My Comic Valentine

Unfortunately I failed to get along to ‘Romeo and Juliet’ last night, the first film in the Short Cuts romance season. Residual flu is my excuse. But I gather it went well. Meanwhile romance is in the air in some research by student psychologist Gill Elliott, who is investigating the psychological effects of being reunited with lost loves.

Personally I received no Valentines cards, from loves lost, found, or unsuspected. Perhaps just as well. One year the folks at Channel 4 sent me a life-size chocolate heart as a promotional item for ER – shaped like an actual heart with ventricles and valves. Chocolate of course is always welcome.
I did get one mystery gift – a Marvel Comics calendar. Like most people I have a few decorative personal items in my workspace. A while ago I bought this poster to display on my wall:


– and in so doing came out as a comic-book reader. Since then, various kind souls have given me comics-related items – the mystery calendar being the latest. Mugs, models and books have arrived, often without any particular excuse like a birthday – people just seem to just like giving me this stuff. Sometimes I feel like demigod in a forest, finding offerings of food left outside my cave. Is it to placate my wrath, or invite my blessing for the harvest?

But I do think the way people use their personal workspace says something about them and about the place they work. I once went on the Body Shop factory tour (Littlehampton’s top tourist attraction.) At one point you see the cubicles where the staff work. Curiously, there were no photos, calendars, postcards, mildly witty coffee mugs or cartoons torn out of newspapers in evidence – none of the personal detritus most of us have. Massive posters of Body Shop corporate sayings glowered over the whole cheerless setup. At least at Edge Hill we can put up the odd poster and pretend to have a life…

The hairy heart of Andy Butler