Issue #11 - December 13th - 19th 2002

The best thing about the Friends of the Heroes
I've thought about it a lot and I've concluded that sometimes the best things are the ones you haven't expected.
By Dimitra Daisy

They don't give medals, part 6
He spits out the words: 'When was it going to happen to me? When was I to vanish? And how would it happen? I'm interested to know. How do you kill a man whose strength and regenerative power is so legendary, he's named after a Biblical prophet?'
By Ian Anscombe

It's Football David, But Not as We Know It...(part 2)
Even the threat of incarceration failed to stop the game being played. Not only is this testimony to the popularity of the game, but it also shows up the inadequacies of several governments in failing to understand that the game of football was a simple pastime
By Paul Williamson

A quide to food
There was no going back now. I couldn't give the girl the mushroom back again... and I certainly couldn't eat the thing... and it seemed it was going to keep singing and singing.
By Belle

Hefner & Me
...I was standing under a tree outside a record shop (honest) and the boy who worked there said 'come here and listen to this it is the record of the week, and you'll love it'.
By Dimitra Daisy

Sharing the supreme weight with ONQ
Playing music makes me a chess player. Composing music requires the same logic and mathematic principles involved in chessplay.
By Stefano Santabarbara

+++Back to top+++ Back to current issue+++

The best thing about the friends of the heroes

Even though I can't point my finger to the moment when it all started, there's one thing I'm sure of: at that moment, we could never imagine what it would really be like. This is why I'm sure each one of us woke up this morning saying 'Nine issues! Blimey!'. Blimey is one of our favourite words.

I've thought about it a lot and I've concluded that sometimes the best things are the ones you haven't expected. The idea of writing more sounded nice enough. The idea of having a website sounded dull and exciting at the same time. The idea of learning html sounded hard, but it proved to be somehow fun. All that, I had expected.

It had never crossed my mind though that this would take a lot of time. I didn't know there would be so many things to decide and I never knew it would be so inspiring. Because my three favourite things about the friends of the heroes are
a) The hours I have to spend in a dark back room in front of a computer, listening to the same mixtape over and over, drinking coffee, biting the spoon and gazing at the screen
b) The meetings, because you can't imagine just how funny Paul can be and
c) The feeling it gives me, that a whole lot more than you used to think is possible.

Because once you start making a few of your ideas happen, you're suddenly awake to the fact that - just maybe - the rest can come true, too. And inspiration and enthusiasm are contagious. It happens that after meetings we keep having ideas of things to do for hours and sometimes it takes an effort to contain ourselves and not bounce around. And I catch myself talking to other people and saying "we can do this - and that - interview this bloke - and offer to make him a website - and ask him to write for us - and have a clubnight - and" but not everyone seems to find this as exciting as we do.

But we do. I often wonder where we would be today if Rachel wasn't so stubborn and annoying when she got obsessed with something. Certainly somewhere less exciting...

+++Back to top+++ Back to current issue+++

They Don't Give Medals



Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you..

I'm trying to remember who said that. Desperately trying to focus on that. Ignore everything else around me, and attempt to think about the one name..

It doesn't work. I still can't forget that I'm blindfolded, bound, gagged and sitting in the back of a van heading... well, I don't care to think where any of this is going. In other situations, I'd be thinking of a plan, trying to work out the best means of escape. I have been trained to deal with most eventualities.
However, being kidnapped by a superhero was not one of them.

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean -

Keep it together. I must keep it together.

Day 8. Patient #S - real name withheld. Known within The Hero Project as Samson.

I can hear his voice from the right. I'm assuming he is in the driver's seat. I know this topic, and where it is going..

'.... was otherwise known as Mr Mesmer.. came to you for help in late 1999. But he was used to being able to control situations, and he underestimated you. Missing, presumed dead.'

'Alison Boulder, Rock Woman... not seen since early 2000. Never too bright.. it must have been easy to fool her. Missing, presumed dead.'

'Maria Morgan, known for her healing powers. Could mend almost any wound, just by touching it. Never could touch her own mind. She was pretty fractured in those later years. I hadn't seen her for a couple of years but rumour had it she drank too much, and had lost most of her power. You didn't really need to kill her. Missing, nevertheless, presumed -'

He informed me, earlier, as he dragged me out of The Facility, that I was tied with bow-string. He said I probably wouldn't understand the reference, and I don't. My legs have not recovered from the accident, the dull ache is punctuated every few minutes by a shooting pain in my right hip. The blindfold is an irrelevance, because I haven't regained my sight since I turned my car over in the snow several days ago. I feel that I'm not alone in the back of the van, but the only voice I hear is His.

The litany continues. He has skipped a year or so. This is a bad sign. It means he isn't fully in control.

I should stop psychoanalysing. Somebody is definitely in control here, and it isn't me.

'Ruth Birman... came to you earlier this year. Or rather, was directed to you by a 'friend'. A friend you had hired to find her, and gain her trust. I told her to be careful, but she seemed to think it was okay. We were in contact and, week by week, she told me how you'd helped her, how you'd listened to her problems, how you'd promised her a new identity, how you'd even suggested she learn combat techniques from your guards... as if there was anything you could teach one of Us. She didn't believe this nonsense you spouted about being revolutionaries. She thought you were spies, for another government... and you must have decided that was a convincing excuse, because you told me the same thing. But she thought she could trust you at first. Until you made an elementary mistake. Something you should have been fired for. You lost your case notes.'

A laugh, to my left: guttural, scarred, bitter... a woman who has seen more than she should.. It isn't Ruth Birman, I don't recognise her voice as she speaks for the first time:

'Or rather, you thought you lost your case notes. And then you found them, a couple of weeks later, under the front seat of your car. Such a nice car. So easy to...manipulate..'

Patient #S speaks again.. 'Now, now, Lucy, you're giving away the story....
So, you found your notes, and you covered up for your lost patient. You said Ruth Birman had become ill, and that you were still in sporadic contact with her. You made up facts about her current whereabouts. And you found a new patient. One that made up for losing the last one. You saved your own neck.... For a while'

More laughter. I want to scream, but I have to stay together.

He spits out the words: 'When was it going to happen to me? When was I to vanish? And how would it happen? I'm interested to know. How do you kill a man whose strength and regenerative power is so legendary, he's named after a Biblical prophet?'

Even if I could reply, if my mouth wasn't full of something cold and soft, I would say nothing, and keep it closed. He continues

'But I'm used to betrayal. I've come to expect it.. Don't be disheartened, you were very, very good. But you didn't have me fooled for a second, dear. My dear, dear, Delilah...'

and then, he flicks on the music. He has prepared this speech

Why, why, why, Delilah My my myyyy, Delilah... The voices from the front join in a terrible triumphant howl. It sounds like a hunting cry, although their prey is already captured. Trussed, helpless, ready for whatever awaits her.

to be continued...
Ian Anscombe

+++Back to top+++ Back to current issue+++

It's Football David, But Not as We Know It....

( Part 1)

Part 2

In last weeks issue of this esteemed journal, we took a sneaky, albeit cursory, insight into the origins of the beautiful game and discovered that, even in the Middle Ages, violence, court cases, social unrest, and scandal was all the rage in football. This week we concentrate on the many attempts to ban, yes BAN, football. So hey, sit back, relax with your favourite tipple or temptress, and let me take you on a jouney of football's tempestuous past...

From the 14th Century onward we know of a battery of laws and proclamations against football, regularly issued by the ruling Kings, Queens, and governments of the time. In 1314, as EdwardII ploughed north to fight those dastardly Scottish folk, the playing of football was banned from the city of London. The ban was repeated again in 1331, and yet again in 1365. The reason? Well, football was considered too "tumultuous", and was interfering with more "useful pursuits" such as archery. The same motive inspired a similar law against football in 1388, the feeling being that men ought to engage in pursuits more suited to military purposes. However, such bans on football were continually ignored, including the threat, in 1410, of a 20 shilling fine and 6 days imprisonment for anyone found playing the game. Even the threat of incarceration failed to stop the game being played. Not only is this testimony to the popularity of the game, but it also shows up the inadequacies of several governments in failing to understand that the game of football was a simple pastime and a fabric of social life for young males in the capital.

Of course, London was not alone in seeking to ban football. A number of provincial towns also enacted prohibitions against the game. In Halifax, for instance, in 1440, men were forbidden to play the game, and faced a hefty fine of 12d if they were caught. This stopped precisely no-one from playing and, 4 years later, the fine was increased to a massive 16d. The rather more moderate city of Leicester, in 1467, levied a fine of 4d on footballers, but, surprise surprise, the fine had to be increased again in 1488. The game was similarly banned in Liverpool in 1555, and then in nearby Manchester in 1608. In Manchester, however, such was the troublesome nature of the game that special 'football officers' were appointed to seek out known 'troublespots' for playing football, and to make on-the-spot arrestes of those unfotunate enough to be caught playing the game. Still, the game continued to thrive, and consequently new writs were issued against it in 1655, 1656, and 1657.

What was it the ruling elites feared about the game? Well, apart from the fact, as we have seen, that it was feared the game distracted men from more military-type endeavours, the game appealed to young, healthy men whose vigour and collective boisterousness could not easily be contained by a society which, at the time, lacked effective forces of social control. 'Apprentices' for example, were traditionally radical groupings eager to test the resilience of government. By the time of the reign of Edward III, the game had gained gret popularity among apprenticies, and their street games were often responsible for a great number of prohibitions. Then, as now, the game provided a great way for apprentices to happily waste away their working hours, as an anonymous poet pointed out back in the 18th Century:

I spy the furies of the football war:

The 'prentice quits his shop to join the crew,

Increasing crouds the flying game pursue.

Football, indeed, may have changed enormously since the days of it's inception, but it's undefinable appeal to the people, it's ability to rouse the masses, despite incalculable banning orders, wars, threats of imprisonment, court injunctions and national hardships,has never really wavered. Long may it reign.

Paul Williamson

+++Back to top+++ Back to current issue+++

A Guide To Food...

|A guide to trains|A guide to the beach|A guide to kitchens|

The girl says that this website is sort of about heroes. And I couldn't go for a moment longer without telling you about one of my biggest heroes... FOOD! I'm sure you all know about the normal types of food that comes in cans. Your people probably give it to you too. It is pretty nice, and I would be quite upset, not to mention hungry if I didn't have it. But What I'm really talking about is the girls food!

The girl's food is great. It smells nice, looks nice and most of all tastes nice. She starts each day by eating toast, and usually she makes a little bit too much and has to give me some. Sometimes she forgets that she hasn't given me so I try to remind her by showing her how good I am at doing the silly tricks she has taught me. I sit-lie-rollover-give her my paw over and over until she seems to notice and remembers her mistake.

You see you don't get anything for free in this life... and you won't get anything unless you devote your time and efforts in obtaining the food of your dreams... I think I have told you before about the chicken who sat in the freezing cupboard commanding me to do all sorts of things. I'll admit there were seconds in that day when I thought about giving up... running and hiding and forgetting all about that evil chicken. But I'm so glad I didn't. That little bit of persistence paid off!

Just a word of caution though: not all food is good. Take that evil mushroom that I had to hide from the girl for about a week before I could bury it in the garden. The girl was in the kitchen with a whole box of mushrooms. Each one of them had been singing:
"I'm just like chicken belle"
The girl kept saying.. "you won't like it Belle, honestly."
But then she accidentally dropped one and before she knew it I had caught it. Do you know what? She was right! I didn't like the taste at all and had to spit it out straight away.

Now whether it was because the mushroom kept singing, or whether it was because the girl said "see I told you so", or whether it is just because I don't like to give up on things too easily, I decided not to let the girl have it back... I got the mushroom and ran around the house until the girl stopped chasing me and I was able to spit the horrible mushroom out again.

There was no going back now. I couldn't give the girl the mushroom back again...and I certainly couldn't eat the thing... and it seemed it was going to keep singing and singing. However I got through that week I'll never know, but just as I was about to lose all hope of ever getting rid of it I hatched a plan to bury the stupid thing. It was last thing at night when I crept outside with the evil tasting mushroom. The girl was shivering at the door saying
"hurry up belle its bed time!"
I dug a hole and with great satisfaction dropped in that smug mushroom, and covered it with mud. After having to put up with the mushroom singing to me constantly, for what seemed like forever, that night was the best nights sleep I have ever had.

That instant was not a one off- I don't even want to have to think about that strawberry that I actually ate, or the carrot who I ate and then what revisited me and the girl 5 minutes later. That didn't actually upset me all that much... it had been a nice carrot and it was nice to see it again. Such a shame the girl didn't see it that way. I hope you'll understand that I tell this story not to scare you, but just in the hope that you won't be taken in by such dishonest foods..."all that the girl eats is not toast" and "don't trust a mushroom in chickens clothing"... and have many a happy meal time!


+++Back to top+++ Back to current issue+++

Hefner & Me

Sometimes I think I love no other band as much as I love Hefner. Not even the Smiths or Belle and Sebastian... really... I'm not sure what does it... But it has to do with them being the first band whose records I bought more or less when they came out and not a few years later... It is what my parents would call music of my time, just because I was 17 in '98 - old enough to go out and buy Breaking God's heart. Ever though that's not exactly what happened. I don't know if Breaking God's Heart reached Greece in '98, but even if it did, I didn't notice until May of '99.

And I will never forget the warm and sunny afternoon I was standing under a tree outside a record shop (honest) and the boy who worked there said 'come here and listen to this - it is the record of the week, and you'll love it'. There was no such thing as the record of the week, he had just made it up, but I loved it anyway.

1. The sweetness lies within
The singer's voice sounded strange, quite a lot wrong, incredibly honest, and something that I couldn't define then but now would call heart-warming. I loved the way he jumped into the song whispering for the first seconds but soon it got louder and louder and a minute later he was shouting. I loved what he was shouting, too, but it was the whispering bit that did it for me: "There's just a sea between us/I know this hope will find us/this serenade reminds us/you have a healing quality that I see". I think I would have fallen for anything that mentioned the sea, hope, a serenade and a healing quality in just four lines and thirty seconds. It sounded so gloriously incoherent, and yet inspired, and I was head over heals in love.

2. Love will destroy us in the end
I didn't find out until later that this is 'an anthem for stupid, over educated men in their late twenties'; at the time it seemed utterly puzzling - if love will destroy us what's going to save us then - but it sort of made sense when you listened to the song. It always struck me that for someone silly enough to believe love will destroy them in the end the hero of the song knows right from wrong quite a lot. "It's the children that I feel for/yes the children make me feel more/more than the liquor, more than the art/more than the Beach Boys records."

3. Eloping
Oh, another bittersweet, obsessive love song from Darren. I love it because it says "come with me I'll take you on an airplane now, and London from above that night will look like a million lit candles". I've always thought it should be on the soundtrack of Martha meet Lawrence Frank and Daniel, when they're sitting on the hotel balcony and looking down at London... it would be very fitting.

4. Hymn for the cigarettes
Another song that starts with 'one, two -one two three four' which sounds so irresistibly innocent. I don't smoke; I included this song because a lot of people talk about it a lot... And because of the small phrases that make you feel Hefner talk about your life even when they're not ("No-one called, no-one wrote, no-one even phoned"). And the "We feel nothing, so we search for nothing, so we achieve nothing, love" which described an awful lot of my friends at the time. And...

5. I stole a bride
It doesn't make much sense, it mentions Greece, it's a love song, it's cynical, it's charming, it's easy to sing along to... And it broke my heart when it said "And when she lies with me, will she forget I'm ugly, will she pretend I'm pretty?"

6. I love only you
I don't know what this was meant to be, but I think it's turned out to be a hymn for one thing or other, I'm not sure what, but whenever I mention Hefner in the company of drunk people usually someone ends up singing:

"In the 1980's I was busy hating,
All of the intangible, the impossibly impractical ideas I'd never understand.

And in the 1990's, it was far too exciting for words,
And now I'm drinking adult drinks and now I have the time too think that sex is so overrated."

And it is quite funny in the 1980s most of us were just old enough to go to school and didn't give a damn about impossibly impractical ideas; and we were hardly old enough to have sex in the 1990s... let alone think it's overrated...

7. Christian Girls
I don't understand Christian Girls... I suppose you have to be a boy to do so. I have to admit it is a lot of fun to sing along with and bounce to it. The lyrics are sweet at places even when they're supposed to be funny ("The scent that she brings makes me feel alright like the pleasure of sleeping safe tonight"). I included it because it's a hit of sorts, and because I'm not very fond of Boxing Hefner so I didn't know what to chose.

8. Hello Kitten
The rudest Hefner song - and there is considerable competition. It makes some people blush, some people very happy when played at club nights, and me, well, it makes me giggle and smile. And they still sound terribly honest, sweet and innocent, don't they?

Dimitra Daisy >

+++Back to top+++ Back to current issue+++

Sharing The Supreme Weight With ONQ

ONQ is really a pseudonym for Luca Galuppini, and it has been the trademark for his one-dimensional band, sporadically featuring collaborations with other adventurous musicians. Only after starting to tour central Europe last year has it become a four piece ensemble. After a stunning and prolific production of tapes released by Luca's own label Chupa Verga recordings, ONQ had released the first long play CD, "the supreme weight" on one of the Italian finest indie label, Ouzel. This was shortly followed by a split 7" with the American singer-songwriter Minmae, printed by Dhyana records, in Germany, but it is only this year that his long awaited CD "Dasein Ohne Leben" has been released in the US by Orphanology/Bluesanct. ONQ has agreed to do an interview with friend of the heroes in which he will talk about non-existing existence, nonsense, and much more .

The band

ONQ has been, for quite a long time, a one man band. How was the transition to a four-piece group?

I needed a back-up band for playing live, but it gradually turned into a real band and the role of my bandmates changed. Having more people working on song composition rules, expecially in my blank periods, when I have no ideas.

In recent tours you were used to play extremely loudly on stage, supported by a two-drummer line up. Is it the volume itself a determinant component on the way a band communicates to the audience?

I like drums and I like loud volumes in a live show, like those of Mogwai or Neurosis. Some kinds of music have a determinant component in volume, others completely change their meaning. Live ONQ music is based on different principles than recorded ONQ music, in our latest live performances the loud volume was a very important factor.

Is ONQ going to remain a stable four-piece ensemble or is it transforming into something, with different dimensions, either shrinking or expanding?

Only dead things are stable, alive things do breathe, so they expand and shrink.

Which of the two directions do you think is more probable in the near future, exansion or contraction?

This is just probabilistic, ONQ can either i) expand and contract itself at the same time ii) expand and contract itself many times, every day iii) contract itself till excluding even me; that's in the near future.

Recently you've being playing more string instruments than you've done before. Is there a partial return to an acoustic model?

You mean more guitars? ONQ has always been a guitar based thing. Recently I often use also a cello because my friend Simona is slowly learning how to play it, so i can put a cello on songs only now because two years ago she wasn't able to play it. Probably in 2 years we'll have a cello on all ONQ songs and in live performances too.

Yes, I was mainly referring to strings. How did you choose to introduce the saw?

At the moment I only use the saw in Morose songs, but I'll surely put a saw also in ONQ songs in the next future. I fell in love with that instrument after listening it on records by Motorpsycho, Tom Waits, Mercury Rev and others. Of course the cello+saw duet at the end of "Delicatessen", which was my first meeting with a saw, also meant a lot.

In most of the songs you filter the voice a lot. Is it because you rather consider the voice just as another instrument and nothing more?

I partially stopped doing it, at least to do it so explicitly. I consider voice nothing LESS than an instrument and I like to have control over its sound like I have control on guitars. Why doesn't anyone complain about filtered guitars?

There is any particular instrument you would like to play with ONQ and you didn't?

There are many, the ones I miss the most are piano and trumpet, as they use it in Sophia.

Dasein Ohne Leben

You've chosen to name your latest record "dasein ohne leben" in German, which is neither your mother tongue nor the one you use more frequently in the lyrics, English. Where does it come from?

"Dasein ohne Leben" was the title of a Nazi propaganda documentary about mentally retarded people: the retarded were systematically eliminated by the Reich not to pollute the purity of the aryan race and, more than that, not to put weight on the sanitary system. When this practice started to be performed openly, some complaint started to rise among the people, expecially because the notion of "retarded" tended to be very subjective, so it was decided to explain the reasons of the Reich in this documentary, that leads the audience to the conclusion that terminating the "existences without life" of the retarded was not killing, and was the best thing to do to prevent them from suffering.

Do you think there are more being without existence or viceversa?

The vast majority of people neither exists nor lives at all.

On the cover of dasein there's a picture of a medical analysis being carried on a patient. Why did you choose this image? It is rather peculiar.

The title I gave to the picture is "submission". The woman has to face the doctor's machine alone, she has to blindly trust him. Only the doctor knows exactly what the machine will do, and the woman can do nothing except showing her knees, trying to seduce and to repent at the same time. She's also wearing boots, another symbol of submission, but she's sitting, and the doctor is standing behind, he has absolute free will.

Do you like chess?

I'm not a good chess player. But playing music makes me a chess player. Composing music requires the same logic and mathematic principles involved in chessplay.

Can the world be described by square, circle and triangles?

The world is not that complex, it can be explained exhaustively with mono-dimensional geometrical entities.

The Environment

A lot of ONQ production has been released by non-Italian labels, the 7" with Minmae and Dasein for example. Does it mean there is a general lack of attention of the so-called local indie label, or just that what ONQ plays is more suitable for foreigners?

Probably it is more suitable for foreigners, because the language I use in lyrics derives from English, and because the kind of music we play has more listeners abroad. Besides, Italian indie labels are economically and spiritually poor: English labels are too pure, Italian labels are too poor.

Going back to the volume. It will mean one might need a very powerful stereo to listen to an ONQ record. Will the neighbour appreciate it?

ONQ records are designed to play loud on any stereo system, if you have problems with your neighbours you might use headphones, that reveal many hidden secrets in ONQ records (background noises by my own neighbours for example). Neighbours play an important role both in the production and in the reproduction of ONQ music. ONQ records are also designed to play nice through room walls.

There are some other fine bands coming from La Spezia, like Morose, who you also play in, and in general from the Liguria coast, Lo-Fi Sucks!, just to cite one. Can it be considered a sort of local scene or are all those bit non-communicating units?

ONQ and Lo-Fi Sucks do communicate because we have a drummer in common; but we don't collaborate much with the guys of Loretta and Beware, though we all know each other. Anyway, there's not a proper "scene", unfortunately. Everyone thinks for himself, Liguria is a hard place inhabited by hard people.

At last, is there any other question that you would like to answer?

Just remind the readers that they can listen to ONQ music for free at, or order all ONQ records at Ouzel records for a very small price. The next ONQ work will be a collaboration with Harlan Lyman and it will be released by Under My Bed recordings as a split with another great italian act called Lorca. Moreover, there's a very remote possibility that some ONQ gigs will be held in London next year, so always check the Ouzel site for up to date infos. At last, i encourage people to write me at [email protected].