I have no idea what to expect from this year.

Me, shimmering…

I heard that human society has maybe two decades left before we’ve fucked things up too much to go back. But so far, let’s get on with things, business as usual:

CBK has one new CBA at the printer now and at least two upcoming volumes, with accompanying exhibitions, already planned out. First up is CBA vol 43: Corners, the last issue of 2018 which will be released at some point soon. Then we have CBA vol 44: Lore, still with a few days left before the deadline for submissions. The call for submissions for CBA vol 45: Qtopia will be announced soon. Hopefully I’ll have time to make some short story for at least one of them, but we’ll have to see about that.

It’s still a bit unclear how the budget will look for Tusen Serier, but with any luck we’ll be able to publish a book or two this year.

And I’m desperate to do some Wormgod stuff. I have plans that I’m excited about but it’s too early to talk about them so far. But it would be foolish not to use it now that I have access to Fanzineverkstaden, which will be my main focus in 2019, as it was last year.

Aand I guess that’s about it, unless something unexpected comes along. I’ll try to keep you posted on anything interesting…

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2018 is over…

December 31, 2018

As I have somehow suddenly, I mean recently, reached the age of 40, I don’t seem able to keep up the same rythm that I used to. Combine that with an increasing hopelessness concerning the state of the world, with fascism and climate suicide-because-we-can’t-let-go-of-Capitalism, I’ve been needing more free time and escapism lately. Hopefully it will give me the energy and ideas to fight back somehow. It means that since I started to get paid I’ve been going down to only working 100% (which is kind of funny and complex and I’d like to go into it at some point). It also means that I seem to be spending more time in comics and Playstation…

So let’s get the work stuff out of the way. This year, we (me & Kinga, for Tusen Serier & CBK) started Fanzineverkstaden (the Zine Workshop). After working a lot with the preparations, we opened in July. It’s the start of a collective workshop for selfpublishing comic creators and we’re offering lots of workshops in different printing techniques and other useful things for making comics. This is now my main project and will be for (at least) 2 more years.

We (Tusen Serier & CBK) also made a new AltCom festival. Because of the depressing prognoses for the election in September, we chose the theme: HOW TO SURVIVE A DICTATORSHIP.

We (Wormgod) also arranged another TRAUMA noise festival in conjunction with AltCom, together with Noise Against Fascism. I know the connection between comics and noise isn’t obvious to everyone, but the whole thing felt really great as usual.

We also had a bunch of exhibitions: Fragments and Best of CBK by CBK. 4 Chilean satire artists and Homage to Afghan Women by Tusen Serier.

Especially the Best of CBK exhibition felt good for me personally. It was a retrospective over the 18 years since we started. Various material from many of our exhibitions, with presentations and anecdotes from the good old days, and all our almost 70 publications laid out on a table. Not so much nostalgia as recognition of all the things we did over the years. Even though I had a 5 year break, CBK really has been a big part of my life.

I did manage a few things but this year has been kind of slow when it comes to publishing my own works compared to other years.

A Subtle Fuck You vol 2 (Wormgod) came out in a glorious printrun of 10 copies, with individual linocut prints on the cover. I’ll probably make a properly printed run of it after I sell out of the first 10 copies.

I made a story for CBA vol 40|41 called Why you (maybe) shouldn’t kill Hitler. It’s a timetravel story that fits into the theme of Worst case scenario. As in: what’s the worst that could happen if you go back in time and kill Hitler. I quite like it. First complete comic I drew with a Wacom Intuos.

I also made a comic titled Fragments for CBA vol 38|39, and wrote a text about the Mandela effect and why I don’t believe in it even though I do like the multiverse theory. And for CBA vol 42: Subversive Superhero Stories I wrote a text about some interesting stuff that’s been made in the superhero genre since the 1980s. I wanted to make a comic for this issue as werll, but simply didn’t have the time. It’s always about time. I’ll probably do something in the genre in the future.

And I designed the final book in Möller/Krantz‘ Creation trilogy from CBK; Creation of a Myth. I’ve liked working on those books.

The only things that came out this year from Tusen Serier was Every Girl Is A Hero, which I had nothing to do with except proofreading. And of course the AltCom anthology, where I was editor (along with the Tusen Serier and CBK crews), designer and made the comic Angry Animal on How to Avoid a Dictatorship.

So how did the election go? Badly, but not as badly as feared. We haven’t had a government for the last months because they’ve been negotiating. For some reason everyone seem to want to be in the government even though the ones in power are pretty sure to loose the next election. Best case scenario is probably a mix of center/liberal/socialdemocrat/left, which is going to be really hard because they all kind of hate each other and won’t have it easy trying to compromise. Worst case? Conservatives/christians/fascists who seem to get along just fine, the evil motherfuckers. The conservative/christian budget was voted through, with the support of the fascists and the center (in Sweden the center is the old farmers’ party), which doesn’t exactly bode well for class equality, environment or culture.
To be continued…

Sooner or later I’m going to have to do a thing on Christianity. I have pretty good insight since I was raisd a christian, but I’m increasingly convinced that God is evil, Jesus is pretty ok and the relgion itself is more into God than Jesus, ideology-wise. Not saying that all christians are evil, mind you. We’ll see when this happens and what I arrive at. Ok, I did the Deicide story in Piracy is Liberation book 009 (which is included in v02) where Jehovah is pretty much a monstrous asshole. That was fun.

But enough about work and politics, let’s talk about comics and games and the occasional movie and TV show! Before I begin listing stuff I should say that everything mentioned here also comes highly recommended, unless otherwise stated.

First, YouTube – the new television, but with the added pleasure of being able to click past the ads. I’ve discovered leftist youtube this year, which was a relief. I’m just going to namedrop some stuff that I recommend, then it’s up to you to check it out: Contrapoints, Some more news, Zero books, Shaun, some more that I can’t think of now…

—COMICS—

So yeah, I’ve been reading lots of comics this year. I guess it’s one of the main ways for me to escape… Oh wait. Escaping reality seems like a bad thing. I meant: to get inspiration and a will to live through these times of unrest and stupidity and global suicidism. I’m exaggerating of course. We may yet survive. Maybe. We’ll see…

The way I choose what comics to read is usually that I go by writers whose works I know, secondarily by artists I like. At the same time I’m trying to also keep an open mind to writers/artists that seem interesting.

Warren Ellis, for example, is a writer I mostly follow. And you should probably do the same. The thing I’m currently reading by him is his reboot of the WildStorm universe (called The Wild Storm). Which gives me a weird feeling of familiarity, kind of like when I started reading X-men again a few years ago. It was like revisiting family or old friends. This is similar, but weird because I was never really into the WildStorm books, other than some samples now and then. Seems it was enough for me to recognize almost all the characters included in the reboot series. Another thing that’s interesting about it is that it’s still kind of a superhero story, except it’s more like spy fiction. No tights, lots of espionage but still superpowers. More like Planetary than old-school WildCATs/Stormwatch…

Brian Wood’s The Massive is something I’ve been aware of since it came but never read until now. Highly enjoyable environmentalist/postapocalypse story.

I once sent my first Piracy is Liberation books to Ho Che Anderson, because I wanted some quotes from artists I admired to put on my books. One of the things he remarked was that the first few pages of Piracy book 001 reminded him of the first pages of a story he’d started working on, but then he took a long break from comics so I had to wait years to see his Godhead in print. Until now. Hopefully it won’t take as long until the second part comes out.

Another artist I sent my books to is Danijel Zezelj, who recently came out with the first part of Days of Hate, written by Ales Kot. Very promising near-future dystopia kind of story…

I’ve recently been re-reading Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil run from the 80s. I’d read most of it before but never all of it. And I also read for the first time her Typhoid Mary stories from the 90s (collected in Typhoid’s Kiss). With all the talk from internet idiots about the SJWfication of Marvel and all that bullshit, it was refreshing to see how much feminism she put into the Daredevil stories all that time ago.

Don’t know how much I have to say about these, but here’s a list of comics from Image that are being published now: Bitch Planet, The Wicked + The Divine, Black Hammer, Saga, Paper Girls, Lazarus, Days of Hate, Deadly Class, Death or Glory, Monstress. By wtiters such as Rick Remender, Brian K Vaughn and Marjorie Liu. Check them out.

After reading Fatale, Velvet, Kill or be Killed and some other stuff by Ed Brubaker, I decided it was time to catch up on his stuff, often in collaboration with Sean Philips: Scene of the Crime, Sleeper, Incognito and Criminal. It’s mostly crime stories, sometimes with superpowers thrown in. All very well-written and engaging.

Wonder Woman Earth One vol 2: Grant Morrison continues doing Wonder Woman right, almost exactly the way the film version did it wrong. Re-reading the first book made me angry again at how the film failed on so many points.

Berliac was a guest at this year’s Stockholm Inernational Comics festival, where I got his Sadboi, a story dealing with alienation, migration, the art world and criminality, which it mixes together into something that was much more interesting than I expected. Not that my expectations were low, it was more that I didn’t know anything about it before I read it.

Some Manga: Sunny by Taiyo Matsumoto and Uzumaki by Junji Ito. I’m alway interested in Matsumoto’s stuff, and Uzumaki is an old one that I just hadn’t got around to reading. It’s much better as comics than the movie version was…

Then there’s the comics adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness by Catherine Anyango and Yvan Alagbe’s Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures, both dealing with the relationship between Europe and Africa but in completely different ways.

Only read two books without pictures this year: Killing Gravity by Corey J White, a pretty short sci fi story, reminiscent of Firefly, for lack of better descriptions… And then there was De kommer att drunkna i sina mödrars tårar (The will drown in their mothers’ tears) by Johannes Anyuru. Swedish sci fi, a time travel story that fit very well into the Swedish political narrative leading up to the AltCom festival (and also the election).

—GAMES—

What a year it has been for the PS4!

God of War was a great reinvention of the series and an interesting development with the theme of fatherhood/regret. Amazing in its combat system and how it seemlessly goes from gameplay to cut scene to gameplay throughout the whole story.

Spider-man captures much of the feeling from the comics (which I admittedly haven’t really followed since the early 90s) and also does a great job with the web-slinging.

Detroit Become Human: another interesting game from Quantic Dreams (my favorite along with Beyond Two Souls). Three characters in a web of multiple choice-based timelines. You play as a cop, a household slave and a revolutionary, all thre of which are androids who gain self-awareness.

I’ve been catching up on Metal Gear Solid. Watched walkthoughs of 1-2, played 3, Peace walker and Ground Zeroes. Now I’m just waiting to get the time to get into The Phantom Pain. I really like this series and am excited about the upcoming Death Stranding to see what Hideo Kojima will do when he’s completely free since leaving Konami. He’s always been on the forefront of pushing the envelope of video games and Death Stranding doesn’t seem to be an exception to that.

Call of Cthulhu: not a massive game, but a nice adaptation of the old role-playing game that was one of the very best back in my table-top RPG days. Caught the Lovecraft feeling quite well and I even played through it twice…

I also enjoyed Vampyr, even if I’m probably not going to go back to it anytime soon. And Shadow of the Tomb Raider was a bit of a disappointment, though I did manage to finish it anyway.

Yup, sometimes it’s easier to play if the screen is turned over on its side…

And I’m still ranked 16 in the world at Eptatron (Android, not PS4), which is kind of cool…

Lately it’s been mostly Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, after finishing Assassin’s Creed: Origins. While I like both of them, Odyssey somehow manages to be more or less the same but also a much better game. Probably because they handle the story elements better…

Oh! I also got my hands on enough Rage cards (the Werewolf the Apocalypse collectible card game) for at least 2-3 players. It was the best of the collectible card games we played back in the days (mid-90s) and it’s still quite enjoyable.

—TV—

Not a lot of new discoveries this year. These are the ones I have something to say about.

South Park: From school shootings to the return of the Man-bear-pig, South Park stays relevant. The last few seasons have been great.

Doctor Who: Sure, the Doctor’s personality has changed a bit, from “I am the oncoming storm” and “I’m The Doctor and you’re in the biggest library in the Universe. Look me up” to a more modest approach. Which could make sense as simply an evolution of the character, I mean she is recently regenerated and (as far as I can tell) hasn’t really travelled on her own between episodes. I just hope it isn’t a change that has to do with the gender thing and that she will grow in future episodes. Both the stories and Jodie Whitaker feel very Doctor Who otherwise so I’m enjoying it…

Castlevania: Second season came out [on Netflix], and if you didn’t watch the first one, now is a good time to see both in one sitting. It feels more Warren Ellis now. Has been deservedly extended for a third season.

Speaking of Netflix… I don’t know why they seem to be cancelling all the Marvel Netflix series. I can understand it with Iron Fist, but Luke Cage and Daredevil? Hopefully it doesn’t mean the end for them, whatever happens.

And even though the Marvel Netflix series are great (except Iron Fist), Legion is still going strong as the best Marvel TV series.

Speaking of Marvel…

—FILMS—

I’m not going to talk too much about the MCU movies. They keep not disappointing me but at the same time they’re a little bit like a high-budget TV series. I look forward to the next part and I do think they’ve made something remarkable with their shared universe storytelling (Marvel succeds almost as much as DC continues to fail with their movies). But they mostly don’t manage to reach that greatness that really great films can do. The best Marvel films are probably Deadpool and Logan, though Logan could actually do with a lot more gore which I think it would have needed. And both of those are outside of the MCU.

So here are a few I enjoyed that had something special on their own:

Mayhem: Maybe not the best in the list, but it has something…

The shape of water: Nice, semi-Lovecraftian, probably the most Guillermo del Toro film of all the Guillermo del Toro films in a long time.

The girl with all the gifts: The Last Of Us – the movie, or at least the closest thing I’ve seen. But with its own sense and sensibilities.

Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri: Oscar winners don’t always impress me, but I really liked this one.

You were never really here and A quiet place: Both low-tempo genre-ish (assassnin/alien invasion) movies.

Mandy: I think I watched this in exactly the right mindset. It hit the spot.

And finally, Baywatch. I was a bit of a sceptic at first, but I was in the right mood and after the first few minutes of over-the-top life-guarding I couldn’t help myself but like it.

Sooo. That was 2018. Now to figure out what to do about 2019…

I made my first screenprints at Fanzineverkstaden yesterday (not counting the book we made at Le Garage L, where they did most of the work)!

Coming soon to a comics festival (Novo Doba, which starts tomorrow) near you (assuming you’re in Belgrade), where another version of it will also be included in a group exhibition on Saturday.

 

AltCom 2018

August 16, 2018

Welcome to the big AltCom 2018 post!

Only a week left now until it all starts, so I thought it was time to post a bunch of related stuff.

First, you should check out the program. There will be exhibitions, a workshop at Fanzineverkstaden, a comics fair, several really interesting talks, from a panel about the dictatorship in Chile, to thoughts about the future of Sweden, to an analysis of the social/cultural climate in Iraq under Saddam to presentations of various comics projects and a Balkans panel that could lead anywhere…

Here’s my introduction to the theme:

HOW TO SURVIVE A DICTATORSHIP

Sweden is normally seen as a true democracy, but we’ve only had universal suffrage for about 100 years and the right to vote can’t be taken for granted in the long run. Even now, there are sections of society not covered by democracy, and there are parts of our lives that we have no direct influence over when we vote every four years. For example, corporations are not democratically structured, even though work takes up so much of our lifetimes. If you are undocumented or homeless, it’s easy to see how you’re not really included in the democratic process. Furthermore, the decisions are made by people who can earn more in a month than many of us get in a whole year.

Sometimes, people are even coming here from other countries to escape dictatorships, but we close the door in their faces as if they were contagious. Loud voices are talking about the dangers of foreigners, especially refugees. As if being born outside Sweden automatically turned you into a scary psycho rapist or terrorist.

This is of course bullshit, perpetuated by the kind of politicians whose goals are to make our democracy even less inclusive and less democratic. It’s important to judge both people and politicians by their actions rather than their rhetoric and nice words. When they claim to love their nation, it’s usually code for something much darker.

Several of the guests at AltCom were born outside Sweden, yet they are hardly scary at all. Rather, they may have valuable experiences to share.

What would happen if, after the election, these loud voices would have enough power to actually abolish democracy for all or parts of the population? How would we handle such a situation? What are our strategies for surviving a dictatorship?

AltCom is not only a comics festival but also a forum for discussing these and similar issues.

As always, there will be a festival anthology given out for free during all of the festival

And because we don’t know when to stop, we took the opportunity to also organise a new edition of the Wormgod noise festival TRAUMA, this time in collaboration with Noise Against Fascism. At Plan B:

 

AltCom 2018 is organised by Tusen Serier in collaboration with CBKKoshk, Wormgod, Noise Against Fascism, Fanzineverkstaden, PanoraPlan B etc, with support from Region Skåne, Malmö Kulturstöd & Kulturrådet.

Just realised I haven’t posted here for a while, so maybe it’s time for an update.

Illustration by me & Kinga Dukaj

Fanzineverkstaden is now officially open! During the summer, our hours are Tue-Thu between 15-21, so just drop by and/or become a member at the website in order to use the space and equipment.

We’ve also started having workshops. Check the website to keep track of what’s happening.

In other news, the AltCom anthology has arrived from the printer and the program is taking shape. I’m also very excited about the TRAUMA noisefest that will happen as part of the comics festival. Read all about it at the website

Check the websites for more, and I will also share more here soon…

New stuff

May 25, 2018

To begin with, I tried Detroit: Become Human (PS4) last night and it feels new and exciting. So far, it’s more about storytelling than gameplay, but that’s fine and the story is interesting, and storytelling is usually my main interest in games anyway. So yeah, give it a try!

I also look forward to trying out the newly released Coolpaintr VR

Right now, I’m at Fanzineverkstaden, making plans for when we open to the public, which will hapen soon…

The upcoming CBA vol 40|41: Worst Case Scenario is being prepared for the printer as I write this, and it’s going to be a great volume. Black/white to fit the theme, which it really does. I made a comic for it, called Why you (maybe) shouldn’t kill Hitler, a time travel story about a worst case scenario and about misconceptions about historical events.Here’s the cover by Kinga Dukaj:

Today (starting an hour ago), there’s an exhibition at Hybriden, featuring the comics students from Fridhems folkhögskola.

Next weekend (June 2), we’ll open the second part of the Best of CBK exhibition (also at Hybriden). So see you there, maybe, one of these days.

Speaking of exhibitions, right now I’m part of the exhibition Pow – Historier i kvadrat at Det gamla tryckeriet in Eskilstuna. My contribution is the artist book I made a while ago: A Subtle Fuck You 2: Antidote.

I would have liked to make something new for the next volume of CBA as well: CBA vol 42: Subversive Superhero Stories, but I doubt I’ll have the time for it, so I’ll probably just write a text I’ve been wanting to do, and if I participate with a comic, it’ll be something old but relevant.

Also planning to make a short ranting comic för the AltCom 2018: HOW TO SURVIVE A DICTATORSHIP anthology. Probably an Angry Animal story, which I haven’t done for some time now. They don’t take me a lot of time and I think it’ll fit the theme.

This is an old one, used in the exhibition MUS, MOUSE, MAUS, shown at the Holocaust Museum in Paris a bunch of years ago, and possibly in other places after that (Click for bigger version)…

In general, the political climate in Sweden is rapidly deteriorating it seems, since it’s an election year and all the big parties compete in who can be the best at copying the neonationalists to prevent them from getting too strong. With the result, obviously, that the neonationalist part gets stronger and can push their politics even further. Now they’re even talking about throwing out people who are already Swedish citizens on the grounds that they or their parents weren’t born here (most of my closest friends) or that they don’t have the “correct” Swedish values (me and most of the people I know, I assume). No one will be safe unless something turns around soon.

I’m calling them neonationalists now because it seems that they’re in the forefront of a new(ish) nationalist movement. They could also be called “neofascists” or “racist” or “islamophobic rightwing” or “kind of normal party but with lots of nazis in their not-so-distant past”. But those words seem to make people uncomfortable, so I’ll stick with “neonationalist”, at least for this blogpost..

 

SIS 2018

April 30, 2018

Wormgod will be at SIS (Stockholms Internationella Seriefestival), May 5-6 at Kulturhuset, together with Tusen Serier and CBK as usual. You’ll find us at tables H5-H8 (in Hörsalen).

I’ll be bringing most of my books.

We will also have a presentation on stage (Foajé 3), Saturday May 5 at 14:

AltCom 2018, Fanzineverkstaden & Fosfor
Mattias Elftorp and Kinga Dukaj will present some of the things organized by Tusen Serier (in collaboration with CBK) in Malmö this year:
In May, Fanzineverkstaden (the Zine Workshop), an open collective workshop for selfpublishing comics creators, will open. In conjunction with this we’ll also re-open the zine distro Fosfor.
In August 23-26 it’s time for the latest edition of the international alternative comics festival AltCom. This year’s theme is HOW TO SURVIVE A DICTATORSHIP.

There will also be a special screening of a documentary about some comic artists (among which is the Tusen Serier artist Amalia Alvarez). Me and Amanda Casanellas were interviewed about Tusen Serier for this documentary a few years ago, but that part ended up not being included in the final version…

See you there!

New blood for CBK

April 19, 2018

CBK needs new people:

Vi behöver dig i CBK!

(Sorry for the Swedish, by the way, it’s because this is more of a local concern. In short, we’re looking for new crew members for CBK…)

Du som brinner för serier och vill se mediet utvecklas. Du som vill vara med och ge ut snygga nyskapande serier som gör intressanta saker med historieberättande i serieform. Du som är intresserad av att tillsammans med en grupp andra serieskapare ge ut en tidning, arrangera utställningar och jobba med annat som har med förlagsarbete att göra. Du som vill ha ett utrymme att också ge ut dina egna serier som del av en antologi, i ett sammanhang där nybörjare delar utrymme med tunga namn inom internationella alternativ- och undergroundserier.

Du får gärna kunna InDesign, Photoshop etc. Du får gärna vara bra på att jobba med marknadsföring, distribution osv.

Du bör ha förmågan och tycka det är kul att se sammanhang och hur saker hänger ihop i processen att göra och ge ut en tidning, arrangera utställningar, driva en lokal som ställer ut och säljer serier, med allt vad det innebär (du behöver inte ha full koll från start, tycker du det är intressant i grunden så kommer du att lära dig).

Det finns i nuläget inga pengar till ersättning, så du bör vara engagerad och intresserad av att vara med av andra anledningar än att tjäna pengar. CBK och CBA har alltid gjorts med ideella krafter när det gäller både serieskapare och redaktion, på gott och ont, och det ser ut att fortsätta så ett tag till.

Är du intresserad?
Kontakta oss så styr vi upp ett möte!

Best of CBK

April 3, 2018

Retrospective exhibition of 15 years with CBK
Place: Hybriden (Mitt Möllan, Bangatan 5, Malmö)
Opening: April 13, 17-22
Lasts until: August 16

C’est Bon Kultur (CBK) became an official association in 2003, with the formal purpose of creating and promoting comics that are visually interesting and that approach comics storytelling in experimental ways. It is now 15 years later and with approximately 60 publications and about as many exhibitions behind us, we have a big selection of comics and artworks in storage that we’d like to share with the world.

Nostalgia for some, news to others, we promise an interesting art experience. Big names in experimental and art comics will share the space with local talents and several generations of the CBA editorial crew. Over the years, we’ve strived to add something special in the translation from the comics page to the exhibition wall space. From acetone prints to apocalyptic scrap metal installations with DIY polaroids, blown-up postcards and blood-splattered plastic covers. One motto that runs through it all is: COMICS AS ART, ART AS COMICS.

Feel free to invite people to the Facebook event.

The exhibition is presented by CBK in cooperation with Fanzineverkstaden, with support from Malmö Kulturnämnd.

There are lots of calls for submissions circulating these days. Here’s another one:

CBA vol 41: Subversive Superhero Stories

For many years now, CBK has acted to expand as well as to introduce art comics to the world. Everything from Hair to Fragments has been the focus, and for our next volume, we are focusing on one of the biggest genres in comic books, the superhero comics. We’re looking for comics with an explicit connection to the Superhero genre, that at the same time subverts the expectations and pushes the boundaries to tell a different story than the conventional stories usually told.

Deadline: JUNE 1
Main editor: Henrik Rogowski

See the original CBK blogpost for guidelines (format, files etc).

Art by Henrik Rogowski

Also don’t forget to send stuff to the other anthologies as well:
CBA vol 40: Worst Case Scenario
AltCom 2018: HOW TO SURVIVE A DICTATORSHIP anthology

I have a plan for a Worst case scenario story. I have half an idea for the AltCom one and I really hope I’ll be able to do a Subversive Superhero Story a well, but I may end up just writing an article for that one, depending on how some other stuff turn out and how much time there’ll be left for me to do it…