Wednesday, November 30, 2005
So having set to work early to complete the day's work (drawing camels) I reward myself, once that task is completed, with a mug of tea, a relaxing bath and the re-reading of one of my favourite A L Kennedy short stories (Breaking Sugar). And I'm all very relaxed and content, I'm two thirds of the way through the story and the water's recently topped up with hot, when the doorbell goes and I know that it's almost certainly a courier with the two dozen of my favourite pens that I ordered online yesterday. So do I remain in the comfort of my bath and finish the story but later have to sort out redelivery or do I get the lovely pens (mmm, peeennns) but, to do so, have to leave the bath and the story and suffer the indignity of having to answer the door dripping wet and in a dressing gown at lunchtime?
I think the footprints have dried out now.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Hurrah, Mr Will Kane has a blog. Sadly lacking (so far) any of his own fine cartooning but ably demonstrating the breadth of his eclectic tastes in all areas of design, art and pretty ladies.
So on Saturday I went off to smelly London to a housewarming party thrown by my good friend Paul Peart-Smith and his good lady wife Yolanda. And I drank some wine and ate some very lovely food and I talked a lot of nonsense with some old friends and some people I'd never met before and it was hugely enjoyable. But that's not what I'm here to write about.
On the way to Paul's there was an announcement on the train P.A. apologising for a lack of service elsewhere due to "planned engineering works". Now, this is a phrase I've heard before and it always makes me wonder just how much engineering work must go on on our railway's infrastructure that isn't planned that the announcement has to make this distinction. Is there a lot of spontaneous engineering work being done just for the sheer hell of it? Are there gangs of workmen doing improv? I suppose they do often work in the early hours of the morning, maybe it gets a bit like a jazz club or something. "Well, we'd finished the repairs to the line outside of Clapham South and, man, we were just flying. So we jammed until 5a.m. Put in a lovely little loop the loop outside of Balham."
If you start to see signs saying "You must be at least this high to take this ride" at tube stations then you'll know I'm right.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Friday, November 25, 2005
Just scanned a page from an old sketchbook for other reasons and thought I'd bung it up here too for want of anything new or interesting to say. This is from late '99 I think and seems to me to be busier and more interesting than pages from more recent books. Largely a result of much more often drawing to a purpose these days rather than doodling aimlessly. Still, I really should get back to doing more of this kind of thing as well as the actual work.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
I've finally put something in the comics section of daveshelton.com.
Jellybeanboom was originally drawn for inclusion in Listen, the would be successor to the Test-Tube Comics collective's Sentence anthology of a few years ago. In the end, though, the Listen book failed ever to come into being and this extremely slight tale was denied a public airing. Anyway, it's now available online in glorious blackandwhiteovision, go take a look.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Of course, rather than writing about reading about railway gauges I ought, really, to be drawing camels.
I'm currently reading Parallel Lines by Ian Marchant, an enjoyably random examination of this country's railway system pitting the romance of our idealised view of its past against the grim reality of its present (while at once finding plenty of grimness in the reality of the past and at least a smidgeon of stubborn romance in the present). Anyway, I commend to you particularly this passage from page 180, explaining how the standard gauge for our railways came to be four feet, eight and a half inches:
The Newcastle [rail]roads were built in the seventeenth and eighteenth century to accommodate a wide range of wagons which were already in use. It was natural that the rails should be placed so far apart as to accommodate the average axle width of a seventeenth-century farm cart. The average width was about four feet, eight and a half inches. The wheels on carts were this far apart so that they could fit in the ruts of the ordinary late medieval and early modern roads. These roads had not been improved since they were built by the Romans. The wagons were running in very old grooves, grooves that had been cut by the Romans' chariots. The average size of Roman military horses' arses meant that the average distance between the chariot wheels was about four feet, eight and a half inches.
The train you are sitting on is following in the tracks of the Romans' chariots. We are intimately, and at all times, connected with our past, with life, with love, if we could just see it. If we could make the connections.