The Royal County Arbiter

29 May 2005

Daydream Nation

My life came like dew,
disappears like dew.
All of Naniwa
is dream after dream.

-- Toyotomi Hideyoshi


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19 May 2005

The original Generation X

A couple of weeks ago I heard a most interesting programme on BBC Radio 4 called The Real Generation X. The programme, for which unfortunately I can now find no streaming archive, talked about Charles Hamblett and Jane Deverson's 1964 book Generation X and followed up several of the book's original participants - an Observer article. How serendipitous then that I found a copy of this very work for sale yesterday at the local hospital when I took my mother in for a nasal probe!

The purpose of Hamblett and Deverson's book is a kind of Mass Observations study of Britain's youth, a window into the world of the under-25s, carried out entirely by interviews. The blurb on the back perhaps sums it up best: 'TODAY'S GENERATION TALKING ABOUT ITSELF... talking about Education, Marriage, Money, Pops, Politics, Parents, Drugs, Drink, God, Sex, Class, Colour, Kinks, and Living for Kicks.'

A brief flick through brings up some interesting tidbits:

"Okay, so I'm a girl Rocker. My boy's a Rocker and I'm proud of him. He's got guts, he'll fight anyone in sight... I'll be seventeen in September ('64) but I'd marry anyone just to spite my parents... I'd hate to marry a Mod, they're not men at all really. When there's a punch-up they fight like girls... They say the Rockers are scruffy, that we don't wash. I'd rather not wash than be mistook for a prissy little Mod girl."

"Being middle class is the most degrading thing in youth."

"Your mind is geared to fantasy rather than fact. I knew a young teenage boy who loved the Romans in a purely subjective way. He saw himself as a Roman. His great dream was to buy a Roman castle... and to live as the Romans did - eating meat with his hands, wearing Roman clothes, holding great Roman feasts and orgies. This was not a vague dream. To him it was real - an ambition to be achieved. Teenagers are surrealistic... They have a wonderful real imagination which is lost only too quickly. It's beaten out of you... Last month I celebrated... my twentieth birthday. I'm still sad about it."

"I went abroad once, working on a banana boat to California. My mate and I met two American youngsters who taught us this game with razors on the end of a stick. You strip to the waist and fight with them, and the first one to give in is called chicken. You get a bit cut about."

"I go to church nearly every Sunday. And I try to listen to the sermon and concentrate but it's awfully hard sometimes... I definitely believe in God, though, and I pray like billy-o when I want something."

"So we shall have to accept some type of conformity. But it must be rational, elastic, civilized, within the needs of present civilisation rather than pipedreams about 'golden ages' of Greece and other donnish, quasi-homosexual wish-fantasties... Our generation will have to fight hard to beat our animal heritage. The rational, sensitive, clever ones may be destroyed by the mob, by mass hysteria. It will be a struggle."

"Generation X? I don't understand. All this nonsense about teenagers is just newspaper publicity."

"You have to carry a knife in Arab countries, the Arabs are fascinating but evil. If you trust them you're done for. But I love them. I love going to their bars, listening to their music and smoking hashish - it gives you a wonderful feeling, you feel fantastically happy... I expect I shall be killed sooner or later... But it doesn't worry me. I'd rather live for a short time than exist in England."

"Every new Generation X has the same problems and they can only be solved by growing up."

It's a wonderful document of social change, of life in the 1960s, of youth culture and certainly of adolescent posturing.

Remember, these people are your parents.


Anonymous routard:

Wonderful stuff.

I was lead to believe gen x'er were children born in the 70s. All this time I've been living a lie, not to mention foolishly telling people I was one.

I must hunt down a copy for a read, I love the comment about the Arabs.


7:08 pm  
Blogger ben:

Fascinating post, Myrt. Its always plesant and bizarre to see social documents of any time. Even if its just john40dalek typing out the listings from the Radio Times for 14th April 1978. Without being asked. Or acknowledged. Ever.


2:00 am  
Blogger Noo:

What on earth is a "nasal probe"? I mean, I guess it's a probe that goes up one's mother's nose, but why?

4:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

*ouch* I must say I too stumbled over the "nasal probe" bit. Hope your mom is OK. I had something like that too one time and it was so horrifying, that afterwards I thought "So THIS is why people have nightmares they've been abducted by aliens. . ."

That book is a true find. Thanks for posting the excerpts! Even though I know I would have been a Mod if I were born then & there, still, I often ponder, what would I do if I really had to make a choice, Mod or Rocker, one or the other? It seems an insurmountable challenge.
XXX Miss Gretchen

3:43 pm  
Anonymous Old Guy:

I hope the rockers found their life calling in military service.

Otherwise, Jail?

Most Mods became scientists, engineers, bankers, scam artists, etc.

Just my opinion, mind you.

I was born WELL before that era.

9:18 pm  

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12 May 2005

Christian Posters Rock

When it comes to advertising their particular brands of Christian belief, many of my local churches really like to give it their all. They often parody TV shows, products, and commercials (albeit about five years too late).

The designers seem to think that their twists on familar concepts, grand statements and colourful images will capture the imaginations of that tricky youth market. Have they succeeded? Decide for yourself, with these posters that caught my young person's eye.

Click on any of these teasers to visit the specially-erected RCA mini-gallery. Please also enjoy the following old news:

A controversial piercings-themed poster hit the headlines in 2001
A nationwide christian poster campaign surprised its star in 2004


Blogger ben:

This are fambles, sir. God Bless you Batman.

8:53 pm  
Blogger ben:

Also, how fucking terrifying is that Bunnies poster? I will not sleep.

8:55 pm  
Blogger han:

those bunnies have scared the bejeesus out of me.

12:49 pm  
Blogger The Elusive Loo:

The bunnies are scary. As if we're going to let bunnies overshadow the real meaning of Christmas - chocolate!

12:56 pm  

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Mama, I'm having the dream again!

A SuperDollfie figure created by one bob_deluxe. Check the Volks website for more alluring terror.


Blogger l'il sis:

It looks like a freeze frame of The Ring, will she crawl out of the computer screen any minute?!

12:31 pm  

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10 May 2005

I heart Playmobil

How I love the shiny plastic colourfulness of Playmobil! The uniformity, the sturdily-built fun!

The toy is designed completely with children in mind, from the size of the figures (ideal for a grabby child's paw) to the design of the faces which omit the nose that children themselves often do not bother with in their own drawings. Playmobil represents, for me, a special kind of healthy, decidedly European, utopian play-vision with the emphasis on civic duty and, er, pirates. Everything is clean, in super-flat colours and simple.

Expo fans may be interested to note that the creator of Playmobil, Hans Beck, was honoured with a statue at World Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany.

Playmobil has a huge global following amongst adult fans and talented so-and-sos like Sven van der Hart have made stop-motion animation films with their Playmo collections. The Viking Five is particularly brilliant.
Official Playmobil site
Collectobil: unofficial site for fans and collectors

Now to retire to my boudoir with my Playmobil biohazard clean-up crew.


Blogger The Elusive Loo:

I love playmobil too! I had a schoolroom. My sis had a camper. Oh the memories...

3:29 pm  
Blogger l'il sis:

I am Louise's sister and must inform you that we still have the playmobil in the attic somewhere at our house! I think it's time to get out the playmobil and return to our youth!

12:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

"with the emphasis on civic duty and, er, pirates"

You kill me missy! I too noticed that dichotomy. I one time stole my nephew's Playmobil pirate ship for a photo shoot with Blythe!

Oh, for the lack of high speed. . .I'm dying to see the Vikings. One day. Thanks for the link, I saved it.
XXX Miss Gretchen

3:33 pm  

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05 May 2005

Robert Crumb? Sho' Iss!

I picked up the new Robert Crumb book today.

Having picked it up, I went over to the cashier and bought it.

The R. Crumb Handbook is a heavy, heavy thing – a lovely hardcover with 440 pages. It’s like a Bible, except that it’s obscene and blasphemous. An anti-Bible. Contained within are new autobiographical musings from Crumb, along with an awful lot of original art, comics, record sleeve designs, photos and other neato stuff. There doesn’t seem to be too much overlap between this book and the excellent R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book. These two publications are both ideal introductions to the man's work.

For the cover price of GB£14.99/US$24.99, you also get R. Crumb’s Music Sampler, a 20-track CD containing "selections recorded by the various groups that R. Crumb has enjoyed playing with during his long, half-assed musical career, from 1972 to 2003." There are ten tracks on here from Crumb’s excellent 1970s group the Cheap Suit Serenaders, six of which come from a 1998 Holland radio broadcast I’d never heard before. I never even knew the ole' gang got back together!

I hate to pimp big, faceless corporate entities, but I actually bought my copy of the book from a Virgin Megastore in the UK for just GB£9.99. What a steal. I assume that other branches will be selling it at the same price.

Listen to a very recent Fresh Air interview with Crumb
Promotional site for The R. Crumb Handbook
Crumb’s official site
The Crumb Museum - a fansite

Commercial ends.

Apparently he likes being called “R.” now, not “Robert.” Silly man. He’s grown a great beard, however.


Blogger Myrtle Peacock:

I hope you wiped your ass.

7:34 pm  
Blogger michael:

Wow! What a bargain! I will pop into the Virgin megastore in Chester when I am next there to see if I can get a copy. Someone sent me an original Robert Crumb comic from the 60's recently which is great though very rude .

7:25 am  

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