Monday, December 31, 2012

"As distant as your former sins"

Manic Street Preachers: 'Postcards From a Young Man' (2011)

I don't believe in absolutes anymore
I'm quite prepared to admit I was wrong
This life it sucks your principles away
You have to fight against it every single day
These are the postcards from a young man
They may never be written or posted again

It's a good job this album was left 'til last. It took me a long while before I could warm to the Manic Street Preachers' most recent album, Postcards From a Young Man, especially after the impressive feat that was Journal For Plague Lovers. By comparison Postcards can't seem anything more than a step back into the sound of Send Away the Tigers, and indeed, just as Tigers proved to be a commercial turnaround for the Manics, so Postcards has been lauded in some circles as being a tremendous return to form. The question is then, what is that form? First and foremost, it's the culmination of a common arc in the life of a maturing musical ensemble - from popular voice resolving ultimately to the personal. It's a matter of the Manics as they are today, the central idea of Postcards being the present and not the past, confronting reality and not idealism with the accrued experience and wisdom of middle age. In an industry and age that demands younger acts and more immediate roads to fame and success, perhaps surviving long enough to write an album based around middle age is itself a revolutionary act.

Postcards is also an album also about distance, particularly that of distancing one's self from the past, from memory and the disappointment of age. The postcards of the album's title track - representations of old media, are left behind, not out of disillusionment or failure, but because an understanding has been reached. As has the comfort and the compromise of middle age, and a less-than-reactionary Nicky Wire claims "I am a happy consumer" in Hazleton Avenue, a love song to a youth of record collecting. Looks to the past on this album are wistful, but not filled with regret; they are those of a life lived well, and a settling reached with maturity. The musical references are themselves ageing - while early Manics would routinely nod towards The Clash, Guns 'N' Roses and Hanoi Rocks, Postcards has hooks that range from classic rock (Cheap Trick, Queen, Elton John), Dad rock (Green Day) and even Waters-Era Pink Floyd (pre-chorus Auto Intoxication) - there's even some late-sound Beatles in here, I swear. It makes for a rather homogenised set of songs, and somewhere in their composition and delivery the old voice of the Manics rarely breaks out, save for an extraordinary couplet in Auto-Intoxication where James Dean Bradfield strains at his leash, bawling: "...disaster isn't coming, it's already arrived / I am so lucky, I think that I survived."

In all of this, Postcards strikes me as a pretty 'up' album. Political songs are rare, and lack the edge of their predecessors. All We Make is Entertainment laments the passing of British Industry and the rise of cheap reality television (whose overnight 'stars' are targeted in album closer Don't Be Evil), and the easy acceptance of this in a post-industrial world. But with an opener to All We Make like this:

  I'm no longer preaching to the converted / That congregation has long since deserted.

...Wire could just as easily be writing about his band in 2012. Postcards works best for me when it isn't attempting to hit big, global issues or even, as is the case above and Internet-wary A Billion Balconies Facing the Sun (which doesn't so much rail against its demons as describe them) such low-hanging fruit. If that sounds odd given the band's age and its not shying from weighty themes in the past, then perhaps that's the distance I also sense in the whole album; what does work here is the personal, the reflective, the greater part of Postcards. Golden Platitudes, the album's closest thing to a slow 'ballad' is another mediation on 'what we were' and 'how we used to be compared to now', and does reference a larger social concern - the lack of 'fight' and passion in Western society - our overall acquiescence, but it comes across better as an intimate song, rather than another raging against a sleeping world.

If the Manics have lost their voice of outrage (and I really don't know if they have - Journal For Plague Lovers suggests they can still match great incendiary music to Richey's lyrics), then they could do worse than drop that stance and go for something more direct and personal. Would it still be Manic Street Preachers? I don't think that's an important question when the distance of this album tells enough of the story well. As I argued in my review of Simon Price's biography, Manic Street Preachers of the second decade of the Twenty-first century are a different band - they have to be, and probably have become this despite themselves. The good thing about this is for them it works just as well. The older, younger Manics have faded into history, but there's life in the band yet. Whether Postcards From a Young Man, the last album before Wire's proclaimed 'hiatus' for the band, proves to be their swansong, then there's enough on this album to satisfy that transition.

Cover story: Why, hello Mister Tim Roth and Polaroid camera, both taken in better days, and in a shot which recalls the covers of The Smiths' albums. Inside it's your actual series of photos sort of related to the topics of the songs, but otherwise it's a reasonably understated presentation.

Videos: Such a long way from the early days that we can now afford to literally sit on the sidelines while Anna Friel and Michael Sheen make chess look sexy:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oaken's Twelve: Ori

Besides his name, everything we know about Ori that matters comes not from The Hobbit, but from The Lord of the Rings. In The Hobbit Ori is a non-character, there in name only, and he wears a grey hood.

Drums in the Deep, the Marzabul chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring tells us that Ori accompanied Balin to Moria and survived long enough to chronicle his king's fall and the doom of his people. Ori's writing finishes the fate of Balin, but takes up the story late - he's evidently not in Moria just to chronicle events. It's my conjecture then that Balin took him to Moria for similar reasons to Thorin including him in the Company to the Lonely Mountain - Ori must have other strings to his bow, if you will.

I chose this figure to represent Ori for a couple of reasons: firstly, it is bald (I had it in mind that his remains in the movie scene were similarly hairless), and secondly, it had ample space to add a personal detail - a book for writing in. We know Ori has a good hand for writing, and can write in Elf runes as well as (I assume) Dwarven ones, so the Hobbit movie's assumption, that he is comparably scholarly, is a fair one I think, and it's one I've taken up as well.

But we don't know Ori's age, character or skill at arms. The bow stance gave me room to include the green stuff book and strapping across his chest (there's also green stuff finishing off his beard and right shoulder straps, which are a little unfinished in the original plastic moulding), but all else, as I say, is as much conjecture as Jackson's movie is. I don't think he's a young, nervous, retiring Dwarf (an affectation I think the movie makers heaped on him to ramp up the pathos of his later fate) - but I have no more evidence to back this up than the movie's makers do in creating their version. I do however assume that Ori, present in two attempts to reclaim Dwarf strongholds, has to be more than a mere scribe.

Paint-wise here's the grey cloak as indicated, as well as the described silver belt; plus there's a standard-styled book, rather than a Dwarf-bound one in the movies - I thought that for travelling Ori would be carrying something lightweight and portable, yet robust enough to withstand some rough treatment, so an off-the-shelf volume it is. His ginger beard is, again, informed by the movie. And that's Ori!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jet and Gerry

In a small and recent series of strange coincidences, the delivery of some of my old toys to the Monkeyhouse has led me to posting these images of a model I once had.

This is labelled simply "Command Module" and is, to my recollection, the last remnant of a larger model I once had - one of the first I made myself (including decals and painting, mind!), aside from the odd ham-fisted collaborative attempt on fighter planes with my brother, and some snap-together Star Trek models (Enterprise, Klingon Warbird, Vulcan... thing) I also had and am only now remembering I gave away, along with a small Wrath of Khan poster, to a Trek-loving friend. No loss to me at the time, but still. Oh, and now I'm remembering that I also had an Apollo 11 lunar module in 1:100 scale, complete with astronauts and Moon surface. I wonder what became of that...?

I digress. I was all ready to post this with the request that if any readers knew what it was and who made it, could drop me a line; only, in a last-minute Googling I found the answer - it's a Martin Bower-designed Gerry Anderson model. See how the pilot, loose from his chair seems to show his scorn for my poor memory in time-honoured style:

In fact, its proper name is Starcruiser1, as detailed further here, and as seen on the box below:

And yes, I did have the rest of the model, though I'm guessing it got lost, snapped off through months of use and positioning around a steadily cluttering late childhood room (I'd have been maybe ten when I bought it?)
I wasn't what you'd call a Gerry Anderson fan, though I did watch my share of Stingray and Thunderbirds, and even a bit of Captain Scarlet as a student,catching up on some furtive childhood viewing. It was bleak stuff, and like UFO perhaps a little beyond my usual viewing tastes (I also found Blake's 7 similarly moribund). But Gerry's works definitely sunk in, becoming part of the background noise of my teen geekdom that, maybe Doctor Who did for others. And so the news that Gerry Anderson died today still saddens me. Supermarionation aside, the model work in his later series was never anything less than excellent for it production values, and I think that Anderson deserves to be placed alongside Ray Harryhausen as a master of bringing the world in miniature alive on our screens.  His shows were fun, moralistic, and for the most part optimistic ventures, and his heroes were not hard to cheer on at all. I feel we may not see much of their like now in a more 'three-dimensional' age of storytelling and programming.

Rest in Peace, sir.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oaken's Twelve: Gloin Groinson

Or Gloin Gimlisfather if you insist, because in a post-Lord of the Rings book and film world, this is probably Gloin's greatest point of significance in The Hobbit - not that this detail is given of course. Gloin is one of a handful of Thorin's Company who are mentioned in the latter book, however, and the only one of the Company to actually appear in person, representing as he does the Dwarven folk of the Iron Mountains at the Council of Rivendell.

But in The Hobbit Gloin is not a significant character. He's present in the Company with his brother Oin, of course, and the two are unusual for having some of their genealogy at our disposal (many of the Dwarves don't even have a father to name.) That won't help me much with painting this figure though, so I'll press on.

The easy way of tying Gloin and Gimli together of course would have been to select a figure which looked like Gimli and painting Gloin along those lines - ginger beard (as is the movie palette.) It's a route Jackson's movie has taken, and fair enough. Before the casting was announced and promotional images released however, I'd already made up my mind to go in the opposite direction. Which is in part why his beard is golden instead; the other reason why is because of Gloin's other distinguishing aspect - he and Oin are supposedly excellent fire makers. Tolkien describes both as having tinderboxes, and I've added one using green stuff here for Gloin (see inset), marked with a "G" in common/Dwarven runes. The waving, flamelike appearance of the beard picked out in gold is an added bonus.

The rest of Gloin's description - a white hood, is translated in his travelling cloak as well; dulled down a little and lined in grey for a slightly earthier, ashen look. At the final stages I had to decide if I'd weather or dirty up the hemline of this cloak, to signify that he was a Dwarf who had traveled and perhaps faced some contrary conditions on his travels. I decided not to, thinking that it would just be too distracting, and there are few models I've seen where this detail did't look self-conscious and unnatural. I think Gloin is also noted as having bushy eyebrows, and so courtesy of green stuff, they're in as well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

This Christmas

Last Christmas I gave you Iron Maiden. And the year before you got The Darkness. That was generous, wasn't it?

So this year, to save you from tears, I'm giving you something special...
Winter 1996, when they had the entire country in the palm of their hands. Merry Christmas everybody!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Oaken's Twelve: Balin Fundinson

Balin is a significant member of Thorin's company, not least because he is eldest along with Thorin, is his second-in-command (as such), and develops respect for the outsider Bilbo more readily than his captain does. Balin's story continues between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and it's his fate we and his kinsman Gimli Gloinson discover in the Chambers of Marzabul. As Thorin's tale in The Hobbit speaks largely of the fall of many of his race, so does Balin's in the Mines of Moria.

Tolkien gives a little description of Balin - old, white-bearded, a red cloak, somewhat genial. Because of Balin's later significance as King of Khazad-Dum and his discovery of Durin's axe, I awarded him a nicer, more traditionally-Dwarven looking weapon among the figures, lengthening his beard with green stuff, and giving a lot of thought to his colour scheme, because let's face it: white beard + red cloak = Santa. Not good.

I'm going through John Rateliffe's superb exegesis Mr Baggins at the moment, and while its coverage of the individual Dwarves is as limited as it could be given their vagueness in Tolkien's novel, he does offer some helpful clues for broadening Balin visually. The most helpful is that Balin's beard and hair were initially golden - so a blonde base has been given to Balin's beard here. I've also paled up his complexion to further indicate his age; granted, it could go either way with that sort of thing, but I thought paler skin would look better against whitish hair.

Regarding the cloak, red it had to be, and I see that Ken Stott wears red also in the role for The Hobbit. I experimented with a few different lining colours, including purple (too Christmassy) and grey. In the end it's a simple Bestial Brown (or whatever Games Workshop call the colour now) with variations on brown and grey elsewhere. I like the combination, it's warm and coordinates okay, so the blue sleeve crossing his body I think I got away with. On the back of the cloak is my concession to Balin's regal future and GW Dwarf style - the edging pattern. Games Workshop seemed to be all over this in their LotR Dwarf Warriors, and it does indeed break up a monochrome cloak nicely. Would Balin have had a gold detail as he does here? maybe not - it's a little ostentatious  a little Yuletide, but one thing these figures don't have in their sculpts is allowance for Dwarven bling, and boy do they love their finery - so a gold trim it is. And the axe, while not being Durin's prized weapon, has also been given some fancy detail. Elsewhere there's just a travelling satchel made from green stuff, and we're good to go.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

This Was His Truth...

Music biographies are two a penny – literally, in some dreadful cases. I’ve read a handful of them over the years, and have some still on my list to go through. More often than not they suffer from slack research, limited access to the artists, or a lack of critical distance – I still shudder at the gushing and poorly-disguised hagiography I encountered in a Kate Bush biography read in the nineties. Urgh.

Simon Price’s Everything (a book about Manic Street Preachers) is an exception, however. Price, a Welshman, music journalist of considerable voice and confessed fan seems the ideal author for an act that poised itself in the media at every opportunity from early on; yet suffused as they were with their own manifold, often intellectual and sometimes conflicting messages (Nicky Wire, Price reminds us often, gleefully claimed the band’s right to contradict themselves at will), the fledgling Manics at least needed an understanding music press to deliver their voice. Inflammatory outbursts and shocking photo ops were what the band were known for, but Price sensibly deconstructs Richey’s ‘4 REAL’ self-mutilation and Wire’s frequent crowd-baiting jibes to align both with what he sees as a sophisticated and methodical attempt at broad communication in, it could be added, a media world that still relied on paper, radio and television as its delivery vehicles. Not to mention live performance – the number of concerts Price reports , often seemingly from first hand, is astonishing, and tell a story in themselves; from small-audience early outings in provincial wales, through to a dogged attempt at conquering London and the greater cities, Europe and Asia, and reliably, doomed assaults on a US market. It’s a well-researched and diverting read.

Through this we deal with Price’s initial fervour, his dogged pursuit of the band and all-in fan adulation, his one-on-one interviews with Wire and Edwards, and ultimately his growing disillusionment with the group post-disappearance, post-Everything Must Go. Price’s status as something of a fan confidante as well as a fan himself gives the book a genuine and intimate air, particularly so in the closing chapters of the unfortunate Richey, to whom (along with Nicky Wire) Price gravitates. Throughout the book are essays by price concerning aspects of the band (its lack f US success, their Welshness, their ‘rock’ approach) and its individual members. Wire and Edwards are the clear winners here, each given the lion’s share while James Dean Bradfield is probed from a distance, offering little to counteract his reputation for distance and prickliness itself, and as for Sean Moore, you’ll read of his boyishness, his love of DIY and spending and the occasional nod to his reticence overall, but there’s no mystery plumbed here.

What mystery is plumbed is the nature and disappearance of Richey Edwards – a significant portion of the book which I read over a two-hour car trip and once through, sighed with relief. It’s heavy-going, and Price deserves credit for his balanced approach to the details behind the case, even though the author later reportedly urged fans not to buy the book due to its publishers withholding some of his criticism of the police’s investigation.

But perhaps it’s more a case that the story lies with Richey in chief – his disappearance occurs around the three-quarters mark, and Price’s impression of the band, which becomes more evident and singular as the book progresses. Small asides at the Manics’ seemingly-undeserving contemporaries – the dreary Radiohead, the pretentious Blur, the boorish Oasis and appalling Levellers; Stone Roses are described ironically as “a Led Zeppelin tribute band from Manchester”, and U2 a “conceptual rock band” (a fair point given their mid-Nineties creative slump.) Price’s bias towards early Manic Street Preachers is voiced quietly, tacitly, but it’s there towards the book’s end, the gentle condemnation of a band who the author sees as having abandoned their youthful anger and righteousness for a rock and roll millionaire lifestyle which wouldn’t trouble Guns N Roses with its scandal. Price seems to westle with the task of reminding the reader (and himself) that the successes of EMG and especially This Is My Truth are earned and deserved – clearly there is regret that Richey was not around to share in them, and it’s not a point which Price sticks on for long; but it’s clear to me that the division felt by a good many fans between ‘old’ Manics and ‘new’ Manics is felt by the author too – especially in the proprietorial closing chapters where the newer ‘casual’ fans are castigated for their blundering into an established act’s history on the strength of a best-selling single; Price asking “where were you in 92?” The answer isn’t needed - the question is redundant.

But at the end of the day, this is a splendid book, and by the last pages it’s plain to see there won’t be a follow-up. Rice effectively dusts his hands of the post-Richey Manics in the politest way, challenging them to make good on their early promise of mass appeal, mass influence. Personally, the ten years since this book and This is My Truth (given pretty short shrift compared to its predecessors) reveal the ground the band have and haven’t covered in the interim - in short, they grow, they mature, and they change, to the distress of some fans, while accruing new ones. You’ll not find a better record of the early days than this, at least not until the band themselves take pen in hand.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1910

(In Which your humble blogger races through the final stages of a once-beloved series)

Call me shallow and undiscerning, but when news of the first series of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was released I was genuinely intrigued and excited. At the time the conceit - a superhero army of Victorian fictional heroes and antiheroes, villains and an 'honourary gentleman' in Ms Mina Murray seemed quite audacious - although I knew that if anyone could pull it off and add even more into the mix, Alan Moore was that man. And so he did. League's first series is a riot of intertextuality, and not only spawned a host of imitators (including Marvel's own reinterpretation of their cast in Seventeenth Century guise) but, an earnestly-cast but poorly written movie adaptation and the impressive scholarly career of Mr Jess Nevins, the League's unofficial official annotator.

Despite this and a campy approach to the genre itself, it seemed as though Moore was at pains to play down his heroes. Individually they were all damaged souls, and collectively they barely worked together - the most sympathetic being a monster only just kept in check, the most human being a recovering addict. If Watchmen wasn't Moore's final word on the matter of the super hero (Reader, it wasn't), his subsequent musing on the genre clearly haven't restored his faith in heroes super or otherwise. he's distressingly humanist, reliably defeatist, and as you read further into the series the grumpy old bugger's voice becomes clearer still. League's second serial faced this head-on by eschewing a central villain for the threat of internal collapse - and sure enough, 'Mina's League' as it was later known, was finished by the end of the book. years passed, and Mina and her lover Allan returned League-less, but exploring more of Moore's invented Land of Fiction, the 'Blazing World' in the dense multimedia Black Dossier. Ostensibly a chase through the Fifties, this collection is a marked departure, and is the series at its most frustratingly episodic: once more there's no Moriarty figure, just a sadistic analogue of today's cinematic hero of the hour, and two intriguing additions: a priapic and baritone Golliwog with a language all of his own (whom I came to adore, despite my initial reservations), and Moore's newest import and clear current favourite, Virginia Woolf's Orlando. Time, I feel, has been kind to Black Dossier, but I also fear that never have Nevins' annotations been more voraciously consulted.

Which brings us to the star attraction, now complete and mercifully available at my local library. Weaving its way between the aftermath of League's second series and Dossier, before leading to two post-Dossier volumes, Century  presents in this strip at least a final attempt at a cohesive League with the brief addition of occult detective Carnacki and 'gentleman thief' A J Raffles, plus something of a shadowy nemesis in Oliver Haddo, Moore's appropriated analogue to Aleister Crowley. I have to admit I quite liked the twitchy, somewhat hapless coupling of Carnacki and Raffles, as ineffectual as they are they're really no worse than the old League, in fact they're more than mostly harmless if way out of their depth. The trouble with the new League of course, once more, is their creator's determination to render them impotent. Orlando, who received much adoring attention in the Dossier is revealed to be even more of his/her direct existential self, constantly switching between two self-confessed specialist states - female/male, "f*cking and fighting." S/he is, however, all talk and very little trousers. Which would have worked, had Century's first volume, 1910, stuck to that story. Instead, Moore, swept up in the lyrics of The Threepenny Opera, draws his League into a neat but nasty collision with Brecht's musical melodrama, giving us a new captain to Nemo's Nautilus, and another failure of the League, leading inevitably to a rematch...

To sum up: The first of three volumes is a scene-setter, and less of a re-arranger. There are few seeds sown for the later story here, really, although the fate of Nemo's progeny is a neat inclusion, and the story's setting is novel in itself, not to my mind greatly explored either in SF or speculative fiction.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

"I Really Don't Mind Being Lied To"

Manic Street Preachers: 'Journal for Plague Lovers' (2009)

On the 23rd of November 2008 Richey James Edwards was officially declared presumed deceased. After fifteen years having disappeared without trace his story was never fully resolved, with Edwards' family declining to allow him to be declared dead until this time, and in the case of his surviving bandmates and friends, a percentage of profits from each album being set aside for Richey. 2008's official announcement would prove to bring some closure at last to the tale, or the nest best thing at least, though greatly far from the most perfect closure, of course.

Fifteen years on, the Manic Street Preachers were a markedly different band from their Holy Bible selves: successful, middle-aged, on the perimeters of the establishment of course, but so established in themselves that they have been regarded Britpop survivors, elder statesmen of that era. They had two comebacks, and on the strength of the success of Send Away the Tigers, could have easily stayed the course and plumbed their works for more mainstream adulation. And yet... Journal for Plague Lovers is the result of this catharsis, created as it was from Richey's legacy to his best friend Nicky Wire, a scrapbook of his writings, photos, poetry and lyrics, not recreated, but given life by the surviving band. Some have seen the album also as a tribute to the band's fans, particularly those fans of the late Richey, and in all the project seems painstakingly co-ordinated, mannered to fit the model of the band as they were, rather than as they are. No singles were released from the album, although a video for Jackie Collin Existential Question Time was made (see below) which hits the right notes for me. And that note is 'energy.'

There's something touching also about the relationship between lyrics and performers here. Richey's words   are entirely of their time, and yet written by a twenty-eight year old to have them sung by his forty-something friends is remarkable - it's really as though the years haven't passed. One suspects some cosmetic enhancement went on between lyrics and song, however - there's less of the Gatling gun approach in the lyrics, and overall it appears Bradfield and Wire have had more control over the songs than they may have had with Richey about. The references contained in the words aren't as marooned in the mid-Nineties as they could be - either Richey was more prescient in his writing than you'd grant, or his poems and fragments were simply not that specific to a time and place, or perhaps some judicious editing was undertaken? It's a minor thing. For what it's worth the lyrics are a passing thing for me - maybe it's the state by now of Nicky Wire's writing, but I found that by this album I'd tuned my ears out to the lyrical content and more into how the group were playing together; maybe that's laziness, but it's not to say I don't still sing along.

What does matter is the work in full; Manic Street Preachers re-energised, revitalised. A celebration instead of a commemoration, and I can’t think of a better example of both turning back the clock in the most perfect way possible, nor creating as fitting and devoted a tribute to the work and creativity of a departed friend. As close to a perfect Manics album as you could find. Where did Bradfield find the compositions? Eking out whole songs from scraps of verses, haiku, sometimes repeated verse, and yet the music seems as though it had been kept on ice since 1994. This is the follow-up promised by The Holy Bible, diverted into Everything Must Go, and yet devoid of the treatment (“Pantera meets Nine Inch Nails meets Screamadelica”) that Edwards would have intended at the time – and yet for all that it’s not a jarring anachronism; it’s a beautiful, elegant, sad and loving miracle.

And as it turn out, this marvelous album is also something of a detour. The follow-up will be, promised Wire, something lighter; more poppy, more accessible - so, Send Away the Tigers revisited, rather than another Journal. But for its time and place, its sentiment and its truth, if Plague Lovers had been anything more than a one-off then I might have been suspicious. There are two ways to assuage your audience, sounding like you once did, or sounding like something entirely new. if this is nostalgia (and it's much more than that), then this brief, magical trip into the past was worth taking. It's reminded me of how much potential the early Manics, now outnumbered and outgunned by the mature three piece, was once. And it's a cracker.

Cover Story: To continue the link with The Holy Bible's era, the cover art is another Jenny Saville piece, and was deemed offensive enough to have the album not displayed in Tescoes, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morison's (Bradfield pointed out the hypocrisy of still having lads mags on display in the same shop, but to no avail.) It's a beautiful and arresting piece, striking the tone of the album - diverting, possibly shocking, provocative, but not gratuitous. Inside, if you're lucky enough to have the deluxe edition, reproductions of Richey's scrapbook pages and lyrics. In the standard edition, lyrics and a simple gatefold shot of the man himself.