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Posted on May 19th, 2009
Graphic Novellas, French Not Drinking, Silent Movies


(Soundtrack: Miles Davis “Milestones”)
We got a copy of the book of graphic novellas inspired by our songs. It is odd and brilliant to see it in print. Some of the songs are treated quite literally and some have totally different interpretations. Si and I were leafing through it, really excited. It is a very strange sensation to see things that started out as in jokes and then made their way into songs, now featuring in cartoons by somebody else. For instance, when we both lived in South London, and we would travel home late at night after gigs or the studio we would always see urban foxes crossing the road, and we would talk about Mr City Fox making his way home. I later put Mr City Fox into the lyrics for “The Last Bus Home”, and now there he is, in cartoon form, watching proceedings in the cartoon version of that song.
Devising cartoons inspired by songs really does work – it makes me want to explore it more in the future – it is a lot more satisfying than videos of songs. The book is gorgeous and we are thrilled with it and honoured that it exists. It is a great companion for anyone who enjoys our songs, but manages to stand alone nicely too. Ronan has gone off with the one copy, so hopefully we will get more soon. We are completely indebted to Eric who pulled the book together. He also sent me a copy of their Tori Amos collection of graphic songs, which is great too. In fact, Bridie seems a lot more excited about that one than ours (being Tori mad).
The two of us are now drinking again after our forty days of abstinence. I am really glad we did it, as I now feel in control of drink, rather than the other way round. After about twenty days of not drinking the cravings disappeared and our habits were reset. So by the end we were not that bothered about starting again. I found that I slept better and felt a bit clearer headed during the forty days, and it certainly saved us some money, but on the whole it did not make a huge difference. It has been nice to have a few since though! We had a lock-in at the local on Saturday night and it was great.
We were looking for something to replace going to the pub, and we came up with learning to speak French. Clearly the first thing you think of rather than a pint is to conjugate a few French verbs… We got a book and CD of thirty lessons and are about halfway through it. I spent several years learning the language at school and did well at it. However, because it was all written rather than spoken, the net result was that I could speak it falteringly, but as soon as anybody responded at as normal speed, I could not understand a word. I would like to pick it up again and actually be able to converse properly. Imagine being able to watch French movies without needing subtitles! Bridie loves all things French so for her it is about learning the language and then spending more time there. We are off to Lille in a few weeks so we can have a go at speaking it then.
The dayjob I am doing has been extended until late June, which is great, but I am getting seriously restless about getting on with some writing. I am going to talk to them this week about the chances of staying on doing three days a week. That would then give me two days to write. I would have less money, but it would suit me really well, at least until the next album is written. I have an idea for a long, sprawling Shirley Lee album, and I can’t wait to write it. As usual I will probably start out with this idea and end up writing something completely different though…
The other night I met up with my old school friend Nick to go the Hackney Empire to see Paul Merton presenting classic silent movies. I hadn’t seen Nick for six years. He used to have a huge shock of wild black hair, and I wasn’t sure how he would look after six year. It turns but he looks exactly the same, in fact his hair was blacker and wilder than before. We went to quite a few things at the Hackney Empire years ago, including Frankie Howerd and Joe Strummer (not together). It is a really nice venue and it was great to see Nick again. The main film shown was supposed to be Buster Keaton’s “Steamboat Bill Jnr”, but was changed at the last minute to Buster’s “Seven Chances”. I was quite pleased as I saw “Steamboat Bill” recently, and hadn’t seen “Seven Chances”, which turned out to be even better.
We watch a lot of Laurel and Hardy talkies at home. Paul Merton showed a late silent short of theirs which was hilarious and he told the story of how they got together, which put me in mind of when I used to work as a Video Buyer for Our Price stores. A small supplier kept ringing me wanting to meet me. I didn’t want to spend time meeting him as I knew the videos he had were a load of old baloney. Then he told me that he had Laurel and Hardy movies, so I relented and agreed to meet him. It turned out that he did have Laurel and Hardy videos: he had Stan Laurel videos and he had Oliver Hardy videos.
I remember once, when I was doing that job the marketing department came up with an idea for a promotion: the poster showed a squid sitting on a pile of CDs at the bottom of the ocean. He had a couple of legs in plaster and the line was “CDs Under Six Quid”. Get it? Unfortunately the buying team then discovered that they couldn’t make the promotion work with the CDs at less than six pounds. The net result? A poster of a poorly squid sat on a pile of CDs at the bottom of the ocean with the line “CDs Under Seven Quid”.

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