We had some weather recently

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I time-travelled to the past, and it was black and white

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Oh also somebody left my work recently. Unlike every other time ever, I actually went to the leaving party (because unlike almost every other time ever, she hadn’t fucked me off by randomly having a go one morning because a gas cylinder ran out, when I have nothing to do with the gas cylinders, or something). I missed the last bus back to Madingley Road Park and Ride, so had to walk it. There’s a nice ‘spooky’ section right on the edge of the city, unfortunately I couldn’t take a decent pic with only the phone. But here ya go anyway.

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Three Saturdays

Not updated this again for ages. Dum de dum. Things have been ticking over, issue 2 of my comic (supposed to be cover dated March – April) is still not finished, but ought to be tomorrow. Only the editor’s page and a map to do!

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EXTERMINATE!

Also Doctor Who is back on, but I missed the start of the episode just gone >.<, I notice it appeared to show a prosperous India of the future, with it’s own space programme. I notice that this prosperous India of the future was still full of ethnically Indian people, though. I remember some “leaked episode synopsis” that was doing the rounds before the last series, which suggested there would be an episode set in Japan in the 2170’s. I bet if the BBC had actually made that, the Japan of the 2170’s would still be populated entirely by ethnically Japanese people.

Of course, in my own comics, scenes set on the future Earth will have, say, a mostly black guy (‘pure’ races will be rare hundreds of years in the future) named Vladimir Rodriguez, who comes from Tokyo and mainly speaks Japanese. Just to ridicule this “mah effnic origin” disease that the yanks are into, which is infecting Britain at an alarming rate.

But enough of that. Two saturdays ago (or 1 week BDW) we had a huge storm. There wasn’t much visible lightning, but the thunder was just a constant rumble, it sounded like when you are videoing something and the wind blows against the microphone. I did capture a bit of footage, some of the thunder and some of the rain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj_DpbIINUQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXJEKD_oetc

There had also been hail before that, I got a few photo of that after it had finished.

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There was also cool-looking clouds and sewage coming out of the drains, which somebody drove through really fast with their window down slightly, lawl.

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Anyway, on the second of these saturdays, I trolled into Cambridge to see my friend Asha. Except (as usual) she took forever to get ready (it was literally like all day). So Instead I wandered around Charity shops killing time. So, lets just turn this into a haul post!

The best thing I got was this:

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Grummock yer parts…

It’s a tape of Round the Horne , the greatest radio comedy ever! It’s where Julian and Sandy, who I’ve just noticed I never posted about (to my shame, got a CD of them ages ago), come from. Anyway, it evolved out of another show called Beyond our Ken (the host of both was Kenneth Horne), but was a lot funnier.

Anyway, this box contains 2 tapes, which are supposed to be the third set of four episodes. But one of them is actually from the tenth set, but as the show had got into it’s stride then I won’t complain! Anyway, aside from Julian and Sandy (polari-speaking queens who did a different, innuendo-laced, job each week)

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‘Evvy Metal

I also got this, for the amazing price of 10p. It’s an old demo tape by a band called Jackal, probably from some time in the 80’s, or maybe early 90’s. The paper insert appears to have been produced on a photocopier, and the red has been hand-coloured. An (admittedly vague) search of the internet has failed to turn up any reference to a metal band called Jackal, so I assume they are long since defunct. Shame, the music is actually pretty damn good (in fact, better than some early thrash which was signed by big labels – like old Testament – which all sounds like it’s recorded in an echoing empty room).

Also, I have been looking at Danny Choo, and his other site called Figure FM, recently. A lot of people were posting pictures of their “otaku rooms”, awash with manga, anime DVD’s and figures. I wanted to tart up my own otaku room a bit, though of course I am an otaku by the Japanese definition and not the foreign one XD. I needed some models to display – no, not anime figures! I’m an otaku for old British culture, and that means…

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Airfix!

I’d seen this set advertised in Commando a few times. You get two planes and a display stand for yer money. I got that one because “jet planes are easier, they’re just pipes with wings on” and also having an Argentine plane would be a bit “weird”. I presume the standard Douglas Skyhawk kit Airfix make comes with 1960’s US Air Force decals. I’ve not started to make this yet, though. As it will be displayed I want to get it right, so got a ‘simpler’ kit to ‘practice’ with. Of course I made tons of these as a kid (I also did a bunch of cheap foreign kits which never got painted, bright green ME109 ahoy!), but I usually just slapped on single coats of paint, glued on the decals (paper and all) and then they got broken and chucked out XD.

Oh yeah, the display cabinet itself, well I got that (along with some other bits) a few weeks ago when I went to Ikea. It’s a Detolf cabinet, which nearly all the otaku rooms on Danny Choo have XD. I have stuffed it with various odds and ends at the moment, but they’ll be gradually replaced by Airfix planes and ships (got my eye on a huge Golden Hind, but that will be tough to build), Gundams and a few (and I mean a few, possibly two XD) anime figures XD.

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The full thing. All that crap next to it is a stack of Roy of the Rovers which desperately needs gaps filling, putting in order and binding into 6-monthly books. Anybody got a spare grand?

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Some Lego stuff, including the Lego Felney characters, from when I had a regular webcomic (ha!) and the scanner broke. Also some limited edition Corgi Minis, a limited edition Lotus F1 model (now very battered and with sun-faded stickers) and some other bits.

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A Download Festival programme, a Star Wars toy, more lego (“FW Devil 1” is a ship of my own creation called a Slasher), some Judge Dredd cards that the Megazine gave away, my Camcon wristband and some bijou statuettes.

And so on to today. Today was the second day of “Open Cambridge”, an event I also went to in 2010. Basically various colleges open up certain seldom-seen parts to the public for free. Lots of guided tripettes also take place around the city, but those were all fully booked months ago. Anyway I made a list of small libraries in colleges that I wanted to see and trolled around, only to find that this year’s Open Cambridge had a slight difference, namely, it was shut! Still I did go to the Whipple Museum (which is open to the public all the time anyway) and to the Sporting Christ’s exhibition, in one of the libraries there (which, it turned out, is a separate exhibition running for the duration of the Olympics and a good month and a half either side to boot XD).

Buut before that, I went into Ely and got a simpler Airfix kit, from the “City Cycle Centre”, an independent toy and hobby shop (with a side of DIY and, of course, cycling). I used to go in there a lot as a kid, but then we called it Zaskies, for some reason. It used to sell these wicked cap guns that looked almost like real rifles and shotguns, you wouldn’t see that these days! Anyway, up the stairs and round the corner used to be the Airfix (well and Revell, Tamiya and so on), Warhammer and Hornby department. These were all still in roughly the places I remember, but are now bigger(!) than they were when I was a kid. The back wall has also been knocked through and a load of other rooms (perhaps store rooms or other shops before) have now been incorporated into the main shop. Anyway, which simpler kit did I buy just to get my eye in? Which do you think?

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Can’t beat the classics!

… Mind you, if they’d had a Red Arrow I probably would have got that XD. It was £8, though the same sorts of kits in Model Zone (where I got that Falklands set) are only £5.99, you have to support these independent shops or they’ll disappear!

After that I trolled off to Cambridge, to be disappointed XD. Still I couldn’t resist the Haunted Bookshop, and bought a hardback, cloth-bound prospectus for a girl’s boarding school. Like you do. There’s an inscription dated 1943 in it, but I should think the book itself is older, from before rationing, because the paper is lovely, thick and glossy. It has a great many photos, which will be useful reference material for illustrations in my own boarding school story, Xin Zhou’s Schooldays – the first chapters of which will appear in the Red, White & Blue issue 2, erm, eventually!

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“Fun” weather

Apparently on Friday, Britain was going to be hit by a storm of a once-in-5o-years magnitude. I thought that meant it would be another 1987, trees down, buses blown over, roofs torn off and other cool stuff. It’d make great material for creating comics about (I’m going to do various semi-fictional events set in the ’87 storm one day). But instead all that happened was I was woken up by a flash of lightning in the middle of the night, and heard hailstones hammering on the window. Unfortunately I wasn’t awake enough to realise what was happening and watch 🙁

Anyway, the next day (during which I was very tired), it was pouring down when I woke up, but by the time I was dressed and opening my curtains the sky was fairly clear. Then by the time I got to work the rain was incredibly heavy, and constant! Even last Friday, when Download was on, paled in comparison. But then after about an hour of that, this happened:

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It’s always nice to have lovely, crystal-clear puddles yet the sun beating down and the ground rapidly drying. Luckily after that the sun more or less stayed, until right now. Though with periods of cloud cover and bursts of very strong wind.

Lucky fuckers

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Pictured: Lucky fuckers

Who are watching Metallica perform The Black Album in it’s entirety, in dry and not-totally-freezing weather to boot. Mind you, I bet the mud was well “worked” and so is probably still clingy and nasty, rather than dried out.

Either way, I’ll definitely be going to Download in 2013. To see Def Leppard – well they seem to headline every other year now XD. I will also hopefully go in my dad’s home-made camper van! He had to put it on hold, whilst we got a “flat” for my granny built on the back of the house (I’m going to libel Cambridge Manor Care Home: It’s run by dozy cunts). But now he’s back on the job, and put the bed in today. I was wondering if he’d leave it as more of a “metal tent”, but apparently he’s planning on putting in a ‘kitchen’ too, and sealing up the back doors. Shame, if I take it to the festival and the weather is boiling hot (like the Sunday of 2009 was >.<) I could open the side and back doors and be like an old Japanese house XD.

Not updated this thing for ages

So let’s have some random waffle and odd pictures I had kicking around. And then a bunch of separate posts on various things that deserve to be singled out.

First, it’s DOWNLOAD! But I ain’t there, though looking at the virtually non-stop rain we’ve had since Wednesday I’m kinda glad. Though I am missing Nightwish, Anti-Nowhere League and various other great bands.

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A pic from about 10:58, there’s probably no band on

That said the rain did stop at about 2:00 in the afternoon today (at least in Cambridgeshire). It was not exactly hot, but not cold, and the wind was very strong. If those conditions persist in Donington it might “blow dry” the ground and make it nice and soft, but not muddy. Ideal if you ask me, people will bounce if they fall over in a pit XD. Also the one bad memory of every Download I have been to is sore feet, from walking too far / on rock-hard, baked mud.

I saw this the other day: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/features/falklandsmalvinas-a-national-cause/

The mention of Argentine comics about the Falklands War got me interested. I’m interested in the history of the comics of all nations, and a look at “the other side” ought to be interesting. I’d also love to see Japanese comics from during World War 2 and German story-papers from the 1890’s – 1918. Unfortunately both of those countries lost the respective wars and have now taken on a more pacifist viewpoint, preferring to act as if the “imperialist propaganda” in their comics of the time never happened.  Indeed, many histories of Japanese comics jump straight from the Ponchi-e of the 1850’s to Sazae-san and Osamu Tezuka in the late 1940’s, ignoring everything in between!

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Take this the next time you go to a talk about manga.

British comics have hardly mentioned the Falklands either. Apparently Battle (by then probably the shitty, ruined Battle Action Force version) did a story about the war while it was happening, but set it in the future, and made the enemies some sort of weird terrorist force. Commando did 2-3 stories about it in the early 90’s (reprinted circa 2009/10), but they were mainly about the lives of SAS soldiers, and the action they saw in the Falklands was only part of the story.

More recently Commando did two more Falklands stories, though only one was set in the actual war (feuding RAF brothers, one a Harrier pilot, the other a Sea King pilot). The other was again about the SAS, this time on a secret mission in mainland Argentina. They discover a crazed fanatic (at a time when the country was ruled by fanatics and murdering it’s own people left, right and centre) working on a biological weapon and have to arrange for the base to be bombed. In real life the Port Stanley airport was stretching the range of Vulcan bombers, let alone going any further!

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Some cakes

If only there was some small presser doing a patriotic, jingoistic adventure comic, who could produce the definitive comic version, eh?

Oh yeah, on the subject of Commando, it’s recently upgraded it’s paper quality enormously, and has reached issue 4500. I trust you are all doing your bit to help it on the way to issue 5000? Well somebody must be, a new “batch” comes out roughly every 2 weeks, but if you don’t get to them on the ‘first weekend’ (and sometimes even that’s too late) you might not get the full four. For a while I thought this was because WH Smith’s staff were idiots and not putting enough of them out. But the varying numbers lead me to another explanation. They are selling out! A Boys’ Own war comic, in 2012!

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A cute girl

 

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Only certain people will get this

Mind you, I do have a couple of “promising” friendships at the moment. I had more, but they were far out of my league and I’d better not delude myself. My first crush, who is still single and still beautiful, was liking my Facebook updates an awful lot. Then I hinted at a possible date and she switched off – that was a wake-up call XD.

Other recent things have included Camcon, cambridge’s “first” comic / anime / nerdy stuff convention… apart from 3-4 in the 80’s (including another one also called Camcon, but run by completely different people. The current crew were babies then XD). It was pretty good, and sold out. Plans for expansion are already being made. I hope to become one of the “moving spirits” of the convention, with my Union Jack-bedecked table welcoming people year on year.

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Hopefully with increasing numbers of comics. And neighbours who turn up.

I also had an idea to hand-animate a Julian and Sandy sketch advertising the next one. Anybody want to voice act? I need an RP-speaker and a raving queen. I will of course play the other raving queen XD.

I also went to the ‘rather’ bigger MCM Expo in London. This is held twice a year (there’s also other MCM’s in Birmingham, Manchester and, er, Telford) and gets 60,000 people through the doors. It’s in the gigantic Excel centre, though the convention proper only occupies one ‘room’ of the building. The forums are always full of complaints about overcrowding, things are going to reach a crunch point soon, I reckon. The qeue for convention tickets uses another room, which is left half empty. I don’t know why they can’t put some stands in there too, to open things out a bit.

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The hallway in the middle of the Excel Centre

Mind you, the MCM forums are always full of complaints about free huggers and the (hilarious) Yaoi Guy. Miserable fuckers.

I’m going to be going to an anime convention on the 30th, even though I don’t really like anime, my favourite one is 5 minutes long. Oh well, I can meet some interesting people and maybe obtain some more ‘promising friendships’ XD. Also it’s in London so I could slope off to the Japan Centre or Gosh. Probably the latter as I’m about ready to give up on Japanese and switch to learning a language that will be both easier and more useful to me.

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I think you know what I’m talking about

There was probably more, but I’ve just hit that sudden tiredness wall. Plenty to do tomor-erm-later today, including getting the latest Commando comics, trying to find this Falklands conference (if it’s even open to the public) and of course checking out the Cambridge University Anthropology Museum, which has recently been re-opened and apparently contains examples of art and design down the ages, from 40,000 years ago to may 2012 XD. I doubt there’s many comics, mind you.

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Only certain people will get this

BUT I’ll also get a Euromillions ticket. If I won a gigantic prize on that I’d create a huge and truly international comic museum. The “International Manga Museum” in Kyoto sounds more like a big reference library for Japanese comics, with a small ‘exhibit’ of pages stuck on a wall (Okay, maybe I will go to Japan once more, to see that museum… and the Mikasa… and Jinbocho…).

My museum would have vast wings dedicated to each continent, with bigger or smaller galleries depending on the comic output of each nation. Japan and Britain would of course have huge ones XD. They’d also treat each country’s evolving comic culture on it’s own merits. The Magnet and Hokusai Manga were not picture-strip “comics”, but both played thier own part in thier respective country’s comic development. I’d also give cave paintings, hieroglyphics, early Chinese writing and The Bayeux Tapestry their dues!

Other bits

Another ISO experiment, this time on the sunset reflecting on some passing clouds…

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Also on my comic blog I recently posted an opinion piece about why “manga” is not some magic potion that will “save” British comics. A few days later I was looking through a 90’s Beano and discovered that actually, format wise, there had been a “British manga” – called Graffix! Shame nobody took the slighest bit of notice.

Graffix books aren’t drawn in the big-eyed, small nosed style and loaded with sound effects (including for things that don’t even have sounds, such as the fact a room is messy). They also have loads of “wall of text” captions so that the blurb can claim that it’s “part book, part comic!”. Of course those of us in on the joke know that proper British adventure comics always had big wall of text captions!

Anyway, these books cost me 1p each, and £2.80 delivery… each! Talk about being stung. I even dilligently ordered them all from the same seller (a reseller on Amazon, not Ebay) in the hope of a discounted delivery. They all came in one package, and with delivery costs worked out at around £44!

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I bet this didn’t cost £44 to post!

In other news it’s been stupidly hot for the past two days, after a very mild summer with very few truly hot days. Still having the heat now means we don’t get swarms of those tiny black insects that walk all over you!

Also my granny came to live here (in some extra rooms we built on the back of the house) just under 2 weeks ago.

Also things are going “maybe” with my girlfriend. She hasn’t texted me or sent internet messages or anything since July, and only answers the phone every other time I ring, but when she does answer it she acts like the relationship is still the same as it always was and this is just a matter of course @_@. It’s very confusing and I’m not sure how much longer my patience will last. If another (very!) kawaii girl or guy came to me I’d probably get with them, in the current state of things. Especially if they lived closer than two continents away.

The Blackbeard thing

So yeah, it turns out that there was actually two separate Blackbeard 2-part mini series made in the mid 2000’s! The one I saw the first part of and the one I watched the last night. The one I saw the first part of was supposedly based on Blackbeard’s real life (what is known about it anyway), whereas the one I watched last night was more of a boys’ own adventure story with Blackbeard as a character. Not that his real life wasn’t a boys’ own adventure story! Wicked theme tune mind you.

This DC Comics re-launching thing got me looking at their blog, where they posted up a few character pictures of newly-redesigned heroes…

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 Er… isn’t that just Gene The Hackman crossed with Shakara?

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Isn’t that Durham Red??

Oh yeah, kind of glad I didn’t go to Donington now. It’s pissed down all day… still looks like Friday had the best weather and the best bands. I could have done a day ticket but I still need to save like mad.