Sunday, March 24, 2013

Turn, turn, turn

A friend was asking me if I still have a turntable. He just got one and was wondering if the sound was better. He was worried if it's poser these days to say you are into records.

I do have a turntable but it's not plugged in. Space is a premium and I listen to my music these days on my iPhone. Time, convenience and iTunes.

But when I first started listening to music seriously, it has always been the radio, cassettes and when you saved up enough, vinyls. Those were the early years of CDs and they were expensive.

Most of us started out writing fan letters. And after you become a regular in the letter column, you sent in a short review to get some feedback from the editors. My first review was the first Smiths single from their last album. The band had broken up. So it was a poignant moment for the fans. I couldn't find the single, but I listened enough of it on BBC to say something about it.

It was a raw attempt at putting down my thoughts what I felt about the music. It was not printed.

The second attempt fared better. I bought the third 10,000 Manics album on cassette, lived with it for a few weeks and sent in a review. It was accepted. That was in the mid 1980s.

Me dad recently reminded me that I pestered him for a hi fi set then. I finally added a turntable to the system some time later and I was listening to singles and albums on vinyls.

But it was not about being cool or having a better sound. It has always been about the music. A DJ friend found the vinyl revival of the late 1990s fueled by the club culture elitist and fetishistic.

Today I pre-purchased the new Nick Cave and David Bowie albums because I'm still excited to listen to what they got to say. iTunes are convenient, I don't discriminate.

Regardless of the format, it is more important that you care about the music, that you still believe rock n roll can save your life.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

24 Hour Comics Day Exhibition

We had 24 Hour Comics Day in Malaysia, Indonesia and even Cambodia. We were jealous. I broached the topic with JF and in 2010 we organized the first 24 Hour Comics Day in Singapore at the School of Thought. We had sponsorship from the Food of Thought, Singapore Art Museum (SAM) and G 'n' B Comics, etc. It was a good turnout as established artists like Sonny Liew, drewscape and Seiji (James Tan) took part. New artists made their debut and became regulars over the years. It was an event that some looked forward to every year.

Success rate was low that first year in terms of completing 24 pages in 24 hours. We carried on and the second edition was held at Goodman Arts Centre in 2011. More people completed their stories. By the time we organized the third edition at the Bukit Merah Public Library last year, we had enough completed stories to do an exhibition together with NLB.

This event will be held at the Jurong Regional Library (Skybridge, Level 3) from 19 March to 2 May. After that it will move to the Sengkang Public Library from 3 May to 18 June. The last stop will be the Serangoon Public Library from 19 June to 31 July. There will be a launch event at the first stop, the Jurong Regional Library, on 30 March (Saturday), 10 am to 11 am at the Programme Zone on Level 1. We will talk about how we started the 24 Hours Comics Day, its significance in light of what's happening in comics in Singapore for the last 3 years and then artists will be there to present their works.

Looking back, this simple affair has been able to cross boundaries in getting support from the different comic circles in Singapore, from the Liquid City 2 gang in the first year to collaborating with Association of Comics Artists (Singapore) in the second year and getting sponsorship from Epigram Books last year. They are the guys who published the new graphic novels by Miel, drewscape, and Oh Yong Hwee and Koh Hong Teng. The latter even turned up to show his support together with Dave Chua (whose Epigram-published graphic novel drawn by Xiao Yan will be coming out soon). Parka Blogs covered the event and sponsored prizes and Absolute Comics gave out free comics. We also have artists from the Comics Society stable joining us.

Right from the beginning it is about connecting with people and with the different communities. We wanted the artists to see the link between comics and art and got them free entry to SAM for inspiration in the first year. Given the type of connectivity we have these days, we wanted collaboration with our Indonesian neighbours. So 2 writers in Singapore worked with 2 artists in Bandung in 2011. I need to model the way, so I threw in my hat into the ring and worked on a maid story called Nanny with Fanni that year. JF had attempted to complete a story on his own in the previous year. This cross-boundary collaboration continued last year - I did a story with Jho from Jakarta and another one with Jin in Australia. Maybe one day you will get to see them.

Things don't happen in a vacuum. 24 Hour Comics Day took place at a time when there is a growing interest and awareness of comics in Singapore. We had comic artists winning the Young Artists Awards, the Liquid City volumes, STGCC, the Epigram graphic novels, greater support from NAC and MDA and of course, graphic novels continued to be a popular staple in the NLB libraries.

So what's next? A publication? Some of the stories done during the 24 Hour Comics Day events have already seen print. Sonny's story appeared in a Flight anthology, drew has self-published his as a mini. The Nanny story I did was published in Indonesia. So a publication is not too far fetched to consider.

2013 - still sussing out the potential location; a request from Malaysia to collaborate. That's something I want to see grow, writers working with artists and from different places/background.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Date King book?

So after introducing Ken to Edmund 2 weeks ago, there might be a Date King book coming out?

Keep you guys posted.

Jack Kirby's Argo

So Dave was telling me that Kirby draw the original storyboards for what was to be the Argo movie in the late 1970s.

Amazing stuff.