Personal

Martin Skidmore

Martin Skidmore died about 7pm last night. I got a call around 8.25—not unexpected but it hit me pretty hard anyway. It was leaking onto the Internet in various places almost instantly… guess that’s just the way it is these days.

For those who don’t know him, he was a ‘zine then comics editor for about a decade from the early ’80s on—a long-time name in UK comics. Unfortunately, he had spent this year struggling with very aggressive cancer.

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Randomly

I’ll add some random thoughts here about where I’m at.

Turning the London job down two months ago HURT. Actually it was kind of a crap job. They got wind of my huge desire to get out of this place and tried it on a bit—get someone much cheaper than they normally would. Still, it was a way out of here and I coulda worked on finding something better.

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Strike That

If you haven’t been perusing the Twit feed. I declined the job offer on Tuesday. Trying to find a suitable place to live on the budget I had, based on offered starting salary, was proving to be an enormous challenge. Having a dog is Problem Number One, and especially in London—but when you add to that a limited budget that restricts you to studio flats, bedits or some kind of sharing arrangement…

Time Out. How badly do I want to be there? Bad enough to work my ass off for the privilege of living in conditions worse than the ones I have now? This is a one-bedroom flat I currently live in. Rent is £360 a month. If it was in London, the rent would be £750 a month. Get the picture? A salary that gave me a budget to afford such would have made my life comparatively simple. But the decidedly mediocre salary in question wasn’t cutting it.

The stress from this problem, and repeated visits to London (about £250 of travel expenses down the drain ultimately), was stretching me to breaking point. I started to get cystitis symptoms and finally, on Monday, I had an intensely painful and scary episode that was probably a kidney stone. I thought I was going to be in hospital. People often think that, apparently, with these things, but the stuation’s less grave than the unbelievably terrible pain would lead you to suspect.

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Big News

Which I didn’t even blog about till now. Well, I had a London-based job offer a little over two weeks ago following an interview on March 28th, which I accepted. I’ve been flat-hunting quite intensively and I’m viewing a place I’m quite hopeful about on Friday. Not 100% yet but it seems to be looking good. So maybe I’ll blog a bit more often again! :b Seriously, between various projects and the focus on relocating back down South, I’ve had little time to spare. This could change. We’ll see.

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Lunch in London

A much-needed break after not getting myself out of the Birmingham area for almost two years. With any luck this is gonna change before too long—I’ve had it with this place and a move is required very, very soon.

Lunch in London August 2010

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Preoccupied

It hasn’t been a week for drawing anything after all. Too much on my mind, I suppose. I’ve been looking for a job, i.e. full-time & salaried—down in the London area. I’ve been doing same locally for ages (this area sadly being of one of the country’s darkest & deepest pits jobs-wise), being that the lack of stability of freelancing has certainly caused me problems—and a lot of other people, during the recession, as far as I can tell. But, I thought, if I’m investing so much time into this, why am I looking round here? I don’t like it round here.

Well, yes, down south was littered with bad judgement calls last time. I messed-up repeatedly as far as places to live were concerned, and my mom’s death was still affecting my morale. It went badly. But in actual fact, I didn’t want to leave. It just became the only ‘sensible’ option under the circumstances. Even at that, the experience left me shattered enough to ask my GP for anti-depressants. They helped a bit for a while, but I stopped taking them back in January because they had clearly outlived their use. Doing so hasn’t left me in a worse mood, at any rate. Perhaps a touch better generally, once withdrawal had passed.

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Groundhog Day

Neat trip down memory lane for you. February 2002, to be exact. Funny thing is, I did return to the forum mentioned, sometime around this time of year in 2008. And boy, did I fairly quickly suffer for it… to the extent that by Sept ’08, I left again. The attacks on me (from one particular person) continued even after I left and eventually I returned to the forum again in May ’09—for reasons unclear to me, I must admit. To be fair, the problem with this individual was ultimately resolved, but a perhaps less drawn-out but actually more sinister and troublesome issue with another person developed.

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Renewal

As I type this, we’re at roughly 1:10am on the 27th. Of May. Not the friendliest of dates for me. Today, four years ago, my mother passed away. I’d be lying if I said it had been the greatest four years ever. It’s had its good points. Just not enough of them. And since moving back here in Dec ’07, I’d say the good points have receded quite dramatically.

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What’s a Home?

My living situation. Well… I’ve lived in a bunch of places the last few years—though I didn’t expect to end up back on the same street where my mother died—but I really don’t feel I’ve had a home. Whatever that is.

Been back here two-and-a-half years now and I feel like it’s more than enough. Would it be unfair to call this place a shit-hole? Perhaps. There are worse places. But it is a shit-hole. Maybe not a Premier League Shit-Hole, but still a shit-hole. (How many times can I say ‘shit-hole’ in the space of one paragraph?! Let’s see…) More, it’s a shit-hole I planned and contrived to escape from for about ten years or so. And I did. Twice. First time was when I moved to an even bigger shit-hole called Salford in 1999. Second time, when I played ‘moving home every five minutes’ down South in 2006-07. Both times, I ended up back in the shit-hole ultimately. I think it’d be fair to say this shit-hole is somewhere I need to get out of my life. Badly.

(Nine times.)

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Hi!

Phew, ain’t it just been the quietest on here? Is anyone still reading this? I think I asked before… I’m not giving up on the place, y’know, as this is actually the year of its tenth birthday. But with a very tough, ongoing struggle to find work and just doing other ‘stuff’, it’s been low on my list. Are blogs fashionable anymore?

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