Friday, 20 August 2010

Not Dead, Just Sleepy

I started this Blog back in february. I stopped putting anything up in April. May and June passed. In July I put up a new blog entry. "Stay tuned" I said. "See if I can be bothered or not". I knocked out three entries in quick succession then for a couple of weeks, nothing. Today I thought, 'It's about time for another blog'. Problem is, I suffer from the entirely made-up, but not necessarily untrue, Dead Project Syndrome. A year or so ago I wrote a whole bunch of songs. I set up a musician page on facebook (you can search My Great Fanclub if you like), recorded and produced about four of those songs, did some artwork, started playing at local open mic nights. Then I stopped. I stopped updating the page, stopped recording, stopped playing live.

About five months ago I started writing a play. To my mind it was pretty good. It's about a mime, a clown and the commedia fool Pierrot being stuck at the end of the world. I got feedback from people who know about that kind of thing, I contacted some actors, had read-throughs, started looking at new writing festivals and showcases. I edited and re-wrote. I started to compose an original score. Then about a month ago I stopped working on the project. I have recently picked it back up, thanks to the enthusiasm of friends and family and am hoping that 'The Last Circus' will live again. I will keep you updated on that.

Last week I was on holiday, returning to my old university stomping grounds in Scarborough. I came back with another new project. I'm looking at writing a six-part comic series that features robot-prosthesis, sabre-tooth tigers and the suspicious goings-on of a group of geneticists. There will also be emotional relationship stuff to keep sensitive people (girls etc) engaged. I've plotted the whole series. I've scripted and done the panel lay-outs for the first issue. I'm about a third of the way through illustrating the first issue. I can't stop because if I do, I know that it will linger unfinished on my hard-drive. But then, I had the idea for a short-form strip called 'The Imaginary Life of Samuel Beckett' where the 'Greatest Playwright of the 20th Century' potters around being disgruntled by mobile phones and reality television. I don't have the time to do this yet.

I need a backburner.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Self-Portrait 3: Nemesis

It's one of those question that you've always asked yourself. You're pretty sure you know the answer, you're just waiting for science (TM) to come up with a final inarguable conclusion that you can put in the big book of facts and finally stop thinking about it. That question is of course 'who is the most famous bald person in the world ever?' Is it Billy Zane? Sean Connery? Bruce Willis? Gandhi? No, it's Superman's arch-nemesis Lex Luthor (or plain old 'Luthor' until it was seen fit to give him a first name in the sixties).

I normally have great, thick privet-hedge hair. The kind of hair that causes barbers, coiffures and other associated follicle technicians to all simultaneously take their lunch breaks as soon as I enquire about getting an appointment. I realise as I advance in years that this state of affairs may not be a problem for much longer. My relationship with my hair is finite. All I have to do to remind myself of that is look at my brother. I was thinking of things to do as a self-portrait and wondered to myself 'what would I look like with no hair?' The not-very-suprising answer turned out to be 'I look like my brother'. The second thing I thought was 'all bald people look a bit like Superman's arch-nemesis Lex Luthor', because I spend far to much time in life thinking 'things in life are like things in comic books' when, all in all, they're not. As a potentially interesting sidenote, Luthor wasn't even originally supposed to be bald, he had a big mop of red hair until Joe Schuster forgot to draw it one time and then he just stayed bald.

Batman has an arch-nemesis in The Joker, Spiderman has Green Goblin but they also both have huge 'rogue galleries'. With Penguin, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Bane etc it's hardly any wonder that 'The World's Greatest Detective' often ends up the supporting actor in his own movies. Superman doesn't have this. He's been 'killed' by Doomsday, he's fought multiple incarnations of Bizarro, but those characters aren't iconic, aren't integral to the Superman myth the way that Doc Octopus is to Spiderman or Catwoman is to Batman. Superman only has one adversary of note and that is Luthor (Richard Pryor doesn't quite make the grade).

I don't have an arch-nemesis, I wouldn't know what to do with one. The closest thing I have to even a bog-standard enemy is probably the hairdressers. I fear a visit to the hairdressers in the same way others do the dentists. Obviously it's a fairly amicable kind of rivalry wherein a small amount of money is exchanged for a slightly lackluster service. In fact, what I consider to be the quest for divine retribution may actually be a trade agreement.

'Make me look like a film star'
'Will Doc Brown from Back To The Future be acceptable?'
'But you have hair like angry cotton wool'
'Here's a tenner'

It's unlikely that in sixty years time people will be writing comics, making films and developing computer games based on the eternal struggle between right and wrong that is my bi-annual haircut, but I think I'm OK with that.