THE BEGINNING

Babak Ganjei makes himself the butt of the joke in his first graphic novel.

Illustration by Babak Ganjei

Illustration by Babak Ganjei

BABAK GANJEI MAKES HIMSELF THE BUTT OF THE JOKE IN HIS FIRST GRAPHIC NOVEL

Wet Paint and ex-Absentee guitarist Babak Ganjei doesn’t think too highly of himself. In his first graphic novel, the autobiographical Hilarious Consequences, his neurosis is documented in charmingly crude monochrome illustrations. He’s obsessed with being 30 and not 18, constantly worries about hair-loss and forever stressed regarding his success (or, as he sees it, lack thereof) as a musician. When he gets a job in London’s hippest pub he hates it, when he goes to a fancy dress party as Columbo he’s fully aware of how half-arsed his effort has been, feels ugly and wishes he’d gone as a better version of himself. You’re never more than a page away from Babak questioning his worth as a boyfriend (to girlfriend Ellie), or as a father to their son (The Boy). But in the right hands self-deprecation is indeed hilarious, and Babak is a master of self-effacing, uncontrollably honest humour.

“It has been embellished, but effectively, I’m scared to admit it, it’s all true,” he admits. “I’ve never been very good at anything other than being honest, but some of the reviews that have come back… I thought it was funny, but I read some of the reviews and I’m like, ‘Holy shit! This is really depressing! Maybe I should tell everyone I’ve made it all up to appear cleverer.’”

Subplots are pretty clever though, and recurring characters. Hilarious Consequences has both (care of an ongoing romance between two slugs, introduced in a chapter called ‘Lynchian Insert’, and the appearances of a man called Dog and a Chinese herbalist from the novel’s start), which is perhaps why Babak has had so many people ask if they can make the book into a film. “At first I kinda turned them all down,” he says, “but now I’m trying to rewrite it with the idea to make a film. Really, it’s an excuse to go to Café OTO for five hours and wear a cap and look a dick and get my Mac out and look busy.”

He’s not told his friends who he runs indie label Records Records Records Records with yet, but Babak also hopes to have a second novel out in the summer. It’s kind of important because it was the label that published the thousand copies of Hilarious Consequences, and the soundtrack that you’ll find glued inside the back cover – an eleven-track compilation of “songs from friends’ bands that people haven’t really heard,” featuring the likes of Cheatahs, Dignan Porch, Big Deal and Bloc Party’s Matt Tong. “That could help with the film actually,” says Babak. “We’ve already got the soundtrack written.”

To Babak’s mind, slipping a CD into a comic book is a sign of the times – if people won’t buy music anymore let’s trick them into taking albums home. It’s something that he discusses in the book too, or at least something that he is told by a friend in the pub. It’s one truth of many that make Hilarious Consequences as sobering as it is funny – few musicians will argue with the illustrated Babak when he explains that step six of the creative process is, “You look at pictures of The Kooks and think why not me? They are also ugly and rubbish.”

“This one turned into a diary thing and I think the next one will probably go that way too, in which case I’ll start it soon,” he says. “Daniel Bedingfield came to our show the other week actually. He bought a book, the old Wet Paint album and us a round of drinks. It writes itself, doesn’t it? All I have to do is wake up.”

Hilarious Consequences is out now and available to buy at www.recordsrecordsrecordsrecords.com

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