Greg at arms: the penultimate post.

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Here, as promised, are the next five Gregoire sketches in my now long-saturated cartoon series. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love drawing my Gregs and pretending to be so clever and witty with my “subtle” references and slick visuals. But, equally, I can completely understand if others, less inclined to seeing cross-dressing teddy bears on their computer screen, feel otherwise. None of these are actually dedicated to anyone in particular, but they are some of those which I laboured over the most, and certainly cherish the most. I must warn you, dear audience, though, that flair skirts and tulle feature in four out of five of them!

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41. After long and almost painful deliberation, I have decided that it is this Gregoire La Souflurre comic which is my absolute favourite. I had always been keen to mix up Gregoire’s wardrobe a little more with more “international fashion” and there seemed to be no better way to do this than to bundle him to the north pole and give him the fluffiest eskimo outfit in the process. The tableau thus morphed into something beyond recognition, and I love every little piece of this creation: from the snow-boots, to the dead fish ornamentation, to the igloo itself…

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42. Again, at risk of being almost unbearably stereotypical in my depiction of global fashion, I really wanted to do something a little different, and spice up Greg’s life. Though I am a rubbish dancer, I adore Latino music and Latino dance, and despite the fact that I never, ever, want to inflict myself upon another person as their dance partner when tentatively trying out a salsa move, I wanted Greg to have the freedom to do so, flounces, flowers, and all! Hence Flamenco Greg was born…

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43. Recently, in another attempt to procrastinate from doing what I should be doing (ie, my degree) I decided to gorge myself on old-time cinema and wikipedia browsing. As a teenager, I was very keen on makeup and photography, and loved to experiment with both when I was taking GCSE Art (such a shame that my enthusiasm was not matched by my talent). I was especially fascinated by 50s screen icons and the muses of the infamous David Bailey. A little of this has stayed with me throughout the years, and, in an attempt to make Greg into an icon, I allowed him a little freedom to dress up as one…

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44. …You didn’t actually think I would let Greg mimic Monroe without a tribute to Hepburn as well? Part of the fascination with the old-time cinema lay in the absolute glamour and sophistication of most of their female stars, with Audrey Hepburn, in my opinion, ranking high above the rest. The fact that I, dazzled teen that I was, had the iconic poster of Hepburn (in the same pose as Greg above) from Breakfast at Tiffany’s probably makes it fairly obvious that I forced the same obsession with the beautiful icon on my defenceless creation.

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45. I am friends with a lots of people who read Science subjects for their undergraduate degree, as opposed to the Humanities. Why am I telling you this, you ask? Well, this means that most of them would take exams at the end of their second year, whilst I, and the rest of my Humanities brethren, don’t need to. This Greg was thus commissioned for them, in celebration of all their hard work during the year and when revising for exams in the summer!

Well, that’s all for now: keep your eyes peeled and ears pricked for the final installment of the entire series! I also have one more trick up my sleeve involving a (specially commissioned) Greg, but that will be uploaded onto this blog once I find a photocopier/scanner big enough to accommodate its mammoth size..

H&G x

A Fresh Scoop of Gregs: a further dose of the highly addictive grizzly

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Suitably chastened by my months and months of silence in regards to my books reviews and Greg illustrations, I return to the blogging sphere, determined in my efforts to post at least a couple of blogging efforts in the final weeks of my summer vacation. Unswerving in my resolve, and eager to share my illustrations with the World Wide Web (this collection contains some of my all-time favourites in the series), I now present to you the next five Gregs in the now infamous Fifty Shades of Greg animated series. I hope you enjoy reading and looking at it; I certainly enjoyed creating them.

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36. A greater lover of whimsy since young, I have been long exposed to the magic that is Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and have often traipsed along the walkways that accompany the River Cherwell’s lonely journey to the sea. As a big fan of the nonsense genre, and of Alice Adventures in Wonderland, I thought that an Alice Greg would be perfect for my wonderful grizzly. The fact that my mother ADORES Alice also encouraged me to create this in her honour…

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37. I adore the Ian Fleming James Bond series (especially Casino Royale and You Only Live Twice), and I fancied that my little inky creation fancied himself a dapper and debonair man of mystery as well. The decision to make my Greg a mild alcoholic and incorrigible womaniser was thus irresistible.

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38. I am not sure if I had mentioned it in the blog previously, but I used to take both Latin and Ancient Greek when I was in secondary school. The Classics, and Ancient Languages, still holds its sway over me, especially its plays and its epic literature, even if I moved away from it to pursue an undergraduate degree in Oriental languages. I wanted Greg to have a little something that would represent my constant fascination and worship of the Classical Subjects, and I thought that nothing would be more suitable than a 300-esque Cosplay attempt at being a Spartan.

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39. I’m not quite sure what inspired me to do this particular piece, but I do know one thing: I felt that Greg had been far too sober in the last two sketches in his attempts to be a Spartan and a spy (!). So, in the spirit of trying to be as outlandish as possible, I thought to myself – what would Greg La Souflurre dress up as at a college bop? I knew the answer right away: a beautiful mermaid. And thus a new diva-ish costume was born. I love this especially because I was pleased by the effect I managed to create with the scales of the fishtail.

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40. I absolutely love fairy tales, and I knew that Greg would too (after all, Greg is definitely the more outlandish, more outrageous, but more wonderful part of my personality that has been locked up within the tower of my soul. Apologies for the attempt at poetry and fancy prose). What would be better than Greg with an excuse to sport a fabulous head of hair. Admittedly, it was partially inspired by a bop costume I had seen in the past, but I thought Greg’s hair was far more lovely than any rushed dye job ever could be…

That is all for now! I hope that you liked this collection as much as I have, and please watch out for the last 10 in the series that will be published in the next couple of months or so 🙂

Hectorella and Greg x

Decline and Fall: A New Offering of Gregs as I Grovel Suitably For My Continued Negligence

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I am a terrible person. There, I’ve admitted it. I promised myself that I would have lots of time to write at least one review per month, and have a parade of Gregs to boot – however, life has simply not panned out that way. Ever since taking on my role at The Culture Trip (which I love), I have been so busy that I have barely had the time to breathe, let alone think. Combined with the mountains of schoolwork, paid work, domestic chores, etc. etc…well, needless to say that one thing led to another, six months rolled by, and I’ve done nothing constructive on this blog except look at it every now and then and say to myself “Oops”. So, as a sort of recompense. A review will be forthcoming (it’s been six months in the writing), I just need to get my act together and finish it off, as well as finish editting it, before publishing it to my ever-patient and ever-kind audience. In the meanwhile though, may I present the next five in the “Fifty Shades of Greg” series, some of which are probably my favourite in the entire series (though I completely understand if it is getting boring for everyone else)…

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30. This was “commissioned” as a birthday present for my dear friend, A, who was one of the very first people I met during Freshers’ Week. He has remained a supportive and encouraging friend ever since, and I wanted to do something to demonstrate my deep gratitude for all he has done for me. I chose the Iggy Stardust costume as Greg’s grab for one very obvious reason – simply that, at a Bop (a college get-together) with the theme “When I Grow Up”, A chose to dress in the infamous Iggy Stardust outfit, as he had wanted to become David Bowie when he ‘grew up’. Now grown up, he has become an ace Mathematician at university, but still retains that sass and energy that made the outfit suit him so well. And thus this star-spangled diva was born..

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32. My good friend D is part of my college family. Describing herself as an “angry vegan lefty feminist” (so true, except she’s much much nicer than the use of the adjective ‘angry’ may imply!), she instantly fell in love with the sass and charm of our ever-effervescent Greg, and asked if she could have one. And who was I to refuse? A Taylor Swift mega-fan and a HUGE lover of cats (she came to a themed-party as the cat-lady once), it was both easy and enjoyable to create her special Greg (especially as I adore cats as well).

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33. This wasn’t at all a request from the person to whom it was given, but it was more a sort of votive offering to my “college ancestor” as a thank you for all the support he had given me for my first year examinations. As his mother is Korean, and I have a love for Korean period costume and fashion (spawned from many years of watching historical K-drama), I decided that this would be a fitting way of drawing something I liked that also represented half of what my ancestor is….

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34. This wasn’t dedicated to anyone, though many people absolutely loved the wingtip eyeliner! As can be seen from the many costumes, Greg has something of a penchant for dressing in exotic and feminine clothing – what better way of trying to encapsulate that than Greg trying to look mysterious and seductive in a Nefertiti-style diaphanous dress? I think little can top the heights of ridiculousness after this particular stint of Greg’s…or perhaps not.

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35. After my mother commented that I dressed Greg in femal clothing far too much, I hit back with a suitably ‘masculine’ rendering of Greg. One of her favourite periods of literature is the early Georgian, with its many lotharios and casanovas. Given that this was so, I thought that dressing Greg as a Lovelace-Valmont-Tom Jones-esque rapscalion was the perfect way to neutralise the acidic sarcasm of my ever laconic mother. And I was right – Greg in a fleur-de-lis waistcoat was indeed enough to ‘placate’ her – for a while 😉

That’s all – for now! Once again, I apologise for being so horribly neglectful of this wonderful little space, and, this holiday, I shall endeavour not to let the entire enterprise slide into ignominy. Come Finals Year, however, I’m afraid I will not hold myself responsible for anything I say, or do, or, more importantly, don’t do….

Hectorella and Greg xx

Thoughts on a 21st Century Tragedy

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Trigger Warning: Racism, Freedom of Press, Religious Discrimination.

Though I promised that I would never lower the tone of this blog through the posting of any irrelevant or egotistical musings, as a journalist and wannabe cartoonist, I feel it is almost a duty to  do this for those who choose to listen my thoughts on the tragedy that is the Charlie Hebdo Shootings. In doing this, I hope to do honour to the journalists who died yesterday, and also show my stance – how, though the thoughts and opinions expressed by others may be distasteful, bigoted, or outright outrageous, expressed they must be, and expressed they shall be; I occasionally deplore the intelligence of Man, yet I feel we have very little to look forward to as a species if we cannot even trust the intelligence of our fellow man enough to know what is and isn’t a disgusting opinion.

So, in writing this article, I know I am breaking my own cardinal rule of keeping Greeneland Revisited purely for book reviews and (occasional spurts of) creativity. However, Greeneland Revisited, and the opinions it expresses, only exists because of la liberté d’expression (or freedom of speech) is a fundamental right, or should be such in a Utopian world.

I am also recycling an old Grégoire sketch of mine, one which was done with a happy mind and a mischievous mood – in choosing to write antonyms on Gregoire’s Les Misérables banner, a mockery of the fervour and fanaticism that has often been the reception for the classic musical, I didn’t realise that I was reflecting the thoughts of many people in France at the moment, morbid and self-centred though it may sound. I hope you enjoy the sketch, even if the experience is somewhat bittersweet and (for those of you who’ve seen it before) boring.

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I by no means want to be one of those teenage hipsters who jump onto a political bandwagon, espousing values of liberalism and sentiments of horror over the recent events in Paris, but, as a French nationale who identifies as a devout Roman Catholic, and who also identifies as a minority race (as my mother is from Hong Kong), I feel this has to be said. I’m sure many others of my ilk shall express the same sentiments as me.

I don’t think anyone who’s alive and breathing and/or active on social media could possibly be unaware of the horrific events that occurred yesterday in Paris. That such an event should occur only a day after the optimistic and festive Epiphany festival strikes my morbid and somewhat overactive imagination as well. My condolences go to the friends, family, and any other people who may have been severely affected by such a catastrophe. The sheer violence and horror of the occurrence made my blood go cold when I heard it, and I immediately felt at one with all the protesters and mourners all over Europe who gathered together to remember the dead. Though nationalism can be divisive and ultimately destructive, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more French – or sadder at a public disaster – than I did at that moment, embarrassing though the sentiment may be. And I certainly condemn any actions of violence that is done in the name of anything whatsoever, be it Religion, or money, or for the ‘lolz’.

I am also sad that the expression of one’s opinions and beliefs, no matter how distasteful, should have resulted in tragedy. As an amateur cartoonist and satirist myself, I have seen fit through my Gregoire Le Souflurre comics (which, in a sad twist of fate, was a French bear meant to represent the freedom with which the French supposedly expressed themselves, as the Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité motto implied, or at least suggested), both to mock myself, my circle of friends, and the environment I live in, from the insular issues such as the pettiness of college rivalries, to the more major problems stemming from perpetuated rape culture and trans-hate. It sounds silly, but I use my Gregoires as an expression of my creativity (what little of it there is), and of my sarcasm, a tool which, though may be the lowest form of wit, is also an extremely useful way of expressing disgust or resignation over certain situations and events. It pains me that others, like myself (how egotistical of me!) should pay the price for that freedom of expression, and for the inclination to express what they believe.

However, this doesn’t make the current backlash right. I don’t care whether the shooting was barbaric or violent (though it was), and I don’t care who did it, or for what reason. The core point that should be remembered is that innocent blood has been shed, and freedom of speech has been violated through that. Blaming a particular race, or religion for the crimes of a very small minority is counter-productive, and will only serve to worsen the situation and continue the vicious cycle of mistrust and racism. I, as a Catholic, am frankly outraged that there are people who are using this as an excuse to commit hate crimes against institutions of religion, as well as against people of certain racial and religious denominations. I may be bad at arithmetic, and also a bit cliched, but, in all honesty, two wrongs do not make something right.

So please, mourn the dead, and deplore the logic that resulted in such a catastrophe. But, if we really want this world to be liberal, open-minded, and multiculturalist in nature (and I mean truly liberal), please be a little more considerate in the thoughts expressed in reaction to this event. Not, to be fair, that I’m condemning anyone on here, but I just needed to have the whinge. Thank you. I apologise if any of the sentiments that I have expressed has been in any way distasteful.

Hectorella, Creator of Grégoire.

When the Going was Greg: My Final Post of 2014

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Despite my promises that I would post more Gregs (and, slightly more importantly, more book reviews), I’m afraid I simply hadn’t got around to it. I’ve had an absolutely crazy December, what with end of term essays (two surprise ones in the last week!), helping out with department interviews, and doing the college telethon (again!), I’ve been so busy I’ve barely had time to breathe, let alone rest. So, as a humble offering to all my “fans”, I present to you my last post of 2014, the next five pictures in my ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek “Fifty Shades of Greg comics.

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21. I love musicals. I absolutely love them. I love them so much that I have a collection of soundtracks on my music player. As little Gregoire is essentially just the ursine male version of meself, I decided to project that love onto the more flamboyant…and crazier Greg.

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22. My mother is quite enamoured with Scotland. I’m not quite sure why, she just is. She’s also quite a fan of the film “Highlander” (to be fair), so I am. This Greg is dedicated to her.

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23. Greg has a bit of a sweet tooth. Evidently. This picture is evidence of this, and also proof that, despite being a rubbish cook, he’s not a half-bad baker (thank god for that).

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24. My College Sister L turned 20 in October. As well as a present, I gave her a Greg, a Greg in which Monsieur Le Souflurre meets Barnabus, Jedi extraordinaire, and darling teddy bear of L. She loved her Greg.

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25. Greg is a little (very) pretentious. As you have seen before, he also loves the theatre. The result? A lot of Shakespeare, a lot of strutting, and not much solid work going on. Oh dear, I guess it’s any excuse to be a Titania, isn’t it?

I’m afraid to say that, that’s all for now! Believe it or not, we are now half-way through the projected series, with several simultaneous projects running all at the same time. How exciting (for me anyway).

At any rate, I hope all the readers of this blog have had a fantastic Christmas, and an equally propitious New Year! I am hoping to write one review a month in 2015, a target that I hope I can keep…it’s been absolutely wonderful to write and to improve (hopefully) as a person, and I really appreciate the fact that those who read this blog is here to share the journey with me. So, a big thank you, and Happy New Year.

Best, Hectorella (and little Gregoire)