Shauna over at Quail by Mail tagged me a week or so ago while I was wandering through snowy German forests and eating knödel (yum!) and it has taken me a while to respond. This tag requires me to tell you seven random things about myself – I generally try to avoid these sorts of things… but I guess it won’t kill me to play along :)

So, seven random things:

1. I have been told on numerous occasions through my life that I “have a problem with authority”, sometimes by people in positions of ‘authority’. I haven’t yet been persuaded to see this as an entirely bad thing…

2. When I first heard Bonnie “Prince” Billy‘s 2008 album ‘Lie Down in the Light’ I was disappointed – it just didn’t seem to compare to earlier classics like ‘Ease Down the Road’ and ‘I See a Darkness’. But it grew on me over the course of the year and would now certainly be in my ‘top albums of 2008’ list (if I had such a list – there’s a good one here), particularly for the sweeping track ‘You Want that Picture’.

3. Approximately two and a half decades ago, while reading Hergé’s ‘Tintin in America’, I had a childhood epiphany and decided from that moment onwards I would be a vegetarian. The epiphany was induced by the following two frames – I think it was the ‘nose to tail’ and ‘it’s completely automatic!’ that got me… that’s no way for anything to live or die.

frames from Hergé's 'Tintin in America'

So, comics really can change lives and be a force for good!
(and, although there are plenty of opinions on the subject, now’s not the time or place to get in to the real or perceived colonialist & racist undertones of Herge’s oeuvre!).

4. We currently live sans feline companionship – this makes me sad and I hope to rectify the situation at some point in the not too distant future.  The last feline we shared our home with (± 12 years ago) was a magnificent beast – his name was Albini (after the great Steve Albini!). He was not a vegetarian, and spent his nights bringing his own special brand of law and order to the alleyway between the flat we lived in and the next-door restaurant. No rat was safe and I spent many a morning before rushing off to work clearing up dismembered rodent body parts from the bathtub (Albini’s point of access to the flat was via a small window left open in the bathroom, and he obviously felt the clean white bathtub was the best possible place for arranging and displaying his victims… but sometimes he left a trail of gore on the outside stairs to the front door too). Although this story makes Albini sound like an evil, mean-spirited sort of creature he wasn’t at all, he was simply a cat and, it could be argued, was providing a very useful public hygiene service.

Here he is looking damn handsome…

Albini Supercat!

5. The last book I read was ‘Red Colored Elegy’ by Seiichi Hayashi. It is filled with long inscrutable silences and an overwhelming sense of yearning and left me feeling strangely adrift. Not to deny the book’s potential power but I was deep in the throes of this month’s flavour of cold/flu bug while reading it so that might’ve had something to do with the uncomfortable floating feeling…  (and just to clarify, I do also sometimes read books without pictures).

6. If I had to choose between tea or coffee as my ‘desert island’ drink I’d have to go with tea. Sorry coffee!

7. When I was a kid growing up in the Southern Hemisphere I loved to swim (pools, dams, oceans, rivers, lakes, any body of water would do) and, in that ‘all or nothing’ way kids think, thought I would do so every day, rain or shine, for the rest of my life.  Now, over two decades later, I don’t really remember the last time I went swimming. Several years ago I started drawing a comic about that, and other, of my ‘lost’ childhood habits / beliefs / feelings. I never got around to finishing it but here’s an excerpt from the swimming bit…


I liked the final frame (but pretty much nothing else about this) which is meant to represent all the weird microscopic squigglings & wrigglings you see trapped in the water droplets on your eyelashes when you almost-close your eyes against the sun just after emerging from the water…

OK, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be – thanks for inviting me to play along Shauna.

The ‘rules’ of this tagging, amongst other things, require that I tag seven other people. But I’m not going to play by the rules (see point 1. above) as I don’t feel entirely comfortable with the slightly dodgy chain letter/pyramid scheme feeling I get from passing the responsibility on… so anyone who feels like playing along is welcome to, and I would love to read seven random things about you a whole lot more than I liked writing seven random things about me.