This place isn't, much as it would seem it, dead. I've got plenty of ideas/things to scan left, and I'm always happy and excited to be thinking about it. Even got a couple of "collaboration" things going on that I've been unintentionally rejecting as well, exciting things! And to those two collaborators (clue: they've both been previously featured on this blog) I offer my apologies publicly (sort of) for my tardiness. I also (and equally) extend my apologies to those of you that have sent me stuff for free, along with a load of interesting "behind-the-scenes" information and so on. That stuff WILL be gotten to, in time. Definitely. Can't start one thing without finishing another though, and there's still five titles left in the Galaxy/Tristar Publishing series - gah!
This isn't just one of those "been really busy" blog post things that you see all the time, I've always been mostly open with you lot so here's a bit more of that open-ness, with some fun Sparky covers and other bits of DC Thomson miscellany in between, just to keep things colourful around here.
Back when I first started this thing in 2012 (my but those years have flown over), my life consisted of working six days a week in a shop that's on the same road as my flat. I worked from midday till 8.30pm every day except for Tuesdays, and whilst this meant I'd always get a lie-in, I'd never be able to do much outside of work. Didn't go to the cinema for six years, had to book holidays if I wanted to go and see a band or something. First world problems and all that, it was a job and it was paying for my flat, but I'd go whole months without leaving the road I live on. My social life consisted of two-and-a-half hours in a pub with a friend on a Wednesday night, and a weekly visit from my mum. I convinced myself I was happy with this. Ha, I was wrong!
Hindsight's a wonderful thing and all that - that job was literally sucking the life out of me. It was nice to have a regular income, it kept me fit, I made some very good friends in both staff and customers, and I became a "face" in the local community. But at the same time, I had multiple threats of violence, two actual death threats that resulted in a court case, one count of physical assault, one panic attack, frequent raging outbursts and a constant, numbing background desire to die. Friends and family kept on telling me that the place was changing me, and not for the better, and that I should try and get out of it, but I was insisting to myself that everything was just fine.
The way the place was run was essentially have sex with the boss or else suffer for it - And the boss being a straight male meant that I was to suffer. I was doing the work of six staff at once, I did EVERYTHING. Ordered stock, warehoused stock, kept shop stock level, kept an eye on the dates, kept everything clean, looked out for shoplifters, kept the fridges running, worked on the tills, looked after the CCTV, opened up in the mornings, closed up at night, took all the tobacco off the shelves and boxed it up at night, cashed up at the end of the day, took cash to the Post Office, ordered newspapers and magazines, sent back unsold newspapers and magazines, bagged up fruit and vegetables... Everything. I found out that everyone else was getting paid a pound more an hour than me, because I was classed as "warehouse staff". I found that out four years ago and stayed around for another three years, without doing or saying anything about it, just hating myself and wishing the years away. Everyone else got at least two weekends off in any given month, but not me, because every day I wasn't in the shop, "things didn't get done". Punished for being good at my job! And no weekends off means essentially I got less holidays than everyone else as well, because I'd have to use a holiday to do something on a Saturday or Sunday. And if I ever DID take time off - well, the boss wouldn't speak to me a week before and for the week after I got back, because it meant that HE'd have to do what I was doing. This all seems like a moaning rant, and it is - just me wringing out my catharsis bag is all. At least it's illustrated?
With all that, I somehow convinced myself I was happy and that everything was fine. The lack of a social life eventually lead to the creation of this blog - that's not to say I was doing this out of misery, I was doing it because I had the time. It was pretty much the only thing keeping me from completely snapping, because I could just think about articles and comics all day and then get them all scanned in and talked about once I got home. The job was supposed to be something to get me back on my feet after the initial breakdown that seemed to be coming full circle by this point, and all of a sudden I'd given six years of my life to that place. Ending it all was getting closer to the front of the mind, one of the psychotic staff members giving me a false glimmer of "something" before turning out to be using me to get someone else jealous - a very fucking miserable Christmas that was. Earlier in the year, the boss had told me that someone had been asking him about me, apparently very interested, but he wasn't going to tell me who it was because it would put me off my work. What a guy.
Around the middle of January, that "somebody" apparently ran out of patience and cut out the middle man(ager), and proceeded to change my life completely. She re-introduced me to all the fun things I used to do ten years ago, and so much more besides. I was feeling the "real" kind of happiness for the first time in fifteen years, not the "fake" one I was putting on myself. I apparently looked taller and she was glowing, something she hadn't done for five or six years herself also. The shop, which I'd somehow told myself was the most important thing in the world, suddenly didn't seem to matter so much. I was still working hard, but I stopped being so anal about things, stopped losing my temper, stopped keeping myself awake at night worrying about the out-of-date butter I'd left on the back shelf. This apparently wasn't enough for the boss... He'd take her to one side and say "You can do better than him". He told her that I was prone to frequent VIOLENT outbursts (I've never hit a human to this day). He told her I was a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic. He told her not to leave me alone with her six-year-old son. He told her to wait until she sees the REAL me. She rightfully (and thankfully) thought bollocks to everything he said. This is the man who I somehow thought was a friend, who I thought I "owed" my time to. This wasn't even when I began to fully see through his shite.
A new girl had recently been hired, a proper gobby little cunt. She was hopeless at everything and wouldn't even try, so when I worked my inevitable shifts with her, I'd be doing HER job as well as my many own, but I kept my temper. It was her first job and I still thought that the shop had some worth to it. One day, the lifesaver walks in with a Subway for me, and Shortcunt just starts laying into her, completely unprovoked and out of nowhere. The lifesaver's so upset she walks out the shop, and I'm so angry I have to go into the back kitchen. The boss sees I'm angry and asks me what's up, I tell him that I've had enough of that little shit. So of course, her having a vagina, he took her side instantly. For the next few months we hardly speak a word to each other, but by this point I don't give a flying monkey's spleen anymore. It was about a year ago this week I handed in my notice without any contingency plans, and this coming Sunday is the one-year anniversary of me walking out of that place for good, without a handshake.
It was pretty much the best decision I've ever made. The lifesaver gave me the confidence, the balls and the sense of self-worth necessary to do something about my misery. In the year since leaving, I've turned 30, and I'm liking how things are going now more than any other time since I was... 8 or 9? On my 29th birthday I was hoping I would go to sleep and not wake up again, and yet here I am. While money's been more of a struggle since leaving (obviously), I've been ENJOYING MYSELF for the first time in a LONG time. And properly, not just pretending I'm having a good time. And the combination of "more time" and "more confidence" has lead me to a possible whole new career doing something I actually enjoy and have an active interest in, with plenty of travel and dodgy hotels on top of that. The lifesaver eventually became more of a casual thing, but there's still a lot of love there, a constant companion, seemingly for life. It's rare these days for me to spend an evening in by myself (hence the lack of activity around these parts), if this person had come into my life a few years earlier, who knows where I'd be by now? Six years alone had convinced me that a job was enough to justify me being on this planet at all, when it was human companionship that was needed all along.
If this is reading like a preachy Buzzfeed-esque thing, then apologies - blah blah unhappy with job so quits and gets a new one blah blah. I've read plenty of those things and then hated myself afterwards for not having the balls to do anything like that. "My time" and all that, I'm happy for once and I felt I owed an explanation to all you beauties. As I've said, I've still got a a LOT of plans and love for this place (and odd/filthy/shitty/bizarre comics in general), I'm currently half way through scanning in the pages for the next "article"... The place is "alive" is what I'm saying, it's just not going to be anywhere near as frequently updated as it used to be (well, maybe once it starts getting colder out). And I thank and appreciate every last one of you that are still reading by this point, there's a 7-Up or similar in it for you if we ever cross paths.