Illmess

No blogging lately. I’m beginning Week 5 with laryngitis. It began unassumingly; three cigarettes near the rain, one bed-sheet less for a sleep-over, under-funded Ulsterbus, and then Bam! Cough, Hack, Phlegm, Cough, cough, full-on bastarding cold: a resumption of the bronchitis that left me bed-ridden most of December.

Prior to that I’d been tying up final accounts on The Black Panel, the Irish comics market set up by Paddy Brown. Nothing happened with it in two years and it had become another weight on my neck. As I sorted through payments and returns, I transcended negative feelings about Irish comix. Though Paddy and I were responsible for our achievements and shortcomings, the aims, as I saw them, sprang from my time with London Underground Comics, when Oli Smith and our gang made the work of selling comics, art; something fresh, something zeitgeist.

With that mood and mission I travelled to Dublin, deciding the ailments of the last two days weren’t going to upset the comics cart. I even wrote John (Robbins) a rhyme:

In Exchequer Street Central Hotel
Where the girls aren’t from the ghetto
You might set your eyes on Sweaty Andy Luke
He wheels comics with bone marrow, through aisles wide and boxes narrow
Crying Small Press, Mini-Comics, to be away by Five-Oh-Oh

Five Oh-Oh, Five Oh-no
A meal with Gar Shanley
Paddy Lynch’s birthday party
Forget it, lets just go

Except come the day, I wasn’t singing. No, I’d lost my voice. I grew comfortable with it later but then, I was startled at being only a robot Cookie Monster away from sounding like a telephone sex pest. Additionally, the diseased monkey virus I was spreading might necessitate Translink open a new line called Ebola. As happy fates would have it, Paddy Lynch bailed on me for lack of a sitter, meaning his children are safe.

I hope I can vouch for Gar, John, Richard (Barr) or the staff and serviced at Café Bliss at Montague Street. I was struggling to breathe through our meal. My choking sounded like boking, vomiting that is, only from a cough out of control. The Health Police weren’t called and I enjoyed two of their Vita-C Flu Buster speciality smoothies.

There was a good chat about creativity and business, and Gar’s recent film work.

(Aside: the Black Panel returns were difficult. A number of comixers didn’t want stock back and said I should do the second thing I wanted to do with it. I don’t know what that is yet. Maybe something involving Free Comic Book Day? Answers through an e-code)

On return to Belfast, I spent much of the next fortnight in bed. For all the meds I’ve been on, the fever pretty much broke when my parents took me out for the day. Further improvements came when Sarah took me out to an Idlewild gig, camped over with Chinese takeaway and Naked Gun, then took us on a drive-round the following day, including a trip to the foot of Black Mountain. I’m okay with being a lonely person, peace made, but add some illmess and I’m terrified. A few friends breaking the solitude…well, if you’ve a friend in illmess, take the time to visit; ten minutes even, say you wanna come over.

Yesterday the doctor said I’ve two weeks to find my voice or I’m off for scans and scopes. He cautioned me against pushing myself to be heard by other people.

Save Uranus. End. Cue Ad.

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