The best of British cartooning talent
‘They went up the beanstalk, sir!’
FOGHORN Issue 42
Published in Great Britain by the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (FECO UK)
PCO Patrons Libby Purves Andrew Marr Bill Tidy Foghorn Editor Bill Stott tel: +44 (0) 160 646002 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Foghorn Sub-Editor Roger Penwill tel: +44 (0) 1584 711854 email: email@example.com Foghorn Layout/Design Tim Harries tel: + 44 (0) 1633 780293 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
FOGHORN The magazine of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (FECO UK)
Well, its nearly Scented Candle time again, and soon Garden Centres everywhere will be offering small armies of fashionable green and gold Santas to unfashionable customers who want red and white ones, and last year’s tree lights – bought new on the 23rd of December in an emergency dash to the Pound Shop because the previous year’s set didn’t work, won’t work. And you resolve to be more organised, more Christmas aware. Like the people at No 47 who come close to shorting out the National Grid each year with a stunning display of illumi-
nated jollity which attracts sightseers, festive bats and disorientated airliners. Anyway, here’s your Ho-Ho-Ho vaguely organised Foghorn bigging up on Seasonal daftness and wishing all hands a Funny Christmas. Ps What happens to all the green and gold Santas nobody wants ? Bill Stott, Foghorn Ed
PCO Press Ofﬁce email: email@example.com Web info PCO (FECO UK) website: http://www.procartoonists.org BLOGHORN http://thebloghorn.org/
What is Foghorn? British cartoon art has a great, ignoble history and currently boasts a huge pool of talent. It deserves a higher media presence than it currently enjoys. Our aim is to make sure it gets it. We want to promote cartoon art domestically and internationally by encouraging high standards of artwork and service, looking after the interests of cartoonists and promoting their work in all kinds of media. Copyright All the images in this magazine are the intellectual property and copyright of their individual creators and must not be copied or reproduced, in any format, without their consent. Front Cover: Bill Tidy Back Cover: Royston Robertson Foghorn (Online) ISSN 1759-6440 Glossop Watch: 2
2 THE FOGHORN
Viz celebrates 30th birthday with exhibition. The exhibition 30 Years of Viz opened at the Cartoon Museum in London recently and is running until January 24. If 30 years seems like rather a long time, that probably because the comic was little known outside Newcastle and the surrounding area until 1985 when a deal with Virgin put it in the company’s megastores nationwide. Once John Brown from Virgin set up his own publishing company, taking Viz with him, its circulation rocketed and in the late 1980s and early 1990s
it became a household name, shifting more than a million copies of each issue. Over the years there has been much outrage and controversy surrounding Viz – they had to drop the word “comic” to show it’s not for kids – but things have calmed down somewhat and it is now an established part of the British cultural landscape. Circulation is now a much reduced, but still perfectly healthy, 82,000. Royston Robertson WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
FEATURE LIBBY PURVES
Ding-dong Merrily in August It starts in August, on a hot muggy day when your shirt is sticking to your back and the grit swirls up from the pavements. You’re struggling through the backpacks at Oxford Circus on the way to work and the thing in your pocket buzzes, and it’s a call, or an email, from some weary maven on a monthly magazine. “Just wondered” she chirps exhaustedly “if you could do us 150 words on What Makes You Feel Christmassy?” Or, just as often “Would you share your most heartwarming Christmas memory?” Negotiating your way round a spilt ice-cream and two dozen bafﬂed tourists, you croak “Not this!”. And the mag-hag sighs and says “I know, I know.. but we’re putting together the special edition now, and I’ve just had to decorate a 10ft tree in a studio where the air-con’s broken, not to mention dress up two D-list celebrity Mums and their children in furry hats and red jackets, and everybody hates me. But all I want is 150 words...” So being a kindly person - moreover a kindly person with a book to plug - I stick my head in the ofﬁce fridge for a minute, sing two verses of In the Bleak Midwinter, jingle a string of paperclips and bash out some drivel about Midnight Mass, frosty trees, WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
venerated family baubles and my mother’s secret brandy butter recipe (unsalted butter, bash it about, mix in half a bag of icing-sugar, keep pouring brandy on it, drink the rest, bash it some more). And the magazine is pathetically grateful. It can get on with doing an Xmas Reader Makeover, forcing some poor woman out of her
comfy trackie-bottoms into a Stylish Pencil Skirt and killer heels with a Hello Kitty motif in sequins. By the time real Christmas comes, of course, they will be well through spring, and getting ready to give models pneumonia as they pose for the annual “Are You Too Old for a Bikini?” spread. Trouble is, my most memorable
Christmases never did involve furry hats, baubles, or even stockings. One was at sea, halfway across the Atlantic in the tropics as crew in a small yacht. Hazel, the skipper’s wife, felt duty bound to serve up a proper Christmas dinner, and to do it at midday rather than in the cool of the evening. Dunno why, but there is something about 94 degree heat which makes it less attractive to eat tinned plum pudding and brandy sauce on a heaving deck. Another one was when I was a young single gofor on local radio, detailed to do the Christmas Day shift because everyone else had children. Actually, that was great: you got to follow Johnny Chuckles the clown round a hospital ward full of bafﬂed children, and conduct cheery phone-ins with ladies halfway through cooking turkeys and with unusually ﬂippant police ofﬁcers, who had also been stuck with the festive shift. “Trafﬁc looks to be ﬂowing well on the A40, not that I care..”. Oh, and then there was the Christmas when everyone in the family had mumps, and I was shufﬂing round with a scarf round my swollen head like the Phantom of the Opera’s old Mum. And the one when my mother had Pneumonia and some bright child said “so Granny’s not just an old moaner any more then?”. Hey ho, Rudolf! On the whole, better stick to the frost ‘n baubles narrative. Merry Holly to all cartoonists. THE FOGHORN 3
It’s for charidee, mate!
Royston Robertson reports on the CAT Awards. The 15th Cartoon Art Trust Awards were presented recently at a fundraising dinner at the Mall Galleries in London. The dinner also celebrated the 21st birthday of the Cartoon Art Trust, the charity behind the Cartoon Museum. The trust has presented the CAT Awards annually since 1995. PCO member Morten Morland (cartoon right) was among the winners, taking home the Political Cartoon Award. He told Bloghorn: It was a great evening, with the added excitement for me of picking up an award. It’s a peculiar feeling to receive that kind of honour in front of so many terriﬁc cartoonists, most of whom would have had every right to stand up and shout: “WHAT?!
HIM?” Fortunately they all waited until I was out of earshot. Black tie events are a rarity for most cartoonists, and most would probably say mercifully so. However, this annual chance to dress up in hired ill ﬁtting ﬁneries is terriﬁc fun – and a great celebration of cartooning as an art form and as a trade. When presenting the award for Joke Cartooning, ﬁlm director Mike Leigh heaped praise on the work the small team at the Museum does, and quite rightly so! It is a terriﬁc place which deserves to be supported in any way possible. For most of us it means happily paying ten quid to pop a balloon, or to be photographed sticking our heads through a humongous Dave Brown painting of an executioner holding
Artist of the Month for October 2009 was Chichi Parish. London-based Chichi’s inkiness has best been described as ‘Ronald Searle on acid.’ Notable clients include ad agency TBWA, The Times Educational Supplement and The Big Draw. Bloghorn asked Chichi how she makes her cartoons. Before setting about drawing, I need monastic conditions in my studio which is where my foam earplugs and noise reduction headphones come into play. It’s not great for my hairdo, but at least my ears are always cosy and I cut out suburban domestic sounds
4 THE FOGHORN
the head of Gordon Brown. For those with rather more impressive bank balances, it means paying £3,500 for an original Matt cartoon. PCOer Martin Honeysett said: The evening is all about raising money for CAT with an auction of works donated by various cartoonists, including Neil Dishington and Steve Best. Closing bids ranged from respectable hundreds for the earlier lots to gobsmacking thousands for later ones.
though the house still shakes from the rumble of the Central Line tube and the A406. I use ﬂexible drawing nibs (the bendier the better), paper and a splash of Photoshop for my work. Recently an Australian artist/ calligrapher I know called Graham McArthur, recommended Noodler’s ink. It smells divine and ﬂows like boiled gold, to date, it beats any other inks I’ve used. I like to get my hands dirty which is why the tactileness, zing, unpredictable chemistry of traditional media will always excite me. All my artwork gets scanned then sanitized digitally using a Wacom tablet/pen and Adobe Photoshop.
Tornado hits London
FEATURE LADY VIOLET
Random acts of humour
Foghorn’s very own ‘Agony Aunt’ Lady Violet Spume, answers your nasty little personal problems. Dear Lady Violet, Recently I met a lovely, kind, intelligent, sensitive, good – looking, wealthy, unattached man who tells me that he has fallen in love with me. What should I do ? Yours truly,
“Sorry - anyone waiting for a go at driving?”
Miss E Banger
Lady V: Do? DO? What should you do? Dear God – get a life! Ensnare the fool immediately. Flaunt yourself unashamedly. Get your mitts on the mazoomah and take off double quick. All men are toads. Mind you, you COULD marry the dope ﬁrst. That way you’d be rid of that stupid surname. Unless his is worse. Dickworth. Or Crapper. Fnaaar, Fnaar. Dear Lady Violet, Whilst out enjoying a drive in the country with my husband,with myself at the wheel, I inadvertently nudged him and he fell from the vehicle and down a 400 foot ravine, causing him to become dead. This incident is all the more poignant because we’d only just got back together again after he’d had another ﬂing with his secretary. I’d appreciate any advice you may have. Best regards
Mrs T R Wellbeloved- Plank
Lady V: Plead guilty.
“He can’t come to the phone right now. He’s being de-briefed.”
Many Christmas traditions in the UK are wholesome and heartwarming. Carols, roast chestnuts, granny hurling - these and many more have endured down the centuries, but the cruel Glossop Midwinter Pangolin Boot lives on too, perpetuated by the local belief that pangolins cause tuberculosis in pufﬁns. Please send your bank details and passwords to us NOW so that we will become very rich. Send details to; Save a Pangolin PO Box 998 Itching, Herts.
“Unlike the other boys, a baseball cap and earring isn’t good enough for you, is it Tomlinson!” WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
THE FOGHORN 5
FEATURE THE POTTING SHED
The Potting Shed with Cathy Simpson. We pull our winter drawers on, Jack Frost commits grafﬁti on every pane, and we can tell it’s Christmas because Easter eggs are already in the shops – so welcome to the Foghorn Potting Shed! Our resident experts - Gordon Honkmonster, Binkie Homebrew and Euphorbia Marmelade - are here with their pick-of-the-presents for your gardening friends and relatives. Alan Goatrouser’s still writing his letter to Santa. Euphorbia’s choice is a great book for anyone who fancies having a bit of woodland but can’t be arsed to plant it: ‘Yep – Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ contains all the right spells to bring a whole load of trees to your home – of their own accord. You’ll have those heady pines and beeches marching down the road like a veritable army! All you have to do is act like an 11th century king and it helps if you’ve got some weird sisters. Great fun for all the family! (Just don’t let your house guests read it!)’
by popping them in this reproduction Anderson shelter – nobody would know they were there! The shelter is beautifully ﬁnished with rust patches, and includes a pile of sandbags and a patch of stinging nettles for that authentic World War II look.’
that awful perfume that makes them all smell like old ladies! ‘It’s a particularly good piece of kit to put on a garden shed, and really humorous. Yes, this sign, which says ‘Granny’s Greenhouse’ costs only £12.99. It comes with newspaper squares, charmingly threaded on a piece of string, which will grace any handy hook or nail banged into the shed wall. She’ll be visiting her shed at every opportunity!’
‘There’s an alternative product, the mini ‘Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao’. The deluxe version features a miniature bunch of schoolkids which you can pose outside. The standard one, though, is still a great garden ornament for anyone who wants an oversize-scrunchedup-foil-wrapper on their lawn. And we promise nobody will notice the wheelie bins!’
For anyone who’s fed up with the sight of their (or anyone else’s) wheelie bins, Gordon’s choice is a must-have. ‘You can completely disguise those ugly old monstrosities
Well - those should stand out amongst the bath salts, socks and hankies! And don’t forget, if you’ve got any stamps left, we’re here waiting for those New Year letters …
Binkie’s spotted a nice little present for an elderly female relative, and everyone knows they’re fed up with
At Flyonair we pride ourselves on giving you as little as possible, and now we’ve done away with all those noisy aeroplanes. Pictured top right are our new Economy Class whilst below right is the all-new Business Class - completely frill-free and probably the most environmentally friendly in the world. Book now! ADVERTISEMENT
6 THE FOGHORN
FEATURE FESTIVE CARTOONS
“You could earn yourself an Asbo with that constant pa-rum-pum-pum-pum.”
“OK, whose brilliant idea was it to have crackers?”
“If it’s Santa, don’t tell him we’re here.”
“They’re not having a turkey this year.” WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
THE FOGHORN 7
FEATURE CHRIS MADDEN
The Ghost of Christmas Presents by Chris Madden. A terrible spectre is once again stirring in my consciousness. Christmas shopping. It’s the nightmare before Christmas. An annual ritual of manifestly primitive origins, involving as it does trials of endurance (ﬁghting through crowds of fellow ritual practitioners), mass deviant conformity (the same crowds, all acting uniformly bizarrely), sacriﬁce (of time and money), self-ﬂagellation (the mental anguish of wondering whether you’ve made the right choice of gift) and more. From my own position as a pathological non-follower of crowds (I view this as much as a weakness as a strength) I’ve devised a way of avoiding this gift buying ritual. I simply don’t buy Christmas presents. This seems perfectly rational to me, however I’m told by my partner that 8 THE FOGHORN
it’s nothing to do with rationality, it’s to do with me being a man. She’s a woman, as you can probably tell. Which means that she can criticise me, but I can’t criticise her. In my opinion not buying Christmas presents isn’t only a rational stance, it’s a political stance too. I have a theory that the entire evil materialistic capitalist economy would collapse if only the men amongst us could persuade the women amongst us to stop buying unnecessary stuff. Who needs scented candles after all? What’s wrong with a lightbulb and a squirt of air freshener? Or even better, WD40. To be honest, under pressure from my partner I do grudgingly buy a few Christmas presents. Interestingly the only person whom she insists that I don’t buy a present for is herself. This is ever since I bought her a set of span-
ners one Christmas (which I’d bought her so that I could ﬁnally ﬁnish constructing the model traction engine that I’d bought her for her birthday). In years gone by I’ve attempted to persuade my friends to buy me presents that I really want, rather than ones that I really hate. The theory goes along these lines. I really want an electric band saw. I have a hundred and ﬁfty friends. They each contribute a ﬁver towards the present. I get a really good present that I otherwise couldn’t afford. The theory however breaks down for several reasons. One is that people don’t like the impersonal aspects of the idea, another is that it doesn’t conform to the torture rituals required by the process of present purchasing as detailed earlier, and the other is that I’ve actually only got three friends (because my 147 Twitter WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
FEATURE CHRIS MADDEN
friends don’t count, apparently). So rather than an electric band saw it’d have to be just the plug. In the end my three friends gave me three presents (one each): a pen that changes colour as the ink warms up, a framed print by a rival cartoonist and a book on how to avoid overusing the rational side of your brain. All three items can now be bought at a bargain price in my local Oxfam shop. I have several friends who insist on giving only ethical gifts. (I know I said that I only have three friends: I’ve obviously got a lot more than that, but to be honest I don’t like most of them very much so I forget to count them. Their ethical-gift-giving ethos is one of the reasons I don’t like them, but they don’t know that.) As a result I get a lot of hand crafted letter racks made by women’s collectives in the emergent nations (as they call the developing world nowadays: in what way ‘emergent’ is suddenly deemed to be a good word and ‘developing’ a bad one I don’t know. I can’t keep up). I point out to my friends that these women don’t actually believe in Christmas, so the use of their labours for religiously inappropriate purposes seems ethically dubious to me, and I also hint that we shouldn’t really encourage the women to devote their lives to the manufacture of consumerist tat masquerading as ethnic handicrafts. The world doesn’t need any more letter racks. Maybe they should be making handcrafted wind turbines instead. It all falls on deaf ears. Fortunately for me however, these same friends are ardent recyclers, so they don’t seem to mind getting their letter racks back the following Christmas. They probably can’t tell one hand crafted ethnic present from another to be honest, so they’re none the wiser, although unfortunately as a result the spectacle of the existentially circular dance of the gifts is lost on them. Being quite anti-consumeristic myself I like to buy gifts that are WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
more than just inert ballast for social cohesion. I want to buy something that’ll deﬁnitely be used for its intended purpose. That often means food. This has to be consumed, which is pleasingly ironic for an anti-consumerist such as myself. Here are a few tips on the subject of buying food as a gift. If you’re going to visit people who are going to open your food based present while you’re actually in their company make sure that it’s something that can be shared, as they are then obliged to give you part of it back straight away. On the same count, make sure it’s something that’s a particular favourite of yours but not necessarily of theirs, thus ensuring that you get more than your fair share. Make sure that the gift is too large to be consumed by the recipient alone, so that it can’t be put to one side for later. Make sure that it’s something with a short shelf life for the same reason. In fact, make sure that it’s on its ‘eat by’ date. A particular favourite ploy of my own when it comes to giving food gifts is to buy my friends who are vegans items that contain trace quantities of obscure animal by-products. On opening the gift my friends will instantly scan the ingredients (this is the automatic vegan response when presented with any novel food item, and is a ritual that makes food shopping with them a very protracted and soul-sapping experience). They’ll reach the end of the list and their eyes will alight on the dreaded ingredient. “Oh dear” they’ll say “it’s got threonine in it. But you weren’t to know that that’s a ﬁsh extract – it’s very obscure” “True.” I’ll lie. “But at least now I’ll know in future” Thus when the food item with the offending ingredient is portioned out and passed around most of it comes my way, thanks to the abstemiousness of my friends who think that nothing should ever die.
The world according to Ariss
“News of those ﬂash ﬂoods just in.”
THE FOGHORN 9
FEATURE CHRIS BURKE
Stout hearts and Egg heads It’s all in a days work for Chris Burke. Scene 1; A pub, central London, early afternoon. Five cartoonists and a wife are gathered. Shock horror. Hold the front page. But wait. What’s this? They are not talking about how badly they are all treated by the world or bitching about brother brushes. No, they are wondering what the capital of Tonga is.* Scene 2; The foyer of a Production company in Great Titchﬁeld St. Six cartoonists and a wife now wait to be called for the previews of the TV Quiz show, the Eggheads.We desperately try to work out which subjects we are least crap at. Martin foolishly lets slip that he once taught Geography.Graham is the only one of us who knows anything about sport.As for the rest of us it’s the usual arty-farty, airyfairy bit of this and that stuff. There’s a brief discussion about Jazz hands then we are ushered upstairs. Scene 3; A smallish room with chairs in three rows of six. Apart from us there are some pub
quiz blokes called ‘More balls than pockets’ or is it the other way round? and a stack (or is it pile) of Librarians. How many Librarians does it take to change a light bulb? I don’t know but I can look it up for you. Three production team types explain the procedure, then an individual from each team is put up for one category. Question 1 - Geography. Where is Antwerp? Is it, a) The Netherlands, b) Luxemburg or c) Belgium? I thought Antwerp was reading the news on Channel 5. Luckily Martin, unlike the rest of us, knows that Antwerp is in Belgium. Alex bats off the Political questions effortlessly, including a topical one about Lord Palmerston. Wasn’t he on Newsnight last week? Royston has Music, which turns out to be more Musicals. Graham has some really mad sports questions including ‘what is underwater hockey called? ‘Octopush’ of course. For General Knowledge I get a question about Liza (not Lisa) Minnelli. Two jazz hand questions. Robert then ends with some History question about Watt Tyler and the Peasants Revolt. By now the Librarians are pretty revolting.
This room is a bit cozy and there’s nineteen of us in here. The bibliophiles don’t look as if they get out much and, as Alan Bennett might say ‘are strangers to a bar of soap’ and shampoo too, it would seem. Why take two bottles into the shower when you can stay outside and read a book? Mrs. G is stuck next to one with egg stain down the front of his home knitted jumper. Apparently there is a bit of a whiff. This is not the sort of culture we’d been expecting. After the quiz we are told the result is unimportant. We agree, as we have won. There is then a seven-minute piece to a video camera where we introduce ourselves. Robert is asked what he would take to a desert island; he replies that he’d take a car door, because if it gets too hot he can always open the window. Perhaps he should take some other precautions as off camera our oldest member at 65 then reveals that his wife has just given birth to baby boy. Scene 4; Another pub in W1. Shoorely not? We celebrate our success and wet the baby’s head. Mrs G points out that we are even more interesting in the pub than at the quiz. Is this because we are; a) Relieved. b) Relaxed. Or c) Slightly pisht’d? * The capital of Tonga is T
10 THE FOGHORN
FEATURE ALEX HUGHES
Come and have a go if you think you’re smart enough... The Cartoonists, a team put together by the Professional Cartoonists Organisation, stormed to victory on the TV quiz show Eggheads, broadcast at the end of October, after winning each of their head-to-head rounds. Egghead Kevin Ashman described it as “the most comprehensive defeat we’ve ever had”. Here, team captain Alex Hughes explains how it all happened: A little over a year ago, I was approached by the makers of BBC quiz show Eggheads and asked if I’d like to put together a team of cartoonists for the upcoming series. I’ve done the odd pub quiz in the past, so accepted the offer and duly went about recruiting a team from the ranks of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation – a team comprising myself, Chris Burke, Robert Duncan, Graham Fowell, Royston Robertson and Martin Rowson. We sailed through the December audition and subsequently were invited to record the show in January 2009. For the uninitiated, Eggheads itself is a fairly straightforward quiz. Each day, a new team of challengers goes up against the Eggheads, a team comprising past winners of other TV and radio quizzes such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Mastermind, Fifteen to One, The Weakest Link and Brain of Britain – the cream of British quiz talent. For our bout, the Eggheads team comprised Kevin Ashman, CJ de Mooi, Daphne Fowler, Chris Hughes and Barry Simmons. Judith Keppel was waiting in the wings and Chris Burke was the stand-in for the Cartoonists. WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
The ﬁrst four rounds are a series of head-to-head questions from a given category, where we pick one of our team to go up against our pick from the Eggheads. The contestants then go into the “question room” (in reality, a bench behind the main set) and are given three multiple choice questions each. If there’s no outright winner, it goes to “sudden death”. The winner of each round is “safe” and allowed to compete for their team in the ﬁnal round, whilst the loser is not. The ﬁnal round is a general knowledge team round with the surviving challengers competing directly against the surviving Eggheads for the prize money, which, if it’s not won is rolled-over to the next day. On the day of the ﬁlming we arrived
bright and early on a crisp January morning with, as requested, a selection of light, brightly coloured non-patterned shirts at BBC Television Centre in White City, London. After resting in the former Top of the Pops Green Room we were ushered into the studio, which is when the nerves kicked in. Make-up was applied, microphones were attached and we met host Jeremy Vine. There wasn’t much time for chit-chat though (up to ﬁve episodes are shot per day), so we went straight into the contest … …and we won! We were only the sixth team out of the ten series to beat the Eggheads in each of the ﬁrst four rounds. But to top that, we are the ﬁrst team to have beaten the Eggheads outright, winning in every single round plus the ﬁnal – we only got three questions wrong between us in the whole show. And best of all, the last question, which surviving Egghead Kevin Ashman could not answer, was a cartoon question. So, well done, team, we did brilliantly! Congratulations to Robert, Royston, Graham, Martin, and Chris in reserve. THE FOGHORN 11
FEATURE GARY BARKER
It’s the Island life for Gary Barker. Describing my working life on a little rock in the middle of the Irish Sea as ‘remote’ is an understatement. It’s getting on for three years since I returned to the fold of professional cartooning and I have still to meet a single person I have been commissioned or edited by from ‘off island’. So when I was asked to write about the life of an Isle of Man cartoonist I immediately thought of a time when my resultant social skills (very much dulled by my circumstances) were found to be sadly inadequate, which I have subsequently discovered was a surprise only to me. The island is notoriously time consuming and expensive to get to and from and my one and only foray into the social side of things on the mainland came at the Political Cartoon Society Political Cartoonist of the Year awards nearly two years ago. As an awards virgin and someone who usually only has the birds in the garden to talk to and Jeremy Kyle to shout at during the day it might not come as a great surprise to hear I had lost all reason and ability to judge how one should act on such occasions. How should I ensure I didn’t say something stupid and embarrass myself during the ensuing soiree and yet not also appear to be what I obviously was - a Manx duck out of water? So the great and the good arrived. All seemed to be on ﬁrst name terms with each other. I opted for the silent and mysterious approach, which
in reality of course was just me skulking behind available cover, avoiding all eye contact, while swigging as much free vino as was polite. But when the place began to ﬁll up, and the Bells and the Rowsons began to arrive, all subtle cover options were being eroded faster than a Skegness cliff garden, and with increasingly persistent coaxing from my other half I decided to take the plunge and mingle. It was then I saw a scribbler I had admired for many years (who will remain nameless for their sake and not mine) and decided that if I was going to speak to anyone then it should be them. But of course it was then the Manx hermit in me decided to kick back in and instead of talking to the person I simply hovered on their shoulder for what I’m sure for them was a disturbing amount of time. However this exposed me to others who were looking to shoot the breeze and I eventually got chatting to some very nice people, sold my entry and was told by one of the organisers that I got their vote and when all was counted I got a number of votes (which was a real conﬁdence booster as I honestly expected to get maybe two votes).
Meanwhile, my other half having no internal conﬂicts or hermitosis to conquer, and had no qualms with whom she gassed. Ken Clarke, Steve Bell, these were just other people in the same room to her. However despite my complete and total social impotence I am delighted to say I made a number of friends that night with whom I am still in contact, which on some days doubles the number of people I actually have contact with. But when all is said and done I wouldn’t swap my Manx existence for a city one, I’ve done that already and it’s not for me. This is a very secure and beautiful place, even when its raining. There are also certain tax beneﬁts too, but unfortunately most of these are swallowed back up on trips to the supermarkets where prices are best described as pneumatic rather than inﬂated. Then there is the unofﬁcial Manx national motto: Traa Dy Liooar – Time Enough, which I feel is an excellent axiom for anyone’s life. Unfortunately few editors agree.
Random acts of humour
“You seem to know a lot about ants.” 12 THE FOGHORN
“We never destroy anything together anymore”
“I’m a politician of great conviction - plus 37 similar offences to be taken into consideration.” WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
THE GUIDE TO CHRISTMAS PARTIES
Family Christmas Parties should not be confused with Ordinary Parties. With Ordinary Parties, you get to invite who you really want to be there, whereas the Family Christmas Party demands that you invite quite a lot of people you’re not really that keen on and haven’t seen since the last time you felt all guilty and caved in to the Goodwill to All Persons Christmas pitch. Dominating the Guest List should be the In–Laws, a strange bunch who appear to be completely unrelated to your partner, who you actually quite like. Amongst the In –Laws will be at least one who has been close to death for the past 15 years, is terminably miserable, says “Oh I can’t eat that” a lot, and asks for egg–nog, which you haven’t got, then mutters on about “liking a drop of egg–nog” for the rest of the visit. The authentic In Law group must include at least one couple who are the Life and Soul of Parties. Moaning old egg–noggers are ignorable and usually leave early anyway, taken back to Sunnymead by the silent couple with protuberant eyes who are apparently somebody’s cousins, but Lives and Souls will be in your face and up your nose, drink anything in medically hazardous quantities, institute Charades, at which they cheat, and actually appear to enjoy interacting with Jack and Jocasta, the short–type twins who belong to your sister, or possibly your partner’s sister, and are “sensitive”. Both have asthma and rush to tell their parents every time you sneak off to the utility room for a quick drag. Authentic presents should not involve anything remotely useful or desireable and ideally result in everyone getting one of those little lights you strap to your head to read in bed with. Short types receive dvds which they are at pains to tell you they’ve already got and are crap anyway, casually ditch and go roaming around the WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
house AGAIN, to harass the cat who by this time, also has asthma. Late in the evening, when the dishwasher has begun to make a burning smell, Jack and Jocasta have both had gasping episodes [excellent cat!] and peevish weeping sessions, all hands begin the Festive Bale–out. Sober drivers with rictus grins edge babbling better halves to respective badly parked cars and Lives and Souls are picked
up by their son whose vehicle’s horn does La Cucuracha and you totter back indoors to join the two friends who have bravely offered their moral support all day. Your partner says brightly, through gritted teeth, “Well, I thought that went very well!” and you all immediately become extremely drunk, safe in the knowledge that on the morrow, somewhere, in somebody else’s house, YOU will be an In Law.
THE FOGHORN 13
LETTERS TO THE ED
Letters to the Editor Snail Mail: The Editor, Foghorn Magazine, 7 Birch Grove, Lostock Green, Northwich. CW9 7SS E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
More tea, vicar? Dear Foghorn, I shall be very surprised if you print this, but I feel compelled to write after reading the 2008 Christmas Foghorn which failed completely to convey the Real Meaning of Christmas. Unfortunately, because of my great age and failing faculties, I cannot now remember what it is. Yours faithfully, The Very Rev. Anthony Warburton –Thonge Untapped genius Dear Ed I sent you some cartoonz a while back and you sent them back saying you couldernt use them. All
PCO Artist of the Month for November 2009 was Tim Harries. Tim is a freelance cartoonist whose clients Readers Digest UK and USA, Punch, The Sun, Future Publishing and many others. Bloghorn’s asked Tim which other artists inspired him: I think my favourite form of cartooning is the newspaper comic strip and there are plenty of cartoonists in this ﬁeld I admire. The worlds they created and the quality work they produced over decades is something I certainly envied and wanted to emulate. Charles Schulz’s ‘Peanuts’ and Reg Smythe’s Andy Capp were early favourites, and later on Bill Watterson’s ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ and Jim Meddick’s ‘Robotman’ became my comic strip obsessions. Currently I enjoy Stephan Pastis’
14 THE FOGHORN
my mates think my cartoonz are fantastic. They are like Wow. and that’s why only old farts like the stuff what you print. I can do sexy ones with nudes and Manga stuff with kids with far – apart eyes and stupid hair. I might send you some more. Cheerz
“Walking in the air? Why can’t we drive?”
Shell shocked Dear Foghorn As much as I enjoy your publication, it is sadly lacking in Tortoise based humour. Please ﬁnd enclosed 1,000 tortoise-themed cartoons for your consideration. Regards,
‘Pearls before Swine’ and Darby Conley’s ‘Get Fuzzy’. Outside of newspaper comic strips, I admire Peter Bagge, Jeff Smith, Kazu Kibuishi, Jamie Hewlett. Oh and Pete Dredge. And Roger Kettle. Really like Pete’s artwork and Roger’s writing. There’s loads more but it would get tedious… And what does Tim think is the future of cartooning in the digital age?
“We’re having to get away from Christmas at home this year.”
deﬁnite market for cartoons and comics in the digital age. It’s just a different way of delivering our content. The tricky part is no doubt working out how we can get paid for our skills in an online world that expects everything for free. “Interesting times ahead”, as someone much cleverer than me once said…
I’ve certainly embraced digital cartooning. It allows me to work for clients all over the world. The other side of the digital age is of course the decline of print media, but with the advent of iPhones, Kindles, Sony Readers, the fabled Apple Tablet and all manner of future gizmos I think there’s a
FEATURE RUPERT BESLEY
The hand that rocked the Rotring Rupert Besley keeps the thin black line holding steady. When it comes to my time to shufﬂe off this mortal wotsit - and in my case I know just how that will be: our local council has recently changed all the trafﬁc systems in the town where I live, such that one-way roads, safely crossed for 30 years with just a glance to the left, now have you, with half a mind on other things, stepping out in front of a double-decker speeding down a bus lane newly installed to the right. And they’re very quiet, buses these days. Anyway, when they come to scrape me off the tarmac, all four by twelve yards of me, and bring my wife in for identiﬁcation, I’ve told her not to let them pull back the whole sheet (or several sheets stitched together) to reveal the full horror. Instead, she should simply ask to see the knuckles of my left hand. These bear a unique pattern of small greyblue dots that are the battle-scars of my wars with drawing-pens. Well, I think they’re unique; I’m writing this to ﬁnd out how many others carry the same self-inﬂicted tattoos. I suspect there may be a fair number of us marked for life by Rotrings and Staedtlers shaken in rage. My ﬁrst cartoons, 45 years ago, were done with dip pens and Indian ink. The pens were issued by my school at the beginning of each term for the writing of lines. These were pens chosen specially for the fact that they would not write. I used to collect the steel nibs from friends; I have them still and always like using them. There is satisfaction to be had from getting a career, of sorts, out of something handed out as a punishment. In time, however, I rather abandoned the dip pens in favour of proper drawing-pens that, I guessed, might look a bit more professional, as if used by someone who knew what they were doing. Two factors encouraged me in this direction. Firstly, I was much impressed at the time by the work of WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
Steadman and Scarfe and their ability with the ﬁnest of lines to reduce each face to wrinkle, rut and puckered ﬂesh. Now that my own features are beginning to go that way, I’m less keen on the idea; besides which, I was too dim to realize at the time that their work was heavily reduced for publication. It was a revelation to me when I saw the size of their originals on show some years later. I had no access to photocopiers in those days (did anyone?), let alone ones that zoomed or reduced. Most of my work at the time was in small cartoon illustration for school books and invariably the designer would leave me the tiniest and most awkward little corner of any layout to ﬁll in. (One that I remember was a small strip at the foot of a page, approx 3 inches wide and three-quarters of an inch deep; in it had to be drawn Nelson’s Column, the right way up.) On various grounds I found it easiest to draw the same size as would be reproduced and my drawings got smaller and smaller. That was my sec-
ond reason for drawing with hypodermic needles. Rapidographs, Isographs, Marsmatics, Variants... these technical pens really were triumphs of German engineering. It is quite something to produce an intense black, permanent, waterproof ink that dries almost instantly but which still ﬂows down a hairline (0.13 mm) tube. The trouble is that these things work only for proper draughtsmen/persons/thingy using them all the time. For a part-time cartoonist like me at the time, they always dried up in the days, sometimes weeks, between use. No amount of washing and cleaning could bring them back to life and, at that price, constant replacement was not an option. Hence the furious agitation. Shake to activate ink-ﬂow, was the instruction. And every time it dried I got more angry. In the conﬁned space of a desk, waving one’s arms about, like Magnus Pyke with a bee up his bum, would always end with technical pen and opposing knuckle in mid-air collision and result in a new tattoo. I no longer use these pens. Instead I make do with more user-friendly disposable liner pens. I won’t embark on the great debate between digital drawing and old-style paper and pen; you will already have read - and probably written - all there is to say on the subject. I still draw on paper - and then spend hours on the computer in amateurish style trying to improve the drawing, intensify the black and so on. Liner pens aren’t that marvellous. There’s something about good old ink. Simon Ellinas wrote a memorable piece to that effect in Jester (the Cartoonists’ Club publication) some years back. In fact he got so lyrical over the sheer sensual delight of ink, the article turned quite pornographic. (I have it still, Simon, close to my bed, in a secret drawer.) Ink is special. Ink is powerful. Ink gets under the skin. THE FOGHORN 15
CARTOONS NEIL DISHINGTON
16 THE FOGHORN
The Slippery Slope Many golfers [Fog passim] are rubbish players, but love the kit; the shiny sticks, the wheelie bags, the Velcro... And so it is with skiers. Soon, planeloads of people from Wolverhampton, Reading and certain parts of Glossop will descend on Val de Fracture and get en piste. All will be clad in cool gear featuring yards of Velcro; all will fasten plastic planks to their astronaut-booted feet via lots of shiny clips and then hurl themselves into Alpine inﬁnity. Then, at the bottom of the mountain, if they are not dead, they will jostle with foreign types who don’t understand queues and get on a wire and pulley device Alton Towers wouldn’t touch with a ski–pole, go back to the top and do it again. I have been skiing. Let’s get that straight. This is no fanciful account of something I know nothing of. Oh no. Umpteen years ago I was persuaded, by expert skiing friends
who said “Oh you’ll love it!!” a lot to visit the quaintly named ski resort of Obergurgl. Whilst my friends cleared off to whizz down snowy slopes and drink gluhwein [a sort of warm Bostik] I was placed in a learners’ class and instructed mercilessly by a sun–bronzed fascist Apollo called Kurt. “NO,NO VILLI! VEIGHT ON ZER DOWNHILL SKI!” still echoes through occasional Alpine nightmares. Throughout that ﬁrst day, whilst praying for blizzards or a total eclipse, I noticed that all my classmates, including the pear–shaped ones with little pinny legs stopped falling over and got a certiﬁcate from Kurt which allowed them to go jostle with foreign folk at the grown–ups’ ski–lift, thence to whizz down the beginners’ slopes, their faces aglow with achievement. I never made it. Long after the triumphant departure of the last of my classmates [Des, slightly rounder than Johnny Vegas and in waste management, from Bolton] for what they were all referring to by then as “the slopes”,
I was still going arsche over titzen, especially during difﬁcult manuoevres, like blinking. Kurt left me then, called away to attend to a plucky novice who had collided with an Ice Bar, felled three Italians and spilt several litres of gluhwein which melted the snow and went on to dissolve the rock beneath. Mind you, I’ve still got the seductive super clicky boots, and the in– yer – face red and yellow get – undressed – to – go – for - pee suit thingy, cool goggles and velcroed gloves. And somewhere, also in the same cobwebby garage darkness, are one or two 11+ crammer books. Failed that too.
THE FOGHORN 17
BUILDINGS IN THE FOG
Palaces Question: what exactly is a palace? The term suggests something splendidly romantic. Kings, queens, noble princes, spindly towers, spires and ﬂags, gothic arches, silver coaches, liveried mice. Sorry, drifting into seasonal panto territory here. On the other hand there are plenty of Indian palaces on UK high streets serving a decent tandoori. Real life palaces are a bit different. Pushed to name one, ﬁrst names to mind would be Buckingham Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Blenheim Palace, Alexandra Palace, Crystal Palace. Crystal Palace? Surely that must be a panto reference? Why on earth would there once have been crystalline splendour in Sydenham, South London? It wasn’t built there, that’s why. Well, at least, not to start with. It was built in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was moved to a then-new park in well-off Sydenham in 1854; Hyde Park presumably having another gig coming up. Designed by Joseph Paxton (who was a bit of a dab hand at building large greenhouses having been head gardener at Chatsworth), it was a masterpiece of the modular use of wood, iron and mainly glass. It had 990,000 square feet of exhibition space for 14,000 exhibitors in a length of 1,851 feet. There’s a cartoon link in that Punch is credited with naming it “Crystal Palace”. Rather than ﬂatten Hyde Park’s elms to accommodate such a big ediﬁce, the glass structure was assembled to include them. The central exhibition featured a crystal fountain, a palatial “aah”-factor if there ever was one. Oh, and it had the world’s ﬁrst public loos, costing a 18 THE FOGHORN
penny to use and adding a well-known euphemism to the English language. Whole thing must have been stunning to see and experience and I’m sorry to have missed it by a few years. It burnt to the ground in November 1936 despite the best efforts of 400 ﬁreﬁghters spearheaded by Penge’s very own Peggy Spencer formation ﬁre brigade. That may have been a twinkly, sparkly palace but what about the other buildings with a such grand presumption in their name? Generalising a lot, whilst their interiors exude palatial over-thetop opulence, the exteriors of them are often more than a bit disappointing. The Queen’s London home has a dreadfully dull classic-style frontage, possibly the most unspired palace facade anywhere. It just looks like the back entrance and seems to be only there for the balcony. It wasn’t a palace at all when it was built, just a large town house for the Duke of Buckingham. Later Queen Victoria snapped it up and moved in, so it became a palace and to make the point she named it such. Blame her. She could have called it Victoria Palace, but that’s a theatre. Self-aggrandising dictators around the globe have produced more dramatic results (every dictator should have
one). Romania’s Ceausecu couldn’t stop building his palace in Bucharest. He kept on and on adding to it until, by his overthrow, it was the second largest building in the world (after the Pentagon, which isn’t much of a palace). It has 45,000 chandeliers. Now that’s seriously palatial. Despite the ridiculous length and 12-storey height, it may have a more impressive and interesting facade than Our Liz’s pad, but attractive it sure ain’t. In countries where it’s a bit chilly and there is plenty of snow during the year (Sweden, Quebec....), a few palaces have been built from ice (or sometimes “snice” a spray-on mix of snow and ice). Not quite Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, or that one in the James Bond movie, these palaces have free artistic forms which look stunning in photographs. You can even stay overnight in some of them. The happy guests are always appear well wrapped up and I guess keep like that throughout. Heatgenerating activity by couples is not advised. However these temporary ice structures do come close to meeting the romantic fantasy notion of “palace”. Sorry you owners of palatial stone piles, your palaces simply aren’t worthy of the name. Roger Penwill
THE LAST WORD
The Critic Bring me the head of Aidan J Harvey!
Foghorn’s resident critic Pete Dredge watches telly so you don’t have to. “The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson” is a mouthful of a title for this BBC1 Saturday evening ‘entertainment’. There are undoubtedly some tasty morsels on ﬁrst serving but any hint of spice and ﬂavour is rapidly lost after the continued re-heating of their house speciality , “Flogged Dead Horse”. Jon Culshaw established his reputation as the leading member of the ‘Dead Ringers’ team and is undoubtedly a gifted mimic. ‘Ringers’ targeted topical news and social comment and ‘personalities’ using an ensemble team of gifted actor/impressionists in tandem with sharp scriptwriting and production values. Originating as a radio show it developed into an intelligent, incisive and wickedly funny satirical television show. It’s not certain if we have seen, or indeed, heard the last of ‘Dead Ringers’ but this latest ‘impressionist’ vehicle seems to be looking like a throwback to ITV’s ‘Who Do You Do? and ‘The Mike Yarwood Show’ from the
1970’s. Indeed the ex-Dead Ringer Allistair MacGowan in partnership with the gifted Ronnie Ancona had further developed the ‘variety/light entertainment’ format bringing it inline with 21 century tastes. Culshaw’s new partner Debra Stephenson is also a gifted mimic. Her camera-mugging ‘Davina McCall’ is
truly a remarkable party piece of visual impersonation and would have been put to great creative use on ‘Ringers’ but in ‘The Impressions Show’ it’s just a contrived and predictable repeating gag that becomes increasingly as annoying as the original subject matter. Similarly with Culshaw’s ‘Ross Kemp on Gangs’ running gag running gag (I’m pretty sure that the irony is unintended). Arguably their ﬁnest moment is their take on the Adrian Chiles/Christine Bleakley ‘One Show’ links. Just by playing it straight they get laughs Maybe I’m being too harsh. This is, after all, the BBC1 Saturday evening slot once lauded over by the ‘Generation Game’, ‘Two Ronnies’, followed by ‘Parkinson’ and ‘Match of the Day’. Times, tv viewing habits and budgets have substantially changed but there must be more potential for our ﬁnest impressionists than this lightweight offering. However be warned. If this trend continues, be prepared for the return of… Bobby Davro and friends!
THE FOGHORN 19
FOGHORN (ONLINE) ISSN 1759-6440