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2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Prog 314


One year before the publication of this prog, my parents ruined my life by moving me and my brothers and sister to Milton Keynes. Described as a “new city” by every local person in authority but not by the Queen, Milton Keynes was like nowhere else in Britain and every dull witted Radio 1 DJ or live TV presenter with dead air to fill knew it. “Blah blah blah concrete cows blah blah blah”. I’ve lived in Milton Keynes for twenty five years now and it’s only recently that I got to see the notorious concrete cows for the first time and that’s only because they’ve been moved from a field to just outside Virgin Megastore for Christmas.

In this prog, Alan Grant (using the alias of Stavros) and Messimmo Bellardinelli tell the story of Mr Macabre, who comes to the concrete avenues of 1983 Milton Keynes to help some hapless businessman who has sold his soul to the devil. A year before, around the time the Rainey family arrived in the new city, he was a homeless person eating from rubbish bins until, one day, he unintentionally summoned the devil and signed a contract he had on his person. Now the contract has expired and the devil wants his due, just like in that song about the fiddler who did exactly the same thing which Dave Lee Travis used to play on the radio all of the time.

I’m not sure if the purpose of this story is to satire the idea of Milton Keynes as a town which places more importance on economic growth than on its population or if it’s just an event which happens to take place there. I never owned a copy of this prog before The Slog but I remember seeing this strip at the time and being irked by it. I think that I was more irritated by the way Milton Keynes was drawn. Sure, all the rolling mist that Mr Macabre walks through is supposed to be atmospheric but where has it rolled in from? Milton Keynes must be one of the furthest points in the country from any naturally occurring bodies of water. And all these buildings I recognise as council offices and business places from different areas of town being drawn on the same street was also annoying to me. However, on reading it again for The Slog, still as a Milton Keynes resident, I’m less bothered by it now. This is partly because I recognise one of the buildings as somewhere that I used to live in and partly because the idea of anyone starting out as a penniless tramp and becoming a millionaire inside a year in Milton Keynes (or over any time period) couldn’t be anything other than satire.

How I feel when Milton Keynes is established as Europe’s largest mutie ghetto in Strontium Dog, I’ll tell you about when it happens.

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6 Comments:

  • Ahh, but if you'd never moved to Milton Keynes, you would never have met me.
    Hmm, not sure that is a positive

    By Blogger Colin Murtagh, at 7:00 pm  

  • All I know about Milton Keynes is that the Style Council released a single about it which was never available in the US and so I never heard it, and 2000 AD repeatedly made fun of the town. I sometimes think I'm better off not knowing what Milton Keynes did to deserve such treatment!

    By Blogger Grant, at 9:26 pm  

  • I lived in the Scottish equivalent of this - Glenrothes. We had concrete hippos in the park, but thankfully not the grid/roundabout system. Still, nice scenery - shame about the town.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 9:35 pm  

  • It's a big positive, Colin!

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:39 pm  

  • Grant, all Milton Keynes did was be a new town :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:40 pm  

  • I like the idea of a Scottish version of MK, Ken. I feel like we're brothers now :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:41 pm  

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