The year continues to flap around in unexpected and bewildering ways like an uninvited squid in the bathtub. The Great Game in Afghanistan moves into a new, ugly phase. A beloved comedian dies, leaving us in fits of giggles at his legacy while calling for the revival of his long-forgotten sitcom. The nation realises just how dire the supply chain problem is as the unthinkable happens and Nando’s runs out of chicken. Boy howdy, it’s been a week.
We’re here to offer some respite, with more base level comics instruction, an admiration of The Madonna With The Long Neck and a chat to the guy who brings the good vibes to the ball game.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
Time. It’s been on our minds a lot over the past eighteen months, heavy on our shoulders, running at rates that seem both unbearably slow and intolerably fast. Which is sort of the point. Time, much as we would like it to be so, is not a constant. There are sixty seconds to a minute, or indeed terms like hours and days only because we have decided it is so. Our perception of time is a construct, a map we’ve drawn to make sense of our passage through it.
More chats with the cast of the Suicide Squad. This may be David Dastmalchian’s year. He’s one of those performers who can both disappear into a role and bring a particular and individual flair to it. He’s been around for longer than you think and in more films than you realise. He’s also a funny, humble and extremely entertaining interviewee.
Right, the Ninth Art Desk demands your attention. We’re trying to keep things a little more entry-level for you, oh Readership. We don’t wish to spook you off with the intensity of our enthusiasm. The final trailer was released this week for Marvel’s Eternals, which seems like the perfect time to introduce you to the work of possibly the most influential of all western comics creators—the King, Jack Kirby. The Eternals are just one of his many graphic delights. You will very definitely recognise the look and the names of others.
Say we have inspired you to the point where you want to try and make a comic. How do you start? What tools do you need? What are the rules for formatting a script? Neighbours, you’re in luck. Writer Gail Simone, who has become a fast favourite of the Ninth Art Desk over the past year, has put together a free comics school from an extended series of Twitter threads, ready and waiting for you. It’s approachable and empathetic. Gail knows the pitfalls and is ready to guide you past them. Why not give it a go?
As foreign travel won’t be a viable option any time soon, The Arts Desk is pleased to note you no longer have to jump on the Eurostar to get your fix of The Louvre’s treasures. They are all now online in hi-res for you to enjoy, with none of the expense and scrums round the Mona Lisa. We got lost in an arty rabbit hole this week. It’s a lovely place to hide out for a while.
Art of a different kind, but no less immersive and delightful. Tom Chantrell’s film posters have a lurid, explosive energy that blasts off the paper. They are very much products of the time in which they were made. For film fans of a certain age (the hairy monsters of The Film Desk included) these images were a portal to a wild place and a ticket to a life less ordinary.
Art is of course in the eye of the beholder, and subject to trends and fashion like all else. We really liked this New York Times exploration into Parmigianinos’s Madonna Of The Long Neck, which looks into concepts of beauty and truth in the presentation in the human form. The piece itself is really well done. Quite comicesque, wouldn’t you say…?
We loved this piece on Transdiffusion remembering the shutdown of pirate radio in 1967. For a generation of British youth, these anarchic seaborne stations were the only way to hear good pop and rock music. The language and presentation the stations used would become the grammar of Radio One—and every music station thereafter.
British sport has no real equivalent for the game day organist who soundtracks a day at the ball game in the USA. Boston.com chats to Josh Kantor, a man with a knack for keeping the crowds entertained. Lord knows, baseball isn’t going to do the job…
And finally. Bon Appetit seems to have come through a very bumpy patch and out the other side with a newly humble, thoughtful approach to food writing. This bit from Dani Shapiro on a meal between two strangers ticks all our boxes. It’s about food and comfort and family and connections and the strange way time passes.
Yeah, time is on our mind, if not on our side. Your Exit Music is another cut written by the Chambers Brothers who we featured a couple of weeks ago. We know this track from the cover version Steve Earle drove through the fences some years back, featured here in a scorching performance on Letterman alongside Sheryl Crow. Tick tock, this rocks.
See you next Saturday, clock-watchers.