Close-Up

Good day you and you. I have updates. June didn’t feel so busy, but apparently, well… Most shorts and poems are in publisher’s slush piles, waiting to be noticed like tidal waves. The first three chapters of Occupied were sent out to a dozen agents. Big Finish got my pitch and excerpt for the Doctor Who Short Trips audio. They offer an opportunity to a newb every June as part of the Paul Spragg Memorial Award. I’ll soon be editing a short tale callled ‘The Apology’, which features a Doctor-esque character. I’ve commissioned illustrator Jenika Ioffreda (Vampire Free Style) to draw a special place-holder image to go with it. Patreon readers can see some of her concept sketches at https://www.patreon.com/posts/close-up-38943158

There’s a final script into Phoebe Xavier, the editor of Sidereal Apogee at 123Go! Comics. ‘The Sugar Skull Shoot-Out’ is a hard-boiled western, drawn by the versatile talent Jorge Luis Gabotto. You should drift from here over to Jorge’s Instagram. Patron at Patreon Sinead Mannion gifted me a copy of The Long-Lost Short Stories, written by her late brother Gearoid. 

Sinead and I are hoping a few of Gearoid’s stories can be adapted to comic strip form. In the meantime,The Long-Lost Short Stories is available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited at this location. 

Later this month, I’ve some great stuff coming up on Patreon. Two variant scripts and outlines from an un-developed comic: S.P.I.D.E. features the return of Dan and Ape as they get their hands on some hi-tech in 2000AD-esque thrills. There’ll be more poetry, beginning with ‘The Verging‘. My telly writing podcast makes it’s debut early in August through Patreon and our friends at Nerdgeist.

I’m tempted to run another video-cast of readings, this time as a fundraiser, after seeing Wee Gamers’ Andy Brown’s twelve-hour model build and paint session. One thing at a time though.

Wishing you a great weekend. 

Andrew

Goodbye Titancon, I’m free.

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.

Press Launch for 2011 Titancon: Back row (l-r) founders Bruce Logan, Ian Lawther, 1st secretary Silverjaime; front row guests Paddy Brown, Andy Luke

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

The planets are in alignment to blog!

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. 

Image may contain: 1 person, text

That’s Thursday 22nd August!

Amazon.com: Paragon eBook: Rowan Coleman: Kindle Store

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.

Awlabest

Andy

Webs Twitter Patreon Facebook

My Life in Bullet Points

  • 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:

http://patreon.com/andyluke
http://andy-luke.com
http://twitter.com/andyluke
https://www.facebook.com/spider.confuser

Reading:

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.

Listening:

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.

My name is Luke, A. I live on the second floor.

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.

The income based jobhunt continues. It’s mainly tutoring, and transcribing; PA work, and I write content too. I also draw. Please spread the word.

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.

Andy,
Writer who draws.

Did you hear? It’s coming home.

What’s in my books, and why do I make them? My books seem to have a common theme of wanting to share my experiences with propaganda and activism with a desire to make people laugh.  I’ve had years of experience writing. It’s in my bloodstream. People like what I do enough to pay me. I’m in a rare position of being basically comfortable so that I can try to make a living from it.

Earlier this month I was in Oxford with friends.  Arsalan Haider Ali took this incredible photo of me in Piddington Wood.

I hope it’s okay to share it. You can see more of his TriptychTakes at Instagram.

Means of Production played the Wheatsheaf. They’re Jeremy and Tim Day, presenting electro-synth and meta-photograph installations. They blew my socks off. Let them give you some love at their Facebook page.

Then it was Brighton and discussions for a new micro-site, The 101% Truth. Nothing up yet. When there is, I’ll remind you. There were difficulties getting home and sickness took its toll. At the best of times I’m fearful of travelling, of missing connections and long hours. Good to get some inspiring perspective from Elin Errson’s little gesture, important difference. A one-person stand-up protest  on a plane that prevented an asylum deportee returning to a place where his life was in danger. Well done, that woman.

Work was really hard to go back too. Depression, epileptic absences. Then somehow, it all clicked back into gear. There are two new poems, Migrant, and Diffusion. The completed Watch Thief and commentaries are going out on Friday. The Youth of 2062, is a black comedy short set in a home for the elderly, and that goes out tomorrow perhaps? I also got it into gear to finish The Trebitsch Lincoln Conspiracies. It’s a three part documentary, by power-point, narrated by Frankie Boyle and Alan Moore impersonators. Okay, there’s just one person doing both voices. The first part is here:

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=SCgl69E7_1k

PAY MY STATUS ON PATREON.COM/ANDYLUKE

 

 

Patreon Year 2 (X-post to Patreon & LJ)

Thank you! I wouldn’t have had as much fun with all these writings without the encouragement of my patrons.

In June, I’ll be running the last commentaries, Season 2 audios, artblogs and the promised Trebitsch conspiracy vid. There’ll also be bonus poems and posts.

Year 2, I’ll be working up back-room material. Out-front, I’d like to create shorter works. On Patreon I’m now accepting commissions patrons want to see me work on.

Want SF prose? Ask, and I’ll go for it. Want specific? Ditto. After meeting some patrons at a marriage equality march I was to draw a ‘Fuck the DUP‘ colouring book. Do you have a concept (‘draw a poem comic about a polar bear called Arcutus that works for Lockheed-Martin’) in mind? Or a script? Ask and receive.

In the event of dead air, I’m lining up new novellas and ‘Wee Hard Man’ comics. Phase 2, I think, should bring Patreon back to the intention: collaboration between funder and creative. Think of it as an artist on the payroll and get thinking. There’s a poll below to get us wondering what that will look like. Get specific in the comments. Friends can vote although priority is given to patrons and Patreon subscribers.

The Day Off has been Prophesied

It comes to us all. Some day this week I’ll be delving into a few of those films pushed at me. I’ve not seen ‘The Exorcist’ in full, and Richard Barr, devil that he is, has compelled me to watch it. Richard has had a few shorts published recently. ‘A Dismemberment of Corpses’ is dark beyond slapstick, a spide horror of the most gruesome. It features Danny Pongo, not-star of downedalbitros blog, and several ‘We Shall Not Be Stapled’ strips, and I probably should deny reading it, but it features on the very cultured Scum Gentry site so I’m linking to it now. He’s also got ‘Last of the Little Atlanteans’ out, a delightful cartoon horror satirising the anti-emigrant haters in Swiftian fashion. ‘Atlanteans’ is my favourite of Barr’s prose. It appears in Gruesome Grotesques Volume 2 from Trevor Kennedy. There’s lots in there. I enjoyed Samantha Lee’s ‘Hidden Depths’, a sensual bleeder of a piece and the perfect length for a bus journey.

So, it’s all holiday. Leisure before Brexit. Spend before the shops shut because picket lines of the future will happen online. A call to Forbidden Planet Belfast yesterday netted me two cheap volumes of Peter David’s X-Factor, sure to be fun. The esteemed Malachy Coney, (blog here), took time to discuss with me why Axel America wasn’t selling, (sold here), and compared my writing process (as explained in the video below), to that used by China Miéville. I’ve also been finding James Roberts’ identity sitcom, Lost Light, and loving it; via Aaron at Comic Book Guys.

Work-wise I’ve just finished Chapter 36, all but for the fifteen minute read through. The commentary is half written. Nine audio readings await editing. Tomorrow I plan on spraying anti-bacterial disenfectant everywhere! I always listen to audio when I clean. I’ll have to line up some good music. Morrissey’s politics have me weaning myself off his music. Mozza started off not unlike Grange Hill’s Danny Kendall and has wound up as Gripper Stebson.

Aha, there’s a new Comics City Cast on the air! 

I wonder if anyone’s reading the free version of The Watch Thief and if I shouldn’t just pull it to improve chances with publishers. The Facebook generations don’t comment on blogs, not like the old set. Chapter 33 is on here next week. It’s the start point for ‘Series 4’, and deals with attempts to come to terms with a war on two fronts in China, 1923. Here’s a teaser:

And just to prove I’m SERIOUS about the day off, this is where I’ll be staying during my holiday in Amsterdam.

IT’S A HOSTEL AND A TRAIN.

 

Writer’s Commentary – The Watch Thief Prologue / Chapter 1

Research and illness took their toll on schedules for The Watch Thief – the novelization of the remarkable life of Trebitsch Lincoln: adventurer, crook, spy, journalist, rector and the events and cities he lived in. You can read it here at https://andy-luke.com/watch-thief/

For a change I’m delivering two commentaries previously only available to Patreon $2-a-month subscribers.  Refresh yourself with the Prologue and Chapter One or dive straight in!

Hello, patrons. Thanks for reading the first shots in a story that’s sustained my interest for years, and my first regular wage in as long. The prologue begins with Ignacz’s father scrubbing up for church. I wanted to begin with physical contact. It’s a far way from the shaving scene beginning Joyce’s Ulysees (with that amazing image of crossed razors on top a mirror), but I think it works. Nathan and his family are Jewish Orthodox, I wanted to make that a special point, name the clothing exactly, so I found info on attire at UnitedWithIsrael.org and Mazorguide.com.

The Comedy Theatre of Budapest, aka The Vigszinhaz, was the big draw in expanding Budapest, but unfortunately it wasn’t built until 1897, the time of Chapter 1. So Ignacz was on his way to the Municipal Theatre. I wasn’t able to get an exact location but I was sure Paks, were Nathan’s family lived, was a journey that meant he’d cross one of the bridges over the Danube. The Municipal was old already, and small, though it was moneyed and elegant.

Austria-Hungary’s merger and dual monarchy was created in 1867. Budapest, rapidly expanding in the 1890s, was a finance and import capital. Magyar is the name Hungarians give themselves and the 1890s saw the nobility move there and bring more finance into the developments.

The prologue takes place on March 16th, according to Jens Malte Fischer, who recounts events at the performance of Lohengrin, in his book Gustav Mahler, by Yale University Press. I’m not sure if I got away with the Count Zichy reference, and to cast some exposition… Géza Zichy was the city commissioner with some suction in Arts and Culture but he was also part of the right-wing anti-foreigner attitude in government at the time. Mahler had been teaching, and serving as the principal conductor under a ten year contract since 1888, six years. He’d already been in line of sight from Budapest’s cultural conflict in the press a few times. When Zichy’s new role as Intendant was announced, Mahler understood many of his rights were curtailed and powers transferred. The cards were on the table. Mahler signed a new contract with the Hamburg Opera on the q.t. and knowing Zichy wanted him out, he approached him and a severance was offered. Mahler announced his resignation, but to the public it might have looked like Zichy shoved him, which would have happened eventually. I’ve no evidence to suggest Ignacz was there on the night of the Lohengrin riot, or attended Mahler’s classes, but he did try to fake his Drama School papers and sneaking into a theatre seems in his character.

Chapter 1

Nathan moved his family closer to the city. This occurs shortly after the prologue. He moved from “a solid barge transportation business to…high finance” (Wasserstein), and essentially playing the stock market, and lost it all. This is where we pick up, with Ignacz at Drama School, and all is not well.

Budapest Metro Line 1, still running, is the third oldest underground railway in the world, built 1894-1896. The other two were Tunel in Istanbul and City & South in London. Ignacz’s route along Andrassy Avenue has him in the direction of Hősök tere (Heroes’ Square), where there’s a monument to the men of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. His brothers, Lajos and Sandor, share their names with the two front-men, still well thought of, so it seemed safe to assume they were named in their honour.

When writing the graphic novel script for this, it took six years to settle on a good idea for the opening page. It began with a first panel family row, and six panels devoted to Ignacz’s starry-eyed hallucination during the mugging. There’s no record to Ignacz suffering hallucinations here or any eye condition. It just fit with the new metro lights, and the star vision I had in mind. I’ve hallucinated or seen silver ball floaters attributed to Ignacz, since, oh, my teenage years. Often after I’m beset by a coughing or sneezing fit, but at times with no corresponding origin point. My earliest memory that fits how they look is from a Primary School teacher who had a box of Mercury in her room and delighted us moving about the shimmering globules. Mercury is highly dangerous and toxic. Rather than live in dread of seeing my floaters I’ve long ascribed a good luck status to these, despite being not generally superstitious.

It was important I get right the culture of theatre and opera surrounding Ignacz at that time and I selected five operas performed in 1890s Budapest and read the liberetto scripts. These were Siegfried and (as noted) Das Rheingold, Eugene Onegin; Don Giovanni, Lohengrin and Tannhauser. I used a cut-up style with about ten lines from each then paired that down to a manageable size. The arrangement was more conscious than random. Das Rheingold’s tale of greed, lust and narcissism is a good thematic fit. Lohengrin is a classic heroes tale about nobility. I should mention Ignacz’s mother, Julie, was from nobility, though it didn’t seem to do her favours when business went bad. The story of Tannhauser fit with Ignacz’s art ambitions and want to travel. Don Giovanni mixes “comedy, tragedy and drama with the supernatural”, which covers all my basis and Giovanni and Ignacz have many similarities. It was uppermost in my mind.

Lohengrin is a heroes tale of political conflict, a story closer here to Mahler than Ignacz, though maybe not in Ignacz’s mind. I was offered the chance to watch Lohengrin with a rowdy group a few weeks ago, but sadly slept in. (We have a monthly Opera Club where we watch streaming content on a large screen, mainly from the excellent Opera Platform ) Eugene Onegin, the only opera from these I’ve seen performed, has little in relevance in story to Ignacz’s tale. It’s also the least interesting tale. Stick with Don Giovanni, or Das Rheingold. I have a list of which lines came from which operas but do you really want to know?

Oh, and we also get quotes from Clerks 2 and Forrest Gump, and I was aiming to place Quantum Leap’s ‘Oh Boy!”

A Note On Wasserstein

My research for Ignacz comes from many sources. Easily the most invaluable of these is Bernard Wasserstein’s The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln, from Penguin. Wasserstein’s version is a notably excellent piece of historical autobiography, drawing on solid research and it’s a riveting read. With this, which will rightfully be called an adaptation by some, I’ll be leaving out notable details, inventing others…Wasserstein delivers context but I aim to push this further, colour it in, include unsubstantiated reports Wasserstein firmly refutes.

I’ve amassed a large image archive and I’ll be reproducing some, though it looks like Patreon requires me to make separate posts.

Over on Patreon, Chapter 24 is nearly ready: the half-way point! You can read every chapter and commentary for The Watch Thief for just $2 U.S. for 30 days through Paypal, bank account, debit or credit card.

That’ll also get you e-comics, ‘We Shall Not Be Stapled’ by myself and ‘A Hand of Fingers’ by John Robbins. If there’s a rush on, or you sign up for $5 I’ll also unlock the artblog, the photo grids, process videos, poetry and short stories.