It’s been a while since I’ve had to wheel out the train picture… The reason this time was the site being down for 24 hours as a result of severe incompetence by my webhost. I won’t bore you with the details, it’s aggravating enough having to think about never mind write it all down, but for now the situation seems more stable than it was. I’ve wasted so much time over the past two months in communication with various support people that I’d move the hosting elsewhere if I had the time. Luckily for the current shower I’m too busy with creative work to deal with such a major logistical effort. I’m not anticipating any further outages but if they do occur again they shouldn’t be for very long.

Okay, enough of this. The post intended for yesterday is waiting in the wings. Onward!

Five thousand


It’s that Hollow Earth again.

Post no. 5000 breaks the format of earlier stock-taking posts by doing without a Roman numeral for its title. MMMMM isn’t technically wrong but the Romans used a V with a horizontal line over it to signify 5000, a symbol that I imagine the temperamental coding of this site would refuse. No matter.

Post no. 4000 (January 8, 2016) arrived almost a year after I’d stopped writing every day, and had consequently seen visits decline as a result. (You can’t really talk about “readership” here when most visits will be from people looking for pictures of some sort.) The WordPress stats show that visitor numbers had been falling even before I stopped the daily posting routine, no doubt as a result of the uptake in social media. What’s interesting about the present moment is that the visitor numbers have been rising again at a time when disenchantment with social media is growing. I don’t think these two things are connected—I’m bound to see more visitors if I’m writing more often, as I have been since mid-2020—but it’s a curious thing sticking with an endeavour like this while vast internet edifices rise and fall around you. Since stepping away from social media myself I value the autonomy of this place all the more. Another development since 2016 is the rise of Substack, and a return (although it never really went away) to long-form writing. Most Substack contributors that I’ve seen are producing essays but a few have been creating collections of miscellaneous items that away from the site would be regarded as old-fashioned blog posts.

One thing that hasn’t changed here is the popularity of the Gay Artists Archive, still the most popular destination by a wide margin. The other very popular page is the Illustrators Archive; both pages serve a function which isn’t supplied elsewhere in quite the same way. People seem to value having someone filter a specific cultural area for them even if (as in my case) they’re only following their own tastes.


Graffiti by Thoma Vuille.

Okay, stock has been taken. Thanks, as always, for reading. Monsieur Chat, the tutelary deity of this place, says “En avant et vers le haut!”

All the Things


Over the weekend I braved repetitive strain injury and solvent delirium from the fumes emitted by metallic markers while autographing this stack of signing sheets. The weighty pile is now on its way back to PS Publishing which means that the forthcoming illustrated edition of Needful Things is closer to being with its needful purchasers.

Weekend links 602


High Times, May 1980. Cover art by Frank Frazetta.

• Desperately Seeking Mothman: “The Scythian Lamb, after all, was equal parts Venus flytrap and baby lamb, a mysterious woolly gourd,” says Tara Isabella Burton, on the trail of cryptids old and new.

• “In my youth of course I indulged in such stunts as bringing forth a Boramez, or a so-called vegetable lamb.” It’s that lamb again, in a translation of pages from The Voynich Manuscript.

• “2022: Be willing to be dazzled,” says S. Elizabeth. Also, follow her blog because she’s always turning up strange and wonderful things.

• “Why do we count down to the New Year?” Alexis McCrossen explores the history of countdowns, from Fritz Lang to the present day.

• “Snow coats reality in a fresh layer of strangeness,” says Charlie Fox.

• Spending the War Without You: Laurie Anderson’s Norton Lectures.

• New music: Our Hands Against The Dusk by Rachika Nayar.

• Mix of the week: Fact Mix 840 by Time Is Away.

• Galerie Dennis Cooper presents…Piet Zwart.

Does It Matter Irene? (1979) by The Mothmen | Tardis (Sweep Is Dead, Long Live Sweep) (1981) by The Mothmen | Mothman (1981) by The Mothmen

Prints at Etsy


I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was going to be opening a shop selling prints at Etsy. The shop is now up and running with high-quality giclée prints of my artwork. As with the Skull Print T-shirts, I’ve been doing all this at a time when I’m still swamped with work so there isn’t much there at the moment, but it’s a start. This was always intended to be the third phase of the revitalisation of my web presence last year, following the upgrading of the blog and the main site into mobile-friendly packages, but working through the options took some time. After finding a suitable printer I had to consider the best way to create a print-on-demand service that would pretty much run itself but which would give me greater control over the business end than outlets like CafePress. I’ve been with CafePress for over 20 years now but it’s never been satisfying. I’ll be keeping the CafePress shops open for the time being but I’m going to remove many of the links there during the next web update.

In the new arrangement Etsy is essentially a shop window which routes orders to a printer based in Britain. The printer also has a German wing of their business that takes care of Continental orders. I’ve still not fully tested the system but the sites say they’re connected to each other, and I have ordered a number of prints separately. The turnaround from order to delivery is very fast—two to three days in the UK/Europe, about five days in the US—and the print quality is excellent. One drawback with this arrangement is the time it takes to upload and price things on two different sites but it’s something that only needs doing the once.

The first two items were chosen not because there’s a great demand for them but because I already had the files prepared. Both pictures also suit being seen at a large size. At the moment I’m thinking more in terms of poster prints but smaller pieces will be available. Etsy limits the size variations you can apply to two options only, if you want more variation you have to set up a new listing (so they get more listing fees). Since my choices don’t always coincide with those of would-be purchasers I’m open to suggestions for future prints. The next upload is ready to go, and should be in situ next week. This is a big drawing that I started working on just over a year ago which will be available as a large poster print. I wanted to write something about the piece before making it public so I’ll be doing that next. Watch this space.

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T-shirts by Skull Print