Category Archives: ongoing saga

A Bigger Loss Than Anticipated

“A bigger loss than anticipated.

You ask yourself where you live. It is a country of raised eyebrows, deep scepticism, and of keeping things as they are in case they get worse. It is a country that believes in the NHS but will risk its future because it is sceptical about threats to demolish it. It is a country with a fragmented working class base with a fragmented sense of identity. It has no great opinion of itself but will not be told by others that it should have a low opinion of itself. Fuck you, it replies. It is several countries not one. Its sleep too is fragmented. In the morning it raises its eyebrows while one part then another breaks off. It needs to be addressed patiently, with deadly honesty, with some appreciation of its intelligence, even with some affection, especially by those who want it to change, to move from acts of individual altruism (of which it has plenty) to one of socially cohesive altruism. It needs stop raising its eyebrows. It needs to see the greater good against the cost. It needs to say, now and then, fuck the cost. The gain is greater.”
By George Szirtes, snagged from here: http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/whatever-it-is-were-against-it-3/

Honestly, it made me incredibly sad, but also oddly comforted, to see someone articulate this so well, because it’s something I’ve been getting steadily more frustrated and upset by as those actual ordinary people on the left and the right push further away from each other – with the help of self-appointed wobbly, affable totems like Nigel Farage and Russell Brand – these last few years and months and days.

My friends online – largely big hearted small “l” liberal or left-leaning – are understandably frustrated and angry today, and I get it. I do.
But I also worry that, as the trend seems to be in our culture at the moment, that anger will just get worse and make us less rather than more communicative and coherent.

Are people who voted against what we believe in all evil?

I don’t think so, but then I’ve always been uncomfortable with the binary magic-thinking of people being either “evil” or “good”.

I do believe that most people will not specifically and knowingly vote for the deaths of the children of the poor. I sincerely don’t believe that more than half the people in this country are deliberately “evil”.
(The key words there being “specifically”, “deliberately” and “knowingly”. When talking about the distribution of nuanced ideas, distinctions like this are important.)

Are they stupid?

We’re supposed to be the ones who get it. We complain endlessly about how stretched the education system is, and how hamstrung teachers are by government mandate, and how much our political establishment cuts off the poor from the most basic access to facilities, and how smart our media (even the BBC! Even the GUARDIAN!) is at whittling away our critical faculties and pushing narratives. We kind of get, or at least have heard of, cognitive biases, and know that we’re ALL susceptible to having them tweaked and fucked with. We used our understanding of herd mentality to explain why decent people turned violent during the protests a few years back.
We should know better than to write people off as stupid, based on a tick in a box. At worst, they’re ignorant. Most likely, they just weren’t bombarding themselves with the same data you were. Because most people DON’T go looking for more information once they’ve found or been given a solution that sounds, you know, maybe right.

It’s a useful rhetoric device to spit these accusations, and ones like them, at the people who didn’t vote our way, & understandable in anger, but from tomorrow we should probably start working on how to communicate better across the whole electorate.
This division and inability to understand each other only helps the people who want to rule us, and they’re getting better at taking advantage of it.

Shameless Post About Podcasts

There’s a podcast called The Chick Whisperer. It’s exactly what it sounds like. It has 60 ratings on iTunes. So I’d very much like it if you could listen to one or more of the podcasts I do, & go review it on iTunes, maybe tell people you know online or off who might like it about it.

Even if you don’t like it, leave some feedback.

Because I try not to let audience size get to me, but for fuck’s sake. I know we’re not amazing, but I know we’re at least pretty damn good, and there’s A PODCAST. CALLED THE CHICK WHISPERER. THAT GETS MORE LOVE than any of the shows I do.

That doesn’t seem right.

If you don’t think you like podcasts, but you like listening to talky radio, you should give them a try. iTunes makes it half easy, but if you’re using an Android phone, I recommend Pocketcasts. Or you can listen right here in your web-browser, at the sites themselves.

So anyway:

If you are a parent, or have a parent, or like hearing idiotic men try and work stuff about parenting out, 2 Grown Men may appeal to you. This weeks’ episode was all about bringing kids up to understand consent, and is here:http://2grownmen.net/2014/04/28/35-fat-like-you-read-about/

If you like comics, or just like idiotic people try and muddle through how they feel about pop culture stuff without any sort of training or a safety net, you should listen to the MOMBcast. It’s here: http://mombcomics.com/category/mombcast/

If you like, just, I don’t know, the Socratic method, or half-smart people talking about half-serious subjects, there’s Unanswered. We pick a subject each episode and thrash it out for an hour, solving nothing. We’ve covered spoilers, cities, outrage, and in our most recent episode got into some uncomfortable territory talking about Empathy Vs Sympathy. That’s here: http://unansweredpodcast.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/show-21/

And please, I know it sounds like I’m banging on, but if you like one of these shows, or ANY podcasts (or blogs, or anything online), or think someone you know might like them, please do tell people. A “Like” or “Favourite” is super flattering, constructive criticism is always gratefully received, an “Share” or “RT” is incredibly generous, but nothing means as much to the people who make things like this as people enjoying it enough to personally recommend it to others.

Because, you know, people definitely did the same thing for The Chick Whisperer, as hideous as that might seem.

The Sun Gets It Right

I think The Sun are spot on with this:Sun 911

…in fact, I think they should go one step further, and restore this memorial to it’s rightful glory in the courtyard or foyer of their own building.

That’d show them!

(Quite surprised that this was on the front page, though. Apparently David Cameron left a big official looking briefcase on a train, and I’m sure there’s other stuff going on, as well.)

So We Finally Decorated Our Walls

Took these photos a week or so ago, after putting these up. I’m no expert picture hanger, and the frames are just cheap and cheerfuls from The Range, but I think the art in them more than makes up for my lame skillz.

I’ll acknowledge here and now that a) I’m just showing off, because I think some of this stuff is pretty cool, and b) these aren’t great photos: the light isn’t great in the corridors in our house, and I’m just using the camera on my phone, so.

These are as good a place as any to start. Pretty minimal, but cute, tiny triptych we got from one of those trendy replica 70s camera shops in Brighton, but it’s taken bloody ages to actually put them anywhere. They’re on the wall facing the top of the stairs, just outside the toilet. I guess I could claim there’s a water theme going on.

Water Feature

(But there isn’t.)

 

This is our upstairs corridor, and I’m hoping to fill it up at some point. This isn’t a particularly clear photo – there’s no natural light up there – but I wanted to show you roughly how these pictures fit together.

Context

I’ve had this Mucha print for years, hanging about in one of my big portfolio folders that’s knocking around from when I did art A-levels. Last week it came down to either putting it up somewhere or acknowledging that I never would and getting rid of it.

Mucha

It doesn’t really square with the other stuff that’s up – it’s got that weird “embossed/mounted” thing going on – but I’m glad I didn’t get rid of it. It’s a beautiful image.

 

This is one of a handful of these images that found a home on the wall within six months of me buying it. I picked it up from Mr Erskine at ThoughtBubble 2013 – which I think is the first time I met him in person, which was lovely! – and it’s representative of a particular time in comics, and in his work, that really resonates with me.

Erskine

 

We’re lucky enough to have spent a bit of time with the artists on these two pieces.

The Ororo/Storm image is by Dave Stokes, and if you can find him at a convention or online, you should definitely pick up one of his art books, at the very least.

This original art was very reasonably priced indeed!

Stokes_Cadwell

…As was this glorious piece of expressionistic loveliness from Warwick Johnson-Cadwell. Hawk The Slayer, or the Beastmaster? To be honest, I can’t remember without checking… I don’t know either film, but I loved the composition, the very direct colour, and the way Warwick draws scenery!

This is a cool print by David Wynne:

David Wynne

It was part of a set of three, but I couldn’t afford/place all of them, so I picked my favourite. I love the colour, the monsters, and the old-time Hollywood greats in the background.

(If I’m honest, the bit I really focus on are that awesome Laurel and Hardy in the background.)

An oddity, here… I know that Sandman image was promotional, for the Dream Hunters graphic novel, but I’ve no idea where I got it from. I’ve definitely never met Neil Gaiman, or Yoshitaka Amano.

Amato_Langridge

It’s lovely, though!

And this is a page from one of the Fred The Clown comics. I’ve got two original pieces of Roger Langridge art, and I think his was the first original art I ever did buy.

He’s amazing.

This is a Kabuki print thing I got for a birthday, over ten years ago.

Kabuki

It isn’t a particularly unusual image, and to be honest it’s little more than poster (although I think it might be signed, and part of a small cluster of similar items that I got given at the same time). But it’s been knocking around, just resting on top of a shelf unit, for long enough that Amy and I have got quite fond of it.

Here’s one of the oldest, most gorgeous art things I own, nestled in a spot that looks like an after-thought, but is actually right there in the middle of our staircase. It’s a set of lithographs from 1980 called World Without End, painted by Jeffrey Catherine Jones

Jeff Jonest

In another, more beautiful world, Jones is still making comics and art and everybody knows her work.

Not this one.

Downstairs is even more erratic than up. Here’s one wall:

Dining room wall

The far left is one of those cheap-but-pretty canvas acrylics bought from a little shop in a little alley built into a steep hill on a Greek honeymoon.

In the middle there’s a painting by an old friend of mine called Maja Hill. We bumped into her and her husband for the first time in ages the other week.

On the right is one of three commissions we’ve had from indie publishing hero Marc Ellerby. I think this one was a present for my wife, but I can’t remember what the occasion was. The main thinking behind it was that our previous group drawing from him was from before we had the stupid little black dog Willow.

Then there’s these two behemoths:

Blade of the Immortal context

I’m still a little bit stunned that Amy let me put these up, as she has no relationship with the comic they’re from, but I guess the gorgeousness of the painted art won her over. These are both Blade Of The Immortal prints. The one on the left is one of my favourite pieces of art. Both are, I believe, by Hiroaki Samura.

Finally, just a quick bonus shot of what our graphic novels (some of them, anyway) look like since we moved them downstairs. It might not be clear from this photo, but look at the bottom…

Shelves

…these units are pushed back into an odd corner of our living room, and are fitted to the shape of the curved wall. It looks pretty cute in person.

So anyway, self-indulgent I know, but some of that art is SO DAMN PRETTY. When I get a minute, I’ll link to all of the artists that I got that art from, but you should definitely consider Googling them and throwing some money their way if you have it!