War Time Smile and the Return of John Reidy

The Hooligan was one of the best zines ever to come out of Denver: brash, rude, often offensive, and even more frequently snort-the-beverage-of-your-choice-outta-each-nostril funny. John Reidy, the prose hooligan behind The Hooligan, kept the pub alive through a slew of permutations -- print only, online only and occasionally in both formats. But he eventually decided to shelve the project because, as he writes in his new zine, War Time Smile, "I don't want to be the Billy Corgan of underground magazines."

Would that be a bad thing? Given that Reidy feels Corgan "is the human equivalent to having insects lay eggs in your pee hole," the answer would seem to be "yes." Yet Reidy, who briefly freelanced at Westword after putting The Hooligan in its grave, found zines too addictive a habit to kick cold turkey, and that's a very good thing.

Unsurprisingly (and blessedly), War Time Smile, a pocket-sized volume that can be found in the occasional club or music outlet, showcases Reidy's usual quirks and obsessions. It opens with an essay that rants about the evils of a certain George W. Bush even as it targets those too blinkered or ignorant to notice or care before offering up a slew of generalized pop-culture observations; a Q&A with Tokyo Police Club; an advice column featuring the inspired title "Ask a Guy on Colfax;" a staggeringly detailed critical debate over the worth of the Fleetwood Mac album Rumours that pits Reidy against another former Westword contributor, Jason Heller; and a closing essay from guest columnist Matt Weatherford that begins with the phrase "Dear Mensa Jerks."

Put that in your thinking cap.

By the way, War Time Smile is sponsoring a contest that asks respondents to come up with their "best text/email abbreviation": the example mentioned is SOMF, which translates as "Shit on My Face." Two tickets to a July 21 show at the Larimer Lounge starring the aforementioned Tokyo Police Club are up for grabs. Send your entries to [email protected] -- or check out the War Time Smile blog by clicking here, and enjoy even more examples of Reidy being Reidy.

It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it -- and Billy Corgan was already booked. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts