The Beany #4
Today i went to bed when the others got up. I heard them making toast and complaining about the leaking coffeemachine.
I had been late-night layouting, although i had sworn i was done with all-nighters. They never do me any good. I drifted back to sleep and dreamt of missed deadlines and impending doom (it’s my week of presentations and exams)
I slept till noon and woke to my cellphone alerting me to a new txt message. It was the post deposit center, telling me someting had arrived for me in the mail. Hooray! Eager for a task i could tackle in 20 minutes rather than a whole night, I went to pick it up, running errands on my way (buy tea, buy vitamins, a new alarm clock,…).
The package was yellow-brown and had a familiar handwriting on it. The Beany has arrived. The Beany is a hand drawn zine by my friend Michael Nobbs who is an artist from the UK.
I got into my bus and I tried for two stops to resist the temptation and then gave in. I opened it. This one is a hardcover. Its format is square 18×18 cm (approx), that fits nicely into your hands. Pretty!
The author signed it (ain’t i a lucky one) – thank you, Michael. And i smiled spotting the „Non-copyright notice: you are welcome to draw on, copy, cut-out and/reuse any part of this publication..“ i like it! that’s very keri-smith-y of you, Micheal! 🙂
This Beany is very special. It is about an artist dealing with the death of his mother. But it isn’t a sad book.
I imagine sad things happen to most of us. And it is easy to create something out of sadness – you know, all that whiny nobody-gets-me stuff. But is that really stuff that touches you, inspires you or cheers you up? Surely not.
This book is about „looking for the joy“ rather than complaining and it starts off brilliantly with a praise of eating breakfast out. Michael mixes drawings with photographs in his unique style and i have to say the writing is as interesting as the art.
There is so much i can relate to (even though my mum is still alive, thank god): treating yourself to a pudding, appreciating the little things, enjoying a bath and some tea, the scent of the soap a loved one used (in my case my grannys soap) and how it stops you dead in your tracks and floods you with so many memories..
Half-way through the book i’m thinking i would have liked to know Mrs Nobbs, she seems like a very warm person. And i’m enjoying reading about Michaels journey – once the boxes of his mothers things are unpacked and the kitchen is tidied up, he starts making cake with the kenwood chef his mother got as a present from his dad. „the smell of sponge cooking is so evocative of the past, and makes the house feel very much like a home, ..“
On the next page is my favourite part of the book, set in blue writing overlaying a black and white picture of the tea aisle in a supermarket „my life is suddenly feeling like this aisle, full of choice and wonderful flavours and possibility“ – i love that ! And i’ll think of it when i pass the tea aisle in my supermarket.. 🙂
The bus arrives at my stop and thankfully i look up in time to realize it. i get off and read the four pages in the dim light of the bus stop. „There is a huge hole in my life to be filled with the new, and the feeling that that is at least possible (and sometimes exciting)“ this makes me well up a little.
I hold the book tight to my chest and walk home.
This book truly is proof that if you create something from your own experience, that matters to you, then it will resonate with everyone else. Thank you so much for this book, Michael Nobbs. It’s so much more than a „zine“ or a book with pretty artwork. I recommend you all buy it immediately and also some cake and tea, as it is bound to make you hungry 🙂