Memory of affirmation and the power it has to shape a lifetime

I’m not suggesting that this one isolated incident created my life, but when I was five, older girls down my street put on a magic show for the younger kids. It was quite a beautiful thing to do, looking back at it, and it brought everyone together.
Halfway through their magic show they tasked us (the younger kids) with a competition: who could draw the best picture of their garage (where the magic show was happening). I drew their typical British 1970’s grey-bricked garage, at the end of their driveway, with the yellow garage door and I remember thinking at the time that it was quite simple so there was probably something I wasn’t doing right and I might not win.
It turns out that not only did I have better hand-eye coordination than the only other kid who actually drew their garage, but that I was probably smarter as well, since most kids just drew something else completely and didn’t hear/understand/care about their fairly simple instructions. But I won a small bag of chalky sweets, like Refreshers, or Love Hearts, or Palma Violets. They were delicious and I was extremely proud.
I remember going into my back garden afterwards and sitting up on the top of the slide with a beaming feeling.

Neither of my parents were particularly artistically inclined, yet I became highly art-focussed. I got an A at GCSE, and went on to study it at A-Level, and even now have four or five sketchbooks on the go. It was a huge part of what I just ended up being known for, growing up.

It has just made me realise how important the positive small things are in life, and there really are defining moments.

Knights of Sidonia (anime): what the hell happened?

Unlike a lot of others, I loved the first season of Knights of Sidonia (KoS). I thought it was unrelenting and brave, and yes it did the whole Attack on Titan thing so claims of copying are everywhere, but I didn’t see AoT in KoS. There was something very different happening. It reminded me more of the anime Metropolis (2001), with the beautiful intro of the protagonist through the rice. Then later it had that survival at all costs and adapt by looking back trope of Battlestar Galactica. It lulled you in and then cut you down. But season two? What the hell happened? It went from being a suffocating horror sci-fi dystopia into a cutesy “shit, he actually is Sephiroth after all” harem (i.e. the authors fantasy that actually a bunch of girls do actually want to sleep with the–usually bland–protagonist, who just so happens to be a nerdy underdog–much like a stereotypical bespeckled nerdy manga author, one might say). Then what is basically a hyper-extendable squeeky pink baloon dildo flies around their mothership just being annoying. The Crimson Hawkmoth concept is diluted and we basically just end up in this cliched arch manipulator arc. They revealed the overall conspiracy far too cheaply and soon-that should have been something that dragged over the entirety of the plot. Gosh, I really hope season 3 is better.

Beer: Good or bad?

Jenny Drew Something

Sometimes blogs fall by the wayside (just look at the gaps between my last post!) Sometimes they change and adapt and have a lick of paint. I’m delighted that JennyDrewSomething has taken the path of the latter, with fresh content and a book “Cartooning Teen Stories” her exploration of real-life important health/mental-health and other similar issues through comics does that wonderful thing of elevating something otherwise banal or tedius–not that the topic is like that, but the detached discussion that we sometimes hear on the radio can desensitise us. I look forward to seeing what she continues to do. In her own words:

“I am an author and Preventions Keyworker for B&NES Youth Offending Service, and I have always loved comics. Since obtaining my Advanced Diploma in the Therapeutic Application of the Arts, I have been using cartoons as a therapeutic storytelling tool with young people. More than just sci-fi and superheroes, everyday narratives and themes can be explored through text and image, in a way that is accessible and unthreatening. Through understanding this visual language, young people are able to express their own ideas using the comic form.

My book ‘Cartooning Teen Stories’ is available to purchase from Jessica Kingsley Publishers.”