Well, it's (more or less) finished. There's a couple of panels that need re-doing because I've drawn the wrong building (it was Google's fault! It's best to do it again, because some smartarse reader would've pulled me up on it!), and there's problems with the scans, (but that should be sorted shortly) but, mostly, Septic Isle is completed. Look left for a sample image!
I spent all of last week staying up until very late (at one point I had two cigarette lighters holding my eyelids up. I couldn't find the matches.) getting the last eight pages pencilled, then inking the last twelve or so pages. While I was doing this, I got very, very fed up with my CD collection. I have hundreds and I must've listened to each one at least twice in the last month or so. So for the final stint, I resorted to the radio.
Evening/late-night radio is a very different beast to its daytime equivalent. The playlists are different for a start, and the phone-in show is king. I'm allergic to Radio 4, I think. I can't be bothered with reviews of the latest pile of shite on at the Barbican, or interviews with the latest shyster to unveil another bigger pile of shite at the Tate Modern, and I've never found I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue that funny. I think Radio 4 is something you listen to when you grow up, and I'm yet to do so, and I'm too old for Radio 1, too young for Radio 2 and not enough of a classical music buff for Radio 3, and BBC WM is utter, utter bilge (unless there's a Villa match on, natch.) so I was stuck with the commercial stations. Now, you listen to enough of these for a while, you learn a few things.
The adverts, for a start, are mostly the government telling you to behave. Road tax evasion, benefit fraud, binge drinking, sharing needles and unprotected sex are all frowned upon. And so they should be, but it was like Chinese water torture listening to these ads again and again. There's one particular ad that warns against unprotected sex, which is a lad with a Liverpudlian accent telling me about his genital herpes that I must've heard about seven hundred and fifty-eight times in the last week. Talk about the City of Culture! I got so sick of hearing about this Scouser's scabby scrotal sac (alliteration!!) that I'm never going to wear a condom ever again just to spite him. (That may sound reckless, but it's okay, as Pope Benedict XVI probably gets more action than me lately!)
The people who get on these late-night phone-in discussion shows must be vetted to make the host sound clever. I've always wondered who can be bothered to phone up these shows anyway, and why are they still up? They can't have any work or anything meaningful to do, as they'd be doing it and wouldn't have the time. They obviously don't want to sleep, or they do sleep during the day and miss every news bulletin because most of them don't have a clue what's going on around them. So, generally, the host draws his conclusions on the topic of the night on the opinions of a bunch of lonely, ill-informed insomniacs with nothing better to do. For example, one show I listened to had Nick Pope on, he was the MOD's UFO investigator for a few years, and he was talking about all his reports which are soon to published under the Freedom of Information Act, and he said something along the lines of 'some information, such as addresses, and sensitive military and technical data will still be censored, this is for security reasons, but the conspiracy theorists will have a field day saying it's something else.' To which some bloke (from Sheldon, just up the road from me) phoned in and replied "Why does he use the words 'conspiracy theory'? It ain't a theory, it's real. Aliens have been coming down and mutilating our cats for years! That's a fact!" (Actually, later on in the same show, they had James Randi on, the famous sceptic, who has offered a million dollars of his own money to anyone who can conclusively prove to him that they have psychic powers. The money's stayed in his account so far. During his interview, they had a break which featured an advertisement for Derek Acorah's upcoming show at the Birmingham Alex. Well planned, that was. It's almost as if Derek knew...)
Anyway, I've survived listening to all this (I found it amusing, for the most part) to get this book finished, and it's going to leave a bit of a hole in my life for the immediate future (actually, some of the characters end up with a bit of a hole in them as well!) but there might be a sequel, so I don't think I've seen the last of Marley just yet. I was just thinking the other day that since i started working on this I've gone through a marriage break-up, a house move and four other break ups. Bloody hell. Let's hope the sequel is drawn during a less 'interesting' time!