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  1.  (7381.1)
    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.
    I am a walking exception to that rule. I have had girls try to pick me up at clubs specifically because of how I danced to ska.

    (I know! It surprised the shit out of me too!)

    (Adding to the chorus of "Thank you for the SKA ATTACK SQUAD.")
  2.  (7381.2)
    Any plans for the B-Sides and backmatter from v1/v2 to be collected in a trade ?
  3.  (7381.3)
    I return, starting the day with Music Go Music:

    JOIN ME.

  4.  (7381.4)

    Always worth listening to...

    1) How fucking good were my bloody valentine this weekend?

    On a score of one to awesome, awesome.

    2) If you'd have publicised your ATP attendance, your adoring fans could have assaulted you with free beer at some point.

    I get enough trouble with PC Gamer readers recognising me at festivals. Adding comics people to it could only get messy. Besides - you don't want to be at ATP and trying to work out which shaved-balding-glasses-wearing-guy is me.

    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).

    There is no love in our cold black hearts.

    RPS is more successful than you'd think. We do over a couple of million impressions a month. If we had our ads properly sorted, we'd be making... well, at least Rent money from it (And London rent money at that). RPS was, as much as our incompetent journo selves could do it, a serious business venture. There was no PC-specific site online which was worth a damn. We figured there was Ads money going spare, and we could have it. While a lot of it is for the love it - it's by far my proudest achievement in my games journo career - if it was purely for the love, we wouldn't be doing a lot of the stuff we do. Newsblogging isn't a lot of fun, and transcription is always hellish, for example.

    (We sell enough ads to give a small stipend to each of us a month - beer money, basically - plus industry-level rates when someone does a Wot I Thinks. Since I'm earning well enough away from Games Journalism, I've actually waived my WIT payments, reinvesting them back in the site so more people can do more stuff rather than having to work for mags for money.)

    I earn more money from RPS than Phonogram, certainly, though it's trickier to be precice. Either way, up to a certain point for each issue, Jamie gets all the money (Because when he's drawing PG, it's a full time job). We've only ever gone over that figure once - issue 1.3. - which was the only time I recieved any money from Phonogram's issue sales in the direct market.

    Phonogram... well, it's something like love. It's a bit more complicated than that. It's kind of Rorschachian. We do these things because we're compelled...

  5.  (7381.5)
    taphead: What is: the best soul album in the world?
    (Bonus points: not counting The Afghan Whigs.)

    I wouldn't have gone for the Whigs! Honest!

    I suspect it's a toss up between Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and Massive Attack's Blue Lines. The former paralysed me when I actually got around to listening to it - I'm still amazed it's so *short*. Blue Lines is one of the towering achievements in British music, full stop.

    It's an odd one - I was brought up on Soul and Motown. As in, its' what primarily got played around the house. But my parents approached it on these enormous 120-minute mix-tapes of random stuff rather than albums. That's absolutely me at my most formative. It certainly explains why my natural response to music is to dance.

    (Stafford was one of the second-string places for Northern Soul, of course. One of my Uncle has a gargantuan collection)

    nickellis: 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?

    Yeah, totally. Phonogram is a fantasy comic, but totally not. It's about what pop music does to us. That is, mythologise our own existence. If this is true of places I go and people I know, it's just as true as yours.

    Oh - the Club's Lipstick On Your Collar. I believe it's changed venue since 2006, but back then it was upstairs at the Hatchet.

    I double-stress that the DJs there aren't Seth and Silent. It's also worth noting that Jamie's never been there.

    nickellis: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?

    I've answered the first part of that in the previous question (i.e. YES) but the second part... well, it's more indirect. It's more that you pick up on totemic little things. When writing someone else's characters I try and find a balance between writing something which I think is directed at the core appeal of the character (Therefore, may have an audience) and something which doesn't make me want to throw my liver at strangers (Therefore, I can actually write it - because pop-writing only ever works when you give a toss about what you're doing. The thing about almost all the big break out pop-writers is that they genuinely love their genre. The sort who look at Potters success and think about wanking off something a bit like that are doomed by their cold, black hearts). It's the latter part where I work in any bits of mythology, emotional hooks which mean stuff to you. That's rarely something as direct as a place, however.

    Not that it couldn't be, of course.

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

    Never on a Sunday.

    Tim Twelves: 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?)

    Oh, I did.

    2009, because I never saw them in 1993. I'm very experiencental, me.

    (That's totally not a word. Lets' move on.)

  6.  (7381.6)
    lokkeg: 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?

    Stafford, which is a place I mythologise as a sort of suburban hell, but really is one of the better of the shitty midlands small-towns to come from. 10 miles in almost any direction and my accent would go full on brummie, for one. Or Dudley. Christ, people can't understand me when I do Podcasts for the US. How the hell would they deal with a Dudley accent? They'd think I was a martian.

    Dad Catholic, Mum Church of Scotland, Raised Catholic-but-not-that-Catholic (i.e. I have one brother). Spent primary school in a blissful haze, populating the grounds around the school with an entire population of fantasy creatures. Wrote and drew a Transformer comic with robots with Pentagrams on the chests. When head-teacher-nun discovered, we had to give all our money to charity. Made zines, except I had no idea what zines was. Wrote a lot, without really realising I was writing. Main role in a social group always seemed to be Making Shit Up. Catholic secondary school. Never did any music, but started playing the Tuba for its underdog cred. Got into games and pop music and girls, in about that order, except the date at 11 where I drenched a poor girl in coke, setting a theme of drink-based disaster that haunts me to this day.

    My parents have always been oddly supporting of my oddness. I was well into my 20s before my dad mentioned that he'd always hoped I'd become a Barrister - which I wish he'd mentioned it, as I wouldn't have minded being pushed towards the law. My parents always thought the games journalism was a phase which I'd pass through and then do something useful with my degree (Biology), probably in science journalism. I was only the second person in my sprawling Catholic larger family to go to University - I spent a chunk of my teenage holidays working with my Dad on Building sites. I suspect this is absolutely the kernel of a lot of my drive. If I don't make this work I'm going to have to go back to sloshing fucking grout around.

    My parents are great, basically. They're far nicer people than me. I'm very lucky, basically.

    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?

    Yeah, I'm deliberately vague around it, if only because our stories haven't had to touch on it much. Kohl is actually doing what he does to get by at the start of Rue Britannia. He goes to gigs, taps energy from it, and then uses that in a phonomantic ritual to cheat the system and not have to do real work. Strip away the phonogram metaphor, and it's saying he's a music journalist. His devotion of music and skill with processing it has allowed him to bypass the world of traditional work.

    None of the younger Phonomancers in Singles Club would be doing that. At least, yet, though you'll be that Logos would try. I certainly have a few ideas for shorter stories based around proto-Phonomancers at their day jobs.

    (You'll see in Issue 6 that Marc and Lloyd actually live in a shared-house situation. I don't say whether they're students or working or whatever. I didn't want to tie it down either way for the sake of Singles club. Though, of course, I do have an answer)

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

    Yeah, you don't want to know what Kid does to get money.

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

    Power Girl's left and right boob? Oh, I don't know.

    Your fave album of 2009?


    I'll go with the Horror's Primary Colours, if only because it was such an enormous step up from their dire previous existence.

    Sea Within A Sea is quite the way to end an album...

    WillSargent: 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?

    I can see the Arthurian parallels actually, especially with his west-country basis. For a couple of generations, he was everyone's Merlin, turning up to give advice to their own Arthurian quests, leading to whatever your grail was.

    manglr: 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?

    Thanks! Glad you liked it.

    I've no immediate plans for anyone other than Death's Head. He's a big presence, in every way, yes?

    emsie: Will the beard ever come back?

    The Once And Future Beard, etc.

    Hopefully not. Hopefully for everyone.

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

    My brother liked some Kula Shaker tracks. He is my brother no more.

    Of course, everyone is reading Emma's Dragon Heir, yes? You will be, as Warren told you. But you doubly are now.


  7.  (7381.7)
    Oh noes! Deleted a load of stuff. Quicker version to recreate.

    SeanWizkte:I'd just like to say SWORD kicks fucking teeth.

    Also, arse. And Ass.

    dot_xom: It's a fine question, just totally a PANIC STATIONS!!!! one.

    Sigrid: I agree Re: White Queen not listening to it. But I think if it caught her at the right (i.e. Wrong) time, it could get through.

    you can have either;
    a world where 100 indie games take of, get the kudos/devleopment/etc they deserve and it nigh on revolutionises the industry
    a world where 100 Kenickie-inspired bands become huge, give us the pop music we oh-so-richly-deserve and rid the charts of relaity tv stars albums

    The former. 100 new, individual things are better than 100 things derived from the same thing, no matter how divine.

    JamieMcKelvie: It's quite funny people thinking we have the same music tastes. We'd hoped that characters disagreeing over music within the comic in the second series might give people the idea that The Creators Are Not The Characters in this respect, but that's been missed by a few people.

    You are totally Lloyd.

    It's worth reading and sort of seeing how it was a larger multimedia project too.

    AfterAnnabel: Regarding The Singles Club, you've mentioned that each issue corresponds to a particular band: #1-The Pipettes, #2-Cansei de ser Sexy, #3-The Knife, #4-Robyn, #5-The Long Blondes, #6-Camera Obscura, and #7-TV on the Radio. Please correct me if I'm wrong on any of these. Were these connections deliberate? Did they come about organically? You've said that the ways in which they connect differ, some are more obvious than others. Would you mind going into more detail? As each single issue comes together to form one single, complex story, is there one artist you'd connect to The Singles Club as a whole?

    Yup, that's the inspirations. Some are more or less obvious than others - Camera Obscura's the most tenuous, I suspect, despite giving the lead character his name.

    In terms of the connections, I believe I was talking about the issues themselves rather than the bands - though, I'll admit, there's some of that too. Obvious connections are things like the Penny/Marc issues revealing truth about one another. Less obvious connections would be between Emily/Laura - as in, less the conversation, more the relationship between those two characters, like a Before/After shot in a sinister diet-pills advert.

    Oddly, there's not one act which defines all of Singles Club. Hell, as said, there's even some issues which are characterised by more bands than just the titled one. Seth and Silent girl's issue is as much Blondie as Robyn. Penny screams the Pipettes, but for me the start is pure ONE MORE TIME by Daft Punk.

    What most defines the Singles Club is, I guess, the playlist. We dropped this set at the Thought Bubble con, and hearing the records play in order was... well, really odd for me. I won't be able to listen to any of those songs without recalling these two particularly crazy years, y'know?

    Flabyo: Maybe one question: What do you think of Molyneux? I've only ever known him from this side of the journalist / developer divide.

    I like him a lot. I mean, he's a gift to journalists for all the reasons which have engendered that antipathy. In an interview situation, it always comes across less like someone who's actually trying to spread deceitful hype than someone who's just so excited that he can't help say something that he really bloody shouldn't. The sad thing is the response to developers who act like this - or generally show a bit more personality - means that we're seeing the rise of the sort of on-message spokesman who's just impossible (and pointless) to interview. Give me Molyneux every day. At least then there's a chance there's something worth reading.

    Connected to that: One of my pet hates is the blog-journalists who eviscerate anyone who does something like this for cheap hits. We're just breeding games developers to be incredibly boring. And I do think the problem with anyone taking a sort of spokesman role is that they end up getting too much credit - which, really, is as much the journo's fault as anyone. We really should be smart enough to properly contextualise quotes to avoid people thinking - say - Miyamoto does everything at Nintendo.

    One reason why writing about some indie stuff is more fun... well, you get people who say stuff a bit more. I mean, Jon Blow is - in the larger scale of things - not exactly controversial. But in the world of games, he's a fucking awesome firebrand.

    (I still actually need to play the finished Fable 2, embarrassingly. I dug it a lot at the preview stage, but with my schedule - especially RPS demanding PC focus - a lot of XBox stuff slips through the cracks. And it's telling that Tom talked me into doing Darkfall when I had a few drinks. Still - it was a fun one to do in some ways. It was my last games review too - though never say never - so an interesting one to step off the stage with. That's not a bad career arc: Start with Thief: The Dark Project and end with Darkfall.)

    MercerFinn: Have you read The Vinyl Underground and do you think it's awesome?

    I read the first issue, and it didn't do much for me. I admit, I primarily read it as there was a lot of THIS IS RIPPING OFF PHONOGRAM going around pre-release (Britain, Music, Magic, Those Covers, etc). I read it, and it totally was its own creature - just not one which interested me that much. I'm told the series really picks up as it went along though, so I do plan to pick up the few trades at some point.

    On a Vertigo note, however, YOUNG LIARS was amazing.

    Ginja: From your work it seems fairly clear you love music. What is your preferred way of listening to music?


  8.  (7381.8)
    Brandon Cyphered: You must have an exceedingly deep skank.

    Aled Davies: Any plans for the B-Sides and backmatter from v1/v2 to be collected in a trade ?

    The plans was that after PG4, we'd do a B-sides and rarities collection ala The Smiths' Hatful of Hollow. Since there almost certainly won't be PG3 let alone a PG4, you can assume that's out of the window. The issues will probably be on Longbox, so for the foreseeable future, that'll be the only way to get hold of them.

    Image have suggested doing an ABSOLUTE PHONOGRAM style thing of the two series' in hardback. If we do that... well, no, we won't be doing the B-sides in there either. Probably scripts or something.


    Jens A: even on the internet I have yet to talk to a fellow Kenickie fan - so, seeing you here answering questions and everything, I can't resist asking, what's your favourite record by the band?

    Oh, okay. For real this time.

    Record? If you mean album, it's At The Club. Get In! I loved it when it came out, but with retrospect, it's more than a little patchy, and the production kills a few of the seconds. At The Club is a perfect Teenage booze epithany.

    If you mean actual single record, I'll go with the Skillex EP. I had it on Vinyl. Come Out 2nite on one side. How I was made on the other. Teenage Manic/Depression, immortalised in plastic. The actual CD version also had Scared of Spiders and Acetone, giving it a 3 out of 4 genuine-classic hit rate. That's up with anyone, anywhere.

    If you mean actual track... oh, God. Don't kill me. Fave B-side is Can I Take U 2 The Cinema, but only because I promote Acetone to an album track as it's on At The Club. Acetone used to be my funeral song, when I was young and bitter, though not as young and bitter as I was when it was something by the Manics. Favourite single would be I Would Fix You, I suspect - Kenickie were never exactly served as well on Singles as you may expect. Best track they never got down on record in a way which captured its power would be People We Want - or maybe Sixties Bitch, which I heard with just voice and guitar and was heart-breaking. Robot Song's a fucking marvel. And That's why is one of the saddest Fuck Offs in music history, and probably inspiring a lot of Emily's inspired cruelty in Phonogram.

    Okay. I'll go with I Would Fix You and shut up quickly before I change my mind. I still haven't forgiven the populace of the UK for not making it a proper hit. In at 36! In the week Bewitched got their first number 1! Fuckers! You're all fuckers.

    And rest.

    Wow - up to date. NEXT! BRING IT!

    Phonogram is, of course, out today. As is SWORD 2. Go buy them and make me happy. Or, at least, less depressed.

    (And my issues have just arrived, so I'll have to go read it and spot errors.)

    • CommentAuthordot_xom
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2009

    Massive Attack's Blue Lines

    You have no idea how much my respect for you has just skyrocketed.
    • CommentAuthorKarlRuben
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2009
    Wow, that Music Go Music video is just... wow. If that stuff was edited live, the person in question is a genius. The way the shooting/editing works at counter-purposes to the big disco breakdowns is awesome. I can't remember the last time I sat through a nine minute web video that easily. Thanks for the introduction!

    Segueing back on topic, slightly: What are some of your favourite music videos? Mine is this one.

    Thanks so much for doing this thread, Mr. Gillen!
    • CommentAuthorlokkeg
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2009
    Thanks for the responses Kieron! I'm most definitely excited for 2.6 today. And Sword, kind-of.

    I only wish the rest of that Music Go Music album was a good as that there mini-epic.
  9.  (7381.12)
    On a Vertigo note, however, YOUNG LIARS was amazing.

    YES! Vying with Phonogram for my fave comic of the year. BTW, David Lapham writes an introduction in the first Vinyl Underground trade.
  10.  (7381.13)
    Image have suggested doing an ABSOLUTE PHONOGRAM style thing of the two series' in hardback. If we do that... well, no, we won't be doing the B-sides in there either. Probably scripts or something.

    Who do we need to blackmailwrite to at Image to get this to happen ? ;) (and would the first series be recolored or as is ?)

    Shame there will be no PG3. :( Although you could take solace that you did stop after the glammed up second album just like Kenickie ;)
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2009
    "What are the important problems in your field?"

    That's a great question. I'm going to remember that.

    So, Mr. Gillen, what are the important problems in comics right now?
  11.  (7381.15)
    You are totally Lloyd.

    No, because that would make you Marc, and well...
  12.  (7381.16)
    KieronGIllen: And thanks. I should get Matt Sheret in here to talk about Titus Andronicus too.

    Just caught that...time for a quick derail...

    Imagine huge hole, a cave probably, the kind of thing that might feature in an action sequence in The Lord of The Rings, the kind of thing a Balrog might fall through. Imagine yourself falling through that space. That space isn't made of rock or air or sharp formations or of stench and horror but of break-ups and hate and long walks through winter rain and of time spent thumbing through your contact list and realising - as much as you want to talk to someone - that you have nothing new to say to anyone and probably never will.

    Are you there? Good, so you've been dumped once then. Well done you.

    New year, a bit of money in pocket, a trip to Rough Trade/Avalanche/Ameoba/Tiger/wherever the locals go to get those beautiful vinyl records, you pick up music by a band flying in that exact same cave. Except they're going up. Behind them is a jetstream made of shouting and hate. This is a brilliant thing.

    Titus Andronicus' album sounds like it was recorded in a dustbin, the lyrics are barely within comprehension, and yet it's so clearly urgent, so compelling, that it acts like rocket fuel. It's ace. I put the momentum of 2009 down to the first new sounds reaching my ear being 'Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ': A brief spell of mourning and wallowing before an almighty scream of "FUCK YOU" and an explosion consisting of all the pace in world. Anyone put off by that kind of opening can keep on falling. I will not miss them.


    Keen to see answer to this:

    WordWill: So, Mr. Gillen, what are the important problems in comics right now?
    • CommentAuthorfod_xp
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2009
    I have only read the issue previews, but Kieron's scripts guarantee I will be picking SWORD up as a collection.

    Hat's off to you Mr. Gillian.

    Now off to compliment the artist!
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2009

    Anyway... I've just got back from a talk at Treadwells and Theban script came up. There was a woman there who, as part of her magical training, wrote a diary of her dreams, in Theban, for twenty five years. Tell Jamie, or whoever's doing that bit of the lettering, they're getting off damn lightly.

    Oh, and if you want to get PG3 done, I think you should do a phonomantic equivalent of the letters page in issue 16 of the Invisibles (which still pretty much contains all anyone needs to know about chaos magic. It wouldn't be a rip[off, it would be a homage. Or a cover version.



    Guys - this man paid for my wedding. srsly.
  13.  (7381.19)
    From yr blog, it looks like you read every review of your work you can find, which seems uncommon. A lot of writers insist they don't pay attention to criticism. Do you? How do you react to a negative review? Has yr writing changed/improved as a result of a particular review?
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2009 edited
    Not wanting to answer for him, but as a general self-promotion tip, linking to reviews using carefully chosen keywords is great for search-engine optimisation. It can be less about ego* and more about upping the number of inbound and outbound links you've got. Everyone with something to promote should do it, really, as it all helps to raise your profile.

    *although in this case, maybe not.