An everyday story of leftwing folk

Monday, 18 January 2010

Up Close And Personalised Episode 5

A little while back I was watching the anime TV series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2nd Gig).  I realised that if you're telling a story over a long run, you have space for the occasional fugue.  You can take some time out to explore character, or some aspect of your world.

So, in this episode we get to see a bit of the Kid's history.  As much as she'll allow anyway.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

How it all began. Part 3

So. I’d gotten the beginnings of an idea to do something cartoonish or comic-bookish, and I’d got a world that I wanted to represent. What I guess was needed was a catalyst.

Late in 2006 I applied for a more senior job within the Organisation. During the interview, the HR bod said something like, “If you get this job, you will have to be more corporate. Could you give me examples…” My brain exploded. And I answered, “Well, I’ve got a suit…” Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.

It’s a bit like the moment in the war film when the Kommandant of the POW camp says, “For you, ze varr iss over.” You realise that from now on the rules of the game have changed, but that you don’t have to play by them. It’s strangely liberating.

At about this time my wife was working on a (proper) book and asked me if I’d do some drawings for it. At the end of the day, all I ended up doing was an acorn and an oak tree, but that’s another story. As part of my scribbling I drew various versions of a demented-looking kid tapping at a laptop.

Again about the same time some buffoon from the Defence Ministry or somewhere lost a laptop full of sensitive information (like they do from time-to-time). And I thought that somebody like the kid I’d drawn would probably have nicked it and deleted all the government secrets while looking for porno.

This was how the first story (Reaching the LEARNER) began to form in my mind…

Monday, 4 January 2010

How it all began. Part 2

Back in the day, the Organisation used to do stuff. A lot of it was small-scale, but it made a real difference to the people involved.

But then the Organisation got poisoned by Policy. The only change that mattered was large-scale, national-level, “step” change. And we cuddled up to Power and imagined we were on the inside of this exclusive club.

Our role was reinterpreted as influencing “policy makers” and devising strategies for others to implement.

But the truth is that the central government officials that the Organisation deals with do not really make policy. Politicians do. And they are driven by a brute public opinion interpreted by the press and other commentators. The best officials can do is offer a readymade solution that vaguely fits the vaguely-worded policy pronouncement from on high.

So we spend our time creating solutions in search of a problem. This makes the Organisation an ecosystem where bureaucrats, technocrats and power-players can thrive, because there is no clear object to our work, and anything at all could turn out to be our saviour.

This is my world. A world not that far from comic-book, really.