"Caution, tunnel at end of tunnel"
Edwin Drood's Column, 27 August 2010
|Edwin Drood's Column|
The author Edwin Drood has the misfortune to have the same name as the main character of Charles Dickens' final, unfinished novel. A lifetime of mirth and misunderstandings engendered by this coincidence and suffered by the modern Edwin has never dismayed the busy blogger. Quite the contrary, he is often quite happy to make play of the Dickensian connection in his prose: in some of his pieces there is more of a hint of the texture of literary classics in his vocabulary and formulation; and he has referred to his "pure Edwardian syntax". His concerns and subject matter, on the other hand, are more often very contemporary. In June 2015, on the event of his column's 5th anniversary, he wrote:
"I have described the oddness of God, the messianic reincarnation of Jaguar, the age of innocence, the strange ways of the Greeks, the even stranger ways of North Korea, bossy fridges, crumbling bridges, midlife and midwife crises, the why and wherefore of weather, the unpalatable and pointy end of Islam, the beginnings of life and its termination, the political inclinations of Yoghurt, the blindness of justice, European disunion, American dystopia, shipwrecked Dictators, economic inflators, the West Wing, the East End, the South Seas the Nordic Model (not what you’re thinking), Tokyo, New York, Verona, Brussels, Oslo, Zanzibar, Aachen, la France profonde and the idylls of Wiltshire and Wales."
Edwin Drood's Column, 2 June 2015
something new ...
Before his latest column lands in my electronic in-tray, sometimes frighteningly close to deadline, I have absolutely no idea of the mysterious blogger's latest theme. Having read through the copy, I wrack my brain cell in an attempt to visualize the timbre of the whole piece or a particular key passage.
Much of Edwin's writing is full of imagery and deals with subjects that immediately inspire accompanying pictures. In such cases I have to take care of falling into the elephant trap of the too-obvious. The first cut is not always the deepest. A few articles seem to defy illustration, or suggest (to my mind) more complex images which take too long to be published at the same time as the article. Some columns still await their illustrations, which remain on the ever-growing to-do list. One or two columns have dealt with such serious or tragic topics that I fear an illustration would be too facetious or indeed superfluous.
I do not actually believe that Edwin's columns need
illustrations; the quality of his writing is excellent enough to stand on its own. But we live in a world in which people have come to expect an image to go with text, even if it is only on a book cover. Imagery can whet the appetite, pique the curiosity, and even enhance or literally illuminate text-based works. Well, I would say that, wouldn't I?
In keeping with the general ethos of the column, illustrations are often based on time-tarnished, vintage paintings and prints, from which I create collages or crops. The historical images sometimes take on new meanings in a fresh context, while often the very venerability of the pictorial elements appear to reinforce Drood's arguments concerning recurring or seemingly eternal political and social situations.
Whenever time and inspiration allow, I try to create a completely new illustration, or search through my vast library of photographs for a suitable image.
The resulting images, the Droodistrations, are not always directly illustrative in the traditional manner of picture books or periodicals, and the relationship between image and text can take some figuring out (not everybody gets it). This is partly due to the disparate milieux and mindsets of a news-savvy wordsmith and a visually-immersed artist living and working in different countries. In any case, the article must be read even to attempt to grasp the connection, which is after all the raison d'etre of most illustration for grown-ups.
Duotone blue (MFP Blue) is the signature colour scheme for monotone illustrations on My Favouirite Planet.
Incidentally, the photo of a doorbell below is not manipulated of faked; it really was taken at the front door of Dracula's apartment. He may, however, have moved (yet again) since the image was published. I haven't been back to check, as the price of garlic has become ruinous around here.
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My Favourite Planet Blogs:
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© David John
"Doing porridge in the Goldilocks Universe"
Edwin Drood's Column, 14 February 2012
"Will Mr Quetzalcoatl please come to Gate 13?"
Edwin Drood's Column, 11 December 2012
"Rest your rant at the end of the Universe"
Edwin Drood's Column, 24 May 2011
"The sins of the fathers"
Edwin Drood's Column, 18 December 2012
Drood's 5th anniversary message
Edwin Drood's Column, 2 June 2015
"The wood for the trees"
Edwin Drood's Column, 2 November 2010
"Once bitten, twice shy ... or not"
Edwin Drood's Column, 19 October 2010