The Ripper Files. part 1.
And it's not about what you think it's going to be about. If Hayley Campbell should ever end up going bad, god forbid, then the revelations I am about to lay before you may come to be entered as exhibit A at the trial. But what was I to do? In my defence I urge you to consider (your honour), that I was a 'house-husband' at home with a wee'un, and just given my big break, the task of illustrating the heinous doings of Jack the Ripper. Should I have closed myself away in a private part of our very small apartment, leaving the child to fend for herself in the daily round?
(that first panel is from Dance of the Gull-Catchers.),
The child had shown her talents quite early. During a visit from my old friend Daniel Grey esq. the child sought to emulate the attractive illustrations upon his arms, by copying in blue inks upon her own arms the hearts and roses, the proclamations of love and other mementoes. The wife, on returning from her day of drudgery and finding the two men full of alcoholic beverages, charged the errant husband with having drawn upon the child for his own misguided amusement. "I don't like you drawing on Hayley while I'm at work!" were the specifics of her accusation. And I narrate this epidsode in order to show the level of ability in the child's work, that it should have passed so easily for that of the father.
It was away back in 1989 that I drew this next picture of wee Hayley Campbell and me. When she was about four she had her own drawing table, an upended cardboard box, set up next to mine. And now that I look at the first panel again I notice my phone is sitting on a cardboard box too; for a wardrobe we used the big box the fridge came in, with a length of curtain-rod shoved through holes cut near the upper edges. The table probably came from Anne's brother. That second panel appeared in the last page Of The Dead Muse, which is long out of print. Not wanting the thought to be lost to posterity (the words spoken in the cartoon remain the subject's signing-off phrase before retiring to bed every night; indeed she tells me that she used it in London recently, resulting in the immediate bafflement of those present), I drew it again in After the Snooter in 2002. The composition is much better this time. Perhaps all those years of intense drawing yielded some improvements in my ability, though I'm more inclined to think that I had lost my way during the period of 'The Dead Mouse", as Hayley Campbell tended to call it, (that book took the form of an anthology in which I narrated my own story and at the same time introduced the work of other artists whose paths crossed mine, so it would be somewhat difficult to ever revive it outside of my own pages for their interest as odd and disconnected pieces of Campbelliana.)
Now, readers of yesterday's post will remember that I was rummaging in the attic, which is where I once more became acquainted with the documents wich have come to be known as 'the Ripper Files'. The pages of this artefact were drawn by the aforesaid Hayley Campbell shortly after her seventh birthday, which date has been deduced from external evidence, the excuse for their fashioning being the a gift set of colour markers. I will call a recess until tomorrow, at which time any of the ladies and gentlemen present who have no stomach for viewing a catalogue of all the possible ways of dying, seen from the point of view of a seven year old, will be permitted to absent themselves.
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To anyone who bagged a sketch from previous posts; I've mailed everything out, hopefully in time for Christmas. And none of the sketches in this post are up for grabs as they're all part of archived art pages.
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Just in. The December issue of the online magazine Dystopia has five pages on From Hell and ripperology, with a couple of my old color covers for those who may not have seen them before.
Labels: hayley campbell 1