Friday, December 29, 2006

Done rockin'

Readers, thank you for tolerating my albums of the year chart, which provides me with a vital week off at Christmas. Here's the list in full, including numbers 21-30. For most of the year it seemed like nothing good was coming my way, but by November I was pretty much overrun.

1 YS - Joanna Newsom
6 NICE AND NICELY DONE - The Spinto Band
9 THE CRANE WIFE - The Decemberists
10 ESPERS 2 - Espers
11 HOWLING BELLS - Howling Bells
12 WHITE BREAD, BLACK BEER - Scritti Politti
13 A BLESSING AND A CURSE - Drive By Truckers
14 MODERN TIMES - Bob Dylan
15 THE LEMONHEADS - The Lemonheads
16 CITRUS - Asobi Seksu
18 LET'S GET OUT OF THE COUNTRY - Camera Obscura
19 THE BEAUTIFUL LIE - Ed Harcourt
20 OVER AND OVER - Erin Bode

21 WHAT IF IT WORKS - The Loud Family & Anton Barbeau
22 RABBIT FUR COAT - Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
23 EASY BEAT - Dr Dog
25 MORPH THE CAT - Donald Fagen
27 WE ARE THE PIPETTES - The Pipettes
28 SEMIFINALISTS - Semifinalists
29 SCHMOTIME - Absentee

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"A child who has learned the truth about Santa"

Music journalism is frequently a right load of old rot, a miserable wrong 'un if ever there was one ('un). Who do I blame? Society.

But sometimes it can go right. I would never knowingly listen to the music of child rocker "L'il Chris", but here (from is the best, funniest interview I have read in years. I was crying by the end of it.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I drew a new Christmas header for the website today, featuring Shelley, Manny and Ed goblin, Old Ivor as Father Christmas, Douglas Fir and his sister Elise! Here it is at a slightly larger size.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I think you, as a Scary Go Round reader, will enjoy Sophie Swanson, Titular Heroine. It is a short film specially designed to delight.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

24 hours of hot tinkering

I've started work on Scary Go Round book 5, since the foul weather insists I stay indoors at all costs. Preliminary stages of book-making involve deciding what I'm not going to put in the book, what needs re-drawing or re-purposing, and what I can let fly with a clear conscience.

The outcome of all this decision-making by the executive board was a day of redrawing faces that looked funny. For some reason, when I re-started drawing by hand, I was drawing huge bug eyes on everybody. That in and of itself might not have been a problem, but a lack of match fitness meant I seemingly couldn't draw a pair of eyes level with one another. It was pretty inexplicable why I drew that way, but it was a fight in front of the drawing board each day for that first month.

Another problem was the colours I was using. The vicious, bright shades that worked so well in Illustrator looked garish and inappropriate when applied to more traditional drawing routes. And to be honest, I wasn't exactly being careful slapping it on there.

Rather being than a shopping list of complaint, I found this quite a soothing task. I think I've improved a lot in the seven months since I went back to pens and ink.



Sunday, December 03, 2006

Move with the moss

A reader only calling himself "Mike" (one assumes it is basketball star Mike "Air" Jordan) sent me this lovely animated Shelley gif. Congratulations Mike, it is another "slam dunk" ho ho oh my sides.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The plan for winter warmth

As you probably know, winter is here and that means the icy winds doth blow. However, as an innovator, dreamsmith and imagineer, I have come up with an excellent scheme to avoid frostbite. I am going to sit in the tumble dryer until April:

Think how nice it is when the clothes come out of the dryer! It takes a strong man not to put a nice warm tshirt or towel over their face and just live for pleasure alone. Well, what if you could enjoy that great sensation for hours at a time? As the diagram above indicates: NOW YOU CAN.

See you in spring!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Goats 2000

Today is the 2000th Goats comic at, on the internet! Jon Rosenberg gave me my big break in "web comics" when I was just a callow youth on Geocities with 47 hits a day. He even came to England in 1999 to teach me the secret "web comics" lore and I reciprocated by introducing him to a drink that is now considered socially unacceptable by many in my land! It was a cultural exchange of ideas that has continued to this day.

In many ways Jon is the grandfather of popular comics on the internet. He opened what some might describe as a MAGIC DOOR. Now he can't close it, no matter how hard he tries. Congratulations Jon Rosenberg, congratulations on this thing that you have done.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kind of an old school machine

I made some Machine Man wallpaper to pay tribute to the 1980s Marvel robot guy. You can download it if you want to make it your desktop!

I don't make wallpapers for public consumption any more because there are so many different screen sizes, so you will be on your own when it comes to resizing it. Just be brave.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I thought it might be nice to ink with a brush pen, for a side project. You know, for fun! Of a whole test page, here's the part I deem acceptable for public consumption. The rest was a mess. But it was quite late.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dancing about architecture

Please may I continue to apologise for the sparse updates on my blog. In the second half of the year I have been short of spare mental energy, mostly due to concentrating very hard on drawing comics. No matter how many years I spend drawing, it seldom feels like a beautiful and natural process to me.

I had a fine dream the other day where I managed to make another one of my stand-alone books for people, unchained to the exhausting meter of daily comics. But dream it will have to remain because while I would start on page one declaring this a thing of simple beauty and a joy forever, by page six it would be punk rock mayhem, every panel a mess of cross-hatching and intemperate haiku. I may have to attend some kind of retreat in order to remember how not to fill every page up with madness.

As the end of the year looms, thoughts turn to my end of year charts. This year I must must must remember not to elect something baroque and virtually unlistenable to the top slot. The year I stated that "Blueberry Boat" by the Fiery Furnaces was the best release of the year remains a critical low point. You could easily argue that there were about 6 very very good minutes among the 77 on that particular long-player, though ascertaining which ones they were took an awful lot of effort.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Changing course

Well, I did enjoy those US mid-term elections. Nothing fills me with excitement like the sound of FREEDOM across the Atlantic. I saw the mighty eagle on the wing this morning and smelled change in the air.

To celebrate all this unbridled freedom, I had a photo-shoot to produce a new publicity photo for upcoming interviews, profile pieces etc. This was my first session with a professional photographer but I'm quietly pleased with the results (below).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rival Schools - United By Fate

In a sense this is wretched, but I was so pleased by the generic city centre tones and barely veiled sentiment that it simply could not be stopped. Ten seconds after I drew it I was clapping like a big baby.

I remember back in '00 when emo was duking it out with crustcore to be number one*. That was a scene. These days crustcore has to hang out in the kitchen at parties with math rock and "drones".

* Number one hardcore punk offshoot enjoyed by people not wearing shirts slamming into one another.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Well, the Lancaster Comics Festival proved an interesting event. The dismal weather I'm sure discouraged many people from attending and things were pretty sparse at times, but it was great to meet people who haven't been able to see me on my southern and international jaunts. It was a very promising first year though, I did far better than at the "super-professional" Brighton Comics Expo last November, an event that proved about as lucrative as taking your wallet and dropping it in a septic tank. And despite the mist, rain, goblins and fear, Lancaster seemed like a lovely place.

The exhibitions department is now closed until next spring, during which time I will polish the welcome wagon and practise my firmest and most reassuring handshakes on unwilling passers by.

The only real downside of the event was that my ultra-magical mini-SGR comics "To The Victor THE SPOILS", which I spent two hours folding and three hours drawing, seemed almost impossible to give away. People just don't want somethin' for nothin' - either that or they don't know what they're missin'!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh do calm down Placidus

That rather mean spirited post below has been top of the blogs here for ages - to my shame. I was busy with the business of turning 30 and could not post a more positive note with which to replace it. But now I am 30 and cool heads prevail. I did not go through with my plan to put myself into residential care and see out my salad days eating apple sauce, mostly because I was told that my arms would soon atrophy and I wouldn't be able to use a zimmer frame after two months! But I did eat some apple sauce (just to see what it's like).

I hope I will see some of the people who read these posts at the Lancaster Comics Festival. I will be driving there in my car, so if I don't make it, it is pretty certain that I accidentally drove into Morecambe Bay and drowned.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bugger Bognor

I am trying to work out what to put in some frames I bought today. Perhaps small paintings on a theme. Or pressed flowers in the shape of Len Pickering. I made the picture below but it is all wrong for my frames and my life.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I am back from Brooklyn

I am back from Brooklyn and dealing with matters that have arisen in my absence. The good news is that Sister Bernadette has not burned down the house, although it was slightly disconcerting to return to her many makeshift altars and "Jesus baskets". Still, it beats returning to a living room full of white rastas and ganja smoke.

The good news is that while I was away, I had 100 Good Ideas, and good ideas mean good things to come for you, the reader. Time off is time well spent!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I thought this might make a nice tshirt slash hoodie. I'm thousands of miles from my garden so I can't take it out there and shoot it right now. By clerical error it is ushered through.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I am still in Brooklyn

You may be amazed to hear that I am still in Brooklyn. Apparently, when I get home I have to build a wardrobe. I cannot face building the wardrobe so I am staying here until next week, hiding. You should really confront your fears but I don't have an electric screwdriver and if I put a screwdriver bit in my power drill, something terrible is going to happen, something kind of George Romero - I just know it.

Despite the fact that I'm on holiday, I've been very productive! Such is the atmosphere of wild, unbridled creativity at Dr Vampire's house. I have designed a terrifying tshirt, and also drawn this picture (below) for you, the reader of this blog. There have also been secret consultations about many powerful and unimaginable projects.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Nuns vs guns

The blog has been quiet of late as I spent the last week adjusting to the arrival my new room-mate, Sister Bernadette. A pious and godly woman, she fills the house with prayer and holy song at all hours of the day.

But I cannot hear her ululations because I am in BROOKLYN, NEW YORK from today, ringing the mighty bell of freedom over and over and over again. Praise be to liberty!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Joltin' Johnny A

R Stevens has begun his campaign to have he and I installed as the creative team on Iron Man, a move that would obviously cause a lot of problems since a. I have not read a new Marvel comic since about 1995 and b. his ideas are 90% completely at odds with mine (in his version, Iron Man would fight either trees or super-villains largely unfamiliar to readers under the age of 50, in between checking his email). In my version Iron Man would attempt to date Dazzler due to a mutual love of roller skates, and his enemies would be crazed international businessmen called things like "The Sultan" and "The Sheik". This is not what the suits at Marvel will want to hear.

Anyway here's the concept sketch that will both midwife and bury this sorry pursuit of a grey Iron Man dream.

The wandering ink stick

When I sit and doodle in front of the TV, this is what usually happens.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Inside the actor's studio

I worked out the other day that for every tshirt I design, there about 13 abandoned (and finished) concepts. Here is the Halloween shirt design you won't be able to buy, it is called "Ghost Uncle" and it illustrates exactly why someone who spends most of his time trying to make wordy and elaborate stories about land sharks and caravan parks shouldn't attempt a simple graphical motif without the supervision of an adult.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Sorry for the lack of blog posts, I can tell things are bad when the first comment appears that has nothing to do with the most recent post. The longer I leave it, the more disconnected the comments become, as if the last post on an under-tended blog is my first port of call for communication with my readers.

I'd like to say that I've been working on lots of exciting projects and painting lots of pictures, but I haven't. I have been concentrating on making the comics good after months of messing about with books and prints and the like. In late September I am taking three weeks off to recharge my fast-failing batteries, during which time you can enjoy the now out-of-print Scareodeleria book from 2004, serialised 7 days a week, in COLOUR, with new bookend comics from a long-vanished SGR character! Before that starts, we'll get to the matter of the 1000th Scary Go Round, which will be double sized and doubly alarming.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Painting for freedom

New painting up for sale on Monday, start making a pile of pound coins if you think it might be what you want! I'd put it up for sale today but invariably they end up selling three times over in the night and I have to disappoint people.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The internet: a place you'd apparently choose to read a "rant".

I spent this morning tinkering with my letterpressed card, a luxury item intended for sale in the autumn months. I thought you might like to look at the progress so far. I may fill it up with interminable curlicues or just leave it as it is.

After I drew this, I worried that it might look a bit like the 2003 tea-towel. So I dug it out, and did I ever get a surprise.

I think I've got a bit better at drawing!

Monday, July 31, 2006

The two old bachelors


Aido sent me a lovely picture of Amy, too nice to be hidden inside the internet!

Yogurt eating grandpa is sex king of the Balkans

Sam Logan sent me the splendid picture below of two young individuals who dressed up as Shelley and Ryan for Comic-con. This is dedication beyond the call of duty and brings a tear to my rheumy eye.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Following the passing of Yacht Rock, I wasn't sure would be able to deliver that white-hot hit of good times again. But then I watched Phone Sexxers. Warning: not safe if you don't like convoluted double entendres.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Everybody's got one

Several requests in my inbox ask for Esther's eyebpatch skull shirt. Alas I can't just blow up the thing in the comic (and to think many of your favourite webcartoonists put tshirts in their comics to sell them!) so I have spent the last hour trying to make this work in a "look like you tried" way. Feel free to vote "yes" for success or "no" for the now traditional burying+shooting.

Monday, July 24, 2006

New prints new prints new prints

Fans of low numbers be aware: the new prints are now on sale. You can also do a two-in-a-tube cheap combo with the sepia "gulch" print.

Sounds on sounds

I've added a link to my LastFM profile to the links on the right so you can find out what I've been listening to and perhaps listen to those selfsame things if you are so inclined (which you may or may not be).


Friday, July 21, 2006

A stew

it's still a churning urn of burning funk outside as the heat-wave continues. Unfortunately Scary Go Round has been affected. At 10.15am Scary Go Round buckled due to high temperatures and is now running 45 minutes late. We apologise for the delay.

I drew this to test my new pens. I've had to stop using Fountain Pentels, since I don't think Pentel make them anymore and when I manage to buy a box, half of them seem to be partially dried out. I remember being given a Fountain Pentel at school when I was 9, it was considered to be the newest and most exciting pen ever created. Sadly, it turned out to be the most esoteric and unreliable mass production pen of all time.

I used them because if you flip the pen over, you can choose between the thick and thin side of the nib, thereby not having to pick up a smaller pen. Unfortunately no two Pentels were ever the same, and it was a pulse pounding lottery on applying a new one to fresh pencils as to whether it was a. too pointy, b. a "spitter", spraying a fine spume behind the nib in tribute to Ralph Steadman or c. just right (in which case it would run out after 4 days or be lost within minutes).

I still have 5 left in a carton but as with all things, I will be taking them out in the back yard and shooting them. It just seems like the right thing to do.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I've finished messing around with this now. The commenters have spoken and heavier paper/smaller size/signed and numbered have won out.

I can't remember the exact moment that I decided the picture needed a giant ghost kraken emerging through the mist, but I like what happened there.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


A couple of tweaks (given reflection) and I think my new print will be fit for the print shop. I hope you like it! I will probably print this one smaller (A3), but on heavier stock. I'd like to do more prints, they seem a bit more honest than tshirts.

If you would prefer I stick to the poster format of the last print, do let me know via the comments.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Nice weather for pleather

Ah, pleather. The all-year round fabric! Suave, luxurious, keeps the sweat inside.

It's meant to be 33 degrees celcius tomorrow, according to the "weatherman", which is obscene - especially considering that for most of the year, my kitchen maintains an ambient temperature very close to that of the outdoors, a temperature that has traditionally proved hospitable for such arctic beasts as the "hoth wampa". With carbon trading on the agenda, why can't I shift ten of those degrees to a miserable day in November? Come on people, we're civilised now. These things can happen.

In the illustration above, the hoth wampa has interrupted my preparation of a delicious lamb chop and is dragging me towards a thorough duffing up.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Oh Capote, I love the books that you wrote-y.

Image submitted without me having any idea why I actually drew it. Or why I have another file open right now called "".

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I am thinking about a new poster print picture

I am thinking about a new poster print picture, as the last one proved popular with the minds of people who bought it. Perhaps it will look something like THIS:

Actual photo reference will replace vague scribblings in accordance with the instructions of the catholic cardinals who supervise my artistic efforts from the Vatican City.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Keine Fenster

I thought you might like to see a picture of my office slash dining room. Almost every episode of Scary Go Round was created in this room! And thanks to Scary Go Round, it has received a new floor, new walls, new lights, and a new clock which is French and from the past but ticks twice a second to tell you that death approaches. Sadly I could not run to new windows as it has No Windows. Also thanks to Scary Go Round, it is a shameful mess.

So now you know. I have been trapped in a windowless room all day since leaving work in 2003. How haven't I snapped yet? Will I ever escape Fortress Chadderton? Or will I be carried out feet first at the age of 93? I don't know the answers because the future is A MYSTERY.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A captain of industry reports

Today when placing a print in a clip frame, I accidentally broke the glass in the frame. This was the second time this has happened; on the previous occasion, I knelt on Michael Moore's fat face. I believe this was symbolic of the parting of the ways between me and the chubby polemicist as he completed his transition from thinker to man-brand.

Either that or I am just a clumsy oaf.

Thank you, dear readers, for 9 replies in a day to my previous post. This indicates interest, and I respond to market forces in the only way I know how - with ACTION. Hence my barbecue drawing will, after some careful infill with my best pens, form the next Scary Go Round annual tea-towel. This kind of readeractive market research is how I know that a. I haven't designed a tshirt anyone really liked since "Books Rule" and b. that no one wants me to write any more posts about music.

PS I have thought of a title for the next Scary Go Round collection, which I am very pleased about. It's almost too good a title for one of my crummy books.

Friday, June 30, 2006


I drew this big old picture (too big to put on the blog, click this link to see it), now I'm trying to figger out what to do with it. I started drawing it a year ago, became disconsolate (I'm not sure why), found it today, and filled out the remaining 2/3 of the pencils and inked it. I might sell it, or I might colour it in, or I might bury it in the garden then fire bullets into the ground where I've buried it. You know me, I can never decide.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


You may remember a story I did right at the start of 2005 about The Child, where the bald, sexless infant said "things are going to change", over and over again. After that story, something did change, but no one spotted it, and I have spent many nights hugging my sides and weeping as a result.

What changed was, I started drawing people with the full complement of fingers rather than three-fingered Simpsons hands. I only point this out because in looking for a book to read last night, I found an old bookmark from 2003, on which I had drawn one of those three fingered hands. It looked pretty strange, but after all, "strange" 'is just "change" spelt slightly differently.

My message of change has gone nationwide since then. I leave you with an alarming photograph from the Conservative Party conference earlier this year.

UK residents: don't buy any new gloves.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I'm not sure what drawing this really achieved, there were meant to be bats but I got tired and forgot. I will draw bats later. MUCH LATER.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Almost (almost) there

After months of wrangling and worry, I finally have copies of SGR book 4 in my hands. They won't be on sale until they get off the boat from old Colombia in about 4 weeks (no pre-orders), but hopefully at that point someone will want to buy one. I can tell you the following facts about them:

* They feature 216 pages! That is 16 more pages than "Skellington"!
* They will cost £10, just like all the other collections!
* There will probably be new combo packs but don't ask me what they will contain because I don't know!
* There are lots of new drawings, a couple of new comics pages, some sketchbook pages, and chapter commentary by Shelley!
* It features all the stories from "Election" to "Battle Of The Bands", apart from the Oldbourne story! That one wasn't very good!
* And etc!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ingress & egress

My travels to and from the USA on this particular voyage have been tricky. I was stuck for about ten hours at Newark last week because of the weather, and on the way back I now find myself having missed my flight home and "on standby" for the last gosh-darn bus out of town. Where? NEWARK. How can this be? It seems that Freedom comes at a price, and that price is incarceration in an airport in New Jersey for an indeterminate time frame.

"On standby" means "riven with stress". It is a semantic thing invented by the airlines to distract you from the uncertainty of your immediate future. I only hope my strict adherence to the principles of freedom throughout my visit will grease my departure somewhat. I love freedom, even though Newark International Airport is trying to make me hate it.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

I am not sure why I keep doing these

I have started to do some paintings to sell at MoCCA next weekend. To the best of my recollection I've never sold more that one painting at a show (maybe two) but that kind of drives me to try to be less of a failure at it. Anyway here is what I managed so far.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Continental drift divide

Firstly, let me apologise for the lack of blog updates lately. I spent a lot of time getting book 4 off to the printers and sorting out proofs and Fed Ex and greasing certain wheels in the "underground" to make sure things turn out extra good. And next week I am off to Massachusetts and New York for MoCCA Artfest, which requires a certain amount of preparation (mostly ironing). Plus I have been marshalling approximately 8 million entries for SGR Idol, all of which required careful scrutiny by the jury. But now I am back back back to tell you that everything is going to be okay. It's going to be... okay.

I wish I had more to report but you don't get to have any adventures when you're ironing. Apart from the accidental, painful kind.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tshirt outpatients

New Jimmy, new DANGER


New t-shirt clinic continues

With the midterm elections on their way, I am working on some new, deliciously bipartisan designs. Can anyone really work out what these shirts mean? I am particularly pleased with the Nixon one. The colours are just for display purposes for now.

I am also thinking of re-doing the classic Jimmy Carter shirt as I think I can draw a better Jimmy now!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tshirt freedom clinic pt 3

This is kind of a follow up to my Jimmy Carter shirt. Times have changed - I'm just not sure how because it is late and I am getting confused in me brain.

Summer tshirt workshop 2

Here's a shirt that I made specially for R Stevens. It's Richard Belzer in a UFO, tractor beam-ing up a donut, flanked by the Stars and Stripes. it's unsaleable, but I definitely want one.

It originally said "Belzer ate my donut" but as if you couldn't work that out just by looking at it.

Summer tshirt workshop

Here's a design full of summer FUN and JAPES and SAND and BEACHES and POISON

Friday, May 12, 2006

The gas man came-eth

Yesterday the gas man came round to service my boiler and look at my radiators. We always have good times, the gas man and me. Him with his outlandish "gas tools" and me with my paralysing fear that he will tell me my house has to be knocked down because of "gas problems".

This year's visit was a rollercoaster of emotions. Oh dear, says he, your boiler should not make any long term plans that involve a continued existence. From what I could tell, its insides are all twisted up (like Gollum's, perhaps). But this was expected. That thing had one yellow tooth left and a walking cane the day I bought this place.

Then, then came the best bit. I decided, as a treat to myself (and as a tribute to gas) to have my living room fire serviced. It is an exciting fire that produces hot, Bunsen burner-like flames that you can admire. I imagined the gas man would clean out a few tubes and nozzles, compliment me on a handsome and fiery appliance, then go on his way, whistling. Things did not work out like that at all.

John, he said, this thing is a death trap. You are lucky not to be dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. Your chimney is a non-functioning disgrace and you should seize every day because frankly, each one is a precious gift ill-deserved.

But, said I, see the pretty flames, how they dance! At which point he disconnected the offending heat-maker, tucked it under one sooty arm, and took his leave. It was probably for the best, thought I, gazing upon my ravaged hearth and checking for short-term memory loss.

I bought an electric fire today, which I thought would have led to some nice anecdotes about how I drilled some marble and knocked my house down, but sadly it took longer to extract it from its box than install it. The nice thing about the new fire is that you can turn the faux flames on without generating any heat.

I shall let the faux flames lick all decadent summer long.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

He has made a friend!

Image posted without comment.

These are my confessions

My new fridge has arrived! I had to take the doors off the cupboard it lives in to accomodate this glossy white beast. So silent, so cold in its cupboard, an exciting monolith.

Unfortunately the men from Comet wouldn't take my old fridge on the same day because I hadn't defrosted it, so I had to put it in the back yard so it could spend the necessary 3 days leaking its icy cargo onto the back yard. But it was fortunate that they didn't take it, as I was informed that I couldn't turn the new one on for 12 hours! I put all my refridgerated items in the icy section, knowing they would be safe in my back yard. What a treat it was to go outside every time I wanted some ketchup or an egg. Splendid!

The following morning I awoke, excited about turning my new fridge on. I ran out into the back yard, avoiding a 7am snail, to retrieve my egg and ketchup. And what a vista! It was warm and sunny, the first warm morning of a burgeoning summer.

On the way back in, I accidentally trod on the snail.

Dear reader, I had to go back to bed for an hour, so bereft was I that even before I had thought my first thought of the day, I had taken the life of a small creature. What was worse, I actually trod on its remains again later. Messrs Insult and Injury had been invited to the party.

So what have we learned? Firstly, if you turn on your new fridge/freezer straight away, it will blow up. This may prove useful knowledge if you are ever held hostage in a white goods warehouse. Secondly, despite its mighty shell, a snail is no match for a foam flip-flop. And thirdly, nothing makes you feel more like poor white trash than a rusting, decades old refridgerator mouldering in your yard.

ADDENDUM: I have not tried other, more dangerous white trash techniques, like "rusting half car up on bricks" or "eighteen babies by eighteen daddies".

ADDENDUM 2: Does anyone want to buy two cupboard doors? White, old, faintly discoloured, heavy. Would suit someone easily pleased.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

New painting

This one came out quite nice. I might sell it, or I might bury it in the back garden - you can never tell with me.

Or obviously I might paint on it a bit more. That's the painting way!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I have bought a new refridgerator

It has only taken six years but I have bought a new fridge-freezer to replace the one that came with my house. This oil-burning pig is full of ice, rattles, and may be toxic not just to the environment but also to ghosts and outer space aliens. It lives in a cupboard.

But since I did the dirty deed and ordered a new one, I've noticed a palpable chill in the kitchen. Somehow (perhaps by collusion with the equally-damned oven) it has found out, and it is giving me the evils from its cupboard. This fridge has had a long time to develop its hatred of man - by my reckoning it was purchased in the late 80s.

As you can see from the pictorial evidence, at some point it has been a victim of fire (a fridge's most hated enemy) and it is in the grip of a pretty fierce rust. I've been waiting for it to die of natural causes, but natural causes never came. Please do not judge me as I turn to euthanasia. Just pray that I am not found by the delivery men next tuesday, flattened under its recriminatory carcass.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Providing needles for your balloons

I went to see the Flaming Lips last night and was delighted to find that the support act was the Go! Team. Perhaps it is blasphemy to say it, but the Go! Team were a lot better than the Lips, whose set is creaking under the weight of so many gimmicks that it resembles an evening out at a novelty factory.

As the onslaught of glitter-cannons, pseudo-Billy Graham prosletysing, giant balloons and dancing scientologists threatened to overwhelm the evening, I couldn't help but wonder if we weren't witnessing a. some kind of emperor and b. his recently purchased clothes.

As much as I like and admire Wayne Coyne, the band could have played another four or five songs in the time he spent pontificating, messing about and expounding at length. I saw the Lips at Glastonbury on the Soft Bulletin tour, prior to their show becoming the out-of-control carnival it is now, and it was heartwarming, silly and transcendent. Lest we forget, they have 7 or 8 albums-worth of great songs. What a pleasure it would be if they deigned to treat us to some of them.

I don't want to be completely miserable about it. But the more I think about it, the more miserable I am. Because I am a miserable man.

Yours miserably,
John Allison

Monday, April 24, 2006


I have decided to design all tshirts pre-emptively in order to stop other cartoonists making them. The only rule is that I cannot spend more than 30 seconds on each one - including "thinking time"! So to establish copyright, here are some of the shirts you are not allowed to make any more:

There's $10000 that someone is never going to see.


Have you ever wanted to see a list of all the celebrities who have appeared in Dictionary Corner on Countdown since 1982? Of course you have. And now you can. Did we really have to wait until 2002 before Pam Ayres was allowed into the hot (warm) seat? A crime!

Did they? Really? Kenneth Williams, Hayley Mills, Ernie Wise
Mental Midget Awards: Paul Burrell, Daniel O'Donnell

Have any of your friends ever appeared on Countdown? Have you? maybe you should!

Disclaimer: despite working from home, John Allison has not watched Countdown since 1998.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Guilty as charged

Friday night's post about stick-thin jazz-pop kittens was the result of my taking a cold drink. Don't rush out of your homes as if you were on fire, howling like a cat up a tree - things are going to be fine. I went to see Giant Drag on thursday and all the requisite jams were kicked out.

Ever since a wild night in East Streatham (circa 2002) wherein I completed something called "the Lewin Run" and paid the price, my body has been systematically saying no to booze. The list of alcoholic beverages I can still drink is getting really short. I reckon I can trust Guinness, gin and wine. Pretty soon I will be down the temperance society with the maiden aunts. PLUS:

Guinness: you will be waiting a while
Gin: mother's ruin
Wine: Q. Are We Not Men/ A. No we are drinking wine

The two day hangover: god's way of telling you IT'S OVER.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

On tshirts

I wrote the following on a message board in response to this article by Lore Sjoberg, but I think it is worth preserving here because I sound imperious and conceited as only I know how:


Webcomics’ dirty little secret is that most of the people who “make a living from their comic” don’t really make a living from their comic at all, they make it selling t-shirts that perhaps have some tenuous link to their strip (but not really). It’s not really something to feel guilty about, it’s just patronage in one way or another - a democratised, utilitarian form of “micropayment” far more acceptable to my mind than a Paypal begging bucket on your site.

That these tshirts have ceased to be so closely linked to their parent comics is a matter (I think) in part of natural selection - in a crowded field (and it gets more crowded every day) you need more options than your strip might provide. And if you’ve proved successful in an area, you want to develop it. The alternative is, after all, eating sawdust and drinking puddle water.

Personally, I would much rather make shirts that have nothing to do with the comic than attempt to shoehorn t-ready zingers into the strip or extract vest-centric mottos from complex source material.

As for Lore’s assertion that a backlash is on the way, I don’t think people will tire of owning short-run, attractive garments that their friends probably don’t have. I believe that’s the central tenet on which fashion is founded.

The only way to kill it stone dead would be to sell your designs to Hot Topic and have them printed in the thousands. And I believe that kind of suicide can only take place on an artist by artist basis.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Ever since my cleansing journey into Yacht Rock, I've been pretty certain that indie rock as a form is moribund and essentially dead. Don't worry, indie rock always recovers, I felt like this in early 1994 and 1998 (almost all year!) But I still have to buy records - I'm still a man, damn it. I've been too bashful to tell my gig-going friends that I've spent most of the year gorging on Erin Bode and Nerina Pallot. They wouldn't understand. I think they'd understand my Jacqui Naylor problem even less. Why did things have to get so dang smooth?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Dear person who decided to use my rear bumper to estimate the exact position of their front bumper yesterday afternoon: THANKS. PS I know who you are.

Book 4 has probably been saved! Things might just be okay. I need you guys to buy a lot of copies so I can buy a bigger house, with offroad parking. Or if you're rich and want to marry me, that's cool too. I'm okay with that. Rich gals usually have a garage.

EDIT: I have used CSI skills to track down the scraper, this deal is gonna get fizz-ixed, we had it out at a summit chaired by Presidents G.H.W Bush and Clinton.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Book 4 problems

I just got the quote back from the printers in Hong Kong who did my last two books, both of which featured some of the best printing I'd seen. Unfortunately for a number of unavoidable reasons the price has gone up considerably (about 50%). I've asked for a couple of other quotes but last time I asked Quebecor and Brenner for prices, they didn't bother writing back.

The Scary Go Round collections are a really delicate ecosystem; they take months to break even and involve as large a financial risk as I can afford to make. I don't want to do shorter collections more often so unfortunately, this might be the end of the road. This is pretty sad so I hope I can think of something.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Apologies for blog silence...

...I have been laying out Scary Go Round book 4. There are some new hand-drawn comics pages, loads of new colour drawings, commentary from Shelley (the vainest commentary ever compiled!) and a sketchbook section. It covers the Bulgaria vampires story through to Battle of the Bands, though I did have to cut out the Oldbourne story for space reasons - it's 216 pages even without it. I've posted the front cover before so here's the back:

Thursday, March 30, 2006

...and the "ology"

All Popjustice had to do today to win big was put 4 KLF videos on the same page of the internet.

When I was a young teen-ager, the KLF were the biggest band in Europe! They were two Scottish art-terrorists making techno records. I can't imagine such a conceit dominating popular music nearly 15 years on, which seems awfully sad, but maybe we all just went buck wild because the world was going to explode in the year 2000.

The last of the four (utterly preposterous) videos is when they performed their biggest hit with a death metal band at the Brit Awards, then quit making music forever. At the end you see Billy Bragg turn to someone and say "fuckin' hell", and he's right! Fuckin' hell!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Things you probably ought to know

At around 1pm today, just before lunch, I entered into an internal debate.

"Does my car have a sunroof? I don't think it does"
"No wait, it probably does"
"I'm sure it doesn't"
"No, I'm positive that it doesn't"
"But surely it does"

This went on for a minute or so, during which I assured myself that no, it didn't have a sunroof. I went to look out of the window.

It does have a sunroof. Well I never!

Perhaps one day I will learn the difference between a sunroof and a moonroof. I imagine it is similar to the difference between a rainbow and a moonbow.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Dogtooth dogtooth

The video for Franz Ferdinand's L. Wells is a real good treat, I promise!

It's Windows Media, so Mac users might have to use Flip4mac.

News is thin on the ground this week. It's a tough business, living for pleasure alone. I hope you enjoy this week's comics, the new artistic strategies I've been working on for the last month or so are hopefully bearing fruit.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Women of the world take over, because we haven't got long

I bought a new suit today! Ladies, I don't want to cause swooning and conniptions across the blogodrome but please take heed: nothing says "here to fix the photocopier" like me in a suit. Toner low, good to go.

One of the proudest moments of my whole life was when found out that people were taking printouts of my comics to the hairdresser and saying, "that's what I want". Somehow, I have done a good thing.

"Give me a Len Pickering: scorched earth on top and tidy the borders."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Air-punching masterclass

After 24 hours of holding the sides of my head and weeping for my creative instinct, today I designed three new shirts that are "real nice"* and also came up with a new vinyl doll in the magic Mongor style. I have decided to design for pleasure alone and forget about trying to make shirts that visually describe the nebulous concepts depicted in Scary Go Round, shirts which invariably prove as popular as thumbscrews and glue sammiches.

So, coming soon for you to own: KROPOTKIN FAMILY EARWIGS

*One of them is not "real nice", it is "spectacularly ghastly on every level".

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A living tribute in topiary

Reader Matt Jones sent me this, see what you think!

It is, isn't it?

But is anyone, even me, really innocent?

Friday, March 17, 2006

A plea

To all the people who wrote to me asking for a shirt based on the last panel of today's comic: I don't know how to make that into anything that would look good. I tried to induce hypnagogia in order to hallucinate up an answer but it didn't work. With the t-shirt line creaking like a gate in a stiff breeze, I will be in the fashion lab all next week, so feel free to give me a shout.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Grevious omission from 2005 chart-of-the-year that I now rectify

I thought "Nashville" by Josh Rose was a 2004 record, but it isn't. I have put it in the chart at number two, it's the ideal record to listen to when you're feeling a. bucolic or b. melancholic. You can get it on too, the site that seldom fails to please.

I have consulted Shelley for a review:

"After a hard day on the farm having your heart broken by a callous milkmaid, this is the only record you need to listen to. Josh Rouse looks and sounds like he has just burned his hand on a chip pan but his nice way with sounds will help everyone feel better eventually."