165: Spellcheck (Flashfic)

One of the great practices awarded me by the Belfast Writers Group is that of having a go at flash fiction, 15 minute writing exercises. Last week I uploaded ‘Locked Doors’ which I will tell you nothing more about. No. Forbidden. I wrote this:

The boys rolled the wooden wheel twelve feet all of it speedier and somehow keeping pace another three in front carted grid pallettes: stacked half dozen. Another the same ahead of them. Muscled up and aged between eight and ten, some acted as guards, waving them along. Or maybe they were like startled pigeons or the car passengers which ran alongside.

And they’ll drop them off and get them in another factory and the adults will stack them tall in the field and then everything will burn. The lush green land of Antrim, burn! The blue skies of Down, burn, smoke and flame! Armagh, Fermanagh, Tyrone —

“IF YOU BURN IT, Will it grow again?”, I yelled.

The boy whirled to look at me, then pushed his wheel again. My distraction would not help it stop. The two teams of carters did the same and escaped narrowly their own wounding. An ox-man and four-boobs bleacher turned to look at me, her saggy plastic bag even, piercing the area with it’s haunting.

I selfishly expected not to make it home by desk.

That night, the freedom fighting guardians urinate: our country-men undressed to Scientologist pyjamas, Westboro Baptist night-gowns, number 20Q the woman-beater. As they slept or did not, I took my reprieve, and crept out into the darkness. Jay met me among the criss-cross of back alleys and the graffiti exhorting warfare. It hadn’t seen a spell-checker.

‘Cameron Go, Game of Thrones Style!’

Then the pair of us moved the brushes and sprays onto the next blank wall. There we painted a large iris overlooking a yellowed union flag underpants, that dripped down into a coffee cup on fire.

‘Radio 4 – For God and Ulster’

That was on the next street over already.

‘Daily Fail Wordsearch – Today: Indians’

We took our time there because Jo wanted to make it ‘Canadians’.

By 3am we’d become annoyed, so returned home to a flask. He wanted to expose the negligent junkie dad at 3 G.S.E, I thought it would be good for us to de-weed the bus stop.

“Yeah, we’ll be putting up a timetable next.”

Forty new pieces of cross-discipline graffiti went up that night and there was a spate of copycat acts later that month with old world maps re-created, and classical music notes on the Albertbridge. Inked hyperlinks adorned Knockbreda, a mosaic appeared one night on the Castlereagh Road. In Dee Street, a minimalist man, Chad Kilroy peered over a wall, and asked, “Where’s Banksy?”.

Only four of these were burned in the July 12th bonfires, painted on the walls by people’s homes. Within two years, literacy was up.

Belfast Comics Fayre

This Sunday, December 9th, in Haymarket Arcade, off Royal Avenue, the Comics Fayre comes to Belfast.

Orchestrated by Avalon Arts with some arrangement from yours truly, the event is billed as a family fun day with FREE admission. There are exhibitions of comics art, workshops, comics launches, panels, talks, face painting, fancy dress, a cafe and a bar.
We’ve a few special guests from across the border: Darrin O’Toole (Writer, Tales from the Void), Eoin McAuley (Editor, Lightning Strike), Ciaran Marcantonio (Writer, ‘A Clockwork Universe’ for Lightning Strike), Daryl Cox (Artist, ‘Monkey of Oz’ for Lightning Strike) as well as Belfast’s very own Patrick Brown (The Cattle Raid of Cooley) Odds are good other home-town comics pros are making surprise guest appearances.
The market, which usually hosts local crafts, will push a surge of comics and geek ephemera such as tables recovered in comics strips, gamer badges and knitted trinkets.
The Stack comics store will be there with a range of graphic novels, and partaking in the re-launch of The Black Panel, an initiative to bring Northern and Southern Irish comics to the viewing public. I’ll be hosting The Magnificent One Day ComicBook Factory. There are also a series of short talks, and I’m pleased to announce that Eoin McAuley will be speaking on developing a small press comic from an idea to publication.

[Facebook Event link]

BELFAST COMICS FAYRE 2012

My christmas card range and new comics will also be showing at the Arts and Disability Forum’s Gift 2 exhibition, (on Royal Avenue) until December 20th. There’s also a special “Seasonal Celebration” wrap soiree on the 20th, with details on Facebook.

Apocalypchristmas

Hello again.

My new Christmas card selection is on sale through those luvvies at the Arts and Disability Forum in Royal Avenue, Belfast. The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 11-3pm, but if you see the lights on knock the door as they’re often busy working away behind the scenes.

There’s also a festive poster of Strictly Celebrity Apprentice on Ice With Bobbins And A Twitter Hashtag. And it’s rather good. If you’re not in Belfast, I’ve updated this site to include a Shop.

And here’s my newest one,

It won’t be in stock for a few days but you can advance order with other cards using the code APOC.

Elsewhere, I’ve been busy setting up Black Panel Distribution for a December re-launch. The Black Panel started by myself and Paddy Brown back in 2010 is now home to over sixty Irish comics. Check out the website for more information. If you have a shop where you’d like to stock Northern Irish comics I’m keen for you to get in touch, and I’m happy to take personal customers too.

Speaking of Paddy, here’s the results of his contribution to The Magnificent One Day Comic Book Factory back in September. And PJ Holden also threw in a piece in under an hour while tutoring.

Norma Thierfelder came all the way from Germany for TitanCon and drew this,

And an entry from Dawn Lennox (my new partner as of TitanCon)

You can read my report on the TitanCon goings-on here.

The Magnificent Factory is due to be repeated at the ComicsWest Festival, held at the University of Galway on 8-10th February. It was a great event last year and totally worth making the trip. Here’s their website.

Before that, Avalon Arts are launching the first Belfast Comics Fayre at the Haymarket Arcade on Sunday December 9th. I’ve been asked to be their “comics connect” so more news shortly. Meantime, the Facebook event page is here.

Bounce!

Dates for your calendar: the Mercurial Stephen Downey and I will be inviting you to make comics with us at The Arts and Disability Forum in Belfast. We were there in February and executive produced the baby leviathan, Beneath The Tide.



 Beneath The Tide, featuring the work of Gareth Smyth, Andrew Cochrane and Roisin O’ Hagan.
You can see the full project behind this strip by downloading the pdf version which also features work by Richard Barr and Bisson. [15mb – pdf  link]

The event is on Saturday 25th August. It’s free, and limited to fifteen places. Please get in touch via info@adf.ie if you’d like to be on board.

ADF Festival logo designed by Gillian O’Hagan

It’s one of the first acts in the ADF’s week-long Bounce! festival. The programme has a number of people excited  with an enormous roster of talent including Sinead O’Donnell, Garry Robson, David Hoyle, animator Joel Simon, Dan Eggs, Andrew Cochrane and Claire Cunningham.

More news on the Arts and Disability Forum website, including links to the programme and purchasing for ticketed events. [

I’d a lovely weekend at the Dublin Zine Fair run by the nimble Sarah Bracken and her team. Paddy Brown did a lot of arranging for us to be there, and there was a very positive turn out. I managed a spontaneous short comedy open mic bit, and got a lot of new friends from the series of six interviews I did with artists last week.

Sold a fair few comics too, including my sequel to Optimus and Me. Unfortunately Moods of Prime went out with a page error. It didn’t make a difference to the great story, but I thought I’d reprint the correct sequencing here.

My KaBlam/IndyPlanet copy of Hold The Phones, It’s Alex Jones! arrived looking like a grown-up magazine gospel rocker dancing on ice. The Series 1 11 page preview has racked up over 5,000 views.

The book has 28 pages of new material and costs  $3.99 plus Indyplanet’s postage fees, which from the UK are a whopping $10. [Link to IndyPlanet print copy]

But you must have your forty-four pages of big fat Sitcomspiracy. The Myebook digital is still only £1.00, and works out well. [Link to Myebook Digital, gets me 90% of the sale, and so sell cheaper]

You can buy Moods of Prime in black and white for £1.25 or £2.50 in colour (plus and extra £1 for far overseas), by sending the amount over Paypal to drew.luke@gmail.com and including your address. All sold out of my own copies of Hold The Phones.

NERDTOPIA

Normative, ha! What does normative know?

I am Andrew Luke.

 

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Last month, I visited Nerdtopia in the leafy student district of Belfast’s Stranmillis Road. They were all out of Deli-Lite sandwiches, so instead, I’d a gourmet sausage roll made for the Sultan himself.

It was the morning after Q-Con, an enormous sci-fi and gaming thing, a village. We maintain being wrecked due to this pressurised stint of business, and not the Jack Daniels controlling our neurologies.

I love coffee; the dirty damage of any writer but frankly I’d been up since 6am working on my latest commission* and deserved a soothing addle of hot cocoa hyperdrive.

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Nerdtopia Coffee Manager John, quite lovely. Please keep him in work.

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Nerdtopia Says Eat Cake  – The coffee making area is perhaps Nerdtopia’s greatest flaw. Not for the vanilla, caramel and chocolate syrups, the size it takes up in the small premises; an industrial length box perhaps ripped from an ice-cream shop.

Around about is a booth for four, round two-person tables, a set of comfies and throws, a reader shelf and accessible pinboard. This informs the realisation I’m sitting in a community space. A business sure, but it feels inclusive, almost organic. The shop has it’s backbone of regulars, explains John, “but we get all ages in here. Many are locals just looking for somewhere with a bit of colour.”

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This is Chris, the store manager. Out the back of the shop is a large room ideal for workshops and signings, used by gaming groups on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. They open a little later then.

NERDTOPIA-FULL-RANGE-AND-ADEPT-SERVICE-WITH-NEW-CUSTOMER-300x245

The comics selection is one black case of about eighty books built of Judge Dredd, Batman, The Walking Dead and Warhammer. They also have on sale key rings, die-casts and brushes; board games, tobacco cases and the United Rizla Papers of Benetton.

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The Nerdtopia flyer, with £1 off any large tea or coffee. Hot! They also do a 10% student discount.

In my dream scenario, comics readers are treated as the over 25s and allowed to mix strips, beer and daylight if they so choose, without awaiting allocated convention days. We’re all responsible drinkers, except for the Whovian cosplayers. The next best thing is this social model of selling coffee with comics. The late Jack Brodies in Camden sold Dr. Octopus and orange juice, and I’m told Plan B Books in Glasgow has Satrapi and Sumatra, and that Dublin City Comics and Collectables does Kickass and Kitkats.

I’d taken the 8a there, but it’s really a ten minute stroll back to the city. First, the bladder must be emptied and John points me out to the back room. Then another doorway. a tall enclosure stretching to the celing, it’s outer walls on each side an assuring police box blue welcomes me to travel the streams with the technology within.

Nerdtopia are located at 86 Stranmillis Road, Belfast, BT9 5AD. Here’s a link to their Facebook page.

*Andrew Luke is currently finishing writing the Looking For Work series of books for the Social Security Agency of Northern Ireland.

The Titanic Troubles Theme Park

I’ll be appearing as a guest at Q-Con, the Belfast Gaming and Anime Festival this weekend. The job is to assist PJ Holden and Stephen Downey with a 2000AD Comics Workshop. PJ has written a post here preparing his students for the Sunday morning session.

Gareth McKnight and Debbie McCormack of East Belfast run an enjoyable lo-fi comic called Don’t Panic!

With every mad jack hurling money around anyone with the sinking ship motif, I suggested they produce a Don’t Titanic comic.

Small press being what it is the projects running a spot late for an anniversary (although the spin-off shares scandal involving the Liberal government, ran for the better part of the year)

Anyhow, here’s the entry drawn by me, and co-written with Danny Pongo, adapted from his original blog post.

By Andy Luke and Danny Pongo

Comics Pub Meets: Ireland

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

In the second of a four part article on creative and social networking and fandom across the UK, we’re going to turn our attention towards Ireland.

After hearing about the success of pub meets in Birmingham in 1997 I fly-postered around local comic shops in Belfast for a monthly meet. Numbers were small, four to six creatives amid ramshackle crowd noise. It did serve as an opportunity to compare reading tastes and art tips and nurtured a few good friendships. Busy workloads meant the group drifted apart as many do. When I returned in 2009, I was welcomed into a new group, which was larger and better organised. The Belfast Comics Pub Meet takes place on the First Thursday of the month at the Garrick Cloth Ear from around 9pm or so. For further details, drop myself or Paddy Brown a wee line.

belfast comics pub meet

UPDATE:

“That’s not Ron!” screamed his missus in block caps.

Dr. Sketchys has been replaced by Real Sketchys, which runs at The Black Box, Hill Street, Belfast on the first Thursday of every month from 9pm. The Drink n Draw also offers artists the chance to sell their work. Contact point might be Adam Turkington (@AdamTurks)and Seedhead Arts, here on 

belfast sf

Facebook.

Eugene Doherty runs the Belfast SF Group at the Errigle Inn, Ormeau Rd, Belfast on alternate Thursdays. There’s an emphasis on hard science word has it, but also a bit of craic. Contact Eugene for more details.

“The Other Ones” is a younger (20s-30s) SF,  Fantasy and gaming group meeting alternate Wednesdays at the Metro Bar, Botanic. Their emphasis is largely on the social, those misfits, and their Facebook group is here.

The Dublin Comics Jam is well attended by a colourful bunch, and held around the 3rd Thursday of the month at Lord Edward (opposite Christchurch), Dame Street. This has Drink and Draw aspects although I’d wager a lot of networking and friendship goes on too.  I’m told Kyle Rogers is a good contact, though they have a mailing list which you can join at dublincomicjam (at) gmail(dot)com for updates.

Out on the remote coastline of Galway, Donal Fallon sends me news of the Galway Pub Scrawl,

“The Pub Scrawl started in response to the Drink & Draw in Cork. We get about 10 people or so every week, with more some weeks. We’ve been hanging out in McSwiggans, which is kind of small and dark, so I guess if I got the numbers up we could get some bigger, brighter pub to make provisions for us. It’s fairly informal, we just chat & draw and mess around. Some of the guys (including myself) are into comic book work, but we haven’t discussed it much here. The NUIG Art Society do a comic class of some kind at the moment. I’d have to search around to get you more details, but some of those guys come to the Pub Scrawl. If you see Ruth Campion’s name in the Pub Scrawl group, she’d be in the loop about that kind of thing.”

UPDATE: Since writing this I’ve been invited twice to ComicsWest, a great comics festival run by the Comic Book Society at the University of Galway. They’re dedicated and it’s likely they run a pub meet or two. Here’s the link to ComicsWest facebook page.

“You can certainly list me as the contact, but there’s no formality or leadership. It’s more an exercise in getting people to draw who might not, or getting those who do to share their skills/approaches in a comfortable setting. I’m hoping to get it up to 30 or 40 people over the next few months. Considering we have an Art School and a Comic Shop here in Galway, there should be the audience!”

Galway Pub Scrawl happens weekly in McSwiggans between 8:30-11:30. You can contact Donal or others and get more information through the Facebook group.

The Cork Drink n Draw Cork Donal mentions are indeed on Facebook

Drink safe!

Omitted from the original article: Dr. Sketchys, which no longer runs at the Menagerie. Here’s the original graphic for posterity.

skechysbelfastfront