So, I think we’re in need of a re-cap…
The ‘ONE’ anthology comic-book deal had ‘gone away’. We got quite close with one of the big two publishers, it seemed like it was all gonna happen, they’d even created a new deal structure to accommodate us and all our awkward needs. But then they did a U-turn & we decided not to pursue any of the other offers that were floating about.
I was getting on with the screen prints side of things, but always in the back of my mind was the fact that all the images were related to this story somehow, the story of Gregory Pope, washing machine repairman.
In the early version of the story the protagonist was to be Gregory Pope, not his love interest Nao. And it was him that was going to be obsessed with the cult TV show ONE (see previous posts), part of the idea was that washing machines were portals… portals into the world of ONE & that somehow the two worlds were connected by Gregory Pope & Nobodaddyo, who were essentially & rather weirdly, one & the same, whilst remaining separate (I know, all very metaphysical).
Anyway, like I said, I was concentrating on these images for printing & hoping that I might be able to sell them, via a website – and at the same time I was still trying to find the time to make this short film with James (all in my spare time). The image for this post is an element from the unfinished website www.peoploids.com . It’s a set of ‘Nobinoculars’ with which you’d be able to take a closer look at the ‘Journey to the East’ print (see previous post).
At the same time as all this was going on, Zombie got the job of re-doing the Laz Inc. website. Steve Lazarides started out as Banksy’s manager & we met him in the early days of Pictures on Walls, because it was Steve & Banksy that came to Jamie with the idea & asked if he’d be involved. Anyway, I did some concept design for the new website, and that brought me back into contact with Steve, so I decided to show him my prints to see if he’d be interested in making some up & selling them in his gallery. He was, so we agreed on doing two editions, both ‘Hen to Pan’ & ‘The Bird Fights…’ as well agreeing to have some of The Journey to the East, which were already printed up, available to buy in his Charing Cross Road gallery.
So, at that point I felt pretty pleased with myself, everything was going well & I thought might be able to start shifting some prints. But I was feeling a tiny bit frustrated, knowing that Alan was so busy on all his Tank Girl projects, I knew he wouldn’t be able to devote any time to a speculative project like 2013 & it would be a long time before we could get the story up & running & into any kind of shape.
About a month went by, my wife & son were off on one of their trips to Brighton or France & I took the opportunity to go see WALL-E in town. Afterwards I wandered around Covent Garden & then padded through Soho on my way to Oxford St tube to go home.
On Wardour St I came across a second hand bookstore that I’d never seen before, it was about 9pm, so it was dark & there was a magical quality to it, as if it had just appeared for me, in a mysterious ‘Mr Benn’ kinda way.
Inside I found several great books immediately, a copy of the Tao Te Ching, a book on Hopis and ‘The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons of the Dead’, which I’d had bookmarked on my browser for weeks without reading it properly. Then just as I fingered another interesting looking book they said “we’re gonna close in a minute” so without having time to peruse it properly I just bought the job lot.
It was only when I was on the tube that I decided to look at this book…
I’ve been aware of books ‘choosing me’ in the past & I had a funny feeling about this one too. It was called ‘Art as Medicine – Creating a Therapy of the Imagination’ I flicked it open to somewhere in the middle to see an odd picture of a woman flying out of a washing machine and this is what I read…
“The Devi comes right out of the machine, out of the ordinary. Or perhaps she goes into the machine, which opens to other worlds, travels transformations, and cleansings….”
And then it went on, a few sentences later, the woman from the picture was quoted as saying…
“I have come to help you renew your vocation, your devotion to the commonplace, to the sacred routine, the overlooked spirits. The mysterious city is right under your nose, the eons are inside you, inside the spinning of my machine.
I was quite taken aback, what a great example of synchronicity. It immediately felt like an encouragement for me to just get on & write the story myself, especially the “I have come to help you renew your vocation” bit.
The thing is, I’d always been thinking about it, always coming up with ideas etc and finally after that strange little experience, I thought I’d write them down and see what I’ve got.
And I realised that I had enough material to do maybe three comics which could then be collected as a book.
I wasn’t working on any paid jobs so I took the opportunity to try & write it all down & things just started to fall into place – ideas I’d had for other things suddenly seemed to have found their real home. Things were just slotting in left right and centre, to the point where I didn’t feel like I was doing any writing at all, it was just like listening for things to pop into my head. It was weird. Maybe writers have that a lot, I certainly hadn’t experienced anything quite like it before, not in such a short space of time.
Gregory Pope was no longer the protagonist, Nao Brown was… & she’d become a lot more complicated. There were two new characters & a major decision to change a certain aspect of the story, and that was the catalyst that meant everything could fall into place. I also had the new title, which I was really pleased with. I contacted Alan and explained my ‘epiphany’, he kindly gave me his blessing & set me adrift, all alone on the Sea of Inspiration, in my little ‘writing boat’… (see? This writing business is a doddle). It was all very exciting.
I also got hold of Steve Lazarides, who hadn’t got back to me for a while & I called off the print deal. I felt I wanted to keep the work back, it didn’t feel like the right place for it at this time. So with no hard feelings we agreed that I’d jump ship.