Friday, June 28, 2024

Comic Cuts — 28 June 2024

As we wave goodbye to the first half of the year, I'm rather frustrated that I failed to get a second book out. Waiting on the second proof of HIGH SEAS AND HIGH ADVENTURES, I received a message from the printer saying that it was running late, along with the rest of my order (I needed a few books for stock). No revised schedule for when it will be dispatched, just "Your order is running late. We apologize that your order has not printed and shipped as quickly as we originally estimated."

These things happen, I guess, but that doesn't make me any happier about it.

With that aside, it has been a fun week, starting last Thursday with a trip down the pub for an open-air comedy gig at the Wivenhoe Funny Farm. There's a big, wooden gazebo at the back of the pub, open-sided so that people can also see the acts if they're sitting in the large tent on side or the pub garden on the other. It's a great venue if the weather is kind.

This month's acts were Jake Baker, Hazel Donovan and Robin Ince, compared by Hazel Humphreys. It might have been the longest day of the year, but the gig still managed to clash with the football as England drew against Denmark on their way to becoming one of the most disappointing success stories of the Euros — they're through to the next round but nobody seems to be happy about it. Come on, this is England we're talking about! (That's my football bants for this year.)

The gig started half an hour later, but as it was originally scheduled for six-thirty, that actually worked in our favour, as it gave Mel a chance to get home and to eat something before we had to rush out. All acts were very good and Robin Ince now has a copy of BEYOND THE VOID. Robin mentioned lending a John E. Muller to Frank Skinner, so the number of secret Badger fans is increased by one (I already knew Robin was a fan!).

Our attempt to visit the pram race on Friday was a resounding failure as we started out late, weren't sure where it started from or where it ended. We figured both out, but only in the aftermath of people milling around. And it was more of a wheelbarrow race than a pram race.

Still, we took the opportunity to go and look at the gallery opening of a new exhibition featuring watercolouro art by Emma Wren and Hanna Buck, plus some ceramic by Frankie Atkinson, at The Old Grocery. I wrote about the building ten years ago – scroll down and you'll see a couple of pictures. For some years the place was empty, but it's now a little gallery and has had some very nice exhibitions over the past couple of years.

This one was dominated by watercolours of flowers, colourful, vibrant and calming after our disappointing dash around the lower end of town (and not even a drink to show for it!).

After fourteen years living in Wivenhoe, we finally managed to see the annual Regatta, with its swarm of sailing boats and a lot of stalls set up along the quays. As the nearest I've ever got to sailing is reading Swallows and Amazons, I was prepared for a disappointing hour of boating types clogging up the roads, but it turned out to be a delightful hour of everyone just having a good time in the sunshine.

There were bands, food stalls, arts and crafts stalls, drinks, clubs, a charity tombola, a first responders training class, various stalls promoting everything from the local youth football team to the Freemasons, lots of food stalls, drinks stalls, expensive ice creams (£5 for a 99!) and—the first thing I spotted—a secondhand book stall. Drawn like an object into a black hole, I promptly spent my pocket money on a few books, including a couple of British Library Crime Classics that I didn't have, and two books by Alan Villiers, whose name I recognised as a contributor to Look and Learn.

The book-sellers were raising money for the Nottage Maritime Institute, which is a small museum dedicated to maritime history and the history of Wivenhoe's shipyards, boat building by hand, models, paintings and—useful to me—an extensive library. I was there on Tuesday trying to find a photo of a building, now demolished, called Wivenhoe Hall to use as an illustration for a forthcoming article.

In between, I have been filling in my time doing a little write-up on a guy called Philip Shoosmith and getting to grips with the history of an old paperback publisher called Scion. I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that I can put together another paperback history along the lines of the Badger one, although it will depend on what cover scans I have and what I can get. I have a feeling it might take a while as I have only a couple of handfuls rather than the 500 I had for Badger.

No time for gardener's corner... let's just say that there are now two corners and one is filling up nicely with new grass. More on that next week.


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