PDF: Arthur No. 5 (June 2003)

ARTHUR NO. 5 (with David Cross on the cover as crazed jingoist god-blessed S.U.V.-driving soccer mom) IS SOLD OUT.

This was the issue we published back in June 2003 when 90% of the USA was in favor of invading Iraq.

Well Arthur No. 5 is now gone forever, peacenik fanboy.

BUT! you can download the entire issue in PDF (11mb) here:



Photographer Lauren Klain captures DAVID CROSS on his way to a Clear Channel war rally…

KRISTINE MCKENNA on the Tower of Protest, a Vietnam-era action on Sunset Blvd by celebrated artists. With photos by CHARLES BRITTIN…

Jonathan Shainin speaks with CHRIS HEDGES about the truths not being told about war…

ALAN MOORE comments on what the US and UK governments have been up to lately….

DAVID BYRNE writes about his life during wartime.


Art and comics by Steve Andersen, Tauno Blisted & Mac McGill, Robbie Conal, John Coulthart, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Bill Griffith, Megan Kelso with Ron Rege, Peter Kuper, David Lasky, Sharon Rudahl, Patti Smith & Jem Cohen, art spiegelman and Carol Swain.

MICHAEL MOORCOCK on the fate of empires

DANIEL PINCHBECK on why he’s glad George Bush is president

Arthur film columnist PAUL CULLUM asks “Is George Bush addicted to cocaine?” as he examines “Horns and Halos,” “Journeys with George,” “Uncle Saddam,” “What I’ve Learned About U.S. Foreign Policy: The War Against the Third World” and “Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election.”

And — the fabulous GLAMericans are spotlit by Steffie Nelson…

“IT’S COMING DOWN, BABY!”: Sir Richard Bishop interviewed by Erik Davis (from Arthur, 2007)

Originally published in Arthur No. 27 (Dec 2007)


It’s Coming Down, Baby!
Erik Davis catches up with SIR RICHARD BISHOP—gypsy picatrix, ex-Sun City Girl and guitarist extraordinaire
Illustration by John Coulthart

Superlatives can be lame, but Richard Bishop is one of the few post-punk guitarists who came of age in the 1980s to have achieved the incendiary prowess of a true Guitar God. Though largely unknown outside the underground, Bishop plays and improvises with an uncommon and original power. He can tantalize in a myriad of styles, he has a global jukebox in his head, he can shatter the walls of sleep and chaos, and he can turn on a dime. He loves the guitar and mocks it: he plays like an absurdist and a romantic at once. He studies the occult and travels the Third World fringe and you can hear it. He plays guitar to save himself and fails in the endeavor and you can hear it. He can scare the shit out of you sometimes, and he can make you giggle and grin.

For decades Bishop played with his brother Alan and the Charlie Gocher in the Sun City Girls, where his ferocious and inventive exploration of psych-rock, punk spew, idiot jizz, Indo-Arabic fantasias, and jazzbo abstraction was often shadowed by the madcap antics, acerbic lyrics and general air of arcane weirdness that surrounded that impossible act. Gocher passed away in February this year at the age of 54, and the Girls are no more.

But over the last half decade, Bishop has also been playing and recording solo instrumental music as Sir Richard Bishop, and the effort is really starting to flower. This year SRB released two great albums. While My Guitar Gently Bleeds features three long pieces that triangulate his essential territory as an improviser: a North African arabesque, a noisy electronic nightscape, and a modal neo-raga on the tantric tip. Polytheistic Fragments is a more accessible and varied work, featuring a dozen tunes that also stretch into Americana, gypsy rag and Lennon-McCartney charm. As always, the recordings are packaged with strange and mystic images that speak to Bishop’s longtime study of esoterica.

Earlier this fall Bishop toured with labelmate Bill Callahan. I called him while he was taking a break in Seattle.

Continue reading

ARTHUR BEST OF 2007 LISTS No. 5: John Coulthart


1) 2007 was The Year of Cormac McCarthy. The Road won a Pulitzer, the Coens made a film of No Country for Old Men and the man himself talked to Oprah in his first, and possibly last, TV appearance.

2) Gigs: Machinefabriek in Manchester and Boredoms in Manchester. Two events that were polar opposites but equally electrifying.

3) Book of the year: The Black Dossier by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill. A wonderful smorgasbord of pastiche combining comics, prose, a Shakespearean play, a free pair of 3D glasses and more obscure British cultural reference than you can shake a loaded blunderbuss at.

Honourable mention to The BUTT Book, the first 16 issues of BUTT magazine in one fat volume.

4) Album of the year: Ekvílibríum by Valgeir Sigurðsson. A tremendous debut by the Icelandic producer with guest appearances by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Dawn McCarthy and others.

Honourable mention to Raising Sand by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.

5) CD reissues: An Electric Storm by White Noise and The Complete On The Corner Sessions by Miles Davis.

6) DVD releases: A great year for cinematic work which had been difficult or impossible to see suddenly becoming available for all. Among the highlights: Jordan Belson, Jodorowsky’s major works, Kenneth Anger’s Magick Lantern Cycle, Tim Buckley’s TV appearances, Jan Svankmajer shorts, Lindsay Anderson’s If…, Cammell & Roeg’s Performance and three films by Derek Jarman.

7) Work: The Mindscape of Alan Moore. DeZ Vylenz’s documentary finally made it onto DVD, packaged and designed by yours truly.

8. Films: Hollywood’s products continued to be barely worth following but I did enjoy Perfume (a successful adaptation of Patrick Süskind’s novel), Zodiac (David Fincher getting serious at last) and it was good to see new work from David Lynch. Film of the year for me (although it’s actually from late-2006) was John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus, a funny and joyful drama which managed to show real people–gay, straight or otherwise–having real sex and enjoying it for once. Mitchell said he wanted his film to serve as “a small act of resistance against Bush and the America we live in”; it’s that and a whole lot more.

9) In 2007 I finally managed to see some cinematic obscurities I’d waited decades to watch again. The peerless Ubuweb turned up a copy of Impressions de la Haute Mongolie, a bizarre quasi-documentary collaboration between José Montes-Baquer and Salvador Dalí from 1975 concerning a quest for giant hallucinogenic mushrooms in Upper Mongolia. Then there was Images, Robert Altman’s 1972 psychodrama (made between McCabe and Mrs Miller and The Long Goodbye) which had been out of circulation for years, and David Rudkin’s TV adaptation of The Ash Tree by MR James, also from 1975, and still as creepy as I remembered it.

10) The Arthur resurrection. Because you can’t keep a good magazine down.

John Coulthart is a Manchester-based artist, designer, archivist, historian, writer and blogger. His work has appeared in Arthur countless times.

The Mindscape of Alan Moore

A double-disc dvd with over three hours of exclusive bonus material.

“The film leads the audience through Moore’s world with the writer himself as guide, beginning with his childhood background, following the evolution of his career as he transformed the comics medium, through to his immersion in a magical worldview where science, spirituality and society are part of the same universe.”

78-minute documentary feature with Dolby Digital surround sound. Original music by Drew Richards with additional music by Bill Laswell & Alan Douglas, Lustmord and Spectre. Design by John Coulthart.

Written & directed by DeZ Vylenz.

Region 0. PAL & NTSC

DISC 1 includes ‘Making a Mindscape’ documentary, interviews with the director, special fx make-up artist and music composer, plus trailers and voiceover commentary. English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

DISC 2 features exclusive interviews with artist collaborators Melinda Gebbie, Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd, Kevin O’Neill and José Villarubia, and comics historian Paul Gravett.

Available online at Shadowsnake.com or via Top Shelf.


Alan Moore was interviewed by Jay Babcock for Arthur #4, inveighed against the Bush Administration and U.S. militarism in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in Arthur #5, wrote an appreciation of Brian Eno in Arthur #17, and looked at the history of pornography in Arthur #25.