Friday, December 02, 2022

Comic Cuts — 2 December 2022

Although I post these columns early on a Friday morning, they're usually written on Thursday evening and I set a timer to launch them into the world. Quite why that time is 5:03 am I'm not sure, although I think it has to do with my old cover gallery posts where there might be more than one part. Normally the latest post appears at the head of the blog, but if you set the posting time and label the posts correctly, you can get a multi-part post to load in the right order, so you read part 1 first.

Once posted, the columns are out in the wild for ever, or until Blogger goes under. You will still be able to find my ramblings because they're gathered up by the British Library as part of a collection of supposedly interesting blogs, although where they're stored and how they can be accessed I don't know. I was just flattered to be asked. My point, if I can ever get to it, is that you won't necessarily be reading this the day it is posted, or even the year it was posted.

All this just to say that "As you read this, I'm heading out to get my booster jab." To make it easier for future readers to pinpoint the moment, the day is Friday, 2 December 2022 and the time is coming up for 9 in the morning. Oh, and a "booster jab" was something we had to take to protect us against a virus called Covid 19 [named after 2019, the year; it was not the 19th Covid outbreak]. And while I'm here, sorry about the heat and the pollution. The people we put in charge turned out to be worse than useless.

Although we've made a lot of progress on sorting out the living room, we've not hit the end of November deadline. There has simply been too much to do, on top of which we're both in full-time jobs. Mine is admittedly a little more flexible, but it still takes up 48 hours a week. More when you spend half a day searching for something you know you have but it isn't in the place it should be. "Tidying up" can do that to you!

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a letter I had from Solano Lopez. Yes, that Solano Lopez. Damned if I could find it. I was working out how many volumes a complete run of 'Kelly's Eye' would run to — nine, as it happens — which got me thinking about how I would fill nine afterwords. That reminded me of my brief correspondence with Solano Lopez, then living in Rio De Janeiro. At the time, 1990, I had recently published The Mike Western Story and was planning further little pamphlets. Geoff Campion would be one, and I fired off a number of letters to artists around the world, thinking that it would be nice to get some first hand thoughts on their work for the UK, which led to  some exciting months waiting to hear back from the likes of Gino D'Antonio and Ferdinando Tacconi. (Yes, they both replied!)

Anyway, long story short, I was looking for something else entirely and stumbled upon Solano's letter, which begins "Thank you for your letter and your kind words. I can read English and pretend to write it also! I hope you will excuse the mistakes. On the other hand, I hope you could read Spanish. The enclosed dossier talks a lot about me and was intended for a report on my work at Lucca 90, led by Juan Sasturain, a nice chap, former editor of "Fierro" and now living in Barcelona. The report did not take place, but here are the writings. I hope they are useful to you."

He also answered some specific questions that I had asked about his connections with the UK and his studio.

Of course, I didn't read Spanish. I still don't, although I can get the gist of interviews with Spanish artists because I recognise the names of strips, magazines, other artists, and I can, broadly speaking, join the dots between the names. Nowadays there's Google Translate... which is why I spent Wednesday typing up Solano's "dossier" in order to translate it. I now have plenty of material to discuss in upcoming collections of 'Kelly's Eye' and no doubt I'll be writing a piece about Lopez at some point for the UK where I can dip into this pool of information.

I never did find the "something else entirely" that I was looking for. Obviously I need to look for something that isn't the thing I'm looking for if I'm to find it.

The running count for books out of the house increased by one. However, that was on top of the removal of some furniture and a couple of filing cabinets that needed to go down to the dump, which we did on Saturday. It made quite a difference to the room (see our column header), although the gap soon started to fill up again as I dragged out a few more boxes that had been living under the stairs. These include three boxes of Fortean Times, a box of Starlogs and two boxes of SFX, all of which need to go. I'll probably post something on Facebook when I've sorted through them to figure out exactly what I've got.

The slightly frustrating thing about all this is that I'm writing tomorrow's column while I'm waiting on the arrival of another box of books. I'm restocking some of my Bear Alley Books titles, hoping for a bit of a Christmas rush, so I have two dozen books due... not so great when I've only got rid of one this week. That gap where you can see my shelves isn't going to last very long.

[[UPDATE: Apparently, according to UPS who are supposed to be delivering my restock of books, we don't exist. I checked the tracking because the books hadn't arrived and this was their excuse: "The street number is incorrect. This may delay delivery. We're attempting to update the address." This is, of course, bull. When I phoned UPS, they were able to not only access the full details of our address (house number, post code) but they had my phone number and had made no attempt whatsoever to check the address. Instead, the parcel is back in Bury St Edmunds and I'm still waiting to hear whether they're going to try to deliver today (probably while I'm out getting my Covid booster jab) or whether it will now be next week. Grrrrrr! Also note that, when it says "address has been updated" that's because I phoned them, and no, the address was not updated because they already had it. Grrrrrr x 2!]]


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