The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Other Dennis


(Dennis the Menace, John Reynolds, 2005)

Taking a cue from Warhol, UK artist John Reynolds has launched an exhibition around work involving manipulated images of British comics icon Dennis the Menace, a fixture in the newsprint weekly The Beano since 1951. Chances are most Americans are unfamiliar with Dennis (not to mention his dog Gnasher), who's a far cry from his Dairy Queen-shilling counterpart, and in many ways the original British punk, from his spiky hair to his anti-social attitude. Growing up in Canada, which was once a kind of cultural grey zone between England and America, it wasn't too hard to come across issues of this comic (or counterparts like The Dandy, featuring Desperate Dan of Village Green Preservation Society fame) and issues and annuals are still easy enough to find if you know where to look. The comic has been softened and modernized a fair bit over the past decade, but recently the original glory days of both Beano and Dandy have been anthologized for the diehards.

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