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CIPC #6: Robbedoes 1980/33, Klont

Today we’re going to do something a bit more obscure. So obscure, in fact, that the moniker ‘popular culture’ can barely be justified. Yes, today we leave the burning bright spotlights of hit TV-series and the booming, amped-up volume of big rock concerts to dive into the foreboding depths of long forgotten comic books series. Today, we bid farewell to glamour and fortune. Today, we deal with Klont. Yes, Klont. It is a comic series which ran for a short while in Flemish comic magazine Robbedoes, didn’t get picked up, and disappeared like a raindrop in the ocean of Belgium’s gigantic comic scene.1 The comic is centred on the adventures of a bearded college-age guy. In our episode of today, which comes from Robbedoes‘ 33th issue of 1980, we find him in a lesson about electronics.

Robbedoes 1980 No.33, Klont

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CIPC #5: Manic street preachers, It’s not war (just the end of love)

Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! I got my first suggestion! That’s an important moment in the life of a young blog. So exciting! Less exciting is the fact that it’s about a pop song. A pop song.1 That’s about the last place where I would expect a chess reference. It happens in a song with the pseudo-profound title it’s not war (just the end of love) by a band called manic street preachers2 . It’s a rather sordid affair, really. The text is filled with irritating half rhymes, utterly devoid of both meaning and meter, and the music is in a rather standard song form with stereotypical orchestration. The music video is more interesting. Even though the song is quite recent, it very much breathes a cold war atmosphere. Just look at this still shot:Manic Street Preachers, It's not war (just the end of love)

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CIPC #4: Agatha Christie’s Poirot S5 E6: The chocolate box

Belgium is a strange, strange country. I don’t mean the bizarre borders1 , the incredibly complicated politics2 , or the fact that there’s a Belgian chess history site. No, I mean the fact that Belgium’s most famous inhabitants are all fictional.3 What Belgians are reasonably well-known internationally? Tintin maybe? Or the smurfs? Lucky Luke? Dr. Evil? Or our protagonist for today: Hercule Poirot, probably the most famous detective since Sherlock Holmes. He stars in an astonishing amount of books, some films, radio dramas, and our topic of today: a long lasting television series. In episode six of season five, Poirot returns to Belgium. About halfway through the episode, we get to see one of the rarest sights nature has to offer: people playing chess in Belgium.

Agatha Christie's Poirot S5 E6 The Chocolate Box

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CIPC #3: Port mortem

“Post mortem” is the slightly macabre but very apt term chess players use for the after-game analysis with one’s opponent, where one looks at the most useless variations and is astonished by one’s own stupidity. So when I encountered the 2002 computer game called “post mortem” I hoped, for just a happy second, that it would be chess themed. Such, alas, is not the case. Instead, it is a murder mystery point-and-click game. You take on the role of Gus MacPherson, a former private eye working as a painter in Paris. He is called back to his former job to investigate the murder of two other Americans. It’s a rather messy affair, with decapitations, blood spatters, ritual murders – all standard stuff. Until you stumble upon the following gruesome scene:

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CIPC #2: The mentalist, S1 E3: Red tide

I have quite a high tolerance for mediocre mystery fiction – and “mediocre mystery fiction” happens to be a perfect description of the American television series The Mentalist. It’s about Patrick Jane, a former psychic who helps the police as a consultant. His wife and daughter have been killed, but he is played by Simon Baker so that evens out. In episode three of the first season, Red tide, we can spot him – or rather his right hand, like Nessie chomping down on a bishop – playing chess with a surfer dude:

The Mentalist S1 E3 The Red Tide 2

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CIPC #1: The smurfs, Vol.10: The Smurf Soup

Ah, the Smurfs! The little blue guys don’t need an introduction, I think, but I will give them one anyway. Here goes: the smurfs were, according to wikipedia, introduced by Peyo in Johan and Peewit in 1958 and got their own series the year after. Since then, they have become what is perhaps Belgium’s most famous export product.1 Here, the smurfs are in the middle of a game of chess with live pieces.

De Smurfen Vol.10 Smurfensoep

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