You are Cordial Juicily Invited…

Birthdays are a funny thing. I retain a child-like anticipation, but they often fail me like pron. This year seems to be a mutant strain, the aforementioned squib being particularly dry. I’ve been blessed in that Dominique Hoffman is running her Bohemian Tales Café Club; a particularly unique book tour that incorporates all the ingredients of her novel of the same name. Namely, the European literary café; free international tea, cakes, poetry and prose readings. It’s a splash of culture in Northern Ireland’s grey mono-culture eyebrow-meeting splodge. To celebrate Christmas, Dominique (and Crafty Emma Gilles) are running an Arts Fayre which will post Bohemian Tales beyond the exclusive in-the-loopers.

Crafty Manor, Maple Leaf, 41-43 Park Avenue, East Belfast BT4 1PU

It’ll also bring out the work of the new CE Arts Collective which I’ve been invited to join, along with Andy ‘The Hat’ Ward, Jim ‘Comic Nomad Many Hats’ McClean, David Davies, apparently having unusual names is a prerequisite.  David and Andy will perform poetry, Jim will have plasticine and puppets, I’ll have comics and cards, it should be a good afternoon. No, it will be a great afternoon. 11:30-3.

After the post-con home-load, I’ll be opening doors to nearby apartment for a bit of chilling, and we may take a trip to Horatio Todd’s. Then for 9pm, it’s back to Crafty Manor for an event Emma and chums have put together. Honky Tonk #2 boasts some films, live music, a dj set and a cheap bar and you can pay in advance through Eventbrite. Those who know of Emma and Crafty’s work will probably tell us that a fantastic night is in store. I guess I’ll be doing more than alright this year.

 

birthday invite

(Click to enlarge)

In other news, there’s been a lull in writing due to illness, but it’s not stopped me from working up some new material.

Next March sees the release of Belfast Writer’s Group anthology, which I can’t recall the name of, but it’s got to do with mythological beings. For that I’ve stitched together the long-awaited Spide: The Lost Tribes which bears little resemblance to it’s parents. Those who looked at second drafts two years ago can expect a free copy of the tale on request, in the format of choice. I’m also working up Flesh Mob, a tale I wrote for Uproar Comics in 2012 and was rejected, and revised for Borderline Press in 2013, before the artist stiffed me, and conned the publishers into doing the same.  Skip a year, better luck. Studio NI should have it to you in 2015 as part of their ten year celebration anthology Tense Situations.

I’m toying with a massive over-haul of this site; less pro portfolio, more good old blogging for the sake of it. Check back between now and Christmas, and if you can’t wait, follow me on twitter.com/andrewluke

Next up is a preview of my 24 hour comic and something for the season.

70 – Travelblog: Rathlin

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It began to get light about 7am on Rathlin.

 

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Three hours free before the ferry, and Bruce’s Kitchen Cafe was closed, maybe related to a resident’s funeral.

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Above: a stone chair dedicated to the island, with a poem by Seamus Heaney.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wandered around the shoreline, taking photos and attracting the attention of a dog. The eponymous Rathlin became my companion for half an hour, bringing a stick for me to throw. yanking out tubed stem seaweed for me to throw, lifting a plank from a building yard and dragging it across the street, presumably to throw, and as an ailibi.  And when I washed the seaweed off in a little stream, Rathlin piled right into it, all four legs.

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And then, the money ran out. And I went home

 

 

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I’ll be back though. I’ve already twisted the arm of the Belfast Writer’s Group for a retreat out there, and Richard sent me this text earlier,

“Cheers 4 lovely postcard. Is just a place out a time up there – like a realm just slightly off the frequency. U know 4 yr bday there shud b a party up there. Out in the wilderness, us all imagining we’re the last remains of something, and we’re braced against the outside closing in”

Which sounds very tempting. My birthday is 70 days away,

 

 

Cooke n Beans

Cooke

That’s apparently a guitar. You wouldn’t know because I drew it like a fast food totem pole and when Andrew makes his guitars he welds on stones and buttons and slashes paint everywhere. He had some of his instruments on a pick up and jam exhibition at the ADF a few months ago. He encouraged people to pick these stringed beasts up and play them, using tree sticks, lightbulbs, screwdrivers, I wrecked a Nokia2690 plectrum. Some video and photos from the ADF sessions.

I don’t know Andrew terribly well, but he seems a pleasant enough man and was quite helpful in talking about the process he goes through. You can buy the instruments or just look at the pretty pictures on Andrew-Cooke.co.uk

In a house in Oxford filled with what the English call chavs and what the Irish more sensibly call spides, I roomed next door to a guy called Mike. An incredibly funny, pleasant and charming bloke working through a scholarship with a gifted brain. It was Mike who taught me about folding oven foil to separate, who introduced me to The Philadelphia Experiment, and whom I went on marathon video watching sessions with over a nice beers.

Beans

I felt I was on the right track but as usual the first sketch looks not much like him. Mike was fond of cooking beans until they were stodgy and I called him ‘Mike Beans’. Somehow it stuck. I couldn’t find Mike Beans on Facebook, so it was nice to catch up with him under his real name today. Stuff seems to be working out.

Mike drank a fair bit more than me, and I was working at the Thresher’s off-license at the time. This was useful for discounts. One day I must have come home with a promotional sign: ‘Buy more, save more’, according to this mp3 recorded at the time. Mike wasn’t having any of it and threw it down the stairs.

8 Portraits

Before we begin, I have no ambitions as an illustrator, I’m drawing sketches of people because it’s a hobby. If you want to hire me to do something creative, I’m a hell of a writer.

From yesterday,
Martin Downey

I met Martin though Stephen. We’d begun working on Absence together and Stevie had just got engaged to Aimee. So, a wee swallie with the Downey clan, just a quick drink, turned to 4am and Martin and I smoking, dancing and laughing outside the Ramada. Martin was also doing a lot of singing. I’m sure at some point he took the nervous energies that always exist around me for some fear of stuff, but that past and we saw eye to eye and had a good time. Though I’m remembering another occassion, 4am, at Martin’s house, a Pizza order like a meeting of the U.N. in a situation comedy with James and Stephen. We were very drunk too and I don’t know which came first. Perhaps he’s always been there, craic of the party.

As a wean (wee one) I spent some weekends living with Joy Richmond, out in Ahoghill, a large village just outside Ballymena. The journey out to it is all fields, leading to me telling some friends I spent sometime living on a farm, and being hypnotised into believing that Slate (pronounced Sla’t) was a suburb of Ballymena.

Joy Richmond 1

I really wasn’t happy with that, so I tried another. I suck at drawing women more than I suck at drawing men?

Joy Richmond 2

Way back in 2005,  I suffered an overwhelming bout of claustrophobia. At the time, it seemed  I was required to live in my box room, so I took respite in webcam chat rooms. The sessions enhanced my love for music and widened my culture generally and evolved my social interaction skills. The people and relationships made there inspired a few arts such as my piece on Dierdre Ruane’s Maps project and the Camfrog Sketch Gallery. Weirdly today three people I met there share a birthday.

Kubi

When I last knew Kubilay, he had a beard and was a silent, mature figure with occasional outbursts of anal sex jokes which I mistook for confectionery reviews.  He’s quite different now from how I pictured: a few years younger than I am rather than older. Getting old can include the most meaningful years of the existence of the world around us but all the same, may your energies never dull and your cognition never jam.

Megan

Sorry Megan. I’ll have another go at sketching you for tomorrow.

She’s a supremely beautiful woman. About the time we met she was setting up Just Fab Photography, away and add her on Flickr would you not?

Nicola Tweedle,

Nicola

I’m still looking forward to meeting Nic one of these days.  A deeply caring, life-enriching and funny creature.

My degree at Brookes was probably the widest ranging undergrad program of the time, crossing into nine different fields. Of the two majors I took, Jenna seemed to be a recurring fixture across the years. While many ‘students’ infuriated me, Jenna was focussed, engaging and stoic, level headed, but not above indulging in some surrealism. I’ve not quite got all those qualities in the portrait, nor the full elfish cuteness, still she might like to use this for an 80s themed emoticon party. Though I can’t imagine just what that is.
Jenna

And a happy birthday to Karen Wenborn.

Karen wenborn

This was my 5th attempt to draw Karen and I guess it does. Karen is a recent addition to my friends group, through her interest in the area of educational comics. Before illness took hold last year, It was a direction I’d hoped my multi-study Brookes time degree would be of some use in. From time to time Karen pops up in my FB feed with something earthy, humorous or engaging and I don’t mind that at all.

Celebrated Anniversary of Delivery Sketches

I spent the weekend going through invites for Bounce!, the Arts and Disability Forum’s three day festival packed with music song and dance. The FB page links to a page for every event, but rather than fire out indiscriminately I tried to tailor each listing to a friend. I’ve about 100 in Belfast or close by. It took all night.

Bounce! is on from 30 August to 1st September. Tickets are £20 for the full event, and there’s a handful of freebies or £7-£8 events.

Inviting one-by-one was useful, I feel more in touch with people, circumnavigating FB’s troublesome clique-machine to get closer to remote friends interests and recent lives.

Exercising my creative muscle today, I find friends with birthdays, people  I barely know more to the point. Brian has been on my FB list for a few years, united by a common obsession with Mob Wars. Happy birthday Brian. I’ve long left the organisation. I hope the games are good for you today and all of them.

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John Moe in black and white. I hooked up with John through Mob Wars too. Yep, that is his real name as far as I know. John have a great birthday mate and may stuff really feature better for you and yours.

One of my Facebook friends is Lourds Lane, who I discovered this morning is a thrilling underground rocker, camp broadway performer and immensely talented classical musician. She’s also very scary, energetic and amusing. Lourds and I agree about the concept of superheroes, so I put some of that into her birthday sketch.

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Finally, someone I do know. Adam Lively, poet author of Hazy Days and also known as the cartoonist Bisson, from Hold the Phones, It’s Alex Jones. Adam is one of the lounge men I drink with every few months, and he has a big heart and an odd head. I like to tease him over his preciousness about his music: he’s a big Brian Wilson fan and in that spirit, this wishes you well pal.

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Happy Birthday Aneesh

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Aneesh’s wife has some cartoons up of the two of them. I was up with a challenge.  Also, I was terrified I’d mucked both these up but they are okay.

If I’m helped by my memory Aneesh and I met through our mutual friend Hitesh in Oxford? Or was it over in Chandigarh, where we shared good company, trust,  laughs, dances and drinks… A well-loved bloke, I hope he’s having a good time today.

Birthday Sketches II

My memories , well, they’re what Donald Bellisario might call “swiss cheese”. I remember seeing James Shaddock about campus at Oxford Brookes, were he stood in the student’s union elections. I can’t recall if we knew each other by name, but he was always friendly and amiable. I’ve been watching his social media feed for a while and it’s often funny and astute. Glad to have you around James and happy birthday!

Shaddock

After trying to draw an expressionistic Mr Shaddock I came out with a sketch resembling a troll, a sketch I have now eaten, pooped and composted. Above, in a fancy tux from a wedding (James’ wedding maybe?), and a bowtie I added. But it was still too copied from photo, so I went for something earthier, that David Lynch just-out-of-bed look.

Shaddock 2

 

Gonzalo Balderrama added me on Facebook and besides the clues offered up on there, I have never met him, chatted with him, or the like. Oh well. Happy birthday Mr. Balderrama.

Gonzalez test

 

Gonzalo Balderrama

 

Yesterday, I tried to draw Paul Rainey, and as his Book of Lists kept me company through a painful spot on the loo, I figured I’d have another crack (excuse the pun)

Paul Rainey

 

Book of Lists is deceptively small and £11 odd yet packed with so much material t’s entirely worth it. Buy it at Page 45.