Since returning from Edinburgh I've been happily back at my desk, writing the script for the Feeding Of The 5000, laying out the artwork pages for Book oF Esther, doing one day in a school, and starting to book the tour dates for the Socks Do Shakespeare, while editing and uploading a few videos, and lining up school bookings and the rest of the stuff you find yourself getting bogged down with. But, of course, I've found time to waffle on Facebook too. Here are few of the posts I've put up there in the past week.
The grammar school debate continues and I remain torn. Privilege is wrong, and dumping kids into a school that brand them a failure at 11 is wrong. However both those things currently exist, and the biggest wrong is that you can only buy the privilege, not earn it. There is no restriction on the expansion of fee-paying independent schools, so anyone with money can buy their kids a seat at the top table of society (or a much much better chance of achieving it). Meanwhile for many many talented children I work with, in rough schools in tough parts of town, there is no means of escape. They are dragged down by peer pressure and lack of resources - if they're in the West Midlands they even have to wear clip-on ties for god sake, so they're really branded as second class citizens when they get to their first job interview and can't tie a tie. Grammar schools were the chink in the armour, the crack in the glass ceiling, the way that talented kids from working class backgrounds could rise. They could do Latin, get A levels, and go to Oxbridge. I realise, in practice, middle class kids won most in that system, but not always. And I know, in utopia, a fully comprehensive system that treats everyone fairly should be the objective. But this is the country where the government, the TV makers, and more than half the stand up comedians on the telly rose to the top because their parents could buy privilege. Levelling the playing field, perhaps by stopping independent school business having charitable status, would be a start. Obliging independent schools to abide to - or have to campaign against - every diktat and decision that's forced on state schools, from curriculum to salaries, would be another. What else could we do, short of allowing some sort of merit-based selection in schools?
Replies thread here
Would it be dreadful to confess I've not enjoyed anything by Alan Moore since Swamp Thing and Miracleman? I devoured all his 2000AD work and the run on Captain Britain, then was there from the start of Warrior (my Warrior No1 is signed by Alan and Steve Moore), and shared the excitement when the Brits broke America. Then Swamp Thing, then Watchmen, then the Killing Joke, then....
As the 90s dawned, I was one of the many who, having bought issue 1 of Big Numbers, were slow to realise we hadn't seen anything new by Alan Moore for 5 years. And when we did, we weren't that bothered. I was aware of From Hell, but I have to confess I saw the movie before I could get round to finding the book. I got one issue of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but I found it wasn't my kind of thing any more. Then some time in the early 2000s I started reading Promethea, cos there was a copy in a flat I was staying in, and had to give up. It was no Kavalier and Clay, and seemed over-wordy, unconvincing, difficult to look at, and dare I say boring.
I am lucky to be part of the generation who were there for the ride when Alan Moore revolutionised comic books. It does seem a long time ago now, the 1980s. Finding out he's retiring from comics is a bit like reading the obit of someone you didn't know was still alive.
Replies thread there
Yeah. And nobody chose for straight men to be the dominant force for the last aeon, but it happened. And nobody chose for white Europeans to end up in a position to go conquering and dominating everyone else over the last 1000 years, but it happened. Now nobody's singling you out to experience a tiny fraction of what EVERYBODY ELSE ON THE ENTIRE PLANET has had to go through forever. It's just happening. I'd apologise, if I wasn't also you. (PS: I've spent half a century appreciating the luck of the draw. Try it. What you do is count your blessings.)
As someone who grew up during the age of fanzines, when the only comic book journalism was written by unpaid fans (like Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and the like), I think you'll live kids.