Friday, 11 January 2008

Answers please

Well, back to teaching this week. The way the UK system works is that there are now major exams at the end of the year 12 when the kids are aged 16 or 17. These are actually extremely significant exams as any university application largely depends on the results. So, my students have come back from Christmas and you can see it dawning on them that very weighty matters which will affect the rest of their lives are just a few months away. It concentrates the mind wonderfully.

Anyway I want to throw out two questions to you today. I have been asked about both and I have no answer to either.

The first was a serious inquiry as to whether or not I had ever considered turning the books into a graphic novel. Frankly, I used to be rather scathing about such things until we went to France, the land of culture, and noticed that in the bookshops they always have a big section of graphic novels which they call bandes dessinée. (As an aside it is worth noting that whereas on British holidays visiting bookshops is pretty much inevitable due to our weather, we have been weeks in France and never considered visiting a bookshop.) It turns out that the French (as with the Japanese but not the British) are big on these things. I actually know very little about them, but I am now much less cynical. At best, they clearly are a distinctive and attractive art form of their own. In fact, I am reminded as I write that we once had a graphic story book of the Bible, which was so impressive that we lent it to someone and have never had it back. Given that many of my students, some of whom are otherwise very bright, do not read traditional books it seems to me that these are an interesting genre. Anybody out there know anything more about them? Anybody write them? Draw them? Know anybody to contact?

The second question, which occurred on the Lamb among the Stars Facebook page was on how appropriately to celebrate the release of the Infinite Day in June. Incidentally, if you have not visited that page and joined the fan club please do. I take a small – and possibly pathetic – pleasure in the fact that the number of people who are subscribed to the fan club has now just edged up over 70. Anyway there was the suggestion that we might try to have a virtual launch party. It is complicated, because in some parts of the world the books will not yet have arrived or been released. And I really don’t want plot spoilers occurring. But it would be fun to come up with an idea to celebrate what is a small, but clearly global association of fans. Something new that would be good publicity might be a good idea. Anyway over to you again: any ideas?