December 28, 2003

Last 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?
'Angel' by Natalie
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:

"Non-violence is the greatest force that humanity has at its disposition. It is more powerful than the most destructive weapon invented by mankind." Gandhi

The Angel was etched by Natalie for the livre d'artiste "The Creation from the Book of Enoch".


December 23, 2003

Seasonal 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

Don't 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 bad temper.

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.)

Spiegelman & PullmanOn 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 book "Maus", 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.


December 17, 2003


December 15, 2003

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:

"I'm 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.


December 7, 2003

Eat, eat! Parts of the new colour version of the gnovel are now posted. More to come soon. Natalie is now Ottoline (Ottoline & Augustine). You may have to hit the 'refresh' key in your browser to bring that page up to date. One viewer told me he can only see the old black & white version. Feedback appreciated.



December 3, 2003

Funny how the U.S. Government thinks this blog is only worth visting when I write or quote something about liking peace better than war, or non-violence better than violence. They've neglected me for a while but now they're back (1% of my stats) so I'll just have a little chat with these silent invisible visitors.A toast to the guys

: Hi guys. I assume you're guys? Any gals there?
Me: So how's life? Do you come here often?
Them: ---
Me: Do you sit at your computers surfing all day?
Them: ---
Me: So it's not so different from what a lot of us are doing, right?
Them: ---
Me: But I guess you get paid for it, unlike us, right? Heh, that's a joke, OK?
Them: ---
Me: Tell you what, why don't you start your own blogs? Write about what you're really thinking while you're checking out a million billion bloggers? Eh, why not?
Them: ---
Me: You don't like that idea? Well how about if we exchange jokes? You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine?
Them: ---
Me: Well, it's been nice talking with you guys. Come back and see us again soon, OK?


December 2, 2003

OpossumJust a quickie today. Am trying to gather my thoughts together from all the places where I've scattered them. Not easy. Meanwhile, don't fail to visit and bookmark the delightful Advent Calendar which Heather has produced for her SoulFood Cafe, the famous Australian haven and virtual meeting ground for writers, artists and talented folks of every description - including yrs truly. We have a permanent pied a terre at the Cafe. Our humble page in the Advent Calendar is here.


December 1, 2003

Permit 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,, 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.