Friday, September 23, 2022

Comic Cuts — 23 September 2022

A slightly chaotic week comes to an end with a trip to have my eyes checked. As I write this, that's still to happen, but will have happened by the time you read this. I may be able to add an update, but I might not as this kind of eye screening involves putting drops into the eye to expand the iris. It means you have blurry vision for a while; I made sure I had sunglasses last time as it was a bright, sunny day and I knew the walk back was not going to be comfortable. They insist you do not drive after the examination (not that I drive) and they like you to take someone with you to the appointment. It takes a few hours to wear off, so I'll have to see whether I can comfortably use the computer this evening.

I'll know the results in a week or two [UPDATE: apparently the wait is 4-6 weeks at the moment], although I'm not expecting to hear any bad news. My eyesight is getting worse and I'll probably need new glasses next year, but I haven't had any problems in the past few years. I've had poor eyesight since childhood and had corrective surgery at the age of seven. My Mum—from whom I get my inability to throw anything away—recently dug out two cards charting my out-patient appointments for my eye tests between 20 August 1969 and 8 May 1978; in all that time I had the same two doctors, Mark Smith and Miss Rivers (I don't think I ever knew her first name... you don't ask that kind of thing when you're seven).

The Big Move—shifting my office into the house from the garage—is still underway. We're still trying to clear some space, but we've now had ten boxes of books, DVDs and CDs exit the house and already have another couple of boxes filled for eventual removal. I still have some corners that I need to clear out and there's another company that we've never used before that I might try. The problem on the horizon is: What to do with the stuff that hasn't sold? I have 150-200 DVDs, many of which are likely  to fail to sell for cash. Thankfully, in this instance, there's a guy who lives not too far away who sells all sorts of stuff for charity that I've donated to in the past, so he might be getting a few boxes. I think Emmaus collects and maybe some of the other charity shops do, too.

In between scanning bar-codes, we managed to get out of the house on Saturday to see Mitch Benn at the Colchester Arts Centre. You can guarantee that something will happen at a Mitch Benn gig. This time he arrived on stage to announce in a low growl that he had all but lost his voice. Colchester was the second date of his tour... Dog knows what happened in Milton Keynes last Friday, but it left the singer/comedian with an interesting dilemma the following night.

Thankfully it was easily solved. Being a one-man band, he records backing tracks for himself that he can play during the gig, all run from a smart phone. He also records a full version, with lead vocals and lead guitar, so that he can sell albums of each tour as he tours. So this latest set of tracks—the It's About Time album—was already on his phone.

Popping throat lozenges and taking sips from a water bottle meant that Mitch could get through the interstitial talkie bits of the show, and he mimed all the songs, Top of the Pops-style. It worked remarkably well, with the occasional glitch as a song started half-way through or at the end because it hadn't been queued up properly. But it added to the laughs.

The latest album, incidentally, is sold on a key-chain as a little circular USB stick (I found a company that makes them here). It's a fantastic idea and an ideal way of selling music... far better than flogging cassettes out of the back of a car, which I remember bands doing in ye olde days. Mitch Benn has also included three full-length novels (the Terra trilogy) on his. Text in ebook formats only, of course, but I wonder whether any of my books could be sold that way? The minimum quantity looks like 25, so doing a limited edition might be a possibility. Something to think about!

What else has been happening? Dolmen, who are publishing a range of British strips in Spanish, have sent me a few books, including two volumes of Esther, reprinting 'Patty's World' from Girl. These have been coloured by Jose Arnau, who has done a beautiful job of turning black & white originals into rich, vibrant colour. There will be six volumes of these books reprinting the strip from Girl and I rather wish someone was publishing them in the UK.

There's to be a German collection of Don Lawrence artwork similar to the 'Scrapbook' that I compiled some years ago that was published as an Illustrators Special by Book Palace. Book Palace, incidentally, have some terrific books on their schedule, including a biography of Brian Bolland. What with Dave Gibbons and Bryan Talbot also publishing autobiographies, people like myself, with a fascination for the nuts and bolts of British comics, are living in interesting times.

Oh, and we got a new (old) table that someone was chucking out. Now residing in our living room.

I think that's all the news that's fit to print...

[UPDATE: Eyesight has been a bit blurry, but otherwise I haven't had any trouble. The eye screening involves photographing the back of the eye to check for any damage; they also compare the latest photos with past photos, this being my third time attending this kind of thing. Apparently it might take 4-6 weeks before I get the results, but I don't think there were any immediately visible problems. Phew!]


  1. Where I am the local Oxfam shop collects, certainly if you have a large amount, so the same might be true in your area.

    1. I suspect ours might, too, but I think it depends on individual shops whether they do or not.



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