2 October 2004

Beer, kebabs and graphic novels

Yesterday wasn't too bad a day. It started off poorly, but got better. Allow me to explain...

Around a week and a half ago, I went to my local Blockbuster with my flatmate. Sadly, I was a little short on money, so she got to choose the films. Being a woman, she wanted a romantic comedy and some sort of thriller aimed at the female market. We ended up renting 50 First Dates (which, godammit, I actually really liked) and Gothika (which, godammit, I thought stank).

We watched the films and then I went to bed. Two days later she took the films back. Then, I went away on business for five days. I returned and, a few more days later went to put a DVD on. Hey presto, there in the DVD player is Gothika. Clever, clever flatmate didn't think to check the rental boxes for the discs. To cut a long story short, I took the stinking Gothika back to Blockbuster and it cost me £19 in late return fees. I have an urge to kill.......

However, then I picked up ex-rental videos of Kill Bill Vol 1, Paycheck (hey, I like it) and Stuck on You for 50p each, so I kind of made my money back.

Went to HMV and got the entire first and second series of Black Books on DVD. Looking forward to watching them. I can't help thinking that the woman in it is very attractive.

So, went to the pub, drank much, got home, ate kebab, fell asleep on the sofa. Woke up at 6, bizarrely not hungover. Decided to come here and post something. Et voila. Today, I don't feel like a sad 31 year old male. I feel somewhat more purposeful. Even if that purpose is to spend money I can't afford on getting drunk. Hey, it's a hobby.

So, on to the point...........

My friend Ben has for some time been a fan of graphic novels.

This I merely attributed to a lonely childhood or some sort of fundamental inability to interact with people on the most basic level. It didn't affect our friendship as I simply turned a blind eye. The same way he regularly turns a blind eye to my inappropriate ruminations on 18 year old blondes.

For a long time, Ben tried to persuade me to read some graphic novels. I, of course, declined forcefully. The world of the graphic novel involves either
1. Growing your hair long, sporting facial hair and wearing black, or
2. Growing your hair long, sporting facial hair and wearing loud Hawaiin shirts.

This is not my scene (although I do have a rather fetching shirt with parrots on it which was purchased in the Caribbean. More on THAT another time...)

After some time with little success, Ben, the devious bastard, formulated a plan. He started to throw random quotes at me. For instance, "You're the kind of guy who'd crawl through a perfectly good whorehouse to get to a fatboy's ass". Occasionally, when I asked if he fancied going for a pint, he'd reply "Shuh thuh duh!".

At this time, I had no idea what he was talking about. But the subtle psychological conditioning continued.

Eventually, I gave in. He caught me at a low point. I was unprepared. "Here," said the bearded devil, "borrow this. You'll like it."
A copy of Preacher was thrust into my hand. Reaching out - and I'm weeping as I type this - I took it and read it. And so it began...

Within a week I'd devoured the entire Preacher series. Then I moved onto Sin City. I'm currently working through Sandman, and I have a list as long as my arm of other titles which I must also read.

I have been cursed to wander the Earth reading graphic novels. Comics, if you will. However, it brings with it a special kind of shame. A shame I cannot speak about to friends and family.

I order these novels from the local library and, of a lunchtime, will scurry in, thrust the notification letter under their noses, stuff the novel into my bag and scurry out again. If a young lady serves me, I avert my gaze. I cannot look at her.

I never read them in public, always in my bedroom, at night, weeping salty tears of shame. This is not how it was supposed to be.

In the name of God, somebody help me. I feel so dirty.