Alex Fitch talks to Charlie Hebdo alumnus Riad Sattouf about the first volume of his autobiographical strips about growing up in France, and the Middle East published as The Arab of the Future by Two Roads Books. Alex and Riad explore how the book relates to the latter’s experiences as a film-maker on such movies as Jacky in the Kingdom of Women, plus his interest in Victorian serialised entertainment by Dickens, and children’s adventure comics by Hergé.
Cover and interior of The Arab of the Future and poster for Jacky in the Kingdom of Women by Riad Sattouf
Electric Sheep Magazine podcast: Skolimowski and Kinoteka
Celebrating this year’s Polish Film Festival Kinoteka, Alex Fitch talks to Oscar winning producer Jeremy Thomas and director Jerzy Skolimowski about the latter’s work on such films as The Shout, Essential Killing, and his latest movie 11 Minutes. Virginie Selavy talks to writer and filmmaker Daniel Bird about the late director Andrzej Zulawski, and his translation of the director’s Cosmos. With classic tracks by Blondie, Otis Spann, and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheel. Kinokteka continues at various London venues until 28th April, with Skolimowski’s autobiographical trilogy screening at Close-up between 22nd and 24th April.
Stills from the Shout and 11 Minutes by Jerzy Skolimowski / Cosmos by Andrzej Zulawski
Alex Fitch talks to Eisner Award winning artist Craig Thompson about his first full colour graphic novel Space Dumplings, an uproarious depiction of adventure and galactic travel published by Faber, in which the daughter of an interstellar salvage man goes on a trip of her own meeting aliens, giant robots and space whales. Fitch and Thompson also discuss the latter’s collaborations with other creators such as James Kochalka and Theo Ellsworth and how this might predict more work in the future, including a sequel to …Dumplings.
(Panel Borders continues on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 8pm, repeated the following day at 9am. Originally broadcast as half of a Clear Spot on Resonance 104.4 FM, 12th April 2016)
Cover and interior art from Space Dumplings by Craig Thompson / extract from “Conversation” by James Kochalka and Thompson
Following a screening of High Rise as part of the symposium J.G. Ballard in the Seventies, Alex Fitch talks to three members of the production team behind Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s High Rise. Dan Martin discusses arranging the special effects for the movie and creating realistic gore for Wheatley’s films, Mark Tildesley talks about dressing the set cost effectively and how this compared to working with Michael Winterbottom on Code 46, and Odile Dicks-Mireaux discusses making science-fictional clothes for the cast, including a James Bond style suit for Tom Hiddleston.
Alex Fitch talks to Dan Martin, Odile Dicks-Mireaux and Mark Tildesley on stage at the British Library after a screening of High Rise
Panel Borders: Action – The Story of a Violent Comic
Guest presenter Professor Martin Barker (University of Aberystwyth) investigates the story of Britain’s notorious Action comic, which was launched on Valentine’s Day and banned by Halloween in 1976. Professor Barker explores the rise and fall of the comic, what elements of the strips were censored and censured, and how the legacy of Action was continued in “The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic” – 2000AD. Also, in a panel discussion entitled: “Poor, angry white kids”, Barker discusses Action with its writer Pat Mills and 2000AD artist Jim McCarthy. Edited, and recorded at Graphic Brighton / Cine-Excess 2015 by Alex Fitch.
(Panel Borders continues on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 8pm, repeated the following day at 9am. Originally broadcast as a Clear Spot on Resonance 104.4 FM, 8th March 2016)
The most notorious cover of Action, and the issue never printed / Barker, Mills and McCarthy at Graphic Brighton and Cine-Excess (photo by Lisa Mills) / cover of The Story of a Violent Comic by Martin Barker
Electric Sheep Magazine podcast: Ballard and the Seventies
The March episode of the Electric Sheep Film Show is a J.G. Ballard special: ESM editor in chief Virginie Sélavy talks to his daughter, artist Fay Ballard, to director Harley Cokeliss, who made a version of Crash featuring J.G. Ballard for the BBC in 1971, and to director Ben Wheatley about his new adaptation of High-Rise, which is out in cinemas on 18 March. With classic tracks by The Shangri-Las, The Residents and The Specials. (Edited and introduced by Alex Fitch)
Still from Crash by Harley Cokeliss / ‘Memory Box: About my Father’ by Fay Ballard / Still from High-Rise
Alex Fitch talks to cartoonist Rachel Ball about her graphic novel The Inflatable Woman, a magical realist tome loosely based on her experiences with breast cancer and dating, featuring talking penguins and unreliable lighthouse keepers! Fitch and Ball also discuss the latter’s tenure on Deadline Magazine and her next project Wolf Man. Recorded at Cartoon County, Brighton, January 2016.
Interior art and cover of The Inflatable Woman, Wolf Man and Lisa + Lulu by Rachael Ball
If you are lucky enough to get a non-counterfeit ticket and still be in possession of all your limbs, you are certainly in for a treat! Down to the riverside you go, past the field where the Picnic For Detectives is in full swing. The spectators’ area on the riverbank is muddy and sloshy and the stink of unnameable effluence wafts through the foul air. There are the rowing boats! They are empty, of course, at this stage, just before dawn on the day of the regatta. You tuck in to your official regatta snack of compressed reconstituted meat ‘n’ gristle slices on a bed of contaminated lettuce leaves in a basket. Headphones jammed into your ears, you listen to your iFry, tuned in to Stephen Fry’s pre-regatta commentary. In recent years there have been moves to replace Fry with someone less ubiquitous, but, as so many others have learned, resistance is futile. You slurp your can of Squelcho! You leaf through the official programme, sponsored by Dignitas, casting your eye over the beautifully-executed mezzotints of the vagabonds, reading up on their form.