Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Common 'taters 

By the way, those nice people at Blogger.com have given me a comments function so now you can point out all the mistakes I make and argue with me and stuff. Or just say rude words ("bum!") like that.

Have fun.

Tigers and goats, oh my! 

The other thing that kept me from besmirching the internet with my witterings lately was a week's holiday (well, almost) in Barcelona. Now I have to confess that I'm not actually very good at holidays but, what do you know, this was rather good. Barcelona is a fine city - a little like Paris (well, okay, it probably isn't if you've spent a proper amount of time in either place and can make a sensible judgement but I haven't and can't so nyur) but without so much surly resentment from the locals. And by the sea which is always a good thing. And faintly smelly in places (see, it is a bit like Paris). We did a stack of touristy stuff (open top buses, a boat trip, too much Gaudi architecture, a bunch of museums) and a bit of sitting about not doing much at all (which I'm good at and enjoy, hurrah!) in parks and on the (admittedly rather shabby) beach. And it was mostly very hot but our knotted handkerchiefs were sun protection factor 3000 and we survived.

Something else we did was discover (I won't go into the details of how, it's not especially interesting) a couple of ancient but fascinating board games. These were Bashni (or possibly Bashne) which is a kind of mad Russian variant of draughts and Bagha Chal, a game from Nepal in which tigers play against goats (the tigers try to eat the goats the goats try not to get eaten). Marvellous. Bashni took a while to understand as we had to guess at some of the finer points of the rules due to a lack of detail in the instructions we had. Having looked for some info online yesterday though it seems we got it about right in the end. The great (or terrible - it probably depends upon your general approach to life) thing about it is that, due to a rule about having to take an opponents counter if you can, you can set off terrifically complex chain reactions of moves the result of which is almost impossible to calculate. So after a few minutes of brain-mangling consideration ("if I move there, you have to take there and there and then I take there, then you have to...") you just have to make the move anyway on the basis that's actually the only way you'll ever know if it's a good one or not. It might lose you the game but it'll certainly be interesting.

Sadly when I do the same thing in chess it always ends badly.

Listen news 

Blimey, it's been nearly a month. Shameful. I do apologise. I was busy, busy, busy for a while there but things are altogether more sensible now.

I got the Listen strip finished on time and delivered it to the mighty editorial team about a fortnight ago. My 4 page story (ridiculously titled "Jellybeanboom!" - I do apologise) is pretty average but that shouldn't be enough to put anyone off what will be a 120ish page book when it comes out later in the year. And there are ten other cartoonists contributing so there'll be plenty to choose from. Just the fact that Marvellous Mark Stafford (I've plugged him before and, no doubt, I shall plug him again) has contributed a lengthy strip ought to be enough to drag unpleasant cataracts of anticipatory drool from the mouths of the comic-buying public at large. Add to that work by Nick Abadzis (one of the top five nicest men in comics and a tip top talent too), Gary "I'm in the Beano, me" Northfield, Glenn Dakin, Paul Peart-Smith (I remember when he was just Paul Peart you know), Matt "the handsome one" Abbiss, Patrice Aggs, genius Tom Gauld, Steve Marchant and Malcy Duff and I'm sure you'll realise that my pages could easily be barely noticed amongst the good stuff.

Anyway, I'll let you know when it's out.

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