Thursday, August 19, 2004

feel the pain

2 books, 1 tv show, all incredible, all depressing as hell. How I live Now by Meg Rosoff is causing a bit of a stir and for good reason, who knows if it will become the next Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time but I hope so, it deserves it It's a powerful uncompromising read. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi came out a while ago and is one of those oddities - a graphic novel that becomes accepted by the real world, like Jimmy Corrigan, Maus, Ghost World or Joe Sacco's books. I've no idea why I waited so long to buy it, it was originally published by the excellent French small press publishers L'Association which comprises some phenominal talent such as Lewis Trondhein, Johann Sfar and, this one's important David B. (I'm not sure if Christophe Blaine is part of L'Association, but if he isn't I bet he's an honourary member) Over a year ago Fantagraphics translated and released the incredible Epileptic part 1, beautiful artwork in service to a touching autobiography. Epileptic managed to get a few excellent reviews, but sales wise didn't set the world on fire (I guess the price didn't help, at $25 (can't remember the English price) it was a bit steep, even if the design and presentation justified it), since then Fantagraphics and L'Association have amicably parted ways so Pantheon can reissue Epileptic complete with the second final part in a similar format to Persepolis (small sized hardback) at about $25. Putting aside the annoyance at having to buy something twice (or half of something) I think I suffered the 'but I was there first' syndrome, y'know, like when your fave band suddenly becomes successful and you decide they aren't that good anymore and anyway, you were into them WAY BEFORE ANYONE ELSE! Pathetic, but we've all done it (at least I hope so, or I just outed myself as a complete loser) Persepolis does actually owe a debt (that Satrapi acknowledges) to Epileptic and I guess I was a little bit dismissive of it because I felt Epileptic had been ignored. Dumb. Anyway, I've read it now and it's a hell of a good book, the predictable comparisons to Maus are understandable, but do diminish Satrapi's achievements. Anyway, I loved it. Both books involved the difficult lives of two young women during war times and although are positive in many ways they don't exactly cheer.
And on the subject of cheer, one of my favourite TV shows returned this week (to bog standard terrestrial viewers) Six Feet Under is one of the few programmes I watch (that's right I'm one of those irritating people who don't watch much TV and tell everyone to prove how 'smart' I am) It's not really worth me 'reviewing' it, I'm sure everyone who reads this is aware of it. Anyway I love it, but it depresses the hell out of me. I like to think I'm not someone who thinks dark and miserable equals good (really, I'm not, I got into trouble once with a small press publisher years ago - he did a comic called Slices, which was supposed to be 'slice of life' stories. What they were was dull, poorly written and always bleak. The publisher didn't like my observation that life doesn't always suck and maybe he could try his hand at publishing a story that was happy and uplifting. He didn't agree. So you see, I'm not just about the grim, honest), but I do think misery doesn't have to try so hard to get my approval. Is it shallow and immature of me to think, 'wow, and they all die/live unhappily ever after - so real, so true'? Yeah, it probably is. Damn. Okay, I'm just gonna blame the creators.
Nip and Tuck also depressed me, but that's just because it was bad. I gave it another chance and it burned me, well not again.
Cornwall tomorrow, lucky for us it's not the flooded bit. Who knows what's going to happen? Will my wife (her name's Rebecca for all those people reading this who don't already know me) get the job, will we take it, will I be unemployed? If life was TV I'd by cable or something so I could watch next weeks episode.

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