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Friday, December 12, 2014

Comic Cuts - 12 December 2014

It's beginning to feel like Christmas here at Bear Alley. We have the Christmas tree decorated and a strand or three of tinsel dangling around the room. A Dalek is observing our every move from the tree top, having deposed the knitted (weeping) angel who used to look uncomfortably down on us from her spiny branch seat. If you squeeze it, it threatens to exterminate you. The Dalek, not the angel, although being non-religious, I suspect that the angel, too, would have harsh words to say. "How can you have an angel if you don't believe in God?" I hear you ask. And I answer: "For the same reason I can have a Dalek even tho' I know Doctor Who is made up."

With Frontline UK almost out the door—and hopefully everyone will get their copies before Christmas, but I can't guarantee it, what with Christmas postal deliveries being a bit hit-or-miss at this time of year—I'm busy working on the next book, which will be a full-colour collection. Hopefully you'll like it. I'll be announcing the title soon.

While I'm cleaning artwork, I often listen to podcasts as they are free (vital for the broke freelancer!) and often more interesting than what's on the radio. I've kept up with my regular podcasts, which include Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, which this season is available as a video podcast via iTunes, Vimeo and (the first four) on YouTube. This season's interviews have included Katherine Ryan, Mark Gatiss, Brendon Burns, James Acaster, Steve Coogan, Sara Pascoe, Sarah Millican, Rebecca Front, Josh Widdecombe and Andy Zaltzman. Richard Herring's lively, funny style can be serious and silly in the same interview, with the daft questions often eliciting some of the most interesting answers. There's an audio version also available via iTunes and the British Comedy Guide (easier than finding the episodes on Soundcloud, but that's also an option).

I've discovered two new podcasts recently that I'm now addicted to. The Z List Dead List is a celebration of obscure people whose lives were interesting or bizarre and worth investigation. The podcast is based on a live monthly show hosted by Iszi Lawrence that has been running at The Camden Head, Camden High Street, for the past year. The podcast has been running since September but I've only just discovered it. Well worth a try— take a look here for a list of episodes and the subjects covered.

And I've finally caught up with Serial, the ongoing investigation into a true-life case of murder, which journalist Sarah Koenig has been looking into and I can do no better than to quote her: "This murder story we've been working on, it's captivated all of us at Serial for a year. Once we started looking into it, we realized the story was so much messier and more complicated – and more interesting – than what the jury got to hear. We hope you’ll get sucked in the way we have." I found it utterly compelling, listening to the first 10 episodes over the course of two evenings this week. All are available at the website and you need to start at episode one.

This series has been hugely successful and an interesting article by Jon Ronson appeared in The Guardian the other day. The podcast has been picked up by Radio 4 Extra and if you click on the "All episodes available" link, you can listen to the series from episode one on the iPlayer.

This week's random scans are a posse of westerns... well, nearly all westerns... by S. R. Boldero, who has featured on Bear Alley in the past.

Next week: I was planning to run some covers by Roy Carnon in the random scans slot this week, but I ended up making a little list of his work and, as I hate for anything I write to go to waste, I'll run it, along with a cover gallery, over the weekend. After that it's a three-part look at the activities of writer and publisher Doreen L. Smith, whose naughty deeds landed her in prison.

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