Artwork from 1980

I wonder, does anyone recognise this?

My mum found it recently, when she was throwing out some old stuff. It came with a note carrying my address and saying that I’d drawn it when I was 12. I am pretty sure we sent it to 2000 AD (hence the note with the return address) and I think they published it in Tharg‘s Nerve Centre. But, stupidly, I don’t have a copy of the issue that included it.

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How much do I really remember?

A lot of my key memories of my childhood aren’t really mine. They are of incidents that I don’t have my own memory of, but which I talked about and laughed about with my parents so many times that they have become canon. I suspect this is pretty common: most of the memories that most people have of their early childhood are not authentic.

But some are. And the reason I know this is because there are little incidents that I never told anyone else about — so there has never been this reinforcement that you get from do-you-remember-when and what-about-the-time-when. A trivial example: I remember stopping in a cafe with my mum when we were shopping, smelling real coffee for the first time, and being mesmerised by the tanks of juice with their paddles constantly churning. I would have been very young: maybe two, perhaps three years old.

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Interesting people disagreeing about inequality

Here is a fascinating series of four articles.

 

It starts with Paul Graham’s recent essay Economic Inequality. (Many readers of this blog will know Graham from his many fascinating essays, including Why Nerds Are Unpopular, What You Can’t Say and The Age of the Essay; and from his excellent book Hackers And Painters [Amazon US][Amazon UK].) Graham is broadly in favour of inequality as he sees it largely an honest signal of different ability and willingness to create value for society.

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What I’ve been reading lately, part 22

Saga of the Swamp Thing — Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Toteben

I re-read this as part of my Alan Moore phase — following on from his Watchmen and Complete Future Shocks, and Andrew Rilstone’s Who Sent The Sentinels?, last time. It’s a fascinating read, having more in common with Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics than with Moore’s usual work, with its dependence on supernatural themes and general feeling of being more horror than fantasy.

Swamp Thing had been a moderately successful DC Comics character from 1972 and 1976. Continue reading

The Good Life (1975-1978)

The Good Life is the archetypal 1970s British sitcom: a pleasant story about likeable people doing nice things. The story is negligible. (90% of it happens in the first episode, where Tom quits his job on his 40th birthday to go self-sufficient with his wife, Barbara.) When there is conflict, it’s quickly resolved.

Cast of The Good Life. Left: Tom and Barbara Good (played by Richard Briers and Felicity Kendall). Right: Jerry and Margo Leadbetter (played by Paul Eddington and Penelope Keith).

So it ought to be dismissable fluff; and in a way, it is. But it’s delightful dismissable fluff, and that makes it very easy watching.

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Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection

I watched the first episode of this program tonight. Verdict: disappointing. It’s clear that Blumenthal truly is an extraordinary chef, and must have unique and valuable insights into how cookery works; but In Search of Perfection doesn’t tell us what they are.

In the first episode, he cooks bangers and mash (followed by treacle tart). There is a lot of messing about visiting pig farms and suchlike before we get down to business. He makes his own sausages by what seems a ludicrously over-complex method that involves toast stock. There is lot going on; but we never find out why any of it is going on.

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An in-depth critical analysis of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Don’t bother. It’s rubbish.

It’s like someone in late 1992 thought “What if we made a film like Wayne’s World, but with all the charm boiled out of it and the lead character made into an entitled jerk?”, then slipped through a time vortex back to 1986 and made it.

(Admittedly, a more parsimonious explanation would that someone in the early 1990s thought “What if we made a film like Ferris Bueller but with wit, charm and all-round good-nature?”, since that doesn’t involve time travel.)

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