Daily Miltonian Presents: The Bader/Zahradnik Notes

In the interest of preserving the always-interesting stories behind the the people who bring you your Daily Miltonian, Fort Saint Davids is proud to present a recent afternoon’s correspondence between Miltonian Principals Alexander Zahradknik and Erik Bader.  Longtime close and faithful readers will recall our 2006 explorations into the unbelievably awful genre (that we had discovered and thus coined) “Eighties Desert Music” and the following exchange further explores this kind of brave, unflinching approach to History as only we at the Miltonian know it.  Enjoy.


On Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 7:34 AM, Alexander Zahradnik wrote:

i want to explore another 80’s genre that i didn’t like very much. it’s much shittier and much more crushing than 80’s desert. this one is much harder to describe so i’m just going to list elements from it:
rainy urban streets
red neon shining through crummy hotel room blinds casting stripey shadows on the wall
underpinnings of prostitution
“supertramp”-style sleazy saxophones
80’s noir so like the guys are dressed up like costumed sleek 30’s detectives but their shitty bushy 80’s hair is always puffing up under their fedoras
smells like bad pizza; the feeling of being out in the rain in the city, and the piping hot stretchy pizza cheese that you are eating slaps you in the chin and burns your skin
fear of urban areas
cobblestones, but no sense of history
intertwining networks of alleyways like every city is 17th-century london

what is that genre? what are its cultural precedents? what paved the way? the sleazy sax is a key element



On Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 10:07 AM, Erik Bader wrote:

It’s post white flight post crack near bankruptcy in cities like LA Philly and New York.

Think Philly in mannequin, trading places. bums near firecans.

WATCHMEN the comic

dark knight returns (frank miller)


urban scenes outside arcade in TRON

80s cities were beyond fucked up

crack and graffitti

for digital images, refer to games streets of rage, vigilante, bad dudes, renegade and double dragon

a bandana, nunchucks and a basic knowledge of the martial arts were key to survival

those were the urban streets of the 80s


Feb 19 (2 days ago)
Erik Bader
to Alexander

ALSO OMG think about the alleys in the Terminator…like 40 bums sleeping behind a dumpster, helicopter strobes overhead, barking dogs and rats running everywhere

always some random leather jacketed ‘gang member’ on some kind of drugs with a switchblade

‘gimme ya clothes’



On Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 10:42 AM, Alexander Zahradnik wrote:

yeah yeah but think about the music that accompanies this all

fuggen sleaziest rapesax

omg so sick

you’re totally right about the crack – that’s the precedent

in the 50’s and 60’s the inner cities were cool, jewish, beatnik, west side story dance musical places.
the 70’s you see what’s that movie French Connection? that’s the beginning of the end.

next thing you know, 80’s noir
what was with all the 20’s and 30’s detective themes recurring in the 80’s??
you think white people viewed themselves as vigilantes against this black crack epidemic, and the most readily accessible stylistic reference they could latch onto was that of the old hollywood “bogie” archetype – but they just fucked it up way bad.

listen to how “crack vigilante/watchmen” careless whispers is
also-machine man
‘za for pizza and ro’s for robots


On Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 11:45 AM, Erik Bader wrote:

Alex please watch this video:

As a pre-teen this pretty much defined 80’s teen culture to me.  Beyond sleeeeze rapesax outdoor concert with teens going wild, ‘courtship’ consisting of staring at the gyrating girl of your choice, urged on no doubt by the beyondo sick sounds of huge/muscular rapesax music with quasi-posi lyrics like I STILL BELIEVE, flames rising at random off of the firebreathing stage, “primitive” style rituals and Tiki torches.  I was still into comic books and Transformers, late-teens were a total brace-faced alien race to me.



6 thoughts on “Daily Miltonian Presents: The Bader/Zahradnik Notes

  1. You two have really distilled the crucial elements of this familar but difficult-to-define genre.

    In addition to the worthy pieces you mention, I’d like to add Blade Runner and Akira. You’ve got both war-in-the-streets, and the sad saxophones.

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