February 19th, 2005

Bandes dessinées à petits prix

The French do comics differently. Not better, just differently.

Bandes dessinées tend to be large hardcover volumes of carefully drawn and painted works, in long series that take years to complete. If you're not born into a BD culture, it's one that's difficult to get into, especially when your first foray could set you back 12 euros or so...

However, last week, in my favourite little comic shop in Bruges, I found a new way of discovering new series. Soleil, one of many specialist BD presses, has started a new series of pocket paperback BD, the size of an US prestige format comic. At 2 euro a throw for a Solo, it's a lot easier to pick up one of these smaller, cheaper books before building a collection of hardcover volumes.

And, they're all first volumes...

And you can get them through amazon.fr...

Where you'll also discover many other BD at quite reasonable prices (once you're addicted!).
  • Current Mood
    pleased pleased

"I was lost in France..."

I've driven in France before, but that was in left hand drive hire cars.

Last week I took my car to France for the first time, taking the 21st century route through the tunnel. I was meeting marypcb in Lille, on her way back from 3GSM, and we were planning a day of meandering across Northern France and Belgium. It was lucky that I was taking the tunnel, as problems at Calais had severely restricted ferry traffic - and lorries were stacking up the M20 (adding an hour to my drive to Folkestone).

The tunnel is surprisingly easy to use. Just drive through the miles of toll booths and passport stations, queue for 20 minutes or so, and then file into the huge shuttle carrier wagons. Thirty-five minutes later you're driving off, and onto the autoroute. Driving on the right in a right-hand drive car isn't as complicated (or as dangerous) as I thought it would be, just wiggle the rear-view mirror slightly, and

Navigating French roads is easier than it used to be. Somewhere along the line, EU regulations have improved signage considerably. I only spent 15 minutes driving round Lille before I found the hotel, and the TGV station car park. marypcb's train from Cannes was dead on time, and he headed off to check in to our art deco-themed hotel. Dinner was in a restaurant in the old town gates, with a rather nifty dessert buffet.

The next morning we set off east, into Belgium. We ended up in Bruges for lunch, BD, and a nice long wander around the town (and a big bag or two full of Belgian beer). North then, towards Ostend and the Belgian coast. It's an interesting drive: following the coast road, dodging the coastal trams that wander from the French border to Ostend. Canals and sand dunes line the roads, and roundabouts are covered with models of early sand yachts.

We stocked up with tinned French foodstuffs in Dunkirk, before dashing to the tunnel and home. The ongoing ferry problems meant that it took over an hour to get onto a shuttle, but they also meant that the motorway home was pleasant enough.
  • Current Music
    ABBA - Thank You for The Music (Disc 1) - That's Me
Happy iPod

Nifty iTunes segue...

...from a live recording of Marc Almond singing "The Devil", ending "OK, OK, OK", to PWEI's "Can U Dig It?" , starting with the sample "OK, let's get down to it Bobby"...

Party Shuffle scores again.

We like the music, we like the disco sound...hey!
We like the music, we like the disco sound...hey!
We like the music, we like the disco sound...hey!
We like the music, we like the disco sound...hey!
We dig TV we dig remote control,
We dig the Furry Freak Brothers and the Twilight Zone,
We dig Marvel and D.C., we dig Run-DMC,
We dig Renegade Soundwave and AC/DC
(Can U dig it?)
Bruce Wayne auf weidersehn,
Dirty Harry, Make my day,
Terminator, hit the north,
Alan Moore knows the score,
Riffs? Yeah! Can U dig it?
Riffs? Yeah! Can U dig it?
We dig Optimus Prime and not Galvetron,
We dig The Leader of the Pack and the Do-Run-Run,
Spinderella and Bruce Lee, The Bad and the Ugly,
V for Vendetta and Into the Groovy.
(Can U dig it?)
We like the music, we like the disco song...hey!
We like the music, we like the disco song...hey!
  • Current Music
    Pop Will Eat Itself - This Is The Day...This Is The Hour...This Is This! - Can U Dig It

anti-Objectivist Ikea

Anja Rand is a rug in our hall.

So every day, I tread objectivism under the soles of my boots, grinding my heels in the face of the oppressor. I think that's a veritable lesson for our time.

and now BoingBoinged for your pleasure...
  • Current Music
    Dire Straits - - romeo and juliet - Eric Clapton & Dire Straits (Mandela Live)

Ten things...

... that I have done (or had done to me) and you probably haven't:

1) Built a national ISP from scratch, in an old brewery, in the middle of the West Country.

2) Written regular articles for a national newspaper.

3) Climbed a HVS route on a Doctor Who/Blakes Seven/The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy set.

4) Run a SF convention in Tolkien's old college, with one of his students as guest of honour.

5) Designed an atom bomb (on the proverbial napkin) for an award-winning comic.

6) Been an anecdote for a well known SF author in a Locus interview.

7) Made holograms of objects that have never existed.

8) Eaten magosteens in the fog on a beach in Hong Kong.

9) Spent 18 years of my life thinking 6 miles was a long, long way.

10) Designed and wrote a Perl-based web-card system for AOL in three evenings (on the dining room table) that ended up sending over a million cards.
  • Current Music
    The Blue Nile - Live - Manchester 1991 - Heatwave