... is the title of Cardinal Cox's latest poetry pamphlet. It's about the crazy world of Japanese popular culture, and how it impinged on the life and times of chaps like the Cardinal and, indeed, myself. It's a delightful collection, chock-full of nostalgic joy for me, and replete with Pete's trademark intelligence and humour. Well, that's two trademarks, but you know what I mean.
It's all starts rather well with a picture of Godzilla as Popzilla, complete with shades and tee-shirt. The first poem is 'Tokyo Schoolgirl Commando Defence Squad', which - while an invented title - is no more bizarre than about fifty percent of manga/anime stuff. Other poems pay tribute to the gradual penetration of UK minds by bonkers Japanese TV shows like, well this:
Marine Boy! The first anime on British television. Cox also pays tribute to Star Fleet, the Japanese attempt to emulate Gerry Anderson by going a space epic with marionettes. It was wonderful, liberating stuff - crazy and at colourful in a way that too little telly sci-fi aspires to be. Oh, and like the Cardinal I rather fancied the chief baddie, slinky Commander Makara, the sexiest cyborg to ever menace Earth with half her brain on show.
The collection isn't just about old TV series (though I don't see why that wouldn't make an excellent theme in itself). There are also some thoughtful pieces on things like the sub-divisions within the ghetto of fandom ('Cosplay Elf Princesses') and how we all find ourselves in the world gaming at some point ('Toy Box Wars'). Other poems address martial arts and the erotic, though not at the same time.
While there's not much of the actual supernatural here, except in the kami of the Lafcadio Hearn-inspired 'Twilight Tales', the pamphlet is likely to interest almost anyone who finds Japan fascinating, as I do. And who can resist a tribute to The Water Margin, that epic series that was part of so many childhoods? It didn't occur to me until I read the poem here that it was part of the punk era, with its emphasis on the misfits having the courage to turn their back on a corrupt order.
The nine dozen punks of Liang Shan Po
That's how I remember this classic show.
But then, I always learn something from the Cardinal's poems. It's one of the reasons I like 'em so much. As before, you can get a copy the poems if you send him a C5 SAE. Send your SAE to:
And now, a famous theme tune.