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  1.  (7381.1)
    is TITUS ANDRONICUS a big deal? i saw them and their fans didnt even seem excited. huh.
  2.  (7381.2)
    They have an uncanny knack to open for bands they have no business opening for. I've seen them with Los Campesinos! and Ted Leo, and the crowd has just not been so much on their side either time.
  3.  (7381.3)
    is TITUS ANDRONICUS a big deal? i saw them and their fans didnt even seem excited. huh.

    I liked much of their album.
  4.  (7381.4)
    i saw them headline so it wasnt that. oh well, just curious.

    /thread derail over
  5.  (7381.5)
    1) How fucking good were my bloody valentine this weekend?
    2) If you'd have publicised your ATP attendance, your adoring fans could have assaulted you with free beer at some point.
    Actual serious question:
    3) You've said that Phonogram makes you and Jamie little money and I'm presuming (perhaps wrongly) that Rock, Paper, Shotgun falls into the same category. How much of what you do is purely for the love of it, and how much is, at least partly, to pay the rent (while presumably also being enjoyable to do).
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2009 edited
    What is: the best soul album in the world?

    (Bonus points: not counting The Afghan Whigs.)

    Edited to add manners: Hi!
    • CommentAuthornickellis
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2009
    Dear Mr Gillen,

    1. Phonogram has a definite connection to places, the club featured in the current series is really well realised (if I went there I'd be fairly confident of being able to find the bar, the toilets, etc). I'm guessing from what I can remember from the backmatter and how well put together it ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh is, that the club actually exists? Is the appeal of mythologising a place you know a big interest of yours?

    There seems to be a trend of place-myths (munted way of saying it, but you get the idea) recently, especially in indie books (Scott Pilgrim and Casanova come to mind).

    2. If that is a big part of what you do when you write your own stuff, how do you bring that across to somthing like S.W.O.R.D. or Thor?

    3. Would you like to meet me Sunday, maybe?

    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2009
    This is more a general question - MBV 1993 vs MBV 2009.

    While both = WIN, which one is > WIN, bearing in mind neither can = FAIL

    (see what I did there?)
    • CommentAuthorlokkeg
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2009 edited
    Hi Kieron,

    As I've yet to read a proper Gillen: Secret Origin -- could tell us about your days at school? Did you always want to sell words for money? Or did you have more "father-approved" vocational plans once upon a time?

    This is actually something I've noticed in Phonogram -- there are no allusions to anybody's job, or schooling.* Obviously you're exploring the role of music in these characters' lives, but music can't be the whole story, can it? We spent a few days with Kohl in "Rue Britannia", and I have no idea how he pays the rent, or any of the answers to the "...and what do you DO?" judgmental shit one is bombarded with every day. So, uh... why so spiritual > temporal?

    *Well, Emily has a coke daddy, so she's covered. And Kid-With-Knife can probably lift some threads when needed.

    ...and if you got to fill-in for JMS on Brave and the Bold, what would be your dream DC team-up?

    Your fave album of 2009?
  6.  (7381.10)
    ...and if you got to fill-in for JMS on Brave and the Bold, what would be your dream DC team-up?

    I'm letting this one stand for comedy purposes. But, seriously: Straczynski isn't hard to type.
    • CommentAuthorlokkeg
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2009
    It's JMS out of affection! Just like that Zamyatin novella named after you.
  7.  (7381.12)
    Not to be a total geek, but who or what is John Peel in Phonogram? Is he Motherfucking Gandalf? The Wizard of Oz? Merlin, resting beneath the hill, watched over by the Goddess? Or something else entirely?
  8.  (7381.13)
    Awake again. More human. Sweat is mere fluids rather than music. Let's get back into this thing.

    MUSIC WATCH: I've started the day with an old Long Blondes track, thanks to the ISB reminding me of it. And I can't make the video embedding work, so you'll have to go with a link.

    (Except it may be!)

    • CommentAuthormanglr
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2009 edited
    Kieron -

    Thanks for taking the time to submit to interrogation answer questions. Just picked up the first PG trade recently based on the recommendations of the good folks here at Whitechapel. Really enjoyed it in spite of only getting less than 2% of the musical references. (So bless you for the annotations!)

    Also wanted to thank you for the inclusion of Death's Head in the first SWORD issue. Did you have any other obscure Marvel UK characters that you might like to play with for that series?
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2009
    Dear Kieron.

    Will the beard ever come back?

    And is it bad that I kind of like some of Kula Shaker's tracks but have never had the guts to tell you? ^_~

  9.  (7381.16)
    God, let's do the big one. Forgive typos throughout all this. BRAIN DOWNLOAD.

    dot_xom: Who are your influences, as a writer?

    This is a question I hate almost as much as "What are you listening to right now". To ask me is to just the moment of total brain-freeze. What are my influences? Do I have influences? OH GOD! I'VE FORGOTTEN EVERY SINGLE THING I'VE EVER WRITTEN. I AM A BLANK SLATE. THERE IS NOTHING HERE. LEAVE ME ALONE.

    In comics' it's the usual array of writers from the British Isles with names beginning with "M", "E" and "G". Of those, the one which barely anyone has ever noted - exception: An editor who had worked with him, and that's all she mentioned - being Milligan, who's enormously under-rated. Less obvious ones, especially for Phonogram, would be... oh, Eddie Campbell (No Alex, No Phonogram, in a very real way. The B-sides in 2.6 may actually show bit more of that), Dave Sim (No Jaka's Tale, no Phonogram either), Bryan Talbot, Joe Matt (I wouldn't have been brave enough to have Kohl be so fucking horrible if I hadn't seen THE POOR BASTARD), Jessica Abel, Bendis' indie work.

    The thing with influences, I often feel like I'm refocusing my influences depending on the project. I think that's natural. You've seen an aesthetic effect elsewhere, and you're going to use that as shorthand in your thinking. I think that's common. Between FREAKANGELS and SUPERGOD, you can see Mr Ellis has had John Wyndam on the brain recently. There's people who I wouldn't think of an influence, but become enormously important depending on what project you're doing. Sometimes you need to be Margret Atwood. Sometimes you need to be Vonnegut. Sometimes you need to be Burroughs, but without the missus shooting, ideally. Sometimes you need to at least pretend to think of yourself as Dostoevsky, at least for 10 minutes. Sometimes you need to be whoever wrote the text for PONG.


    In terms of deep genetic influences which underlie a lot of what I do... Tolkein is there - though I sometimes think it's much more the idea of Tolkein that excited my pre-teen self than the stuffy actuality. I did the maths recently, and worked out that I must have been reading Iain Banks - both with and without the M - when I was 12, as I read Player of Games when it came out. Ultraviolence, sex, fiercely-aggressive progressive politics - all good thing to get into your base structure. The idea of Banks as a productive writer, straddling genres, and deliberately not actually fitting into social conventions (i.e. Sci-fi writer who also wrote mainstream literature) are stuff that informs me. I suspect he may have been my surrogate moorcock, as like many comics writers, the idea of this superhuman physical effort of production is inspiring.

    (Also in personal iconic memory banks: Those few months where James Cameron wrote both the Terminator and Aliens, which strikes me as an enormous contribution to make to pretty much everyone else working in the pop-entertainment field in a concentrated space)

    And give me an underdog medium every day.

    Pop music is the heavy influence. I don't often write a comic until I've found some musician who informs it. As in, the musician creates this mood. I'll try and work how to translate those feelings into this completely divorced medium. Always give yourself an impossible task. Success is the mindkiller. Lots of lyricists influence the way I think - and before I decided to actually make my interview-persona basically be based around "transparency" (Which is evidenced even by that sentence) I was considering trying to essay Andrew Eldritch and be a right old cunt. I want a cane and mirrorshades.

    Journalism is there, especially on a sentence-by-sentence-basis. Culture journalism. While I love the big classic boys - Yer-Lester-bangs-and-all 0- the ones who are influences are the ones who were producing masses of stuff when you were in your teens and devouring the mags. In my case, for Games Journalism it's people like J Nash and Stuart Campbell. For music journalism, it's Neil Kulkarni and Taylor Parkes. Oh - and throw Simon Reynolds in there too, who always scared me. The old British Inkies were, as far as this small-town-English boy was concerned, the liberal-education-class for working-class kids. Before the internet, where on Earth would I have heard about - say - Situationalism in fucking Stafford?

    (I'm a big fan of art and culture as a gateway. Follow the paths)

    Lots of pulp, in every genre. Chatting to the Comics Daily guys, they've been surprised by my Marvel work like Ares, because it's not a side of me you see in Phonogram. You must always remember I was a games journalist for over a decade. You don't do that unless that stuff moves you deeply.

    Comrade Rossignol always drags out Ballard's quote...
    My advice to anyone in any field is to be faithful to your obsessions. Identify them and be faithful to them, let them guide you like a sleepwalker.

    Which is something I've always agreed with, even before knowing the line. I'm influenced by Gogol and Games Workshop in about equal measures. I don't see the problem. I see that as the point.

    (Okay - I'm lying about the Gogol, specifically. I just wanted the alteration. You know what I mean.)

    helloMuller: OK not a question, but just wanted to say that the Ska Attack Squad backup was pretty much perfection and brought back memories of dancing like maniacs on pub benches at 5 in the morning.

    Yeah, we've all been there. WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.

    I'm also reminded of a rule that came to mind in those long-ago teenage days. Basically, playing One Step Beyond was the end of the chances of anyone pulling anyone else in that given evening. Because no-one will possibly want to have their wicked way with someone after you've seen them dancing to One Step Beyond.

    ap Minos: Memory Tapes or Toro Y Moi?

    I shamefully haven't listened until either until now. First impressions? Toro Y Moi give me Junior Boys flashbacks, so I'm going for Memory Tapes.

    (I love the Junior Boys, but I'd generally lean towards something which doesn't immediately give me such an easily graspable reference)

    Good stuff though. That's my listening sorted for the day.

    (Junior Boys' Last Exit is one of the albums of the decade. I can't find a copy of Under The Sun online, so go with Teach Me How To Fight)

    Right - stopping for tea. More anon.

  10.  (7381.17)
    MagicSword!: if we're talking MBV a friend said he saw a man crouching on the floor cradling his head in his hands and weeping in pain at the end of their show earlier this year. He described scenes of mass hysteria of people at first walking, then running for the exits. Did you weep?

    Saw them twice at ATP. First time was on Friday night, when we wandered in right at the end, just as the 20-minute white-noise bit in - I think - Only Shallow. All the Earplugs had gone, and I was reduced to actually covering my ears. Went to the bar and tried by shouting and sign-language to get drinks. 2 out of the 3 were what we ordered, which I consider a kind of victory.

    Sunday night was the full thing. First gig I've ever worn ear-plugs for, which was... interesting. During the 20-minute freakout, my friends were disturbed to see that I was actually dancing. As I said, it was either dance or die.

    Dance or die.

    clairefun: *has no questions, but is working on nephews Poirot costume just for you / at your request* ETA: Am suddenly really hoping you remember, else I look completely mental. Though obviously, pretty cool, or at least my nephew will...

    Stay away from me or my lawyers and bodyguards will hurt you with hurting-beams.

    No, I remember. My hearing really isn't what it should be, yes? I have no idea why that is.

    Tiny Poirot will be awesome beyond belief.

    Sigrid: So I've been listening to The Long Blondes, and in fact have SOMEONE TO DRIVE YOU HOME playing as I type. What do you recommend I listen to next? (Right now my favorite playlist is this album, mixed with Tegan and Sara's SAINTHOOD, plus Lady Gaga's THE FAME MONSTER. So, yeah.) What are the favorite artists or albums of the characters you write, but don't own? What does Thor listen to? Lockheed? What does Dazzler listen to when she's working out? What does Abigail Brand put on the music player when she's cleaning her kitchen? Or anyone else?

    Before we start, Sigrid is one of the bloggers at Fantastic Fangirls, which is a lot of fun.

    Okay - couple of music things related to the Marvel Characters. one scene I wanted to get into the first issue of SWORD, but lost because of space issues, was that Beast was listening to Dazzler's cover of THE FINAL COUNTDOWN during his initial flight up to the peak. Which is probably a notch-out of character, unless he was in one of his sillier moods.

    The Dazzler short-piece I did was originally called At Last I Am Free, which was the Chic song I was going to have her sing...
    (Spotify link for those in the UK, Live Version which isn't quite the same thing for everyone else)...
    Which I didn't end up doing, because in this case, not-naming the song makes it more powerful. Not least because there's a lot of readers who trip over a Disco reference without realising THE TRUE POWER OF CHIC... but also because "SOLO" is a better title, y'know?

    Regarding specific questions - I don't think Thor listens to any contemporary pop-music. He is very metal, but it's internalised rather than something he needs to imbue. Dazzler, as a musician, should have taste all over the place. That she's actually a good singer of her type makes me think she'd listen to a lot of the sort of music she makes (i.e. People who are good like similar things to what they create). As such, take the finest pop hits from the 60s until now (Her favourite Chic album is Risque, randomly.) Lockheed is very into the saddest Belle and Sebastian right now. Also, M Ward. Or perhaps MCR, which strikes me as entertaining, and means he can bond with Katie West. Brand actually has someone else clean her kitchen, as she hasn't got time to clean that goddamn kitchen.

    In passing, I'm convinced that Sugar's If I can't change your mind...

    Is a perfect White Queen song, though I'd probably need a sixty-issue run on a comic to explain that.

    Jamie's a big fan of the Tegan and Sara album, by the way. You tried Metric? They'd fit into that mix pretty well. The Knife's Deep Cuts. Camera Obscura's Let's Get Out Of This Country is a bit of a reach, but sort of slides in, and is lovely.

  11.  (7381.18)
    MutantNME: Who would win in a fight between Duke Nukem and Serious Sam??

    Serious Sam would win by a technical victory, as Duke won't turn up for the rumble.

    MutantNME: Also, would they get an offical Civil Partnership or simply live together and rely on the new co-habiting partner laws being brought forth in the near future?

    I think a relationship between them would be doomed, because they'd inevitably go and cheat on one another with the Gears of War men.

    MutantNME: I would also like to know who sports your very favourite beard

    Me, of course.

    MutantNME: who has your most despised facial hair

    Me, of course.

    MutantNME: and your reasoning for both??

    Never apologise, never explain. I agree with the second part.

    Ananzitusq: I read recently in an interview that you'd continue to write PHONOGRAM to a hypothetical Series 4 then end it there. Now, setting aside whether or not that ever gets made, do you think that PHONOGRAM will be your only comic that deals heavily with music?

    I suspect not. Phonogram requires Phonogram stories, which requires the use of music to be 100% true. There's stories prominently involving music I'd love to write which requires me to wander a little from that. There's two which immediately leap to mind, in terms of some actual work being existent for. I probably should resurrect the pitch for at least one of them.

    Of course, I've also got at least a couple of videogame-derived stories I'd like to do too. We'll see.

    SteadyUP: No question - just wanted to say that, having never heard of you before Thor and Ares, I'm pretty impressed so far. I was on the fence about picking up SWORD before, but I'm definitely going to check it out, and I may even try to dig up Phonogram.

    Thanks. Glad you're enjoying what I'm doing.

    Neftones: What's one band you and Jamie fight over including in Phonogram?

    It's the one thing we don't fight about. Jamie is properly submissive to the MIGHT OF WRITERS. If superhero comics have proved anything, it's Might Makes Write.

    I suspect there would be violence with knives if the Ting Tings ever appeared though.

    Neftones: Favorite concert ever?

    No good at this sort of one. Answer is normally "Hopefully still to come". Ones which stick out as memorable.

    Prodigy at Glastonbury at 1995, which was - in its own way - as important a gig as Pulp's on the mainstage (Which was also amazing). God Speed You Black Emperor in London, which was the most expensive gig I've ever been too, if you include the train fares, and worth every penny. Mogwai at the Firkin just after Young Team, with my guts churning from some disease and angels exploding in front of my eyes. Seeing Atari Teenage Riot on the tour they detonated, ending with 40-minutes of white noise. The mAKE-UP at the firkin, where Ian Svenonious invents the moves which everyone else robbed in the 00s. Kenickie's last one.

    Neftones: Any DC work in your future?

    Nothing planned. I was talking to an editor earlier this year about pitching a short thing, but I realised I just didn't have time. Which is a blessed situation for a writer to be in.

    Neftones: Will your increasing success in mainstream comics make continuing Phonogram more or less difficult?

    Phonogram is more than capable enough of making continuing Phonogram difficult. Everything else sort of pales into insignificance prepared to that.

    Really, if I had to call, it makes it more likely. One of the only ways Phonogram could continue would be somehow I become a Millar-scale commercial success, because then I'd have enough money to pay Jamie to do it.

    (Less fantastically, it's possible that growing my mainstream audience could lead to a larger Phonogram readership. It's a bit of a stretch though. As Warren noted about himself, he has a divided readership. A proportion of people only know him for his mainstream Superhero work. I don't expect it would be any different for myself.)

    More realistically, I'll be sacked within three months by Marvel and my problem will be finding enough money for gruel. Ah - Brit comic writers. Always fountains of unvarnished optimism.

    Neftones: Can we get a Hold Steady nod in Phonogram 3 (if it happens)? 'cause they're pretty much the best. right?

    I'm going to disappoint Warren's bloodlust by being polite. It's unlikely, unless my head totally changes - though admittedly, PG3 is unlikely unless my head changes into a gold-shitting chicken.

    There is one quote by Craig Finn in an interview which has stuck in my head though, which I may use.

    Neftones: Favorite Warren Ellis series?

    Transmet, I suspect. Exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.

    Right - that's the end of the first page. Taking a break to earn some money. Back later.

  12.  (7381.19)


    And I Collect My 5, etc.
  13.  (7381.20)
    It's like a cross between me and the lovely James Jam of the NME.