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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Comic Cuts — 14 May 2021

I feel like it has been a long time coming, but we've had a good week here at Bear Alley Towers. Niggling problems can grind down even the most upbeat of people and the ongoing saga of my new glasses was starting to drag on. Well, dear reader, they finally arrived and, on Tuesday, I headed into town, over a month after phoning for an eye test and three weeks after paying for them, for a fitting of the new spectacles.

Very much like the old spectacles but with stronger lenses—or should that be thicker? It's the depth of the meniscus, or the radii of the curves of the lens that focus the light. They're "stronger" in the sense that they make reading easier. It will take a couple of days for my eyes to settle into the new norm, but hopefully the eyestrain and headaches will become a thing of the past. I'll still take precautions—short breaks every once in a while, a longer break at lunch time (I'm a big fan of siestas!) and no more working into the wee hours of the morning if I can avoid it.

I used the "buy one, get one free" offer (just buy one half price wasn't an option!) to get a pair of prescription sunglasses and, lo and behold, we had the most glorious two days on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I was actually able to wear them on our walks; Mel, too, has some new shades so we're feeling like the coolest couple in town. Winter togs are heading for the cupboard, I've got my shorts out and washed and ready to wear. Of course, it has been showers on and off all day today!

On Tuesday I checked in with the local surgery and was able to book my second vaccination jab for next week. So, by the end of the month I'll be fizzing with antibodies and might even be able to share a seat on a bus with someone.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's Lawless convention, a.k.a. The Bunker, where me, David Roach, Paul Gravett, John Freeman and host Tony Foster will be talking about the history of British comics. We will be going live at midday and will be on your screens for 90 minutes or so. The Zoom-style panel will be broadcast live on YouTube, so you will be able to watch live, and there might be a chatroom function that will allow you to ask questions — I'm not absolutely sure about the set up as we will be doing our tech check at 11:50 am, ten minutes before we go live.

I have no idea whether my camera, headphones or microphone will work as it is all brand new to me. I spent an hour on Thursday morning trying to get the microphone to work. Well, not to work, exactly, but the volume output was so low it was almost impossible to hear. I tried recording myself and had to whack the speakers up on full to hear myself at a whisper even tho' I had been talking at normal volume. After watching a bunch of YouTube videos that were meant to help, but didn't, I stumbled onto the solution via a Google search of Microsoft's own website.

Then the alterations I'd made caused my speakers to stop working, and I could only hear through the headphones. So I turned everything off and on again, and that seemed to fix things. By lunchtime I was fairly confident that everything was working OK.

But, just in case, keep your fingers crossed that I don't blow everyone's eardrums out!

Just to keep me down to Earth about this sudden rush of fame, the folk at Lawless managed to spell my name wrong on the website and found the worst photo of me to put on their poster — taken by my old Aceville pal Sue Cook in Castle House nearly thirty years ago. Look at how learned and smart everyone else on the poster looks... then look at me gurning for the camera.

Hopefully not a foretaste of how things will go tomorrow. See you in cyberspace!


  1. Your picture looks like it 's out of an '80s sitcom... :)

  2. ... or something out of a Carry On movie. "Matron, take them away!"

  3. "What do you mean 'The Webcam's been on the whole time'?"

  4. Impressive use of split screen at the start, Steve. Not often you get to argue with the back of your own head. "Don't you turn your back on me when I'm talking to you!"

  5. It was weird. I signed in to the Zoom meeting ten minutes before the broadcast was due. I could hear other people, but couldn't get the video to work — you can see the bizarre results on screen. After a couple of minutes, the audio was playing up, so I logged out (about 2h 8m 30s on the video), tried to log in again (with no success) and then ran upstairs to where Mel had one of her computers set up, having emailed the log in details to that computer. So I managed to sign in again at around 2h 14m 30s. Not the best six minutes of my life, I can tell you, but just part of my ongoing war with technology.