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The holidays are officialy over. For many, it's time to take all that cheer and wonderment and wrap it tightly around rolled up newspapers like yards and yards of Christmas lights and garland. If you're like me, you may not be ready to bid the holidays adieu. If you're like me, you may also be shoveling yourself out of mountains of snow on a daily basis amongst a landscape reminiscent of Hoth. Either way, take this opportunity to embrace your resistance and come on a journey with me into the not-too-distant past. This is me making good on my new years resolution. While others hit the gym, I'm lifting and flexing my carpals in an effort to lose those unsightly and unwanted pounds of procrastination weight. So snuggle up inside your coziest tawn tawn; it's time for NEW YEARS RIFF-OLUTION 2.
As previously stated, touring in Europe is an excellent way to experience different cultures and customs. Conversely, the European boondocks can easily provide an education in the crass and the creepy just as well as (if not better than) any American hole-in-the-wall town. The Dillinger Escape Plan once spent a night on the outskirts of Hamburg and unwittingly got drinks at a German trucker brothel. The cinderblock room that housed the bar was home to a would-be cast of the Deutsch DELIVERANCE. The only English spoken was by the "bartender", a Karen Black doppleganger with Dee Snider hair singing along to 80's rock music blaring from a boombox on the cement floor. Like a demon host, she spoke in Bon Jovi tongues, seemingly devoid of any semantic recognition.
Days like these, while entertaining and potentially homicidal, also make days spent in London so much better by comparison. Our show at The Electric Ballroom will forever be remembered as one of the greatest in Dillinger history. English fans are often times like cockney Deadites, with slightly better fashion sense. They can be rabid and frantic in their excitement. Get a few thousand of them crammed into a sweaty room and it's a bit surprising that all parties didn't wind up dead by dawn. Instead, the dawn brought a much-needed day off and a chance to hit some great London hot spots.
I met up with a couple friends and we headed to England's (and possibly the world's) premiere comic shop, Forbidden Planet (179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JR, UK). Have you ever wanted a life-sized statue of Darth Vader? They've got one. They also have two stories of comics, collectibles, and anything a geek could ever ask for. I picked up a few back issues of THE WALKING DEAD to help numb the pain of knowing that the rest of the world was indulging in its live-action likeness. Reading the reports of how successful the series had become was like reading my own eulogy; How I wished I could be there to witness it. Oh, the terrors of touring!
I also picked up a little gem by J. A. Kerswell called TEENAGE WASTELAND: THE SLASHER MOVIE UNCUT. This 200+ page book is full of more gruesome photos and blood-dripping info than Leatherface could ever shake a chainsaw at. It treads through the origins of the slasher genre, beginning with The Grand Guignol theater of Paris and on through the birth of cinema and early silent horror films like THE CAT AND THE CANARY. It studies the post-PSYCHO era, and not just the Italian Gialli. You'll learn about the lesser known German Krimi, the American and British gothic films, and many other pre-HALLOWEEN flicks. From there, you get a complete history of the genre from all over the globe up through present day. And did I mention the photos!? Every page is beautifully littered with pictures, posters, and the people who made this genre what it is. There's plenty of promo materials from all the classics and the not-so-classic films that were seemingly buried alive after release. In addition, Kerswell's English perspective adds plenty of insight into the much dreaded (or much lauded, depending on your predilections) Video Nasty list. This is the list of films that the British government deemed too offensive and subsequently banned. Ironically, this list became a compilation of "must-see" films for many horrorfiles and Kerswell presents it in all of its splattered splendor.
Whether you're an old-school fright fanatic looking to relive the grindhouse glory, or a horror newbie seeking guidance while traversing the genres expansive landscape, TEENAGE WASTELAND: THE SLASHER MOVIE UNCUT is a magnificent read for the entirety of horror's spectrum of fans.
After leaving Forbidden Planet, we capped off the night with a meal at London's infamous restaurant, Garlic and Shots (14 Frith st. London W1D 4RD, UK). Their entire menu contains copious amounts of the titular vampire Kryptonite. Horrorphiles and Heatmisers alike will love their Blood Shots, a garlic vodka infused with a salsa hotter than Hades. I had a meal fit for a king, but a nightmare for Count Dracula (and possibly the stake-in-the-heart the TWILIGHT franchise needs). Garlic bread and baked jalapeno-garlic gloves, a garlic cheeseburger with garlic fries and garlic ice cream with chocolate-covered garlic chunks. My reminiscence alone is giving me a food boner.
That's all for now. My snowball of productivity is gaining girth at an alarming rate. Check back soon to witness the yield of my output avalanche. Until then, stay brutal and bloody!!
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