[london] How Far Can You Walk From Trafalgar Square Without Crossing A Road? … Vic Keegan does some extreme walking … ‘A couple of years ago, as a test of the walkability of London, I set out from Trafalgar Square — the official centre of the town — one Sunday morning to see how far I could get without crossing a road or going over the same place twice. It was almost 17 miles before I ended up going round in a circle. I know of no other capital city where it is possible to do this…’
[comics] Dave Sim On Oscar Wilde:‘Why be prolific when one could be charming? Why produce when there’s so much to consume? I have to credit all the research that I did on Oscar Wilde for convincing me that I don’t want to be like that. If I can end my life with a large body of completed works and a reputation as a cantankerous old hermit I’ll consider my time well spent.’
“Shortly after I picked up the Watchmen assignment I called Alan in Northampton,” says Winninger. “He was unbelievably nice and excited about the project. During that first call he spent almost two hours telling me exactly what was about to happen in the next nine issues of the comic, down to the level of individual panels and page layouts.” Winninger adds, “I still remember him saying ‘Right, issue 12. We open with six pages of corpses.’ I spoke with him several times thereafter to bounce my ideas for the adventure off of him, to clarify details to get his approval on the manuscripts and such.” And, as Winninger points out, Dave Gibbons provided original cover art for the Mayfair “Watchmen” books and added new interior art as well.
[hackgate] Inside Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper clean-up operation … ‘On a typical day, say people who are familiar with the operations of the Management and Standards Committee (MSC), up to 100 personnel from several of London’s top law firms as well as forensic advisers and computer experts file into the MSC’s office through special security to search through more than 300 million emails, expense claims, phone records and other documents that amount to several terabytes of data. Their work is expected to take at least another 18 months. Reams of paperwork that cannot fit in the offices are stored in warehouses at another, secret location. In an unusual arrangement, 15 or 20 police are embedded with the team.’
Ten days or so past the official announcement, I’m thinking More Watchmen may be best understood as a blow to comics’ dignity. It’s product, not art. It’s a limited, small series of ideas derived from a bigger, grander one. It’s sad. One thing that Watchmen did a quarter century ago was to underline certain values of craft and intent and creative freedom that have helped to yield enough equivalent expressions — to my mind even grander expressions — that we may now see this follow-up project for what it is: nothing special.
[crime] Teddy Boys, Christmas Humphreys and the murder of John Beckley on Clapham Common in 1953 … fascinating true-crime story from London in the 1950’s … ‘It was during the reporting of this trial when the press, for the first time, started to make a connection between the odd-looking clothes of the South Londoners and casual violence. The Evening Standard called Ronald Coleman ‘the leader of the Edwardians… a teenage gang of hooligans’ who wore ‘eccentric suits’. In fact Coleman in his statement to the police proudly described how he was dressed on the night of the murder. Stating that he wore ‘a very dark grey suit, single breasted with three buttons… after the style of what is called Edwardian.’ A Daily Mirror headline during the trial simply said ‘Flick Knives, Dance Music and Edwardian Suits’. It was the Daily Express on September 23rd 1953 who took the word ‘Edwardian’ and shortened it to Teddy and so the Teddy Boy was born.’
It’s hard to cheer when a newspaper closes. Even one you’re slightly scared of, like the Daily Mail. Even though the Mail isn’t technically a newspaper, more a serialised Necronomicon. In fact it’s not even printed, but scorched on to parchment by a whispering cacodemon. The Mail can never close. It can only choose to vacate our realm and return to the dominion in which it was forged; a place somewhere between shadow and dusk, beyond time and space, at the dark, howling apex of infinity. London W8 5TT.
Yet despite being a malevolent ink-and-paper succubus that will devour your firstborn – seriously, chuck a baby at a copy of the Mail, and watch as the paper roll its eyes back and swallows it whole – the Mail deserves its voice. At the Leveson inquiry, when seething Daily Mail orchestrator Paul Dacre was quizzed about Jan Moir’s notorious column on the death of Stephen Gateley, he acknowledged that she’d possibly gone too far, but added that he “would die in a ditch” to defend a columnist’s freedom of speech. Whatever you think of Dacre, that’s a brave and noble thing to say, although disappointingly he failed to indicate precisely when he was planning on doing it.
[curtis] Interview With Adam Curtis (Part 1):‘…my working theory is that we live in a managerial age, which doesn’t want to look to the future. It just wants to manage the present. A lot of art has become a way of looking back at the last sixty years of the modernist project, which we feel has failed. It’s almost like a lost world, and we are cataloging it, quoting it, reconfiguring it, filing it away into sliding drawers as though we were bureaucrats with no idea what any of it means. They’ve got nothing to say about it except that they know it didn’t work. It’s not moving onwards—we’re just like academic archaeologists. It’s terribly, terribly conservative and static, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe in a reactionary, conservative age, that’s what art finds itself doing. The problem is that it pretends to be experimental and forward-looking. But to be honest, in some ways I’m just as guilty. What I do is not so different—using all sorts of fragments from the past to examine the present. Maybe this is simply the iron cage of our time—we’re like archaeologists going back into the recent past, continually refiguring it, surrounding it with quotations. It’s a terrible, terrible prison, but we don’t know how to break out of it.’
James’s fondness for cheese is believed to be a matter of which no one in this earthly sphere is unaware. For a time, it was assumed that there were some remote peoples still untouched by his rennet-based droning, but in that recent aerial footage of the uncontacted Amazon society, the tribe was seen to have arranged a collection of bones and earthenware shards into the words: “PLEASE STOP ALEX JAMES GOING ON ABOUT BLOODY CHEESE.”
[war] Never Surrender: The Lonely War Of Hiroo Onoda … the story of the last WW2 Japanese soldier to surrender… in 1974! ‘Onoda was officially relived from military duties and told to hand over his rifle, ammunition and hand grenades. He was both stunned and horrified.
‘We really lost the war!’ were his first words. ‘How could they [the Japanese army] have been so sloppy?” [via YMFY]