Weird Universe


Twinkling Stars

A strange tale behind this song:

Nine Circles never entered a recording studio and performed only once, at a Dutch radio station in 1982. Unbeknownst to them the engineer recorded the session and over the years it was bootlegged over and over becoming a Flexipop cult track. [The singer] never found out about this until I rang her up [in 2011].

Read the whole story here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Mar 28, 2013 | Comments (5)
Category: Cult Figures and Artifacts, Music, 1980's

The Internet:  1985

Connect computers over the phone lines?!? Never gonna happen!
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Mar 24, 2013 | Comments (20)
Category: Computers, Internet, 1980's

Life After Doomsday

Bruce Clayton's survivalist masterpiece, Life After Doomsday, certainly belongs in any collection of weird non-fiction. It comes from a time, not so long ago, when the general consensus was that we were all going to be blown to smithereens in a nuclear war, and Clayton offered detailed instructions on how to stay alive should you survive the actual bombs. Below is the 1981 Newsweek review of the book, as well as Clayton's diagram of how to turn your home into a fortified bunker. And hey, why not read it together with Paul's After the Collapse to get a real apocalypse vibe going!

Bruce Clayton's fantasy derives from the myths of frontier America: we have only to draw our wagons into a circle to survive a nuclear war. The war won't be as bad as you have heard. Assuming the Russians know what they are doing, 90 per cent of America will be fallout free. Clayton is interesting because virtually every point he makes will not have been considered by most of his readers: what about sex in the fallout shelter? he asks, or "How many members of your family are you willing to regard as acceptable losses?"

His point is, you must do something: "The question of which assault rifle you should buy isn't nearly as important as the fact that you must get one" — to mow down ghetto refugees or your neighbors in search of your food supply. In fact, refugees won't be much of a threat because the roads will be blown up along with the cities, but as for your friend next door — well, the Heckler and Koch HK91 heavy-assault rifle firing a 7.62 NATO cartridge works very well. If you're on your roof hosing down the fallout, a Colt Commander .45 autopistol modified for combat is easier to carry. He shows us, too, how to convert our houses into efficient fire zones, and suggests we store away five years' supply of wheat, milk, sugar and salt. A wheat stew in every pot and an Armalite AR-180 in every loophole will see us through, as long as we've ordered our gas masks (Clayton tells us where).
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Mar 12, 2013 | Comments (2)
Category: Armageddon and Apocalypses, Books, 1980's

International Times


IT was a London-based underground newspaper founded in 1966. (Wikipedia entry here.)

Their online archive provides lots of groovy browsing.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Feb 10, 2013 | Comments (1)
Category: Newspapers, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's

Follies of the Madmen #198

Sloggis? Really? Isn't that the worst name for briefs?

Still in business, so it must work, I guess.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Feb 07, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Weird Names, Underwear, 1980's

E.F. Hutton Coloring Book

Back in 1987, the financial firm E.F. Hutton had just suffered some bad years that included scandals and major losses. So the senior executives came up with what they thought was a great idea. They'd boost the morale of all their 18,500 employees by sending everyone a coloring book (with crayons) that laid out the problems faced by the company in grade-school language. The book included "cute drawings of houses, racing cars and children" while warning employees that they all had to work harder because "we're no longer the nicest house on the block." The gesture was received by the Hutton employees about as well as you might think it would be. [google news archive]

Those coloring books are now collector's item. The going price on eBay is $125.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Jan 15, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Books, 1980's

Pre-internet Underground Book Distribution


Original ad here.

Gather around, children, and you shall learn of an ancient time, before the internet. A day of paper fanzines and weird information obtained only via books delivered by snailmail.

The main purveyor of such good stuff was the Loompanics catalog. Alas, they were driven out of business in 2006. The current website using their domain name is a shell and a scam by cybersquatters.

Over one hundred Loompanics books have been tagged as a Goodreads collection. You can get a small sense of what they were all about there.

Woodsy Owl

Woodsy in the 70s, the 80s and the 90s. The newest look is horrifying, in my opinion, like some creature from THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Dec 02, 2012 | Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Authorities and Experts, Government, Nature, 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, Fictional Monsters

1980s Cartoons

Part 3, for which embedding is senselessly disabled.

By the 1980s, I was an adult and beyond the purview of these cartoons. Looking at the intros now, I do not detect what anyone would would label a "Golden Age" of animation. But surely, many of them qualify as "weird."

I hope these stir some nostalgic moments for those WU-vies who are younger than this old fart.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Nov 17, 2012 | Comments (7)
Category: Cartoons, 1980's
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.