It's been an absurdly busy summer - dallying about with archaeology contracts and rushing around doing this and that has taken its toll on things I try and do regularly. Here's a run through of RECENT LIFE DOINGS....
I didn't take a camera to Glastonbury because I'm a prick but the image above of banners hung above the crowd at the Left Field stage is a strong representative image of Glasto '14. I had intended to do a big fat blog about it all closer to the time but as we are now more than two months after the event I'll just do a wee summary of what went on.
Jazz and I overcame having no tentpoles (that was a saga) to have a very positive and very slightly damp year - we were as always, in full debt of the Lloyds and their respective kiwis who bagsied us as lovely spot in the Pyramid field and we were in immediate contact with regular festival friend Darrell who we'd bumped into in the queue in 2012 and always endeavour to pint with. The first night dissolved into what was basically a festival-based friend frenzy - as Disconnected Press duo the ever-lovin' Boyles and their festival posse collided with ours. There was dancing... and cider.
Thursday we managed to actually see some music and also bumped into Bez striding through a woodland. Jazz had danced with him the previous year but we neglected to mention it... he's danced with a few people over the years I imagine. Plus now he's dancing with politics. The first band we saw of the festival was the Formidable Vegetable Sound System in Emily Eavis's Park field - they were basically a permaculture pushin' electro-swingy-folk thing as is the style at the moment. Very vibrant and a hoot. We then wandered over to the everglorious greenfields to witness didgeridoo prog in the form of Kangaroo Moon which was marvellous - we thought we'd have a gander at nearby Elemental arch-rival and "George Formby clone" Mr B but the tent he was in was stuffed to the gills.
Friday began with being woken by thunderous glorious noise in the form of Japanese punk drumming ensemble Turtle Island on the pyramid stage. We shuffled out and saw a bit of Blondie then trekked over to see the real-deal chap-hop chap Professor Elemental with Darrell. We formed an impenetrable fan-crust around his pith-helmetted form and went with him to watch Josie Long and Kevin Eldon in the cabaret tent. Both of whom were on particularly scintillating form - Long is brilliantly open and Mr Eldon's thunderously speedy and surreal stand-up is glorious. The Professor then sodded off (likely for tea or gin or a mixture of the two) and Jazz, Darrell and I moved to the Avalon field to see what was possibly my favourite performance of the weekend. Blackbeard's Tea Party are a band that Jazz has been mad keen on for years but I'd never heard them - they were essentially straight-down-the-line very British folk with a convincingly heavy metallic edge. They were very tight and very brilliant - amazing stage presence and I think the whole tent was hypnotised. Definitely try and catch them if they're in your area or on your raft. We then sat in West Holts and were befuzzled by some classical avant-jazz oddness in the form of the Sun Ra Arkestra - which was squeaky squoodly squawky. We then mooched up to acoustic to take in the accappella shantying of Fisherman's Friends, on the advice of Jazz, and Darrell parted ways which was sweet sorrow but the minute he strode out of the tent THE RAINS CAME. A threatening thundery shower hit like a bag of bollocks and the stage's electricity was cut right off - we sat there for a while sipping our horrible cheap alcohol mix (vodka and something) as the rain cascaded down. The group had departed the stage due to the lack of sound and gainfully the sheltering crowd seemed to be shantying all on their own. On crossing the tent to brave the rain though we observed that in actuall fact with beer in hand the burly fishermen were within the throng and the drifting crowd-borne shanties were originating from them. Magical moment really. Shantyliscious. After this I had a bit of an asthmatical episode and absconded to the medical tent. It was nothing too serious though and we returned to reality as the sun set across Elbow's performance on the Pyramid Stage and although I don't count myself as an enthusiast there was an undeniable energy to the moment after an afternoon of rain and wheezing. We then found ourselves in Billy Bragg's Left Field tent watching the man himself in the rather intimidating immediate company of Phill Jupitus who was standing behind us. LOOMING rather. I had seen bits and bobs of Billy over the years but him in full flow was astonishing, galvanising and inspiring. A huge man in the crowd was screaming "Hillsborough!" and when Bragg sang Never Buy the Sun I looked back and he was weeping. Very powerful moment and under the fluttering banner of Benn I was encouraged. After that it was time for some brain meltery and Gong is always the ticket - although unfortunately head pixie Daevid Allen isn't well so it was Hillage-fused bit of trance-prog hypnotism with amazing visuals.
Saturday started with Glastonbury regular-stop Stephen Frost Improv Allstars which I have been going back to since I first stumbled on it in the mid noughties. It's basically Whose Line Is It Anyway and I love it - this year was no disappointment and the finale had Phill Jupitus (fresh from the previous day's Bragglooming) sprawling and helpless with laughter on the stage. We then zipped across the site to witness that massive-handed film critic Mark Kermode and his rockabilly skiffle ensemble The Dodge Bros which was slick and very fun. I didn't think I'd ever be imitating the whoops and wails of a theremin according to whims of Kermode but that's Glastonbury for you. We then had our final Jupitus encounter of the weekend at the poetry stage where he was Porky the Poet and deeply open. His final poem was a tribute to his recently-deceased manager and he fell apart as he read it. It was odd seeing these two contrasting extremes of a stranger on the same day - tears of laughter and tears of sadness. Should I dub Glastonbury 2014 as "Tears of a Jupitus"? No probably not. We then went to see the sensationally incredibly astonishingly smashing Daptone Super Soul Revue which was as funklicious as it was DAMP as the second major deluge of the weekend hit. Soaked the bone we retreated tentwards but by the time we reached the main stage the sun was out and Robert "Percy" Plant was on and being charming. I never thought I'd hear that voice live... I don't recall where our evening went after that ... there was something about pie and we saw comicsqueen Dani Abram, the Boyles and the Manic Street Preachers which was a hoot. After that it was our wont to observe the glorious John Otway and the ever-brilliant Atilla the Stockbroker who this year seem to have fused into one person. Fly-like. Oh also earlier in the day Jazz got to sit in Otway's Sinclair C5... Finally we mounted the hill and saw Metallica on the Pyramid stage which was far too surreal an experience to feel anything profound about. I just literally couldn't believe it was even happening so much so I bothered a pram-wielding lady next to me with my constant outbursts of disbelief.
Sunday appeared arm-in-arm with a massive hangover and Jazz wandered down to see the English National Ballet doing a WW1 inspired performance. It was introduced with an exceptionally moving rendition of Between the Wars from Bragg but the beeb didn't feel the need to broadcast that. We wandered shakily across the site and witnessed the powerful voice of musical wanderer Kim Churchill and then were enlivened by a performance from educational king and poetlord Michael Rosen whose warm voice literally smoothed the headache from my mind. Enlivened we went to see one-string guitar wonder Brushy One String but found instead slide-guitar feller and Bristolian John Fairhurst who explained that Brushy hadn't got a working visa and so had been flown back to Jamaica. Gutting but Fairhurst is bloody marvellous too so we just stood and absorbed that instead. Jazz got to fulfill an unfinished ambition and saw Clannad perform a Robin of Sherwood medley at the acoustic stage and we walked off site to the strains of Massive Attack. A bloody lovely year actually..
The image above is for The Weekly Themed Art Blog on Facebook - which has a weekly theme and is really rather smashing. Join in, why don'tcha? Can't remember exactly what the theme was for this one.... Spiders possibly. Gamgee maybe.
In other news since my last blog I've been given a regular slot on British comics website Down the Tubes - reviewing the small press, chinwagging about 2000 AD and generally coming across as a bit of a mug-wielding berk. My most recent one is here.
Recently as well I was asked to colour this Patrick Goddard cover for the 21st issue of 2000 AD fanzine Zarjaz. Absolute dream job I'll never never never get tired of colouring Dredd!
A lean summer for personal projects means an especially slow output of Dreddheads and so the only two I've managed in the last while are Hawkgirl and Slash. My request list is still longer than space and I fully anticipate I'll still be drawing them well into the actual era Dredd is set in. Just my brain in a jar with a rusty wacom pen jabbed into it... here's a clue to the next one.
Last weekend was the 2014 Melksham Comic Con and it was a belter. Geoffery Crescent and I launched the fourth issue of The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel there and it remains my favourite event on the yearly comics calendar. More of that gushy stuff on an upcoming Down the Tubes blog...
Since the last blog I've also been a guest (!) at the London Film and Comic Con which was a very interesting and eye-opening weekend. Also sweaty. Major hat-doffs and bowing to chief of Aces David Lloyd for getting my measly ass on the bill!
Coloured recently for Grant Perkins - inked by Andy Lanning. I've not seen the Guardians film but the buzz around it is quite compelling - good on the massive DisMarvelney empire for getting summat genuinely interesting and different out there and it's a gamble that's clearly paid off. Lots of people seem very enthused by it.
This is a fairly shoddy attempt to get in on the action on a recent 2000 AD art competition - the theme was "wordless stories". The current theme is LAWMASTER and hopefully it'll be biketacular. Bikelicious. We'll also have art historian and genius artist in his own right Mr David Roach picking some favourites!
Finally a new page of Flaubert St Cloud (Goat) - ! You don't get many of these a year but this goatsaga will be continuing for the forseeable future - script by Lady Geoffery.
Here's hoping the next blog won't be so delayed!