January is always a particularly stressful time for the self-employed, given that the 31st of the month is when us freelancers have to have our Tax Returns filed – and have the necessary cash available to hand over to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs at the same time. As Tax Returns go, mine are pretty straightforward – but that still doesn’t stop it from typically being a fiendishly perknickety endeavour. (“Where, where, WHERE is that bloody receipt”, etc, etc…).
Writing-wise, there’s been been a fun piece to do for EMPIRE, anchored on a scoring session at Abbey Road I attended last month. It was for Neal Marshall’s latest film, CENTURION, the music being composed by Ilan Eshkeri, whose prior works include LAYER CAKE and STARDUST. We became acquainted when he wrote to me to thank me for my positive review in The ‘Pire of his score for YOUNG VICTORIA. He’s a thoroughy decent chap – as are all his team – and the score for CENTURION is looking set to be a vigorously exciting piece of orchestral work (because we can can never have too much of that). Look out for it in the next issue – and my review sometime after that.
The big deadline, however, has been for major new endeavour of mine. (Well, I say mine – it’s actually in conjunction with The University of Hertfordshire, where I have been a Visting Lecturer since last year). ANYWAY: it’s a Comics and Graphic Novels festival that we’ve christened “UniComics” and which is set to run from April 22nd-25th at the University’s De Havilland Campus in Hatfield, Herts. It’s incredibly exciting – for me, a long-time ambition – and I think our team of organisers has put together something really rather special. We are very close to sorting out the final line-up of events – my two have been the principal source of Deadline Frenzy – and, shortly after that, we will formally annouce ourselves to the world… and then promote the hell out of it…! So, do watch this space.
Interestingly – and flatteringly – I am being interviewed by Anne Wollenberg of Writing Magazine on Tuesday morning, to talk about being involved in Film Journalism – how I got in to it, etc – and to offer various tips to the aspiring. I’ve always been a keen advocate of doing things like this, as I know just how bloody mystifying it can be to figure out how on earth to get in to this game. However, I did find my own way in and while I’d hesitate to say that my route is sure-fire – because it really isn’t – it worked well enough for me (Most thankfully indeed, given that I never really wanted to do anything else). In any case, it’ll be a nice piece of promotion for, as my girlfriend Lucy amusingly labels it, “Brand Graydon” (Ha!)…
So, Normal Service will be resumed shortly. In the meantime, I’d like to direct Comics fans to Gilbert Hernadez’s great new Love and Rockets book, “The Troublemakers“, published by Fantagraphics. Seek it out..!