Drawing blanks

Drawing A Blank coverTo summarize the summer:

We released the first full-length Flickershow CD, entitled Drawing A Blank. Ten songs; I played bass, sang harmony, did arrangements and other odds and ends. We’re quite proud of it, and the CD release party was a blast. There’s a link to buy it online from our website, and it’s also available through that music store Apple runs. Things have been a bit quiet since the CD release, since Julian’s just got married (check out their awesome first dance on the YouTube) but there will be gigging in the new year, and with luck some out-of-town gigs in the spring.

All other music ventures have been on hold, meanwhile. I’m starting to plot my return to action, but it’s been nice to take a break for a few months and mess around with other things like writing and drawing (including the cover art for our CD) and catching up on comics.

I haven’t been a big follower of comics, though I was dimly aware that there were amazing things going on in the medium. The whole field just seemed too big and daunting. Where do you start reading?

From 'Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life' by Bryan Lee O'MalleyI heard about Scott Pilgrim from all sorts of people at once. It’s a breezy, lovably dorky romance packed with Canadian indie rock in-jokes, ’90s-style video game showdowns and Toronto landmarks including Honest Ed’s, Lee’s Palace and the Toronto Reference Library, among others.

I was through all five volumes before I knew it. Volume six is on the way next year, and so is the movie, directed by Edgar Wright of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead fame. And having finally watched Spaced, the Channel Four sitcom Wright directed (written by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson; check out the first episode, also on the YouTube), I’m jazzed. It’s a match made in nerdy heaven.

From there, it was on to some more Canadiana – Seth’s It’s A Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken, Chester Brown’s Louis Riel and Jeff Lemire’s Essex County trilogy.

From 'Fun Home' by Alison BechdelThe most fascinating book I’ve happened on lately, though, is Alison (“Dykes To Watch Out For”) Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, a memoir of her rocky childhood through to her coming-out – and the turmoil that followed soon after, first with the revelation that her father had had affairs with numerous young men over the years; and then his sudden and suspicious death. It’s twisty and intricate, full of literary allusions and dark, deadpan humour, as might be expected from someone whose parents were English teachers who also ran a funeral home. (“It was somewhere during those early years that I began confusing us with the Addams Family.”) Just wow.

I’ll have to wander up to the Beguiling soon to grab another armful of books. However, after Fun Home, I might just take a detour into classic literature.

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