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1) I have a shitload of instrumentals from the 1960s onward, mostly on vinyl. We swapped e-mails a looong time back so you should be able to contact me, and e-mail me with a physical address (to protect your privacy, this could be your place of work, or even better 'Poste Restante' and a named post office - this means you go up to the counter with some form of ID and collect the item - you don't even have to give a name because you could give me something identifiable but untraceable like your National Insurance number); I'll burn a sample as FLACs to a CD-Audio (these will play in most car CD players) and you can choose which ones you want to hear more of.

Because we speak so many languages in my household, we tend to listen to a lot of instrumentals. Sometimes multiple languages can be useful because if you say something stupid or nasty in a moment of temper you can always blame it on a linguistic misunderstanding, but music is a universal language. It also makes the twins shut up for a while so they listen.

2) Panic attacks may be all in the mind but they are serious nonetheless. I was in a supermarket recently and a woman was having breathing difficulties so I called over an employee who I knew personally and she took one look and called a first aider. He took one look and called an ambulance, she was going blue in the face by now. A paramedic gave her gas and oxygen, then a sedative, and she was right as rain.

The NHS recognise this (what if she'd had a panic attack while driving?) but the public at large don't. I, as a layman, would certainly have not considered her panic attack as 'just playing for attention' - she was seriously ill - but that's how it's often portrayed.
I had to go to a funeral in Essex (my cousin. Sad, so young. She was only 80. But then she was a heavy smoker.)

Woah, a sea of redheads. Straight and curly, every age from the pram to white-threads-in-the-red.

Their parents were Welsh mother and Irish father.

If you want redheaded models around Rayleigh, go to Halstead. They're mostly my second cousins.

The lamented deceased had three husbands, 11 children and I don't think her grands can be counted. A lot of them turned up. Some of them can't even speak English. They're all red.
Well, now that is wrapping up: when this started, my kids weren't even born. They are now 7 (they're twins).

They have grown up with this comic.

They have grown up with the idea that some girls like girls. So what? They don't have a problem with this. As long as it's not them. They're a bit too young for that yet.

You can enjoy art without seeing it as only sexual.
@Lordcholmondlywarner: Skyangel has done other webcomics, Cathy was my favourite: there was also Jane Blonde, which was a very tongue-in-cheek James Bond spoof. There may be a pause, but I hope she'll be back with something, maybe later this year, maybe a bit lighter.
I'd be interested to know if Linda is modelled on a South American - my kids are half-Colombianas and they can be almost white in winter, because I'm white. At this time of year they're as black as berries.

Linda is a Spanish name, it means 'beautiful' in Spanish.
@skyangel: If you have ever read Ursula le Guin, who btw was a feminist writer (she died recently) you'd need much bigger wings, an average sized human needs at least 3m of wingspan.

You can download her books from

You can't fly a hang-glider in the UK if you are under 14, my twins fly in Italy. They are like butterflies. They are barely 1.8 m wingtip-to-wingtip, and correspondingly manouevrable.

Ursula le Guin is wickedly funny.
@Fruitbat44: It's Essex. You were close. Still East Anglia.

If you look back through the pages (there are a lot of them), you can actually work out where Skyangel lives and works, you'll find them on Google streetview. Almost every thing and every person is drawn from life. In Essex.

I could walk into her shop and say 'I'm a great fan of your art' but as I'm heterosexual and she is lesbian I don't think I'd get much more than an 'umm well, thanks'.

For lesbians, blokes just aren't on the radar. Yes, the Sapphism is there but she's not ramming it into your face. She's lesbian. That's just what she is. So what? She's not making a fuss about it.
I get the impression that the next few pages are going to tie all the strings together, and All Will Be Explained. As in an Agatha Christie novel. If Skyangel is going to reproduce Christie's prolificity, (roughly a new book every eight months), and as Simply Sarah has taken about eight years, she's going to have to live to be 1000! (-:

As will her readers. As I've recently been declared cancer-free, I'm up for the long haul.

I'd love to know the locations featured as scenery.
@skyangel: I've never thought of it as being an LGBT comic. You've never rammed it down our throats. Sure, the protagonists are girls who like girls, but it's primarily a great comic with great art and an enticing storyline, whatever your sexual orientation is. In my case, heterosexual male, with heterosexual twin daughters who also love this comic, which they have now read from the beginning (the comic is actually older than they are).

Tintin is right-wing Catholic, does that mean it's no good? As in Simply Sarah, the politics are there, but they don't dominate the message.

Sure, your portrayal of male characters is unsympathetic, but in comments you have explained you had an abusive father. So, we know where you are coming from.

When Simply Sarah ends, you're going to take a break, but I hope you will come back. The twins especially liked Cathy, which showed you have a lot more strings to your bow. Jane Blonde was just rip-roaring comedy, it was really fun!

What will you do next? If there is one thing I can be sure of, it won't be what we expect...


The twins have just suggested a comic about being mixed-race in a country that has just elected a racist government. They'll do the Italian subtitles.
@Lordcholmondlywarner: My cousin used to live in Colne Engaine, now she lives in Halstead, so I know Essex reasonably well, and one of the joys of S_S is recognising the Essex milieu in which the comic takes place. Some frames you can look up on Google streetview and compare the frame with the photograph.
@kidcthulhu: 'pallor' - that's Becky the colourist's choice, unless Sky specifically told her to colour her pale.

Britain and especially Ireland are usually cloudy, so people tend to be quite pale - unless they deliberately tan themselves with a sunbed or a visit to sunnier climes. Even in NJ you will get more than twice as many hours of sunlight per year as Sky in Essex. I wouldn't consider Laura especially pale.

I haven't been to Essex in ages, except at 225 km/h on the train in to London - I'd forgotten how pretty parts of it are, and still unspoiled, even though it's so close to London.
@skyangel: Sare has two cars to tax and insure? And find parking spaces for?

One is enough of a problem. I've never seen any mention of her having a garage or off-road parking.

You do *not* want to have two cars without a good reason. OK it's classic, and it's been restored, but you need somewhere to keep it. This she hasn't got.

Inappropriate gift there Ron with the 1970s's bling.


Skye's male characters have hitherto been cardboard characters, Ron is the first who comes across, he is Essex Man (which will mean nothing to people outside England).

This bande dessinee is coming to an end. It's been great!

As it has evolved it has become more into Franco-Belgian tradition than just a slice-of-life.

Qu'elle vive toujours!
This really relates to your comments a few days ago
Skyangel: I was offered the same opportunity (young minds) and turned it down for some reasons that coincide with yours. But most differ.

I'm in a field (Physics and Mathematics) where there *are* right answers. It is at the atomic level when the observer interacts with the observed, as a minimum, there are large stable crystal arrays where the atoms sit down and behave themselves, and you can observe them without disturbing them too much. At lower-level, you are interacting with the experiment. This is second-year stuff.

It's about facts.


Art only exists between the observer and the observed. If you go round an art gallery you will experience something very different from me: I'm a bloke, I'm colourblind (these often go together). The sculpture (Rodin. etc) is something I want to touch. Off topic, Brussels is close to you and has some great museums, especially Modern Art. Touch it!

It's not about facts. It's about experiences. All the senses.


Now, interacting with young minds. How are you going to get these ideas across to a class of 35? Most of whom don't want to be there?

The Socratic Method doesn't work for more than about six inquisitive young minds for one tutor. Yet the Socratic Method is the basis of every educational system I know of.

I'll get off my soapbox now.
@skyangel: Giving up love is like stopping a drug addiction cold turkey. It's the same chemical in the brain.

Sarah's 'strong morals' say a lot say a lot about you, Sky.

In frame 6 (ease off on the shading, you have a colourist for this) you mention depression. Depression isn't a state of mind, it's a disease, and some people are immune against it. I'm one. Medical science is working hard to find out what causes it and how to cure it.

Suicide is a common cause of death with depressives. This is a tremendous waste of life.

The Victoria University of Manchester is surveying us non-depressives, and the study is beginning to show results.

'I used to care, but now I have a pill for this?' This could be a reality soon.

It's not something special we have, it's something we lack. There is a chemical in your brain we don't have, and this chemical serves no purpose whatsoever. Like an appendix, it's an evolutionaly leftover.
@skyangel: Oh dear. I hope I didn't put you off. But I think you are right that primary kids need to play, but secondary ones (well some of them) want to learn.

I'd like to say that my bitter experience was the only one [Being hit for being left-handed in] but sadly this is not so. A generation later my kids, who are Visible Minority Canadians (they are mestizas) got screamed at and humiliated for speaking Spanish.

They now refuse to speak English. They understand it. They will speak it only in an emergency.

Fortunately I have EU nationality and I wasn't that happy about their school's standards anyway so we moved to Italy.

Their headmistress would rather have her best front teeth extracted now than lose her two best pupils.


I think you were right to think hard about how you could influence young minds.

[BTW Spanish/Italy? They are mutually intelligible, although some Campanian and Sicilian dialects aren't. A language is a dialect with an Army and a Fleet.]

Because of my experience, teaching is something I could never do, even if I had the vocation or the talent. I have neither.

If you are thinking oh, that female insecurity - I'm a bloke.

I'll present a paper to be peer-assessed, that's different. There isn't a boy in the back row fingering up a girl in the back row, and she isn't pushing his hand away.


Actually yesterday evening I did present a paper. I was savagely attacked, I as staunchly defended. This is why a result from the LHC can take years to analyse. We just don't know. There is a lot of Physics out there that we know nothing about.
'I used to read books talking about using brushes on Bristol board yet found ink pens on copier paper perfectly suitable for my needs.'

Bristol board has the advantage that if you make a mistake you can usually scrape it off. And it's not expensive.

Because I'm left-handed I don't really have a choice, it has to be a brush. Los Bros Hernandez (they publish on paper, not on the internet) are, unsurprisingly, brothers, Xaime is left handed and uses a brush, Gilberto is right handed and uses a pen. This is not an invariable rule.

The comic has run since 1982.

Xaime used to do shading but has mostly gone ligne claire. Umm, do you get the idea I really like ligne claire?

Their comics (started in 1982) are not all happy stuff. They deal with gang violence, abusive relationships, and racial abuse.

As my kids are mixed-race, they can really relate to this stuff. They put up with this every day.

If you are up the A1 any time, I'll give you a heavy box full of Love and Rockets. I am just off the A1. If you don't return them, I will infect your pubic hairs with fleas, crab lice, and bubonic plague.

The girl pictured on the website is Carmen. She's mixed race. That's what my twins look like. South American girls grow up early.

You might like that the protagonists of Love and Rockets are lesbians. Esperancita (Hopey) and Maggie.

One of my daughters has a South American Indian name,Tonantzin, it means Earth Mother Goddess. This is actually from a Love and Rockets comic. She really loves her unique name.
@skyangel: I have had a total of one (1) art lesson in my entire life, and that put me off drawing (I got my hand hit with a ruler because I was using my left hand - yes, this still happens in American schools; thank you for putting me off any visual subject for years).

My drawing - I wouldn't call it art - is more akin to xkcd than Simply Sarah because I only started drawing again in my 30s. I use bristol board and a light box, indian ink and a brush. Recently I've bought a Wacom tablet - the cheapest one - and I found transitioning was really no problem at all. For doing eyes and hands it still has to be a brush. I don't even attempt to do hair the way you do. It must take ages!

Oh and Arienna had quite a comprehensive 'how to draw webcomics' guide at . I can't find it immediately,you might want to drop her a line - as the site hasn't been updated in six years, it doesn't conform to the latest web standards, which is probably why I can't find the lessons. This webcomic is sadly defunct because she decided to give up waitressing and webcomics and took a degree in Civil Engineering - quite a major career change! Her lessons are specifically about drawing and inking ligne claire, but you might find them a useful start to model your own course notes around.

And (again) if you decide to take the job, left-handers do not, as you'd expect, work right to left, we work (usually) top-to-bottom, although some people work bottom-to-top (even within one family - I am ttb so are my twins, my sister is btt). So, we're not 180 degrees away from righties, we're either 90 degrees or 270 degrees. You will also find that lefty kids absorb information quicker and better if it presented visuo-spatially rather than verbally - don't tell her, show her. [This is why so many lefties go in for arts (da Vinci) sciences (Einstein and just about every physicist ever) and politics (Kennedy, Bushes, Clinton, Obama)].

Kids these days are taught to write btt, they sit back in a relaxed posture with the writing material on the lap, so of course that is the way they are going to draw and ink. Any job that involves a lot of writing is going to cause agonising back pain in the late 20s if you write left-to-right - as I know only too well. Amazingly, some British schools still don't teach lefties how to write.

This means most lefties of the younger generations write btt but draw ttb. This is because writing isn't drawing. Your eye naturally hits the top of the page, not the bottom.

If you take the job, please think of the 13% of boys and 11% of girls who 1) will understand you a lot better if you show, not say - use your hands and your eyes, not your mouth and your ears, get them to draw their question, not say it and 2) have a different view of the world, much more about sight and sound than words and symbols. 2) means they will probably be your most rewarding pupils.
I probably comment more here than I should because I don't know that much about art.

I also comment at with the same name (only without the exclamation mark - ohanyname). About Physics. I'm a physicist. There have been some excellent discussions there over the last few days. These might amuse you while you wait for Sare to get over her writer's block.
Here we go again...

Female insecurity.

My kids (twin girls, single male parent) have everything going for them. They're bright and they're pretty. But they don't feel they are quite good enough.

I told them to man up. And then all three of us laughed. But they got my point.

Man up will you Sare? :-)
Frame 5 is just perfect. Lucy is in shock, her posture just says this. Sarah has her hand on her thigh, as lovers do, only lovers would touch the inner thigh in a non-erotic sense.

And then you gave us background which makes the scene so perfect.