Superman’s creators in 1940

I’ve seen pictures of this before but never the actual footage, and it is an extraordinary bit of comics history seeing Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster in their pomp at a time when they were actually making good money from their creation. Also included in the footage is National Publications (now DC Comics) co-owner Jack Lebowitz who was one of those who ensured Siegel and Schuster were shafted by their publisher and never got any real credit for their creation til Neal Adams led the campaign to help them in the 1970s;

At this point though things look good and bright for them. The idea of the superhero is new and shiny at a tie when the U.S was escaping the carnage sweeping through Europe at the time. It’s a wonderful glimpse at a log lost time and we should be grateful for Comic Book Historians for posting this footage.

Glastonbury in the 21st century

The BBC’s second documentary about Glastonbury this year was another one which was very good, and it makes me wish they’d let people loose on the archive to discuss more than the usual ‘Coldplay and mud’ narrative of say, a Jo Whiley film would do. This one though was narrated by Dizzee Rascal and again gave a different perspective to a festival which essentially gentrified from 2000 to 2010.

2000 was the year where every single part of the site was rammed by Friday afternoon. By Saturday afternoon parts of the site were uncomfortably overcrowded, especially main paths to and from the Pyramid to the Other Stage. By Sunday it was genuinely dangerous in areas as by now there must have been 300-500k people onsite as the fence in large sections were down, plus you had all the day visitors from the local area. not to mention David Bowie attracted huge interest. As I’ve said on many a blog about this time, getting in the festival in these days was easy so a perfect storm created this situation and there’s no way Eavis could continue. Which meant after a fallow year the festival returned with the Superfence.

There was no getting over this fence, at least not in the numbers of past years which meant in 2002 the site went the opposite way to 2000 and the place was quiet in places. You could walk round the site easily with no traffic jams. In fact it was a wee bit too empty. 2003 saw an increase in numbers as Eavis was finding his feet in this new era where the festival wasn’t quite gentrified but that was the path the festival was on. This was both good and bad in that crime decreased along with the crushes but part of the sould of the festival went with it. True, some of it has returned and is present in many of the areas but Babylon (the main stage area) is mainly for the folk now who pitch up for the weekend and never venture further than that.

Which isn’t to say there’s not great acts on the Pyramid Stage I’ve seen acts ranging from Leonard Cohen to Stevie Wonder to errr, Rolf Harris there.

By 2010 the festival had changed. A dry sunny year washed away the memories of a number of wet years, especially 2005 where Michael Eavis contemplated cancelling the festival due to the enormous amount of rain dropped on the site on the Friday morning.

Once we hit the 2010s the festival had settled down to a pattern which was one of slow expansion as Eavis would rent out neighbouring farms to expand the site, so what was once a gate in say, 2008, was part of a new camping area by 2013. Simply put the site now is huge compared to 2000 and it is entirely possible to never make an area during a festival as it is now (I think) way too big however if it wasn’t so large in size the chances of getting in decrease, so lets take the trade off.

Where the festival goes from here depends very much on Michael and Emily Eavis. When Michael’s wife Jean died in 1999 the general feeling was that 2000 would be the last one, It wasn’t of course, but as Michael is 85 the thought of what happens when there is no Michael is one many folk have been having for years. The general feeling is that Emily takes over full control though the vultures have been circling round the festival since the 90s when RIchard Branson was trying to buy into it. My feeling is it remains with Emily and the team which has grown up over the years as stopping it or selling it off would be the wrong thing to do as so many people have worked to make it what it is now which is a crucial part of the British cultural calender.

Hopefully next year the festival returns. Hopefully I grab a ticket in resales in the spring but the world would be a poorer place without Glastonbury, and frankly, I’m done with watching the festival on TV. So hopefully see you all in a field in Somerset next June, pandemics permitting…

Glastonbury in the 90s

The BBC broadcast a documentary about Glastonbury in the 1990s last night, and instead of the usual shite about Britpop (which was essentially Jo Whiley’s show the other day) it was a pretty decent history of the decade which did change the festival forever. Also having Skin from Skunk Anansie present it gave a different viewpoint which the BBC’s coverage dearly needs as their coverage is growing increasingly staid and dull.

But this was a lovely wee walk down memory lane and indeed, the 90s which I guess is increasingly like the 1960s were to Baby Boomers in that it was a decade full of change and promise and fuck me, if it wasn’t exciting living through it all, good and bad. For Glastonbury this was transforming from an underground event in 1990 to something not quite establishment by 1999 but that was the path it was on.

I’ve written comprehensively about the festival during the 1990s (just search for the blogs and you’ll find all of them, but there is a lot) as my first year was the drug fuelled mess of 92, which was when the festival was still very much an amatuer event where anyone who wanted to could get in, if they were willing to put the effort in which meant going over or under the fence, or as I did in 93 just walk in with tickets sold to me for a tenner by the security who were also in on the deal. You’d walk into the site not knowing what the next few days will bring and although Glastonbury is still like that, it has lost much of the random insanity you’d find just stumbling around in the dark. For example in 1995 I got lost finding my tent one night, and ended up going into someone else’s tent which ended up in a seriously messy night but I could never find her tent again.

And that’s the glory of Glastonbury. You can meet a complete stranger then have the night of your lives and never see or hear from them again, or they end up being friends for life. A lot of what made Glastonbury great in the 90s was these moments, especially around Joe Bananas which sold blankets mainly (I still have a few, including one I bought in 1992 when I was sleeping under the stars each night) but also ran a soundsystem as back then Michael Eavis despised rave culture seeing it tied in with drugs and gangsters. Of course this was the tabloid view at the time and Eavis was convinced by 1995 to set up a dance tent but before then it was down to places like Joe Bananas to provide the big late night entertainment.

Mathew Clayton on Twitter: "Joe Bananas Blanket Stall. Pre naughty corner  anyone wanting to carry on the party had to do it outside this stall that  sold rizlas, wellies and blankets… https://t.co/PzONxO6dlO"

Even after the dance tent started up these late night venues would just spring up much to joy of everyone. I remember in 97 walking by it early one morning (We’d camped out right in front of the Pyramid so it wasn’t too far away) to see some folk clinging on for one last throwing of shapes before their bodies broke on them.

And yes the music did change during the decade. Britpop as it originally was had arrived in 1993 with Suede headinling the NME stage which isn’t to say there were no British acts on display as those years of the early 90s were gloriously diverse with acts from a variety of different genres on display. The TV cameras arrived at a time when Britpop acts were just breaking, and in 95 they became dominant. By 97 we were stuck with crap like Kula Shaker and Dodgy as Britpop faded away though Glastonbury remained a varity of genres on the main stages in those last few years before the ‘festival band’ shat into existence by the likes of Coldplay started infecting lineups but that was to come in the 2000s…

Overall though Glastonbury in the 90s was a series of wonderful weekends spent with wonderful people in a wonderful time when wonderful things were possible. I miss those time massively and would give a soul or two to go back to those times, but life moves on and the festival in the 2000s became something else as I became someone else…

It has been two years since the last Glastonbury Festival and I am a bit lost without it

Two years ago I was in this field.

It was full of people, boiling hot and fun but right no it’s more or less empty, though it will be open soon as a campsite til the autumn but that isn’t quite the same thing as the festival in full flow. Right now on a Thursday I’d have woken up quite early, grabbed a shower plus some food before going back to where ever in the disabled field we were camping (normally low down near the entrance) to see what everyone else is up to, assuming they’re even awake. Thursdays at Glastonbury I enjoy a lot because not much is on the main stages so you can wander around taking the place in because it’ll have been a year, maybe two, since you were last there.

And now it’s been two years with a gap and in 2022 the chances of getting a ticket in the resale next spring is minimal so realistically 2023 will be my next chance and I hate that. Hopefully it won’t be but a large part of what has been my life has been denied for too long and like thousands of others, I can only hope this is the last time we have such a long enforced break.

Til then though I’ll be raking through YouTube for videos, and hoping for a wee bit of luck next spring…

Some tips for comic dealers in the age of Covid

I’ve got two marts/cons under my belt since they sort of resumed in Scotland after the long, long Covid lockdown and the fact is things have changed and if you as a dealer aren’t prepared, you’re going to miss a trick. If you’re doing a show in a shopping centre get used to having strange and unsual views for your duration behind your tables.

Do not pitch in front of a butcher for six hours. After three hours I was ready to boak and after six I considered veganism, which isn’t to say that this particular butcher was dirty which it wasn’t, but you’ll never escape the smell. Also, having a show after a Scotland international game is a disaster of bad timing.

Those are minor things. Probably the most important thing is ensure you’re set up to take contactless payments. Post Covid the use of cash has fallen drastically to the level where the latest one I’ve done the majority of my takings were contactless. In the UK there’s a number of contactless providers, but I use Sum Up as its simple, easy and comes at a cheap rate. It’ll be worth the investement.

Secondly unless it’s a pure comics event there’s no point bringing your full display of back issues because people aren’t going to spend the time to go through your run of Green Arrow, so take a selection.People are wary about coming back out plus the more casual punter will not be bothered with faced with a sea of comics. As an addition to this you need to know your stock and interact with everyone coming to your pitch because although people are spending money the numbers of people are (so far) down for obvious reasons. I don’t think those people are coming back til the (hopefully) autumn when most people are vaccinated and restrictions are more or less lifted.

Lastly, unless you’ve got stuff selling cheap then at least bag your comics and put them in an alphabetical order. Make it easier for customers to find something they might not even know what they’re looking for.

It’s a slightly new world now. People are spending money, partly as I assume Ebay and other online sites are so expensive, but deal with the problems of the new normal and you’ll be fine but prepare to put the work in and don’t expect it to just come to you.

Scotland V England

This Friday Scotland play England in the delayed Euro 2020 and if you watch ITV or BBC you’d get the impression that the only team people want to know about is the English team. IN fact even when other teams are playing at some point, England will be brought up and that fucking Gazza goal in Euro 96, but let’s remember the summer of 1977 and when an English goalkeeper was made to look stupid by a Scotland player.

England vs Scotland: Our favourite classic moments ahead of clash | England  football team, England football, Kenny dalglish

Now that should be shown every five minutes…

Come buy comics from me at the Rutherglen comic con

Next up in the new socially distanced world of comic conventions is Rutherglen, this Saturday the 19th at 10am, finishing at 4pm in the Rutherglen Exchange Shopping Centre.

May be an image of 6 people, Superman and text that says 'RUTHERGLEN 2021 19TH JUNE CHECK OUR WEBSITE FOR VENUE, TIME AND TICKET INFORMATION POCP COMICCON CON COMIC AND ΤΟΥ MARKET TOUR 2021 FREE ENTRY f bigglasgowcomicpage.com #BGCPCOMICCON'

After the last show I’ve decided a more trimmed down display works just as well as dragging 30 boxes around for a one-day show, plus the trimmed down display made me as much money for a small show. Just got to get the right stuff, so come along this Saturday and see just what I’ve got in store for you…

The fragility of life

Yesterday the Danish midfielder Christian Erikson passed out on the pitch during a game against Finland in the delayed Euro 2020 tournament. The official broadcast carried on showing live pictures of Erikson getting CPR not to mention concerned players in tears not to mention his girlfriend and there was no need to broadcast that but it was and it distressed thousands of people with their own mortality suddenly in the middle of a football game. Not the sort of thing one needs after the last 17 months however the positive to take from it was that it does remind us to make what we can of something we only get one chance at.

Unless you’re a Buddist. But that’s cheating.

As for Erikson he’s thankfully stable in hospital but there was one moment to life the soul afterwards which was this.

There’s an Evil Dead game coming out

I love the Evil Dead films and TV series. I even think the reboot from a few years back was pretty good. The first film played in cinemas in Glasgow almost continously throughout my teenage years and was my second 18 rated film I saw after John Carpenter’s The Thing. So anything that brings back the fun of the films is something I leap on like a starving man which is why news of a new video game makes me drool.

Previous games have been ok to fine, but this one looks like it could either be a fairly average gorefest or enormous fun, with me hoping obviously for the latter. Here’s the trailer for it, enjoy.

Scotland’s Euro 2020 campaign

It’s the delayed Euros and Glasgow is shaping up with the fanzone in George Square and the impending sense of doom as Scotland face our first tournament in 23 years (for the men, the women qualified a few years back) with some sense of optomism. Of course most people are prepared for things to fuck up because that would be the most Scottish thing our mens team can do.

But let us revel in this pre-tournament phase of joy and enjoy the fun of this before the usual glorious failure of a Scotland campaign…