BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

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Friday, January 05, 2018

Comic Cuts - 5 January 2018

Happy New Year to you all.

I hope you had as enjoyable a time at Christmas as I did. I'll confess here that I spent most of it in front of the TV, in a chair, under a dog, with occasional energetic bursts of on a walk, in the cold, behind a dog. The food was great, we had some laughs and nothing that wasn't meant to be chewed was chewed. I think we can chalk that one up as an excellent Xmas.

New Year was also a laugh and probably the first year in forty that I didn't have a single drink. This was prompted by the discovery of some year-old, out of date cans of lager from the New Year of 2016-17. When nobody else around you is drinking beer, guzzling down lager doesn't have the same appeal. I was still dead on my feet the next day, as we didn't get to bed until around 3.00 am, but at least when I awoke it was with a clear head.

By Tuesday I was back at work on the last few bits of writing I need to do for Forgotten Authors volume two. The lead essay is another big one that is taking up every waking moment to check and double-check. Part of the problem is that I've often written pieces in the past where I haven't bothered to note down sources—Bear Alley's early days are a desert as far as citations are concerned, although some might have noticed that, over the past two or three years, I've been better at noting dates when I've quoted newspapers. So I'm having to dig deep to find sources for everything.

Tracking down my own sources aside, I'm also trying to track down where other people have obtained their information. For instance, as I'm writing about Jack Harkaway, the old penny dreadful character, I'm trying to back up the claim that Jack's appearances added 100,000 to sales of Boys of England, which has been repeated time and time again. But where did it originate and was that source reliable?

I'm pleased to say I'm feeling a bit more invigorated after a week and a bit off—and there were whole days over Christmas when the computer was not turned on once. I'm back to my regular 1,000 words a day despite having spent a couple of mornings on other things, such as running OCR on a lot of (legally downloaded) reference material so that I can search the texts, and desperately hunting around the house for hard copy reference books that I know I have... but where the hell are they?

With luck and a good tailwind, I might finish off this particular essay next week, although at some point I'm going to have to stop dead in my tracks and do my accounts for HM Revenue and Customs... not that they'll be getting much out of me this year (and I might even get a rebate from last year, which would be nice!).

No random scans today, but I'll try to get things back to normal next week. We should have an artist bio. from Robert Kirkpatrick up over the weekend and I have a book in hand to review (one of the reasons I've not had a chance to clean up any scans!).

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