COMES AS NO SURPRISE
Yesterday was a good day. Despite being home sick with stomach troubles (I haven't been pooping well). Yesterday, the new Morrissey album leaked in full (I take it with clear conscience, having already bought the vinyl and planning to purchase the CD/DVD package on day of release), and Brett Anderson performed his solo debut since leaving Suede. Four songs done at a wedding for Dutch royalty--three Suede tunes backed by an orchestra, and one new one. Funnily enough for the opening song at a wedding performance, Brett chose a number called "Love Is Dead." I can say if this is anything to judge by, any fears about his going solo have been put to rest. "Love Is Dead" is a Scott Walker-style ode to sadness, with Brett singing with big, floating melodies with an open throat (and, should be noted, less of a dirge than a lot of Walker). Whatever he was searching for, this thing he calls his "demon," he seems to have found it, even if ends up being that way for just four-and-a-half minutes (hey, every guy who goes solo usually gets a good one the first time).
(A review of You Are The Quarry will come in another post, though I will say except for an occasional misstep, it's quite marvelous.)
Dead is Love
Yesterday I also turned in my short comic script to Scott Allie (as alluded to in a previous entry). It's for the third horror anthology in his Hauntings series (published by Dark Horse). It's coming out I think in the fall and is The Dark Horse Book of the Dead. I am doing an original Japanese fairy tale--samurais, water spirits, and zombies. Weird stuff for me, and I was surprised when Scott asked me, but he said he wanted me to do the things that make me unique, which he felt would stand apart from the rest of the book. I said, "I don't want to parody myself. I don't want to do teenagers in love or undead rock musicians." He laughed and said, "No, I don't see you as that. I want something emotional, something with heart. I want to offset the gore." It was a great way to get me started, and what we ended up with is strange and romantic and I think pretty good.
It was actually pretty tough finding the right voice. I had to invent a narrative device to help me impart information quickly, and the fairy tale aspect allowed me to shorthand complex emotion to get straight to it (eight pages doesn't leave a lot of room for puffery). The good news is that Guy Davis is drawing it and Dave Stewart is coloring it, so even if I am the fat boy at prom, I'll be wearing a nice tux. The even better news is that Scott and Guy really liked it, and we're a go!
I'm really spoiled. My past comics work has been illustrated by Chynna Clugston-Major and Patrick Scherberger, and my next two stories are Guy Davis and Andi Watson. How am I going to take it when I get saddled with whoever is drawing Green Lantern in a given month?
Thursday I finished reading Mary S. Lovell's The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family. In a word: swoon.
Lovell's greatest achievement in this book is showing us a portrait of a family that in one generation stepped out of the ordinary into the extraordinary, giving us a vivid look at each sister and the complexity of their personalities, all the contradictions and the nuances that make them real people (and by many accounts the opposite of what the girls disliked in previous biographies; they were shown for their extreme politics, but the grace and humor were cast aside). For instance, you adore Decca at one moment for her dedication and humor, and hate her the next for her inability to see when she was being stubborn and cruel. It's amazing that the sisters were all so extremely unique, and yet so alike. Everyone went off in different directions to distinguish themselves--and some of them, like Pam and Debo, were resigned to being normal as the only way to stand apart--and yet were so clearly Mitford in how they approached life with a gentle tease and a slightly askew glance.
What impressed me most, though, was how much all of the Mitfords stood by the courage of their convictions. They were unashamed of being themselves. Even though Diana's fascist leanings are not very agreeable (particularly in hindsight), I completely admire that she refuses to apologize just because it might be fashionable to do so. It allows her critics to label her "unrepentant," but frankly I'd rather rail against the fascism of thinking that says she must repent at all. Certainly her way is much more honest.
Of anyone, though, I identify most with Nancy. The unsuccessful romantic with the sharp tongue, who couldn't resist a good dig and often got into trouble for it, and who followed many a lost cause of the heart.
I need to figure out a way to work into one of the Scott family stories a line about how in their perfect literary world, Zooey Glass married Nancy Mitford. Or perhaps not to mix the literary with the real, Linda from The Pursuit of Love.
Finally, I'm starting to make good progress on Clamp Paranormal Investigators #2--or, I was, until I spent way too much time this morning piddling around with my journal!
Current Soundtrack: Morrissey, You Are The Quarry; One Dove, Morning Dove White; and, I admit it, I'm currently watching the last episode of Friends, because even though I didn't watch the last two seasons, I watched the first eight, and I don't actually care what you think so why am I explaining? Go fuck yourself. :)