Nasty Tales

Nov 29, 2008

This week I have mostly been reading “Nasty Tales”. The book is an ideal introduction into the murky world of British underground and alternative comics.

The ones I acquired tended to be bought in record shops before shops specifically selling comic books appeared. Although some magazines re-printed the American stuff from Robert Crumb etc many of our great artists like Hunt Emerson and Bryan Talbot began their carreers in odd little comics with low print runs.

Although noted for his adult strips (which often appeared in “adult” publications) Hunt Emerson has now become “respectable” and has a comic strip in “The Beano” that still appears weekly despite now being 70 years old. (thats the Beano comic thats 70…not Hunts strip!!)

I first noticed Bryan Talbot’s artwork in UK Fanzines and then in the underground comic “Brainstorm Comix” in the late 1970s. After periods working for 2000AD and DC comics by way of such influential material as “Luther Arkwright” and “The Story of One Bad Rat” in 2007 he released the ambitious and acclaimed “Alice in Sunderland”.

Mary Coughlan

Nov 26, 2008

“A Leaf from a Tree” could well be the most perfectly crafted song I’ve ever heard. Its available on the album “Uncertain Pleasures” from 1990. I’ve just ordered the CD to replace my tatty LP and single and couldn’t believe how cheap it was from that Amaz(ing)on mega-mail order company.

Incidentally the new CD  “The House of Ill Repute” is now out and, after a period in Australia, Mary will be playing in the UK in March 2009.  

More Bojeffries Saga

Nov 23, 2008



I wish I was more organised. After much searching I’ve just unearthed Warren’s 1984 issue number 4. A quick glance reveals a fascinating tale about the Martians. H.G.Well’s War of the Worlds actually happened and the Martians have finally returned for a second invasion 80 years later. And I’m looking forward to reading about the further adventures of the beautiful Idi Amin !!

Warren Comics Advert

Nov 18, 2008


I still think the Warren stuff really ought to be re-issued (in colour).

Down with Skool

Nov 15, 2008

As any fule kno one of the funniest children’s books ever written was this. I only had a tatty paperback reprint until the other day when I found this first edition from the mid 1950s unnoticed and unloved in a local charity shop.


Other books in the seies are “Whizz for atomms”,”How to be topp” and “Back in the jug agane”. Author and former teacher Geoffrey Willans died in 1958 at the age of 47.

Although I have collected/read/sold/destroyed comics for over 40 years I’ve never made any particular effort to visit blogs and websites run by the comic creators themselves. (Although I did visit Steve Gerber’s blog regularly in the last year of his life and for a time I looked at Mark Evanier’s extensive ouevre and that’s about it.) Quite by chance today I found myself in the middle of Todd Klein’s blog. That is a name I have seen regularly for the last 30 years or so as a letterer of umpteen (how many I wonder) comics. It was nice to find out more about the person and personality that until today was just a name. Amongst Todd’s hobbies and interests is collecting children’s novels. In fact he seems to be an authority on the subject. I wonder if he is familiar with this book? 




A month of nights, a year of days
Octobers drifting into Mays
I set my sail when the tide comes in
I just cast my fate to the wind.

I shift my course along the breeze
Won’t sail up wind on memories.
The empty sky is my best friend.
I just cast my fate to the wind.

A month of nights, a year of days
Octobers drifting into Mays.
I set my sail when the tide comes in.
I just cast my fate to the wind.

Unusually it was the instrumental version as recorded by Sounds Orchestral that was the biggest hit on both sides of the Atlantic. But I still prefer Shelby’s 1966 short and sweet version of  “Cast your fate to the wind”.


There were a few more vocal versions of this tune with alternate lyrics.

A month of nights, a year of days.
Octobers drifting into Mays.
You set your sail when the tide comes in.
And you cast your fate to the wind.

You shift your course along the breeze
Won’t sail up wind on memories.
The empty sky is your best friend.
And you cast your fate to the wind.

That time has such a way of changing a man throughout the years
And now you’re rearranging your life through all your tears.
Alone, alone.

There never was, there couldn’t be
A place in time for men to be.
Who’d drink at dark and laugh at day
And let their wildest dreams blow away.

So now you’re old, you’re wise, you’re smart.
You’re just a man with half a heart.
You wonder how it might have been
Had you not cast your fate to the wind…