The great thing about writing a trivial and pointless blog entry every night is that you can check back on the dates when I noticed the 2008 comic annuals were in the shops in the previous two years - September 10th in 2005, September 23rd last year (although they might have been out for a couple of weeks before that without me noticing) and September 8th this year! I really need to write about something more, well, pointful. But I think it's funny that as with the last revamp of the Dandy, the annual hasn't kept pace with developments. Do they really make these changes at the last minute? Or write the annuals so far in advance that changes to the lineup and style of strips in the weekly (or now fortnightly) comic don't get reflected in the annuals for another year? The Beano book has a rather good Billy-the-Cat-fights-General-Jumbo story that almost makes it worth buying, but not quite. And the latest nostalgia book gives a deserved namecheck to the artist who did those wonderful Baby-Face Finlayson strips in the eighties (although I didn't buy the book and now I can't remember his name, so I'll have to flick through it again in another shop. Or buy it, but we don't want to go mad here).
I did my flicking-through-annuals in Stoke-on-Trent today. I decided to spend the day browsing shops in a town I've never been to before, as an alternative to all the hustle and bustle of the previous couple of months (or as a way to stop myself doing nothing but play on the internet all day, as has been my habit much too much of late), so I went to the train station and picked the nearest town that was a shortish and cheapish train journey away. That turned out to be Doncaster, but then although the train arrived on time, it was announced that it would be staying in Derby for the foreseeable future because of signal problems, so I got off again, found the nearest and cheapest place in the other direction that I hadn't been to before, and splashed out on another £6.60 to go to Stoke. It's an unexceptional place, with a city centre even farther away from the train station than Cambridge. But at least now I can say I've been there!