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Thursday, June 27, 2002

Really, I'll only be away for a few days. So this is not really a proper weblog...let's call it a 'bloglet', for my trip.


     The Itinerary

      26-28 Bangkok. 

      29th Melbourne for Comix Pub Night

      See what's left from Michael/Greg/Kieran's show. 

      July 4 Inside Out Show, Westspace Gallery. 

      After that? Bus up to Sydney (pitstop in Canberra) and spend a day or two there. Hope to catch Michael Hill, Amber et al. Then it's back to Bangkok and Siem Reap.

     Stayed up all night at the office getting shit in order. Then went home to pack frantically. Fortunately a lot of shopping was already done in bits and pieces.

     Haven't been to Australia in four years. Wonder what's changed? A lot to catch up on, and only two weeks to do it.

     Bangkok is always such a headspin after quiet Siem Reap. It really feels like I'm back in the States, in many ways. Don't know any Thai, and I'm usually transiting through, so I'm a lot more clueless here. I probably deserve it, I'm pretty smug about my ability to get things done and avoid tourist scams.

    Got an obscene trinket for Q-Ray. Hope he likes it.
     Today: sleep, food, maybe catch a flick. Would like to find a quiet cafe where I can draw.

Friday, June 28, 2002
     What I like about Bangkok is that you can price pirated DVDs and then walk outside and get a coconut to drink. Don't like the smog though.

Slept like a dog last night, 12 hours. Ah, the jet-setting exotic world of international comicists. Sometimes the strain just gets to ya.

     Got my Melbourne ticket sorted. Got a mocha coffee. Saw an entertaining Korean flick.

      BTW, Stefan Neville's on his way to Melbourne as well. There's a new site for Oatz (former street gang, now comix collective) up.


Saturday, June 29, 2002
     Not much sleep on the plane...if I continue like this I'm gonna get sick.
     Plane gets in at 5am, by the time I make it through Immigration & have my bags it's seven. Nurse a cappuccino & sleepily scope a morose Whitlams video on  'Rage'. Yep I'm back, and despite the overlay of fatigue I'm really quite happy to be here.

     Head to the Stork Hotel. It's centrally located, plus we used to have comics pub nights here, back in the day.  




     Have some t-shirts and comics to share, sort those out, toss some photos in to be developed, and take a nap. Saddened by the apparent disappearance of my favorite record store, Au Go Go.
     Off to comix meeting with three bags of t-shirts and comics. (I don't do things halfway.)

     First familiar face is Scott Stuart. Barbara Kerr also is here, as well as Darren Close (OzComics.com, Killeroo) and some fella doing a comic ('Violin Girl') about runaways.

     Soon after, Bruce Mutard and Greg Gates arrive. I see a heap of new stuff from Bruce. He's gotten some professional nibbles for his stuff, which is good to hear.

     A warm hello from Michael Fikaris, Tim Danko, and Greg Mackay. Woo hoo! Lots of yakking and swapping and stuff. I'm given new copies of anthologies Pure Evil and Silent Army, invites for the Inside Out exhibition, and more. I distribute textiles (t-shirts, Cambodian 'Krama' scarves) and Southeast Asian comics.  Quite impressed with the look of the new Pure Evil, it's a nice looking product! Wish they'd printed more than five hundred of them...like maybe five thousand. 

     Angelo Madrid shows up with a swag of new samples too. He's getting a fair bit of commercial work. Comix overload! 
     No sign of Q-Ray, Kieran, Pox Girls. Which means I've got to lug stuff back to the Stork Hotel. We head back, then Greg, Barbara, Michael and I park it in the bitter cold outside the hotel, and have a pint. Still getting used to this weather. For now, it's got novelty value. I'll start bitching about it tomorrow.  

      I garner more goss on the 'Silent Army' exhibition, which sounded like fun. Michael suggests going up to Newcastle as a posse this October, which might be fun. Greg and Michael are past the age limit. That's us, aging zinesters, past our use-by date. Hmm...maybe we could do an adjunct comics conference? 

     Meanwhile, in the pub, Barbara is waylaid by an ex-boyfriend, but we drag her off. Since I'm Michael's favorite anti-American-policy American, he's into us checking out a gig at 'Shantytown' recording studio/performance space in Northcote.
     After some walking and tramming we manage to find the place.

Obligatory picture of cutesy Oz wildlife. Now get off my case.   Who's on? 'Jihad against America', which seems to take the standard Chomskian line. (i.e., that an endless war against terrorism is bad, civil liberties should not be cut back, etc.) The sentiment I don't mind, but I'm not sure the band's name will play in Peoria. Certainly the band won't.  
      Run into Natalie Cupri, a friend who's now starting her own music promo company. There's Tim of the Sea Scouts, and Monica from the same band is on stage. Turns out the band is a Ben Butler effort, who I didn't even recognize. 

One from Royal Chord, and also Eye See Sea Scouts.


 It's really nice to see some familiar faces, as well as some live music.  There isn't much of an alt. music scene in Cambodia, it's all karaoke. I'm having fun, and thinking, 'why did I leave in the first place'?       

     But just as I wander to the loo to drain my lizard, I spot a gig poster. It's got a picture of Pol Pot on it. Can't escape Cambodian topicality, even on a vacation.

     Crash out at Barbara's, since she's close by... Plan to move to Michael's the next day. 

Greenies tabling at the back: Food Not Bombs, Rainforest Action folks.


Next: Sunday June 30 2002


Sunday June 30 2002
     Can't reach Michael by phone. Can't get Tim Danko either. Maybe I have the wrong numbers?

     We taxi it to the Stork and move my bags to Barbara's place. It's a really nice little house.

     Barbara and I go walking in search of a felafel and catch up on things. Along the way:

*'Ms. 45' zine is based on the movie poster, not the film itself. Barbara actually hasn't seen the film. She's not enthused about the subject material.

*What the fuck is up with this ubiquitous 'Orange' stuff anyway? Paging Naomi Klein! I know it's vaguely related to phones, but it's so nondescriptive. I see it in Bangkok, and then here.

*Response to mispelled sign: Grammar activism. If we can have billboard activists, why not grammar activists? When people spell CDs as CD's, it's really irritating.

*Preston: A sign announces it's a 'Refugee Welcome Zone'. I'd missed a big protest on the refugee thing when I arrived, it was just down the road at Flinders Street Station.

*Quest for Music: since all I get is Karaoke and Backstreet Boys, Barbara recommends Bloodduster album. 'Straight Outta Northcote', and Tism. Au Go Go Records is still around! That's good to hear. 

     Barbara and I have a great Indian meal. We discuss the idea of scanning books. We agree that if I buy her a scanner, she could scan some comics for us, that could then be presented as archival material on a website or in other formats.
     Snoop around for phone numbers, and manage to contact Michael. We'll meet up tomorrow. I park it at Barbara's, and we do some cooking, read some comics, and just generally hang. I get to see a bunch of Barbara's older Ms. 45 issues, which again oughtta be archived. Us aging zinesters need to find safe homes for our stuff.


Next: Monday, July 01, 2002


Monday, July 01, 2002

     Move over to Michael's place. He lives in a nice house in Coburg along with Kieran Mangan and Tammy of Royal Chord. (Kieran's in Sydney so I get to take his room.Greg: "I see you've moved right in.")   

     Michael's got a great studio full of heaps of comics, which is really fun to see. I could spend a good day there just reading. He lends me a spare jacket, and we take his dog out for a walk and grab a felafel.  


     It's been a busy time for Braddock Coalition. They've had to assemble an exhibition, as well as Silent Army Anthology and Pure Evil.  Any one job would be effort enough. They're all a little burnt out. 

     From my end though I haven't seen any of the effort, it's as if it materialized out of thin air. Incredible. The great thing is they've gotten a bit of support for their work, they just have to fill out a lot of government forms to do so. 

    I just get to walk in for a few days and see the results. It's really encouraging to see. 

    On the way back I buy ten cardboard boxes for mail. (Michael: "You're the original Mailpunk.") I ain't playin'. 

    Also amused by Aussie hip hop magazine Stealth and the new newsstand Beanz Baxter. (Hey, where's the comix review section??) 

    Don't fuck with my mail, I've got a box knife


     We discuss comics drawing session to be held beginning 9am Saturday 6th, at Michael's place. [email if you want in. ]   

     Aaron O'Donnell (Vexed, Kumquat) comes by. We head out to get some beers. Aaron is finishing up the multimedia component of the upcoming Inside Out show...he's a multimedia professional! 

     I also get to meet Tammy, who will have to put up with a lot of comix nonsense in the immediate future. Her brother Perry's birthday is today so the whole clan assembles. They head off for some food, I take some time out to check email and read a few of my growing stack of goodies. 

     A bit of hanging out and watching TV. We draw the invite flyer for the comix jam. 


Next: Tuesday, July 02, 2002   


Tuesday, July 02, 2002

   Today's mission: help Tim out with the exhibition. We head out to Aaron's to get the 'multimedia component' underway. Unfortunately, we need a certain brand of CD. Michael and I head out to get it, and by the time we're back Aaron's got it sorted. 

   We decide to walk down to Westspace gallery. On the way I get a look at City Lights exhibition space, where Greg/Kieran/Michael have been invited to show. It's right near Aaron's pal's art space, so we stop in. Devin's been doing some big digital prints of old photos, which are fun to see. 

     Just before we reach the gallery, Aaron's bottle of vodka slips out of his jacket and breaks in the middle of the street. Squalor. 

     By the time we get there, Tim's gone home, but Aaron installs the stuff on the computer, so it's more or less ready to go. 

    Hang out at Michael's place. Tammy and band partner Eliza are watching Twin Peaks, going through the whole show. 

    After a beer run, Aaron finds free copies of True Tales of Love and Hate. It's produced by Amber Carvan - yet another offshoot of the Noise Festival


Next: Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

     I sleep in, and Michael and Aaron head over to Westspace.

   When I arrive all are out to lunch. I take the opportunity to get some cheap asian food at Welcome Hotel, (immortalized by Greg in Pure Evil #5), and hit Au Go Go to continue the Quest for Music. There I pick up a fanzine with some Stratu illustrations, and a copy of Re:Vulva Girl comic. Good to see they're on issue #3!

     A bit of helping with the preparations.  I meet Kate and Allie, two girls who will be dressed up in paper outfits for the assembled guests to draw on. Anyone who wears art on their sleeve (so to speak) is OK with me.

     Then I nip out to scan and upload exhibition flyer, and jam strip info.  

      Check my email. Everything at my day job in Cambodia cool? So far so good. Whew. 


















    Timmy D: a pensive moment. 


   Then back to Michael's for an episode of Twin Peaks and some sleep. Tomorrow is the big day! 


Next: Thursday, July 04, 2002


Thursday, July 04, 2002

     Up and off to Westspace.  More work hanging the prints on the wall. I keep trotting up to Eckersley's Art Supplies, conveniently located two blocks away. They ask me if I want to join their 'loyalty program'. 

    We work just up to opening time, and barely finish. I buy a toothbrush from the nearby 7-11.  


     Kate and Allie get their outfits together, and people start drifting in. Hey, it's the Pox Girls! And soon after, Stefan Neville, Clint Q-Ray & partner Monique. Hey, Kieran made it down from Sydney. Very happy to see Shags, who I'd been hoping to catch this trip. Ahh, this is reason enough to shell out for the plane flight. All my favorite people conveniently arranged in one place.  

Kate and Allie, sporting fashionable attire for the well dressed comicist
Clint Cure, Kieran Mangan, Shags. My god, all the talent assembled.  If the terrorists bombed this exhibition, western civilization would be doomed!!


Look for the word balloon coming out of Kizza's mouth.

     I get corralled by the folks from some TV show, not sure if I should talk into the camera or the microphone.  

   Great to see everyone, it's almost a bit overwhelming really. 

    After two hours the opening is over. We head over to the Stork Hotel. Clint splits off for some food with Adam Ford. 

     There's some sort of acoustic stuff going on at the Stork. Troy Mingramm is ready to bum rush the show, but we hold him back. There will be future pub nights.

     After the Stork closes down, then we head out to the Arthouse. After that it all gets a bit blurry.  




Gallery of Pissed Cartoonists: 

Tim Danko and Troy Mingramm

Shags and some weird guy.

Stefan Neville and Lachlan Conn.

I'm sucking all Neale Blanden's comix talent from his brain!   

There's a reason why cartoonists have such strong tongues. 

Just ask Tim Danko if you don't believe me. 


Next: Friday, July 05, 2002


Friday, July 05, 2002

Breakfast with Kirrily Schell, Jo Waite, and Mandy Ord. 

    Kirrily: "I thought you smelled like deodorant."

     Check the email...Athonk has sent a panel for a joint jam strip. He's in New Orleans, enjoying it heaps, sounds like. 

        Dinner with Shags, Tim Danko, Adam Ford, Amanda Kerley.   














                      Thonky does Bourbon Street. 


      Great to catch up with the Shagster...she is now a high powered designer working for the government in Canberra. Plus she's finished school which means she can have more of a life again.

     Back to Michael's in time to catch Tammy and Eliza watching Twin Peaks. It's also Carol's birthday! Oh poo, I didn't know. 


Next: Saturday, July 06, 2002 


Saturday, July 06, 2002 


In the past our drawing days were 24 hour draw or die sessions. It was loosely based off the McCloudian idea of the 24 hour 24 page comic. But ours mutated: we started circulating jam strips, and each worked at their own pace on their own stuff. 

     Being older and greyer, this starts in the morning and ends in the evening. 


  At 9 I sit down and start drawing.  We're soon joined by a number of folks- it's  a comics cavalcade!: Tim Danko, Jo Waite, Troy Mingramm, Lachlan Conn, Greg Mackay, The Pox 

Girls, Angelo Madrid, Mandy Ord, Kirrily Schell, Stefan Neville, Aaron O'Donnell, Shags, Peter Jetnikoff, Nicki Greenberg, Renee Guard, Barbara Kerr, and Athonk via emailed JPEG. 

      Nick Nolte featured heavily in our endeavors. "I like to hang out with the neighborhood kids and do lines of ascorbic acid."


     Nice to see Stefan Neville again. Prominent motifs in his work of late: the sea and microphones. "I just keep drawing them over and over." Lindsey Arnold comes over and videos each of our hands as we draw. Troy is a newcomer to this Melbourne institution, but goes with it. 


Next: Sunday, July 07, 2002 


Sunday, July 07, 2002 
     Brunch with Eliza and Michael today. After which I forget to pay Eliza for my half of breakfast. Michael and I walk back home. After a recent comics auction he was drunk and walked for about three hours back from town to Coburg, and he points out bits of graffiti he did on the way.  

    After that, off  Brunswick to buy some goodies from Guy Blackman, of Chapter Records fame. Much like a drug deal: he had specialized merchandise, and we kept him waiting for the meet. $60 for 6 CDs: pound for pound indie music is still your best value. Grab Tracy Read, Wagons, Sleepy Township, Minimum Chips, and more. Guy is going to Japan in two months.     

     Also hit Polyester, which hasn't changed much at all. A whole new crop of comics kids on the shelves. Lost the books in the shuffle, but I do recall Donovan and Inbred Lady (Tassie). What's up with these new kids?  It used to be back in the day when we'd discover a new comic like 'Dex', we'd all be curious. Like, "Hey, there's another one."  
     Hung with Tim Danko in his studio which is 'chockers' full of comics. I get a look at his original proposal for the exhibition...it costs real $$$ money, it's not just a matter of whacking stuff up on walls!

     Catch up on a bit of comics goss. When I was in Melbourne, it was in question whether or not there really was a comics 'scene' or not. Now there seems to be no doubt that there is one. And everyone seems to be developing their own niche. Is this a good thing? Class, discuss. 

     Michael and I hit Asian market for food. We need to clean up the place. We arrive back and Tammy's already cookin'. More Twin Peaks.


PUMICE GIGS at two places in Melbourne:

Wednesday 10th July (Builder's Arms) with Fuck Tourette's Cunt, Dwocszec and Snocklaw.

Friday 12th July (Rob Roy) at 'What is Music' with David Shea, Western Grey, Tim Catlin, Will Guthrie & DJ 8J.


New Album 'White' on sale at gigs. And if you're nice, maybe you can get some of Stefan's comics.


     Think I'll take the overnight bus to Sydney Friday evening.


Next: Monday, July 08, 2002


Monday, July 08, 2002

     Breakfast with Kirrily Schell, of Wide Arsed Mole fame. Catch up on comics and life in general. Then we make plans for our collab comic book. (QuickDraw + Wide Arsed Mole = QuickArse). 

     After about four hours of nonstop comics gab, I head out to make some copies of the pages we've done so far. (Can only talk about comics so much per day.) Also some copies from our jam strips. (Will share these later when life slows down.)
    Back at Kirrily's place we rough out the front and back covers, which we'll screen print.. I've done an intro but it's a little flat. Maybe we can get someone to do it for us? She also kindly gives me a copy of Northborne and Glory Bound, the Canberra comics collection she's featured in. All these comics with spines...that's a good sign!


     Call Kieran and Amber to make plans for Sydney. Will be there only one day.


     Kizza cooks us some daal and chapati for dinner, and we kibitz and draw for several hours, drawing the cover and roughing out the colors for the screen printing. By 11:00 she's comicked out, collapsed with her hands over her eyes.


Next:  Tuesday July 9 2002


Tuesday July 9 2002

     Kizza comes over, and we have some coffee. She's quite taken with Tammy's band gear. She toys around with some of the instruments, then she dinks me back to her place. 

     I grab the cover and head out to copy it for the screen print. 

     Call Laura, from Choozy. Continuing the Quest for Music, I try to arrange to buy some fine Choozy product. Laura's got a baby now, and is humming along with her band Ninety-Nine.I also cut a deal with Tammy to get one of the CDs for her band. 



Next: Wednesday July 10, 2002


Wednesday July 10, 2002

     Off to Springvale today.   Ostensibly my reason for my prior residence in Australia was to study Cambodian at Monash University.  Today I'm meeting up with my former Cambodian teacher from Monash. Turns out she is doing well, helping her husband who is the Labor MP for Clayton. (The suburb now with the highest concentration of Cambodians.)

    We go out to Maryhoa restaurant for Dim Sum, which  is a treat. I've got a heap of pictures and books and stuff to show her. They're curious about my take on things back in Cambodia, as well as my day job. Her husband is kind enough to track down Ung Bunhean's address, though my Sydney stint will I think be truncated. 

    After that we stop by the Cambodian Association where I used to teach English. There's a whole new meeting hall they've added to it, complete with little ornate bits that characterize some Khmer buildings. And there's more renovations on the way. The place has definitely grown. They're also planning a combined Lunar New Year festival with the Laotian, Thai, Vietnamese and Sri Lankan communities here. Also turns out that the former Welfare Coordinator of the Association, Youhorn Chea, had been elected Mayor of Springvale! Far out. 

   They offer me a ride to the train station, but I decline - I want to walk back through the streets I've drawn, and see how they've changed. 

    The answer: not that much, and not really for the worse either. There's some sense of closure that I can't quite explain. 


     I catch the train into town, lost in thought. It's funny, I don't draw that much, and when I do it's hastily done. But my comics are as much an influence on me, as they are reflective of my influences. 


     All that tea makes for a bursting bladder. Maybe it would be fun to stop off at Malvern? Nope, all the toilets are closed! The surveillance cameras are on though. That's kinda lame. 

     So it's straight into Flinders Street, then up past the old skatepark to meet Mandy, Kizza and Bernard Caleo. Bernard edits the bigass romance comic Tango, which is supported by a grant from Melbourne city. Yay public arts funding. 

     Fun to finally meet  the man in the Big Cardigan, who I've corresponded with for  a few years. He's full of enthusiasm for comics and is planning the new issue of Tango, which will be on the 5 senses. He asks me to do a strip on 'smell'. (Is that wise, given I live in Cambodia?)

     We discuss the idea (that Kirrily has mooted) of some sort of comic association. I've heard some talk about this from various people on the trip. I hope it develops further.  

     Bernard heads out to his job as a film projectionist, and I'm off to Westspace again. 

Tim's hanging with some pals.  Then I get a big kebab and head back. 

Greg and Michael are collating Pure Evils to send overseas. There's one minor typo to fix. 

Time for the Pumice gig. Tammy's going to another show in town, so we all jump into her car and she takes us over. Jeez it's cold. I'm using Kieran's jacket now.  

Barbara Kerr et al. 


Gazza and Mazza. 

   I'm also sleeping in his room, wearing his clothes, using his computer...with cartoonists our identities are interchangeable anyway.  

   Naturally the cartoon crowd is running mobb deep at the Builder's Arms. 

    Sorry, just had to attempt using 'mobb deep' in a sentence. I won't do it again. 

     But it's thick with ink slingers if you care about that sort of thing. Aaron and Tim Danko are there, so's Barbara Kerr, Lachlan Conn. 

     Lachlan's new book will be a small run, two color, on a mimeograph. This sounds like good fun.


A bit of hangin' out and yakking and drawing. Fuck Tourette's Cunt is not too bad. I angle over to get some good shots of Stefan. Someone is throwing his cap headed 'Pumice' around. I grab it. 


    Muso Ben Butler is here too. We plan to meet up so I can continue the Quest for Music. Chris Smith is also there...it turns out that Stefan is staying with him! Far out, I had no idea! 

    I have to apologize for not publishing the interview I did with him, before I left for the States. But he doesn't seem to mind. He very kindly gives me a copy of his new CD. 


 Stick with the music Stefan, you'll make more money. 

Gallery of pissed cartoonists, part two: I tape the performance on my little tape recorder. After the show there's some discussion of mushrooms, which is my cue to exit. Got stuff to do tomorrow.  I fall into Tammy's car. 

Michael Pee Fikaris  


Next: Thursday, July 11, 2002


Thursday, July 11, 2002


Ow. Hung over. 


     Breakfast with Mandy Ord. She is doing all kinds of cool things - animation and art stuff in school, a collab book with Amber Carvan, and heaps more. 

     Mandy is always observing and recording details that most of us would overlook. I get a peek at her latest comic for Dee Vee. Far out. It's great.    

     Why she isn't famous and making heaps of money is beyond me. If every band I enjoy becomes successful, why can't the same be true for cartoonists? 

    We catch up for about two hours, could have talked for two more.  

      Then it's off to Kizza's to get the QuickArse cover so I can make some copies. Been toying with some Pantone pens I bought at Eckersley's - maybe we can do an online color version? 

     On the way I stop in at a head shop. Michael's been sucking on a self-admitted 'high school' bong, I think it's time for something a little more mature. 

     The bong shop dude is hung over as well, and tries to convince me to buy a super strength unbreakable one, whacking it on the counter to prove his point. 

      Kizza gives me tea and the cover. We sort the interior pages, and ink the cover. Now it's off for some copying. 

     Lunch with a friend from Siem Reap.  Then over to Westspace. Tim has some of Mandy's cartoons looping on the video monitor. One ('Suit Yourself') is about 5 minutes! I can only imagine the work that went into that one. It's like walking into one of her comics. 

     Then it's time to make the separate screen masters for the cover.  

     I call home...Michael's wiped out.  Apparently he walked home from Aaron's last night.  I head back to the house. 

    There's soup. Greg is collating, Eliza and Tammy are practicing. Top Shelf Comix is interested in sub-distributing Pure Evil. We will be mailing fifty copies to them tomorrow.

      Stefan Neville calls. He's looking for his cap! No sweat dude, we've got it. I always go for the party favors. 

      Michael and I try sending an email to Pure Evil co-conspirator Jed Lane, but no luck. He'll be enthused to know that his progeny is getting some attention. There's an email from Tim Danko about the TV show coming up. 

      Spend the rest of the evening packing. Tomorrow, off to Sydney! Also maybe, just maybe we can get 'QuickArse' in the can. 


email from Tim Danko

     too shagged to go to openings? too stressful to trudge back alleys in search of the high art altitude required to support a gallery....? extreme fear of big content free spaces with concrete floors and white walls (they are modeled after sadistic nazi dentist surgeries after all)....?
     don't go to the show when you can watch it on tee vee! thats right! get half an impression of what the inside out comic show is really about by watching it on telly!
     but wait, theres more! (bert newton voice) "....and now, heres moira..."
     thats right bert, why bother with the stress and trauma of unfriendly snooty gallery staff and downright dangerous climbs up ricketty life threatening staircases when tv can bring you the exact
same 'art' experience in your own home...impress your friends with your working knowledge of obscure art 'happenings'.... bolster your street credibility in a flash....say you were there with our new patented 'woodstock' method (yes, we were all there, weren't we?)
     just watch the 'public hangings' tv show thursday week (18th of july, sometime between 7.30 and 8.30 pm, channel 31) for a full report on the insideout comic show (and others exhibitions)....learn all you will need to know to speak authoritatively about all things comic and art without ever having to expose your sensitive palette to cheap cardboard wine, arty drunks (far more dangerous to the psyche than sporty drunks), and snooty 'not cool enuff' looks....




Next: Friday July 12th 2002


Friday July 12th 2002

   A weird dream about Will Smith. I dream I'm in a rap competition with the former 'Fresh Prince' and he wants us each to go head to head with a battlerap. But I challenge him to freestyle instead, which intimidates the hell out of the man in black. 

   Of course, in real life I'd suck at that. 

   Kirrily comes over. We discuss the cover with Michael. It seems we've gotta do a little touch up to make it screenable. Kiz takes off to bike into town. She's gonna meet us at the gallery. Westspace is right near the bus station, and the post office, so it's perfect as a staging area. 

    We call a taxi, and toss bags and art gear in. Tim Danko shows up and helps me bring our gear up via the elevator. 

 I get to work with the cover. One more set of photocopies, and it's ready to screen! I get some coffee and a big cheesy pizza roll. 

    Stefan Neville shows up; Kizza arrives, downs some coffee, and buys some bulbs for our screenprinting device.

    Whoops, mistake on the copies. (I'm not a quickarse, I'm a dumbarse.) We go out to make some more, and also get some food. I must be taking up all Kizza's time this week, she's also got a birthday/housewarming ('Cheese Party') to plan. I eye a lamington at the Vic markets. That would be a great band name: 'The Lamingtons'. Maybe it's taken already. 

    The Japanese 'Gocko' is good fun. (Fun to say, fun to use!) It's originally designed to make holiday cards, which is just the right size for A6 screenprinting.  

    Each time you burn a screen, you use one set of bulbs. They have a plastic coating, so you have the tactile fun of crushing the bulbs in their little capsules. 

    We make two screens, then set up in the back room for printing and collation. Michael is a big help with this. 

     Meanwhile, we've also got the box of fifty Pure Evils we're going to send to Top Shelf. We've put word out over the Cartoonists' Telegraph that anyone who wants to chuck something in the pile can do so. Greg shows up with some of his latest. Stefan tosses in a lovely copy of Milk Milk Lemonade - I can't believe he only did like fifty copies of that. 

     Barbara Kerr shows up for the fun. The scanner came through! Yay! 

     We start screenprinting. Stefan chews the fat with Michael. Greg is in and out. 

     Since we've got two colors, making them match up is tricky. First we do the orange, then yellow. But Kizza seems to have a knack for this, and we do about thirty covers.  

      Meanwhile, Stefan ('Pumice') and Michael ('Froth') realize that Pumice is volcanic froth, and decide this is good enough reason to do a collaborative project. Collaboration in the front room, collaboration in the back room. No holdin' us back. 

       Okay, we've got the covers done. Kizza has to head off to work. But the deed is done, we've got the screens, and thirty copies we can now staple once the covers dry!

Stefan Neville

I take the time to interview Stefan. I warn him: "I interviewed Barbara four years ago and it was never published. You're staying with Chris Smith, who I also interviewed and never got published. So don't hold your breath."  He's cool with it. There's going to be a big profile on Oatz Comics in the next issue of Officer Pupp, a New Zealand Comics reviewzine.

     Chat over, Stefan's off to play in the What is Music festival tonight. Gonna be a shame to miss that.  

      Oh shit, it's nearly Five O' Clock! We start slapping together the Top Shelf box. The boys are skint so I'm gonna pay for it with my credit card. 

     Barbara, Greg and I take off at a trot down the street to the post office. They close the door right in our faces. Greg flips them the bird, and we head down Elizabeth Street to the next nearest one. Whew, it's still open. I cover the box in tape, and send it off airmail. All right. 


     New comic, and new distro. That's a satisfying day. It's time for Babs to split off, so we say goodbye, and Greg and I head back to the gallery. 


     Tim comes by, and we lock up the show for the day. We lug my bags over to the bus terminal. Shit, I can't find my bus ticket! Fortunately I've got my name registered. 

     A few more goodbyes - I tell 'em to expect me back in a matter of months, not years. 


Next: Saturday July 13th 2002



Saturday July 13th 2002

     I endure 'Beaches' on the bus. I've got the front row seat too, it really feels like an invasion of privacy. I'd much rather be alone with my thoughts, quite an eventful trip to digest. 

     The bus arrives early, about 5:40 AM.  I hover over a cup of tea at the transit cafe. 

I'd been thinking about meeting some of the Sydney comics crowd - Michael Hill, Louise Graber, Anton Emedin; Troy Mingramm should be back in town...but I am tired and drained. I think I'd better just accept my limitations. I'll have to come back another time. 

      At about 7:00 I taxi it over to Chez Amber Carvan/Richard Vogt.  Is this the right place? Yes it is! We all crash out for a bit more sleep, then wake up properly. 

     The house is full of records and books, it's like a pop culture library really. Amber is working for Noise Festival, and Richard is point man for a local record shop. 

     Ambs and I have breakfast and catch up on comics goss. She is working half weeks, and doing an impressive roster of personal projects on the side, - publication French anthology Stereoscomic, a collaborative comic with Mandy Ord, and some more comics for Dee Vee. There's some discussion with Kelvin Lee in Japan about new publishing prospects. 

      And there's lots more in the pipeline, it seems. At work True Tales of Love and Hate has just come out. (The tough part of the job for that book must have been thanking Amanda Vanstone for the funding, I'll wager. But sometimes we have to make compromises in our art.) I encourage her to whack up the NOISE Women's Comics Anthology "How Comics Can Change the World" as a PDF. It's a nicely conceived and put together book, you'll never see funding for stuff like that in the States. 

     Also she's getting into comics theory, in particular the OuBaPo stuff. But she hasn't been drawing heaps. (Tell me about it, like I'm any example.) So much to catch up on, we couldn't do it in a week of breakfasts. 

     Richard and Amber take their dogs for a walk, and invite me to look around at all their stuff. They leave their broadband internet on for me too.  Net binge!! After Cambodia this is like heaven for any well versed netgeek. 

      (It's interesting, there is a real digital divide in Oz, I think. There are some people who are quite net literate (especially the zinester crowd) but among comicists, there aren't many who are using email & the web on a daily basis. Much less so than their USA counterparts, anyway.) 

      After they return I head out, to buy some kitsch Australiana souvenirs. Anything with a kangaroo or koala will do, thank you. I buy a boomerang, some t-shirts and caps, and many bottles of vegemite.  

       I also buy a Sydney Morning Herald, to read on the train. There's an article on censorship of cartoonists, also on Australian sex tourism in Cambodia. Ick. But I'm glad someone's writing it up.  

     A group of young people outside what seems to be city hall? Hey, Newtown's got Food Not Bombs too! Cool. They're everywhere. 


     A little trouble getting back. Argh, and I left the mobile numbers for Kieran and Ambs at her place! Panic. I manage to make it back just as they are stepping out. We've got dinner plans with Kieran Mangan. 

     Over a great Japanese meal in Newtown, and later at a nearby pub, Richard regales us with tales of zinery and record shop work. Kieran relates his adventures developing his smash hit small press comic 'Monkey Head Man' as an animation proposal. Sounds like he's doing us proud, he's really going the distance to make the concept come to life. And his tale of auditioning as an animator for Disney is a concept in and of itself. 

Kieran Mangan

      Back home, Amber and I try to call Kizza's 'Cheese Party' but can't get through. (And do I even think about asking Richard for tips on the 'Quest for Music'? Wake up Weeksy.) 


Next Sunday July 14th 2002


Sunday July 14th 2002

     I wake up at dawn, a taxi honks outside. I grab my bags and hop in. 


"Where you going?" 


"Back to the States?"

"Nope, going to Cambodia."

"Oh, right, I've been there four times myself. Spent many an evening in Sharky's."


     I really shouldn't judge. But the article in the paper yesterday does come to mind. 

     At the airport, I manage to make sure my bags will check through all the way to Siem Reap. Then kick back with the last mocha coffee I'll have in a while. Definitely a few regrets on this trip, but it's clear that like a foot fungus, I'll be back.  

      Then I veg out on the plane, reading all the goodies I've received on the trip: Silent Army, Pure Evil, Froth, Milk Milk Lemonade, stacks and stacks of publications.  


     After many hours in the air, it's good to be back in Siem Reap. Ahh, I'm warm again.


Exhibition Wrapup 


More fabulous Weeksy adventures: http://www.qdcomic.com/blog/