recent zinery, part two: yol and the turnip flag

July 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Posted in art, new music, no audience underground, not bloody music | 2 Comments
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Yol – Always Looking Down

Yol – Adventures in the House of Chicken Feet

Yol – Brighthouse (CD-r, self released)

The Turnip Flag: Selections from the Ceramic Hobs Magazine, 1986-1988

The following envelope contained two booklets of art and poetry: Always Looking Down and Adventures in the House of Chicken Feet, and a three track CD-r: Brighthouse, by Hull based artist Yol.  Now, I try not to bandy about the word ‘artist’ too much but it is chosen quite deliberately in this case as Yol uses several media – poetry, graphics, music, performance – to express a singular vision.  A vision that is as coherent and relentless as arithmetic and as undeniable as death.  Everything, Yol explains, everything that we are told to do, to want, to consume, to enjoy is FUCKING BULLSHIT.  He was once the child who pointed out that the emperor was naked, now grown up and driven mad by the fact that no-one listened to him and the idiocy continued, business as usual.  His persona is reduced to delivering his raging, stuttering, retching critique whilst flailing through anonymous city streets, ankle deep in litter and dog shit.  I realise I may not be selling this to you.  However, I’m hoping that, like me, you always find a strange beauty in the truth, no matter how grim.

A word about Yol’s graphics: they are terrific.  His pictures have the brute elegance of cave painting, the violent immediacy of stencilled street art and the liquid cool of a Saul Bass title sequence.  They compliment the clipped, jagged, stream-of-id writing perfectly.  And did I mention how funny it can be?  The CD-r, named half for the high-street usurers who provide loans for household items at hair-whitening interest rates and half as a pun on ‘Whitehouse’, alternates between harsh digital power electronics and Yol’s vomited bellowing.  The ‘lyrics’ to the first track make me laugh out loud each time I hear it.  To paraphrase: “You’ve got the long arms of a strangler/You’ve got the neck, the fat neck of a murder victim/You should both hook up.”  The delivery of that punch line kills me.  This is humour at its hearing-a-strange-noise-and-fumbling-for-the-light-switch blackest.

Yol tells me that this stuff is available from him, presumably for sale or trade, and that one of these days he’ll set up a site to punt his warez.  In the meantime you’ll have to email him at yol1971@hotmail.co.uk

…and finally we have the truest zine of the batch.  The Turnip Flag is a collection of excerpts from the Ceramic Hobs magazine dated 1986 to 1988.  This was a silver age of zinery remembered very fondly by me as I was involved in the small press comics scene around that time (does anyone remember the distro ‘Fast Fiction’ run by a pre-Sound Projector Ed Pinsent?  No?  Oh well…).

Sent to me by the great man himself, Simon Morris tells me that ‘beyond the occasional jejune phrase I’m not embarrassed by it at all!’ and, after a sheepish peek at the dictionary to find out what ‘jejune’ means, I think he is right not to be.  What you get are typewritten articles, very short stories, prose poetry and interviews chopped, pasted and interposed with illustrations and pre-photoshop collages of headlines, adverts and the like.  It is all created with a normality-bashing humour that will be familiar to Hobs fans.  Timestamping the content perfectly are, for example, an appreciation of Butthole Surfers (Locust Abortion Technician and before – all the solid gold stuff) and a short but very interesting piece on United Diaries Records including an interview with Steven Stapleton, no less.  Scoop!  I’d heard somewhere that Mr. Stapleton makes a comfortable living from his endeavours now so was intrigued to hear about the money lost back in the (relatively) early days.  And, as they say in publishing, much, much more inside!

I liked this very much.  The object emits a sunbeam of nostalgia that will help you dry off after being out in the unseasonal rain.  It is of interest both for the content and as an historical document of how this information was shifted from place to place in the pre-internet era.

Simon says that this can be had from his address – 124 Condor Grove, Blackpool, FY1 5QY – whilst stocks last in return for a ‘trade or nice letter’.  And you have to do what Simon says don’t you?

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  1. Wouldn’t be surprised if somehow YOL becomes a next big thing in the underground movement…there is something to him that puts his persona apart from many in this area. Is like a style on his own. His writing and his performance style has a power that don’t need over amplification / effects to get on your face. He can easily put to shame many shouters in the power electronics field…a total natural brute force without any awkward snobbery or pretenciousness found in some people doing the vocal thing….


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