Monday, June 04, 2007

I'll be back [on or around June 12, to be precise]

Right. I've found my driver's license, packed my bag and finished off the last piece of work I needed to complete before going on holiday. It's doubtful I'll be able to blog while away, so don't be surprised by radio silence over the next seven or eight days. I'll be back. Everyone should know the rules by now: no teenage parties, and always play nice with the other kids. While I'm away you can amuse yourselves by visiting my latest eBay auctions - big lots of the seminal British war comic Battle. Most of them feature perhaps the best story ever told in comic form, Charley's War. Class.

What else? My magnum opus detailing the backstage history of iconic British weekly 2000 AD could well be in shops by the time I return. If you haven't already ordered THRILL-POWER OVERLOAD, here's a preview of the final cover and publisher blurb to help persuade you...

By David Bishop
Thirty Years of Thrill-Power!
For over three decades one British comic has defined a generation: 2000 AD. From humble and rocky beginings to its current position as the Galaxy's Greatest Comic, Thrill-Power Overload charts the incredible history of this ground-breaking weekly. With exclusive interviews, hundreds of illustrations and rarely-seen artwork, former 2000 AD editor David Bishop guides the reader through three decades of action, adventure, excitement and the occasional editorial nightmare! Told by the people who were there, this is the definitive history of the comic that launched a thousand talents.
Large-format hardback
256 pages
Includes bonus comic strip and comprehensive index
Finally, here's a slice of life short story I rediscovered on the hard drive of my last computer but one. Judging by the references to shopping my videos and the latest Tarantino release, I'd say this date from the mid to late 1990s. In theory, this was meant to be the first chapter of a novel called Jake's Progress. I mention that solely because I'm off to auditions tonight for a play called Jake's Women. If it's a coincidence, it's not a very good one.

Four Things More Important Than Sex
Jake knew he was in deep when he caught himself composing love poetry in the bath on a Monday morning. It was bad enough that he had to get up an hour earlier than normal in order to have a bath, his flatmates having exhausted the hot water supply with one of their all too frequent Sunday afternoon underwater love-making sessions. But to find himself drifting off into haikus and ill-formed sonnets before starting the working week was truly worrying. His friend Andy readily agreed when they met at lunchtime. Jake waited until they had left reception and were out of the office before mentioning his pre-dawn discovery.

'You were doing what in the bath?'

'Writing love poems.'

'I've heard it called a lot of things before, but never that. But "writing love poems" - that's a little bit of a pretentious name for it, isn't it? Do you have no shame - can't you just call it a quick wank like the rest of us mere mortals?' Andy was thirty, married and slightly overweight. He liked fried food, the sound of his own voice and playing the role of sage elder brother, having only ever been the baby in his own family while growing up.

Jake stopped in the middle of the footpath, forcing an oncoming herd of Japanese tourists to walk around him. 'Andy, for once in your life, do you think you could not to relate everything you hear, say, do or experience in some way to sex? There are more important things you know.'

Now it was Andy's turn to stop. 'Name four.'


'Name four. Name four more important things than sex.'



'Yes it is!' Jake protested.

'If you're right, why does the Sun always have pictures of tits on page three instead of pictures of people in love? Mmmm?' Andy smiled triumphantly and strolled on. Jake had to jog a few paces to catch up.

'You can't take the Sun as the determinant by which the sum of human worth and emotion is measured,' he countered. 'Where are we going for lunch, anyway?'

'Shopping. You need some retail therapy,' Andy said.

'What the hell's that?'

'I forgot, you're not married. It's what my wife does when she gets depressed, which seems to be quite often judging by the credit card bills. God knows if it works, but it's worth a try.'

'What about lunch?'

'We'll get that on the way back to the office,' Andy pronounced, throwing himself alarmingly in front of a charging red double-decker bus. Before Jake could cry out a warning Andy was already across the road and standing on the opposite side, shaking his head and tapping his watch. 'We've only got forty-five minutes for lunch, you know!'

Jake made the sign of the cross and darted over the road, expecting death to take the form of a heavy goods vehicle and smite him down at any time. Death being busy elsewhere, he safely crossed to the other side.

'Look, about my love poetry,' Jake said as they continuing walking towards Oxford Street.

'Not until you name four things better than sex,' Andy replied. important than sex, you said.'

'Pedant. Alright, more important then.'

'Death, love, anticipation and football.'

'Still not sure about love but I'll let you slide - just this once.'

'Thank you. Now, about this poetry--'

'Look, Jake, there are certain universal truths which I have been trying to impart to you in the time we have known each other. The significance of the positioning of the photocopier in any building, the secret power of discussing the enormous length of your penis whilst walking through reception and the hidden meaning of those strange giggles you sometimes hear coming from the women's toilets on the third floor. But there is one thing about all others that you should learn: women talk about sex; men lie about sex. Accept that fact and you'll find life a whole lot easier to understand.'


Andy rolled his eyes. By now the pair were entering the Virgin Megastore near Tottenham Court Road tube station. He signalled for Jake to resume the much-delayed saga about early morning ablutions and poetic composition as they surveyed the range of new albums.

'Okay, so I'm in the bath conditioning my hair when--'

A quick snort of derision brought the anecdote to an abrupt halt.

'What now?'

Andy fixed Jake with his most sardonic smile. 'Sorry, but you've hardly got enough hair to make it worth conditioning.'

'Will you shut up and let me finish?' Andy put down a greatest hits selection and motioned for Jake to continue. 'So I was conditioning my hair and suddenly I found myself--'

A hastily swallowed guffaw.

'I found myself composing this love poem. It was quite good actually, worked from an extended metaphor about wishing my words had the power of planets and if only I could...' Jake realised people were staring at him, Andy principal amongst them. 'What?'

'Let me get this straight. You were in the bath before dawn this morning composing a love poem.'

'That's what I've been trying to tell you!' Jake could have happily throttled his colleague by this point but explaining the cause of his provocation would have only caused him further embarrassment during the inevitable trial and sentencing for manslaughter.

'Composing love poetry in the bath on a Monday morning?'


Andy bit his lip, thinking carefully before delivering his sagest snippet of elder brother-like advice.



'You're in deep.'

'I know that!'

'Come on, let's go look in the video department - I want to know if the new Tarantino is out yet.' They headed for the nearest escalator. 'So who's the object of your undying love and affection, the person that's driven you to composing poetry in the bath?'

'Vic,' Jake admitted, not daring to look at his friend's face.

'Vic?!' Andy was worried. 'Look, Jake, I know you're a breast man, but I’d draw the line at that tub of lard in accounts - he's just not the woman for you.'

'No, not him! Vic! Victoria! The Australian woman that's just joined your department, fool!'

'Oh, Victoria.'


Andy paused at the bottom of the escalator. 'I was wrong before, you're not in deep.'

Jake's face brightened. 'I'm not?'

'Nope,' Andy replied, walking towards new releases. 'You're up shit creek, that's where you are. Up shit creek in a bath, composing love poetry.'


Laura Anderson said...

Have a good time!

Lianne said...

Have a great time David! Sounds like both you and your wife have earned it.