This week I finished reading a story which I’ve been reading, on and off, for 17 years.

In 2001 I quit my job working at Our Price. At some leaving drinks, a friend of mine gave me a copy of Palookaville #15 by Seth. I knew absolutely nothing about comics of any kind - let alone ones that were rooted in alternative culture - beyond a vague, inherited idea that they were for losers (ironic coming from a kid who was mainly listening to noise rock on Touch & Go at the time). But this one weird, unfathomable gift immediately resonated with me.

In retrospect, it was a case of right place, right time. I was really miserable - lost and confused - and here was a really miserable story about someone even more lost and confused than I was. A wretchedly shy electric fan salesman wanders aimlessly through a 1950s provincial Canadian town, struggling to navigate the smallest social interaction amid nightmarish hallucinations. The art was breathtakingly beautiful, the sense of sweaty panic and creeping dread a little too close to home.

I think I probably read it a dozen times before the thought occurred to me that this was part of a series, and I should probably seek out the other issues. I discovered Clyde Fans: a long, rambling narrative following the lives of two brothers over forty years. Whole issues contain nothing other than disjointed monologues accompanied by economical but beautiful studies of light, shadow and facial expression. It’s at once mundane and arcane; Seth experiments liberally with form, frame, chronology. It requires a lot of patience and is sort of a mess. A very beautiful one though.

It’s hard to overstate quite how gifted an illustrator Seth is, and quite how beguiling the world he creates is. It’s an ambiguous one though - on the surface, its archetypal characters and towns represent an idealised vision of the 1950s, but the author’s troubled relationship with his nostalgia bubbles palpably underneath. I share his unease - nostalgia simultaneously makes me feel all fuzzy and slightly sick. I enjoy it, but I also feel like it’s also where invention goes to die. This love-hate relationship was what we were trying to explore with the video for 'Change the Record'.

By 2003 I was up-to-date with all the installments of Clyde Fans, and new issues of Palookaville surfaced with ever more glacial pace. I had to wait 15 years for Seth to conclude the narrative he began in 1997. I can only begin to imagine what working on a creative project over that kind of timeframe must be like- I thought spending four years trying to make a pop record in my attic was tough. In fact, I can hardly remember what happened in those first issues - at some point I’ll need to find another forty hours to sit down and read the whole thing again.

Cantaloupe's new album, Error States, is out now via Hello Thor. Check out the video for 'Change The Record (feat. Beck Goldsmith)' below.