Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Bullshit Jobs!

David Graeber's article on Bullshit Jobs for Strike! magazine seems to be getting a lot of attention all of a sudden, and deservedly so. 

Though I'm a big fan of Strike! and was very flattered to be asked to contribute something to their Summer issue I was up to my eyes in comics and other stuff and so had to turn them down. Then Strike!'s editor cunningly dangled David Graeber's article in front of my face. I read it and couldn't say no. 

It's a thought provoking piece and, as someone who has more than once suspected that their current mode of employment was ultimately (whisper it) a bit pointless, it really struck a chord with me.

It's much better and more persuasively written than I can manage but allow me to quote one of my favourite passages: "A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.)"

It's also really good on the 'psychological violence' that results from our situation, the frustration, boredom, anger and shame that comes from that niggling feeling that you are literally wasting your time on this planet. It was this aspect of the piece that led me down the route I took for the accompanying illustration, that sense of feeling trapped, helpless but also angry. (Appropriately, there's definitely some Francis Bacon in there.)

You can read the full article here and you can buy a copy of Strike! from the same website.

David's impressive looking tome Debt: The First 5000 Years is on my bookshelf and is next on my reading list.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Hitsville UK from Great Beast comics

This is a belated post to announce that Hitsville UK has been relaunched by Great Beast Comics.

Appropriately we launched in the very musical surrounding of Manchester at the MCM Comic Con on 20 July, and you can now buy issue 1 as well as some classy Hitsville UK pop art prints from the Great Beast online shop. I'm really excited that for the first time you can buy an instantly download-able digital version of our comic.

You can also pick up Hitsville UK issue 1 from Gosh! Comics, Orbital Comics, Foyles books and Sister Ray Records in London, as well as OK Comics in Leeds and Gnash Comics in Devon, with more shops to follow.

(If you're a comic, record shop or indeed any shop who would like to stock Hitsville UK then please let me know.)

As some of you know we originally brought Hitsville UK out at the tail end of 2011, so it's taken us a bit of a while to get here. It's basically my fault for going off and doing an MA in Illustration after issue 1 and getting swamped by the workload. Dan and I are pleased as punch that we're getting to relaunch and continue the series with Great Beast. To those of you who have been stoically waiting for issue 2 to materialise (yes Alex, yes Camila) I promise promise promise that issue 2 will arrive in November in time for Leeds' Thought Bubble festival.

Why are we so excited to be with Great Beast?

Comics and graphic novels appear to be on the rise in blighty and beyond. Existing publishers and newer upstarts have released some great books at the artier, more literary end of the comics spectrum over the past few years. I think Great Beast could fill what has so far been a gap in the comics landscape (at least in the UK). GB's comics are intelligent, sophisticated, produced with great craft, but also crucially they are POP!

GB's founders, Adam Cadwell and Marc Ellerby have published their own comics under the imprint, notably Adam's vampire slacker comedy Blood Blokes and Marc's droll Chloe Noonan: Monster Hunter. They've also published collected editions of their autobiographical web comics The Everyday and Ellerbisms. I just finished Ellerbisms and am still reeling from the subtle but emotionally devastating storytelling contained therein!

Then there's Robert Ball's stunningly beautiful Winter's Knight. Im a bit angry about Winter's Knight. The artwork is so flipping amazing I don't actually think it should be allowed. It makes the rest of us look rubbish! Robert is teaming up with the equally talented Warwick Johnson-Cadwell on Dangeritis, which you can see taking hilarious form over on its Tumblr and which will be published in book form at Thought Bubble in November.

Just announced from Great Beast is Isabel Greenberg's Tall Tales and Outrageous Adventures, witty retellings of classic fairytales. Isabel won the Observer/Comica competition a few years ago and has a graphic novel coming out from Jonathan Cape soon. She also has a piece in the V&A's current exhibition Memory Palace, which I wasn't sure whether I would like but is BRILLIANT! (Go see it).

And then there's us... continuing the tale of Hitsville UK, the indy record company with the weirdest, coolest, freaks in pop music; the best (though possibly only) musical-pop-art-soap-opera in comic form.

Now published by Great Beast.

Which is why we're a bit chuffed.