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     | |________________________________________________________________| |

  ...presents...           Interview with Greta Shred
                                                         by Reid Fleming

                      >>> a cDc publication.......1994 <<<
                        -cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc-
  ____       _     ____       _       ____       _     ____       _       ____

     Greta Shred is my role model.  In many ways, I'm way too chicken and
candy-assed to attempt to pull off some of the shit she does regularly.  But I
want to be as much like her as I can, because she exemplifies many punk

     Greta makes movies and publishes a 'zine called _Mudflap_.  Issue number
six appeared on the newsstands in early February '94.  I enjoy the layout and
art direction, as well as its textual content.  Recurrent themes are straight
from Greta's personal interests: train-hopping, personal cartographies of San
Francisco, the urban punk lifestyle, sexuality, and her unabiding infatuation
with bicycles.

     The title of Greta's 'zine comes from the much-maligned chrome babe who
appears on the mudflaps of many diesel trucks.  As Greta pointed out in her
most recent issue:

     "Many people hate the Chrome Babe!  What a mystery.  Some people just hate
women.  But others think the Chrome Babe might be sexist.  They do make Chrome
Dudes, too.  (there's one on the cover of issue 3).  Hmm... if I was going to
go after a sexist symbol it would be those awful bathroom symbols.  I hate
those and they're all over!  Like we're born with a skirt on?  Girls look more
like Chrome Babes than those things.  At least the Chrome Babe has ARMS!"

     It's funny, bright, and interesting... because so is its editor.

     Don't be a dickweed.  Send away for the 'zine and see what I'm blathering
about.  Greta is willing to part with her publication for a mere $1 plus two
stamps, but she doesn't break even unless you send $2 with two stamps.

          2629 19th Street
          San Francisco, CA 94110

                                      -Reid Fleming/cDc/MadMen of Transcription

     2-5-1994.  Answering machine message:  "Hi, I'm calling for Reid.  This is
Greta, and I got your letter and Neal Stephenson's article in the mail today,
which is really great.  You know, miraculously I didn't throw it away, 'cause
I've been getting all this junk from... my friend and I sneaked into MacWorld
and we got onto all these stupid mailing lists so we could get the free CD-ROMs
of the Japanese pornography (which we did get)... but since then I've been on
the hella ridiculous mailing lists for junk mail.  So when I saw "Software
Woolworths" I thought, "Ehhh, garbage."  And I chucked it in the trash.  And
then I thought, "Maybe there's something free inside of there," and opened it
up -- surprise!  Well, what's your roommate's 'zine?  That's my question.  I
would love to accept $50 for an interview, 'cause I'm totally broke.  Call me
sometime.  My number is XXX-XXXX.  It's Saturday afternoon.  OK, bye."

     2-13-1994 at Jim's Cafe on Mission Street, San Francisco 11:20am.

G:  I was listening to my Green Day CD this morning that I didn't buy (I
borrowed it).  It's good, but I like the old Green Day also.  I think a lot of
people have an opinion one way or another about the new Green Day versus the
old Green Day, or like the major-label Green Day versus the minor-label Green
Day.  I don't know... it's apples and oranges, I guess.  The old Green Day was
more surf music styly, which I like.  And then the new Green Day is more pop
styly, which I like also.

RF:  Why'd you pick this restaurant?

G:  'Cause the booths are big, and 'cause I know what the food is like.
There's always room to sit down.  Oh, know what else?  I would like to see them
stay in business.  That's another reason.  I like giving them my business.

RF:  You don't want any hash browns?

G:  I don't like potatoes.  [scraping her hash browns onto a plate for me]
There's a place down the street that's called John's.  It's a similar motif,
but it's like just from the bar over [gesturing] -- it's just like one strip of
booths and a bar thing...

RF:  Counter.

G:  Yeah, counter.  I don't know what happened up there, but they've fallen on
hard times, definitely.  And I wouldn't want to see this happen to Jim's.
Especially now that that burger joint opened on Valencia St. and they're
probably going to have some stiff competition.

RF:  How long have you lived in San Francisco/Bay Area?

G:  Five or six years.

RF:  Is that cumulatively, or does that count traveling?

G:  No, that doesn't count.  That's just that I moved here five or six years
ago.  But I haven't been here the whole time.

RF:  Where did you grow up?

G:  Ohio.  Youngstown, Ohio.  It's a hell hole.

RF:  How big is it?

G:  Probably about 180,000 people; 200,000 people at the most.  Well, maybe
there was 200,000 when the steel mills were working.  But during my tenure
there, everything changed from bad to worse.  I mean, it was kind of tacky
there in the beginning anyway, sort of this working-class, industrial,
no-culture kind of place, and then everybody left, or got fired and became
unemployed.  You know, it's one of those depressing cities where things are all
boarded up.  You go downtown at night and there's _nothing_.  You go downtown
in the daytime and there's very little more.  It's really weird.  It's like a
ghost town.  It's like a ghost town, but it's not quaint.  It really is like
growing up in a haunted place.

RF:  What was school like there?

G:  Public school?  ...awful.

RF:  Were you a punk chick back then?

G:  No.  I was a loser.  There weren't really punks in Youngstown.  Not at all.
There was one guy who was a punk, and there was a girl on my paper route who
liked the Sex Pistols.  She told me and my brother about this band the Sex
Pistols, and we're like, "Whoooa... what's that mean, anyway?"  But we were
just totally isolated.  So, no.  I mean, in a sense that getting drunk and
goofing off and trying to get things for free and scamming and stuff like that
are punk things, sure - we were punk.  But we weren't _involved_.

RF:  Why did you go to Antioch?

G:  Because when I was in high school, I was so incredibly bored with staying
in that place; it was very geographically-influenced.  The fact that we were
stuck in this horrible town that had absolutely nothing of interest in it at
all.  Nothing but crime and filth and misery.  And so, for one year in high
school, I went to Japan as an exchange student just to get the hell out of
there, and that was pretty exciting.  Then when I came back, and it was time...
I wanted to go to college, but I just thought, "I've lived in this hell-hole
town for my whole life and now I have to pick where I'm going to stay for the
next four years?"  And I couldn't pick.  So, with Antioch, they have that thing
where you can go and do internships wherever you want.  And so I thought,
"Good.  This way I don't have to pick.  I'll just pick all of them."  It was
probably the smartest thing I've ever done in my entire life.  I don't think I
would have made it through any other school, anywhere.  It was rowdy.  It was
fun.  You could do all kinds of crazy shit.

RF:  Both of my roommates went there.

G:  Yeah?  It taught us the down side of revolution, which is _meetings_.
Meetings to fucking hell and back!  If the revolution didn't kill you, the
meetings would kill you.  I use the term "revolution" in a broad sense; I mean
the idea of taking care of your own business, of being in control of what
you're doing.  Comparatively, the students really do have a lot of control.  To
a certain extent, it's smokescreen, but there's a lot of stuff that students
can do there... I mean, if you make a committee.  Sometimes it got _bad_ there,
because the students would get together and decide something dumb, and then the
other students would have to abide by it.

RF:  Like what?

G:  When I was there, there was this issue about graffiti.  I don't know why
people are opposed to graffiti.  Why do you think that is?  Why do people hate
graffiti more than they hate muggings and crime?

RF:  I don't know.  Some kinds of graffiti I really like.  When I was living in
the Richmond district, this mail truck that kept coming by had been tagged by
all these gangs, and it looked great.  It looked totally cool on this mail
truck, and I love mail trucks.  But, on people's houses and stuff, I don't
know.  I can see why you wouldn't want gang signs on your house.

G:  Well... yeah.  I mean, I can see taking care of your own house, but then,
all right... if it's your house and you have this sense of property about your
house, do you think that's the sense that people have when they get freaked out
by the graffiti on the Muni buses?  Do you think that that's an extension of
that?  That's what's weird to me.

RF:  I think the public stuff is totally different.  As long as it doesn't look
hostile, then I think the graffiti ought to stay.  New York City spends so much
money treating their subway cars with acid baths and stuff to get the graffiti

G:  Acid baths.  That's crazy!  Acid dip...

RF:  Yep.

G:  Well, even the stuff that's just gang tags... I don't know, it just doesn't
bother me so much.  It's not that bad-looking.  It's not any different from
_beige paint_, you know?

RF:  When you were in L.A., did you see any "Chaka" tags?

G:  Not really.

RF:  Oh, man.  I've seen some of those.

G:  Is that the guy that got arrested?

RF:  For like thousands of tags.  They estimated that for in his 2 1/2 year
career, he'd have to have done like 12 an hour all his waking time to create
all of the tags they estimated he did.

G:  Wow.

RF:  So, they arrested him.  It was big news in the L.A. Times --

G:  Was this a couple of years ago?  I think I heard about it.

RF:  And then he and his buddy went to their parole officers and on the trip
back down in the elevator, they tagged the inside doors of the elevator.
Apparently, the elevator stopped at a floor before the ground floor and other
P.O.'s got in and they saw it.  So it was a parole violation!

G:  Oh my god...

RF:  He's turned into this total mythic hero now.

G:  Oh my god.  Well, there was that guy in New York who got beaten to death by
cops who was just tagging.

RF:  When was this?

G:  Michael something.  I can't remember his name.  [His name was Michael
Stewart -- G.A. Ellsworth]  It was probably like five years ago.  He was killed
by subway cops.  The issue was race.  They stopped him 'cause he was tagging,
but the thing escalated.

RF:  Were they white cops?

G:  I don't remember exactly who was what, but I believe he was a black

RF:  When you were at Antioch, did you ever compete in Camelot?

G:  Did I compete?  No, 'cause I was in the fire department, and you had to
stand by.  And then the next year that I was on campus for it ('cause I was on
campus for only two semesters that they held the race), I didn't have a bike.
I don't think I even watched it that year.  But, it was funny.  Everybody else
did.  I have some pictures from it.  They're hysterical.

RF:  You printed one.

G:  Mm-hm.  There's a better one, though, of a guy in a wig.  This guy who
lives in Chicago now, Larry Steger.  He was riding... he was partners, I think
with my friend Casselli.  Larry had on all this pancake makeup and this
horrible blond wig, and was basically in drag.  And Casselli was wearing this
big leather vest and looked like a biker.  He had no shirt on.  It was weird.
The bikes were so shrimpy.  They were these little one-speed bikes, it was

RF:  They have to do 50 laps around this quad thing?  They put hay bales
around, and people throw stuff at 'em?

G:  They put hay bales around.  It's 50 laps, I guess; it might have changed
since I was there.  It's not exactly a quad thing.  It's a very small loop in
front of South Hall (which was closed).  It was like a dormitory; there's North
and South that are exactly the same, and they flank the building that looks
like the castle.  Which is, incidentally, the reason why they call it the
Camelot Race -- because it looks like a castle.  I put that in the magazine,
hoping that someone would know and write in, but no one did.  Or maybe they
knew but didn't write in.  I wrote "No one knows why it's called it the Camelot
Race."  But I did know.  Well, so South Hall is in total disrepair.  It's
condemned.  It's abandoned, but they can't tear it down because it's a
historical monument, so it's just like this empty building that everybody would
eventually break into at some point or another and graffiti on the walls, or
spend the night in there, or screw or something.  [It's since been reopened. --
G.A. Ellsworth]  So, right in front of there was the thing.  _Small_.  Really
little.  Somebody told me (which I put in the magazine) that it used to be
around the whole horseshoe, which was like this big drive.  It's probably like
ten times bigger.

RF:  So, what's your job?  What do you do for money?

G:  What do I do for money?  I sit around and wait for the checks to roll in.
Well, I don't really have a job.  The money comes from about probably 20
different places.  Let me see if I can think of what they are...  I make
movies, right?  So, I have made a couple of movies that are in these
distribution co-ops, which is just a bunch of filmmakers get together and chip
in money and print a catalog and then the catalog gets distributed to schools
and stuff.  The one out here is Canyon Cinema, which is really pretty radical.
It's member-operated, anyone can join.  It's not like a commercial
distributor-type thing.  They've been around since like the '60s.  They kind of
started with 1960's experimental art films, and it's still solvent after all
these years, which is pretty cool.  So, the catalog gets around to all these
schools, and it's sort of a textbook for art film classes.  I have given them
copies of the films, and so they deal with all that stuff and every once in a
while I get a check.  It's really hard to predict.  I discovered just a little
while ago that they don't just send you the checks -- you have to ask them for
the money.  'Cause I called up and said, "Have my films ever, like, rented?"

     And they're like, "Oh, sure.  They rent all the time."

     And I say, "Oh... when do I get paid?"

     And they say, "You can get paid tomorrow, if you want to."

     And I say, "No kidding?  Well, when do I normally get paid?"

     And they say, "Well, you gotta come get it.  We don't just send out
checks."  That makes sense, 'cause that way they don't have to send out mass
mailings.  Some people only have like one or two films there, and it'll take
like ten years for enough money to accrue to make it worth their while to go
down and pick it up.  And some other people, like Stan Brackidge who's a big
art guy, he'll have like $5,000 a year in rentals there.  Which is a lot for
that.  They operate off the interest.  If everyone went and collected all at
the same time, it might be bad.  It would be like a run on the bank.  But this
way it works out.  So I get money from them, and I try to sell that stupid

RF:  Does that turn a profit?

G:  No.  Sometimes it does, just because people send extra money sometimes.
You're laughing.  I mean _on purpose_; they send contributions.  If I have to
pay to print it, it costs $1.75 an issue to print, plus mailing (it costs $.75
to mail).  So, it basically costs $2.50 to send an issue to somebody, and then
they send you a dollar.  It's a losing prospect.  I don't have to pay for the
Xeroxing all the time, but it's not reliable.  Free Xeroxing.  Right now I have
no magazines.  I have _none_.  _Zero_.  And I have to go find someplace to
print 'em, I guess.  I don't have any connections right now.

RF:  My roommate, G.A. Ellsworth, has a connection at the same place where you
were getting yours printed.

G:  But a different guy?

RF:  Yeah.

G:  Who is that guy?  Does he work at night?  Do you know?

RF:  Never met him.

G:  Oh, really?  I'll have to ask G.A., 'cause it's grim.  I even tried to get
a job at Kinko's before, so I could print my magazine.

RF:  They didn't hire you?

G:  No they didn't, I guess 'cause I had -- it was at the Market St. store --
and I had a different profile then.  I had like a more punk profile, and they
had basically decided that they weren't going to hire any punks at the Market
St. store.  So they said, "Oh, thanks.  Bye.  Thanks for the application." 
That was kind of weird, the idea of not even getting hired at the copy store
when I qualified.  What else do I do for money?  I guess that's about all.

RF:  Were you a bike messenger?

G:  You know what?  This is a BIG SECRET: I've never, ever been a messenger.
Never.  I have this problem with numbers, is the thing.  I've had so many
friends who were messengers, always, just because that's who the punks were in
San Francisco.  I would listen to the radio and watch them write it down and
think, "How does that happen?  I don't get it."  It was so bewildering, and I
knew that it was something that I would never be able to do, because it's too
hard.  So, I have a great respect for people who can memorize numbers and write
them down and remember where they are.  I have a little list of errands, much
like this [picks up interview topic list], pretty much every day.  And it takes
me all day to go from place to place.  To have a map in your mind of where
everything is and shit like that?  It would be a nightmare.  I would be the
worst.  I would get fired.  Plus, I would probably get in fights with people.
Plus, they don't tip.  I don't think that's right.  They should tip the
messenger, but they don't.

RF:  So, you don't have a job right now; you don't have a place of

G:  No.

RF:  You're on the rolls of the unemployed.

G:  Yeah, although I'm not on the rolls of the assisted, though.  I'm not on
unemployment or general assistance or anything.  What else do I do for money?
There must be something... I'm an electrician.

RF:  Really?

G:  Yeah.

RF:  Like, licensed?

G:  No.

RF:  You just do it for friends and people you know?

G:  For people I know, and also for film and video.

RF:  Oh.

G:  I can do electrical work for film.  But I don't really go after that as a
job.  Those people are very ambitious.  They're very aggressive.  They should
all wear t-shirts that say, "I really want to direct" or something like that.
Everybody on a job, you know they really want to be doing the next job up, and
there's a lot of butt-kissing, you know?  It's a weird scene.  They also work
_all the time_.  They're like always working.  When I did it more often, a
couple of years ago, I would probably work about one or two jobs a month,
'cause it pays like $250 or $300 a day.  So, after you do two jobs you don't
need to work any more.  I would work with people, and then work with them again
the next month, and they would ask, "What have you been working on?"

     I would say, "Well, I've been working on this movie, and I've been
building a darkroom..."

     They would be like, "No, no -- _work_.  What _work_ have you been working

     I would think, "Is that all you do?"  That's all they do.  If you made
$300 a day, and you totally busted your ass and worked five days a week, what
is that?  That's a fucking _lot_ of money.  What would people do with all that
money?  And then I thought, "How come you guys are still electricians if you
have all this money?"  That's crazy.  It doesn't make sense.  I guess they buy

     Sometimes people would tease me, too, when they asked that question --
"What have you been doing since last time?"

     I would say, "Well, I made this little movie."

     Then they would say, "OoOoOoh, she made a movie!  Next time, we'll be
working for _her_, huh.  Bwah hah!"

     And I'd be thinking, "Fuck you all, man."  Someday they _will_ be working
for me, too.

RF:  That's right.

G:  And I'm gonna fire 'em halfway through, too... no, not exactly.  But that
was kind of weird, because the electricians are so working-class.  Also, I get
hired a lot by producers, so I was The Electrician The Producer Hired, and they
were The Electricians The Gaffer Hired, so it would be like being the teacher's

RF:  When did you do your first issue?  '91?

G:  Yeah.  September, I think.  Summer or Fall of '91.

RF:  Why did you decide to do that?

G:  'Cause we got a Xerox machine at our house for a brief period of time.
I don't know how it happened, 'cause I was opposed to the plan.  At some house
meeting they decided that since they knew a lot of people who were making
magazines, they said, "Let's all chip in and get a Xerox machine _here_.  We'll
just pay this nominal fee --"

RF:  Lease it.

G:  Mm-hm.  Then I said, "I think that's a terrible idea."  I don't have an
automobile either, and it was the same thing.  We got a group car at one point,
and I was the lone holdout.  "No!  It's a bad idea!"  Because it's such a huge
commitment.  So, they went ahead and got this Xerox machine, and the thing is:
once you've leased it, you can't get out of the lease.  You're supposed to buy
your way out for like $20,000 or something.  It's really a rip.  It's a bad
deal.  So they had the Xerox machine there, and I thought, "OK, well... as long
as it's here, all right... I'll make a magazine."  And you know, I'd been
making movies already, but I was doing all this other weird stuff and it just
didn't translate right into the movies, 'cause you can tell stories in the
movies, but... I mean, it's similar, but it's not the same.  You can do stuff
that's just pictures.  You can do that in a magazine, or you can do that in a
movie.  You can tell short stories in combination with other stuff in the same
package.  You can do that in a movie, you can do that in a magazine.  But, it's
a different delivery.  And I had been feeling that the movies had been a little
bogged-down, and expensive and took too long and stuff like that.  And so, I
thought, "I can do all this stuff in a magazine, and it'll be funner."  And it
was!  It was totally fun.  Plus, the movies -- people will see it but they'll
never talk to you about it.  It's easier to get fanzines around; you just hand
it to people.  Whereas with the movie, it's too expensive to make a bunch of
tapes and hand 'em out.  People have to be organized enough to show up at the
screening, and things like that.  So, it's like a different part of society.
Anybody can get mail, pretty much, but not everybody can get to a major city
and go to some weird, underground movie-showing place to see movies.

RF:  What's your feedback usually like?

G:  For which?

RF:  For your 'zine.

G:  People don't usually write if they don't like it.  I think if people don't
like it, they just throw it away, or give it away or something and you never
hear from them again.  But it's usually good, 'cause it takes some effort, I
suppose, to write a letter back to someone after you've read their magazine.
Only the people who have found something that's interesting to them will write
back.  Which is cool, 'cause that way it's like all good feedback and not too
much bad.  Although, I did get some really fuckin' negative and really, really,
really critical letters in the beginning, around the first and second issues.
I got these three letters in relatively close succession, and I thought, "Wow,
people hate this magazine!  How could this be?  It's almost stupidly happy.
How could people hate this thing?  How could they find something to hate?"  And
then it turns out that all of the letters are from the same guy, and he's like
a nut, a nut who disguised his handwriting (one of them was typed, one of them
was scrawled on a piece of paper) and he sent them from three different
addresses in town.  When the whole story came together later, I thought, "OK,
this is something _totally_ different."  He was a crackpot.  Isn't that weird?
It turns out he lived with people that I knew.  He never even confessed to me
that he did it; the roommates told me.  ("You should know that he's the
one...")  And I thought, "Whoa!  He's like a stalker, or something."  But,
since I was hanging out with one of the roommates a lot, I kind of got to know
the evil letter writer a little bit, and he was all right.  He mellowed out.
And I thought, "Oh, I see.  This guy is just a little strange.  There's nothing
wrong with that."  But after a little while, the pendulum had swung back, and
it was time to hate Greta.  And he kicked me out of the poker game.  So that's
the story of that guy.  But the feedback is usually... people usually find
something that's happened to them, or they say, "I know about that thing" and
they write in and talk about it.  I suppose that makes sense.

RF:  Do people ever write in and say that you're their role model, or anything
like that?

G:  No!  My god!  No...  Let me think if they do.  Some people say that the
magazine is an inspiration (I mean, they use the word "inspiration"), but I
don't know if that's because it's such a cheap thing but it's entertaining,
like it's a product, or if it's actually what people say.  So I don't know.

RF:  Do you read a lot of comics?

G:  I do.  Not a ton.  Some of 'em -- this is really weird -- if they're real
detailed, and real little, I don't read them 'cause it's too complicated and I
have a really short attention span.  Who's the guy who... have you ever read
that one, The Playboy comic?

RF:  It's Chester Brown.

G:  Yes.  I love his stuff.

RF:  We saw him and Joe Matt and Seth in Berkeley last year.

G:  Oh, really?

RF:  Yeah, they were at that comic store in Berkeley.

G:  Wow!  Which one, Comic Relief?

RF:  Yeah.

G:  Seth?  Which Seth?

RF:  Seth.  He's the guy who does Palookaville, he keeps showing up in Joe
Matt's...  All three of them are friends in Canada.

G:  Didn't some of them move down here?

RF:  Joe Matt was planning on it --

G:  Oh, that Eightball guy moved down here.

RF:  Yeah, Dan Clowes is in Berkeley.

G:  Wow.  I like Eightball.

RF:  Yeah.

G:  Yeah...  I can only read the ones that have fat lines and lots of space in
them.  That's terrible, but it's true.  I guess 'cause the other ones remind me
too much of X-Men and superheroes.

RF:  There's a book called Understanding Comics... I forget what the guy's name
is.  Scott something.  I think it starts with a P.  [Scott McCloud]  It's
fantastic; I couldn't believe it.  He keeps talking about the history of comics
and all the devices in comics, and it really makes you look at it.  It's like
an anatomical guide.

G:  Wow.  That's pretty crazy.  I read a Robert Crumb anthology that these
weird early fanzines in it.  It wasn't all about Robert Crumb, but a lot of the
later stuff was.  It's like a history of underground comics.  It had these
primitive sci-fi fanzines from the '50s that people made in school, and they
were _so_ funny.  Can you imagine being the first guy to do a fanzine, in the
'50s and handed it around to your friends and everyone thought you were a nut?
That's cool, 'cause they didn't have Xerox machines then.  I guess they would
have to sneak into the mimeo room at school, and run 'em off.  That's wild.

RF:  I really like your comics a lot.  The comics that you draw.  I think
they're really well put-together.

G:  Thanks.  I like doing 'em, and I wish I was better at 'em, but I'm not.  It
takes me a long time, and when I'm writing 'em or drawing 'em or whatever, I
think to myself, "I wonder if it takes regular cartoonists this long to do
stuff."  It can't -- it can't possibly take them that long.

RF:  I don't know... Julie Doucet is making hers an anthology now because she
can't put it all out that much.  So there'll be like one story from Julie and a
whole bunch of stories from other people.

G:  Oh, really?  In Dirty Plotte?

RF:  Yeah.

G:  No, really?  So it takes her a while, too?  Well, that's good to know.
Do you know Seth?  He does these horrible cartoons -- they're evil.  Malice,
Seth Malice.  He lived with the other guy named Mats.  They do cartoons and
they do comics and they do posters and stuff too, and they do silkscreens and
junk, but they don't put out a regular volume or anything.  They draw so quick,
it's amazing.  They do a lot of illustrations for other people's stuff.
They both work really, really, really quick, and I just think, "How do they do
this?"  Their drawings are real stylin' -- they look good; they're not sloppy
and messy.  So, I don't know.  If I ever had to pick a job and do just it, it
would be so great to be a cartoonist and be paid for it, and be disciplined
enough to do it every day and crank the shit out.  It would be cool.  Either
that, or a bike mechanic.

RF:  Why do you think you're fascinated with bikes?

G:  Because... you know, I put that in the Mudflap.  That was to deal with my
bike fascination, the first comic in issue six.  There's so many things about
them.  I don't know.  They're nice-looking.  People look nice when they're on
them.  It's like there's so many different levels at which they appeal to me.
If you're not riding it, you can be looking at it, and it would still look
good.  When you're actually riding it, that's another thing.  When other people
are riding are riding them, they look good, and when you hang out with other
people riding them it's fun.  Building them is fun, and all the different kinds
of 'em that you can get -- cruisers that are stylish-looking, like the ones
that are round and have fat tubes but everything is curvy on them, but not
aerodynamic-curvy; kinda like round-curvy.  Those ones are cool.  And then
those angular ones they started having... three-speed style, that are kind of
aerodynamic but aren't really, because it's only a three-speed.  And then ones
that I really, really, really like; and then ones that are big fat clunkers...
there are so many different kinds.  I think it really has to do with mechanics.
I mean mechanical stuff, and the appeal of geometry and physics and stuff like
that.  As things become more electronic, they're not mechanical, and I think
that you miss that.  People miss that.  I mean, it's like the wheel.  It was
the first thing, and bikes have 'em.  It's the round thing.  And also, the idea
of a human being working with a machine in a way that doesn't really compromise
either, it's amazing.  It's comfortable.  It's not like pushing something
heavy.  You push it, and it pushes you back, and it's such a cool, symbiotic
thing.  It's probably the friendliest machine that I can think of.  You don't
get carpo-tunnel syndrome that you can get from typing on a typewriter,
although a typewriter is kind of cool.  You can't kill people with it, like
with a gun, although guns are kind of cool, too.  You know what I mean?  Does
this make sense?

RF:  Yeah.

G:  There's so many different things about it, that it's kind of neat.  Plus,
they're just fun to ride.

RF:  Have you always had this opinion of bikes?

G:  Um, yeah.  Basically, but I hadn't thought about it as much until the last
four years, five years.  I guess 'cause people ask me.  When I was little, I
learned to ride a bike when I was four.  I was the youngest of the kids in my
family, and so they were all nine and they all rode bikes.  It was like, either
sink or swim.  So, I had to learn.  I wasn't even in kindergarten yet.  I never
had the training wheel experience.  They just put me on the bike in the grass
and pushed.  They said, "OK, now go!  Pedal!"  And there it went, and it was
pretty simple.  So I had a bike kind of early.  Although I never had a new bike
until this one that I have right now that's parked outside.

RF:  Really?

G:  Uh-huh.  That I got six months ago.  That's the first new bike I ever got
in my life.

RF:  What was your first bike?

G:  A little Schwinn.

RF:  A little Schwinn _what_?

G:  I don't remember 'cause my dad had painted it.  It was my Christmas
present.  He got it used somewhere, and he painted it...  he worked on cars, my
dad?... and he painted it _primer gray_.  I was the only kid on the block with
a custom, primer gray painted bike.  It was crazy.  But I liked it.  It was
really fast, too.

RF:  Did you paint it later?

G:  No.  No, 'cause I was proud that my dad had painted the bike for me, and it
was my Christmas surprise.  I remember seeing it downstairs on its kickstand on
newspapers, and I looked and thought, "Whoa... is that going to be mine?"  I
kind of persuaded myself that it wasn't, because...

RF:  That'd be too cool.

G:  Yeah.  And then, there it was on Christmas, for me.  It was exciting.
And then I got... everybody rode those Schwinn varsity ten-speeds.

RF:  I had one of those.

G:  Blue or yellow?

RF:  Blue.

G:  Really?

RF:  Yeah.

G:  All you could get was blue or yellow!  I had a Stingray.  Schwinn Stingray.
All of my bikes were Schwinns!  All of our whole family's were Schwinns.

RF:  I had a Mag Scrambler for a long time.

G:  Wow.

RF:  We kept repainting 'em, me and my brother.  It went on for weeks and weeks
this one summer; we'd just repaint 'em every week.  After a while, you'd have
to scrape off all the old paint, and that took forever.  Then our dad bought
some paint stripper, this really intense paint stripper.  We learned eventually
that what you had to do was disassemble the bike, put the frame on the grass,
put the paint stripper on it, and because it's going to get on your body you
have to have a running hose next to you.  As soon as it touches your skin it
feels like someone put a hot poker on you, it's so acidic.

G:  Wow.  Wait, your dad gave you that stuff when you were little kids?

RF:  Yeah.

G:  "Here, kids -- take care of that bike."  That's pretty funny.

RF:  It would strip it right down to the metal.  We'd just wash it off on the

G:  Right on the grass, in the earth.

RF:  Yeah, exactly.  Perfect.

G:  Might as well have been directly into the earth.

RF:  It was way faster than using sandpaper.

G:  Yeah, I'll bet... I'll bet.  We had chrome polish from my bike that had
chrome rims and fenders.  My dad showed us how to operate the chrome polish.
That was fun.  Bikes are so cool.  At Antioch, they had a weird bike thing
going when I was there.  I don't know if they have it now.  Nobody really owned
bikes -- not too many.  There was like one or two people that were bike dweebs
or something, but you'd go downtown and buy some $5 cheeseball bike and then
you'd go away and give it to someone else, and then you'd come back... there
was this thing developed of communal bikes.  It wasn't quite like the white
bikes in Amsterdam, but there was this batch of about ten bikes that pretty
much anyone in the group I hung out with could take whatever bike was there.
When you came out of your building, you could just ride one because there were
only about three places you could go.  It was this weird communal bike thing.
It was cool.

     One of them was the Red Throbbing Member.  It was a red bike, and it had
one of those phony gas tank things on it -- someone had written on it in red
paint, "Red Throbbing Member."  And it only had a half handlebar, 'cause it had
just broken off inside the stem, and it was left that way.  So, you had to ride
it with just one hand.  That was kind of cool.  And there was a little BMX bike
that was called the Maggot.  I don't know why.  But that was another one.

     Alessandra had this one -- I don't know where she came up with it -- it
had a child seat on the back.  It was very large and very awkward.  Huge
triangle, the frame was just this huge triangle.  It was awkward.  That was one
of 'em.  There was a big green three-speed.  The one that I brought was this
heinous, hot pink Huffy-type thing.  It was a three-speed that had a big, huge
basket.  So, it was an interesting experiment.  No one really thought about it
at the time.  Wherever you were, if you came out of a building and one of those
bikes were there, you could just get on it and go to the cafeteria or

RF:  What are the "white bikes" in Amsterdam?  Are they public bikes?

G:  Yeah.  They're some kind of fold-up kind of thing.  I'm not sure exactly,
'cause I've never been there...

RF:  Is there a deposit?  How do you pick one up?

G:  I think it's like those carts in the airport.  They're kinda locked into a
little thing, and you put some guilders in the little thing, and it releases
the bike and you ride off.  I think so.  But then, that necessitates returning
them to the holders; I think you can just pick one up if it's sitting outside
somewhere -- that means that someone's finished with it and it's just not
returned.  I don't know if it's in Amsterdam, but it's in some small cities in
the Netherlands.  They just buy like 5,000 bikes like that and put 'em up
around.  They're not worth anything to steal, because they're kind of cheesy
bikes and they're everywhere.

RF:  Checking your bike?

G:  It's a habit, I guess.  I'm not as bad about it as I used to be.  I guess
because if I hadn't gotten the other one stolen I wouldn't have started
thinking about getting a new one.  Every time your bike gets stolen, it's an
excuse to go get a better one.  It's a drag, and it's kind of a backwards way
of thinking about it, but I guess you just can't worry about it.  There's
plenty of other horrible things to think about.  Look -- she got a big, huge
bunch of flowers.  That's so great.

RF:  Do you read other people's 'zines?

G:  Not as much as I should.  I probably shouldn't say that.  I should say

RF:  "Yes!  I read them all, diligently!"

G:  Absolutely... No, I have to admit I don't.

RF:  You just keep 'em?

G:  Well, I'll read parts.  I mean, some I read through cover to cover, but
it's a rare one that I will read through.  Sometimes, if I go off somewhere on
a trip I'll take a couple of 'zines with me.  Especially if I'm out of San
Francisco and I want to be reminded of all the things I like about here, even
if it isn't from here.

RF:  Which ones would you grab?

G:  Um... well, the one that has the most words in it, of course, is

RF:  Especially this last issue.

G:  Yeah, so since [Aaron's] my friend, I have to read it because I owe it to
him 'cause he's my friend.  I wouldn't want to give him feedback if I didn't
have any feedback to give.  The problem with that is, if the 'zine is made by
someone who's your friend, you probably know all the shit that's in it already
because they told you while it was happening.  You'll say, "I remember this."
"I remember he told me about this."  "Hey, that's me!"  Whatever.  It's hard to
have an objective sense about it, at least when the 'zine first comes out.  The
ones that my friends give me, I like to sit on them for a little while... wait
until I'm far away and can read it later.  Which I think is frustrating to
them, but that's probably why mine has so many pictures in it -- I want to make
it easy for people to consume on the spot.  I think sometimes people take the
ones with all the words in them and say, "Thanks.  I'll read this later."  And
they totally don't, they just throw it away or whatever.

RF:  What else?  What other 'zines?

G:  Let's see...  Well...

RF:  Let me put you on the spot.

G:  No, no.  This is good.  The one that I like a lot is Scam.  Did you get
that yesterday from Iggy?  Iggy is from Florida, and he's a really, really good
writer.  He made this magazine that's as far as I'm concerned The Punk Fanzine
To End All Punk Fanzines.  You could read Scam and never have to read another
punk fanzine ever, because it's all in there and he's a great writer.  It's
really good.  He's really young, too.  For being such a... I mean, he's got all
these hardships, and he writes about them really eloquently, never losing sight
of the fact that many of them are optional hardships.  He's not a whiner, so
it's not one of those fanzines you read where the person's like, "Oh, I haven't
had a bath!  I need a place to stay!  I can't afford a cup of coffee!"  No no
no, it's bigger than that.  It's hope, and then disappointment.  It's really
great.  That's probably my favorite one.  He's only made two issues.  The
second one just came out, and it's huge.  It's like 100 pages.  It's this big:
8.5" x 11".  You must get it.  What else do I like?  I like comics a lot.
For punk fanzines, I'd say I like Scam and Cometbus -- I read them.  And
then... oh, Biker Pride!  Have you ever seen that one?  It's really weird! 
It's from Milwaukee.  It's a funny shape; it's big pages folded over so it's a
long rectangle, and it's about bikes and anarchy.  There's bike/punk stuff, and
then there's bike messenger stuff, and then there's bike/sports stuff.  This
one, though, is the bike/anarchy thing.  The guy who puts it together, he comes
off... I happen to know that he's kind of a young, relatively resilient and
fresh individual.  But he comes off as being this cynical, totally gnarly...  I
thought he sounded like he was 35 years old and a completely short-fuse kind of
guy.  Cranky or something.  I asked some people from Milwaukee, "So, what's
this guy like?  Is he an old guy?"

     They're like, "Oh, no.  He's like 22."

RF:  He just slips into that mode while writing.

G:  Oh, totally!  He's like Mr. Zero Tolerance, which is cool 'cause a lot
people beat around the bush, and have this false sense of unity.  Especially
about bicycles; it's like the Critical Mass mentality.  "We're all in this
together!"  Well, yes, but we're _not_.  On the back cover of one issue, he had
people send in designs for a spoke gun.  A spoke gun!  A gun, a weapon!  That
fires spokes!  It's crazy!

RF:  So, did he get submissions?

G:  I assume so, but it'll probably have to go on for a couple of months before
he gets the winning applicant.

RF:  Did he say anything about it being mountable?

G:  He just said, "Do whatever you want."  But I thought that was a _gas_!
Especially the kind of thing that people would consider uncool.  Just because
people are on bikes doesn't mean that they're not going to break rules.  It's
kind of weird that my magazine appeals to people who are not punks, and then
they have to constantly confront that.  I don't wear a helmet, and I don't
observe traffic laws and stuff like that.  I'm not all that anti-car.  That's a
BIG SECRET.  Another big secret that I'm going to blab onto this tape.  I mean,
I think they're all right.

     Sometimes, if you do something deviant when you're on a bike, the other
bike people (since they're a downtrodden class of people), they do that thing
where they say, "You're ruining it for all of us."

     And it's like, "Whoa, wait just a minute."  That can be really harsh.
There's a lot of diversity within the bike scene.  You'll recognize all of
these issues from within the Gay Community, which is not exactly a community;
people don't have all that much in common just because they have the same
sexual preference.  It's the same with the bike thing.  Just because they're on
a bike, it doesn't mean they're your friends, or that they're cool, or that
they like you, or are nice, or anything.

RF:  There's that drawing you did of one of your friends on cough syrup with
his t-shirt pulled up over his head.

G:  Yes

RF:  That's hysterical.

G:  That's real, that's from real life.  He did that.  That was Bill.

RF:  Where did he do that?

G:  He did that coming down 14th St. towards Guerrero, kind of going from
Guerrero to Rainbow.

RF:  Jesus Christ!

G:  It was after a party.  He does tricks.

RF:  After a Robo party?

G:  After a Pinex party.

RF:  Ooh.

G:  You're holding your head.  Do you know Pinex?

RF:  No.  I'm just imagining Pine-Sol.

G:  No no no.  Pinex is probably the same as Robitussin, but it's the
concentrated form.  You can't buy it in big cities.  You have to go to Texas to
get it, in the small towns.  It's for people who have a lot of kids, probably,
and like to keep a gallon of that stuff around.  One little bottle of this
stuff, you mix it with like a gallon of honey or caro syrup and water and make
your own.  It's cough syrup mix.  But you get the concentrate and slug it down
and your whole face gets numb.  It's really weird.

RF:  What's it taste like?

G:  It tastes like cough syrup, but not sweet.

RF:  Does it have eucalyptus in it?

G:  Very slightly.  It's drinkable.  It's not so bad.  I think it makes people
very depressed, though...  I think it depresses people.  I've known of a couple
of people who were involved in the Robitussin scene who committed suicide,
actually.  They're not people that I knew well, or even had ever met, but...

RF:  But you know that it actually happened.

G:  Right.  This one guy used to make a fanzine but then he killed himself.  So
that is like the cautionary thing about cough syrup.

RF:  You don't smoke, but you're collecting Marlboro Miles.  I understand that
the promotion ends this month.

G:  Yes.

RF:  You know, on the Internet just two days ago, I saw somebody post on
alt.music.alternative that there's this girl, Greta Shred, who's collecting
Marlboro Miles, and if you have any send them to her.  He posted your address
and everything.

G:  No kidding?

RF:  Yeah.

G:  I love the Internet!  Whoa, that's so cool!  I don't have a computer, but
I've gotten into these heavy arguments with some of my friends...  I don't _do_
the Internet, but I have an appreciation for direct communication.  It's so
similar to fanzines, and people don't even _know_.  A lot of people have that
"destroy TV" kind of attitude toward computers.  It's unfortunate, because I
think that people who could be using them as a communication device, as a
subversive item, they're alienated away on some principle that's inapplicable.
It's the same as... I don't own a car, and I don't drive a car, but I can see
that they're useful.  I used to drive an ambulance, and I would not want to
have to use a bicycle to carry the fuckin' people back and forth to the
hospital.  Excess waste, OK, I'm opposed to that.  But automobiles in and of
themselves -- every automobile is not awful.  The same is true of computers and
computer-based communications.  The potential is really great to get messages
across.  There's a punk cafe in Berkeley, Cafe Med, and they had a SF-Net thing
in there.  And my friends would pull out the plug, cut the cord... do shit like
that and totally sabotage it.  They were like, total sneering, like, "Eww, they
have that thing in here, where we have to sit and make our fanzines."  I guess
people are allowed to hate what they want to hate, but it just seems like it's
a good idea to keep an open mind.  How can you use the tools against them if
you don't know what the tools _are_?

RF:  Last year, a couple of friends of mine went into a cafe that had an SF-Net
terminal real late and picked open the box.  There was a disk in there.  They
took it home and copied it, and then brought it back first thing the next
morning.  It had the terminal program SF-Net runs on.  They disassembled it and
found all the back doors and stuff, and they have sysop control of it.

G:  Wow, that's really cool.  At the very least, you can go in there and plug
your own phone into the little jack and make a couple of calls.  To say that
computers are automatically horrible... I got in a huge fight with a good
friend of mine over it, recently.  It was the worst fight I've ever had with a
friend.  _Ever_.  And after it was over, we were both like, "Oh, god.  That was
horrible."  We didn't talk for a week, but we made up after then.  It was over
_that_, and I was just like, "How can you be so 'anti' something you don't know
anything about?"  It's the same thing.  I don't have a computer, and I don't
sit in front of it 90 hours a day, but I still think that it's cool.

RF:  What are you planning on putting in your next issue about computers?

G:  I don't know yet.  I don't know yet.  Peter from Wind Chill Factor is gonna
write something.  I'm just hoping that people who are familiar with Mudflap
will write some interesting things for people who don't understand how computer
stuff might be interesting to them.

RF:  Make it appealing to them?

G:  Not necessarily to sell it, but to explain it a little bit for people who
don't have computers.  Because people don't have to go get 'em; I'm not saying
that they have to be on the Internet.  I'm not on the Internet.  But I hear
stuff through the Internet from other people who will print it out and give it
to me.  That's basically like being involved, even if you're not there. 
Someone else gets something and gives it to you.  Great.  I would like to show
some things about it that would keep some people from having the blinder
mentality.  I don't use a computer to make the 'zine at all.  Sometimes people
will give me things that are typed on a computer, and that's okay.  I'll use
it.  Mainly, I just don't like the way they look.  But they're convenient.
When I did have a computer, I used to write stuff on a computer and then
rewrite it by hand.

RF:  What kind of computer did you have?

G:  It was an IBM.  I sold it to Lynn from TRIBE 8.  She uses it at her
messenger company now.  Tom Jennings came in and fixed it once.  He sold it to
me originally, and it has this solitaire program on it... I got a little bit (I
won't say addicted)... it's just so relaxing, to just tap the little thing.

     People would say, "Why can't you use real cards?"

     I'm like, "This shuffling stuff is not for me.  There's too much time
wasted shuffling."  It was really relaxing when I was writing a couple of
grants, trying to get grant money for a movie.  After each page, I would go to
solitaire for about a half hour to relax.  It's very relaxing to play

     One day, Tom came over while I was in the middle of this huge, huge grant
proposal, and he says, "This thing moves so slow.  Let me fix this up for you."
And then he just starting typing a billion miles a minute, and all this stuff
is flying past on the screen.

     I'm like, "What are you doing?  What are you doing?"

     He's like, "It'll work a lot faster now."

     Not only did it work a lot faster, but I couldn't get the solitaire
program to work anymore.  The little thing would come up and say there's an
error somewhere, and I'm like, "TOM!  TOM!  COME BACK!  FIX IT!"  And he was
busy and couldn't come back for a long time.  That's probably why I sold it.

RF:  That's sad.  Right now at my company, I do tech support but I answer the
mail.  That's all I do -- answer the mail.  There's one guy who answers mail,
and that's me now.  But I used to answer the phones, and during that I would
just play some game.  Solitaire was good because it never took that much
attention, you could still focus on the person at the other end...

G:  Yeah, yeah.

RF:  I got into railroad games after a while, and the customers always took the
second seat in my mind.  I always forgot what they were talking about.

G:  Really?  I had a brief period of playing Tetris, but people could hear
that.  I don't know if I had a volume control on my monitor, but people could
hear the Tetris, and they would say, "You're playing Tetris."

     And I would say, "I am not."

     Then they would say, "I can hear those little keys tapping.  You're
playing some game."

     "No, no -- I'm not!  I'm not!"  At my job, you know.  But with solitaire,
it's with a mouse.  They couldn't hear that.

RF:  When's the deadline for submissions?

G:  End of May, because I'm going to do the next one in June.

RF:  When did you start hopping trains, and how did you hear about it?  Why did
you want to do it?  Etc?

G:  I wanted to go places for free, that's why.  The guy who had his shirt up
over his head with the cough syrup... I mean, we did it at home, when I was
little, but that doesn't count because we would just get on by my house and
then go downtown.  It wasn't as involved as it really is.

RF:  How old were you when you did _that_?

G:  Like, eight.  The train went right past our house.  I guess we lived on the
other side of the tracks...  But we always knew where the train went, because
it just went downtown.  But trying to cover a lot of miles on a train, that
just happened in the last four years.  It was through that guy, Bill.  A lot of
people do it now.  I'll say one thing that's weird about it: there's more
people doing it, and it's hotter -- it's more difficult -- to do now because
it's crowded.  People are on the lookout for who they consider to be
inexperienced assholes from the city trying to do some Daniel Boone thing.
They'll bust you.  Before, they wouldn't look at you twice.  They're not so
worried if a bum or a wino gets on the train and has some sort of accident,
because the bum or wino is probably not going to have a family that will sue
the railroad.

     But when you think about it, the idea of having those huge monster things
rolling around in an open city (which is what they do -- anyone can get in
there; they're not fenced-off or anything), it really is a huge liability that
they've basically gotten away with for years and years.  Think of a ride at
Disneyworld.  You can't go anywhere except where they have you.  You can't be
in unauthorized space.  It's forbidden.  But with trains, it's like the danger
is just as big, but it's been this unmentionable thing.  I don't think they
really want to deal with it, so the solution is to hire more security people,
which they will.  So that's the unfortunate thing about it.  But, the
interesting thing is it's free.  That's the bottom line for me.  This train is
going to this place anyway; it might as well take you.  Some people say they've
had these experiences where they meet these illustrious characters on trains. 
That's never happened to me.  I've only met either old guys who were completely
paralyzed by alcoholism and terminally unable to talk, or else the
weasely-looking younger guys who just want to steal all your stuff and kill
you.  But, it's a combination of where you go, what kind of train you're on
(slow one or a fast one), and stuff like that.

RF:  One of the dangers you mentioned in your 'zine is that you could get
inside a boxcar and the doors could close on you, and you'd be locked in.  Has
that ever happened to you?

G:  No, that's never happened to me.  I don't think it happens very often. 
Many people will go only in boxcars that have two open doors.  There's a door
on either side.  That way, it's very unlikely that you'll get locked in.  The
doors open in two different directions, so if the braking or some sort of
motion like that causes one door to slam shut, it's probably not going to shut
both, because the other one's going to wedge open.  But, if you get into a car
that only has one door open, and it's only open a foot, then OK, that could be
a possibility.

     Also, they have metal floors.  They're not made of wood anymore, and so
you can't carve your way out.  In the '30s when stuff like that would happen,
people were sometimes able to kick their way out or carve their way out.  I
think that probably the greatest danger if you're going north of here is other
bums.  They can be really gnarly.  There's a lot of 'em up there, and they're
competing for stuff.  They're competing for resources, they're competing for
rides, and they're younger... younger than ancient wino guys.  That's one
thing.  Another is a derailment.  They don't happen very often, but if the
train derails, it's hard to imagine escaping serious injury.  Once, on that
trip to L.A. that I wrote about, the train the day before had derailed.  That
was the one that went through all those apartment buildings.  It was because of
a shopping cart or some kind of debris on the tracks.  We didn't think about it
at the time, except like, "Wasn't _our_ train."  'Cause by the time you get
there, you're tired, you're exhausted, you're filthy.  You can't be thinking
about danger every second.  But in retrospect, I've thought about that.  What
would have happened if we took the train the day before?  I've never known
anyone who was on a train when it derailed, but it's going so fast and then it
flies off -- you would just _fling_, you know?  You would just... _shooo_!  It
would be really out of control.

RF:  When you write an issue of Mudflap, it seems like you're accumulating
material from different days, or the month or whatever.  I mean, you'll write
something and then set it aside, or do you write it in one whole thing?

G:  Well, the SECRET is...

RF:  Another secret.

G:  Another secret.  The secret is I'm not a very good writer.  I have a
terrible memory -- it's like a sieve, it's awful.  And so, I have to take notes
constantly or else I'll forget.  If I don't write down everything, then I'll
remember that there was something I wanted to put in, but I won't remember what
it is.  Which is unusual, because I don't smoke pot or anything.  I barely
drink beer.  It's not like I have chemical damage.  But I have this really bad

     So I take notes on stuff, and then I write it out.  And then it sounds
stupid.  And then I rewrite it, and rewrite it.  I end up usually writing it
about three or four or five times over.  I will make a list, write down ideas
of stuff I want to talk about so that I don't forget them.  I compile my notes,
and maybe get some photographs or drawings or something, and then I usually do
the magazine in a whole month solid.  I'll just take a month (this time, it was
January), and just spend the whole month at home, writing these things over and
over and doing basically nothing else.  If I write something in advance, and
keep it a three-page thing written, then when it comes time to put the whole
thing together, it usually doesn't fit right, and I end up having to change it
anyway.  So it seems better to write the things I have to write all at once.
Does that make sense?

RF:  Yeah.  The reason why I asked is because either you have a bad memory
about what you write down, or you write something in your 'zine that you never
really intended to write in your 'zine, and then it just sort of ends up there.
Because when people ask you about things later, you're totally shocked that
people know these things about you.

G:  Oh, that's horrible!  It's true, though!  Actually, somebody asked me about
the orange jacket.  That was so funny.  I had this orange jacket that was wool
and had white sleeves, actually my boyfriend has it now and I had this dream
about him wearing it and it upset me very much.  Not that he was wearing my
orange jacket, but that I knew it was him because he was wearing the orange
jacket, which is now _his_ orange jacket.

     I had mentioned it, I guess, in one of the Mudflaps.  "All I have is this
rotten orange jacket with a big stain on it that I think is vomit."  ('Cause I
found it.)  And then, I was at somebody's house, and I said something like, "I
have nothing.  This is really fucked-up!"

     I was bummed out about something, and they said, "Yeah, all you got's that
orange jacket..."

     And I said, "How do you know about my orange jacket?!"  I was defensive
and shocked.  "How do you know about my orange jacket?" I said.

     Then he's like, "I read it in your magazine, DUH."

     And I thought, "Oh, shit.  That's right."  I guess 'cause I'm not there
when people read it, that I have the continual illusion that people don't
really read all of it.  Or they don't really read it at all, or something.
Probably, if it fully became clear to me that people read it, then I would
probably be too shy to write it anymore.  Oh, there was something else, too.
Oh, see, with the movies, you have to go there every once in a while and they
ask you to show up if it's local.  They show every once in a while around town;
they're not on a schedule.  But when you see people watching a movie, it's
totally different from when you watch it by yourself.  It's like you can feel
what people are thinking about watching your movie, even if they don't say
anything.  You can feel how people are responding to stuff.

     But with the magazine I never get to do that, because people read it at
home.  It's almost like that you don't really know if people are reading the
stuff because you're not there.  That's probably good, that's probably why I
can tell such horrible, personal things about myself and not feel completely

RF:  The strange thing is, all the people I know that are familiar with your
'zine read it diligently.

G:  Oh, they do?

RF:  And then I know other people who have just never heard of it.  It's like
one or the other.  It's not like, "Oh, yeah... I know what you're talking
about."  It's like, "Yes!  And in issue this, this, this, this..."

G:  No way!  That's cool.

RF:  People know it encyclopediacally.

G:  Well, it probably makes more sense that way, because sometimes if I give
people just one issue and they don't see the others, they're not quite sure
what's going on, or what it's about.  I think it makes more sense as a series.
Some things happen in one and other things happen in a later one that reflects
back to it.  The sleeping bag, for instance.  I almost have enough for the
sleeping bag.

RF:  Cool.  What are you going to buy?

G:  I'm going to buy a sleeping bag, and if I have enough I'm going to buy a
watch.  But mainly, it's just the Marlboro Miles sleeping bag I need.

RF:  Well, I hope you get 'em in the next two weeks.

G:  I think I will.  This guy Travis has a bunch of 'em.

RF:  I asked everybody at work, nobody has 'em.

G:  Nobody?

RF:  They've been giving them to like their dads and stuff.

G:  I find 'em around here a lot.  And it's cool, too, because the Menthol
Lights are the rarest of the rare.  My friend Nosmo, who's collecting them with
me (he had already agreed that we would share whatever we got), he had found
some menthol ones one day and then someone had traded him two regulars for one
menthol, 'cause they're green and you hardly ever see those.

RF:  Are they worth the same to the Marlboro company?

G:  Yes.  I wouldn't have given 10 miles of regular for a green one, 'cause I
don't really care.  I want to add 'em up.  But it's kind of cool when you find
a green one, especially a green one that's light.  Marlboro Menthol Lights? 
Who smokes that shit?  I don't even think I've ever seen 'em for sale.
Plus, I have to admit that getting something for free from the tobacco industry
when I don't smoke is cool.

RF:  Yeah.

G:  That's pretty cool.  Am I answering the questions?  I'm sorry, I'm just
blabbing and chatting.  I'm probably not getting to the point.  When I did the
interview in the last issue with that guy, it was like an hour and a half worth
of tape.  A lot of it, I realized, is like these tangents we got off onto
'cause we were chatting.  I kept thinking, "Aw, shit -- that's right... the
interview!"  So, when it came time to transcribe it, I paid the piper.

RF:  How do you know that Al Sobrante raced in front of a moving train and...

G:  Oh, 'cause he told me about that.  I said, "That's the coolest thing I've
ever heard.  I can't believe it.  That's amazing."  It wasn't moving very fast,
you know.  It was moving slow.  When they move at slow speeds, it's pretty
slow.  But the idea of being confident enough in your jumping to jump up there?
That's crazy!  That's totally crazy.  And so, when I had asked him that last
question, "What's the daredevilest thing you ever did?"  I was trying to get
him to say that, 'cause I thought there can't be anything else that's crazier
than that.  But he didn't say it, so I had to put it in there anyway.  I felt

RF:  Are you working on any movies?

G:  Kind of.  I don't know what I'm doing with it, though.  I want to make a
movie about skate hockey.  A bunch of my friends play skate hockey.  They're
funny, and it's a cool game, and I like sports.  And so I thought, "I can make
a little documentary about this."  Once you go to film festivals and those film
screenings, people make movies that are nice movies, but when they're making
documentaries, frequently the subject matter is so boring.  Or else, it's grim,
like everybody talking about their childhood incest experiences and it's
depressive.  So the last couple of movies I've made have been successful
strictly because they're the bright spot on the fucking program.

     People think, "Oh, yeah... life is worth living!  I forgot!"  So, in one
of them I put this punk song, right in the middle.  It's like this punk break.
Everybody's riding skating and riding bikes.  And it's right smack in the
middle of this movie about the end of the world.  Everyone starts nodding their
heads, getting into it -- it's almost manipulative.  It's like, "Now you must
have a good time for a few minutes and get physical in some way."  So, it's an
experiment to make a film about something that's energetic and cool and
interesting, and then get these stodgy people to look at 'em.  They're the
people who have money, so you have to play their game a little bit.

RF:  Are you reading any books right now?

G:  Yes!  I'm reading that book about the Sex Pistols, the name of which I can
never remember.

RF:  _England's Dreaming_.

G:  Yes.  I'm reading that one, and someone just lent me _City of Quartz_,
which everybody's read but me.  It's about L.A.  What else am I reading?  I'm
halfway through _Neuromancer_ -- I'll never finish it, I'm sure.  Someone told
me the other day, "Oh, yeah.  It took me a year to read."  OK, good, 'cause
it'll take me about a year.

RF:  Seems like all the rest of them in that series, _Count Zero_, _Mona Lisa
Overdrive_, they're all the same, except they're watered-down versions of

G:  I read _Count Zero_.  I liked it, 'cause that kid was like the bad kid.  He
was a nerd, and I thought, "Yeah!  All right!  The nerd!"  I read _Virtual
Light_, and I've totally gone through them backwards...  In _Virtual Light_,
everybody was totally movie-style.  Tell me this: what is it with these black
jeans?  Everybody was wearing black jeans in all the William Gibson books.  It
reminded me of J.G. Ballard and the white jeans, everybody wears white jeans in
J.G. Ballard's stuff.

RF:  I never noticed that.

G:  They all wear black jeans in Gibson.  It's not like: "He pulled down his
pants."  It's: "He pulled down his BLACK JEANS."  And I think, "Oh Jesus.
What's with this?  Is this supposed to mean something and I don't get it?"

RF:  What was the deal with the "between her legs" thing you wrote about?

G:  Oh!  There were all these references that were almost like half-assed
attempts at being subliminally sexual or something by referring to her with her
bicycle as: "...when she had the bike BETWEEN HER LEGS!" you know?  Then,
there's this other weird section during a chase scene.  They're all in this
Winnebago together, and the villain makes her like pull her pants down and sit
on the motor -- she's straddling the motor with her pants down, for some
reason.  He's not really looking at her or anything.  It's just really weird.
And I'm thinking, "What is this in here for?"  It made me very uncomfortable
for the author.  I was embarrassed for him, thinking, "No, no -- you _don't_
need to pull her pants down here."  It was weird, and I found that to be
troubling, just because I didn't know what that's supposed to mean in the book
and it seemed really unnecessary.  It wasn't so bad, though -- that book.  Do
you think they'll make a movie out of it?

RF:  I'm not sure about _Virtual Light_, but _Neuromancer_ I'm sure.

G:  Really?

RF:  I'm sure.  It's just a matter of time.

G:  It's been a long time.

RF:  Yeah, but I think people are still coming to grips with the material and
how you could shoot it, and also I think it's still got sort of a niche hook.
Not too many people are gonna go see a movie about it, because nobody notices
it.  What I really want to see is _Snowcrash_ made into a movie.

G:  Oh, that would be great.  I think that would be great.  I liked _Snowcrash_
a lot.  Especially reading it after _Virtual Light_.  I realize that the
comparisons are odious, but it was written earlier and at first the
similarities were suspect to me.  I thought, "Why would somebody write another
book about a messenger and a stolen thing, so close together?"

RF:  One thing I really liked about _Snowcrash_ was that it was a real cynical
look at the future, it was even more cynical than William Gibson's books,
'cause the whole entire government had collapsed and even the Mafia had become
a respectable business, now that the government was totally blown apart.

G:  Yes, and I like the was commercialism was represented.  And the thing about
if your pizza was late, you got like...

RF:  Uncle Enzo would come and kiss your shoes.

G:  Yeah, and the helicopter would descend, and it was like this total media
event that was ostensibly happy, you know?  Whereas in the Gibson books, there
weren't any happy things.  Everything's dark dark dark.  In reality, there
would still be some dim-bulbs wandering through life thinking, "Everything's
fine!"  That part of it I really appreciated.

RF:  It was really humorous.

G:  Plus, she gets to have sex with that guy.

RF:  I thought that was completely fucked-up.

G:  I thought it was good, if only for token reasons, if only just because she
wanted to, and she's like 15, and instead of being pushed into something
unwillingly... in _Virtual Light_, the heroine has to have her pants pulled
down, and she never gets to have sex with anybody.  OK, so that's one option:
not to have sex at all.  The other option, of course, is to be forced into some
sort of sexual thing, which is very outmoded.  But in _Snowcrash_... 

[end of tape, end of file]
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