Posted on January 26th, 2014
This week I got a late birthday present – a trip to see a revival of Jez Butterworth’s play Mojo, currently being performed at the Harold Pinter Theatre. I’ve only had intermittent exposure to Butterworth’s other work. I was lucky enough to get to see Jerusalem during its second West End run, and I once watched Birthday Girl on a flight (I guess it was the best option available) and I can’t remember all that much about it.
Mojo is about a Soho club in the 50s and the people that run it, their performer Silver Johnny (who evidently is going to be their meal ticket), and the gangster ties that threaten to undo the whole thing. It’s odd how timeless the whole thing feels, despite being clearly set in a defined time period. Even though Rock ‘n’ Roll references are abound, and the hairstyles definitely belong to a bygone age, it doesn’t come across as a period piece at all. I suppose this is because it’s very much a play about people’s interactions with each other more than anything else, and with the set more perfunctory than anything else. It’s not about the time, it’s not about the place; it’s about the people.
So I guess that it helps that the acting is pretty good throughout. Rupert Grint and Daniel Mays open up proceedings and anchor the play as Sweets and Potts, two employees at the club who really just happen to be around proceedings. Skinny, played by Colin Morgan, is mostly there to come across as an alternative to Ben Wishaw’s Baby, and their rivalrous relationship drives a fair portion of the play. Brendan Coyle is excellent as Mickey, a ball of rage disguising his devious nature. Even Tom Rhys Harries, who has, like, two lines, does well when he gets his chance to take part in the shouting matches that bubble up frequently.
Really though, this is the Ben Wishaw show. In Jerusalem, Mark Rylance was such an overwhelming force of personality that every other actor in that play essentially became satellites in his orbit, and it’s borderline impossible to think of that play without him (which is going to make the inevitable revival down the line interesting). Wishaw doesn’t have quite the same impact since Baby is less of the focus in this play (and of course Mojo has been done before, Tom Hollander having Wishaw’s part in the first production in what I must imagine was a rather different take) but he draws you in. When Baby first appears, he seems so off-kilter, ever so slightly strange, and it’s to Wishaw’s credit that this doesn’t ever stray into oddball territory, somehow remaining humane in what becomes rather bleak circumstances. It’s a rather special performance.
Anyway, it’s a really good play and I thoroughly recommend going to see it. It’s only on for another two weeks with some limited availability, so if you do want to go you’d better get a move on and be prepared to pony up. Alternatively, get someone to take you (mwahahahahahaha).
Posted on January 17th, 2014
At long last, we’ve reached the denouement of Wounded. It’s taken many man-hours to reach this point, but it’s time to take this thing to its climax.
The redbands can’t run much further. Jed can’t keep chasing them much longer. Something’s got to give. It’s got to end somehow. Who will come out on top in a battle of wills, with the stakes set at life itself?
I had originally aimed to have this out by NYE, so only missing my personal deadline by two and a half weeks is some kind of record! In all seriousness, doing Wounded has been a challenging, even draining experience, but I ‘m glad that it’s done. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about the process and myself in doing it. It’s been a part of my life for so long that the thought of it not being there is weird. I’m still too close to it all to think anything other thanthtghththththed right now. I would quite like a print version of it at some point, but that’ll be a loooooooong way down the road.
Either head on straight over to the Wounded page to get the latest issue, or if you can’t be bothered doing that then you can directly download the CBR from here and the PDF from here. I’ve also gotten around to putting up higher-resolution versions of the older issues, now available from their respective download links on the Wounded page.
I’ve started work on a (very different) follow up series, but there’ll be a few more shorter strips going up in the meantime.
Posted on January 12th, 2014
It is time, it is time, it is time for stormy weather
-The Pixies, ‘Stormy Weather‘
So if you live in the UK, it’s quite possible that you’ll have noticed that we’ve had a bit of weather lately. Some places are knee deep in liquid right now, but living in inner London means that I tend to avoid the more extreme manifestations of this country’s crazy weather patterns, but it’s been very hard not to notice that the weather gods seem to be acting more vengefully of late. It’s been pissing it down, something that’s hard not to notice when popping down the end of the street ends up in you being completely saturated.
Mostly though, I’ve been noticing the wind. It’s been loud. It’s been making fox-like screeching through the trees. It’s been forcing the slightly film of drizzle right into the dark recesses of my jeans. It’s been forcing me to reconsider training my core strength more in the gym by making me walk much faster or slower than I’m comfortable with. It’s even shaken the house a bit. It’s been crashing past my window, all night long, and all morning.
I’m actually okay with what people describe as ‘bad’ weather. As a general rule, I’m happier in the rain than I am in the sun, because I don’t like having to fish my boxers out of my crack every three minutes. But first thing in the morning? Hearing that wind screech across the horizon? Hearing that rain thud down on the ground? Nothing sends me back into bed quicker. Nothing makes me embed myself into that mattress with a greater sense of urgency.
I don’t know why, but nothing makes me curl up in a ball in bed quite like the sound of stormy weather outside. I think it must be the juxtaposition of the sounds of unpleasantness outside with the cosiness and warmth inside. It creates an awareness that I’m in hibernation, and that the bed is protecting me from the raging alternative out there. It’s my force-field of comfort, shielding me from the effects of nature. Why would I want to leave that?
Anyway, the weather’s seems to be finally calming down a bit now. It’s resorted to mundane, stable grey for the most part, with the odd dash of wondrous crisp winter sunshine thrown in (my personal favourite). I guess I’m going to have less of an excuse for wanting to stay curled up in bed instead of jumping up first thing in the morning. Damn.