The Strange Tale of How I Shouted "Hello" At My Own Spiritual Manifestation From The Future

As I was about to sit down to do some illustration work today an unseen spirtual force traveled from the future and leapt straight into my svelte, toned body, and then slithered down my brainstem skidding past my eyeballs before setting off down my throat and squelching out a polite "Hello".

I could tell by the voice that it was me. Me from the future obviously. We got to talking and I eventually asked myself "What do I look like in thirty years then?" and was all excited to see the results. My future self got to drawing and this was the result:
After I finished crying, my future self left (He said he had to rush off to sign on for his dole). I went into my bedroom and looked at my svelte, toned, tanned body in the mirror and repeated the vow "I will never be that man" over and over, in between mouthfuls of Ice Cream and painkillers.

A Picture Post

Below you will see an illustration what I done for the Bandwidth guys which I really should have posted ages ago but only just now remembered! But lets dig that article in retrospect!

The Perma-Scowl Pub Love

Maybe this is a bit specific, but have you ever went to certain places to scope out someone you fancy? I don't mean in a creepy stalkerish way but there was a time when I used to frequent a pub and look over longingly at the barmaid working there (This does sound creepy but I would've been there with pals first and foremost, I didn't just stand about gawping, dribbling on myself - it was a very pure sweet thing, OK?)

I was just thinking about it today and how great it was to have that going on and that everybody should have a secret crush and never ever reveal their personal feelings about it until one day you have a break down and write it all in your impotent blog.

The girl at this pub was brilliant though - she took no nonsense from anybody and would fling herself around the room with a perma-scowl on her face. Screw friendly staff - you'll never develop awkward feelings about friendly, approachable people as those situations are far too easily resolved to be in any way passion filled. No, what I needed to do, nay, should have done was square up to her and offer to smash the granny out of her, she would've respected that.

Instead what I did for ages was just furtively glance over hoping that one day she'd come over, throw me over her shoulder and take me away for a week of gruesome scowl filled sex.

The reason I was thinking about all this though was because of how I projected this character onto her, without knowing anything about her - she is almost certainly completely different to how I imagine. I just foisted certain traits on her which suited her demeanor at busy times in her workplace and how she reacted to them. Effectively I created the idea of a feisty, unapproachable lass in my mind which in turn created a 'no go' zone in the real world.

I feel like I should be applauding my mind for being so creative without any prompting but I just want to stick sharpened pencils up my nose instead since it's bent on holding me back from ever licking another ladies face. Or whatever's a normal sign of intimacy these days.

Mutilation Madness! Every Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

I'm a bit worried about the youth of today, I think they've all gone a bit weird, I haven't seen half as many of them having wild zombie sex before getting eaten by giant slugs on a remote tropical island whilst chowing down on copious amounts of acid. They mostly hang about outside Newsagents asking you to buy them fags.*

But then again, perhaps I've watched one too many of those skeezy, far out exploitation flicks I've been talking about this week. By far more interesting than these movies however is the accompanying poster/DVD artwork that compels you to buy them for 50 pence in strange smelly "magazine" shops round the back of a Dixons.

In these magic dens, Merlin men from other dimensions who smell like bleach will occasionally proffer advice to you on the best flicks. They have an infinite knowledge of magazines you've never heard of, their covers obscured by black cellophane, sensationally scary titles like "SUCKK" and "ROPES" sticking out the top. They are strange and fascinating places where things that should be forgotten are revered and cherished by obsessives.

It's these abandoned places and abandoned films that has inspired my work this week and as a final dedication to this topic I would like to reveal to you a mock exploitation film poster that I hope you'll enjoy, feast your eyes mortal:

* I took my own life in my hands this week when a 15 year old asked me this in front of his chav mates and I laughed in his face. Luckily he took it well and I was well proud that I'd finally been able to penetrate their language instead of resorting to my usual annoying middle class response of: 'Oh, Sorry old bean! They're awfully bad for you! Ha Ha! Pip pip! Please stop spitting at me and saying I'm a gayer in front of these attractive women! Ho ho!"

Ipp Dipp Dog Shit

Yesterday I was dead dog double bored which is, as we all know, the worst kind of boredom. Instead of hanging about outside the chippy with my crew as I normally do, I instead set myself a challenge (very Blue Peter of me) to write and illustrate a short comic within 24 hours. Of those 24 hours I slept for 18 of them so you'll have to forgive the following results:

A (Wonder) Womans Work Is Never Done

I've been watching and reading up on a load of monster movies and exploitation films from back in the 70's and 80's recently which have been serving as a little inspiration for the illustration I'm doing on the side at the minute. Even though movies like Driller Killer and Devil's Nightmare are gore fueled romps shot through with misogynistic overtones I can't help but really enjoy them for their anacronistic stylings.

I'd even watch something like Pom Pom Girls which I probably should be ashamed of. In fact if someone ever tasked me with making a film this would probably be the film I'd wanna make in my mind but would actually submit something more prosaic that society wouldn't boot me in the balls for.

Anyway, the real purpose of all this nonsense is to provide a bit of lead in for what was happening in my fevered brain when I drew this monster mash up, hope you enjoy:

Bangor Girls Are Best

Sitting on one of the sticky benches on the platform at Central Station at 9.30pm the other night I spied a beautiful woman from the corner of my peeper (I have one good peeper, the other one is shit and thus glasses are required.) She was, as The Sun would say in a big font, a stunnah.

In an odd way I wanted her to get on the same train as me, not out of any misguided ambition on my part but rather I wanted her on my team, to hail from the same part of Northern Ireland. Or more vainly, I wanted to revel in the knowledge that I was getting on the beautiful train bound for gorgeous-ville.

But I knew already my dream would be crushed, for I'd been in this situation countless times before - y'see, due to the timetabling of trains at Central Station, the Ballymena line (me & other uggos) overlaps with the Bangor Line (The beautiful people) resulting in an often confusing mix of Lovecraftian beasts from the abyss milling around in concert with pneumatic Uma Thurman lookalikes.

You may think I'm exaggerating, but almost as if to illustrate my thoughts at that point some spide hoved his quivering bleached white bulk into view as my train pulled in and then proceeded to stand in front of the door like a sun scorched dog turd for a stupidly long time before I had to press the big 'OPEN DOOR' button for him. As I stepped into the pish-stink carriage I took one last look across the platform at the Bangor train as it pulled away in the other direction and I could have sworn I had seen their train conductor somewhere before.

Then it hit me, I recalled one bored night late last year I was stuck in a hotel in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do so I had flicked onto Model-TV and seen this bangorian conductor striding down the catwalk at Chanels Autumn/Winter 09 show. You have to admit, a similar skillset is required and it helps keep a young model keep afloat during the downtime between shows.

As a result of this I've decided to make the move to Bangor, but not before some extensive surgery first so as to avoid being burnt as a witch upon entry to their town.

I'll see you on the other side. Wish me luck.

The Dream Blog Cop Out Update

Shivering in my kitchen lit by the cool blue of the morning light in my cool blue denim nightgown and denim pants I'm reflecting on the dreams I had last night, I often do this as sometimes the dreams involve faded popstars Samantha Mumba and Louise Redknapp degrading themselves whilst Jayne Middlemiss presents it in the style of the OZone circa '96. For example.

Last night there was none of that malarkey, rather it was a series of vignettes taking place at various fictional social engagements, after each one came to its dramatic conclusion I would wake up, Scrooge-like, only to fall back to sleep again and enter another sticky situation (not that kind).

For example - one of the dreams I can recall clearly is that me and my dear poppa pops (father) are out on the razz, we're in a father-son three legless race to the bottom of the glass and have wound up in an old man boozer talking to two beautiful woman. It's all going very well indeed and it doesn't strike me as sickening to be out pulling ladies with your old man, but then disaster strikes as both ladies suddenly announce that they're gay but only when we're around and they'd like us to leave. And that's when I wake up, booted out of my own dream.

Later I dream of a lavish party, banners and streamers suffocate the room as if a serial killer made their lair in Birthdays. The place is packed full of people I have worked with past and present and its some kind of formal do - uh oh! I watch myself enter the room on the arms of two bouncers - oddly they're throwing me into the party instead of out of it but I try to make the best of it by chatting to people. Strangely the only response to my mega-chat is derision and scorn, but in the third person i.e "He's a total prick and smells of Turps and Felt Tips"

I think my sub-conscious was in the hope that I would have learnt some kind of lesson. But I'm going out tonight with pals and as time ticks on I'm not sure of the social lessons I should have learnt from these fever dreams.

I've just finished my brew, breakfast has formally ended sadly. Time to do some actual work on issue 2. Tell you what 400 Facts Fanciers Fraternity, I'll let you all know how I get on tonight and see if these dreams have any impact eh? They probably won't but I'll make some shit up and tie this altogether into coherence.


Carrie Bradshaw Investigates...

Hello Facts Fans!

Been drawing some Issue 2 stuff today but wanted to take a break to get some stuff off my chest.

Surely there must be a term for when you break up with someone and then they go on to marry/have a baby with their very next partner. We live in a modern dating age where a day hardly goes by without hearing someone spout rubbish they overheard off of Sex and the City (I overheard someone talking about Cougars and their ancient cooters the other day) usually cribbing a phrase from that show to make their point.

So rewind your eyes back to that first question I popped in yer eyes there at the start - have a think for a bit.

See, I found out today that someone I dated for not-very-long-at-all had a baby and got married to the bloke she started dating right after me, and I have to say it all feels a bit curious in my tummy.

I'll admit when I first saw the pictures I did some mental arithmetic in my head and came out 2 months in the clear (yeah its self serving and redundant but you would do the same) and sang something akin to 'humin-ah humin-ah! That ain't my baby!

So at this point some of you may be thinking I dodged a bullet but I haven't really paid any mind to that side of things at all - in fact, as I stared in the wee babbies eyes while she sat on my exes knee I got an odd feeling of having missed out on something, and no I don't mean actually having the kid or being married.

Perhaps I can sum this up in terms of an image; picture yourself turning up to a party and theres loads of food and the musics on full blast and the place looks a state as it should but theres no one there, its just you, free to enjoy yourself as you see fit - but where'd everyone go?

I don't want to bow out on such a note though so lets return to the question I posed to you at the very start, the modern term we need for this situation, the only thing I could think of was 'Baby Baton'.

As in;

Mister one: "She left me and now shes pregnant and getting married to this other dude"

Mister two: "Looks like you just passed him the baby baton!"

(Canned laughter to fade - credits roll - studio bosses report dismal viewing figures)

Toilet Tantrums

I sat down in a cafe the other day ordered up a tuna bagel and a large coffee (which I had planned to pour whisky into because it was so cold but an old dude sat next to me and I got a bit self consciously alky, I worry too much about what old dudes opinions of me are) and ate both like an animal - mayonnaise and coffee shooting out everywhere, headphones rammed in me ears and trying to balance a book on my lap all at once. What can I say - I'm a multitasker momma!

That night I also went to a big ol' party and did a big booze. Tragedy struck however when I fell into a really deep gutter on their roof terrace in front of a lot of people. Later on I met someone there who told me a really boring story for at least half an hour, the kind of story where you know what the ending is but they can't seem to reach it without a shit load of exposition and very little in the way of jokes (or whatever it is that makes stories interesting these days).

So it wasn't the best start to the post Christmas party season I can tell ya, and then the curse got worse when I sank too many beers and had to nip to the toilet. Sadly, I was forced to piss outside because some really annoying girl wouldn't let me use the one toilet in the place (which is inevitably commandeered and occupied by women very early on in these events whereupon it is renamed the 'LADIES BATHROOM' even though it is a toilet without gender and doesn't mind which bits you stick in it)

It is simultaneously the most attractive and frustrating dance that two people play out in these toilet queue scenarios - the girl is justifiably indignant and appalled but the man is confused (drunk) and stupid (inevitably bringing up something like equal rights or some shite) and what ensues between them is a mixture of rolled eyes, discontented mumblings and outright sweary bollockings before the male swans off past the assembled crew of piss-eager girls who all make a mental note of said males face and add him to the 'Total Twat I'll Never Touch' list.

But something has happened between them - a frisson of passion, a heated debate where their mettle has been tested, it could head toward flirtation very easily if it were not for one thing; you're both subconsciously aware that as a couple you would forever be tainted by the knowledge that you first met via having a drunk fight at 4 in the morning over who could have a pish first.

That's why I walked away from my True Love on Saturday.

P.S - 400 Facts stickers came today - Spot them in town soon...

A good place for an awkward conversation

Here's an idea for the cover for the second issue I've been knocking around tonight.

totally knackered now - sleep sleep time

The Public Private Diary of Dinah Gorgon Aged 17

Well as promised, I've got here (well on down the page) the free 'side story' comic I've been working on this week.

It's purpose is to compliment the narrative of 400 facts and flesh out another character who will really only be fleeting in the main comic, also I thought it'd be neat to give you internet chaps a chance to read something on here and get a feel for the type of comic you'd be letting yourself in for...

I hope you enjoy Dinahs first whirl round the comic book pole, her diary is a more surreal disjointed affair than 400 Facts too so i hope it floats all yer boats. Dinah herself is a testy bird and is really quite a contrary person. As she says herself, shes 17 and deadly.

On with the show then, remember to click the images to get a fullscreen (otherwise you'll have a hard time reading it)

Peace out

From the Story Vault

I'm writing a short one page comic to stick on this blog when I get the chance and things are going pretty well so hopefully you'll see the results shortly. I'm spitting piss about the weather outside though as I think I haven't been able to walk properly for about 2 weeks now cos of the frost.

The one nice thing about the weather being like this is the moon reflecting off the snow on clear nights so everything out there is rendered in a weird glowing stillness. Tonight the sky is pale red and it feels like mars at dusk, theres big cotton swabs of snow falling as I'm writing this so its getting easier and easier to romanticise all this rather than damn it for all the logistical trouble its causing me.

Anyway, here's another story from my short story vault - it's not at all in the style of 4HF but I hope you enjoy it regardless.

Alabama Chrome

I didn't see to it, I told them. I didn't see to it, kept on yellin it, still damn drunk.

I jest found the body, covered with puckers of bruises yellow an purple. All swoll up. Lips and nose flowerin' out against a putty face.

Had been drinkin' all day an' went to sleep at the underpass, the rumbles of the vehicles above make me dream of the Lord shuddering out obscenities. I like them dreams.

I set myself down there and at some point a pair of highbeams cross my face and then light him up, not 10 feet away, eyes open starin' up at the pass listenin' to the gospel of ghosts.

I said;

"Listen up, that's all you can do down here, you listen to His prayers. He won't hear a damn thing you say back."

and, hell if that didn't set me off laughin'.

When they old bluejays picked us up in the mornin' in their car they said I was laid up right beside him starin' up at that dark pass, had taken off both our shoes and hats and put em in a pile under our heads.

But it wasn't me, I didn't see to that fellar, it was the Lord brought us together, to hear his word.

Out of the Frying Pan and into the Flyer

Back to work then, bang into 2010 and cannot make anymore excuses for not doing anything except for watching terrible BBC specials with awful CGI effects and eating malteasers all day and then doing useless situps out of guilt.

Been staying up late most nights trying to sleep but having the characters of 4HF run through my mind getting into different strange scenarios, a few of which I end up having to write down so as to not forget them in the morning. There's a new character in the next issue called Dinah who I'm loving writing at the minute as she's a brassy mare so its fun coming up with put downs for her. Here's a line of hers that came from the aforementioned sleepless(ish) night, it's in reference to finding her drunken big brother Del sat outside their house in the snow wrapped in their mums pilfered bedsheets:

"Is that mams bedsheets wrapped on yeh, from the line? - must've been the only thing keeping you warm out here - that n'all the whisky in yer dick"

Also, below you'll see a new flyer that i'm going to get made into stickers and stick them about round town, drum up a bit of buzz. I'm mostly terrible at drumming up buzz though and its something that sticks in my craw most of the time having to be my own PR. I'm just not very savvy in that way as I'm sure most people who do this sort of thing aren't either.

I think a flyer will be a fine start though before I move onto more ostentatious and desperate displays in vain efforts to garner public support, here's to 2010!