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FML's Labor Day BBQ

The first Monday of September is a holiday in some countries, and is supposed to celebrate Labor Day. So, this means you do nothing to celebrate doing something. I'm confused. 

For those of us who don't live in those countries, what's it all about?  When I celebrate something, the thing I'm supposed to be celebrating is usually present at the time. When the local wine producers had a gathering of all the local alcoholics to present their latest batch of mind-melting stuff, there was wine on the premises. And me, obviously. When Kool and the Gang sing, "Celebrate good times, come on!", good times are also present. On Secretaries Day, they certainly don't get a day off. Not everything is as fun as Secretaries Day with lots of wine and Kool and the Gang playing all night long, though. So why do we celebrate working, when it's the most annoying thing we have to endure? If we didn't need the money to by light bulbs and hummus, we could do without work, and live in peace and harmony, and sail in metaphorical boats down a quiet river of tranquility. So, why do we still do it? 

(A chilling example of non-work ethics on Labor Day. Simply scandalous behavior.)

Although, I do like to sit around all day doing nothing. I'm very lazy, but working gives all of us a sense of purpose, even if we'd all wish we were in some sort of hammock with a ice-box full of cold drinks at arm's reach. If we could do that all day, we would. But we can't. According to my sources, AKA the Internet, historically, Labor Day is supposed to celebrate the social and economic achievements of the workers. I can respect that. But come on, some of those workers are the guys who designed the Furby and aerosol cheese. Why would we celebrate anything that makes money out of the toil of people whose sole purpose in life is to taint our collective unconscious, and devolve our species until we're back to where we started, a primordial soup, fighting about bone sculptures? Oh, sorry, wrong article. I thought I was writing something for my old philosophy teacher, and got a bit carried away with the teenage hyperbole.

Today, I was bored at work, so I started browsing the Internet. While I was on my Facebook page, my boss tagged me in a status: "I've been standing behind you for ten minutes." FML

Here on FML, work is one of the main subjects of complaints, whether it's from people doing the work, or others having to put up with the effects of someone else's poor job performance. Usually, low-end jobs are the worst. You know the ones: minimum wage, minimum motivation, minimum effort all round. No one cares, no one wants to do them, everyone accuses everyone else of stealing these jobs, usually "illegals", whoever they are, and then everyone complains once they're a customer, because someone once said the stupidest sentence ever known to man, "the customer is always right". No, the customer is self-righteous crapweazle most of the time. If people could just be polite and get along, that would be nice. As Bill and Ted said, be excellent to each other. People also say that working out is good for you. But is working good for you? Probably not. But still, every morning, if we're lucky enough to have a job, we get to still on a 67 bus, listening to Nick Drake, before sitting in a cubicle, or standing in front of a deep fat fryer, or something equally depressing. Wahey, life. 

Today, while at work as a telemarketer, I called a customer on his home phone. Once I was connected, an automated voice said, "To speak with a customer, please press 1." Confused, I pressed one. I then heard loud laughter followed by, "Oh my god! What a dumbass!" before they hung up. FML

Call centers are this generation's cannon fodder. Well, maybe not that bad. There's no trench foot, yet. Working conditions vary all over the globe, so everyone has a different story to tell. And oneupmanship is a common practice amongst the working class, as in, "Who's got it worse?". I spend my days in front of a computer with a couple of cats on my lap, so I've developed a shitty posture, and lifting something heavy at work led to two herniated disks and a dependency on some yummy pain killers. So be careful, work-related accidents can happen easier than you think. What was I lifting at the time? A big blue Ikea bag full of can of Diet Coke. Yes, ridiculous, I know. But if tell that story to someone who works down the docks who blew his liver out though his arsehole trying to pick a whole boat out of the water, I'd sound ridiculous. So I keep it quiet. I just say it's from when I was a soldier in the '80s or something. l

Today, it's the fifth day in a row my work mate has worn the exact same clothing. We share the desk. I'm absolutely positive he hasn't hit the shower since last weekend. FML

That's the thing. The clients can be bad. Co-workers can be just as bad. But at least clients go away. Co-workers are here to stay. It's like a second family, so if your real family is already crap, chances are you won't like the one you'll be getting at work. I have made some fantastic, lifelong friends through work. But I've also met some of the worst people ever. I could give you tips on how to spot them during your first day at work, but that'll be for a different article. This is all about Labor Day, and celebrating the workers, not cutting them a new one.

Today, while cleaning tables at the fast food place where I work, I had to remove two human teeth from a table top. FML

You'll meet normal people, thankfully. If you didn't come across some great people while working, you'd probably become deeply depressed. You'd start out your professional career with a spring in your step and a bright outlook on life, then end up with 40 extra pounds on your twisted frame, a beard, an addiction to nail polish remover and one of those silly electronic cigarettes constantly sticking out of your snout. And that's just at the end of the first year. 

(Yet again another example of someone doing bugger all on a National Holiday)

Certain jobs lead to too much stress, and can find you in a situation where you take on too much because that's what expected these days, you're supposed to be glad to be employed, so take what you're given to do, and shut your pie hole matey, which leads to what some people who wear glasses and suits and who work in the management sector call a burn-out. This term comes from airplanes or cars or something to do with gasoline, or a barbecue, something which means that there's no metaphorical fuel left and your brain and body just shut down, you can't do anything except babble and dribble and become YouTube-commenter level incoherent and irrational. You need to slow down. If you're not trying to cure cancer or save lives or building a rocket that could fly Ann Coulter into the sun, your job isn't worth dying for. Look after yourself, you nitwit.

Today, at work, I had to utter the phrase, "Sir, please stop rubbing yourself with the peas." It's exactly how it sounds. FML

So, Labor Day. What do people do on Labor Day? I haven't a clue. The general idea of why it's a holiday may be lost on some people. I had to look it up, but now I know it's not just about getting a day off work to go and eats ribs round at Big Ed's. It's about people in the past who fought for certain things, and sometimes, with all the jokes and cultural references that go bouncing around, we forget why we do certain things. Signifiers get lost. So let's not forget this one, but still have fun because a day off work is still something to be treasured.

There will still be those of you who will be working today, either in service industries, other jobs or people who live in countries where this day doesn't exist or isn't on this date. Or people who don't care. If you're one of those people, I'm glad you made it to this last sentence, well done for hanging in until the end, and have a nice day anyway!

#1468 - Ramblings - On 09/01/2014 at 4:30am by Alan - 20 comments

Jim Trim's Illustrated FML

Action stations! I'm back from my holiday, I've got some sort of weirdly uneven tan and I already want to go back to the beach to bum about and finish off my colouring book. But I can't. I'm still on holiday, technically, but I'm here today for a very special guest, a very special appeal, and a very special party on Saturday night. Not that the party is related, I just felt like mentioning it. We'll skip over this week's events, the real world is too much of a scary place; we'd rather concentrate on the world viewed through the prism of this week's illustrator, who has made it his mission to explain certain parts of it to younger generations. Let's check it out.


"Favourite biccy...hmm... That's a thinker! I'm going to be British and say custard cream, please forgive me! FYI, worthy contenders were Shortbread and Nice."

Self-portrait Jim by James


Jim Trim is a fellow Brit. That's not why he was selected to appear on FML, I'm not the kind of person to favour my fellow countrymen, that would smack of nepotism of something. He's on a mission, which I will explain in a little while. So, who is this guy, and what does he want ?

His info:
Age: 22
Location: Greater London.
Website: The Jim Trim website
Her illustrated FML: The one about the "Help Wanted" sign
His Kickstarter link: Take a look at the children's book he's producing, and give generously

We got to know Jim after we heard of his Kickstarter campaign. Jim is trying to get his children's book of animals out there, and we thought it was a great idea! So, in exchange for a bit of promotion, he created a wonderful illustrated FML for us. "It originally started off as a few character designs and I thought, hey - why not do one for each letter of the alphabet. Hence, 'Jolly Jim's A-Z of Amazing Animals' was born. It's a children's book, but the characters will hopefully entertain big kids too!" The visuals are certainly unique, as you can see from this article. Click on the link right above to see more. "The designs are animation-inspired and meant to be as funny, charming, extroverted and exaggerated as I could create. They're meant to be educational, but also entertaining and will teach children about where animals come from around the world - and is ideal for parents reading with kids." I've tried reading things to kids and it's a nightmare, but then again, they're not my kids, I have a goofy face, and they take advantage of my good nature and run riot all over the place. I've still got the bruises to prove it.

 Who is Jim? "I've always been interested in art, but only really started drawing 4/5 years ago and am trying to 'catch up' ASAP. I'm a recent graduate of animation and I'm aiming to be an animator, with dreams to maybe direct someday, as I can't help but be fascinated with every aspect of film-making and animation. The reason why I love animation especially is the ability it grants to exaggerate anything and everything beyond reality, and the thing I like to exaggerate most is facial expressions, hopefully this is visible in my drawings." It certainly is, all the while retaining a certain realism. 

I really love the dog and the elephant, but I'm guessing there's so much more to see! "In the next few years, I'm hoping to finish my short animated film which hopefully, above all else, will be funny, as I love comedy (who doesn't!) Since graduating, I've done a few freelance illustrations for books, a fair bit of free work, some internships…" Yes, the usual groundwork most illustrators that I get to interview have told me about. "But at the moment, I've kind of stumbled into illustration and am trying to self-publish a book for children that I originally started during university." Fingers crossed. Remember, you can check out more of the book by clicking on the Kickstarter link, and maybe chip in, it's all here.

Jim isn't just an illustrator, oh no. He's an all-round artist, and dare I say it, entertainer: "I play piano, have done tap and jazz (albeit some time ago now) and love singing, theatre... Basically anything creative." That's quite a lot of things to fit in. I barely have time to do anything these days, what with my busy schedule of watching Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on the Side, cleaning my cat's litter tray, sleeping, falling over in the street. It's a full, full-on life we live.

So what else do you do in your spare time, if you have any? "In my spare time (there's not much of it!), the main blog I follow is Deja View, and metaphorically drool over all the beautiful hand-drawn animations from Disney animators years ago. I like to watch movies, musicals, animated films... Also, I do look forward to a nice long walk at the end of the day, by which time my eyes are somewhat busted from sitting at a screen all day... and are in need of some daylight." I hear you on that one. Starting at my screen at FMLs and FML related "things" does my eyeballs no good at all. You wouldn't believe the levels of insults and metaphorical dog turds that get thrown at my brain-box on a regular basis. Weaker men than me would've thrown the towel in years ago. I'm not saying that I'm fighting a harder battle than someone in a war-torn country, but when I watch old war movies about the Dambusters or the Battle of Verdun or that thing with the Mexican drug cartels cutting peoples' heads off with chainsaws, I just think, "Pah, piece of piss."

How about one of your own personal FMLs? Any phobias you would like to share ? "No phobias, no particular FMLs - my life is pretty normal and boring in that sense - ALL the interesting stuff goes into my drawings and illustrations, yes, as I'm always watching, as in people's quirks, unique expressions, habits and ticks which make creating characters one of the most fun and fulfilling things to do that I can possibly think of. I just love creating characters, that hopefully will entertain and be loved too by readers." Be careful with the "I'm always watching" statement, people seem to frown on that these days. I jest of course. Inspiration from the outside world is the key to realism, which you seem to have moulded into something quite unique.

That's it for this week. Thanks to Jim for taking part, you've got something special going on. We hope your Kickstarter (another link, another plug) takes off and you manage to finance your childrens' book. Maybe when you're rich and famous, you'll come and make us another illustrated FML, who knows? As for me, well, I'm back to work on monday, and I'm not very happy about it. I have dreams of moving down to the ocean to live in total harmony with the waves, away from everything and everybody, wearing the same Stone Roses t-shirt everyday, not having a care in the world. But life isn't that simple, what's that saying again? "Life is like a box of chocolates : you open the box and someone has already eaten all the nice ones and has left the crap liqueur ones you hate." Next week, no illustrated FML, it's the third and final part of FML on Vacation, which will be all about returning home. So expect bitterness and anger. Until next time, be excellent to each other, and here, have a listen to the Stone Roses.

What about you? Think you've got talent and want to contribute to the illustrated FML? Send us an email to but only send us your blog's address and a few samples of your work. No need to create an illustrated FML straight away.

#1467 - Illustrated FML - On 08/29/2014 at 1:54am by Alan - 5 comments

AD_e's Illustrated FML

Hi gang ! It's Friday once more and time for us to go on a magical mystery tour around the brain of yet another illustrator. This week, things have happened around the world that were so depressing, I don't even want to think about them. Denial is the key to a happy life. However, sometimes, life hands you things that you just can't brush under the carpet. That's sort of the theme of this week's illustrated FML, so let's get straight down to the nitty-gritty and take a look. 


"The nickname AD_e needs to be with the capital letters like that and the underscore, otherwise it hurts my eyes."

Self-portrait AD_e by Adeline


AD_e is short for Adeline. That's her nickname, her persona and it appears that you shouldn't write it any other way. She comes all the way from Belgium, like so many other talented artists.

Her info:
Age: 22
Location: Charleroi, Belgium
Blog: AD_e's blog
Her illustrated FML: The one about the raffle and the duck

She's a student. She's even a graphics design student, and a "full time amateur sketch artist". She lives in Charleroi, "you know, the city that's known as the Brooklyn of Belgium, haha. My city is cool, my city is pretty despite what the rumors say." I hadn't heard any rumors about Charleroi, but now I'm going to be careful if ever I go there because it seems like you could easily get knifed there. She says she loves doing what she does, that drawing is "a passion that helps me escape this crazy world, to lose myself in my thoughts, to... to... I digress." She doesn't want for much in life: "I've got a cat, a great apartment, my XBox360 and Sting, the sword from the Lord of the Rings... so I don't think I need much else. Come to think of it... if I could have a light saber, that would be fantastic!" I meant realistic things, but people say that you have to demand the impossible.

So, how about projects? Anything current going on? "It's still top secret so it shouldn't be spread around too much but I'll let you in on it anyway: I'm working on my second home-made comic book (drawn, printed and sold by me)." As for projects, she's got loads bouncing around her head. Her dream is to publish a real comic book, "properly made and everything, in bookshops. Making illustrations for a children's book would be really cool. As would making a colouring book be. They're on my list of things to do in my life. As well as being published on FML and touching an iceberg, dressed as a Jedi, while riding a shark who is wearing a sombrero..." OK, well, I can just do the "being published on FML" part, I'm not qualified to supply the rest.

She has studied. A lot. "After finishing secondary education, I did media and communication studies, and got a journalism degree. Now, I've thrown myself into graphic design studies. According to my family, I'm addicted to education. Sometimes, I can hear them say, "40 years old and still a student" ha ha." So, scared of facing the real world, huh? I can understand that. It's an awful world out there.

She was inspired by school. "During my adolescence… Drawing in the margins of my notebooks and on the school benches (yes, I know, bad girl) helped a lot. And then the Internet turned up along with comic book blogs. Every day, I would take a look at my favourite blogs (including Paka, Sanaa K, Diglee, Yap and many more). And then one day, I said to myself, "Why not me?"

Her tastes, are they more sort of doom metal, or disco-punk? "I like anything which is science-fiction, from superheroes to movies where there's great big action scenes and bad jokes. One of the last movies I saw in an actual movie theatre was "X-Men : Days of Future Past" and I really loved it. The Quicksilver character is one of my favourite comic book characters (along with Flash). As for TV shows, there's the amazing Game of Thrones, Sherlock and Doctor Who which are my favourites. I never get bored of them. I'm currently re-watching all the Doctor Who episodes before the new season begins. I'm a fan of the "geek" world, even if I don't like the way the word is used generally. I collect loads of goodies. Anything like figurines, comic books, furry toys, mouse mats, clothes, swords, jewelry, etc. from movies and TV shows. I think my apartment could become a museum. Oh and let me reveal my secret. I'm a fan and I'm totally addicted to the songs that you hear in advertisements on TV. I know practically all of them, from car advertisements to shower gel advertisements, all the way to the ones hawking cat food. I don't stop at singing them when they come on, I look up who wrote them, if they've made other music, etc. And to tell you the truth, it's allowed me to discover really good new artists!" I feel the opposite sometimes, when I hear a song I used to love being used to sell something. It sort of ruins the song for me. 

How about one of your own personal FMLs? "Today, I'm on holiday at my dad's place, and there's no washing machine. I set off for the local laundromat, dirty washing under my arm. I miss my step on the road and all my clothes end up on the ground. The traffic was held up because of me stuck in the middle trying to pick everything up, and some pervert was staring at my panties. FML"

That's it for this week.  Thanks AD_e for taking part, it was cool having you on board. If everything has gone to plan, while you're reading this, I'm on holiday down by the ocean in the south of France. That's if everything went smoothly, but being FML staff, it probably didn't. So it's fitting that I should leave you with a typically oceanic-orientated song, because I'm in the mood for surfing. Not that I can surf though, I have no sense of balance whatsoever. Next week we'll be welcoming a Peruvian artist who only eats green beans, or a she-devil illustrator who paints dead singers using her hair and menstrual blood. It'll be a surprise then, because for now I have no idea who's doing what. I'm already on holiday in my mind, because I haven't had any days off since 1987. You have to work hard in life, if you want to end up falling into the trajectory of an oncoming bus and splat, game over. Until next time, be excellent to each other and may the ghost of Ian Curtis bring you luck. All summer long. 

What about you? Think you've got talent and want to contribute to the illustrated FML? Send us an email to but only send us your blog's address and a few samples of your work. No need to create an illustrated FML straight away.

#1466 - Illustrated FML - On 08/18/2014 at 8:25am by Alan - 12 comments

FML on vacation #2: In slow-moving hell

It was once a dream, now it’s come true. We’re at the place that was allocated months ago for preprogrammed, enforced holiday fun time. We’ve put on some cargo shorts, slipped on some of those flip-flops that hurt your toes after a few yards, and we’re all pretending to be happy. What d’you mean, “pretending”, Mr Miserable? OK, not everyone is pretending, there are a few exceptions. Rich people who can afford decent holidays, but then again, not even money can buy happiness. It can help, though. The only people who are close to some sort of happiness are the ones like me who anticipate boredom and who bring along a suitcase stuffed with horse tranquillisers, and mainly see life through a narcotic haze. The rest are in denial. Going through all the trouble of travelling across the country or the globe, spending a small fortune in the process, just to end up in a different place, albeit a pretty one, but with the same neurosis and gastric irritations is just bizarre. “Who really benefits from all this?”, he said in a serious TV news reporter’s voice.

(The campsite's quality may differ from what was promised on the brochure)

Travelling isn't the hardest part, you also have to endure the time served on site. Never ending days that seemed ages away last February when you were booking them on the Internet, a credit card in your trembling hand after having glimpsed at the misleading photos on the travel agent's website. But now you've arrived. And it's crap. It smells of rotting seaweed. The toilets and showers are a long way away, and hygiene levels are barely above truck stop quality. The camp site neighbours have small, noisy children and they also seem to have some sort of trumpet sticking out of their tent. Lord knows what sort of sound it makes... Oh, now they're playing it. Great. Just great. Sounds like a dying moose. By now, you're glad you packed that box of rosé wine into the fridge and are now contemplating death by barbecue. 

Today, my boyfriend and I are on camping vacation. On my way out of the tent, I stepped in a pile of shit. When I told him, he said, "Oh, I couldn't make it to the bathroom last night." The bathroom was a minute walk from our tent. FML

Whether you vacation at the beach, in the mountains or if you just want to leave society behind and go and meditate in a monastery in the middle of nowhere, you have to choose wisely when picking an unknown destination. Many people go back to the same place to vacation, year after year, and it's a bit of a shame. It's understandable, though, it's like going to McDonald's, you know what's going to be on the menu, and what it's going to taste like. It's the easy solution, a quiet vacation in a familiar place. But you might as well go on vacation in your own garden, pitch a tent in your living room and take dumps in your bathtub. It's better to take calculated risks, and to continue with the bad McDonald's analogy, I mean something more exotic than having a Quarterpounder instead or your usual Big Mac. I mean going somewhere totally different. Like a Burger King. In space. It's the only way to disconnect your overworked brain from day-to-day life and get finally get the feeling that time has stood still. Otherwise, when you come home, you'll still be in the same pathetic state as when you left, and people will annoy you by saying stuff like, "What? You went back to that same place you've been to for the last 10 years? Why? Are you my grandad?" 

Today, my friend and I went for a late night walk along the beach. We decided to sit down on a log. It was a dead seal. FML

(Summer at the beach, I can't wait)

Being on vacation is about getting some rest, but you can also find time for your hobbies. Yes, well, while on vacation, hobbies are probably always the same: throwing a Frisbee about, cheap racket-and-ball things, kites and being a bit of an alcoholic. When you're at home, you'd never dream of entertaining yourself by throwing a Frisbee around your house, due to it being quite a tedious pastime. But once you reach the beach, it's like your standards start to drop. I like to do Sudoku on vacation. Not actually finish them properly, just fill in the boxes randomly. It's not like anyone is actually going to check what I've put in the boxes, even if I go up to people and say, "Look, I've finished the whole book". I tested this theory once at night, in the pouring rain, and it's true, no one wants to look at my Sudoku. As for being a budding alcoholic while on vacation, I don't mean like an idiot on Spring Break, chugging down beers through a plastic pipe, beers with such a low alcohol content that I don't understand the point of their existence, I mean bottles of rosé wine in a cooler that you break out around 5pm, sitting on the beach. This sort of behaviour seems normal when you're on vacation. If you try breaking out a bottle of rosé wine on a subway at 5pm, people just think you're a homeless dude with very low self-esteem. It's just not fair. Double standards.

(Vacationing in the countryside, as seen here in Ireland, can be full of surprises)

Some people spend their summers in the mountains or the countryside. They don't like the beach. They're "different". They like to commune with nature, and by that I mean insects, mosquitoes and snakes. We must respect these people. A cabin in the woods can be a very nice place to be. Somewhere to hang out, far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Get together with a bunch of friends, around a big oak table and drink chamomile tea and talk about the deconstruction of the soul in modern Russian cinema while the kids play in a paddling pool. Sounds like heaven. Or, to put it another way, I never get invited to this sort of getaway because I think I'd probably turn into a fat, angry owl with spinning head if I ever got trapped in anything like it.

Today, I arrived at the beach for a week's vacation. I walk on the beach only to find they are "rebuilding" it. They have heavy machinery all over the place, they work 24/7, and this only happens every 15 years. Glad I picked this week. FML

(The only elections that really mean anything anymore)

Near the beach, there's a flyposter on the supermarket door that says that there's an election tomorrow to determine who the cutest guy in the campsite is. Mister Camping will be proclaimed at 9pm. Oh goody, that's what was needed, some cultural relaxation. If that doesn't tempt you, there's the night market to stroll around, with a Nutella-covered waffle. All along the sea front, you may be be tempted to buy a cheap plastic toy for a large lump of money, or even get a terrible painting of a clown made in a sweat shop. The atmosphere will be electric; the neon lights burning up the same electrical current that would be required to power a small village. A fight will probably break out down by the fun fair, near the go karts, between either two groups of teenagers who've had too many vodka and Red Bull shots and who are now trying to impress some spotty girls from Luxembourg, or between two soccer moms squabbling like seagulls over one parking space near the ice cream van while their gormless husbands and 26 bored kids look on. The empty car park several hundred yards up the road is clearly visible to all, of course. This is what vacations are all about, the atmosphere. I love it. People think I'm nuts when I mention it, but it's true. I've already heard "Last Christmas" by Wham come blaring out of a beach sound system on a hot August day, and it was so out of place, it was just perfect, like wearing a Hawaiian shirt to a baptism. You've got to embrace your inner love for trashy stuff to be able to enjoy your vacation. Otherwise, you'll spend all your time chasing perfection, end up depressed and sucking on horse tranquilliser-flavoured ice-cream cones. 

Today, at the beach, I noticed a plastic bag in the water. I wanted to do something good for a change, help protect the environment and get it out. It wasn't a bag; it was a jellyfish. FML

Take this as some sort of warning: By trying to do the right thing all the time, more often than not you end up coved in jellyfish. That'll be my crap saying of the day. Let things happen, go with the flow and have fun. Take care.

#1465 - Ramblings - On 08/13/2014 at 5:05am by Alan - 17 comments

Mélie's Illustrated FML

Whatever happened to that girl who sang about Fridays? Here at FML, on Friday, we usually release our weekly illustrated FML. This week, so many things happened, I couldn't begin to describe them. No really, I couldn't. Oh, go on then, maybe a bit. Today for example, it's apparently International Cat Day. As if the feline invaders needed a special day to be all about them. They've already got our chairs, our beds and our laps. One day, cats will rule the world, but not today, there's a bit of tin foil trapped behind the couch. Anyway, this week we're not going to be splitting hairs, let's get right on with it. Booyakasha. 


"If you see a girl in public transportation carrying a whole lot of stuff, a cat box, messed-up hair, an ugly sweater on, chances are that it's me."

Self-portrait Mélie by Mélanie


Mélie is her nickname, and illustrating is her game. She explained to me the origins of her full moniker, which is Mélie Bacanarie, but it's so complicated that I'm not even sure I can explain it back to you off the top of my head. Oh yes, it's a contraction of her different family names, due to her having several of the things. But I won't give out her real name, because of attorney-client privilege. Or something. I should do, because she chose to illustrate an FML about haircuts and I haven't had hair on my head since the mid-'90s.

Her info:
Age: 23 
Blog: A Facebook page full of her illustrations
Her illustrated FML: The one about hair war

No blog. Odd for an illustrator, I know. I think it's the first time I've encountered an illustrator who didn't have one. She explains it so: "Unfortunately, for the moment I've only got a Facebook page, I'm trying to set up a blog, this summer. Trying is the key word, I'm not managing to do it very well. In the meantime, I use my Facebook page as a blog, putting illustrations on it and updating it every monday." And what a good page it is too, so go check it out, because it's quite interesting.

So, what does she do?  "Globally, not a lot. I'm a freelance illustrator, so I'm used to saying that I'm 'always on holiday'. Which isn't strictly true; let's just say that when someone orders an illustration, I don't have a timetable, when an order comes along or a conference is approaching, holidays and weekends no longer exist. In those moments, I lose all notion of time. Once, I was so out of it that I asked people on Facebook what day it was. To simplify my answer, I'll say that 'I make doodles when asked'." She says that she lacks consistency, "I love the the rough, sketched part, creating a gag, a story, all the creative part of the process. Afterwards, when I have to fiddle about with the details, ink, make it look professional... Let's just say I lack willpower most of the time. I've always been like that, very enthusiastic in the beginning, but not so much towards the end." I think there's a psychological term for that sort of behaviour. I can't remember right now due to dehydration and a lack of vitamin C because I ran into my old friend Jack Daniel's last night, so my brain is not firing on all cylinders, but I think it's something to do with a fear of actually finishing something you've already started. I've got the same problem.  

Does she have projects, or is she waiting for things to just pop out of nowhere? She's got loads! "I'm drawing several projects, too many you could say… At the moment I'm trying to draw comics called 5irth, r95irth and Damned. I've also got two children's projects on the go, and something to send to museums. This year, I worked on The Wanted Mag, whose page is on Facebook and on It's a collective of comic book authors, all stuck between three genres: Mangas, Franco-Belgian and comics. So, with a few friends, we set up a magazine that comes out every six months and which publishes long, hybrid stories. We're inspired by journalistic novels and Japanese magazines." For someone who reckons she lacks consistency, she's certainly prolific. 

As for inspiration and influences, Mélie is all over the place. She's very influenced by Japanese writers: "If I really must name names, it would mostly be writers that inspired/motivated me. And unfortunately, there are a lot more Mangaku than Franco-Belgians or comic book writers." She cites people like Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist), Jun Mochizuki (Pandora Hearts), Daisuke Moriyama (Chrono Crusade), Shinobu Othaka (Magi) and Miyazaki… People I've never really heard of due to me being an ignoramus when it comes to Mangas, but by whom I'm now intrigued. 

Her perfect day? "Sleeping in, finishing writing a chapter, reading a good book, eating some chocolate and pancakes and ending the evening with a video game or a good movie. All this from my bed, with my cat on my knees and my friends and family talking to me via Skype. But days are never long enough to do all of that." We can try. Tomorrow is Saturday, I'm going to give it a shot. The 'sleeping in' thing at least. Mélie agrees. "I love sleeping! A lot, a lot, a lot. I love chocolate too, and it's the only foodstuff for which I'll enjoy the 'mandatory' side of mealtimes. Other than that, my passions are pretty logical. I love drawing, inventing stories and writing scripts. I'm on the Internet too often, talking about my projects, reading stories by young authors on forums. I'm not good enough with computers to be called a geek, but I like video games, mainly RPG." 

How about your own FML? "I think my most recent FML happened in the Paris underground metro. I was daydreaming with my headphones on, and I didn't hear the signal indicating the doors were about to close. There was a Me versus the Automatic Doors situation, and even though I tried running as fast as I could, they slapped me backwards. I got up, stunned, while the doors were closing again. I'm stubborn and I WANTED that train. Not a different one, not the next one! It was between it and me. I got up and ran towards it again. People seem to take pity on me and grabbed hold of the door so that I could get in. I stumbled in, saw a seat… and sat down, basking in the glow of victory. Then I almost passed out. The other passengers must've hated me!" Oh, so YOU were that annoying girl the other day, I remember you... 

There, that'll do for this week. Mélie told me a whole bunch of other stuff, but I can't repeat everything on here, these blog posts are long and rambling enough as it is. So, don't hesitate to check out her Facebook page and contact her to ask her questions about stuff, she's quite fascinating (in a good way). I'm going to go back onto the couch and watch last night's Big Brother UK (Ashleigh FTW) because right now I feel like I'm floating in space, a feeling very well represented by this wonderful track by Oneohtrix Point Never. Thanks to Mélie for her illustration and enthusiasm, which is quite rare these days. Next week, no illustrated FML, it'll be part 2 of the "Summer on FML" blog. Until then, be excellent to each other, and may the strength of Angus Young go with you, whether you're on vacation or not. 

What about you? Think you've got talent and want to contribute to the illustrated FML? Send us an email to but only send us your blog's address and a few samples of your work. No need to create an illustrated FML straight away.

#1464 - Illustrated FML - On 08/07/2014 at 6:02am by Alan - 9 comments

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