Archive for the ‘phil’ Category

Yes, yes, I know, it’s been a long time since I updated the blog – almost a year – but you didn’t think you were getting away without an update, did you? Really?

No, I thought not.

So, time once again for the annual mocking and silliness to occur, with the 2018 update to A Life In Pictures.

Now… about the pics you’re going to see below: I’ve already been about as embarrassed at the shots as I’m ever likely to be, but yes, if you feel the need to go “awwww” at the cute pics of me as a youngster, or mock the pictures of me during the decade(s) that fashion forgot, feel free to do so.

Look, the whole thing started in 2004 when there was a meme going around about putting up photos of yourself when you were younger. I did it… and then continued to update it every year with more recent pics. And people who haven’t seen them before get the unfettered joy of joining in the mockery…

So, here they are, bringing the photos up to date, as of December 2018. As always, I’ve removed a couple of shots from previous years, and added some new ones. There weren’t a lot of new pics taken in 2018, but as with last year, thanks to some newly discovered photos and some technical wizardry, there are some surprises awaiting below, like for example a new shot from my wedding, a shot of me holding my almost newborn son, and an extra pic of the two of us from his barmitzvah.

So, in rough order of age…

Those are the earliest photos I’ve got of me… looks like they were taken the same day; my older brother is in the background.

3 years old

Three brothers – must be around 1967 or 1968, so I’d be around 3½ years of age?

Aged 4

I’m five, I think, here in this shot and the next one.

It was 1972, ok? And I was at my brother’s bar mitzvah. I was eight.

My son takes great delight in this shot – I think I was 10 at the time.

Me at age 11. I still remember the wallpaper; very, very odd gold pattern to it.

The main ‘man’ – my barmitzvah, August 1977

Three brothers – my barmitzvah, August 1977

Starting the dancing – my barmitzvah, August 1977

Just after my 15th birthday

August 1980, I’m 16 – yes, that is a curly perm. Shut up.

November 1982 – Freshers’ Fair at Manchester Poly

1983 – me at the PULP office, 2nd year at Manchester Poly.

Age 21, at a work leaving do, having left Manchester Poly a month or so earlier.

1985, at my brother’s wedding… at which I was best man. Yeah, 21 again.

At my dad’s 60th birthday in 1989, aged 25. Blimey, was that really almost thirty years ago?

Three brothers – 1991, I believe

1994 – A nice one, from Laura’s and my wedding day – aged 30

A low res shot from the wedding that I discovered in the archives…

I love that I found this next pic. Laura’s still one of my favourite people on the planet. And this is another great pic of us on our wedding day. And yes, ahhh I had dark hair back then…

This next one’s an odd one for lots of reasons; first off, it’s obviously my BBC pass from when I was writing for WeekEnding on Radio 4; secondly, when I visited New York just after 9/11, it was better as ID for getting me into buildings, places, meetings than my actual passport… even though it had expired six years’ earlier…

The earliest pic I have of my lad Phil (excluding ‘scans’). Me, a new dad, aged 31. And so, so tired.

Me holding my son… he’s 18 days’ old here.

Yeah, another ‘Budgie plus baby’ pic, this time he’s three months old…

September 1997, at UKCAC

Me in New York, January 1998, just after we lost Mike

Part of a formal family shot, mid-1999

June 1999 – my spiritual home

August 2000; taken by Phil – he was five years old at the time

October 2001; New York, six weeks after 9/11; visiting Ian

May 2002, Hypotheticals – not a happy Budgie

mid-2002, taken for a WEF World Wide Wednesday

Bristol, 2003. You can see the greying hair now…

July 2004 – working at the office

December 2004 – at my nephew’s bar mitzvah. See? I scrub up nicely occasionally. Three generations of Barnetts.

Not exactly sure when this was taken but would have been around now…

August 2005 – at Brighton. First picture for ages that I’m genuinely happy with.

September 2005, last picture of the Nissan before I crashed it…

October 2005. Again, a photo taken by Phil…

April 2006, at the flat.

Me in mid-2006, looking very serious for one reason or another.

Again, mid-2006.

Me in December 2006… looking slightly more relaxed.

May 2007, Bristol, Saturday night, at around 2 in the morning… very relaxed… aided by what Alistair Cooke used to call ‘The wine of Scotland’.

May 2008 – Phil and me at Comic Expo

May 2008 – Me interviewing Dave Gibbons at Comic Expo

October 2008 – Me and Phil, studio shot for the bar mitzvah

November 2008 – formal pic for Phil’s barmitzvah.

May 2009 – Me and Matt Jones, (pic by Jamais Cascio)

July 2009 – At the BERG 40th Anniversary Apollo 11 drinkup (pic by Matt Jones)

November 2009 – Me and Phil at a friend’s son’s barmitzvah.

April 2010, in Luton

July 2010, on Mastermind. No, not an illusion; you’re not allowed to wear black for the show…

August 2010, at Laura’s

October 2010, from Phil Tanner’s Photos –
Mitch Benn ‘Proud of the BBC’ video shoot) The actual video’s here.

October 2010, again: at MCM

December 2010, after the office party

October 2011, trying out a beard… not quite yet… but give it a year…

Laura took this one in April 2012 – not a bad shot of me, all things considered.

And then I had my hair cut…

No idea why I took this one, but it has me without a beard, anyway… August 2012

Lost my father in October 2012 – here’s the progress of the shiva beard before trimming it down

Sequence of shots, demonstrating Lesson 1 about falling asleep in a friend’s house where children live. Don’t
(November 2012)

This final one attracted the title “… and all the woodland creatures gathered around, for they had never seen a creature such as this in the forest.”

Me, at The Leveson Inquiry. The reading of the summary, not giving evidence…

Met up with an old friend, and wandered around Camden with him. A nice afternoon…

Yeah, I broke my foot…

And so to 2013…

Well, in March, I did a charity event where I wrote twenty-four stories in twenty-four hours for Comic Relief.

That’s Mitch Benn in the background, writing his comedy album, which he did also within twenty-four hours.

Phil turned up to support us…

And I got progressively more tired, and more silly, as the hours passed…

A small accident with the beard trimmer led me to shave off the beard I’d had for roughly a year…

Most people were glad I grew it back almost immediately

Later in the year, finally managed to get a photo with two of my closest friends. There’s been any number of pictures of two of the three of us, but rarely any shots of all three… until now.

Not the best pic, I have to admit, but rather pleased we managed it at all!

However, another photo was taken that night which continues to amuse me no end.

You don’t think I’m in it? Really? Look to the right. Yes, just there… that blurred shock of grey/white hair? Yeah, afraid so…

Towards the end of the year, there was something new… a mini-me. Or to be precise, I was scanned for a 3D printing of myself. Very strange to see myself post-scanning on a screen…

But that was nothing to seeing the actual result…

In July, managed to catch up with an old friend, at his reading of The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains at the Barbican. I like this photo, entitled Two beards (old friends attached), a lot.

Here’s the difference a haircut, a beard trim and sticking my contact lenses in makes… from September 2014.

Around the same time, I wrote a post on the rising tide of overt anti-semitism in the UK, and that I’d personally faced. I used the following shot to illustrate it. I was very happy with how it turned out.

Now, this blog post, indeed this blog, is pretty much all ages, and I’ve hesitated before sticking this shot up. Not sure I’ll keep it here, but since this is supposed to be a record of me through the years… I shattered the end of my collarbone in a fall in September. A week or so later, the bruising was well and truly showing, so here it is.

From late 2015. I think it was me trying out the new phone’s camera. It’s an odd pose, but as the foregoing shots more than amply demonstrate, that’s not a reason to exclude it.

Some time ago, the delightful Clara Benn took a shot which proved I was substantially smaller than Mitch, tiny in fact in comparison. November 2015, she proved it again…

isn’t perspective wonderful?

And so to 2016, and I’m not sure what this pic was for, in July, but it’s an odd one…

Never liked the next shot incolour, I do like it in black and white.

Anyway… Moving on…

Towards the end of the 2016, close friends had a baby, and I got to say hello both in October and November. I’ve never hidden how soppy I am about babies. I suspect these photos prove it.

And this is the shot, at the end of 2016, that convinced me that if I ever do get a hat, it’ll be a Homburg, not a Fedora…

Me and my lad, outside Distraction Club, December 2016

And in December 2017, this one of the new[er], short[er] haircut.

In June 2018, I got to see Pippa Evans; this is me waiting to go in…

In August 2018, my lad Phil was in town for a few days. We realised it had been a while since we’d had pics taken of the pair of us. So here are two.

And, of course since we had that pic, and I had a similar one from almost exactly ten years’ earlier, I was kind of obliged to put the two together. I really like this image.

In October, I attended the Brexit march for a People’s Vote. It ended up with 700,000 people… plus me.

Same march, with Mitch… No idea why, but I really like how my hair looks in this shot.

And the final shot from this year which answers the question “so, what did you do immediately after Christmas 2018, budgie?”

And, as I wish everyone a happy new year, the traditional benediction: Mocking may now commence.


Not exactly a thousand, not even nearly, but as in “a picture tells…”

I’ve never been happy with how I look. Sure, as a child, I looked cute, but then most children look cute in pictures. Some don’t, but most do, especially since the photographs that parents put up online are those in which their children do look cute. I’ve often said that my lad Phil (unaccountably known to some as ‘Philip’) was lucky that Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist when he was a toddler, as his utterings would undoubtedly have been foisted upon you as friends of mine are wont to do with their own. The very best of these, though I may biased are @ThingsGretaSays, @StuffAstridSays and @tallulahlouise.

I did have Livejournal from 2002 and yeah, there was the odd (some very odd) photos of him put online; most of the pics, though, were of the ‘awwwww’ variety, often as part of a birthday entry, emphasising how he’d grown, and changed over the years.


And since I’m approaching – not quite there folks, but it’s getting closer – the time when I’ll update my “A Life In Pictures” post, I’ve been thinking of visual images today.

Particularly, I’ve been thinking of the single image by which people choose to represent themselves online: their avatar, icon, profile pic. Call it what you will; I’ll stick with ‘Twitter pic’ for Twitter and ‘profile pic’ for anything else, I think. Whether it’s facebook, twitter, Blogger, WordPress, or any number of message boards, everyone has the opportunity to use an image to represent them… or of course to not use an image and stay with the default image. On Twitter, it’s an egg. (I don’t know why Twitter uses an egg, unless it’s some kind of reference to an unborn bird, and Twitter’s brand logo is a bird? I suppose that makes as much sense as any other explanation.)

If you do have the default ‘egg’ as your twitter pic, it’s generally seen as a sign that either you’re a newbie and haven’t got to grips with Twitter yet, or that it’s a deliberate attempt to remain anonymous so you can be as offensive as you like. After almost eight years on Twitter, they’re fair assumptions.

Most folks I follow on Twitter fall into one of three categories where their Twitter pic is concerned (I’m excluding brands who – fairly obviously – use their own brand’s logo):

(1) the account uses a picture of themselves, the person who operates the account. Most journalists use a headshot, often the headshot that accompanies their pieces, in print or online. Many of my friends do the same. I don’t think anyone can justifiably object to this as a working principle. It combines the advantages of an explicit statement that this is who I am and of I’m standing behind everything I say. Occasionally, folks – John Rentoul is a prime example – will use a headshot, but a photoshopped one in an amusing or self-deprecating way. Again, perfectly reasonable.

(2) the account holder is a writer or artist; in these cases, many of them will use a pic of a piece of work they’re promoting or of which they’re particularly proud. Takes a while sometimes to get used to the new pic when they swap for a more recent work, but again, completely understandable.

(3) something entirely unrelated to them; an image they just… like. I would say I’m puzzled by this but I’m not really; it’s often less about what they’re showing, and more about what they don’t want to show… i.e. their own face. Now, there people are in the main not attempting any form of anononymiuty; their bios will usually show links to their blogs, their personal sites (where there often are pics of themselves). They just don’t want to have their face as their Twitter profile pic. 

I guess on Twitter, I fall into that third category, but with an element of the second, and even a smidge of the first (at a real stretch).

As I said above, long ago, I had a Livejournal account and I had the oppportunity to use for each blog entry one of up to several hundred images; I had this option, but rarely used it. Very rarely; I used a headshot for the main blog entries; the headshot changed every year or so when I had a new one I liked. For posts specifically about comics, I used a drawn headshot of me that appeared in a friend’s comic book. For posts specifically about an online column I wrote an image I created (later to see fresh life as the main icon for the going cheep tumblr account I maintain.) And for posts about hypotheticals, I used the image designed for it by Dave Gibbons, my collaborator on the panel.

See, many years ago, I ran (from 2000 to 2011) with Dave a panel entitled hypotheticals at the then main British comics convention. If you know all about it, fine; if not, well I may write about it further at some point. The first year’s panbel didn’t have an image. When we were invited back the following year, not having a logo seemed somehow wrong, so I created one, rough and ready. It did the job but wasn’t exactly… erm… good. Dave then came up with a superb logo, and that was the image then used to promote the panel; on t-shirts, on bookmarks, online. 

After we did the final panel, Dave sent me an amended version of the hypotheticals logo, just as a thank you for the work I’d done on the panel over what turned out to be 12 years (neither of us expected it to last anywhere near that long). And it’s that logo I now use for most of my online life; it’s the image I use for Twitter, for my ‘main’ tumlr account, for this blog and for most if not all of the few message board to which I still belong. It’s become even more relevant the past few years since I left the world of financial director-ing with the inevitable consequence that the proportion of people who know me by any other name has fallen through the floor.

So, yeah, it’s budgie and that’s a pic of… budgie.

I don’t hide what I look like, even though I’m still not exactly delighted with how I look in photos, but then again, you’ll all soon see how I look in photos now, how I looked in photos as a child, and then again how I look(ed) as an adult soon, won’t you…?

2015’s update to A Life In Pictures – coming soon (whether you like it or not.)

Art attack

Posted: 24 November 2011 in comics, personal, phil
Tags: , ,

Today – or rather this afternoon – has seen a bit of a change in the flat in which I live.

After having given in to the inevitable, I bought a new set of bookshelves, and moved some books and DVDs/blu rays around… but it didn’t seem enough somehow.

For the first nine months after I moved into the two bedroom apartment in Barnet, I kept the walls bare – not sure why, but as we approached the end of 2005, and I was going to have people with me for New Years’, I went out with Phil and we bought a stack of frames, and stuck up some various photos and comic art.

That was in December 2005, and with the occasional small change, the art’s remained the same since then.

Time for a change.

So, below is a snap of my living room, and the art I now have hanging on it. Sincere apologies for the lack of quality of the pictures – they’re in no way representative of the superb quality of the actual images. If you want to see the original art, well, pop around some time…

So, let’s start with a picture of the flat itself:

Feel free to ask any questions about the flat you care to, but the art? You want a bit more detail?

OK, since you ask:

From the pen of Bevis Musson, The Endless. I love this.

Then (in the general pic above) you have a couple of photos of my son Philip, a recent one (updated every few months) and a shot of him and my late brother, a couple of weeks before the latter’s death.

Next you have the gorgeous pencils of Paul Duffield, a double page spread from Signal, purchased this weekend at Leeds.

Moving across to the adjacent wall, we have:

The original art by Robin Riggs for You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly. So happy with this piece…

A page from my first ever published story in comics – It’s Murder Out There, by Tony Rollinson, and A Grendel sketch by Matt Wagner, obtained at a con…

A page from another Trailer Park of Terror story, this one It’s Been Done Before, art by Mannie Albeda… and a Daredevil con sketch by David Mazzuchelli

Wish these looked nicer: con sketches by Gary Millidge, Staz Johnson and Tom Grummett

Moving around again, the wall behind the couch:

Who else? A con sketch by Mike Oeming

A group shot of images done for You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly, by Messrs Sam Hart, Travel Foreman and Jamie McKelvie

Another piece done for You’ll Never Believe…, this beautiful art by Lea Hernandez

Now we’re out of the living room and into the hallway near the front door… A hypotheticals panel…

Con sketch by Barry Kitson, remember AzBats?

Who else but Jill Thompson?

A shot of Phil – aged 10 – coming out of the TARDIS by then Doctor Who artist Mike Collins who’s been kind enough to do so many sketches for me over the years… and who’s one of the finest drinking companions at a con you’ll ever find…

And – finally – a couple of pages from the X-Men Unlimited tale I wrote: pencils by Travel Foreman, inks by Tim Townsend, and colours by Danimation

Not a bad set, is it? And that doesn’t yet include the wonderful print I have coming from Jamie McKelvie…

This piece:

5,844 days

Posted: 2 November 2011 in birthday, family, personal, phil
Tags: , ,


It’s an important number, you know.

For example, you presumably know that the number sixteen is a composite number, and a square number, being 42. But were you aware that it’s not only the smallest number with exactly five divisors, but that because it’s a power of two, it also has an aliquot sum one less than itself, fifteen?

And never underestimate the importance of sixteen as a quantity, either. There are sixteen frames in the moving image to your right. Just sixteen.

Sixteen is also the age at which many things of import occur, including – of course – having to suffer Neil Sedaka’s Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen being sung to you on your birthday.

Yeah, I’ll take care of that later; for today, you see, is my son’s sixteenth birthday.

Yeah, I know. Sixteen. I’m having some problems processing that fact myself, and I’ll let those of you who’ve known him for some years take a second or two to do a mental brain-flip while you accept it.

Philip Samuel Barnett – known to almost everyone bar his mum as ‘Phil’, and to one friend who corresponds with both Laura and me as “Phil(ip)” – was born on 2nd November 1995; at half past nine in the evening if you’re curious. And today, it’s 2nd November 2011.

In 1995, he was 8lb 3oz, and 21½” long. He’s a bit heavier than that now, and a whole lot taller, currently a shade over 5′ 9″, and yes, it won’t be too long before he’s taller than me. That’s cool. That’s good. A son should be taller than his father. That’s natural. That’s how it should be.

(Readers are solemnly invited to remind me of those lines when, in years to come, I have to reach up to him to pass him the requested car keys.)

Sixteen years old.


I’ve said many times – and it remains as true today as it was the day he was born – that being a father is the most fun thing I’ve ever done, bar none.

Now let’s get it straight: anyone who says being a parent is easy is either ignorant, lying or a masochist. It’s not easy, far from it. It’s not meant to be easy, but it is a responsibility that I love performing and undertaking, and the reason for that is simple: it’s solely because it’s Philip who’s my son.

As I’ve witnessed, helped (and hopefully not hindered too much) his progress through life, from baby to toddler, from toddler to child, from child to young adult, alongside wonder, my emotions have been, and continue to be, those of pride and pleasure in the young man he’s turned into. The credit for an incredible amount of that must go to Laura; she’s a wonderful mother. And I’m constantly filled with justifiable hope and confidence for the young adult he’s become, and the adult he will become in the next few years.

As always, however, I have no idea how he went from:






in what seems like an astonishingly short space of time.

‘Appy birthday, Phil. I love you, son.


[Feel free to add your birthday greetings and wishes here, I’ll make sure he sees them…]