Mecca Mettle: By Tomas M. Disch, Blöödhag, and Tim Kirk, 102 pgs., hardbound, with CD By Todd Taylor

          I’m a big fan of hard work and extremely dumb shit (And I say that as high praise). It’s a rare case when “wouldn’t it be funny if…” and a full-scale project actually come to fruition. Case in point: all four members of Blöödhag, progenitors of NorthWest EduCore, not only have the gravitas to put pen to paper and provide excellent excerpts from their extended bibliographies—stories ranging from drug-induced hallucinations to The Chronicles of Mighty Payloader—the book itself is exquisitely appointed. Five-time Hugo award winner Tim Kirk provides the illustrations. The book’s hardbound and numbered and signed by all those involved (including the publisher, who has wonderful penmanship). It makes me happy that what could be merely a kitschy gesture—“Dude, it’s a lit-grindcore band! Bro, Phillip K. Dick and Anal Cunt, but with real words!” followed by headbutting—is such plowable creative ground with more than eight years of fertile topsoil. Blöödhag, bless ‘em. They play actual libraries. They put out a real book. They record actual albums. They’re not just a figment of my imagination. And it’s all in the name of good fun, literacy, and the grand gesture that nothing but nothing is more punk rock than learning, trying to be smarter than those who control us, and pushing every little boundary, page by page. –Todd (Payseur & Schmidt, c/o Alice Schmidt, PO Box 61249, Seattle, WA 98141)