Before I start, I’d like to apologise for the blog’s sparseness of late, I’ve been working on some very cool deadlines that have needed my full creative attentions and time to blog has evaded me. I’ve spent most of the last two weeks sitting before my computer, frantically smacking at the keys and compulsively reading over every line of text on a constant quest for the perfect story. I’ve always fought with my creative perfectionism since I started writing. I wish I could write something in its roughest form, draft it loosely and send it off into the universe without a care but I find that difficult. Writers pour their souls onto the page every time they craft a tale and in doing so they throw a small piece of their being into fate’s hat. So to finish something and hand it over without nurturing it is a struggle for any wordsmith and has proved hard for me. I believe this will fade over time as I complete more deadlines and hone my craft; for now I’m relishing the opportunities as they come and working hard.
It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t take the time to pay my respects to Sir Terry Pratchett on Books, Films and Random Lunacy. I first came across the wonderful man’s work when the adaption of his darkly festive novel The Hogfather appeared on my TV screen. I liked the uniqueness of the characters, the bold plot and I’d always heard amazing things about the books. So my Mom bought me my first Discworld novel, The Wee Free Men followed by The Colour of Magic a few months later. I enjoyed them both but as time went by I became consumed within other fictional realms and failed to reconvene my brief stay in Pratchet’s vast universe.
I ponder now why I’ve been absent from Discwold for so long. It definitely isn’t because I’m not a fan. When I read The Wee Free Men I was twelve, I’d never read a novel like it before and I think I was simply too young to get my head around the intriguing and eccentric narrative. Although as yet I’ve not read much of Pratchet’s work I cannot help but be inspired by his contribution to literature as a whole. I hope that in the future I can create a body of work half as imaginative and beloved as the Discworld novels and be able to tip my hat to Sir Terry.
Very good, now we’ve had a chat, it’s back to blogging as usual.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the ‘Muscle Memory’ art exhibition which was held by Al Davison AKA The Astral Gypsy. Davison is an artist and comic book creator who has contributed both illustrations and writing to such titles as ‘Hellblazer’, ‘The Unwritten’ and ‘The House of Mystery’ for the DC/Vertigo publication. He has also written and drawn the graphic novel autobiography ‘The Spiral Cage,’ a deep and powerful work that any true comic fan should have in their collection.
The exhibition was held to coincide with the online creation of the second volume of his graphic memoir also entitled ‘Muscle Memory’ which is currently taking shape via the crowd-funding website Patreon.
The second book delves even deeper into Davison’s childhood than its predecessor and tackles the physical abuse that he faced at the hands of his father and the realities of living with Spina-Bifida. The honest and thought-provoking tome is as funny as it is harrowing and filled with sophisticated art; it is a true delight to see the work progress page by page.
The event took place at the Urban Coffee Company which sits within Fargo Village; a creative centre in Coventry, full of niche shops and quirky stores that range from vintage clothing outlets to sweetshops. Davison’s own Astral Gypsy comic book shop and art studio lies among the collection of unique businesses; where I’ve spent many hours perusing various pieces of art and literature.
I’m a big fan of Fargo Village and the service it provides; don’t get me started about how the Midlands needs more creative retreats like Fargo for those of us who seek an alternative to the mainstream. If we care to crack the surface, this region has a fantastic artistic undercurrent which needs to be nurtured in order to survive and Fargo’s many tenants are doing exactly that. Great work guys.
The artwork showcased within the ‘Muscle Memory’ exhibition centres on disability and its image in the media today. Davison explained that his hope for the event was to address the shallow view of perfection in today’s society and the perception that anything that doesn’t fit within the confines of a glossy magazine or celebrity TV show fails to be beautiful.
The audience also had the joy of watching the artist paint an image live that will be featured in the ‘Muscle Memory’ graphic novel, before they had the chance to bid for it under the auctioneer’s gavel. The evening was a great success and I left truly inspired after seeing Davison’s creation fall onto the canvas in a remarkably organic fashion. The gift that he possesses is not of this mortal realm and I can only fathom one logical explanation for it…
Al Davison is a wizard but I’ll let you make your own mind up.
To sponsor the creation of ‘Muscle Memory’ click this link. https://www.patreon.com/astralgypsy’