Two panel-type events today, both in the Council Chamber, which left us well placed for a little light retail in between. But first, a technical note. Two, in fact. The first is about sound, and it returns to an issue I've already mentioned, but which is exacerbated if the event is in the Council Chamber. If you are organising an event, you need to know this: deafness is a disability, and you must do what you can not to exclude people who have this disability. Kendal's Council Chamber actually has a hearing loop, which is great, because it means that durham_rambler
can tune his hearing aids direct to the sound system, and this gives him optimum audibility. If a speaker says "Oh, it's OK, I have a loud voice," they may well be right. But if you aren't using the mike, you aren't going into the loop. At one point this morning, I wanted to say something to durham_rambler
and he couldn't hear me, because he was listening to the speakers on the loop. (The specific problem with the Council Chamber is that the microphones are positioned as if for a Council meeting, and we don't use the room that way, so saying "Please use the mike!" is not a simple request.)
My other technical takeaway from this festival - and I don't suppose this is going to come as a surprise to anyone) is that being able to project images is all well and good, but being able to project the actual images you are talking about is even better. I became somewhat frustrated by this morning's session on 'Telling the Truth'. Darryl Cunningham introduced his 'Seven Amazing Scientists You May Not Have Heard Of' (it's not called that, but I don't know why not), Fumio Obata talked about his (LICAF-commissioned) work in progress on the nuclear accident at Fukushima and Hannah Berry introduced her new book Livestock
(which I had seen in preview at Wonderlands, of course) and each of them said something which I thought could be illustrated by one of the images that - oh, no, sorry, you've just missed it! The unending repetition of the sequence of images gave me plenty of chances to confirm my suspicion that that was indeed a rather prominent typo, which probably wasn't the intention. Not an actual typo, in that the three books all appeared to be hand-lettered, and I could have gone total geek and asked about that, but instead I asked another question suggested by the constantly cycling images, about the use of colour (and was relieved to discover that this was a good question, in the senae that all three artists and moderator Alex Fitch had something to say about it).
Commercial break: time to tour the dealers' rooms and buy things. Including Myfanwy Tristram's Everyone Loves a Puffin postcard
. Because it's true. That's the only one of the things I bought that I've really had a chance to read so far.
Then back to the Council Chamber to hear Benoît Peeters explaining why Rodolphe Töpffer is the father of the graphic novel: short version, because in the first half of the nineteenth century he was publishing narratives which consisted of both words and pictures and arguing that both were equally important. For future reference, here's Töpfferiana
central, and here is Töpffer's Essai de Physiognomonie
(on Gutenberg Canada), a title which seems to have one syllable too many, and I noted that Peeters was having trouble pronouncing it. The Festival has published a new translation / edition
with the catchy title How to Create Graphic Novels
, but it's worth clicking through to Gutenberg to look at the original, just to see what the nineteenth century could achieve in printing. 'Autolithography', says the scribbled note on the margin of my programme: well, that makes sense. But I can't remember the reasoning behind: "Töpffer v. Umberto Eco - Töpffer wins!"
Time for an all-day breakfast at the Farmhouse Kitchen: durham_rambler
is traditionalist, mine involved generous amounts of smoked salmon and watercress. Then we headed out in search of all things Finnish. I loved the Archipelagogo
exhibition of mad felt sculptures by Felt Mistress Louise Evans
(this always makes me think of my friend F, who claimed to have found a shop advertising 'You can get felt here!', and threatened to go inside and demand 'Feel me!' - but I digress) and beautiful, intricate watercolours by Jonathan Edwards
. It seemed to me something that was genuinely inspired by Tove Jansson while still being genuinely original, and I took pictures. Many pictures.
Our visit to the Finnish village fizzled out in a darkened room. We came into the Box
in the middle of a showing of Moomins on the Riviera
, which demonstrates all the things I don't like about the Moomin comic strips (as opposed to the books) - and wait, what was that, right at the end of the credits? Was Mymble really voiced by Alison O'Donnell? Our - that is, Shetland
's - Alison O'Donnell? IMDB is no help here... Anyway, he venue closed at four, so there was only time for the first half of a documentary about how the Moomins conquered the world, before we were sent out into the night with nothing but a piece of salty liquorice in compensation. I'd have liked to see the rest of the film. Obviously, there's an element of self-justification in explaining why it's a good thing to merchandise characters to which people have an emotional attachment; equally obviously, it's a good thing to keep the books in print, and for an income to flow to Tove Jansson's family. I'd have liked to see what the film had to say. Oh, well.
And that's the Comics Festival for another year.