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

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.

Condensed Game of Thrones

Four seasons, five actors, 15-20 minutes.

Season 6 of HBO’s Game of Thrones makes use of  an excellent compressed version of the Joffrey arc.

I wrote one too, and it seems a bit redundant now. I tried to produce it for Titancon in 2014, and again in 2015, with two different casts. I think the best thing is just to put it out there. Read it, enjoy it, if you want to perform it (including edits), I’d be happy to hear how you get on.

I should note thanks to Jim McClean, Wendy Duly, Cat Jones and Alex Groves, each of whom suggested a few lines.

Download PDF version  /   Download .doc version

Game of Throneses c. George R.R. Martin and HBO respectively

TitanCon 2014 Comics

Titancon 2014

Cat Jones there, and second artist, name misremembered. These are from the 2014 workshop hosted by myself, Paddy Brown and Rich Clements. This is my entry.

Andy Luke - King Missile - Cheesecake Truck - Titancon 2014A few of us were working on the theme of music. This may be Paddy Brown’s? He’s got a Jeremy Day style going on.

Paddy Brown - Titancon 2014Jon Pot…

Jon - Supergrass - We Are Young - TitanCon

TitanCon is back this year, and with any luck, Cat and I will be appearing in a rather special play what I’ve wrote.

Treading the Boards

If you’re near Glasgow this week you can get along to ‘Guide Gods’, were performer Claire Cunningham explores religious narrative and faith through dance, live music, humour and audio interviews with religious leaders, academics, deaf and disabled people, and me.

Guide Gods

Claire’s website has a list of this week’s dates  and according to Composer Derek Nisbet on his Guide Gods blog, the show “is part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, and will then travel to London’s South Bank Centre and on to Belfast Festival.”

Recently I’ve struck up rather nice working relationships over Open Mic sessions with musician Jim McClean  and actress Lindsey Mitchell. To this end we’re working on a play together, a condensed Game of Thrones play. We’ll be performing the comic act at the Sunflower Festival, TitanCon and are talking of a screening of the play at a well-known Belfast gallery.

Writing this, I’m surprised that my voice is making the transition to theatre. This last year, it’s been all about the writing. Writing prose over, scriptwriting for comics, feels refreshing and liberating. I feel like I can earn some money if I work hard enough. Unlike comics. a beautiful medium, were grossly underpaid workers are slowly subsumed by a culture of silverfish turned woodworm rot.

Ahem…

Writing prose is enough of a departure from scriptwriting to enthuse: I feel like an amateur who can achieve professionalism and a paycheque. Knowing I have a lot to learn is a great feeling. I’ve been encouraged by the Belfast Writers Group and open mic audiences at Skainos and Lindores. Last month, I applied to return to university on a Creative Writing Masters so I can up my practice.

Parting shot to the world of comics (for now), is the short, Bottomley – Brand of Britain. The product of much research, it’s been adapted with care by artist Ruairi Coleman and letterer John Robbins. Here’s how editor Jonathan Clode pitches it:

Horatio Bottomley, patriot and publisher of John Bull, the newspaper of the people. But behind his rousing public speeches and staunch support of the troops hides a conspiracy that would reveal one of the greatest swindles of WW1.


That’s Bottomley’s mistress, Peggy Primrose, in Panel 4, putting her hat back on after it was knocked off in the squash.

The tale appears in To End All Wars, a remarkable 320 page graphic novel with  stories by a number of established underground comixers. It features the return of the  remarkable Steven Martin of WW1 comics series, Terrible Sunrise, as well as Jenny Linn-Cole, The Pleece Brothers, Sean Michael Wilson, Joe Gordon, Selina Lock, Steve Earles, Robert Brown, John Maybury and shedloads of others.

The book is released on July 17. Copies are available for pre-order now on Amazon or, at the same price, direct from publisher John Anderson at Soaring Penguin Press. Costs £18 all inclusive and proceeds go to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders.

Wanna Hear a Joke? [TitanCon Comics]

During TitanCon, I hosted a paired down version of the Magnificent ComicBook Factory with the assistance of Rich Clements and Paddy Brown.

We were up against an all-star Game of Thrones panel in the first slot of the day. I’d no plan, hardly anyone showed up so there was a fair bit of stress and slack. As it happens, that’s a good combination.

First up, the lovely Siobhan McKenna:

BEAKERS by Siobhan McKenna

 

Jon Pot,

FART JOKE by Jon Pot

 

Paddy Brown:RUNNING MESSAGES by Paddy Brown (1) Rich ClementsTHE INTERVIEW by Rich Clements

May CheungTWO FISH by May Cheung WHY DID THE CHICKEN by Andy Luke

 

The Ten Minutes Ballad

Following is the poem composed on the TitanCon coach tour. It was written about chairperson Phil Lowles, though also a thank-you to tour planner Doreen/Silverjaine, the courageous Ian Lawther, Jackie, Lis and all the volunteers too.

1. They took us down
To the end of a long and narrow road
That’s as far as it would go
The coach, it would stay
And don’t worry, said Phil,
It’s only ten minutes away

2. We were walkin’, ten minutes,
Along the stony grounds of the ‘wold
The wall, it came between us
And kingdom’s grass, wet and cold

3. And the sun did set, and the sun did rise
And we lifted berries to survive,
From the road-side
The little ones yearned for caffeine
Ten minutes of moors, valleys, rivers
Ten minute miles of mountainside

4. We were getting skeptical
And we feared it was a trap
Phil The Second by the gate said,
“No it’s only ten minutes
I can prove it with this map.”

5. We’d gone too far away from The Wellie
My beard had grown to my belly

6As we climbed our great height
We could see horizon to horizon
And our coach was not in sight.

7. And our fathers and our mothers
Told us tales of a picnic spot
Crippl’d we buried them by cow-piles
Oh, they dreamed of Westeros props

8. Struggles, slouching uphill
Visions – of those past
Telling us to look for dragons
We were good for plaster cast

9. And we reached a ruined abbey
Ten hundred years on
Manuscripts, they spoke of Sat’erday
Ancestral memories, something called
TitanCon

10. Don’t worry, said Phil
I can still save the day
We can go back to the bus
It’s only ten minutes
Away

c. 2013 by Andy Luke, Cat Jones and Stephen de Meulemeester

Thanks all the con goers for sharing the love, and a reminder I’m trying to create something new each day here. Don’t be a stranger!

Birthdays Today: TitanCon Showrunner, Nordie Shore actor.

Ian 1

I’ve been giving a bit of a hand to Ian Lawther, the on-the-ground showrunner of TitanCon. With three weeks to go, Ian is, I think scheduled for some fairly major surgery, so trying to organise a major Game of Thrones and pop art media festival must be a royal pain in the hole.

Ian has a good heart, so cool and mannerly that I’m fairly sure he might just be one of the Legion of Doom. He has helped me outof a few pits this year and made me feel very welcome in among a new group of friends.

Ian has a history of con-running being involved in salvaging the last few MeCon events.

TitanCon is running from Friday September 6th this year at the Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast. I’ve been invited to do a comics workshops and I’m pleased to announce here there’s a comics panel on adapting Irish myth featuring Paddy Brown, Will Simpson and special guest Rich Clements.  It’s a great programme (I’ve sneaked a peek), and features many Games of Thrones guests and crew, panels. There are a lot of progressive local authors attending too, including publisher Blackstaff House, who opened their doors across genre earlier in the year.

Give Ian and TitanCon your support and you’ll get looked after in return. 

Ian 2

 

Jordan Dunbar

 

How do I know Jordan? How do I know Jordan? A fast food coffee, a friend of a friend? Jordan plays Dean, the in-your-face, animated pox, STD-riddled, alpha male antagonist chav/spide in Nordie Shore.  Oh eck.

Northern Irish sitcoms have a track record of being badly managed, bottom-feeders. The BBC wouldn’t invest and UTV would only market the Julian Simmons ‘family uncle queen’ type. (Much as Julian does it brilliantly, it was not something to base all original programming on) Shows trying to appeal to all, but appealing to none and inspiring as much hate as they seek to soothe. Nordie Shore was a different beast. Sure, it used the reality show pleaser at it’s base, but Nordie Shore: funny.  A barrage of comic gags, mini-stories, freakshow exhibits, surrealist trips, capturing the yobbish under-class of Belfast (or any major city), relatable to as had never been related before; oddly. Nordie Shore has that Uber-Viz-like quality that’s not to everyone’s taste: at times it’s like being in a whorehouse with a flooding toilet.

Past the excessive crudeness  there’s a good work there and a hint of the grass-roots comedy resurgence springing up around the city.

Hinkin a happy birday m8.

Appearances

HEAT. DRIVES TO MENTALISM.

Over the next month, I’ll be taking an active part in a few events.

Dublin Zine Fair 2013, 17th-18th August

at The Exchange, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.
I’ll be performing words on mic, and selling a new comic book, beside other independent publishers and artists.
Last year, I interviewed six attendees who may re-appear this year. My turn on the mic at the finale, The Bill Have A Gun Siege At Xmas, has been made into a comic for 30p.

Bounce Arts Festival Weekender with Comics Art Workshop, 30 Aug to 1 Sept 2013

at The Baby Grand, Grand Opera House,
Stephen Downey
and I are glad to be presenting a comics workshop on Sunday 1st September for the Arts and Disability Forum at Bounce!
There’s no restrictions on level of talent or ability, as long as you’re willing to make an effort to work with others. Bring your friends and family.
Our event is free, but  there’s a great line-up again this year: a creative writing workshop, a workshop on digital film-making, live music, poetry, sign-singing (which I’m excited about seeing and learning), dance, exhibitions, and theatre, in the form of Wheelchair In My Face. What a great event. [Link to the Festival Portal on Facebook]

It’s £20 for the full weekend pass. You can book these at the Grand Opera House website now.

TitanCon, with Comics Workshop, 6th-8th September

at The Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast

 

TitanCon is a not-for-profit science fiction and fantasy literature, media and gaming convention in Belfast with an emphasis on HBO and George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones. In the previous two years it’s attracted large crowds.

 

This year I’ll be presenting a less-labour intensive version of The Magnificent Factory. There will also be a comics panel featuring Paddy Brown and other comixers who have marked the trails of Irish myth and legend. The event features cast and crew members from GoT, and a number of horror and speculative fiction authors including Peadar O’Guilin, possibly the finest panel host known to cat and dog. [Link: The TitanCon website]

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.