Monday, October 29, 2007

Rocktober 2007: Head and Shoulders smile miasma

Rocktober came to a close with a full-on shoegazing spectacular on a Sunday. A small sonic cathedral was erected and every effects pedal in the borough was plugged in. The result: VWOMMMMMMMM.

ASOBI SEKSU + Scanners + Kyte @ Manchester Night & Day Café - October 28th

As the bald man grooves alone:

Kyte: pedals depressed vigorously. Young men, fresh from youth club, intent on celebrating the scene that celebrates itself. The main Kyte may have been singing in a language of his own creation or simply describing onomatopoeically the sound of two cushions rubbing against one another. Turning away from the crowd to hit a snare drum is the new thing. 6/10

Scanners: a furious racket as another British group emerges from a meeting declaring "Sleater-Kinney were right all along". I don't know why this is happening. The main singer lady knows what to do. Guitar lady knows what to do (although she is concentrating pretty hard so maybe she doesn't know all that well). Men of rock hold the line. They were pretty good! 8/10

Asobi Seksu: is she playing a keyboard? Yes she is playing a keyboard. The register high, the wall of sound deafening but soothing (mostly deafening). Asobi Seksu, you made me realise (that you are a decent band). 8/10


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hypothetical good news bad news desk

Changes are afoot for Scary Go Round art once more, I am strongly considering inking with a brush and drawing at twice the size. This shouldn't take me any longer (it's actually a lot easier to pencil when I don't have to shove everything into boxes 9cm or sometimes 7cm tall). But obviously there will be a period of adjustment as I am not the most disciplined brush-inker and will need time to get hep to bristle ways.

There's also a strong possibility that in the future I may have to switch to doing the comic in black and white - purely in service of the print editions. Colour printing is getting more and more expensive and the weak dollar means that while some of the sting is taken out of it for me, I'm selling fewer books (and all other items) to the USA, where the greatest percentage of my readers are. I don't like the idea of this move very much and if I can avoid it, I will. I certainly don't want to punish my many loyal readers, who like me, enjoy all colours.

Anyway that was the good news bad news desk, here are some roughs as I prepare for a new and whiskery way. I include a mess of black and white tones that ought to make any future efforts seem elegant and refined in comparison.

PS If you are from the Guardian and wish to serialise Scary Go Round in G2 daily in exchange for a fat wedge, that's fine! Just send me the fat wedge.

Monday, October 22, 2007


A nice profile piece and interview with one of my very favourite cartoonists, Posy Simmonds, in the Telegraph.

Rocktober 2007: they won't stop DRUMMING

My week of sonic sounds is now over. It was tough in the rock trenches, viewing acts that were in many ways disparate but all unified by a deep desire for the audience's love.

BATTLES + Prefuse 73 + Dirty Projectors @ Manchester Academy 2 - October 17th

Dirty Projectors: art pests or the future of sound? Musical Marmite reputation confirmed by "tricky" 12455/34761 time signature. The ladies sing pretty, a man moves around and sort of yelps. The drummer faces sideways. Excellent new "Rise Above" album very thinly mined. 6/10

Prefuse 73: you could tell these guys were into graffiti. They were very good at working their machines but I was not excited. 6/10

Battles: woah! What is going on? The widest keyboard, the hardest working man in showbusiness on drums. Robot vocals not actually performed by robot but instead by a man. More time signatures. This is the sort of music Buck Rogers and Twiki would dance to in the 25th century. 9/10

LES SAVY FAV + Clockwork @ Manchester Club Academy - October 21st

Clockwork: anyone who had been looking for an excuse that weekend to put their fingers in their ears was richly rewarded. A band who have heard Joy Division and want you to know it. 2/10

Les Savy Fav: a fusion of bog-standard late 90s indie rock and a tubby, bald, bearded fun-lover who delivers. Good times the order of the evening. Everyone is watching, no one is talking to their friend. The bald man runs around but there is no need to be scared. If you're lucky he will not sweat on you. 8/10


Although my birthday was on Saturday, it's not too late to send me a present, particularly if the present is:

1. A Cintiq
2. A unicorn ride
3. Some jam

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rocktober 2007: A maelstrom of difficult emotions

Last night I moved into town using short, sharp jerking movements. The railway approach platform lights were not working so it was a unique opportunity to journey into fear. Well, I say unique, they weren't working on Saturday either.


BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE PRESENTS KEVIN DREW: SPIRIT IF + Noah and the Whale @ Manchester Club Academy - October 16th

Noah and the Whale: proficient, but yawns prevail. The sound of the Neutral Milk Hotel with all feeling, fear and drama removed. O England! 4/10

Broken Social Scene: given their shrunken 4-beard line-up and a missing lead guitarist, most heads wore the forgiveness hat at a jaunty angle. But what was not to enjoy? Extra half mark for feeble but sustained attempt to play the hits of Pavement. Extra half mark for not cancelling and ruining Rocktober. 8.5/10

DISCLAIMER: All scores commensurate with cost of gig. Full disclosure: £15.

TONITE: ROCKTOBER 2007 LOSES ALL CONTROL WITH... BATTLES + Prefuse 73 + Dirty Projectors (!!!)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rocktober 2007 COMMENCES

It's a big month for rock shows, I have poured your cash contributions to the Scary Go Round machine into the coffers of local ticket agencies and as a result have a glittering array of entertainments in prospect. In the time honoured style, I will review them with as little fuss as possible.


¡LOS CAMPESINOS! + You Say Party We Say Die + Sky Larkin @ Manchester Night & Day - October 13th

Sky Larkin: who can argue with these new sensations? Right minds across the nation firmly agree that they are "as good as Sleater Kinney" and can only get better! 8/10

You Say Party We Say Die: perm/bacofoil combo and frenzied attack matched only by resolute Canadian politeness. They're asking, but you're not dancing. Might just turn it around. 6.5/10

¡Los Campesinos!: No one can deny they have the chops and the new new sound. Front-Campesino needs a trip to the barber to truly convince. 1/3 shirtless line-up suggests that they will never fight in a man's army. The songs deliver! 8/10

DISCLAIMER: All scores commensurate with cost of gig. Full disclosure: £7.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hauntlie Two

On friday I have to draw Ryan and Shelley in their halloween costumes. What should they dress as? The prize in this no-purchase-necessary competition (as free as the air you breathe) is that, if successful, I will do what you say.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hauntlie Mk 1

After the success of the Big Chew 2007 yesterday, here's a new wallpaper to celebrate. It's halloween-ish but I think it might be good any time of the year! You can download it here, it's 1600x1200 pixels which should be big enough to swaddle any screen.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Big Chew 2007

There was a 100% positive vote for me to eat the three-years expired gum so here goes. I will write as I go. I have decided to eat two pieces at once as it is the "pellet" style rather than sticks of gum.

SMELL: it smells pleasantly minty with a "mountain frost" edge.

CONSISTENCY: slightly tackier than new gum, not smooth and shiny, probably due to the fusty air in my cupboard.

TASTE: now i don't think they made this mountain frost flavour for very long because it is suspiciously chemical. I am nervous about swallowing the resultant mouthful of saliva but I will force it down!

TASTE UPDATE: within a minute almost all flavour has completely vanished! The half life of flavour must be very short! I am chewing a mouthful of tasteless petrochemicals.

THE VERDICT: I feel a bit funny. I have gone blind in one eye and there is a ringing in my ear. Please someone call an ambul

Bounty from the cupboard depths

I dug out an old jeans jacket from the cupboard (for a fancy dress party) on Friday and in the pockets I found:

* 1 unopened pack of gum, expiry date 2004
* 1 unopened pack of "Listerine Breath Strips" which i can only imagine must have been free, expiry date 2004
* 87 pence, still legal tender

Now those breath strips were basically poison fresh from the packet so I don't intend investigating them further, but what of the unopened pack of Mr Wrigley's "Mountain Icy Wind" gum? What would happen if you chew a piece of gum that was officially dead in the water three years earlier? Will it crumble to dust in my mouth and choke me? Will it release toxins that render me a dessicated corpse in minutes? Is it full of 1000 tiny spiders?

It's up to you to decide: EAT or DON'T EAT! Following the result, there will be a special blog post with realtime chewing.

ABOVE: the kind of elaborate and exciting hallucinations I predict will result from this dangerous stunt.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Everything's going my way

Huge news. the Wispa has been reinstituted by Cadbury's ("Cadbury"). They had them at the station today! Maybe all my dreams are coming true one by one!

I wonder which of my dreams will come true next?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Goats glorious goats

Yesterday I found out that it's not that unusual for a goat to climb on top of a cow and stand there for a while. This is big news. If this keeps up (and what reason is there for it not to?), goats will surpass donkeys in my animal rankings system to take the number one spot. What do YOU know about goats?

I got my calculator and my slide rule out this morning and have decided, quite arbitrarily, that Ghosts (my most recent book) has not been a hit. I wouldn't say out loud that its sales have been weak, but if they were represented by a man, it would be the man below:

Three people have written to me to say that they enjoyed it, but one of them received it free and their experience may be coloured by that fact.

I suspect that this turn of events tells me the following:

a. The market does not want new Scary Go Round stories (it may be saturated by the current five-a-week schedule)
b. I should use my spare time just to go for a walk rather than crafting coherent tales
c. Bonfire night is coming soon and tinder has never been at such a premium

I am not too depressed as I really enjoy bonfire night.