This blog is in a state of suspended animation

I am much more active on twitter (@mark_haddon) and on instagram (@mjphaddon)


many, many years ago, in the late 80's, i did a regular cartoon strip for the nursing times about life at the eponymous st opt-outs hospital. this was the period when margaret thatcher first introduced the internal market, created hospital trusts and allowed them to opt-out of local health authority control. i was prodded by @marcuschown to dig them out of the bottom drawer not least because they are a (not entirely historically accurate) record of the initial assaults on the nhs which have culminated in the near-terminal blows being dealt by the present government, and because some of the 'jokes' seem as pertinent today as they did back then. the cartoons feel antique and clumsy and sometimes really not terribly funny at all and i was tempted to keep them hidden from view. but... ithe internet is like a much, much larger bottom drawer, right. and you can blame marcus chown...


i was leafing through derek jarman's rather lovely sketchbooks the other day (the published version not the actual sketchbooks - good gallery here), thinking what lovely objects they were and, as is my wont, nursing a depressed, childish jealousy on account not having produced anything of a similar kind. which inspired me to dig around in some old bookshelves and gather together some of the notebooks i had made over the years. 

I've always been slightly embarrassed by my own scribbles and notes and writings-off-the-cuff (i think of myself as a good editor of bad first drafts) so i'd never done this before. What i found was a very happy discovery indeed.

... en route to copenhagen from london heathrow (to see the danish opening of curious at the betty nanset theatre). i'm obviously relaxing a little (see 'take-off drawings' below). i still needed the valium, but i'm getting there:

the landing wasn't bad either:

on the way home from copenhagen simon stephens distracted me so well with entertaining conversation that i needed neither pencil, loud music or tetris. i recommend him highly.

and yet... terrified as i am of flying, i look out the window and see dawn coming up over the rim of the world and think... is this not the most jaw-dropping sight imaginable? we're 37,000 ft up. in a flying machine. that is the curve of the planet out there. we are living in a science fiction movie. right now. we are living in an actual science fiction movie. and we're probably complaining about the crappiness of the inflight meal...

i hate flying (a subject about which i go on at some length here) ideally during take-off i'd have a general anaesthetic. Since that isn't usually available i'd like to play Tetris or some other moronically simple and addictive computer game but, as they point out, any electronic device used by a passenger during take-off or landing will cause the plane to veer sideways, burst into flames and and plunge into the ground at several hundred miles an hour killing everyone on board. so, the only thing i'm able to do during take-off is to doodle (see turbulence drawings below). i think i did pretty well taking off from heathrow en route to addis ababa last week - the longest flight i've ever taken.

i seem to have been a little less relaxed - or perhaps a little under-valiumed - on the way home.