The Monster Show Visits the Transsexual Empire


When I was about 15 or 16 years old, I found a book in my local library. It was by David J. Skal and its name was The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror. I took it out, planning to simply dip in and out of it for the remainder of the week; I was not a bookish teenager at that time, and Skal’s book was a weightier tome than I was used to.

When I started reading, I was captivated. Not only did I read the whole thing through, I periodically checked it out over the next few years.

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In Which I Absorb Someone Else’s Childhood Through Second-Hand Pogs

2016-09-18-21-10-38While looking around a charity shop on Sunday, I came across a small, blue, lidded tube for sale. Curiosity demanded that I look inside, and I was confronted by the sight of a magenta Bat Signal.

I immediately recognised the purpose of this small colourful plastic disc: it was intended to be thrown at stacks of small colourful cardboard discs. I had found a tube of Pogs!

Taking their name from a brand of Hawaiian passion fruit/orange/guava juice drink, Pogs started out as collectable bottle tops; at the height of their popularity it became feasible for the bottle tops to be – perversity itself – sold without bottles. And so the craze reached my windswept homeland of England, a world away from exotic Hawaii; while children such as myself had never heard of the Pog beverage, we eagerly collected the cardboard circles named in its honour.

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Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings

This week I went to see Kubo and the Two Strings, the new feature from Laika. It’s a stop-motion film made using physical models.

One of the trailers before it was for DreamWorks’ Trolls, a film made using computer-generated models designed to look like physical models. The characters had a texture resembling the felt that Muppets are made from; the emotion characters in Pixar’s Inside Out sported a similar style.

CGI came to dominate the animation industry years back. Poor old stop-motion – the original form of 3D animation – has tried ever-harder to justify itself in a digital age.

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