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Phonogram, Vol. 1: Rue Britannia by Kieron…
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Phonogram, Vol. 1: Rue Britannia

by Kieron Gillen (Writer), Jamie McKelvie (Illustrator)

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253945,261 (3.79)12
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» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
A strange comic homage to 1990s Britpop. Although I listened to a lot of 1990s music, a lot of this musical moment passed me by. I suspect that a reader of this work might gain more from it if he or she understood that 'scene'. However, even on a superficial level this is an OK book with some unlikeable British protagonists, a lot of sardonic commentary and in-jokes. ( )
  questbird | Sep 13, 2014 |
No matter what graphic novels music reference = win. I love how passionate Gillen was about a genre of music..passionate enough to construct a goddess,though aged, which his life revolved around 10 yrs. later. This book doesn't seem to speak just about eras of music ending but about people moving on and the sadness that comes when people forget how the music made them.

I wasn't ever in Gillen's position and I probably won't ever be at this point. I don't know if we'd ever have a Britpop revival as intense as the original era and, even if we did, I'm passed my early 20s. I did enjoy some epic Britpop moments on this side of the pond but there wasn't as big of a scene in upstate NY as you'd see in England for sure. Also, when I started getting into Blur and Pulp, for example, I was way too young to go to clubs (think aged 16 or 17).

The other difference between Gillen and I is that I always incorporated all kinds of different genres of music into my listening habits. For me, I can be just as upset about the heyday of Tropicalia ending as I am Britpop. I know that's strange but it's very true. Back then, I was listening to bands like Radiohead, Pavement, Sunny Day Real Estate, Blur, REM, Neil Young, Beatles, Bob Dylan, Pulp, Joni Mitchell and I was listening to them all together like one big happy family. The only difference now is that I listen to all of these and more (definitely more psychedelic bands, I can tell you that!)

So, when I think of the pain Gillen must have been going through, I just think about if my top ten favorite bands making music today all suddenly decided to call it quits. OR I think about the stabbing anguish I felt when Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse died and I amplify that by at least 10.

Perhaps the most important aspect of this graphic novel aren't it's personal notions, however, but the way it gives weight and remembrance to such a fine era of music that probably can't be repeated as so many circumstances came together to make it happen. The book is also really helpful to include a dictionary and at times album recommendations for people who may not know some of these bands as you will likely want to know more after reading.

Let me final point be this: I think music is one of those things you shouldn't swap for a marriage, career, kids, etc. It's a real tragedy that people do this, perhaps even more traumatic than a grand era of music ending. I myself was told when I was in college that I only listened to the music that I listened to because I was in college. I knew much better than that. Music is a relationship with a beautiful goddess and, if you love her, she can never crack.

( )
  kirstiecat | Mar 31, 2013 |
Anyway, Phonogram: Rue Britannia. I hated all the characters (except possibly Kid-with-knife), and unlike your better class of antiheroes, they were hateable in really boring ways, but I had to keep reading anyway because I wanted to know what happens next, which I think means it did what it was supposed to do, even if the final confrontation was kind of disappointing.

It's made me all full of thinky thoughts about what music means, what being a fan means, and the ways in which I do fandom (and music) that are different from what stories like Phonogram's assume it will be. Mostly, that I am in some ways culturally unstuck in time - e.g. the fact that I'm reading & writing about the first Phonogram trade in 2012 - which means that I've never really experienced a music genre as something linked to a specific, objective time period, which is something Phonogram takes so much for granted that it builds a plot and a magic system around it without ever really examining it.

The music itself, yes, comes out of a time and a place, but not the experience of listening to it or of being a fan of it. I think I'd always sort of understood that this was part of how I do music fandom wrong, but Phonogram really made me think in new ways about how music(/culture) and memory and time and age and identity interact for people both inside the "music fan" culture and outside it.

It also made me really want to take the music/magic system it builds - which is really, really interesting - and actually explore it as something other than a way of analyzing the sterile interior lives of aging scenesters. Maybe the later trades in the series do that! I hope so.

The book is definitely as good and as interestingly different as everybody was saying back in 2006, and McKelvie's art is great - I love his design sense and the clean lines and solid shapes and the ways he uses darks & lights (in general British and European-trained artists seem to be better at all of those things than most modern American or Asian artists, but I like McKelvie's art in particular, and the way it work just right with the story.
  melannen | Nov 11, 2012 |
Phonogram is Great. More than that. It is 4REAL!

It is a great metaphor of the about the Brit music scene, its highs and lows, and have a bitter stare over the current music scene and a supposed revival of 90's Britpop. It is a bit about growing up and leaving the weight behind, like it was that easy...

Obviously, if the reader knows the bands (what is much easier in these download days) some references are better understandable, but if you lived the Britpop heyday... man, you will get all layers of the metaphor!!

The Mr. McKelvie's art is fantastic and have great depictions of key people of the Britpop and the text is very passionate, showing that Mr. Gillen must have lived the scene.

It gets 4 stars only for the fact the covers of the mini-series are reproduced in black and white, what is lame (when you see them, you will understand)!!! ( )
  apokoliptian | May 29, 2011 |
Recommended to me by a friend, this graphic novel is a little fantasy and a lot of music and a whole bunch of craziness. Which means it's pretty awesome (at least to me). I'm picky about my graphic novels, so I was apprehensive, but Rue Britannia is fun. It's a little hard to follow, but that's on purpose and makes it interesting. I'm just annoyed I can't seem to get a copy of Phonogram Volume 2 from any library in the area. ( )
  callmecayce | Aug 26, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gillen, KieronWriterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKelvie, JamieIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Haines, LukeIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Collects the entire six-issue miniseries!

Britannia is ten years dead. Phonomancer David Kohl hadn't spared his old patron a thought for almost as long-- at which point his mind starts to unravel. Can he discover what's happened to the Mod-Goddess of Britpop while there's still something of himself left? A dark modern-fantasy in a world where music is magic, where a song can save your life, or end it.
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