STILL MANIC AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
Back in July, prompted by being tagged by my friend Carolyn in the States, I put up eight things you probably don’t know about me. One of these things was my enjoyment of the Manic Street Preachers. I first saw them on Snub TV back in 1989 when I was a teenager and I have followed them for the last eighteen years. But I have never seen them live, until last week. This year after a long break, I have been to a lot of gigs. I used to go a hell of a lot from 1989 to 1992, seeing everyone from Curtis Mayfield to Jane’s Addiction, Morrissey to Jesus & Mary Chain. But going to see a band is so expensive these days that I haven’t been going as often as I used to. But these year I made a bit more of an effort so I have seen Black Rebel Motorcycle Club twice (once in New York and once at the Roundhouse about a month ago), Jesus and Mary Chain at Brixton in September, and last Tuesday I went to the Manic Street Preachers at Brixton. I remember when I first saw the Manics on TV almost twenty years ago: they were full of piss and vinegar and they claimed that they would self-destruct about two albums. Well two decades later and eight albums on, they are still around. Their album, Send Away The Tigers which came out this Spring, was a great return to form and live they were incredible. Possessed of energy that would put bands half their age to shame, they began with classic track Motorcycle Emptiness and then proceeded to electrify the audience in the Academy for an hour and forty minutes. The show was pure rock ‘n’ roll and James Dean Bradfield proved that he has one of the best voices in rock, with an amazing acoustic version of This Is Yesterday captivating all who watched. The Manic Street Preachers used to be massive here, selling out Wembley Arena, but now with the fast turnover of new bands, they don’t have such a huge following anymore. But I’m glad: Brixton is a great venue to see live music and the Manics proved that an intelligent talented rock band don’t have to be any oxymoron. No encore for them but they did everything a fan of theirs would have wanted to see anyway. If they play again, I’ll be picking up tickets. Photo is from the NME website…
www.nme.com



A SURPRISING FEATURE
I found a water tower in London on Wednesday this week. Now that may not sound that scintillating but I associate water towers with New York and Daredevil so since I’ve only ever seen one in London before (in Arkley, just north of Barnet) this came as quite a surprise. It’s up at Ladbroke Grove next to the Sainsburys. Here are a couple of photos (taken with my compact as I didn’t have my SLR with me)…


STUDIO SPACE AT LAST
So I promised I would tell everyone who the new publisher of Studio Space was, so here goes: it’ll be published by Image Comics in 320 page hardback and paperback versions at the end of May next year. The enterprising among you could have located it on amazon.com and amazon.ca. Anyway this is very exciting as it will be a very nice book in a rather lovely format. The artist list remains the same as it was except for the addition of Dave Taylor:
1. Brian Bolland
2. Dave Gibbons
3. Tim Bradstreet
4. Howard Chaykin
5. Sean Phillips
6. Duncan Fegredo
7. Joe Kubert
8. Mike Mignola
9. Tim Sale
10. George Pratt
11. Tommy Lee Edwards
12. Adam Hughes
13. Sergio Toppi
14. Walter Simonson
15. Jim Lee
16. Frank Miller
17. Bryan Talbot
18. Alex Ross
19. Steve Dillon
20. Dave Taylor

Foreword by Guillermo Del Toro, afterword by Michael Moorcock.

We’ll be doing lots of events and launches both over here and in the US (Bristol, San Diego and at least one London launch) so I’ll let everyone know here what’s happening.

Here is the cover mockup to the book with a Mignola image…


ENTER THE HIDDEN CITY
I’ve started another blog, just last Thursday, to talk about Hidden City. It’s a comic series that I’ve been working on with Dave Morris for the last few years and I thought that having a blog where I talk just about the genesis and development of that would give me a kick up the arse to get it to the stage where we submit it to a publisher. It’s a supernatural series and will give me a chance to use some of the minutiae and trivia I’ve learnt about London. So go visit http://hidden-city-joelmead.blogspot.com/. The link is also in the Links list on the right here. This Hidden City teaser image ran in the TRIPWIRE Annual this year so I thought it might be appropriate to put it up here…




RIDLEY SCOTT
Just over a week ago, Death Ray published my Ridley Scott interview in issue #8. This, with the accompanying sidebars with Joanna Cassidy, Sean Young, Syd Mead and Lawrence Paull, was the result of the roundtable I did back in San Diego. I conducted the interviews but freelance editor Lee Hart, who was at Death Ray for a few months, did some rewriting on the intro so the magazine decided to give him a joint byline with me. So here is the feature…


THE ART OF ILLUSTRATION
Last weekend I went to the Chris Beetles Gallery, which is just off St James’s Street in London, where they were launching their selling exhibition The Illustrators: The British Art of Illustration 1800 to 2007. I visited the gallery and interviewed the owner when I wrote my Mervyn Peake piece for Time in 2006 and it is a magnificent place. The exhibition had a dazzling array of illustrators including HM Bateman, Heath Robinson, Edmund Dulac, David Low, Giles, Peake and hundreds of others. It brought home the sheer level of talent that artists who illustrate for publication possess and exposed the unfair snobbery that the fine art establishment has towards illustration. Illustrators are the equal of any of their fine art contemporaries and some exceed the ability of these other artists. The exhibition is on until January 5th 2008 and I would recommend anyone with an interest in illustration and art to get themselves down there…

www.chrisbeetles.com