I first read comics when I was quite young. My parents bought me a subscription to Bunty and my brother one to Beano when I was about 8 and I used to read them both. I have very fond memories of them for different reasons. I loved the school story style of Bunty - it was a serial version of the books like Mallory Towers or the Jackie books about horses. Beano was silly and funny and had some great in-jokey stuff - my favourite was Calamity James, with Alexander lemming and the squelchy things. I wonder if they're still going. Then I got bit older and I graduated to reading books like David Eddings (say 14) and Bunty lost it's appeal. I still enjoyed Beano and I would dip into 2000AD every now and then, but that was mostly guns and I lost interest in comics, relegating them in my mind to kids stuff. There didn't seem to be anything out there telling the sort of stories I was interested in.
I didn't really pick up again until I went to University, where I met Alex and started going to OUSFG. I'd never heard of Neil Gaiman. Or Grant Morrison. I started picking up random stuff out of Alex's comics pile when he'd been to the comics shop and discovered that you could tell some fantastic stories in comics. I liked Spider Jerusalem. I liked the Invisibles, although this being fairly late on in the story, I didn't quite understand it :) I borrowed the early stuff off Alex and read it over one holiday. Next holiday I borrowed Sandman. Alex had fallen in with the CBS crowd and I started going along for the ride. I read and enjoyed some of the stuff that the others bought along each week (The Authority, for example) although some of it didn’t' really do it for me - I can't imagine actually following any of the X stuff I've seen although it's fun to read every now and then in the pub.
That might have been where I left it, owning a few collected series as graphic novels and cherry picking new reading from other peoples collections, and that's still where I am really with mainstream comics, but then I went to Caption and discovered small-press which was like a whole other epiphany. Autobiographical, silly, cute, fantastical, and all the different mixes of those and more. Lots of lovely stories and they felt so personal. You can really feel the love that's gone into a small press publication - it's not like they're going to make any money out of it but they want to create it and that really shows. I was addicted and picked up loads of stuff at random. I still do. I'm even on the brink of producing something of my own. If you'd told me 5 years ago that I'd be helping to run a small press con now I would have just looked confused and dismissed the idea out of hand, but comics is a great medium and it's sucked me in.
2. How much better is it living and working in Oxford than living in Oxford and working in London? Would you ever leave Oxford, and if so, what for?
Oh, only about a million times :) The experience of commuting has really taught me that commuting is bad! I found that it was so draining to have to get up at that time every day and then in the evening if you want to do anything you're really rushed to get to it and too tired to enjoy it when you're there. It became like a test of stamina for me to force myself to make it up and into work every day. Whereas now I feel rested when I wake up and I can get home from work, cook a proper meal and then head out to socialise with no problems. I still tire earlier than most of our crowd, but at least I don't start to flake out until 11 / midnight now :)
I used to think until really quite recently (maybe 2 years ago) that I would love to live abroad. I even went to some of the careers office stuff about joining the foreign office. Now though I find it really hard to imagine living anywhere but here. I've got loads of great friends here and that's difficult to find, especially as you get older. The idea of starting from scratch in a new place is really daunting. I feel safe in Oxford too - I know it and it's little ways and back routes. I know where I'm going and what to expect. It's got all the advantages I'd want from somewhere to live except a stables accessible by public transport. Plus I've managed to find the perfect job. So no, I can't really imagine me living anywhere else.
3. Can you see the "new" CAPTION team running the convention as long as the "old" one did?
Tricky. It's really hard to say. It's a lot of work, and I for one am not the best organised person in the world. On the other hand, we all love Caption and really want it to carry on, so the temptation is to keep going for as long as there's no-one to press gang into taking over. It all depends when life starts to get in the way too much I suppose. I think, on balance, it's unlikely as the "old" team ran it for so very long. We've got a few years in us yet though :)
4. What are Cassie's endearingly daft habits?
She has so many :) For a cat, she's surprisingly clumsy sometimes. She once rolled over and fell off my bed, which was funny. She lies there in the most ridiculous postures, like on her back with her little paws in the air (see). She loves to climb in the bath after someone’s been using it and lick the water - she has also been know to put her head down the loo. When she's in the mood, she'll go nuts trying to kill a ball of foil, or a shoe or something. My favourite thing about her though is that she purrs when you look at her. She's a happy little cat :)
5. Can you answer zoo_music_girl's question about why she should listen to The Archers :-)
I actually had a revelation about this recently. The reason I like the Archers, and why I think people should give it a chance is that it's the only soap which has stuck to what soaps were all about in the beginning - telling ordinary stories about ordinary peoples lives. In TV soaps these days there's always someone getting murdered, or something being blown up or incest, or something. They've become ridiculous anti-fantasy lands where everyone is having a terrible time. On the Archers, there's petty bitching between neighbours, some light adultery, people worrying if they're actually going to make the bills this month. Real life stuff. The sort of gossip you might swap over the phone about mutual friends. And that's what makes it addictive. It's a community you can almost feel like you were part of.
As memes go, this is a really fun one. If you'd like to interview me or want me to interview you, leave a comment.