Every week, a top writer, artist or creator reveals how they’d fill their perfect Sunday, sharing their favourite comfort reads, movies, food… anything that would make their weekend great.
Today, it’s the turn of artist of Fascinating Folklore, PJ Holden.
PJ’s perfect Sunday… brunch
I have two criteria for comfort food, one is: ‘Will anyone else make me make it for them after I’ve started?’ Very little is more annoying than making food for yourself only to have to hand it over and do it all again only this time with less ingredients! The best solution to do that making food after everyone else has eaten, which means something simple.
The second criteria is: ‘Can I do it with leftovers?’
Adulting with kids is a series of managed disasters, and cooking and not throwing away a lot of food is always a struggle, so this pick is something that hits both criteria, plus as a benefit, when I do it right, it reminds me of my mum - who’s been gone nearly 20 years but I think about her every day.
Far and away the one thing I’ll eat as comfort food is a cheese and ham toastie. If you have time the BEST way to do it is under the grill. Toast both sides of the bread, flip ‘em, lay your cheese out on one slice and ham on the other slice. Let the cheese melt and then put the slices together and then (and this I got from my mum) butter the top of the toast.
Of course, twenty-plus years ago I could eat normal bread filled to the brim with delicious, delicious gluten, but sadly, now it’s all gluten-free, so I use Promise Free From bread which is as good a gluten-free loaf as I’ve ever been able to find…
PJ’s perfect Sunday… read
Ah, the current is Player of Games by Iain M Banks. Basically, any of Banks’ Culture novels are great and a fantastic way to while away a wee hour. In a future where terrible things happening, you can still hope there might be a better way than *waves hand at world* all of this.
PJ’s perfect Sunday… comic
I’d probably reach for whichever of the Alan Moore oeuvre I haven’t looked at recently. Right now, that might be Captain Britain or Swamp Thing. There’s a lot to choose from. I used to reread V for Vendetta every year without fail.
PJ’s perfect Sunday… movie
Well, there are loads I could pick, and, depending on my mood, comfort sometimes is watching an Alien queen getting her ass handed to her while other times it’s listening to Topov expound on what he’d do if he were a rich man.
I contain Legions.
But, let’s pluck some brilliance out at random and say The Hunt for Red October. I count myself lucky to grow up watching Connery movies - and used to do a fairly decent facsimile of his Irish/Russian/Spanish accents2 when I was younger and in a pub. Just say this with me, out loud, in a Scottish burr with a minor lisp and feel the satisfaction of that coursing over you:
“It reminds me of the heady days of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin when the world trembled at the sound of our rockets. Now they will tremble again - at the sound of our silence. The order is: engage the silent drive.”
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PJ’s perfect Sunday… TV binge
Absolutely has to be Detectorists. A more satisfying Sunday watch doesn’t exist. You should watch it for the humour and the good nature of it all, but also for the composition of the shots. The cinematography is unstated and subtle, but compositionally brilliant. Plus, it’s one of a bunch of shows my wife and I enjoy equally, so if it’s on we both sit down and watch.
PJ’s perfect Sunday… podcast
Ah, now, I miss them all, but I will always check for new episodes of In Our Time and then listen to them when they pique my interest (Ancient Greek or Rome? Check! Obscure science stuff about black holes? Check! 18th Century Literary greats? I’ll give that one a miss, ta!)
Lately though, I’ve been going through the back catalogue of Oh These Those Stars of Space, one of a slew of shows that are a combination of RPG with people who know how to act and improvise, and each episode is a stand-alone Star Trek type episode with a lot of funny stuff. It’s a hoot.
PJ’s perfect Sunday… album
Some of these categories are hard and some are easy. This is an easy one: Tracy Chapman’s self-titled first Album, “Tracy Chapman”. Instantly, I’m 16 years old and sitting in my mum’s kitchen and drawing comics, which is the best kind of time travel.
PJ’s perfect Sunday… treat
We did this yesterday (a Tuesday), but I suppose we could’ve done it on a Sunday. In fact, I really should make a point of doing something like it as often as I can.
I played frisbee with my kids – who are 18 and 15 – as well as watching them play by themselves. My wife had one brother and I had five, and so it’s important to us that our kids get along with each other. And they do. Just watching them throw and catch a silly frisbee, laughing at each other in a good-natured way, was a delight.
Recommended. A+ 10/10. Would come again.
Fascinating Folklore: A Compendium of Comics and Essays by PJ Holden and John Reppion is out now from MIT Press.
With their combined talents, John Reppion and PJ Holden have created an astounding compendium and a unique way to learn about everything folklore from around the world
The creative seed for Fascinating Folklore began under the popular hashtag #folklorethursday. Each week Reppion tweeted a different writing prompt on a folkloric theme that PJ would swiftly adapt into a stunning single-panel comic. What began as a creative challenge between two friends rapidly developed; Reppion expanded each of his original prompts into a rich essay corresponding to each of PJ's stunning comics. The range of folkloric topics in the book is genuinely expansive, from Hawthorne, Blackberries, and the Willow tree to the legend of Boudica, the Wandjing spirits of Western Australia, and the Japanese ghost, Okiku.
PJ Holden is a Belfast-based comic artist best known for his work for Judge Dredd for 2000AD.
Over the past twenty years, PJ, has built a reputation as a rock-solid storyteller able to tell illustrate everything from grim dystopian futures, to over-the-top comedy adventures through War stories on land, sea and air.
His most recent graphic novel with Garth Ennis, called Stringbags was published in 2020 from Dead Reckoning.