Mental Children #2

This is one of my more savored quote-unquote collectable fanzines, a total cut-n-paste 1980 home job from an anonymous woman – I think it’s a woman – operating from London, if I’m able to deduce correctly. With absolutely no desire shown here for any credit nor displayed scene cred whatsoever, Mental Children #2 is lovingly hand-stapled; features a bizarro mix of type & handwriting, and is truly as DIY as they’ve ever come.

Now what I really like is the discordant cajones shown in the cover selection process, a classic 60s punk image of whatever mystery band this was who dressed up like klansmen and who would later be immortalized on the original Garage Punk Unknowns bootleg 60s punk comps on “Stone Age Records”. I’ve never gotten a clear answer on just who this band was from anyone, but I want to hear ‘em. Do you know who they were? Our mystery editor – she’s immersed in current post-punk all the way, with positive reviews of current records by Young Marble Giants, The Slits. Pop Group, The Fall and Girls At Our Best! (that’s not my exclamation point – that’s what the band was called). 

She interviews the Mo-Dettes, who had only their White Mice 45 out at that point. I don’t know if I’ve ever actually stated this publicly, but I think that “White Mice” as rendered on that single is a 100% perfect song, and it’s probably one of my Top 30 favorite pieces of music of all time. If I’ve listened to it 2,000 times in my lifetime, that’s 2,000 times less than I’d have liked to. Not a single thing they did beyond this was one-thirtieth as good, and I recently watched a video of them playing live in ‘81 that was simply godawful. Anyway, the band are appropriately loopy and quite possibly intoxicated. Jane from the Mo-dettes calls the Dolly Mixture, “Those horrible fat little blobs of jelly with sweetening and food colouring – that’s all they are”. 

There’s an overview on the three years of Siouxsie and the Banshees history to date, followed by an interview. The “Happy House” 45 had just come out, and Kaleidoscope (my favorite) would be next. The rest of Mental Children seems to have been composed with an audience of one – the editor – in mind: a nonsense comic, a transcribed overheard conversation, and of course there’s a bit of Clash discussion, because there always was. There’s even a sloppy advertisement for Weird Tapes, a spin-off of the former Fuck Off Records (I’ve also seen this label referred to as “Weird Noise Tapes”). The ad promises music to “Drive your enemies out of the room”. I’ve seen it happen in real life, except it wasn’t my enemies, it was my wife.

If you’re looking for more 1980 UK fanzine blather, check out the Zigzag and Sounds issues we’ve recently discussed in this forum!

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