Thursday, June 17, 2010

the mavis collection

A few days ago a collection of paper was passed on to me from the estate of my grandmother Mavis. It was an unusual bunch of stuff, none of which she had actually earmarked for me specifically but obviously a decision was made that (1) I would be more interested than anyone what she'd elected to keep of the things I'd drawn/ published and given to her and (2) I just liked old printed crap anyway, so I'd probably like this old printed crap. (1) is less true than (2) because I am only mildly interested in old things I've done. Or rather a lot of it embarrasses me a lot, because I know more than anyone that what I thought I could get away with lazily actually doesn't radiant brilliance and never did. However, this is brilliant:

There are only about ten copies in the world. I did it specifically for Mavis (a 19 page comic strip) because she was always saying she wished I'd draw more. Unlike all the other Winky strips there was no swearing or nudity, which was an interesting challenge, so as not to offend her. Not that she would have said anything if there had been (or read it either way, as far as I know).

This is sort of impressive for the amount of effort involved, but it's not very good:

I think for a few years I made kind of comic book christmas cards. It's the kind of thing that grandparents are, or say they are, impressed by. You probably can't read the comic on the front but it's my usual lazy thing of telescoping an 'only a dream' story... I did that a lot. Robert Smith once told me that was how he thought, which was great at the time, but now I think doesn't perhaps reflect that well on him or me.
Speaking of Robert Smith, Mavis kept two issues of Smash Hits which I suppose I'd sent her. This one has an article by me on James Dean (!?) and one on Cheap Trick as well as various other bits and bobs I wrote probably.

Back to my own publishing things, this is a small comic book I had no recollection at all of ever seeing before though some of the content was familiar. How creative I was with the typewriter, and the funny absurdist title.

I couldn't imagine why Mavis had this in her collection of stuff, then I realised the (deliberate? to go with the cut-up cover graphic?) typo in the spelling. Norm would have retained this. In fact, I have a very vague memory of him showing it to me, believing it to be a genuine error, and I suppose it might have been, I just don't know. The interior of this issue is quite interesting, I'll tell you about it sometime.

No idea why Mavis had this. Must look inside it one day. Maybe there's an article about a bowls triumph of hers or something.

This was the school newspaper which Saul and I edited at least one year. It blew out of all proportion, became a millstone then a white elephant. One contribution we agonised about for months because we thought it was so stupid and then we ended up burning it on the stove, laughing (probably giggling if truth be told) hilariously. This was so obviously my forerunner to fanzines.



I was perplexed for a while as to why this was in Mavis' collection - not just the great cover image. It's the Herald and Weekly Times house journal, and Norm worked for the competition. Then I read it.

There is an article on the second last page of the 'Inter-house Bowls Test' inc. this picture of Norm bowling on 19 April 1962 at Middle Park Bowling Club. My sister Tamsin made a copy from the original of this photograph and she has it on her wall (or one of them), she showed it to me only last week, saying Norm didn't usually take a very good picture, but in this case he came out alright. And he's doing something he loved (at least as much as smoking and eating). I will look like him in ten years, but with hair.

Norm served in New Guinea and I guess the four or five issues of Guinea Gold in the pile were things he collected from that time, along with the 'native spear' which now enjoys pride of place under our house, and which I believe is my right to bear particularly as oldest family member of my generation. This is a pretty special issue of GG, isn't it:

Don't know why Mavis had this copy of the Bulletin but once again... it's interesting.* Sorry, that's all I can say right now.

I must have sent her this copy of B-Side! Christ she had to be a tolerant person - well, she was. I mean no disrespect to B-Side, great magazine (though note the misspelling of Lighthouse Keepers on the front - Norm would have loved that).

And look, here's my own fanzine, second issue, usual kind of mental cover. Well done me. Look at that celebrity line-up!


* I asked my father when we went to the football last Friday why Mavis would have had a 1961 Bulletin amongst her things. He said it would have been a mistake, as she was an assiduous thrower-outer.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that - seeing the cover for DV 2 prompts me to ask about that amazing Fall interview... MES doesn't have many fond recollections of Australia '82 but he and Kaye seemed pretty cheery chatting to Megan and yourself - is that how you remember them on that occasion...? And am I correct in thinking you were barely 17 at the time? Such precocity! - you got more out of Smith than most interviewers since....

David said...

I was really disappointed by that interview, anonymous. It was pretty bland! Considering I loved (and still love) the band so much. I guess I was precocious, I was busting out of an oppressive high school environment. I guess Kaye Carroll and Mark Smith were in the last months of their relationship. And Marc Riley was about to be fired. One thing I do remember is meeting them at their hotel in St Kilda and they were watching the Walker Brothers on TV (how?!)

Anonymous said...

Apologies for acting without your express permission - sorry! - but I transcribed the interview for the Fall's bibliography some years ago and it gained a pretty favourable response, generally 'cos you let Smith ramble entertainingly enough without paraphrasing him or trying to shape the converstaion into an overwrought NME-type piece. I know your powers as an interviewer didn't peak in Grade 12 but you pulled it off nonetheless. You're still a Fall fan, too? Do you rate the new album? (I do).

David said...

I will buy it when I see it but I haven't seen it. I liked Imperial Wax Solvent - was that the last one?
I forgive you for transcribing the i/v without my permission express or otherwise. Don't feel very possessive about interviews, they're only barely creative works.

Anonymous said...

The new one's out thru Domino and is everywhere, even Wangaratta. First local release since Light User in '96, no less. No reviews in the Age as yet - where's Gideon Haigh when you need him, eh?

Wayne said...

The cover of DV2 is mighty fine.

Anonymous said...

Me me me! David you have to accept you are a good artist! Hip talk circa 1984 - any way The fall I played a couple of gigs with them and they were pathetic Nancy boys, backs to the audience and nervous as all fuck. They were shit David, bad suits and typically English, amusing after the dirty work is done. They were and are a crap group. The buzzcocks were also on the bill and were a zillion times better. Mark is a complete tosser that only a bourgoiuse moron could actually like. They even fucked up a kinks song. How much longer must we put up with these lies from idiotic fan-boys!
Stephen

Anonymous said...

David, the fall are crap. Always have been. fan-boys are morons. I played two gigs with them in New York and they were pathetic - compared to the Buzzcocks and The Sports frankly. Mark Smith's bio is pathetic. The guardian is tragic. Fall fans are pathetic. They are like Kevin Rudd or John Howard basically. Sad!
puzzingly I loved New Estate, who are much better than the Fall - really they are shit. Like the New dream or Pseudo echo.
Stephen

David said...

Stephen you are irascible (x 2)

spades of said...

Are you sure you'll have hair in ten years?

David said...

Yes are you

Recycled Relix said...

Hi there, just as an interesting addition to your note re the 1961 Bulletin - check out the poems on page 33 - and what the 1st letter of each line creates.... very rude for 1961 and from what I hear it was a poet with a big beef for Bulletin Editors. Word has it that this particular issue was recalled in a hurry! Thanks Cathy

David said...

Cathy that is very interesting information. Thank you. I'll check it out.

David said...

Does this make that issue of Pnuch a collectors' item?

Recycled Relix said...

Hi David, It does make it a collectors item - to the right person. I bought the Bulletin at Auction and will sell in my shop to an interested party. The Bulletin is particularly interesting given the time it was printed in, and the Poets clever gotcha!