Until last Sunday, had anyone asked me how long each strip takes to do, I'd have said about two hours for the drawing and half an hour to assemble into a strip. Now I know it takes rather longer to draw. Why do I know? Because I spent all Sunday afternoon - from about 1:00 to 5:30 - drawing Phoenix Feathers for next week, and I didn't finish. Normally I draw during the coffee sessions on Saturday, and I can finish easily on Sunday evening in time to scan them in before Monday. However, this Saturday was different. This Saturday I spent seven hours walking around London with various other weirdos (including Moonshadow) waving a banner that read 'Who Would Jesus Bomb?' in a vain attempt to protest about the war into which our government seems intent on plunging the country.
It was actually quite fun. There was a really good atmosphere and no violence or mob feeling. There were all kinds of people there (one of my friends stood in a queue to get tickets for the train with a woman who said, entirely in earnest, that she had not quite forgiven the French for refusing to buy British beef but she couldn't resist buying French cheese any more). The banners were very amusing - my personal favourite had to be the one of Tony Blair carrying a rifle and wearing a large tea cup on his head. The slogan beneath read 'Make tea not war'. There were a large number of banners from the Daily Mirror, the Muslim Association of Britain and www.stopwar.org, and we 'borrowed' one of these (from where it was lying in the road) and turned it inside out and wrote on the inside to make our banner.
When we'd gone full circle from Charing Cross to the Thames and the Houses of Parliament and back up to Nelson's Column, we persuaded a policeman to let us out of the cordon so we could take a break and have some lunch in a handy restaurant. I had waffle and ice cream and maple syrup, and watched my friends colouring in the letters on the banner with a couple of biros. When we went back to the protest, it was still going strong, and we recognised some of the banners from before our break - they hadn't gone very far. Later on there was a steel drum band going strong behind us, which was great fun. The good feeling remained despite our having to stand in one place for quite a while as four streams of people poured into Piccadilly Circus to merge into one stream going out (!)
It fell apart a little when we reached Hyde Park, and we left and tried to find a coffee house that was open and cheap and could seat eight people, which wasn't very easy. I was impressed with the Tube - it managed to keep running (bar the closed stations around the route of the march) although the trains were pretty full. I did enjoy it - oddly, since my idea of fun is closer to 'books and chocolate' than it is to 'walking around for hours on end'. I hope it made a point - it's kind of hard to ignore two million people pouring through the streets of London - although from what I've seen of the press, it hasn't changed any attitudes among our leaders.
But I do feel like I lost half my weekend. And I know now that Phoenix Feathers takes closer to four hours per strip than two.
- Sun Kitten, 18th February '03