Tuesday, March 21, 2006

While other comics creators blather on about mighty sci-fi descendants and other such tosh, you know you can tune into davidbaillie.net for genuine slice of life (unfortunately it’s mine) and a bit of drama.

For those of you who don’t know, and also the many amongst your number who really don’t care, for the last few weeks I’ve been studying software development for a brief return to the world of day jobs, alarm clocks and the Stinky Rush Hour. I’ve been doing some of my reading in a bookshop in the West End, which has a coffeeshop on the first floor. It’s a great set-up and means I can browse titles I have a passing interest in, devour those I think will be quite useful and decide which ones I will eventually buy. Also, it has a much better and more up-to-date technical section than any library I know. I’ve been there most mornings for the last week or so and I’ve started to recognise other regular punters, all doing something similar to myself.

When bored with Java phonebooks, I peruse their collection of graphic novels or do a bit of sketching. This is a sketch I did of a guy who comes in every day and reads a few chapters of a book on the Egyptian language, while slurping a large cappuccino.

I think he spotted me sketching him, but he didn’t seem to mind. I’m not sure what the etiquette is in that situation. Are you supposed to stop? If I were anywhere but London I’d have engaged him in conversation but, as I’m sure you know, that’s not the done thing in WC1.

Today, another recurring character – a crusty chap, with a huge rucksack, who orders decaf and usually sits and doodles for an hour or so – sat across from me in one of the comfy armchairs. He got out his drawing pad and, as he sipped his pointless beverage, started beavering away with a bit of charcoal, occasionally glancing up at me. I tried to look natural and give him my best side. I decided my best side wasn’t the one that reads IT books.

So I put down my Faster, Lighter Java (on top of Dark Horse’s Book of the Dead, which incidentally is very good) and started sketching right back at him. This is what I came up with.

I chickened out on asking to see his sketch and just waited for him to go to the bathroom. I stole a quick peek. Turned out he wasn’t drawing me at all – but some random tessellating floral pattern.
Fashion student.

My finger has almost recovered enough to play the guitar again. So if you’re my next-door neighbour you have something to look forward to this weekend.

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