Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Open mic

So last Friday 4th May, I broke my record of successive bouts of cold feet and dove, not quite headlong, into the limpid pool of performance art, that is: I took part in an open mic event at a local cafe. If by chance you're contemplating a similar excursion, I can state that, while the anticipation of such an endeavour might be uncomfortable, cold sweat, palpitations etcetera, the actual performance is really quite a pleasant experience. In fact I'd go as far to say that's it's quite invigorating, a bit of a blast even.

The nerves stayed with me a bit through the performance, I couldn't find my best poem, even though it was right there in the notes. That's a bit of a shame really because it was a bit more mellow in tone than the stuff I did use, which was, except for the opening number, all quite intense. Even with my opener though, I may have detected a sharp intake of breath in response to the opening verse.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Whose diary?

A good few years ago now I made a visit to the Turner collection at the Tate Gallery. I was with a friend, I'll say she was a close personal friend, so it was kinda natural that we'd go on a visit to London together. I'm not exactly sure how I was expecting the visit to got but I was really looking forward to it, however this close personal friend decided for, whatever reason, that she take the opportunity to demonstrate how blithe indifference, thoughtlessness and lack of regard for others can turn a simple trip into a nightmare. Almost as soon as we crossed the threshold of the establishment of interest she started with her 'I don't think much of this... it's just a mess' and 'my little niece could do better'. Okay so one might expect a little dismay at first from someone who hitherto had little exposure to the world of art history or Turner. After some judicious instruction one might expect to quell most such disquiet to find it displaced by a sense of inquiry spurred by curiosity at a new experience. Er--no such luck in this case, not only did my ministrations fall on deaf ears, she seemed intent on pressing her opinions repeatedly and, I'm afraid to say, extremely vocally.

I've been on dozens to trips to art galleries and good few of 'em with friends who were totally unacquainted with the world of fine art and this is the only instance that one of those companions behaved in such a manner. I feel I should stress now just how tedious and embarrassing her behaviour became. It seemed as if the mere sight of a group of gallery goers staring in quite appreciation at a painting, would goad her into action. She'd saunter up to 'em as close as she could and say something like, 'Tuh! I don't get what the fuss is about'. Since that day I've spent many hours wishing I'd found the strength of will to strangle her to death in front of the Fighting Temeraire. I'm sure after the testimony of the many gallery goers who witnessed her behaviour that day, I would've been acquitted on the grounds of provocation and mental suffering.

Anyway, what this little anecdote is meant to illustrate is the principle that inconsiderate behaviour doesn't have to be extreme to cause distress and offence. It can be something as seemingly innocuous as person expressing an opinion on art. I feel sure this kind of thing has happened to you, I personally think of this as my Alf Garnett day. It was like one of those instances where Alf would be attempting to listen to the radio or maybe watch the Queen's speech on telly. Alf would be trying to get a bit of culture and his efforts would be sabotaged by Dandy Nichols and the other philistines who surrounded him. It is though in George Grossmith's Diary of a Nobody, where I feel this kind of experience has been most aptly exemplified. If ever you find yourself having a bad day at the hands of a person or persons like my close personal friend grab a copy of the diary to reassure yourself you're not alone.

Thursday, 19 April 2018


Is it me or is every novel published after 1997 either overwritten by approximately 30,000 to 60,000 words or essentially a short story buffed out to 45,000 words and type set with double spacing?

Thursday, 1 March 2018

"Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown..." et cetera...

How about some links to the first published Conan short story by Robert E Howard? I've reformatted the text into something on the smaller side of a trade paperback, and there's even a choice of font. Bembo is the standard for pretty much every pulp publication and mass market paperback. Garamond though has what are called text figures and they read nicer. This is actually quite a nice version of Garamond with the exception of a wonky z.

The Phoenix on the Sword by Robert E Howard, Bembo font

The Phoenix on the Sword by Robert E Howard, Garamond font

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

I found a scan of a very old illustration, which has got me slightly puzzled. How did I get away with flogging this tat? I can't quite recall why but I've chosen to execute this in Conte pencil, which is the most dreadful medium in the world to draw with, scrapey and scratchy, with absolutely no consistency in line at all. And what's up with the hands, fingers long enough for you? I seem to be having a Jack Kirby moment there.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Les Dawson

Gay marriage--any gay married couples here tonight?

Gay marriage--does anyone else see a contradiction there.

I used to be gay--I mean married. The wife said to me, 'I've had enough, things are going to change around here'.

'Really--light of my life [ironic] what's wrong?'

'You're sexist' she said.

Me? [quietly with gesture to audience]

'You take me for granted and don't appreciate me'

I says to her 'We can work this out my precious, I know it seems as though some problems are insurmountable but together we can do anything'.

Then we had this little moment together, you know--she looked in my eyes, tearing up a little. I stood there all stoic--put my arm around her'.

Then I whisper to her, 'You've just have put that little extra effort into getting the sleeves on my shirts right'.

--should be a laugh here--