Monday, 26 May 2008

Blade Runner

So, there I was, minding my own business, walking home after a long ten-hour shift at work, when a couple of guys stop me and one of them pulls a knife on me.

It's funny how these things suddenly happen out of the blue, isn't it? Of course, by 'funny' I mean 'horrifying'.

It was a Friday night like any other, and I was heading home, taking the same route I always do. The Sweeney Todd soundtrack was playing on my MP3 player, and as I enjoyed Johnny Depp's mock-cockney tones mourning the loss of his dear Johanna, I noticed a couple of figures on the other side of the street.

Based on a cunning survival strategy of not approaching strangers, I chose to ignore them, and crossed over to the other side of the road. Unfortunately, it seemed these strangers did not want to ignore me so easily, and so crossed the street as well, and thereby went from being completely ignored to fully acknowledged.

One of the two went behind me, while the other took to the front, a classic Pincer Movement as favoured by military campaigners throughout history, and by lions in the wild. Which would make me the hapless gazelle caught between two predators.

The guy in front of me blocked my path and refused to budge, forcing me to dislodge the singing barber from my ears and ask what it was that they wanted. I figured they'd be after a cigarette, or something.

"Do you want something?" I said.

"Yeah," came the rather blunt reply. What that something was he didn't elaborate on, and just stared at me.

"Well, what?" I continued. "What is it?"

Then there was a sound that I recognised all too well from my time unpacking boxes in a supermarket - the ratcheting sound of a blade being pushed up several notches on a retractable blade. I looked down to where the noise was coming from, and there it was, clutched in the bloke's hand, blade down.

Terror gripped me, and a thousand thoughts jostled for supremacy in my head, the loudest of which was simply, 'SHIT!' Not very useful, maybe, but entirely appropriate.

I had no idea what to do. I'm entirely useless in any kind of confrontation, and posses precisely zero kung-fu skills, despite having watched dozens of Jean Claude Van-Damme films. I could not formulate any feasible plan to ensure my continued survival, and was almost resigned to the inevitable stabbing.

"What?" I said dumbly, hoping to get some vague idea of what these two wanted. The man in front of me said nothing, fixing me with an ice-cold stare. He angled his body towards me, while the other guy remained behind. Fuck, I thought. This is it. This is how it ends, at the hands of two shitty little bastards, on a dark street in Portsmouth. What a crap way to go. If I had to go, I'd rather it was at the hands of a dozen, nude, wild nymphomaniacs or something. Not this. This was rubbish.

What the hell did they want, anyway? Were they just wanting to stab someone tonight? Or did they want to mug me? If it was the latter, then they'd be sorely disappointed. I had approximately seven pounds on me, and the MP3 player I had been enjoying Sweeney Todd on cost me a fiver form Tescos. I almost hoped they did want to rob me. The slim pickings upon my person would teach them to pick far wealthier targets in the future.

Whatever they wanted, I began to wish they'd get on with it. But still they remained silent and unmoving, not giving me the slightest hint of their intentions. I was sure I was going to be struck at any minute. I was sure they were going to pounce in a flash. Any time now...

However, it seemed that my time was not yet, for at this moment the fates intervened, or God chose to spare me, or Lady Luck fluttered her eyelashes, whatever you choose to believe. For suddenly another man passed-by, going about his business entirely unaware of my current situation. His sudden appearance took my two captors by surprise, and they both seemed to relax themselves, in an attempt to make it look less like they were about to stab me, and more like we were just hanging out together, having a lovely time.

Suddenly, my brain stopped hurling expletives around my skull and threw out an order to the rest of my body.

NOW! It screeched. Move now! Don't wait for the passer-by to pass on by, so we can resume the business of getting stabbed. Just get the hell out of here.

My legs happily obeyed, and I brushed past the guy with the blade, figuring that he'd be reluctant to do any stabbing in front of this passer-by. The blade-wielding bloke seemed surprised by my sudden movement, and tried to slow me with his elbow as I passed, but I was not stopping for anyone now. I was out of there.

Bizarrely, I didn't run. I walked fast, of course, but I didn't take to my feet at full pelt, which seems odd when I look back on it. I just marched up the road, and didn't look back, not even when one of the guys yelled, "You were lucky," after me.

I was lucky. I already knew that.

The full shock and horror of this night-time encounter didn't really sink in until after I had gotten back home, and even then it wasn't right away. No, the first thing I did when I got in was to go and make a cup of tea. Sadly, however, we were out of milk, so without even thinking I went back outside to go to the shop to get some more.

What the fuck was I thinking?

It was only when I returned from the shop, and sat down with a nice cuppa and a few cigarettes that the shock caught up with me. Panic and fear enveloped me, and one thought kept circling through my mind - what if that passer-by hadn't appeared?

I was in quite a state, and I had no-one to talk to as the house was empty. So, I picked up the phone and called my dad, who listened as I blurted my story down the phone, stammering and blubbering in equal measure. I felt bad for burdening my parents with my woes at such a late hour, but I did manage to get most of the previously bottled-up emotions out, and began to regain something approaching some form of composure.

My next duty was to telephone my place of work, and let them know of the incident so they called forewarn any of my colleagues who might be planning to go home that way. Then I phoned my housemate and warned him (who heeded my warning, despite being steaming drunk), and then I finally phoned the police, which proved to be a massive waste of time because they were 'too busy' to come and take a statement from me, but they told me that they hoped to drop by in the next couple of days.

I'm still waiting to hear from them.

So there you go. That is how I spent my week-end. How was yours?

- Fanton.

Friday, 16 May 2008

I'm Bringing Carrots Back

While I take a break from the ball-crushing schedule of updating The Astonishing Adventures of Lord Likely, I have begun work on a couple of new and newish projects.

The first is TOP SECRET and cannot be revealed yet, lest I jinx the whole enterprise and ruin it for ever. Not that I'm superstitious or anything. (Anyone have any four-leaf clovers or rabbit's feet on them?)

The other is the return of my other, more family-friendly creation, The Carrotty Kid.

I stopped updating The Carrotty Kid's site earlier this year, largely because I began to think that maybe I was actually no good at this cartooning lark, despite having doodled and scribbled for most of my life.

However, I still draw the odd picture for Lord Likely's site, which I've enjoyed doing, and thanks to my recent assignment of drawing comic strips for the vue cinemas newsletter, I've suddenly felt a resurgence of confidence in my (admittedly limited) abilities. Especially when I submitted the last vue comic, which I was particularly proud of, and which I've reproduced here for you to look at with your eyes:

Haha! Oh, Batman!

As well as rediscovering my artistic mojo (as it were), I've been reading a fair few webcomics which have all inspired me to pick up my pens again. Stuff like the ever-excellent Dinoballs, Jamie Smart's new venture Whubble and the legendary Beaver and Steve have all given me the cartooning itch, which I am now determined to scratch. Scratch hard until it BLEEDS.

Thus inspired and full of fire, I've decided that I am going to relaunch The Carrotty Kid's website next month. I love the little vegetable vigilante, as he was a creation I came up with as a kid and has been my most successful idea yet, earning me some paid work from the UK's finest animation studio, Cosgrove Hall Films, which in turn led to CK becoming the star of his own three-minute pilot episode which would have led to a full series, if only Children's ITV hadn't imploded in on itself. The swines.

The new-look Carrotty Kid will be a bit different from before. I'm going to re-jig the character's design slightly, and I'm going to change the site's format a bit to prevent me (and the readers) from getting bored. Hopefully the end result will be one-hundred percent excellent, and nought percent rubbish.

Of course, with me going back to cartooning, my other ventures may have to suffer slightly. Lord Likely will be dropping to a twice-weekly update schedule (from his current three posts a week), and my spoof showbiz site gaup may well be killed off altogether, unless anyone reading wants to pick up the baton and run with it.

So there you go. Get ready for the return of everyone's favourite kung-fu carrot, coming to a monitor screen near you in June 2008. Go and visit the website now to see a bit of teaser art, and an exciting countdown clock, counting down the days until CK's rebirth.

It's so exciting, you might just PEE.

In other news, please welcome back Mike Whaite to the internet. Mike was the guy responsible for pretty much all the animation in The Carrotty Kid's pilot episode (which you should go and watch and remark on how excellent it is, by the way) and a guy with whom I seemed to click instantly. He's ridiculously talented and excellent, so check out his wondrous portfolio here and fab little website Popmash. He good.

And finally, keep checking Lord Likely's site, to read some truly excellent guest posts from some fine guest writers. Everyone's done a tip-top job thus far, and I thank you all from the bottom of my trousers. Thank you.

Right. That's it for now. I've got vegetables to draw. Tara!

- Fanton.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

What The Hell Am I Doing?

Hello, Sickbaggers!

It's alright, I haven't died or anything. Or maybe I have, and maybe someone else has hacked into my Blogger account and is pretending to be me RIGHT NOW, while in actual fact I am buried in a garden somewhere, covered in ants.

Or maybe I'm a ghost, writing this on my ghostly PC. Which would make me the very definition of a ghost writer. Hahahaha!

Seriously though, I'm not dead.

I've been taking a bit of a break from blogging and inter-netting for a couple of weeks, just so that I can do other things like enjoy the sunshine, read books and throw pens at gypsies all day long. Just a few of my favourite things.

So I apologise for my absence, and for not visiting you and your lovely web-logs, but I just wanted to step back for a bit and take a wee break. As in a small break, not just a break for weeing.

Although, incidentally, I have been weeing during my wee break.

Anyway, I'm jabbering now.

I'll be back in a week or two, but in the meantime why not visit The Astonishing Adventures of Lord Likely, where a slew of top-notch guest writers are stepping up to the proverbial plate and knocking out some wonderfully excellent (and excellently wonderful) guest posts, while I sit around lounging around doing bugger all. It's a good life.

Speak again soon!


- Fanton.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Gremlins in the Works

Hello, there!

Below is the best TV ad I have ever seen, featuring not only Peter Jones from off of Dragons' Den (a show I am rather to fond of), but also those pint-sized pests the gremlins, last seen on our screens in Gremlins 2: The New Batch back in 1990. It's an excellent advert, which made me smile and which makes me really want to see another Gremlins movie. NOW!

Here be it:

Talking of gremlins, my job has thrown a few gremlins into the works of late, hence no Lord Likely update since Monday. I know, I'm rubbish, but hopefully his lordship will return over the week-end.

See ya!

- Fanton.