Friday 1 May 2009

Birds show off their dance moves
"Some birds have a remarkable talent for dancing, two studies published in Current Biology suggest.
Footage revealed that some parrots have a near-perfect sense of rhythm; swaying their bodies, bobbing their heads and tapping their feet in time to a beat.
One bird, Snowball, a sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita eleanora ), came to the researchers' attention after YouTube footage suggested he might have a certain prowess for dance - especially when listening to Everybody by the Backstreet Boys."


Thursday 30 April 2009

i found this old five-minute tv item from 2002 while I was archiving stuff on my new back-up hard drive, a procedure i have come to find necessary after the collapse of my second computer in only two years. It was stuck at the end of the VHS tape of my Court-sketching stories recorded from the tv news, which my pal Mick Evans transferred to disc for me a while back. These items always turn out to be a little embarrassing, so i won't put the video up. It's not that i didn't give it my best effort. Instead of going to the comic book store, I insisted on walking into a regular bookshop, and picked Avid Reader in the lively Brisbane West End, where I had done one of my stand-up routines a few weeks before. As it happens I'd just done a deal with Random House to publish From Hell in Australia which made it difficult for the comic book shops to obtain copies (to do with volume discounts and the fact that the comic shops only wanted the one book... when I tried to get involved to help solve the problem i found that book publishers make a rule of not discussing such matters with authors, so it was all very frustrating and everybody was happy when Random sold out the 4,500 they printed, regarded that as a reasonable success and went no further, and I took back the reins).
The tv reporter and his camera guy and I spun down to the West End and it lived up to its reputation by being suitably colourful. Outside a fruit shop, a bloke in toytown yellow pants was juggling broomsticks...

My attempt at cool however was somewhat undermined by the voice-over, which characterized me as "Brisbane father of three, Eddie Campbell," which I guess is what I should expect of an afternoon show aimed at suburban house-folk. "Even in the colourful west end, Eddie Campbell stands out, perhaps it is the glow of pride." I'm supposed to be proud because Hollywood has just made a movie of the book.

Seeing the Random House edition nicely displayed like this reminds me of my desire to put the book on 'the main street of culture' (a ref to Alan Moore's metaphorical comment, just after the Watchmen success, of being caught on the main street of culture wearing his underpants outside his trousers). In the Random House catalogue we found ourselves finally free of the associations of the superhero comic books. However our lofty literary ambitions were held in check when we saw our book matter-of-factly illustrated between the Healthy Guide to Better Breast-feeding and the Dog Owner's Manual (perfectly useful books both).

The movie was soon to be released here, so this may well have been the first glimpse Australia got of it, from my dvd.

This kind of tv item is not complete without the performing seal routine, so I accommodated the request do a drawing for the camera. I guess at least it can be dug up later to prove Campbell didn't hire assistants to do everything.

I showed this drawing here once before, in its subsequent setting in a French magazine, but on that occasion I couldn't recall the reason I had drawn it.


Wednesday 29 April 2009

In my neighbourhood

here's one for the blog of unneccessary apostrophe's, a close cousin of the blog of unwanted quotation "marks".


In my neighbourhood

hayley Campbell at a cafe table feeding wild lorikeets:

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Tuesday 28 April 2009

From an essay by Irvine Welsh, dated 3/5/2007:
"When we live in uncertain times people consequently grow risk aversive and desperate for affirmation: in art as in other walks of life. It’s sobering (for me at any rate) to think that if my first novel Trainspotting was written now, it would probably not be published by a major UK house. After all, it’s far easier to market genre novels along the lines of crime, children’s fiction, chick lit (rebranded romance), horror, etc. than it is a book about Edinburgh schemies on smack."


Monday 27 April 2009

wee hayley campbell is away back to london (she emails to say that somebody broke the weather while she was away) and I'm trying to get back to work. What's on the internet, i thinks to myself...

In the New Straits Times, a great review of a retrospective book of Lat's cartoons, the earliest and least known works.
“The paper gave me a space in the editorial section, but I didn’t know how to do editorial cartoons. So I drew whatever came to my mind at the time. You’ll see that most of these are stories about everyday Malaysian life.” As far as style goes, readers will see how Lat’s style evolved from early in his career. For example, the story of Yap Ah Loy in modern-day Kuala Lumpur looks too neat, almost like what you would find in school textbooks — definitely not the Lat we are familiar with.
Keen eyes will also notice unerased pencil lines in some of the pages, indicating that the cartoons were reproduced from the original. But this lends a certain charm to the book.
But there’s more to the book than cartoon works. It also contains pictures of the legendary cartoonist that I think most people have never seen.
We get to see Lat as a schoolboy, Lat as a young man with scruffy hair (yes, like that character in his books) and Lat as a singer and musician in a band. (picture above left)

Dan Nadel is insightful in his review of Brush with Passion: The Art & Life of Dave Stevens.
"It's a deeply sad autobiography, left unfinished upon Stevens' death and wrapped in the cloak of a "celebration" of his artwork...
Stevens was the ultimate professional fan artist—pulled into comics and popular entertainment because of his love for both, and a rock star in a hermetically sealed world where San Diego Comic-Con is the nexus of the universe, Frazetta is considered one of the great artists of the 20th century...
He was a nostalgist with nowhere to channel his fannish obsessions and no interest in transcending them.
His career never moved beyond the comfortable boundaries of mainstream fantasy fandom. And throughout his book he constantly seems trapped or burdened by his chosen professions...
What the book puts across is a world in which success is partly based on just getting close to... film, TV, “famous” actors or models. Success is getting do some throwaway storyboards for Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Stevens struggled with depression throughout his last two decades, and, he writes, “By the late 90s I’d become wholly dissatisfied with the caliber of work that I was producing. 'style' seemed nothing more than a vague pastiche of others whose works I admired and had tried to emulate throughout my developing years.”
A veteran editor in the comic book business once told me that of all the artists receiving high rates for drawing just covers for comic books, Stevens' name was the only one that could automatically guarantee extra sales.