Stick on the right there has suffered a double knee capping but is doing well. Other sticks are in fine health. Bout of stick plague seems to have passed. New ivy and brambles arrived today and not too soon!
On a more serious note the following private message was intercepted on the back of a leaf but we are still trying to ascertain its precise origin, it was annotated in inky footprints by a ladybird from freezing cold outer tank. It was seen flying off earlier today when we attempted a conversation in 7 dots (their language). We suspect there is a stick in our midst who has developed a taste for stick knees! And this is of some concern:
"What's got you stumpy? Oh a bit of kneecapping never did anyone any harm.
I couldn't help it anyway you were lying across my mandibbly bits! What did you expect would happen?
They needed pruning and they're 99% ivy anyway.
I do know everything - I may seem tactless insensitive and inexperienced but I've heard it all in my inter-kneecap-interviews-and-research-of-utmost-discretion (discretion is upheld at all times except on wednesdays, saturdays and anytime after 11am in the kitchen). And I've read the blog.
It wasn't my responsibility to make you feel welcome and safe here, it was orders from the boss. We're very close you know.
Oh you thought I was in charge? Well yes, I am.
No, I know some of you call it anti knee capping, but that's just a tank wide code for nibbling a bit myself while cunningly diverting attention away onto others who have probably lost their eyesight and can't tell the difference between a leaf and a knee. It's got better recently but I just -
they are so awfully tempting.
It is my real job.in the real world, not this pesky tanks for small sticks. I am a stick in service of grater things - like potato peelers, :scoff: and it makes sense when you realise that Anty is my title! I am Anty. I actually work for a wider network of superior sticks, called Anty Knee Cappings Incorporated. Didn't you know?
I'm so innocently savvily skilled at it that I'm in charge of recruits. Now that you do know you should be careful of your elbows. I have my eyes on them and won't hesitate to sway on over and SCRONCH."
It is most troubling but we will either perform a mass evacuation or continue to monitor with a view to countering these attacks. Will update you soon.
The third file has just come in so please go straight through for assessment. Its taken this long due to the seven departments that had to review it first after it got stuck in Tblisi airport.
Don't leave it on the train this time or Morris will have to be informed.
See you Friday.
Curly File 3
John the Baptist with Pomegranates and Artichokes (a collage using the original by Hieronymus Bosch). Here's a larger version of the third panel for closer inspection...
So, like, everyone hates me, ostensibly because I am the death stick. Or so they say. Whenever I come and eat near them they seem to start standing on their back legs with their arms in the air waving about like they can't see and soon after they loose their grip and fall to the floor and lie there on their backs for about 3 days or humm 180 days in equivalent stick time until they die having lost a few legs which just drop off in the mean time. The great ape has been collecting many of my former 'friends' and taking them for the burial service in the garden. It has been a tragic time.
They say when I shake my stuff at them it's all over, so now, rather than climb all over me and hang off my legs or try to eat my antennae as they would normally do, they all just stay the other end of the enclosure and talk amongst themselves. I hear things like - "nice legs twiggy" or "just because you have the power of life and death doesn't make you special you know" or " think you look like an orchid stem do you - more like a stem of grass" this kind of chatter goes on far more than I could have thought possible only half a lifetime ago.
They blame me, they think it's contagious and that because I am fine, and yet so many have fallen, that it is my doing. Logic is not a stick insect strong point.
Thankfully I happen to have escaped this turbid atmosphere a couple of times for a tete a tete with the great ape. She is really very nice for a humungus pink four legged; well two at least - I think the top two might be kinds of antennae but anyway. She says it might have been poison. That some of the other super apes hate all living things and want to kill them all indiscriminately. Some of the super apes enjoy the horrible forms of death like it's a drug. Anyway she was really sad and sorry and said a prayer for each little life that ended (little to her being so ma-hussive). She says we are little phasmids. In some places in the unimaginably large container the apes live in, we are even revered as sacred. Sacred. I think that is right. I think it means, magically great at swaying. Yes. We are special. One super ape, she said, said that no one cares about stick insects or insects in general but she cares. In some super ape containers insects are pretty much allowed to be tortured to death and no one tells off the other super apes. Anyway. I learned a lot with our super ape, she's not so bad. She let me ride on her shoulder while she drew a comic (which is like lots of sticks lined up with weirdly bright colours laid out behind them) she said its about our relatives.
After a long while, say three weeks in super ape time, or 4 years in stick time, the numbers of deaths dropped off. Thankfully. It was a sorrowful time, a kind of plague. Super Ape says perhaps it was just old age. Most sticks only live for 1 human year and as we had such a large population perhaps we got overcrowded and so the weakest died off. She did mention very very quietly one day that she had thought some Maple leaves were a kind of Oak leaf and that perhaps feeding them to us had led to some irritable stick bowel syndrome and the writhing death pains in some of our more unfortunate number. Agh.
So a quieter time has arrived and she brought us some actual Oak leaves which I must say are delicious. Only four people have died this week which is not so bad. We are still numbered about 50 at least, so can still sing our silent song, even if half the sticks in here are barky twiglets who I don't need or like very much. I am happier without them crawling on me and trying to kneecap me with their mandibly bits. If I need a chat I can just squeeze out from under the muslin and place myself somewhere decoratively for the super ape to find. She's always pleased.
Showing all stages from concept to completion! And yes the final painting is impressionistic and muted. I wanted to contrast the violence and speed of the actual boxing (I was watching the amateur world championship on the TV) with timelessness and peace in a painting. It's a sort of cognitive dissonance - but also I know myself from training that there is a timeless and peaceful side to boxing!
Lawrence Rider (my long time comics collaborator) and I embarked on this, Graphic Novel No. 2 some years back now (like 2014) - and due to the rudeness of life impinging on my time and space - I only managed to complete Chapter 1. Chapter 2 is in progress (has been paused for 25 months) but we thought it time to share chapter 1 in any case. We have called it Naas: Mars City Limits but it was first called Desolate Landscapes.
Both of these images above came fairly early on but I still like them. The one on the right is some concept work for the world they live in - the left hand design is a bit more prosaic… The whole thing is a kind of autobotography. We hope you like it. If you happen to be a publisher and want to help us get the other 10 chapters done, please do.
So without further ado - please investigate… Interplanetary Airbus Tango Alpha Yahtzee is leaving in 5 4 3 2