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The story of Johnny H: The musician, bodybuilder, actor and his bizarre connection to Elvis Presley
08.30.2018
07:46 am
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Johnny H. (aka Jesse/John Haemmerle, Jesse Garon Presley) and his massive custom-made Hollowbody V acoustic guitar.
 
I’m going to cut right to the chase here and tell you about Jesse Haemmerle—aka Johnny H/John Haemmerle and his connection to Elvis, as it’s too weird to wait for. You may know Elvis’ mother Gladys Garon was set to deliver twins at home in Tupelo, Mississippi when tragically Elvis’ brother Jessie arrived stillborn just before Elvis was born. The loss of his twin weighed heavily on Elvis psychologically for his entire life. Gladys has said she and her husband Vernon gave Presley the middle name of Aaron (an adaptation of the family’s last name of Garon), so he would always feel as though his brother was there with him. Even before his own death, it was said Elvis would have meandering conversations with his deceased brother while traipsing around Graceland. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, a kid named John Haemmerle would learn he had been adopted from a family in Tupelo, and his actual date of birth was January 8th, 1935, just like Elvis.

Okay.

Elvis-association aside, John Haemmerle was a pretty interesting cat on his own. He served in the Air Force and worked as a police officer for several years. Haemmerle dedicated a large portion of his life to bodybuilding and became good enough to participate in the Mr. America competition in 1968. He was also a member of the impressive sounding organization, the Federation of Arm Wrestlers and built the first opposing grips arm wrestling table in 1969. He scored some television roles and an uncredited bit part in the 1973 film Serpico, but was most successful musically and put out a number of singles under different names including Johnny H in the 50s and 60s, which you could classify as Doo-Wop. He was also known for the creation of his unique space rocket-inspired hollow body V acoustic guitar (pictured at the top of this post).

In getting back to Haemmerle’s (maybe) Elvis connection, there are many accounts which have been shared over the decades—here are a few.
 

An early recording by Johnny H. using the name Jesse Garon Presley.
 
Sometime in 1964, Haemmerle claims to have met Elvis and somehow got to lay the story on him he was his brother Jesse apparently speaking to the big E for “hours.”  In an interview with truth-champion The Sun, Haemmerle recounted strange Elvis-related experiences such as seeing an image of Elvis materialize on his cellar wall, and a session with well-known psychic Ann Fisher which conjured up memories of his days in Tupelo prior to his adoption. Haemmerle’s Myspace page contains other ramblings about his psychic visions, including one concerning a recurring dream where he traded clothing with his “twin brother” as he died. Haemmerle also had regular dreams about his custom hollow body V getting ripped off—which it did. Luckily, according to his son, he made two just in case his nightmare came to fruition. At some point along the way, Haemmerle changed his name to Jesse Garon Presley. In 1990 an article published on September 19th in New York newspaper The Reporter cited Jesse for winning a first-place award (as well as several others) at the National Creative Arts Festival in Albany in rhythm/blues/religious category for his interpretation of Elvis’ 1970 hit, “Kentucky Rain.”

Now, I’m sure you (maybe) might be thinking “whatever happened to Jesse Haemmerle?” I have a bit of an unexpected twist for you. According to Haemmerle’s 2003 obituary, he was, in fact, adopted and raised by Oscar and Felicia Albarea Haemmerle in the New York/New Jersey area. He is referred to by name in the obit as Jesse G. Presley noting his place of birth as DUN DUN DUN! Tupelo, Mississippi. This all reads like an old episode of In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy, and since the all-knowing Nimoy isn’t around to help me figure this one out, I’m going to wait on passing any judgment regarding the truth behind this very strange story.

Here are some images of Haemmerle during his bodybuilding days as well as his musical ones. Also included below are some of the musical stylings of the mysterious Johnny H.
 

A photo of a young Haemmerle (left) with his brother Richie.
 

A photo of Haemmerle taken for a bodybuilding magazine.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.30.2018
07:46 am
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Some favorite record covers with one letter removed
08.28.2018
08:55 am
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A misplaced letter can make a whole lot of difference, as anyone who’s seen that classic episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm knows. In that particular show, poor old Larry caused righteous outrage after his obituary notice for a “beloved aunt” had one vowel replaced with a consonant.

The Internet is good at making you aware of how frequently things are repeated with often differing results. Sometimes they’re diminished, sometimes improved. A few years back, Reddit featured a thread of band names with one letter replaced. This led onto Pigeons & Planes making a series of album covers with one letter missing.

Returning to this theme, the various creative talents at b3ta have come up with a whole new batch of record covers with one letter absent, most of which, like some of their predecessors, are pretty damned amusing—though tbh I’m not quite sure if there is any letter missing from the Coldplay cover…

See more than 230 other record covers with one letter missing here.
 
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More classic album covers minus a letter, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.28.2018
08:55 am
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Superstar & Star is the outsider artist that we all need right now
08.20.2018
08:51 am
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Let’s be real - shit is pretty fucked up right now. I’ve got that P.M.A., sure, but doesn’t it sometimes feel as if the world is literally crumbling around us? I say this [of course] with a bit of tongue-in-cheek cynicism and even a touch of mild sarcasm, but seriously—what the fuck is up?
 
It’s the little things in life that make everything seem O.K. When you’re down, is there a song you like to play to cheer yourself up? Or a television show that never fails to comfort or distract you? For me, it’s something living and real. It’s the music and story of outsider musician, Superstar & Star.
 

 
Neville Lawrence was born at some point in the early 1960s on the island of Trinidad. As a youth, he joined a local dance group and would perform in any way he could. Neville describes Trinidad as a place rich in music and celebration. This is something that has contributed to his creative background, although he claims to have no musical training. Popstars like Michael Jackson and Tina Turner became big influences on Neville’s life, as he hoped that someday he too would become, a Superstar.
 
In July of 1988, Neville moved to the United States to live with his family in Brooklyn. Having always been interested in singing, he purchased rudimentary audio equipment at Brighton Beach and learned to record his own songs. Neville would perform at New York venues such as The Arc and Samy Hotel, where he had shared the stage with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Biggie, and Tupac. I’m still not sure if he is fully aware who they are.
 

Superstar performs in New York in the 90s
 
After much diligence, Neville quite literally became a Superstar. It’s more than just a name—it’s a way of life. In order to act the role, one must demonstrate the ability to be the best person he or she can possibly be. We all must in some way contribute to the greatness of this twisted world that we live in. “To be a star, you must be disciplined, respectable, and humble,” he once told me. “If someone falls, you pick them up. Like a superhero.” Superstar hopes to make music that will make people help one another.
 
While in New York Neville met the love of his life, Ann (Star). She performed backing vocals, so they became known as Superstar & Star. Although Neville had once stated that the crime-rate decreased while he was in New York, duties eventually called elsewhere and the two moved to Omaha, where they reside today. Now without many opportunities to perform his songs locally, Superstar went online.
 

Superstar and Star
 
The music of Superstar & Star is described as lo-fi pop and disco, with a blend of calypso, soul, reggae, and sometimes even underground house. Coming from someone completely unaware of musical trends and movements, the recordings are actually pretty good considering Neville’s authentic outsider status. Keeping with his strive to end suffering in the world, most songs contain positive themes or connotations that follow the Superstar motto: “Life is Worth Living.” Neville claims to have written and recorded over two hundred songs, and most of which will probably never see the light of day. What has been released, however, exists on YouTube and is oftentimes accompanied by a mesmerizing DIY home music video that he shot himself. I think about all of them feature Superstar singing and dancing in various locations at home and throughout Omaha. And I can’t forget to mention this, Superstar performs in a totally amazing white and gold jumpsuit that he made himself.
 

 
The accessibility of the World Wide Web has allowed Superstar to find people who truly care about him. His home recordings and bizarre social media presence, along with an infectious sense of positivity, has gained Neville a fascinating cult-like following of both music-heads and weirdos from around the world.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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08.20.2018
08:51 am
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THE HORROR: Clown-themed album covers
08.17.2018
05:38 am
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Coulrophobia is a neologism used to describe a fear of clowns—or really by the word’s derivation, a fear of stilt-walkers.

I can attest for the fear clowns can instil in some people. I once worked as a clown. My job was handing out fliers for an electrical showroom. I had to hit on unsuspecting families: give the kids a balloon, then hit the parents with a too-good-to-be-true hire-purchase deal on TVs, radios, Walkmans, fridge-freezers, cookers, that kinda thing. Thinking about it now, my job was in many ways a fair description of what makes a clown—someone who seems to be ultra-friendly and fun but is in fact a devious and calculating fuck with unimaginable intentions.

Starting at the feet: I wore black size-thirteen comedy boots. I had a frilly red, white and blue costume with three big pom-poms on the front. I had padded white gloves that made my hands look cartoonish and made it exceedingly difficult to hold balloons and peel-off fliers. I had a multi-colored wig and a red hat. But I didn’t get the make-up. That was way too pricey. Instead, I had a disgusting and well-used (who knows what for..) old rubber clown mask, that someone had embellished with grotesque clown make-up which was beginning to flake off. It kinda made me look like a zombie clown who’d just escaped the crypt. Of course, I had to have a name, so I chose Pogo the Clown—which no-one seemed to appreciate other than thinking it was me just adding a couple of “o’s” to my initials. This was the west coast of Scotland not Cook County, Illinois. Not only did I look horrific, I had that grim moniker too.

But companies don’t give a shit about things like that when there’s money to be made. Off I went, down the busy high street, zooming in on families on their day out. I had no idea what to expect, other than feeling none too keen on twisting the arms of moms and mads into spending money they didn’t necessarily have. Times were hard. Money was tight. Unemployment at an all time high. Thankfully, I was not on commission otherwise poor Pogo would have starved. However, what I did not expect was the look of sheer unadulterated horror on some kids’ faces when I greeted them. These poor lambs would struggle to break free of their parents grasp and sometimes run as fast as they could in the opposite direction. Their foolish parents would laugh and joke and coo about it being just Pogo the friendly clown, and drag their traumatized offspring back to shake my unwieldy hand and get a free balloon. If you were one of those poor damned kids, well, tough. At least you gotta free balloon and an experience you’re still paying an analyst to fix.

Anyhoo…

In my innocence, I never knew the sheer dread, the sheer horror, the sheer pant-shitting terror clowns cause some people. And I’m fairly sure, these kind of poor unfortunates won’t have any of the following classic clown-covered vinyl in their record collections. And I don’t blame them. For who in their right mind would have this shit in their home other than serial killers and clowns.
 
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More ghastly clown vinyl, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.17.2018
05:38 am
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Relax, everyone: A disco version of Cream’s ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ is here to save us all
08.14.2018
05:00 pm
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The cover of Rosetta Stone’s single featuring their version of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.”
 
I’m going to do something I love doing here on Dangerous Minds—taking you back to the 1970s when everything was cool. Today’s time machine post concerns Irish band and sort of one-hit-wonders, Rosetta Stone (not be confused with UK goth-rock outfit Rosetta Stone, naturally).

Formed by three brothers, Damian, Terry, and Colin McKee, the lineup of what would later become Rosetta Stone also included the trio’s pal, future Bay City Rollers guitarist Ian Mitchell. After going through a few different names for the band like Bang and the poorly chosen moniker Albatross, they started calling themselves Young City Stars sometime in the mid-70s. Young City Stars opened a gig for the Bay City Rollers in Belfast in 1975, and Mitchell would leave his school friends to join them in 1976. The rigor of non-stop touring and media attention was a bit much for Mitchell, and he would return to his roots with Young City Stars bringing with him the support of the machinery behind the Rollers. After changing their name to Rosetta Stone they would sign with Private Stock (Blondie, Stevie Wonder, Nancy Sinatra)—a label formed by Larry Uttal after getting ousted by Clive Davis from his role with Bell Records.
 

Rosetta Stone.
 
In 1977 Rosetta Stone released a 7’ single with Private Stock—a disco-pop version of Cream’s 1967 psychedelic smash “Sunshine of your Love.” The band got some pretty good traction from their boogie-worthy interpretation of the song and got to perform it on Marc Bolan’s short-lived television show, Marc. Rosetta Stone would follow up with a full-length, Rock Pictures later in 1978 (which included “Sunshine of Your Love” as well as a cover of The Kinks “You Really Got Me”) and a second album in 1979, Caught in the Act. Shortly after the release of Caught in the Act, Mitchell would split from the band again, this time for good.

I have to tell you, Rosetta Stone’s cover of “Sunshine of Your Love” is really out there, and I’m sure some of you will think it’s utter trash.

Watch and listen to Rosetta Stone, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.14.2018
05:00 pm
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Music maps: Take a peek at the best-selling music artists in the USA and England by state and county
08.13.2018
07:51 am
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Brilliant Maps compiles maps of interesting things like countries that ban the corporal punishment of children or US State Route Marker Shields or (like the one above) the best-selling music artist or band from each US State.

In this particular map (created by reddit user famicon3) shows the best-selling American artist by state—click on the maps to get a better look. While there are the expected names (Elvis, Madonna, and Johnny Cash) there are a few surprises:

Alabama – Lionel Richie
Alaska – Portugal, The Man
Arizona – Linda Ronstadt
Arkansas – Johnny Cash
California – Eagles
Colorado – The Fray
Connecticut – Michael Bolton
Delaware – George Thorogood
Florida – Backstreet Boys
Georgia – Kanye West
Hawaii – Bruno Mars
Idaho – Paul Revere & the Raiders
Illinois – Chicago
Indiana – Michael Jackson
Iowa – Andy Williams
Kansas – Kansas
Kentucky – Dwight Yoakam
Louisiana – Lil Wayne
Maine – Howie Day
Maryland – Toni Braxton
Massachusetts – James Taylor
Michigan – Madonna
Minnesota – Prince
Mississippi – Elvis Presley
Missouri – Eminem
Montana – Nicolette Larson
Nebraska – Mannheim Steamroller
Nevada – The Killers
New Hampshire – Aerosmith
New Jersey – Whitney Houston
New Mexico – John Denver
New York – Mariah Carey
North Carolina – Randy Travis
North Dakota – Wiz Khalifa
Ohio – Rascal Flatts
Oklahoma – Garth Brooks
Oregon – Everclear
Pennsylvania – Taylor Swift
Rhode Island – Billy Gilman
South Carolina – Hootie & the Blowfish
South Dakota – Shawn Colvin
Tennessee – Tina Turner
Texas – George Strait
Utah – Jewel
Vermont – Phish
Virginia – Dave Matthews Band
Washington – Kenny G
West Virginia – Brad Paisley
Wisconsin – Steve Miller
Wyoming – Spencer Bohren

If this kinda thing tickles the old ukulele strings then take a peek at Best Selling Musical Artists By English County of Origin (created by reddit user uvbseventysix), which throws up a few more unexpected names.
 
More maps, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.13.2018
07:51 am
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Fun in the Sun: Pop culture icons catching some waves and a tan
08.08.2018
10:43 am
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Marilyn Monroe after a swim in the sea.
 
Since the 18th-century, doctors have prescribed a trip to the beach or seaside and bathing in (or even drinking) seawater as a restorative cure for good health. This was at first mainly something the wealthier classes only could afford but when Niels Ryberg Finsen won the Nobel Prize in 1903 for pointing out that the sun’s rays (or “radiation”) could help treat lupus vulgaris and rickets, the general public started taking a greater interest in sunbathing and even in sun worship.

Spool forward a few years to 1911, when William Tyler Olcott wrote a popular book Sun Lore of All Ages which told a brief history of sun-worship explaining it had long existed but had become unfashionable, or rather suppressed, with the rise of religion. This idea of sun worship and sunbathing as a valid ancient culture became more important after the end First World War when there was a massive rise in holidays and rest cures at the seaside.

This all became tied-in with the fashionable ideas of youth, vigor, vitality, etc, etc, which a few years later would become utterly warped by the Germans under Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists which promoted a mythical belief in racial purity not appreciating they were in fact the offspring of sex with a monkey’s butt. Still, the Nazis aside, holidaying on the beach and mucking about on the water never lost its appeal because of the strong belief that the sun is good for you (which it is—in moderation) and the seaside revitalizes the body (which according to scientists it does, something to do with the sound of the sea’s waves altering the rhythms of your brain). Moreover, when getting a tan became the in-thing, sometime around the 1920s, no one wanted to be pale and interesting anymore as it signified being of a lower class—the inverse of what it once had been. This didn’t really catch-on until after World War II, sometime during the 1950s and 1960s, when suddenly everyone wanted to catch a few rays.

Celebrities always use the beach as a place to show off their beauty, their latest look, or to promote a new record or film. For many a youngster catching snaps in supermarket mags was once the only way they would get a glimpse of some famous hotshot movie star without their clothes on. The following is a selection of some of our more iconic stars showing off whatever they’ve got to offer on the beach.
 
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The Beatles never missed a photo opportunity.
 
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Surf’s up for The Beach Boys.
 
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Madonna strikes a pose but it’s hardly beachwear.
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Elizabeth Taylor.
 
More fashionable beachwear, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.08.2018
10:43 am
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Amusing family portraits from the 1980s
08.06.2018
08:58 am
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Family life can be either good or bad and is usually a mixture of both, but all family portraits are terrible. The disparate elements involved in taking a family portrait (posture, fashion, lighting, mood, the talent of the photographer) conspire to make the subjects seem suspect, awkward, and only related by great misfortune or a surprising similarity of attire.

Portrait photography itself is weird, only actors and models (with the aid of Photoshop) look good in such pictures. They are playing a part, which is why they look so convincing, so cool, so utterly natural. The rest of us usually never know what we should be expressing or what character to be or what the hell we are doing. This confusion is often apparent in our family portraits.

But that’s the way it goes. We all tend to look awkward in photos because the camera is an unnatural intrusion which demands we perform. On the plus side, the family portrait can be a delightful momento of a happy shared experience, no matter how awkward or silly we look. Which brings us to these little beauties, strangely awkward and amusing yet utterly normal portraits of families posing for the camera.
 
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More awkward family snaps, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.06.2018
08:58 am
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Slumscapes: Post-apocalyptic paintings of a devastated Disneyland
08.03.2018
08:31 am
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Looking at Jeff Gillette’s post-apocalyptic paintings of shanty towns and garbage strewn slums juxtaposed with a ruined and decrepit Disneyland kinda makes you think he must have been mighty pissed off he never got to Mickey Mouse’s cartoon theme park when he was a kid. But that ain’t quite how it goes. In fact, it was almost the other way around. Gillette was a college dropout when he volunteered for the Peace Corps and traveled to Nepal in India, where he witnessed great beauty and wonder, alongside a grim world of poverty, exploitation, and slums as far as the eye could see. “No pictures,” one guide told him, but Gillette sneaked off a few snaps.

As a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal for two years, every couple of months I would travel to India and immerse myself in the urban chaos of all the major cities. There I would engage in self-guided tours of the slums, either by taxi, train or foot. I was overwhelmed by those experiences, so much so that I still try to make it there every year. Back then, when you asked a taxi driver to take you to the slums, they would look at you funny. Now there is an industry of slum-tourism.

He eventually returned to the States and set up home in Orange County, home of Disneyland. Looking back at his photographs and rerunning his memories, the two worlds kinda merged. But still, Gillette does freely admit that maybe not getting to Disneyland as a kid threw him off or maybe:

...my own crappy childhood makes me want to tarnish the feigned joy of a pre-pubescent wonderland for others, or tap into the suspect view of others that see the whole system askance, with the Disney corporation being emblematic of society’s attempt to mask over the overwhelming ills. Maybe me seeing so much of the real world of polluted, overpopulated, impoverished cities has made me feel that a place that proclaims itself to be the ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ is painfully absurd.

When he was in Nepal, Gillette read Schopenhauer which chimed with a belief that world was a miserable wreck ‘cuz it was ruled by irrationality. Tying this in with own thoughts on Buddhism—we’re here to suffer—gave Gillette a small epiphany.

He started painting pictures of landfill landscapes, “Slumscapes,” or what he terms as “Too-Realism”—images of the what the world is really like for millions of people while the rest of us are caught up in our own little private Disneylands.

Born in Michigan in 1959, Gillette has been painting his Slumscapes featuring Disney characters since 1990. His work was the main inspiration for Banksy’s own theme park exhibition Dismaland in 2015. Gillette’s first Slumscape painting featured Calcutta slums with an image of Mickey Mouse screenpainted upside down on top of the canvas. His work is part satire, part comment:

“I iconocolise stuff. I take stuff, pick at it and f**k with it. When I start messing with something, I see it as an homage. The worst dig at someone is to ignore them. If I bring something up — Disney or Dismaland — it’s a form of flattery in some way, otherwise I wouldn’t bother with it.”

See more of Gillette’s work here.
 
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More Disneyland Slumscapes, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.03.2018
08:31 am
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Big Bollocks & Rude Kids: The hilarious vulgarity of UK comic magazine Viz
07.25.2018
07:51 am
Topics:
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David Bowie kicking back while having a laugh at UK comic Viz.
 
For nearly 40 years British comic Viz—sometimes referred to as Britain’s “funniest” magazine—has been putting out pages full of satire poking fun at various UK institutions and celebrities by a cast of offensive fictional characters. Illustrated ingrates such as Buster Gonad, Sid the Sexist, Terry Fuckwitt, Sweary Mary and the Rude Kid would all make regular appearances in the comic along with ridiculous profanity-laced dialog mixed with the region’s colorful slang. A few of the comic’s vulgar characters, like Sid the Sexist, The Fat Slags and Roger Mellie also made their way to television in the UK as adult-oriented cartoons. 

One of Viz’s calling cards was their craftsmanship of fake ads. Fictional (sadly) products for chastity pants for altar boys, and its companion product, “Father Begone,” a priest-repellant spray, delighted its readers. Viz was very much inspired by MAD Magazine and the images of legendary MAD illustrator and contributor, Sergio Aragonés. What made Viz stand apart from MAD was the belief you could never go low enough for a laugh. In fact, one could say Viz lowered the bar for low-brow humor lower than anyone else in the adult comic game. If you are fond of the word fuck and appreciate the art of toilet humor, then Viz is for you. If you still have any doubts regarding Viz’s wide appeal, David Bowie was apparently a big fan of the comic magazine.

If you’re already a fan of Viz, or a new one after reading this post, there are a few books which may interest you, such as Viz: Sid the Sexist—The Joy of Sexism, and one based on Viz’s Big Fat Slags. As I mentioned at the top of this post, the magazine is still publishing issues today, and back issues can also be obtained over at their official site, as well as other merchandise. I’ve posted images from Viz’s comics below—some are slightly NSFW.
 

A funny fake ad from UK magazine, Viz comics.
 

 

 
More Viz after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.25.2018
07:51 am
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