Dodgem Logic. Alan Moore’s New Baby.

23 01 2010

After the appreciative reception afforded to its premier edition, lauded throughout the gutters of the world, the second issue of Alan Moore’s mystifying new underground publication DODGEM LOGIC is available in early February. Delivering 52 pages of full-colour solid content thanks to its flinty-eyed Puritan policy of no advertisements, all for a frankly laughable £2.50, this plucky bi-monthly periodical is stuffed to the gills with wisdom and wonderment.
Behind a choice of three, count ’em, three luscious variant exteriors we have this issue’s cover feature, a sexy yet somehow sinister Burlesque photo spread from internationally acclaimed maestro Mitch Jenkins with an accompanying article on Burlesque past, present and future by our exotica expert, Melinda Gebbie. Former Steampunk supervisor Margaret Killjoy offers a pertinent and practical guide on ways to usefully pass our time before and after the collapse of civilisation, while Fortean Times godfather Steve Moore delivers a surreal survey of Northamptonshire’s bizarre phenomena, from phantom panthers to confused old men in treetops.
In addition to these delicacies, DODGEM LOGIC’s regular contributors continue to work their magic, with the exception of Josie Long who had a flimsy excuse and will be back next issue. Dave Hamilton’s environmental Eco Chamber column looks at the more worrying side of social network groups, while teenage mum Tink takes over our women’s page this time around with an account of life on the disintegrating edge of England’s social services. Guerrilla gardener Claire Ashby dishes out another instructive communiqué from the urban undergrowth, spooky seamstress Tamsyn Paine knocks up an exploitative freak-show sock puppet, the magazine’s Spinning Doctors dispense more healthcare advice, winsome Wendi Jarrett cooks us a Valentine feast while M.C. Illuzion ruins our appetite for it with a discourse on Mechanically Recovered Meat. Meanwhile graffiti goddess Queen Calluz introduces us to three more Great Hipsters in History. Deities of delineation Savage Pencil and Kevin O’Neil continue to enthral, bewilder and unsettle with their subversive scrawls, while the unearthly Steve Aylett poaches the collective mind of the readership in tears of despair with his obscurely terrifying comic strip adventure, Johnny Viable. Then there’s the insurrectionary ranting and refined musical appreciation of eight-page local insert section, Notes from Noho, with the whole enterprise rounded out by Alan Moore’s illuminating dissertation on the history, difficulties and numerous delights of anarchy.
Extending the ingratiating policy of quaintly and nostalgically including a free gift with every issue, and replacing the astonishing free CD of our debut, DODGEM LOGIC’s unkempt figurehead and founder also contributes a questionable eight-page mini-comic, Astounding Weird Penises, being the only solo comic book that he has managed to create in his otherwise lazy thirty year career.
With only one issue beneath its belt, DODGEM LOGIC has already managed to supply each of the sheltered-housing tenants of the area in which it had its origins with a halfway decent Christmas hamper, and is currently sponsoring its own top-rate basketball team from the same neighbourhood. If future issues do as well, the magazine hopes to extend its various activities across the district and then, ultimately, to construct an orbiting missile platform and demand all the Earth’s uranium.

DODGEM LOGIC ~ chuckling and stroking a white cat for a better tomorrow.

ORDER through ICETWICE now. Collector’s Items of the future!

Publish Expenses Or Be Damned

12 05 2009

This petition has been co-created by Heather Brooke (, the Freedom of Information Campaigner who won a High Court victory over the Parliamentary authorities to force the release of MPs’ expenses details, and the TaxPayers’ Alliance (, Britain’s independent campaign for lower taxes and better government:

“We the people call on the House of Commons authorities to immediately publish the full receipts behind MPs’ expense claims – including the crucial second home addresses. The House has had four years to prepare for freedom of information and there is no excuse for the obstruction and continued delays that have prevented the people seeing directly how our MPs spend taxpayers’ money.

We also call on the Commons authorities to commit to publishing these full receipts in future on a quarterly basis, excluding from publication only that material allowed by the High Court ruling of May 16th 2008 ( card and bank account numbers).There should be an independent person allowed access to the full record to ensure no MPs are deleting information to avoid criticism or embarrassment.”

Publish MP expenses in full

Easter. The Holidays That Time Forgot.

3 04 2009

usborne-bunniesDon’t know about you, but most parents dread the Easter Holidays. The weather isn’t quite nice enough to be sure that the children will amuse themselves in the garden, going away can cost a fortune, and it’s the French Air Traffic Controllers absolutely favourite time of year for wildcat strikes. Staying at home can get expensive too because all the new movies come out to lure you to the cinema, purely so the popcorn vendors can fleece you.

Fear not, we have the solution. Pop down to ICETWICE and take a look at our vast new selection of activity books from Usborne, at last count about 150 titles!

Buy 1 get 1 half price all through the Easter holidays.

July 2007…A Day In The Life

18 12 2008

Wimbledon started yesterday, so naturally the day before I sent out a mail-shot about these striking new Cocteau umbrellas that we sell. It occurred to me after sending it that umbrella manufacturers must be rubbing their hands in glee at the moment, and probably investing in enormous new factories to cope with the demands caused by global warming.

On the subject of global warming, entries have started flooding in (pun intended) from the local schools for the ICETWICE Art Prize. We asked pupils to create around the theme “The Local Impact of Global Warming” and I’m impressed so far with the high standard of work, from very young people too. Some highly imaginative solutions have emerged, which would probably be more effective than those suggested by government.

I have to be frank. I think the political classes are all barking up the wrong tree about climate change. Whatever we do now, we’re too late to stop it, so why not just roll with the punch, accept we’ve messed up and do something much more radical, like start building enormous spaceships and perfecting transporter beams so we can colonise other planets and start trashing those instead. It’s only moving house on a grand scale really. Think of the benefits too. We could immediately exile all the undesirables in society, like politicians, Premier League footballers and traffic wardens to a juicy new world called Kennedy in Star System Bush. (They’re all bound to get named after US Presidents, aren’t they?)

The USA could even send all the people they want to victimise to the nastiest little planet they can find, and call it Planet Guantanamo to keep up the tradition.

I’m getting off the topic of umbrellas a bit aren’t I? We needed them at the start and finish of the Garden Party we helped to organise recently on Midsummer’s Eve at The Cowper & Newton Museum. (Go enjoy the gardens there if you haven’t already, they are wonderful). The heavens opened dead on 6.00pm as the party started, then relented for us all to have fun, and then re-opened to get rid of everyone on time at 9.00pm. Good job really as guests were settling in for the night, which would have caused trouble with local residents I think. One actually complained about 8.00pm because the live music in the garden was drowning out the television set. I have to say I think this rather petty, and I’m thinking of taking up the bagpipes and wandering round their house every evening to practise just as The Bill starts.

Still (almost) on the subject of global warming, there are rumours circulating that Stoke Goldington is shortly to be officially renamed Stoke Floodington after recent events there. I think it’s unfair for the village to be singled out, so in the expectation that this sort of thing is going to happen to many places locally in the coming years, may I suggest we plan mass renaming now. I’m going to need your help to get them all done, but here are a few to start the ball rolling? Weston Underwater; Newport Paddlingpool; Clifton Rains; Showerington; Newton Bucketville. Hours of fun over a pint (whilst dreaming of smoking) for you all. Suggestions for others on a (water-resistant) postcard please.

April 2007…A Day In The Life

18 12 2008

Now then, now then. For some bizarre reason I cannot stop talking like Jimmy Saville at the moment. I think it’s the early summer weather, or my new blonde hairdo. Anyway, it’s very irritating, and I must just stop. If anyone knows a cure, short of removal of my larynx, please step forward. I’ve tried electro-convulsive therapy by the way, and it made it worse, so don’t go there. On that note, I’ve long been of the opinion that there should be a verb, to therap, conjugated as follows, I therap, you therap, etc. I mean, one can give or receive therapy, so why can’t one say I really think I should therap you. Or even, I’m going to give you a damn good therapping my girl, but then that’s not a verb is it? Don’t know really.

Hmmm, I’m rambling. Change of subject. I am pleased to announce a staff promotion here at ICETWICE. Scrump, the gallery rabbit in residence, has been appointed Director of Communications. He was previously our security guard, but frankly his talents were wasted on that. He is our Alastair Campbell, if you will, but fluffier and cuter. Actually everyone is fluffier and cuter than Mr Campbell. Perhaps our Max Clifford is a better description, but with nicer hair. Anyway, he’s in charge of getting people in a good mood, and he achieves this simply by sitting on the floor, twitching his nose a lot and looking gorgeous. I’ve tried copying his approach but people just snigger. Clearly it’s in his DNA, and not in mine.

When I saw the weather forecast for April I thought what can I do to take advantage of the good weather and boost sales, and of course the answer came to me in a flash, as these things tend to. Hats. Summer hats, to be precise. Cute summer hats, for ladies who chatter about the harmful effects of UV on their complexions over lunch and then plan to do something about it forthwith. So I bought some very cute ones and displayed them, imaginatively I thought, and left things to develop.

However, what has happened is that those ladies have come in and remarked how delightful the hats are, and tried them on, and then decided they are the very thing, the bee’s knees of headgear in fact, and then they’ve gone next door and bought shoes instead, reasoning I suppose that while avoiding skin cancer is important, it is not as crucial in April as having a new pair of sandals. This just goes to show that one mustn’t attempt to predict women. I think I may put the price of the hats up so that they cost more than sandals. That should make them even more desirable.

I’ve expanded my range of photography books a lot this month, mainly for the growing band of (mostly male) lechers amongst the local population. I only mention this because it also occurred to me that there should be a noun, lechee, as in one who is the subject of attention, unwanted or otherwise, from lechers. What do you think? And if you agree, please write to Jimmy Saville, asking him to fix it, but tell him I thought of it and I want royalties?

December 2006…A Day In The Life

18 12 2008

It’s official. I have recently been designated the ‘town pornographer’. It had to happen sooner or later I suppose. Any regular to ICETWICE Gallery will know that we feature some art, photography and books of a revealing nature, although all artistic, and all in the best possible taste. Or so I thought, until someone, a budding local Lord Longford, clearly had different views, but instead of having a quiet word in my ear, or firing off an anonymous critical email, decided to call in the local constabulary to frogmarch me off to the stocks in the Market Place. They (two of them, I’m honoured!) turned up one morning recently and very affably asked me if I could help them locate the offending item, which we duly did, although there were a number of candidates we had to peer closely at together to be sure.

They were quite charming, and actually seemed rather sheepish, yet quite jolly about the whole thing, but of course when duty calls, notebooks must be flourished and pencils sharpened in the public interest. We established fairly quickly that it wasn’t an arresting offence, and that all I needed to do was add a discreet warning sign to the door of the gallery in which the item resided, which I did quickly and the problem was solved. Unfortunately three houses were burgled whilst the police were occupied on this issue, but not to worry, not much was taken and only one little old lady was beaten senseless. I made that bit up, sorry.

Rather than put me off though, the episode has encouraged me to test the limits of local taste even further. So at some stage, when the weather turns warmer, I think I’ll organise a mass sponsored voluntary nude event of some sort, possibly a topless wine tasting, perhaps in the car park, and we can invite the press, and maybe the vicar could kindly kick things off with a few words of wisdom on the history of Christian attitudes toward the innocent beauty of the human form. Wouldn’t that be lovely? The editor of The Gazette has volunteered to get her kit off in public first by the way. Or she has if she hasn’t bothered to read this paragraph prior to sending it to the printer.

Right, enough of that, let’s move on to less frivolous matters. Did you know, because I didn’t until recently, that a goodly proportion of the population of the town are incurable romantics? It’s true. I can prove it.

I’ve been keeping a tally of the number of heart shaped glass paperweights and pieces of jewellery I’ve been selling. A sizeable percentage of the womenfolk (and possibly some menfolk) of Olney now have one or more of these delightful objects, and the remainder, who don’t, want to know why they’ve been left out of the love-fest. If you’re a significant other, and haven’t stumped up the modest readies to pamper your partner, be warned, it’s public knowledge now, and hell hath no fury like a woman (or man) unadorned. There are, at time of writing, 44 shopping days to Valentine’s Day, and I reckon nails are being sharpened and tongues honed for the brave few who fail to secure one in time. They’re not reduced in my Winter Sale, because love should never be tarnished by mean-spirited petty financial considerations! Teehee.

October 2006…A Day In The Life

18 12 2008

October came and went. Until the 29th I avoided Halloween altogether. Then I shamefacedly considered buying pumpkins for the window. I soon came to my senses. The thought of hordes of Americanised children screaming ‘trick or treat’ (demanding gifts with menaces) did it. Last year I virtually had to poke a flamethrower out of the letterbox to dissuade them. This year the pavement is electrified. Now that’s what I call a trick.

Instead, I spent the month processing extra stock for the mad panic that December (hopefully) brings. That’s when I wasn’t searching for interesting characters to appear on the lunchtime BBC Three Counties Radio show due to be broadcast from ICETWICE gallery on December 8th. Several local movers and shakers are inked in but I am on the lookout for fresh talent. If you, or someone you know, have a local cause to promote, or a story to tell, do contact me. Mark Lancaster MP has kindly volunteered his services, if not called up by the TA for massive reinforcement of our brave boys in Basra. The brave boys do not necessarily include the senior ranks, who are busy denouncing Blair on the telly.

Oh, I nearly forgot the other major task. Organising (I use the word advisedly) a November group show for the Bucks21 society of artists. Actually, I delegated all the donkey work to a sainted lady called Jenny Watts, herself one of the artists, who volunteered to whip them into line and arrange for their work and other necessary information to be delivered on time. Why is it that many creative people have a morbid fear of paperwork and a total blind spot when it comes to reading instructions? I’m exaggerating a bit in an attempt to make this column interesting, but you get my drift. The lines of communication were made even more interesting by the fact that the Chairman of the group lives in Uppsala , Sweden.

Never mind, we (meaning she) got the job done, so North Buckinghamshire folk can expect a show of mammoth proportions, featuring a variety of work from these talented people. Hooray!

Shameless plug. Check calendar at for full details.

Predicting which artworks will sell becomes ever more problematic. First to sell are always the ones I expect to sell last, and vice-versa, which makes for an interesting life. I may adapt my selection policy accordingly, but I know deep down that if I do, the God of Art Buying, whose name is Geoff, will move the goalposts overnight and cause the consuming public to become even more contrary, bless their cotton socks.

Still, Calendars and Diaries are more predictable, which helps. I am sadly not an individual who plans life several months (or even days) in advance, but happily they do exist, and started enquiring about our 2007 selection back in August. The stock arrived in very early October, and started selling immediately. Leader of the pack so far is ‘The 2007 Calendar of Bunny Suicides’ followed by ‘Andy Warhol Cats’, this a short neck ahead of ‘Harley-Davidsons’. I realise that 66.6% have nothing to do with ‘ART’ but what the heck, we have to earn a crust.

I’ve made two other major concessions to rampant commercialism, by which I mean, selling things numerous people actually seem to want. The first is TINTIN books and I can’t quite believe how quickly they have been selling. We only stock the hardback ones, which are nicer as gifts, and going like the proverbial hot cakes at a tenner each. We also sell them in French, oui. Now you would think these would be for kids, but I suspect the middle aged men are purchasing mostly for themselves, which is what I would do.

Rosenthal Crystals, however, are selling mainly to ‘ladies that lunch’ and girls who aspire to that occupation, but I bought them in the first place because I like them personally. Not sure what that says about me really, except I am clearly a bit of a girl. I have a little bet with myself that the huge diamond in the window, costing £100, weighing a ton, beautifully tactile but intended mainly as an eye-catching display item, will be sold by Christmas. I had the same bet with myself last year about rather pricey porcelain nipple tassels, and lost. Grrrr.

Getting back to that BBC Three Counties Show, one of the artists we represent, Scott Forrest, plays the bagpipes, and is trying to persuade me to duet with him on House Of The Rising Sun, which is the only song I can play coherently (in a grunge style) on my electric guitar. It may happen, so be warned. If you’re a music lover, I suggest you stand poised to hurl your Roberts through the window into the garden pond.

Ooh blimey, is that the time? Back to work.

September 2006..A Day In The Life

18 12 2008

It’s September, and thankfully the silly season is behind us now. August brought with it the usual crop of unusual requests. Unusual for an art gallery anyway.

Regulars to the Gallery will know that we stock an enormous range of books, on art, design, architecture and photography. Sadly, we do not stock Bibles, because I could have sold three in August, not to the same person either. One lady took enormous trouble to hobble in, on crutches, to virtually beg me for a copy of an extremely obscure Bible. I was tempted to try a spot of faith healing (I’ve always fancied a go, how hard can it be?) but instead gently guided her to another good bookstore and then spent a good twenty minutes torturing myself with the knowledge that I am clearly missing an enormous gap in the marketplace, due largely to my atheist principles.

I’ve plugged some other holes though. We started selling jewellery in July, and although we’ve had a very encouraging response, some of the consumer lust has been reserved for the small black resin mannequins on which the jewellery is displayed. After the third enquiry, I relented and sold one, and am now doing a roaring trade.

I’ve also resorted to selling rolls of the black rubber flooring we use in the gallery. It seemed the easiest way to deal with the endless enquiries. I’m thinking of writing a business plan for a niche retail business specialising in a mix of Bibles, jewellery mannequins and rubber flooring, and going on that absurd Dragon’s Den thingy to see how the ludicrously puffed-up bullying ‘entrepreneurs’ react to the idea.

It’s very sad to see a near neighbour no longer trading in Olney. The squeaky clean green shutters on Robin’s antique store are now permanently closed. They were only ever open spasmodically anyway, but it was such a joy to see him quaffing champagne on the pavement whilst polishing his brass knockers, and I really enjoyed his musings on the meaning of life, although they generally were at odds with my views. He’s the sort of chap who could chat his way entertainingly through four or five Parkinson shows without coming up for air.

Every so often, he used to march into the Gallery and express astonishment that anyone would consider buying anything made after the end of the 18th Century, let alone abstract paintings. He did however pay very careful attention to the large photograph at the back of the gallery titled ‘White Knickers’ by John Stoddart. When I first explained to him that the scantily clad young woman actually concealed a very high tech flat panel speaker system, called SoundArt, and turned up the volume so he could feel the girl’s very shapely left buttock vibrating, he was momentarily rendered speechless. A joyful moment, a lovely chap.

I actually like children coming to the gallery, but now that the holidays are over, I’m happy they’ve stopped roaming in packs. I had resorted to offering parents bribes, in the form of lollipops for their offspring, if they could persuade them not to touch anything as they wandered round. Sticky fingers and fine art books are a poor mix, and I’m relieved to have got through the summer without serious breakages of glass and sculpture. I started out suggesting to parents that they encourage little Johnny (actually I think his name was Hugo) to keep his hands in his pockets, but one mother sensibly asked me “ how will he protect his face if he falls over?” We men just don’t have the imagination to worry about stuff like that, do we?

A small private do took place here for the press on September 11th to mark the launch of a very moving book of photography about the renovation at Ground Zero. In keeping with the New York theme, we also advertised an exhibition of Warhol silk-screens starting the same day, but of course they got stuck in customs, and to cap it all, the very talented singer/guitarist I invited along to play at the event, accidentally cut the end of his finger off two days before. In the best traditions of show business he superglued it back together, wound loads of elastoplast around it and carried on. The boy will be famous. Dom and The Jacks. You heard it here first!

We had a mad last-minute panic, as you do, to get our new Photography Studio and Interior Design Showroom open on time for the day, and just about made it. The first photo shoot took place without incident last week, and clearly the participants enjoyed posing for the camera on the outrageously comfortable supersized Fatboy bean bags that we sell upstairs. I’m also pleased to report significant increases in the numbers of ‘ladies that lunch’ spotted fondling plush fabrics and drooling (not literally, obviously) over ornate mirrors and sumptuous sofas. I was hoping to slope off upstairs occasionally for a power nap on the sofa, but it’s too gorgeously petite and my legs hang over the edge. I shall have to stick to my Penguin deckchair. Boo. Hiss.

July 2006…A Day In The Life

18 12 2008

You may have noticed it’s been quite warm recently. For many businesses this is something of a bonus. I shan’t list them, you can surely guess, but for an art gallery, it’s not altogether ideal.

People swarm about in a good mood of course. The sun brings a smile to (most of) the adult faces, and the small children that accompany the grown-ups get hourly ice-creams and fizzy drinks, so they’re happy as Larry. (Who IS Larry, by the way?)

However, the combination of 30 plus temperatures and about 400 megawatts of tungsten-halogen lights in the gallery do make for a slight rise in ambient temperature.

I may not have mentioned before that just behind the M1 central reservation, and the main runway at Luton Airport, we are the main user of electricity in the Northern Home Counties. This is despite an elaborately designed system of switches, pulleys and knobs that allow me to control all 105 downlighters from the flick of a switch at my desk, rather like Blofeld in an early James Bond movie, but without the fluffy cat.

I toyed with the idea of putting in air-conditioning, but rejected the notion because a) we only have a period of hot weather for 2.5 weeks every 30 years, and b) I’m too mean.

Instead we have relied upon my back-up plan, the highly effective ICETWICE PORTABLE AIR-CONDITIONING UNIT.

This consists of a rectangle of recycled cardboard, about 2mm thick, 300mm long and 200mm wide. The principle is simple, but does rely on input of energy from the visitor to the gallery. We hand the device out as the person enters, and offer a simple demonstration, in much the same way as a BA flight attendant shows passengers where the emergency exits and drinks trolleys are.

Then we abandon the customer to their fate as they wander around the place flapping the device furiously at their face, and sometimes up their blouses/t-shirts too, we’ve noticed.

The important thing is though, that it works! People like them. They giggle and squeal with delight upon receipt and are reluctant to hand them back when they leave.

If only every business and shop in the country issued these things to staff and clients. Imagine the saving in power consumption. Power cuts would not occur. Oil prices would drop. People would even be fit again, with all the exercise from flapping. The only thing that worries me slightly is the possible lawsuits for repetitive strain injury, but I daren’t phone my insurance broker to check if I’m covered because he always says no and adds 10% on principle.

Right. Must dash. Time for a cold shower.

June 2006…A Day In The Life

18 12 2008

The day begins with an emergency. The ICETWICE Gallery medical team leaps into action. A regular customer, whilst examining a FutureMap, (you’ll have to pop in to discover what one of those is) discovers something inside his ear. He naturally asks me to investigate. What else are gallery owners for?

I don’t like wasps, so I’m horrified to find one burrowing into his brain through his ear. I’m tempted to abandon both to their fate, but calculating that he’s unlikely to part with cash in this state, offer to remove the beast from his aural orifice with my right index finger.

The operation successfully ousts the offending insect, and of course, traumatised, he decides not to purchase at that moment. Happily comes back later in the day, parting with his credit card as my reward for gallantry.

By now, a swarm of delivery vans has assembled outside. It’s interesting to watch them jockey for position. There’s a definite pecking order. Parceline get first dibs for some reason. The character and humour of the drivers varies enormously. The good ones are cheerful, efficient, know the varied opening hours of the local businesses and plan their day accordingly. The few bad ones are constantly amazed that we are not here for them at 4.30am and consider it frankly rude of me staying shut until 10.00am. When I point out that few people want to buy a painting until after mid-morning coffee I just get a blank stare and guttural sounds.

A quick coffee made with chocolate milk from the Co-op, my own bizarre contribution to the culinary arts, and a phone call to the FSB legal team to find out how I can try to recover a debt through the Small Claims Court. Yes, even the art world has a few bad apples. A nice South African chap runs through it quickly and efficiently, explains the costs and risks, which are minimal, and guides me to the relevant government website, which is surprisingly well put together but requires completion of a few online forms. I decide to save that piece of fun for an after supper treat, which is just as well, because the BBC arrive early.

We’ve persuaded them to do the BBC Three Counties lunchtime radio show live from the gallery. This is the second time we’ve hosted the show. The first time, last November was great fun, a bit nerve-wracking, and quite comical at times. As soon as we went on air, a local gentleman, who shall remain nameless, burst through the front door, cursing volubly because the BBC’s van was parked on the pavement. He was making a fair point actually, but decided to let his dog loose in the gallery for extra emphasis, and the first minute of the broadcast consisted mainly of barking amid frenzied attempts by the audience to avoid physical contact with the animal, which does not appear to bathe thoroughly or often. I shooed it out eventually, but knocked over a powder coated steel hat rack in the shape of deer antlers, which landed on the floor creating a further unholy racket. The presenter, Martyn Coote, acted as though nothing was unusual about any of this and dealt with the situation calmly and with aplomb. His technical team, bless their cotton socks, behaved like headless chickens for a while, because they are required so to do by their union rules. I’d tell you more but the editor has sensibly rationed me to 600 words. Still, you can always pop in for a chat over a chocolate flavoured coffee? Only £5 a mug to you.