It is with great sadness I am publicly withdrawing my support for the Belfast SF event, Titancon. I’d been a fixture there since the first in 2011, appearing as a headline guest with Absence and The Magnificent One Day Comics Factory; making financial plans and promotions in the 2013-2014 committee, putting together comics creators who’d drawn Irish Myth: Will Simpson, Paddy Brown and Paul Bolger, teaching people how to self-publish…
Seven great years of workshops, panels, blogging, flyering, readings, camaraderie and making ends meet in Titancon. Then, sadly, in the eighth year with a new committee hosting Eurocon, I became the target of sustained abuse and slander at the hands of their then Logistics Manager. The resulting complaint did little to assuage him, and when I stood up to him, we were both removed. So, my only committent was a panel with one of the star guests, whose trip I’d half-funded. Then, a week before the event (of which I’d planned networking and enjoying) I was asked to organise the comics panels. Except I was outside the communications circuit. I found the dealers I’d brought in with queries. Nothing had been done in my three months absence. My replacement, the Chair, hadn’t even spoken to them. The panels weren’t in place, though the programmer had the decency to apologise. I spent the week apologising to people, directing them, trying to answer questions I didn’t know the answer to, managing guests and giving tech support with no time for myself. It was the worst con experience of my life.
It was actual fucking trauma. Not hyperbole. Not anything any-one should have to go through. Cumulatively, it took its toll on the relationship with my partner. We’ve broken up, in part due to Titancon’s particular pressure. Then it got weirder. Weeks later I spoke up for a main-stay author who’d been sidelined. This comment, along with the official complaint about bullying, was enough for the Chair to exclude me from returning to the committee. I’d laid down a vision for 2020 which she was acting on, even been proposed for Chair, and the sidelined author given a spot on the committee, but no, not I. And then, the ex-Logistics chief who made my life hell for months in front of the committee, well he was returned to his role. He was indulged by committee. The Chair, having witnessed it, knew well what she was doing as did others. There was no innocence about it. Despite earlier odd remarks badmouthing a founding, having a GRRM-less event (returning GRRM was Titancon’s goal since 2011), and suggesting for our private Coach Trip we refer visitors to public transport. Beyond foolishness, there’s a malevolent interference at play, even an ableist angle.
And that’s as deep as I’ll go for a lot of this is too upsetting for me to recount. This statement may hurt my career or cause people who don’t know better to hurt it. I’d rather people were warned off danger.
Titancon, I don’t regret much of what I’ve given you this decade. It’s been a blast, truly, deeply. I gave so much of me to making Eurocon a joy for others. I played fair when you did not. The reverbstorm of this on my life is still being felt. Some ‘opportunities’ are not worthy of us, traps to suck us up and throw our skins in the ditch. If you feel torn over loyalty to me and the con, it’s not my choice. What do you do? What do I want you do? Honestly? Cut that baby in two. Fuck ’em. Forget ’em. I hope Titancon has a welcome traffic accident and sucks on a cuckoo’s cloaca.
Goodbye, Titancon. I’m free.
– Andy Luke
Well, well. Helluva few months. I took time out for Ljerka’s visit. Together with Richard we got to Belfast Zoo were there are mostly monkeys, and I love monkeys.
I’ve been immersed in AS-Level History, teaching Germany and Russia, and it seems to have worked out. Since then it’s been clearing sweeps. Paid jobs: a poetry commission, some think tank research, and publishing and planning distribution for that agnostic mag I edited. You can buy copies from me for £2 (& £1 p&p), and Patreon patrons get them free on request.
End result: this is my first year making a profit from writing! *Takes a bow*
I’ve overhauled a few entries for anthologies, been involved co-running Mixed Jam for Inspire Wellbeing. This one’s new. I’ll be serving as Northern Ireland’s Deputy Municipal Liasion for NaNoWrimo 2019. (Nah-Know-Rye-Mo: National Novel Writing Month) Lots of plans for reaching out to people who want to be part of inclusive communities. I’ll be at Eurocon 2019. The committee are rolling out the red for the comics track this year. The fees for the artist’s alley are frankly enviable. They’ve agreed to a Community Table, ala Caption, where bods can set their books down for us to sell while they wander the convention. [Link]
Thanks to a partnership with Comic Book Guys Belfast, Eurocon will be hosting not only George RR Martin, Peadar O’ Guillin and Pat Cadigan but also James Roberts, one of my favourite writers. Transformers Lost Light driver James will be signing at the Great Victoria Street shop on Thursday and joining the festival at the weekend, where I’ll ask him about MTMTE and forthcoming Starcadia Quest.
That’s Thursday 22nd August!
Last night I finished Paragon: an original sci-fi novel by Rowan J. Coleman. A good debut of widescreen invasion epic. The latest issue of 2000AD inspired Sector 13 has shorts was enjoyable. Look-out-for artists Donna Anita Black, Joseph V. Parangle and Morgan Brinksman illustrate shorts which are inter-linked through the anthology. Peter Duncan and Andrew Pawley’s Cthulhu Kids #2 got a second read, for the sheer audacious fun of it. Pawley’s art bursts with slapstick energy and flamboyant designs.
Richard Barr has relented to my decade of begging for a podcast. So in a few months we’ll be looking at TV, Film, Comics, but so much, much more. The format is to co-host with a third guest each few weeks. Podcasting itself is our first subject, and so we’ll be talking to the enthused and prolific Nutty Nuchtchas about how to do it well. It’s a month away, so you could check in with Nutty while you wait. [Link: http://nimlas.org/blog/%5D
I’ll be talking about Jessica Jones in late July at The Defenders Podcast. The first episode is up at https://defenderspodcast.wordpress.com/
Television: well, I binged Season 1 of The Tick. Soo much fun, and a good natured romp too. Slowly working through American Gods Season 2. Re-binged Deadwood where 2,980 “fucks” were given, “an average of 1.56 utterances… per minute.” Yep, I’m saw it. The movie picks up thematically from the series and has a different yet same feel, albeit in a big form. Best tv-to-movie since Firefly/Serenity.
There’s about six books worth of material exclusively at patreon.com/andyluke, give me a dollar.
Really, give me a dollar. There’s the chance to get original art, a new sixteen page comic coming, and a first-look at new novella Thor’s Day in Juno.
- Conspiracy Night: a good success of ideas and interaction. Hoping Richard Barr will acquiesce to a spin-off podcast.
- Richard Barr: has ten to twelve minutes of polished fiction for you under ‘God’s Good Air’, at Honest Ulsterman https://humag.co/prose/god-s-good-air
- The Barbiturates: an audio-video barrage of righteous furious punk. You should check out some at Vimeo https://vimeo.com/thebarbiturates
- Edited agnostic magazine, The Universal Journey, (based on this website) – it’s out now, with an essay by me on supergods and polytheism, and some stuff about patron saints. I could probably mail you a copy for £3. Paypal to drew.luke @gmail.com
- Nice working holiday in Europe last week. Despite my nose turning to gelatine, I managed a coffee with the great cartoonist Dado Kovačević. Island exhibition in the summer!
- Oh my, oh my. I’m also planning something with ComicBookGuys, with Eurocon, and with my favourite writer of the last ten years. I shouldn’t announce it yet, I shouldn’t. OHheck. James Roberts is coming to Eurocon. No-one reads my blog anyhow.
- I’m still very much in love with ‘she who stays in the shadows’, and we both adore buttered mushrooms.
- Have started a private tutoring job over AS Level History through to the mid-May exams. Taxing, but good feeling.
- The last Mixed Jam went well. There’s a new sci-fi themed open mic event on May 4th. It’s 11am-1pm at Falls Road Library. The event listing is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1266453733508961/
- I’m still to draw Assange, or new DUP pages for money. I’ll get around to it. Hey! There’s a queue!
- Occupied: Mixed Up Media was my 4th 24 hour comic, and has risen up on Patreon. I’m as proud of it as of ‘Absence’, so you should definitely pay for my buttered mushrooms.
Find me on:
Paragon by Rowan J. Coleman
Unicron by John Barber and Alex Milne
The House That Groaned by Karrie Fransman
Justice League 3000 by Giffen, DeMatteis and Kolins
Thor’s Day in Juno, by myself. It needs developed for the August release.
Queer as Folk by Grace Petrie (Bought at her excellent gig last night)
No-One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut by HMHB (appropriately enough, I’ve not got a copy)
Any solo work by Cerys Matthews (As I’ve pretty much exhausted Catatonia plays)
Meantime, I need to go to the pool, learn Croatian, be engaged in some kind of communal home cleaning practice, write a poem about a pretty place (we all should), and go to the pool again. Peace and love.
Hello from Ballyhackamore cafe suburb, where the gale left behind a winter sun.
FOR LOVE is out. Sixteen lines of vital matter and maybe my finest poetic achievement. It’s on the Patreon Researcher tier and almost doesn’t have to be interviewed for my first collection.
GREENWICH MEAN TIME is the flip-side. Two thousand words of scary sci-fi, nasty horror and twisted romance. Speaking of which, the FUCK THE DUP SKETCHBOOK is finito in three months. Both come with being at a Ordained Preacher tier.
On the side I’m promoting MIXED JAM again. The open mic night run by Inspire, Inside/Out and Dee Brannigan. It aims at getting people with mental health problems to express their creativity. So, disability as universal spectrum, pretty much everyone. I want to see it draw the crowds of Poetry NI and the old Bookfinders readings. Each Jam is themed. For Valentines month we have JAM PAREE, and it’s hosted at Farset Labs, on Saturday 16th from 2-5pm. Bring a donation. We won’t turf you if you can’t. https://www.facebook.com/events/309093043131373
Inspire and author Roddy McCance teamed up on THE BURNING MEMORY graphic novel. It examines wayss in which we can survive mental illness. It was released on Thursday, but by Saturday he’d launched his TALES OF FRACTURED WORLDS at Coffee & Heroes. Peter Duncan, always good company, was there and got excited about the CTHULU KIDS COSMIC CATASTROPHE CARDS. I got a comp set and they’re sweet.
That’s art by Andrew Pawley, and the two of them have Issue 2 of the comic nearly ready. They just can’t sloth.
I do have a few worthy art commissions lined up. A MCR-related poem, a cartoon for a Zagreb coffee shop where I’d a chance meeting with Dado Kovacevic. Dado has asked me to contribute to the 10th OSCARfest International Cartoon Exhibition on the Croatian island of Cres.
The Croatians really like to celebrate the New Year. Everything shuts for two days. The view from the balcony at night is something.
My other voluntary bit is running the dealer’s room and artist’s alley for EUROCON 2019. Inevitably, there’s more comics and comics programming as well as gold for Game of Thrones fandom and substantial representation from NI arts, media and culture. Tickets for the three day event went on sale today. Prices rise on Feb 26th and I’m privvy to info that makes me think that’s the day they’ll sell out. Consider this your tip-off and henceforth book at http://titancon.com/2019/membership.php
Shuffling towards my head from the bookshelf is a line lead by Naomi Klein’s NO LOGO, A BOOK OF ENGLISH POETRY by G.B. Harrison, THE COMPLETE BOOK OF SCRIPTWRITING by. J. Michael Straczynski, OPTIMUS PRIME by John Barber and Kei Zama, and RESIDENT ALIEN by Steve Parkhouse and Peter Hogan. I review on Goodreads and you can find these in the sidebar of andy-luke.com. The surprise thrill of last season was THE MAN WITH NO LIBIDO by Jason Browne and Steve Kearney. It’s sweet, funny and inspires dancing: a graphic novel that shouldn’t work. In print at Amazon, and cheap digital from the publisher. http://quiethell.com/man-libido/
Oh, SPIDE: THE LOST TRIBES is in print. According to Chris McAuley, Pat Mills liked it, which tickles me mightily.
There’s an insightful Twitter thread from an ex-Google developer on Youtube un-recommending flat earth videos. It’s been on my mind again as Eileen Walsh has just sent over details of THE GREAT BIG NAKED CONSPIRACY NIGHT. That’s at McHughs, Belfast, part of the NI Science Festival at the end of March. Richard Barr, Alex Jones/Axel America co-creator, and I will be judging the audience’s best conspiracy theories and perhaps coming up with some of our own. With panels and guests galore #nakedconspiracy looks to be an entertaining night.
I was pleased to hear Richard’s words are coming to esteemed journal, The Honest Ulsterman. One step closer to the high profile he deserves.
MONEY HEIST, the Spanish drama, is fast-paced and compelling. Turn on the English subtitles and dubbing for multi-narratives. TV viewing fills up my weekends. I’ve been watching ENTERPRISE for the first time and it does the 90s Trek thing fairly. ROWAN J. COLEMAN mainly reviews Trek and Battlestar:the jubilant Scot delivers my SF comments fix. Last week he sent a patron preview of his Firefly video and it looks good. SAMUEL DAVIS makes Doctor Who videos with a passion and candid cheeky tones. I loved MOVIEBOB’s recent piece on the world before Star Wars. Then there’s THE TAKE BY SCREEN PRISM, consistently offering excellent analysis of a broad range of shows including Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos and more.
And that’s it. All blogged out. Have a care and take the care. Thanks for the money. It keeps me warm and fed. Talk soon.
Writer who draws.
[Link] Spide: The Lost Tribes has been released today in print through Amazon.
[Link] Four by the week posts on my NanoWrimo experience.
[Link] to interview with Eileen Walsh of Derry Drive 105 were we talk about 24 hour comics, Absence, Spide and NaNoWrimo.
[Link] I’ll be reading brand new poetry at Mixed Jam, on December 10th from 5-7pm. That’s at East Belfast’s 248 East Bistro, which is a lovely venue.