and new beginnings, and healed hearts. Aaw.


HEXES: The Votes Are In! And The Winner Is…


Comp C by a hair. Note corrected/improved setting of features.

The runner up was…


Comp B. A favorite of many, including me. Rest assured, this will be a HEXES cover sometime in the future.

Some notes.

The features “Echo and The Bunnymen LIVE” and “Sexy Girls” will be dropped from this issue and replaced by a shout-out for the new BIG CLICK featuring an essay by Barry Graham and a new exciting daily blog post by Matthew Kressel, 36 Days of Judaic Myth; Day 1 features Lilith.Sexy Girls” will no longer appear in HEXES but move instead to that “other” webzine we infrequently pub, ANGRY MORON, a much more appropriate space to squat. HEXES is a zine of class (we hope); a feature like “Sexy Girls,” an unashamedly borderline misogynistic gallery that caters to The Male Gaze has no real place in HEXES. Unlike all the other “respectful” pics of sexy witches and shit, right?

The Echo concert and the intended Sexy Girls gallery will run as separate stand-alone posts later today.

Thanks again for voting, thanks to everybody who got the word out!

And that is all for this hour. Carry on. To Arms. Up the Irons. Keep Calm and Kill Zombies, etc.


Maiden | When the Wild Wind Blows | ‘This is the so-called developed Europe?’

Maybe an arcane sector of my brain that secretly hopes the new Maiden album on Tuesday will actually be decent has fired off a salvo of neurons that has swayed my logic center to become convinced that WHEN THE WILD WIND BLOWS is the greatest song ever recorded on this, Monday, September 7, 2015.

Also, broadcast news is guilty, too. Turn on the news. Mute the news. Watch the news and play this song. Loud.

Don’t look at the stupid youtube graphic. Gaze instead at the image assembled by The Creep in the Art Department, above, and the photo by Antonio Olmos for the Guardian, below.

Lyrics | Written by Steve Harris

Have you heard what they said on the news today?
Have you heard what is coming to us all?
That the world as we know it will be coming to an end
Have you heard, have you heard?

He sees them in the distance where the darkened clouds roll
He could feel tension in the atmosphere
He would look in the mirror, see an old man now
Does it matter they survive somehow?

They said there’s nothing can be done about the situation
They said there’s nothing you can do at all
To sit and wait around for something to occur
Did you know, did you know?

As he stares across the garden looking at the meadows
And wonders if they’ll ever grow again
The desperation of the situation getting graver
Getting ready when the wild wind blows

Have you seen what they said on the news today?
Have you heard what they said about us all?
Do you know what is happening to just every one of us
Have you heard, have you heard?

There will be a catastrophe the like we’ve never seen
There will be something that will light the sky
That the world as we know it, it will never be the same
Did you know, did you know?

He carries everything into the shelter not a fuss
Getting ready when the moment comes
He has enough supplies to last them for a year or two
Good to have because you never know

They tell us nothing that we don’t already know about
They tell us nothing that is real at all
They only fill us with the stuff that they want
Did you know, did you know?

He’s nearly finished with the preparations for the day
He’s getting tired that’ll do for now
They are preparing for the very worst to come to them
Getting ready when the wild wind blows

He sees the picture on the wall, it’s falling down upside down
He sees a teardrop from his wife roll down her face, saying grace
Remember times they had, they flash right through his mind left behind
Of a lifetime spent together long ago will be gone

They’ve been preparing for some weeks now
For when the crucial moment comes
To take their refuge in the shelter
Let them prepare for what will come

They make a tea and sit there waiting
They’re in the shelter feeling snug
Not long to wait for absolution
Don’t make a fuss; just sit and wait

Can’t believe all the lying,
All the screens are denying
That the moments of truth have begun

Can’t you see it on the TV?
Don’t believe them in the least bit
Now the days of our ending have begun

Say a prayer when it’s all over
Survivors unite all as one
Got to try and help each other
Got the will to overcome

I can’t believe all the lying,
All the screens are denying
That the moments of truth have begun

Can’t you see it on the TV?
Don’t believe them in the least bit
Now the days of our ending have begun

When they found them, had their arms wrapped around each other
Their tins of poison laying near by their clothes
The day they both mistook an earthquake for the fallout,
Just another when the wild wind blows…




Very Bad Drax is Back on the Air

Photo on 8-23-15 at 8.49 AM_use this

“Mama, Mama! Look at the sad tortured man on the screen!”

“Click away, Muffin. Click away! Bad karma can be digitally contagious.”

YES, it’s been a very spotty month here at the site. I’m tempted to say, “due to the usual factors.” But man, the “usual factors” went into wrap drive this time around, this August truly deserves the appellation DARK. The ever-present crushing financial issue. Health issues. Car issues. Connectivity issues. Cat issues.

And more than once, I was just fucking paralyzed.

But I was saved again and again, and it mattered, a lot: the love and example and reality of my children. The care and concern of friends who dazzled and humbled me by their kindness. Realization of the simple fact that I was still breathing, dammit.

And lo, the mighty magic of Reading.

Literature really can save us. At some of the darkest times this month, my heart was coaxed into continued beats by strings of words on the page. I read whole books in one sitting, and I emerged better on the other side. I’d like to give three writers in particular shout-outs, for even though two of these gents are unremittingly dark, boy, they saved my ass and my brain: Barry Graham (dark), Jordan Harper (dark), and David Mitchell (merely brilliant). Arigato, guys.

I’d like to elaborate on the power of action vs despair, but I’ve got to get up and go, I’ve got to go to work.

For better or worse, we are back on the air.


Aubrey Morris, High Priest, RIP


Morris always left an unconventional stamp on even the smallest, and seemingly conventional, roles. Small and rotund, with gleaming eyes, and occasionally wearing round spectacles, he could convey obsessions and monstrosity at odds with his corporeality. His visual characteristics included a wide smile, which displayed a prominent upper row of teeth, and a sly, sideways glance. With his distinctive, precise speech pattern, he could draw out vowel sounds amusingly, or unnervingly. — The Guardian


Yes, Aubrey Morris (1926—2015) played so many excellent little and unforgettable roles: the crazy grave digger in Wicker Man, Mister Deltoid in Clockwork and hundreds of others. But I must admit that my flat out favorite crazy character he came up with is none other than…





In the 1975 episode of SPACE: 1999, Mission of the Darians, Morris is an eerie judge and executioner of radiation scarred mutants on a massive 900 year old ruined space ark, and man, he’s creepy, especially when he screams…



The poor “mutant” is locked into a disintegration chamber that glows hellishly white with a high pitched mechanized scream. And as the unfortunate mutant’s flesh melts away, Morris looks on, calm and serene.


Brrrr. It’s a standout episode all on its own, made that much greater by the unforgettable inclusion of Aubrey Morris, who will be missed and remembered by many fans across the planet tonight. Yes, Morris gave us so many memorable characters. But this one’s my favorite.


It Was Not to Be: The Cancelled Issue of HEXES


The ideas and arguments are bigger than my puny brain, but this is the very short version of what I wanted to say.

Many of us ally ourselves with a symbol because we feel small, because the symbol is both macrocosm and religion, bigger and wider and purer than ourselves. Whether it is the cross or the swastika, the peace symbol or the confederate flag, the symbol becomes absolution. There is great discord in our consciousness, there is great disconnect between our heads and hearts and hands. The symbol solves all of that (seemingly) because it is at once abstract and simple yet all-encompassing, and there resides the symbol’s power: it becomes potent for both believers and non-believers, as if the symbol itself is a living force, an idea and presence beyond humanity. Which is of course total bullshit. Humankind scrawled all these symbols, all of them, every one. Someone somewhere possessed the graphical genius to come up with and differentiate between MEN’S ROOM and WOMEN’S ROOM, someone somewhere designed flags for countries, symbols for computers, brands for corporations. People made these symbols, not the other way around; symbols do not dictate our thoughts and actions.


This is beyond obvious, but it needs to be said: the confederate flag didn’t inspire Dylan Storm Roof AKA sociopathic asshole to walk into a church and blow away 9 people during a fucking prayer meeting. If he didn’t have the confederate flag to identify with, why, he would have found another symbol: maybe a burning cross, or a severed goat’s head, or some bullshit drawing he scrawled on his napkin. It doesn’t matter. The hate started in his heart, not in a flag. Any flag. Any symbol. Any word.

Taking down the confederate flag on Friday morning will accomplish absolute zilch, save fuel the fires of mind-cracked racists who will breathe deep and check their ammo.

I’m something of an optimist. I still want to believe that human beings are capable of looking beyond the simple scrawl of a symbol and look instead to their own hearts—even their own hate. The biggest racist asshole in the world is still worth more to me than a graphic I could redesign in thirty seconds. They, us, WE are worth so much more than a fucking symbol.

Because we should be capable of clicking past a symbol, a flag, and move on.

†  †  †

RECENT FILMS: Next time.




Image via The Lineup

That’s EXACTLY how I fucking feel: smashed crashed and fucking hopeless, yeah, yeah, yeah.


Thank You Sky Gods: Rain at Last

Sometimes when aching so desperately for change in one’s present circumstances and when that change finally makes itself manifest, we’re so breathless and grateful that only shards of the past will serve as proper offerings of thanks. Even if it’s “just” rain.

Thank you Sky Gods.




God’s Not Dead really moved and inspired me; it actually had me crying at the end, for reasons which involve many elements that this little film attempted to articulate, namely, contradiction.

“Contradiction and complexity are the only things worth writing about.” — me, circa late 90s, again and again.

Rest assured, this film did NOT turn me into a believer. No I don’t believe in Jesus, I don’t believe in god, not before, and not now, far from it. God’s Not Dead is a pop glossy Christian advert about a college student who is a devout believer and enters combative debates with his atheist professor. This fucking film trashes atheists to the point of bigotry; it contains many scenes that strain credulity; it actually concludes with the main characters cheering a Christian pop band with soaring anthemic guitars.

And I loved it.

Because it was the spirit of what the film attempted to communicate: Don’t give up. Don’t hate. Life on Earth is an amazing gift, and we should be whispering thanks with every given breath.

I am an Atheist. And a Humanist. And a Polytheist. And a Pagan. Are these contradictions? Yes. So what? “I am large, I contain multitudes.” — Harlan Ellison

Ayn Rand claimed there were no contradictions in nature. It’s too bad the bitch never understood human nature.

Anyway, this is a good movie. Check it out.


The Art of Johannes Theodorus ‘Jan’ Toorop

The vagabonds, 1891 Jan Toorop



Johannes Theodorus Toorop was born on 20 December 1858 in Purworejo on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia).[1] His father was Christoffel Theodorus Toorop, a civil servant, and his mother was Maria Magdalena Cooke.[2] He was the third of five children and lived on the island of Bangka near Sumatra until he was nine years old.[3] He was then sent to school in Batavia on Java.[3]

In 1869 he left Indonesia for the Netherlands, where he studied in Delft and Amsterdam. In 1880 he became a student at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. From 1882 to 1886 he lived in Brussels where he joined Les XX (Les Vingts), a group of artists centred on James Ensor. Toorop worked in various styles during these years, such as Realism,Impressionism Neo-Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.

After his marriage to an Annie Hall, a British woman, in 1886, Toorop alternated his time between The Hague, England and Brussels, and after 1890 also the Dutch seaside town of Katwijk aan Zee. During this period he developed his unique Symbolist style, with dynamic, unpredictable lines based on Javanese motifs, highly stylised willowy figures, and curvilinear designs

In the late 19th century (in 1897) Toorop lived for 20 years in a small house on the market in the seaside town Domburg, Walcheren, Zeeland. He worked with a group of fellow artists, including Marinus Zwart and Piet Mondrian. There was no joint endeavor or common style among them. Each followed his individual personality, but they sought their inspiration in “the Zeeland Light”, in the dunes, forests, beaches and the characteristic Zeeland population. Toorop was the center of this group.

Thereafter he turned to Art Nouveau styles, in which a similar play of lines is used for decorative purposes, without any apparent symbolic meaning. In 1905, he converted to Catholicism and began producing religious works. He also created book illustrations, posters, and stained glass designs.

Throughout his life Toorop also produced portraits, in sketch format and as paintings, which range in style from highly realistic to impressionistic.

Toorop died on 3 March 1928 in The Hague in the Netherlands.[1] His daughter Charley Toorop (1891–1955) was also a painter, as was his grandson Edgar Fernhout.


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