Mike Harman

Mike Harman is an Artist, Illustrator and Writer from East Yorkshire. He loves stories, humour and dark things. And has very keen interest in learning, personal development and discussion. He tweets often, with little regard for safety equipment. He would love to do something important one day. Like make someone laugh. But as yet he has been nominated for no awards, and had been heralded by no one at all as being a deep thinking genius with anything good to say. In fact, He’s not even sure that his family support him and his zany dreams of telling stories that entertain, and connect with people to show them that life is basically good. (Even if it sometimes smells otherwise) The cat isn’t against it, but that’s because it gives him someone to look down on during the daytime.

He insists on calling the spare bedroom he works from his ‘Studio’ to keep up an air of professionalism. He runs a submission based blog called Monday Movie Art- that plays a big game of “Guess the movie?” every Monday (strangely) on Twitter. He tries his best to connect with an outside world that largely indifferent. (Did I mention he doesn’t even have anything for sale?! What a joke!) He was once almost killed by a Frisbee, because he’s that damn clever. You can read all about it (please – don’t encourage him) here. He is currently trying to piece together a graphic novel for self publishing, encourage many talented people around him (despite their best efforts to resist) and wondering how he nearly turned 30 allready? And if there will still be a world around when he turns 40? And when he will set up a shop and start trying to sell things? And can he have another sandwich?

Mika has created two illustrations for the ?!X book. Jahlia Osha’s future of “inspired and acting people” and Solitaire Townsend‘s Future “one where we’ve met the needs of today whilst enhancing the ability of everyone to meet their needs tomorrow.” We can’t wait to share them!

?!X: What’s the Future You Choose?

MH: I choose a future where creative and critical thinking is applied to challenge wrongs, or accepted norms. A future where people can feel useful, have hope, be valued and respected. People being good to each other through meaningful communication. Teach and encourage. Support for all, at all ages. Forgiveness for things passed, and acceptance and education for things current.

?!X: What’s a ‘think’ to create this future?

MH: Here are a few things that made me think about it:

The poems:

Smiling is contagious,
you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at
me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner,
and someone saw my grin –
When he smiled I
realized, I’d passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile,
then I realized its worth,
A single smile, just like mine,
could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin,
don’t leave it undetected –
Let’s start an epidemic quick
and get the world infected



This Be The Verse
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

by Phillip Larkin

?!X: What’s an ‘act’ to create the future you choose

MH: Here’s a common theme I would like to see change. You go to a shop and greet the person working there. They won’t even acknowledge you or look you in the eye. You apply for a job, you don’t even get a letter of rejection. You don’t want your country to go to war, so you march and protest- but it falls on deaf ears. At what point do you become human again, and not just another face in a crowd? I would like people to be better to each other. It’s a small start towards having some compassion, and making the future a better one. I think the bigger implications are everywhere from providing a great education, to a productive debate in parliament. Contempt and cynicism can be too easy and attractive a viewpoint, when the harder, more positive thing is to smile and encourage people who feel they don’t have a voice. Or that they don’t have a future, because It’s all in someone else’s hands.

There are issues relating to everything- poverty, lack of education, mental health and job satisfaction- when being listened to, and even empowered to better the system could be to the benefit of all. But starting small, one day and one smile at a time seems more realistic. Make friends. Make people laugh. Life’s far too short.

?!X: What’s a ‘vote’ to create the future you choose?

MH: I would vote for supporting and improving the education system. As well as the NHS and groups like Mind.

?!X: Future Soundtrack – What song would you take with you into the future? 

MH: Bring Me Sunshine – TV Theme Morcambe and Wise End Credits

?!X: Can you share with us up to 5 weblinks that you find interesting and inspiring?


How can we Create the Future you Choose? Take part here.

Follow Mike on Twitter on @MikeHarman