The Ian Gibson column: next door’s on fire

Comics legend Ian Gibson had a late night painting. An hour after falling asleep, he was 'rudely' woken up...

A genuine British comics legend: Ian Gibson

The lo-cal, ‘healthy option’, newsrag has been using my name in plain-type again.Just the other morning, I was awoken (I can’t say ‘rudely’, as is the regular literary fashion, because she was very polite) by a pretty young reporter from the Hastings Observer. I’d had all of sixty minutes of sleep, after painting all night, so I was not at my sharpest. And, dressed merely in a robe and slippers, probably not as easy on the eye as she was!

The reason for the invasion into my artistic lack of routine was, sadly, not to enquire as to what exciting projects I am involved with for an exclusive ‘arts and entertainment’ feature in the publication, but to garner information concerning the fire, which was, I am lead to believe, a heady mix of arson and vandalism on my neighbour’s house.

I had arrived home the previous evening, after a visit to a friend, to find my neighbour hanging over the balcony of a top floor window and calling: “Help!! My house is on fire!”

Now, bearing in mind that I don’t know them very well, if at all, and that they have a reputation for weird, if not actually exotic, behaviour, I at first took it as a prank. Attention seeking perchance, as this locality is shot through with peculiar types of all shapes, sizes and inclinations. But I began to suspect that all was not well as my attention was drawn not to her, but to the billowing black smoke from the rear of the property curling up into the night sky.

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I ducked indoors. Not to collect a sketch pad to capture the scene for posterity or as first hand reference material (you never know when a story will require a healthy, or otherwise, dose of billowing smoke), but to phone the fire brigade, as is one’s neighbourly and civic duty at such times.

A couple of days later I checked the report and there I was mumbling incoherently. Well, I did say I was not at my sharpest!

So, to set matters right, I present for you my version of the news report:

East Sussex family go that extra mile to stay healthy!

Though their flat burning regime may not suit all fitness freaks, it does get them out of the house. Locals gathered to witness their exciting and, some might say, hazardous routine. Police were on hand to control the crowds and pick up the pieces (of evidence). And to complete their change of lifestyle, the whole family were inspired to elicit the assistance of the fire brigade to help them quit smoking. Now that’s what I call ladderal thinking. May they live long and prosper!

Short, sweet and, almost, to the point.

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We would like to point out that no actual neighbours were actually burnt in the production of this blog.

Ian Gibson writes regularly for Den Of Geek. Check out his last column here