Thursday, 21 March 2019
It's the earliest date ever that the Socks' Edinburgh Fringe show has gone on sale, and on sale it is! It's the middle of March, we're still about to do the second of our three Glasgow Comedy Festival tryout gigs, and tickets are already on sale for ROLL UP! at Edinburgh. You can start buying them here, if you're so inclined.
And we're proud to announce we're inaugurating a brand new Gilded Balloon venue. It's called Patter Hoose (or is it The Patter Hoose, time will tell), which used to be C Venues opposite the Museum. And I'm in a room called Dram which, purely by chance, shares its name with the venue I'm playing in in Glasgow. What were the chances of that.
And the best thing is The Socks are on at 9.30. It's the first time we've managed to nab ourselves an early primetime slot like this for some years (we've been going up at 10.30 for a goodly while now) so let's hope this suits our punters well.
The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: Roll Up! at The Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, July 31st - Aug 25th 2019 at 9.30pm. On sale now!
Friday, 15 March 2019
A week of classes in Dublin, expertly organised by the librarians of the JSCP libraries in these schools, and I got to work with eight grand group, plus had a day off in the middle in which I stayed in my hotel room all day and wrote my new Edinburgh show. These comics are the first of the week, from St Pauls CBS in the North of the city.
Killinarden School is in Tallaght, where I was based (at The Plaza Hotel, now you ask) for the rest of the week. Aside from a rubbish TV, it was a good base from which to reach the week's schools. I Wanna Be A Cowboy is a meme, inevitably, and Nitna was a form of cyber bullying, based on a guy who hangs around the local shops. 4th and 5th years, of course.
My favourite cover came from St Kevins Crumlin where the chance to draw someone in the sewer gave me that much more to draw. Also loved drawing a chip shop.
And St Aidans gave me the favourite title of the week, a line from a Simpsons comic chosen by a kid at random. And finally to Colaiste Dhulaigh for the sweeetest and most unlikely title of the week. Cheesy, but a good way to wind up.
The 7 celebrities these groups chose for my demonstration strip (which I skipped with one group) were Michael Jackson (twice, this being the week of the Neverland documentary being watched by all high school kids), Will Ferrell, Donald Trump, Conor McGregor, Freddie Mercury and Beyonce.
Wednesday, 13 March 2019
I was chuffed to get a message from eBay congratulating me on 100 successful sales. And, though I might be winding the eBay selling down a bit as I get busy with schools and socks, there are still lots of items up there.
The less good news is that those are things that simply won’t sell and have been listed for a second, third or even 4th time.
The worst news is that I’m dealing with a customer who’s behaving suspiciously. He kept me waiting for payment as he bid for more and more items, ultimately bagging over 50 quids worth of comics, mostly the Captain Britain collection. Then he made an unusual request about how I should post them. Not getting this in time, I sent the comics by my usual method. Lo, a few days later, he’s demanding a refund and wants to send all 50 quids worth of comics back. Alarm bells are ringing, as Hev and I have heard of scams whereby buyers pretend to return goods but make deliberate errors to the address so it registers as returned but is never actually received by the original owner. I am trying to avoid being a victim of this scam by getting the suspect buyer to return the items in the three individual batches in which they were sent. If I receive the first intact, I’ll approve return of the second and so on. Let’s see how that progresses.
UPDATE: Reader, he returned every item, and they all looked the same as when they'd left me. I've re-photographed them and put them back on eBay.
UPDATE: Reader, he returned every item, and they all looked the same as when they'd left me. I've re-photographed them and put them back on eBay.
Meantime, here’s my list of what’s actually sold this month. (Sold Feb 20 - March 10):
9 x Daredevils comic £32.00
Captain Britain 1 - 13 (85). £31.00
4 Annuals Dredd, Lion Smash. £21.00
Tamagotchi £21.00 (later got £10 refund)
Spawn 1. £20.00
Tantrum by Jules Feiffer. £15.00
Hulk 1 - 11. £14.08
2 x Radio Times Xmas 91, 98. £13.59
Revolver comic x 2. £13.00
12 x Planet Of The Apes. £10.50
2 x David Cassidy annuals. £10.00
5 x Warhammer comics. £10.00
15 x Rampage Defenders. £9.50
10 x Planet Of The Apes. £9.13
Radio Times Xmas 1987. £9.00
Monty Python Bok. £8.50
16 x Avengers & Conan £8.01
11 x Planet Of The Apes. £7.50
Phantom Stranger comic. £7.50
20 x Avengers & Conan. £6.50
Comic Relief comic + 3. £5.52
Robert Burns sheet music £5.50
Topper, Sparky, Hotspur annuals £5.00
5 x Quantum Leap comics. £5.00
8 x Power Man comics £5.00
Savage Sword 1 + 4 £4.71
Accolet Binoculars. £4.70
Bandmaster harmonica. £4.50
Comics Scene mag x2. £4.20
Esso football badges. £4.20
Spawn 9 & 11. £4.00
From Me To You sheet music. £3.70
14 x Planet Of The Apes. £3.53
Spec Spider Man 189. £3.50
All Star Superman 1. £3.50
Melody Maker 1978. £3.50
Heavy Metal comic x 2. £3.50
Titan no1 + 7 £3.50
Spawn 8. £3.50
Parrot harmonica. £2.50
Masonic sheet music. £2.50
6 x sheet music Carousel, Annie Get Gun £2.50
Fonz Poster mag £2.50
Valour, Future Tense + 2 £2.50
Mad mag fall special. £2.50
6 x sheet music Lonnie Donegan. £2.50
It’s Only Make Believe sheet music £2.50
9 x Heat magazines £2.50
4 Buster mini comics £2.50
11 comics inc Gladiators £2.50
Space Precinct comic + 3. £2.50
Beano Anniversary + 8 comics £2.50
Lion, Battle + 3 comics. £2.50
All Star Comics 1. £2.50
Beatles All My Loving sheet music. £2.50
Death graphic novel. £2.50
Roy Of Rovers + Tiger annuals. £2.50
Sinbad comic + 3 £2.50
Ronin x 3 £2.50
Philbert Desanex. £2.50
Plop comic x 4. £2.50
Sound Of Music sheet music x 3. £2.50
Superman 202 203. £2.50
TOTAL (ex postage). £437.87
(NB: I just noticed an addendum to an earlier post, meaning I've totalled up some of these items twice. As if anyone's keeping score.)
So, comparing this list with the list of unsellable items from the same period, we can conclude that batches of 10 or more comics from the 70s and 80s will sell, especially Crown Jewels like my Daredevils and Captain Britain collection, but individual US titles have a less than 50/50 chance of selling, as has sheet music (I’m pleasantly surprised to see sheet music standing at 7 items sold 8 items unsold though, I thought they'd done worse). Random old magazines like Mojo, Total Film, The Listener and Private Eye are currently unshiftable, so I’ll be trying them in larger batches when I try again.
See the full range of my eBay items for sale here
Tuesday, 12 March 2019
As you probably know, I've been selling stuff on eBay, clearing out my childhood comic collection, and a vast stock of magazines and sheet music. I've been doing rather well with much of it, as reported elsewhere. However some items have been listed and relisted and failed to find a buyer.
If you want any, all my eBay items are here.
Here are the items that look like they will never sell.
4 x sheet music - Hollies, Wombles +
To Know Him Is To Love Him sheet music
All I Have To Do Is Dream sheet music
Why Do Fools Fall In Love sheet music
Living Doll sheet music
TV Tornado annual 1970
Spider Man weekly + 3 comics
Pebbles & Bamm Bamm + 3 comics
Valiant pullout comics
Radio Times Dr Who cover 2007
12 comics Action 21, Sonic, Duckula +
Super 296 + 3
2 x Radio Times Dr Who covers
5 x Radio Times Dr Who covers
3 x foreign Superman, Disney +
Power comics 1
3 x Plastic Man
2 x Punisher
Sin City trade paperback
Total Film + 3 mags
3 x Mojo mag + Classic Rock
Fortean Times + 3
The Listener x 3 + Sunday Times
2 x Private Eye Xmas specials
The Mask 1
Superboy & LSH x 2
DC Showcase 100
Silver Star 1 & 2
TMNT x 2
New Teen Titans x 2
Robocop v Terminator
DC Super Powers 1
Black & White Minstrels sheet music
6 x sheet music Brigadoon, Annie
6 x sheet music Irving Berlin
10 x NMEs 2004-08
From which we can conclude that there’s no market for classic sheet music (though I’ve seen titles of this vintage going for high figures, the devil must be in the detail), and there are very few individual US comic titles that will sell on their own merit. (Again, I’d seen every single one of these go for a figure of £5 or more on eBay, though admittedly most were from US buyers and sellers which must be the key difference). And NMEs, no matter how big the job lot is, have to be at least 20 years old before they’ll find a buyer at all.
If anyone wants these, they continue to go round the baggae carousel for your perusal, almost all starting at just £2.50
Saturday, 9 March 2019
Thursday was World Book Day, which makes this, I assume, World Book Week. It's certainly the week on the calendar when my Comic Art Masterclasses are most in demand, as you can see from these, the fruits of five solid days visiting schools. Kicking off with St Ambrose Barlow in Birmingham who had me doing two Mega Groups.
My class is usually done with a maximum of 30 pupils, each of whom goes away with a comic containing a strip by everyone, and an individual caricature. A Mega Group, which I do reluctantly but have to sometimes, involves bringing two classes together in the hall for the initial demo part of the session, then they break off into their separate classes to draw their characters, return to the hall for the second demo part (wherein a celebrity treads on a worm in my demonstration strip), then back to their classes to draw their strips. I join the first class and lead them in naming the group comic, then I join the second class who get their caricatures drawn. Finally I print off two different versions of the comic, containing the two classes' different strips. The end results look pretty damn good, though I say so myself.
From Birmingham, it was then a four-and-a-bit hour drive to Cumbria, where I stayed over in Bassenthwaite, ready for the next day's classes at Beckstone Primary in Harrington. Lovely kids, lovely comics, and a five and a half hour drive home.
From the mileage of Cumbria, to the luxury of a school that was only 25 minutes from home, Elmlea Juniors in Bristol. Of course, thanks to rush hour traffic, I managed to be 25 minutes late. The two delightful classes came up with possibly the most random title of the week and a Brexit metaphor, which was quite good going for year 3 and 4.
Lochinver House in Potters Bar, a private boys school, was inevitably the poshest and best connected of the week. Apparently Martin Freeman's kids go there, as do the sons of a number of football players. Which might explain why there were so many suggestions of footballers I'd never heard of when it came to naming a celebrity. We ended up with Billy Sharp. Me neither. After I'd finished these classes I had to get into London to appear on stage at the British Library with David Sedaris, Helen Fielding and Nina Stibbe, about which I'm sure I'll write more.
The week ended at Newton Ferrers Primary in Devon, with another almost Mega Group (in fact it was one big group of 42 kids in the hall, with whom I produced an oversized comic, again with deceptive ease) and a normal sized class. A good week's comic teaching, and ten lovely artefacts to show for it.
The celebrities these ten groups chose to star in my demonstration strip were Donald Trump (3 times), Ariana Grande (twice), Freddie Mercury, Billy Sharp (plays for Sheffield United apparently), Amy Tinkler (Olympian of some sort), Bob Marley, and Melania Trump.
Saturday, 2 March 2019
This week saw my travels with my art kicking in big time, beginning with Monday at Maesteg Town Hall. Two classes, two great comics (I remember I did a couple of nifty covers when I was there last time). Next time I visit, if they'll have me back, the Town Hall should have a shiny new glass extension, which is good. Maesteg deserves it.
Then there was a nearly four hour drive to Selby in North Yorkshire to give a couple of classes at Selby Library. A nice old market town with some historic buildings, and another couple of cracking comics.
Then it was to Stansted and over to Hannover (you can read about my travel fun here). Dammit Jerry is my favourite title. They weren't, of course, thinking of Seinfeld when they came up with the title (it was one of those that comes about when I suggest a kid stabs their finger in a comic and writes down the first phrase they hit) but that was what I drew. And I love my colours on Super Dog (I coloured these and the previous 6 covers in my Hannover hotel room on Thursday night).
The second day in Hannover only had one class in it, so I got the chance to go to the Museum before heading home. I also took in the Sprengel Art Gallery while I was there. A grand round trip (and unlike last year, weather didn't interfere).
The celebs these 7 groups chose to star in my legendary demonstration strip were Stan Lee, Michael Jackson, Ariana Grande, Snoop Dogg, James Bond, Dwayne Johnson and, appropriately enough for Hannover, Angela Merkel.
Thursday, 28 February 2019
Good morning my darling,
It's 7am here, 6am where you are. And amazingly I slept like a baby, but what a frantic night.
Everything was going perfectly with getting to Stansted, and the flight, and getting the train into Hannover (last time I'd taken a taxi which cost fifty quid, this time I'd mastered the train, which cost €3.50). And I used the maps on my phone to navigate the walk to the hotel.
Then I get up to the door of the Hotel Revery to find it's an unmanned door with a keypad and a set of boxes. It says to type in the code you were sent by email. Only I wasn't sent a code by email. I have, in my pocket, the hotel reservation printout, and that's got no code on it. There's no one there to answer any doorbell, it's 10.30 at night. And just as I start to look for this mysterious email on my phone, my battery dies.
I know, a bit much to expect a phone to stay charged for five whole hours! (It was fully charged when I got out of the car at Stansted at 5.15, and of course it was really only 9.30 at night in old money, 10.30 Hannover time). So my phone's a slab and I'm stuck in Hannover with no hotel!
I go into an Italian restaurant which is closing up, and I beg them to let me plug my phone in. They're really helpful. But with my phone charged up, I can't get a signal or any wifi, and looking through the emails, which luckily I can access, I see nothing about a keycode.
In desperation I go to the nearest hotel, which is a slightly upmarket Mercure, and I book a room, costing €123, and here I am. Very nice.
When I get settled in my room and finally get my email, I see my teacher has sent a last minute email at 10.30 at night, passing on the keycode. I've already explained it was a bit late.
So hopefully I'll get into my proper hotel en route to school, after I've had breakfast here.
So, our zoo?