Wednesday, 11 December 2013

What do you call a man who hangs on a wall?


Boom boom!

 It’s that time of year again, folks. Advent and the coming of Christmas is my favourite time of year. Time to light candles and read a poem or holiday quotation to warm our hearts. Time to celebrate my birthday with the traditional leek and potato soup, decorating the Christmas tree and watching (and blubbing through) The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. A time for silly puns and terrible jokes in Christmas crackers. Time for shouting “Oh no it isn’t!” and  “He’s behind you!” at the Panto.

What’s not to love?  

Spiderman and I often just club in together for our gifts--buy tickets for an experience or purchase something we both love to share. You may recall last month we purchased a fantastic drawing from the wonderful illustrator and cartoonist Tom Gauld.  He very kindly offered to hold back another drawing  for us that we had our eye on  until December. Well, it’s December folks! Our purchase of Interview With a Cultural Teddy Bear has arrived!
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 This cartoon featured on the blog last year as just one we had seen and found funny and quirky. Who knew it would someday belong to us?

Spiderman excelled himself for my birthday, getting me some more amazing artwork and supporting a good cause. Our friend Chris Priestley  is one of the best young adult writers of our age. His Tales of Terror series invoke a real sense of unease and delicious tingling down the back of your spine as you read them and his novels inspired by great works of literature such as Mister Creecher (Frankenstein) and The Dead Men Stood Together (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)  are some of his finest. They take a refreshing look at the original source and fill in details that the authors gloss over.  Mister Creecher fills in the bits where Frankenstein and Clerval travel to England to find the parts to create a mate for the creature. This book is possibly one of the best written books I have ever read and it cleverly woven (just to make it that bit better) with Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, Mary Shelley (who actually wrote Frankenstein) and her husband Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley as well as a whole host of literary and culteral references But before Chris was a writer, he was an artist and illustrator.

Spiderman stumbled across an auction in aid the typhoon in the Philippines and Chris had kindly donated some works. Spiderman bid on it and won and so we are the proud owner of the original cover art from Mister Creecher and a personalised copy of the book.

 Here is the pen and ink drawing for the cover of Mister Creecher. Please click on the picture so you can see it in all its glory. I’m not sure you will be able to see all the details, but the skin stretched tightly over the skull and the look of anguish in the creature’s dead eyes are truly haunting.

It also came with this one--a picture of the graves.

The two pictures were married together on the computer to form the cover which looks like this when you buy it in shops:

 And here is the front of the book, personalised to me with a happy birthday message and a pile of skulls. Every girl wants a pile of skulls for her birthday.

I know I do.

 I realise that not everyone would find it romantic to receive a drawing of a pile of skulls and a creature reanimated from the bodies of the dead, but Spiderman knows me well. He knows how I love art and the books Frankenstein and Mister Creecher. He knows that I am drawn to the haunted, the downtrodden and the wounded.

He knows me well.

So happy advent, happy birthday, happy Christmas and happy life.

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