post of 2003 - I'll be offline from Monday until January
3 or 4.
Paul Mc Cartney on TV last night in Moscow, in Red Square, singing to
an enraptured crowd. There was something uniquely moving about it and
I thought: why isn't it all as simple as this? Why can't America be singing
to the Iraquis, and vice-versa? Why can't Israelis and Palestinians be
playing music to each other ? (Daniel Barenboim did just that some time
ago, formed and conducted an orchestra of young Palestinians and Israelis).
And why aren't music and laughter taken more seriously than weapons and
war as a means of settling disputes?
To close this year of pain and terror and begin the new year hopefully,
I'm putting an angel here along with some words of wisdom:
is the greatest force that humanity has at its disposition.
It is more powerful than the most destructive weapon
invented by mankind." Gandhi
Angel was etched by Natalie for the livre d'artiste "The
Creation from the Book of Enoch".
December 23, 2003
greetings, joy and peace to all who pass by here. Please
come in and stay a while, make yourselves at home, explore
the whole place. We'll be in and out in the next couple
of weeks but if you rummage around you can find enough
to sustain you until we return. A tout a l'heure, hasta
luego, até logo, ciao.
December 20, 2003
know if anybody noticed but the 'Time' post vanished
for a couple of days and so did a few other things including
my serenity. The host server was down which caused no
end of rage and ranting on my part whilst They, the offending
party, remained impassive and righteous. Sometimes I
wish I were back in the good old days when I shunned
all things computerized and was blissfully ignorant of
blogs, broadbands, servers, scanners, software, stats,
etc. Anyway, I'm back but only by sheer superhuman
Speaking of stats: do you think they tell you how many people visited
your beloved blog today, yesterday, last week, last month? And do you
bask in glory when the numbers are up or sink into despondency when they're
down? Ha! Well, so did I until I chanced upon this
site: Why Web Usage Statistics are (worse
than) Useless. Read it and wake up to reality. One more illusion
bites the dust. But, hey, reality schmerality, nothing's going to stop
me checking those stats every few hours. And by the way, see that new
little logo at the top of my sidebar? I think itmeans you can
now, how you say, get a feed from me? So you can, if you wish, be warned
whenever I update. Try it and let me know if it works? (Update: No,
it doesn't work yet. Still waiting for a reply from Feedster to tell
me what to do.)
Thursday evening we were in the audience at the ICA (Institute
of Contemporary Arts) to hear the brilliant cartoonist Art
Spiegelman in conversation with Philip
Pullman, author of the latest Big Thing (after Harry
Potter), the trilogy "His
Dark Materials". (On the left, a quick on-the-spot
sketch by Natalie). You can tell where my sympathies
lie, can't you? Yep, Art's my man. They couldn't be more
different. Spiegelman the archetypal New Yorker, funny
and worried, self-deprecating and cocky, no bullshit,
no pretense, still boyish and enthused about what he
does and confident that he does it well. But essentially
a loner, one who has been down into the depths of despair.
Whereas Pullman, the Anglo-Saxon academic, oozed the
kind of authority that comes of belonging to a certain
class, a certain milieu, used to having the approval
of his peers and now also flushed with commercial success.
His lavish praise of Spiegelman's work seemed to me as
if he was reading from one of his own reviews and his
questions were like exam questions, expecting certain
kinds of answers. But Art's answers were always fresh
and direct and from another angle, another world altogether.
He talked about his current work-in progress: an opera-that's-not-an-opera,
with cartoon characters, speech bubbles etc. And about
his visceral response to 9/11, "In
the Shadow of No Towers" (which the US media
wouldn't publish). And about the making of his most famous
a tour de force in every sense, which raised the comics
medium to a level it doesn't often reach - depth of characters
and narrative power as in Kafka,
graphic expressiveness as in Goya -
yet something altogether different from either of them.
Was I inspired by the evening? You bet. Came home and
had to be restrained from staying up all night (again)
to work on the gnovel. But have added some new panels,
so go see.
MOLTUAE POST: TIME
Can't fail to
mention the capture of Saddam but I'm going to quote
an extract from MBP (Member of Bloggers Parliament) Demian
Stimson's post on his blog today because it perfectly
sums up my own feelings on the matter:
one of those people, those naive, myopic people,
who hears 'Thou shalt not kill' louder than I
hear 'an eye for an eye'. In some ways it's a
compassionate humanistic ideal of mine but it's
also self-preserving pragmatism: if we endorse
'an eye for an eye' then our history will blind
us. I'm one of those people who believes imperialism
is morally wrong - the old style imperialism
of the Raj and the Congo and Opium wars and the
new style economic and cultural imperialisms.
I'm one of those people who believes that if
we were sussed and wise enough to be able to
tell other countries how to run their affairs
then we would realise that we shouldn't do so
by threat and force and sanction, that we probably
shouldn't do so at all. I'm one of those people
who doesn't believe we are sussed and wise enough
- who believes we are further short than ever.
I'm one of those people who sees a sad old hairy
murderer in the custody of an illegal occupying
army and thinks so what?"
December 12, 2003
Since I always
make and never keep New Year's resolutions, I thought
I might break the vicious circle by making a resolution
well ahead of the fated-to-fail January 1st. The resolve
in question is the one toyed with in my Quiz of November
30th: to focus blogging energy on MOLTUAE(pronounced "mohl- tew -
eh"), short for Meaning
Of Life The Universe And Everything. I've
reduced this heavy string of words to its acronym because
it has a pleasing Latin sound and neatly wraps the whole
shebang in one small package.
MOLTUAE POST: LIGHT
December 1, 2003
me a little bit of strutting and preening before I get
down to less egocentric matters. The deservedly legendary
writers' group The
Scribblers based in South London, are featuring
my gnovel as their Link of the Month. Thank you
to Mike Weller, wondrous cartoonist, writer and performing
poet, for this introduction.
And as if that wasn't enough to inflate our heads, the top Italian website
for news and reviews of comics and comics artists, komix.it,
has now published an interview with us which was done by e-mail a few
months ago. We are described as "pittrice,
fumettista, editrice e ideatrice di libri" . Put that
in your pipe and smoke it. No, fumettista doesn't mean purveyor
of smoke, ie hot air. It means One Who Draws Comic Strips. Learn Italian.