The best of British cartooning talent
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FOGHORN Issue 49
Published in Great Britain by the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (FECO UK)
PCO Patrons Libby Purves Andrew Marr Bill Tidy Martin Wainwright 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 The magazine of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (FECO UK)
In the post Christmas doldrummery, whilst you were still marvelling at how stupid/ mean/funny/boring in-laws are, the Foghorn team have been coming over all melodic. Its all here – from pangolin strummers to the Glossop Girl Pipers, Gotterdammundtblasterung to John Jensen stuffing socks down his trumpet. Research suggests that whilst music is the food of
love, its also very funny. So, if its not been a Happy New Year yet, read on and it soon will be. And if that doesn’t work, go break another resolution…………. Bill Stott, Foghorn Editor
Foghorn Layout/Design Cathy Simpson tel:+44 (0) 1527 570309 email:firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
With thanks to Jonathan Cusick for the extra fingers
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: Back Cover: Foghorn (Print) ISSN 1758-8758 Glossop: 6 Pangolin: 0
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FEATURE NOEL FORD
The Malady Lingers On Noel Ford reflects on a previous musical incarnation and how the effects have never entirely departed from his life. Back in the sixties, my assault on the world of cartooning was still on the back-burner due to my musical ambitions as a lead guitarist, but eventually Fate stepped in and my Road to Damascus turned out to be the Motorway to Glasgow.
and sit him on his amp directly beneath our drummer’s largest cymbal, which had to be crashed every time he started to topple over. This was, of course, before the days of Elf & Safety; the lipstick encrusted Morris J2 minibus with the broken steering
a manager who was also the local slot-machine czar. Which was why, one freezing Winter, when bookings were thin, I found myself stranded on the M6 on Shap Fell in a minivan with a burned-out clutch and a bingo machine in the back, destined for a Glasgow club. In retrospect, I realise that was the In 1962, my first band got off to a shaky start, mainly because our manager had such a severe speech impediment that most people couldn’t understand him. Even when he secured a booking, we weren’t always sure where it was. Things improved when my next band, The Stormbreakers, achieved some success and, in 1964, went full-time, changing name to The Establishment and began a tour of American military bases in France. Following that, we returned to the UK touring around supporting some of the big groups of the day such as The Hollies and Manfred Mann. They were good days with some happy memories:
column gear-stick which required both hands to taken off the steering wheel every gear-change; I could go on but Bill said to keep this to 350 words....
definitive moment when I decided the music business was far too insecure, and re-set my sights on the far-safer business of freelance cartooning.
The time our bass player was so drunk that we had to put him in a cold shower (fully-dressed)
After a few years, the band split up and the drummer and myself formed another one with
I still play, though. Once bitten by the music bug, the malady lingers on.
THE FOGHORN 3
FEATURE ROGER PENWILL
Guitars and me
Forget dogs, guitars are a man’s best friend, argues Roger Penwill. I’ve had two dogs as pets whereas I’ve shared home with eleven guitars over the years but only two banjos, one autoharp and two mandolins. Point proven. End of article. Guitars and me - the follow up. I mentioned in the above article that a guitar is a friend. It definitely helped me with my school work. It withstood a lot of stressed strumming after putting aside grim homework; homework which could be completed with others’ help when we parked our bikes at school the following morning. I was just a bit young when skiffle was The Thing, so my attraction to guitars began as a Shadows fan in the early sixties. Experiencing that first live Fender twang when I saw them at Romford Odeon has been remained embedded in my brain ever since. Historic day that was .. it was the day they released Foottapper. Then my parents bought me an acoustic guitar. Not getting very far with Bert Weedon’s Play In A Day book, (I obviously never played it on the right day) Dad booked me some lessons and remember cringing when he told the guy on the phone I wanted to play like Hank Marvin. At least he didn’t mention Bert Weedon. I managed twenty lessons. I had to stop before my head exploded. The weekly half-hour lessons got tricky frighteningly quickly - I was having to learn music from scratch as well as attempting some sort of playing technique. As with a lot of things, the first few lessons are the most important - they prepare the ground. I least I learnt some good playing habits at the start. The folk revival was then getting underway in the US and here, which meant I could happily just strum the guitar and sing 4 THE FOGHORN
along rather than pick out the fiddly twiddly complicated notes of a tune. I had heard the sound of a 12-string guitar on the hit “Walk Right In” and was immediately hooked. The Seekers very prominently used a 12-string on their pop hits and somehow I came across the recordings of Pete Seeger, the father of American folk music and a virtuoso on both 12-string and banjo. Soon I was armed with my own 12-string and the fingertips of my left hand were appropriately calloused. Twelve strings were a lot of strings to tune and back then tuning any guitar was a challenge, not the electronic ease of today. Pitch pipes were useless, and not many folks had a piano to hand. You tuned it to itself, or to a friend’s guitar if it sounded more in tune than yours. If it sounded reasonable then it was OK, but who knows what notes it was actually tuned to, if any. 12 strings just not quite in tune with anything must have sounded interesting. Technology has solved all that. I’ve even learnt a bit about dropped tuning, which isn’t the sound of the guitar hitting the floor when the strap comes off.
The extra volume and sheer strummed oomphh of that instrument got me through college. By then I had seen live the folk revival greats Seeger, Joan Baez, the Clancy Brothers, the Dubliners and Tom Paxton. I know were I was when I heard Bob Dylan had gone electric, mad fool. I’d been in a casual folk group at school and thereafter had built up a collection of songs I could strum and belt out. “Wild Rover” and the like were great for boozy student trips around the land. College over, career, marriage and family life began. New interests particularly cartooning, filled any spare time there was and guitar playing became sporadic. I kept my faithful old 12-string, but no longer owned a 6-string guitar. (Cue violin playing “Hearts and flowers”) It all changed when we moved to Shropshire and I went into cartooning full time. My old firm gave me an acoustic guitar as a leaving present. That was great, apart from the fact it was blue. It sounded alright though and I started playing a bit again. Occasional concerts held by a new Am-Dram group in the village gave me the chance to play in public. Playing Shadows tunes with guitar-virtuoso Noel Ford at Shrewsbury and elsewhere has been a great buzz. Better late than never, I have bought some decent quality acoustic guitars. So now I’m part of local acoustic group, the A49ers (you can find us on You Tube), playing guitar regularly and more than I have ever done before. Yep, a guitar is a good friend indeed and one for life, not just for Christmas. WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
FEATURE LADY VIOLET
Foghorn’s very own ‘Agony Aunt’ Lady Violet Spume, answers your nasty little personal problems. (Dictation by Lady Violet’s private secretary Clive Goddard) Dear Lady Violet, I recently met a guy online and we exchanged a few emails. Then he asked me what I wanted. I told him that my f-holes are blocked, tailpiece a bit battered, could do with some spare nuts but no more strings. I haven’t heard from him since. Do you think it made me sound unstable? Do you think I should have mentioned I was talking about my violin? Epiphany Psoriasis-Blartfast, FRSA Lady V: Dear Miss Psoriasis-Blartfast, If, as I suspect, you are one of the wholly dysfunctional Shropshire Blartfasts with their limp-wristed and liberal attitudes to badger-baiting and hanging, I am not at all surprised at your pathetic enquiry. I cannot think of one more suited to the care of broken stringed instruments.
Light classics? Noel Coward? I thought so. Learn some respect. Dear Lady Violet, I read with interest in “Titled Woman” your piece about being aquainted with Mr Max Bygraves. My sister Gwendoline was put up the duff by an American serviceman in 1944 who looked just like the aforementioned entertainer. She now lives in Chatanooga, which as you probably know, is abroad. Gwendoline also used to own a Clumber Spaniel called Buddy, sadly dead these past 34 years. A Heap [Mrs, 87]
Lady V: Dear Mrs Heap. It is difficult to discern from your communication whether you are seeking advice or merely boasting. Was she ‘up the Dear Lady Violet, duff’ (as you so crudely put it, an hideous expression I suspect I’ve just got a courtesy car from the garage that’s meant to convey that she had an iced meringue wafer in the repairing my car since someone reversed into it outside oven) only once during all that time? She really should get the chip shop. It’s stuck on a really naff radio station. out more. What shall I do? Dear Lady Violet, Emmanuel Laborer, Esq. Is it normal for a woman to play the spoons whilst making love ? My wife is a wonderful sexual explosion but, frankly, Lady V: Dear Emmanuel, is ruining the cutlery. “Chip Shop” is the clue here. You are obviously of the lower orders. Typically, you do not appreciate just how PS It’s hell when she uses two ladles. fortunate you are in having access to personal transport at all. Furthermore, the skilled technicians presently [Name (Keith Tremblie) witheld] mending your carelessly parked car are probably richer than you and their inbred sense of decency would be Lady V: Dear Keith, sorely tested were you to tinker with their vehicle’s The obvious solution to this problem is to use the proper, wireless. And what exactly is “naff”, in your (probably silver cutlery. Far more resilient than those base metal implements with which you commoners stuff your foolish paperback) book? faces during meal times.
THE FOGHORN 5
THE POTTING SHED
The Potting Shed with Cathy Simpson.
We’ve known for ages that music helps plants to grow, and even proper scientists with their test tubes, labs an’ all don’t really know why. Our experts in the Potting Shed asked readers to share their experiences, and here we have the pick of the bunch – selected by Gordon Honkmonster, Binkie Homebrew and Euphorbia Marmelade. Our chairman, Alan Goatrouser, is the one gently humming behind the photocopier. One of these days we really must get him a deodorant.
turn people into plants. My 17 year old listens to that awful music through his headphones during all his waking hours (two per day, approximately) and he looks more and more like a cabbage every day. This would be OK but I’m not that keen on leaf vegetables. What shall I do?’
Firstly, here’s a sceptical missive from Fergus Tiptop of Penge: ‘Someone told me that playing music to plants makes them grow better but actually it’s a load of codswallop. I’ve tried talking to plants and that doesn’t work either. Why, I was making encouraging noises to my vegetable patch and even playing it highlights from Beethoven’s 5th – when my neighbours called the police. I thought it might work better with indoor plants but I’m having problems parking a 45’ privet hedge in my living room. Once again, the so-called experts get it wrong.’ However, here we have an interesting observation by Delphinia Spragg from Pratt’s Bottom: ‘Not only can music make plants grow better, but I’m convinced that music can 6 THE FOGHORN
their garden is overgrown with brambles and stinging nettles. The neighbours over the road play popular classics, and they have a neatly manicured lawn with a herbaceous border. What should I be playing to turn my heap of builders’ rubble into a nice garden?’ Gordon’s given this some thought, and has come up with this: ‘Firstly, you should start off with Rolling Stones, and Mud. Then grass roots stuff would be good. You need to select your other pieces quite carefully, always accentuating the positive - tracks like ‘Here comes the Sun’, ‘April Showers’ and ‘Bye bye Blackbird’ (the latter especially helpful if you’re trying to grow fruit.) At all costs avoid negativity which will doom your project from the start, e.g. ‘(I never promised you a) Rose Garden’. Add a bit of Blood, Sweat and Tears at the beginning, Persimmon, and you should be well away!
Euphorbia comes to the rescue: ‘You really need to broaden your mind here. If cabbage makes you think of school dinners and the ensuing farts, don’t let that put you off. Simply get yourself a proper recipe book, and tell your son to boil his head.’ Wise words there which will really help him with his future development, Delphinia! Now, on to a more detailed study by Persimmon Bathsponge from Ashby-de-la-Zouche:
Finally, we respond to a text from our youngest reader, Maisie Tonkers (aged 8). ‘Maisie. Don’t. Just don’t, OK? If you do they’ll lock you up for a very long time with no pudding.’ But, of course, it’s not just our young gardeners we’re looking to encourage. If you’re baffled by your beetroot or horrified by your hostas, share it with us and we’ll be baffled and horrified too. If you have a particularly florid name a spot on this page is guaranteed!
‘Not only does music help plants to grow, but the type of music also has an effect. That gang of Hell’s Angels at No. 48 play heavy metal all day, and WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
LETTERS TO THE ED
Letters to the Editor
Random acts of humour
The Editor, Foghorn Magazine, 7 Birch Grove, Lostock Green, Northwich. CW9 7SS E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
F Flat Dear Editor, In 1971, a Mercedes- Benz motor car once owned by Otto Klemperer ran over my ferret. Yours truly, Denise Wellbeloved [Mrs, 54]
“It’s for the Americans. They love to hear their Benny Goodman”
The ‘P’ is silent Dear Editor, When I heard that your magazine was to focus on Music, I fully expected to be contacted because I always am when anybody does anything about music. Thus far, there has been no such call. Regards P Gambaccini
THE FOGHORN 7
CARTOONS BY THE SURREAL MCCOY
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presently playing and in question, instead I cleverly presented I.Y.P. with comparative Rap and Blues lyrics, nicked almost instantly from Google. Like this;
Random Acts of Humour
“All dem years I wuz runnin’ Duckin’ da po-po. You think I go back to that jack f*** F*** no. He aint know how To rap an’ bought a studio Yeah. I live to stay fresh I kill to stay rich. Yeah. An yo mah bitch.
“Forget whale song - I’m giving them some death metal!”
As previous observations might suggest, there are certain unavoidable aspects of life, including George Osborne, bankers, stupid parkers [that’s with a small “p” and not the irritating couple at “Westwinds”], soap operas, upcoming Royal weddings and nitwits who phone in to radio news programmes [“Where are you calling from, Keith?” “Our front room.”] which can cause your correspondent to say very bad words and bite the carpet. Or, in a wooden- ﬂoored dwelling, any adjacent person. In a recent conversation about music with an intelligent, professionally-qualified, highearning Young Person, said 20something professed a liking for rap. For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a sound associated initially, though not exclusively with poor, downtrodden African Americans on the make. Rap features boring, loud, insistent on-beat rhythms made even less bearable by spoken, non-rhyming lyrics delivered [usually] by males in low crutch pants and skew-wiff baseball caps. And something called “attitude”. In response to my opinion of rap, i.e., that it is aggressive, talentless, deeply irritating manure, I.Y.P., being well read, suggested that rap is the contemporary equivalent of The Blues, both genres stemming as they do from racism and economic hardship. Resisting the desire to take a blowtorch to the cd WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
“Once I lived the life Of a millionaire. Spendin’ my money, I didn’t care, Takin’ my friends On a mighty fine time Buying bootleg liquor, champagne And wine. Then I began to fall so low Didn’t have no friends, no place to go. Mighty strange, but without a doubt, No – one wants to know you when you’re down and out. Drawing I.Y.P’s attention to the obvious superiority of the Blues lyrics, and even humming a bit of the tune,and ready to say, “I rest my case” as inflexible old geezers do, I was non-plussed to realize that I.Y.P’s attention had by this time been commanded by “Strictly Come Dancing” and was told to shut up. Went away to studio. Played Muddy Waters. Loud. Innit.
THE FOGHORN 9
FEATURE CLIVE COLLINS
Comedy records in my life Long before Noel Edmonds’ and Kenny Everett’s imaginationdefying dexterity with radio cross-talk and tomfoolery with comedy records, there was a man who paved the way, and whose name was Jack Jackson. Jackson was a trumpeter and dance bandleader who got his big break playing in Jack Hylton’s band, and who moved with the smart set via the Dorchester and the May Fair Hotel. He spent some of the war years working for the Ministry of Information – as a cartoonist – and, post-war he moved into radio. I first became aware of this magic radio man when I was a lot younger and the world was a lot simpler, and I caught his Saturday afternoon Jack Jackson Show, in which, by extremely clever cutting, he would concoct sometimes hilarious conversations between himself and comedians such as Tony Hancock, Sid Caesar’s 2000 year-old man, Shelley Berman and Bob Newhart, by way of George Carlin, the Goons and a solo Peter Sellers among countless others. From his studio in Tenerife, he’d splice them fiendishly and I followed the progress of this blissful radio confection for its two hours every Saturday that I could, my monochrome life blessed by the outbursts of hysterical audience laughter and crazy seminonsensical crosstalk between comedians who had never actually met. Strangely, Jackson even kept Hancock’s career alive long after the lad from Cheam had gone solo, dumped his writers and carved his own descent towards his demise in Australia. I’d always loved - and collected - comedy records, and in the late 50’s and 60’s the US produced some of the best. Many UK record request programmes seemed to consist of endless demands for 10 THE FOGHORN
Berman’s monologue ‘There’s a Woman Hanging from a Window’, Newhart’s ‘Driving Instructor’ or ‘USS Codfish’, and Allan Sherman’s ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah’ and so many more. ‘The Hungry i’ in San Francisco, along with similar outfits in other
into copious notepads, I’d then try splicing together snippets of non-sequitor dialogue that would somehow fit in with the script I had written. It was difficult, if not almost bloody impossible, because the tape recorder didn’t stop dead when you pressed the Stop key, so there were always overlaps or gaps, and the final result only a child’s mother could love. Jackson died in 1978 in London, a few years after he’d returned from the Canary Islands, where the climate was not helping his emphysema. I believe that Michael, one of his sons, continued with the show for a while, but imagine it lacked the old man’s touch.
US cities, was a forerunner to what our comedy clubs are today, and poured forth a stream of the new wave comics that included Dick Gregory, Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Geoffrey Cambridge and Woody Allen, all of whom were like a breath of fresh air to me, here in Britain, growing up surrounded by what now seemed to be a large number of fairly stale British comics of the time. So struck was I by the originality of the Jack Jackson Show that strictly for my own amusement - I even tried compiling my own, just to see if I could do it. I wrote scripts to record on an ancient Grundig reel-to-reel job and, with the help of my aforementioned comedy LP, I set to with a pen. Transcribing the dialogue from the records
All this was long ago, and well before I’d shackled myself to the oar of the galley called ‘Cartooning’ and, sadly, in the intervening years I’ve drifted away from radio, so I’ve no idea if there are such programmes made any more, but Jack Jackson was there first. Today there are truck loads of comedy albums produced, in fact so many that it’s hard to keep up with them, and the shelves in mega stores groan with their bulk. Today also, the technical side of splicing is easier, with technology having moved light years ahead, so presumably when Stop is indicated, everything stops. I often wonder if, surrounded by up-to-the-minute gear, there are other dreamy kids, who have incarcerated themselves in their rooms like I did all those years ago, and away from the rest of the family, sitting for hours, clicking Record and Pause, back and forth between the wisecracks of modern-day comedians like Andy Parsons, Frankie Boyle and Dara O’Briain in order to make up some imaginary rambling conversation. Clive Collins WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
FOGHORN GALLERY AND STUFF
Random acts of humour
“I’ve pimped your sound system!”
“I told you not to play when you’re in a bad mood!” THE FOGHORN 11
FEATURE TIM HARRIES
In the Mood...
With Tim Harries I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the joys of a ‘spa break’ but apart from the opportunity to sit around all day in a white towelling robe, drink orange juice and get battered around the head and shoulders by a strapping shotputter named Helga , there’s not much else on offer. After 15 minutes of relaxation I’m usually ready to organise a riot in the Zen Garden just to check I still have a pulse. (Handy tip: Scented candle & massage oil make a pleasantly aromatic Molotov Cocktail) However, the one thing to totally send me over the herbally infused edge is the MUSIC in these places. My word, it’s a whole different level of soporific bland! I know it’s meant to be relaxing but honestly, this music goes
well beyond ‘relax’ and plunges headlong into the realms of ‘acceptable form of anaesthetic’. The fact that it goes by many names - mood, relaxation or meditation music, ambient, new age, oodley-noodley ( I made the last one up) - doesn’t alter the other fact that it all sounds pretty samey, adding to my suspicion that it’s written and performed by just one man in a shed who owns a synthesiser from the 80s, some pan-pipes and a compilation CD of ‘Now that’s what I call Nature Sounds’. Nice work if you can get it! Man in shed no doubt picks an evocative title - Pastoral Lemon Feet, The Smell of Bees, Sensitive Philtrum - and then carefully crafts the beautiful melody by allowing his cat to walk across the keyboard. Next comes a sprinkling of
atmospheric effects -perhaps a waterfall or whale song - to create what should be restful but just sounds like a whale falling off a waterfall. Wallop a bit of Polynesian Nose Flute over the top and the masterpiece is complete. Rinse and repeat over and over and over…. Ok, you may think I’m being slightly harsh, but honestly, I experienced it for myself at a recent spa day. We were there 7 hours and not once did I detect anything musically interesting. I realise most normal people don’t go to these places to listen to the music, but I’m a bit strange like that. I got a bit obsessive to be honest - “hmm, this sounds interesting, atonal yet rhythmically different, … oh, it’s the fire alarm” Once, at the 2 hour mark I thought it was going to break into ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’, but it was just a lucky mistake by man-in-shed’s cat, and I think at about 4 hours in the theme of ‘The Piano’ was being played, but it was on the sitar which was just confusing. Didn’t matter which Spa room I went in either - the Indian Blossom Steam Room, the Roman Laconium, the Fosters Lager Vomitorium, - same insipid soundtrack. Look, I’m not asking for a radical overhaul of the whole genre, just - y’know - something with a bit more bite! Maybe a rousing version of Twist and Shout when you enter for a Finnish Massage - musically exciting, and tells you what to expect. Or for a bit of cheeky fun, splice the theme from Psycho about 10 minutes into a Hopi Earcandle Session. They’d laugh about it later, after the burns had healed, I’m sure. Blimey, I’m all tense after that think I’ll book another spa day….
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THE FOGHORN GUIDE TO OPERA
In our most challenging brief to date, your Foghorn researchers seek to demystify that most noble of musical forms, The Opera, or as many buffs would have it, “La Melodi Swankio” [Music of the Toffs].
Yes, yes, all very schmaltzy, but the cunning thing about opera is that no matter how wonky the storyline,[and, in a couple of productions attended by your researcher, no matter how much shorter[despite lifts and a wig] Rodolfo might be than Mimi] Puccini et al deliver broadside upon broadside of beautiful music.
This definition is at once inaccurate and puzzling. The Oxford English Dictionary says;
And if the melodic arty-farty set does, as Brian Sewell might put it, your head in, you can always vorsprung across to the mighty Mr Wagner who penned the stuff dictators are made of, dressed everybody in steel , leather and horns………My God!I’ve gone blind !..... and whose heroines favoured tin bras.
“Opera n. Dramatic performance of which music is an essential part” Like Guys and Dolls, or Carousel? Absolutely not. These are “musicals” and are immediately accessible to proles like you and I innit because they’re sung in English. Opera, on the other hand, tends to look and sound best in anything but, with Italian and German taking the top spot. For example, “Che gelida manina, se la lasci riscaldar. Cercar che glova “. sounds so much more romantic to our frigid British ears than its translation ; “What a frozen little hand. Let me warm it for you.What’s the use of looking? We won’t find it in the dark.” which suggests that something may well have dropped off right at the start of La Boheme, a terribly terribly romantic opera by Puccini which features a couple of terribly terribly romantic hello trees, hello sky hello birdies poet types [one of whom is called Rudolfo. Live with it son, live with it] and a terribly terribly beautiful, starving, thermally challenged heroine called Mimi who cranks up the sympathy vote by being in the final stages of T.B. as well as having frozen mitts. WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
No trees sky and birdies here, as the opening lines of Gotterdamerung attest. Gunther, an underachieving king looking to marry interestingly is advised by Hagen, a Max Clifford –type fixer. Sings Hagen ; “Ein Weib weiss ich, das herrlichste der Welt:- auf Felsen hoch ihr Sitz; ein Feuer umbrennt ihren Saal; nur wer durch das Feuer bricht, darf Brunnhildes Freier sein “ Which to the untutored might sound like an ultimatum before the tanks open fire. However, there’s no let down in the translation here ………..”A woman I know, the finest in the world: high on a rock she dwells; a fire burns all around her home:only he who breaks through the fire can be Brunnhilde’s suitor “ Cue drums[big ones] trombones, horns [lots of], cymbals,strings, gongs, death, deliverance, triumph and tragedy, sopranos, tenors, baritones, bass, all giving it serious wellie.[ Kazoos and swannee whistles were deleted on the first rewrite.] Amplification
not needed. Some of its so loud, sternums shatter. So, conclusions. Your Foghorn Guide recommends opera. Preferably in a language you don’t understand because the stories are a bit lame anyway, as the great Victor Borge suggests in his “A Mozart Opera” when he précis a tragic ending…..” The big lady comes on, sings a little, then goes behind a tree and she dies” …….. but the music ! The music will nail you to your seat. Providing you can afford one. Opera tickets are expensive. All part of a cunning plan by the toffs to keep it to themselves. The choice is yours. Thirty quid to watch a bunch of dopes kick each other and occasionally a football, or listen to Siegfried and Brunnhilde getting it on[or off] despite the German fashion of the period, involving as it did, externally worn metal underwear.
THE FOGHORN 13
FEATURE NATHAN ARISS
The Food of Love and other Madness Mason Ayres, the World-renowned actor, was recently invited to speak at the Wythenshawe BardFest, to muse upon the importance of music in Shakespeare’s plays. Nathan Ariss and seven of Mason’s closest paying guests were there to witness the proceedings and the swift arrival of the paramedics.
A table stands centre stage, on which there is a large jug and glass. A flourish of trumpets. Enter Mason. Mas: Forgive, proud scions of Apollo, this, my faltering speech! I have of late, though wherefore I know not, lost all my notes; so I must, perforce, attempt to pick the gentle strings of Mnemosyne, and pluck my untrained thoughts from this unfretted mind! [Mason pours himself a drink. Throughout the following he proceeds to down the entire contents of the jug] But I have no bars nor stops to sing the praises of my greatest love, Music – or, to be more precise – the celestial music one alone can apprehend when the mystical name of Shakespeare is invoked! Speak but of ‘music’, and I am put in mind not of Beethoven or Bach, but of the noble Bard; of the cadences and rhythms of Hamlet and Othello; of all the poet’s greatest works, his sonnets and soliloquies. The very term ‘music’ - for those of you at a disadvantage here – is, literally speaking, ‘of and pertaining to the Muses’, and thus the lyrical and poetical verse-speaking traditions that I am so proud, yet humble, to be counted as an upholder of…is an honour. Umn. In truth, I am but a lowly servant and conduit; my voice is but His precious instrument, to do with as He will; my poor reed, simply fashioned to play the magic and mystery of the stars, the very music of the spheres! As all ‘musicians’ know, the actor must play upon the time, the beats and phrases, and simply sound the seeming barren marks o’ the page; but in this supplication and his reverence is he miraculously transformed! For, my fellow postulants, we players are, for want of better words than mine, the ‘fountains’ chosen by the gods! We mere mewlers of metre, by divinity compelled to impart upon an unworthy world this ambrosial, heavenly accord! WWW.PROCARTOONISTS.ORG
But what of music and Shakespeare, I hear you ask? Did you ask? Well, never mind. “Play on!“ As those of you who are indeed fortunate enough to have read my book, Hey Nonny-Nonny: What’s in a Name? by Mason Ayres …will recall, there are in total, a…er, total of 42, 517… roughly…songs, snatches – ha! – ditties, refrains and sexual references to music in his mighty opus…eses. Many do what I call ‘naming the mood’, whether it be as theme, underscore or centrepoint to love, despair, joy or grief; the passing of time…on; and not forgetting my own bête blanches: drunken revelry – being in a high state of carousal! – and good old-fashioned madness! Shakespeare is, of course, uniquely gifted in writing a lyric or two for either, and subtly indicates which state any given character might be in. We comprehend, for instance, when Ophelia barks that “The owl was a baker’s daughter! Lord we know what we are”, that she is not quite ‘all there’, rather than her merely being eight sheets to the forelock; furthermore, we also glean that it really won’t be necessary to join in with her when the Chorus comes around! Well, the book’s got lots more like that, where that one came from. So, indeed, let it be said, that “The man that hath no music in him” can always buy my book in the foyer afterwards. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you a toast: To Love and Madness! Love and Madness!! [Mason knocks back his drink and crashes backwards into the table] Alarums and shouts within. [It was at this point that Mason made several incoherent remarks, along with other entreaties to kindly purchase his books from the foyer outside] Exit, pursued by calls for refunds.
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BUILDINGS IN THE FOG
health authorities to ensure that those sporting spectacular warts don’t end up getting their pelvic floors examined. Some involve following red, green, blue, black and yellow lines for miles along the walls to your area of need, but this resulted in many appointments at colour blindness clinics not being kept. Being poor at forward planning means that I spend a fair slice of my life in Tesco, in awe of folk who can actually do a Peter Kay Big Shop for essentials which last a week. Mind you, the layout and directional signs in the store do actually help in this regard, and if they fail and you still can’t find diabetic ice cream, there’s always a member of staff on hand. These are amazing people who could do Mastermind; Specialist Subject: Product Location, Tesco Superstore, Glossop. There’s usually only a slight frown, a second’s deliberation then, “Ah yes. Ground Coriander. Aisle 28, left hand side,10 paces from the main entrance end, third – no, fourth shelf down, immediately under stem ginger.“ Wonderful.
Of course, the whimsical nature of hospital architecture doesn’t help. Experience suggests that non-walkers’ specialists WILL be found at the end of a two mile push Not so our local Medical Centre in a hossie wheelchair with a and hospital. Both suffer from distinct urge to go left. In fact, the same directional malaise nothing is closer than 500yds often encountered in rural from Reception. Apart from Afghanistan. Worthy efforts Bereavement Counselling. have been made in various Medical Centre and hospital
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are further bedevilled by The Great Sellotape and Felt Tip Curse. Recently, bored by watching the rolling electronic display telling me that doctors’ appointments are for 7.35 minutes only, I counted every notice I could see without dislocating my neck. One hundred and three. Of those, only twenty one were on a notice board. The others were all stuck to walls with Sellotape. Not one was straight. Some were at fairly pronounced angles suggesting that whoever put them up suffered from misaligned eyes or one short leg. A long wait at my doctor’s [I say MY doctor’s – it could be any one of 35] results in nausea you didn’t arrive with. A significant minority of these notices are handwritten by people who don’t do forward planning, i.e. size of piece of paper v length of message, so that “PLEASE DO NOT” is huge but the rest tiny because they’ve run out of space. And – as an ever so sideways nod to our theme - I noticed that whilst I was being obsessive about sineage the waiting room muzak was playing “Unchained Melody”. By Reg Dworkin
FEATURE JOHN JENSEN
John Jensen’s Musical Moments My father was the musical one in my family. He played the clarinet badly (St Louis Blues) and, before he married, the acoustic guitar at night on Bondi beach. My mother played the upright gramophone and would spend long Sunday afternoons listening to Beniamino Gigli , Richard Tauber and Paul Robeson. Great fun was had when the gramophone needed winding and the voices trailed slowly and deeply and then whizzed comically up when the machine was rewound. More fun was had with stuffing old socks and knitted pullovers into its gaping maw, this the only means
of muting the sound. I discovered it was wise to use old, scruffy pullovers rather than the recently washed, pressed and neatly folded variety. Music as a life-changing, lifeenhancing experience happened when I was learning to play the violin. A string broke and I begged my mother to let me quit while the moment was opportune. Champagne corks could be heard popping from neighbours’ homes on both sides of the house and sobs of relief might be heard at night through my bedroom walls. Having agreed to my request the colour soon came back to Mum’s
cheeks and her eyes lost their disturbing glaze. I love listening to the violin: that’s the way nature intended things should be. In later life I found conductors impossible to draw because they kept their backs to me. As recompense I was able to study their arm-waving. Some were so delicate, as if coaxing a bird to eat from their hand; others waved frantically, conjuring up visions of a huge train racing towards them which they were trying to stop before it reached the broken points; others hunched their shoulders but otherwise barely moved and yet, always, magically, the orchestra surrendered to their (usually silent) orders. They were like that in the 40s and they’re like that now. But thank heaven, though, for photographs, film, video and DVDs. I’ve illustrated several books about music and musicians. The Artless Musician by the late Sidney Harrison was published by Pelham Books in 1964. My copy has a message from the author. It says, ‘Get well quickly, Leslie, from Sidney, March 1969’. This was meant for Leslie Illingworth who was queasy at the time. I must have packed an unsigned copy and posted it on to him. The signed copy, which I didn’t see again until 1989, is now a perpetual reproach to my carelessness. Next, My Music, by the late Steve Race, Robson Books, 1979, had bucketloads of material from Frank Muir, Denis Norden, Ian Wallace, John Amis and David Franklin. I tried drawing them all, backstage somewhere, at one brief sitting but they kept dashing about and complained that I was getting in the way. Finally, the late Dudley Moore’s Musical Bumps, Robson Books, 1986. Bumps was a lovely book to illustrate.
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Random acts of humour
As far as my illustrations were concerned the best bits were the tiny space-fillers which were drawn with musical notes and occasional help from out-of-copyright thumbnail illustrations from Dover Books.
“In time with us - not as fast as you bloody well can!”
I am now looking for a musically minded author who is still living.
An exhibition of the conductors and soloists I did manage to pin down was exhibited in London’s august Wigmore Hall, 1994. That’s about it, really. As for likes and dislikes, I’ve lots of those! I hope you like the pictures. Tristan gets back late from the pub.
“You’ve got an attitude problem, Lliam. Nobody makes their own bed in an hotel, especially a rock star”
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FEATURE CLAUDE HOPPER
A ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee, not see-lid) is probably your only opportunity of practising the folk dance of these isles without the ritual humiliation of becoming a Morris Dancer and totally ruining your street credibility, so go for it! You might wind up at one of these having seen it advertised as a barn dance, but you must resist the temptation to dress up in a cowboy hat. Especially if you’re not wearing anything else; people will only laugh at you. Pay special attention to footwear, too. Socks with sandals would be a safe bet; flip flops and/or stiletto heels are a no-no. You will arrive at a hall or scout hut, with a stage containing a ‘band’ and a ‘caller’. If the band are proper folkies, they will somehow contrive to be both hairy AND balding, and should sport impressive beer guts - putting you in mind of those mythical characters whose belts could encircle the globe. The caller is there to tell you what to do, dictate every move of the dance, how many people you should dance with and all that stuff. Little Hitlers of this kind can be safely ignored. Most of your fellow dancers will.
Firstly, have a beer. If you’re taking this folky stuff seriously, have another. You’ll normally be doing this stuff with a partner. If you haven’t brought your own, just nick someone else’s. Then you’ll be a couple. You could be a first couple or a second couple, or a third couple or fourth couple. Or a head couple or a side couple. Or a top couple or a bottom couple. Or you could be in a line of 40 couples featuring only first and second couples. Confused? Better have another beer. Then you’ll find that you’re expected to dance with other couples. The ‘man’ from the other couple may turn out to be a 17-year old girl wearing a tartan miniskirt, a string vest and a pair of wellingtons. Just get over it, right? (A beer will help). You’ll find that some dances require you to do specific steps – the one that goes ‘Shuffle-shuffle-shuffle’ is a waltz step, for example, or there’s a hop-step. This one goes hop-stephop-step, or alternatively step-hopstep-hop. Whichever step you’re doing – look around and you will see approximately 14 variations on it, so see if you can add your own. Don’t take any notice of the music, which is only there to boss you about.
And have a beer. Then, when you’ve been through the ordeal once, you’ll have to do it all over again with a different bunch of people, just when you had sort of got the hang of it with the last lot. Best have another beer – it’s only being sociable. You may need to listen to other instructions, but even if the caller gives the order: ‘Swing!’ remember not to attempt to mate with anyone else on the dance floor. All this beer will greatly help your confidence, co-ordination and control. As you become more adept at the contact sport that is the ceilidh, you may wish to sound knowledgeable. This can be achieved by sitting in a corner, grinning beatifically at all around and muttering things like ‘longways set’, ‘strip the willow’ and ‘six hand reel’ under your breath; at this stage, there’s no need to attempt to do any more of this dancing which is only likely to ruin your hair do. You may have found that your fellow dancers have been tutting at you and rolling their eyes, so – next time, book a course of ten salsa lessons. That’ll show them!
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THE LAST WORD
The Critic READY, STEADY...GONE!
Foghorn’s resident critic Pete Dredge watches telly so you don’t have to I know times have moved on and the ‘music delivery biz’ has changed dramatically in recent years but I dearly regret the passing of the terrestrial tv pop/rock prog. “Top of the Pops” , or TOTP as it was branded in its later years, was of course the ‘Daddy’ for thirty odd years of chart led pop. The advent of the internet and downloading drove the final nail in to the coffin of this, as it happens, much loved but ageing BBC pop classic programme. TOTP, however, wasn’t the first of this genre. Early ‘50’s rock ‘n roll shows like “Oh Boy!” and “Six-Five Special” featured the likes of cool hipsters Tommy Steele, Wee Willie Harris and a pre-pubescent Cliff Richard. The ‘Mersey Sound’ of the early ‘60’s saw ITV lead the way with “Thank Your Lucky Stars” and “Ready Steady Go” before Top of the Pops picked up the baton and ran, and ran and, er, ran.
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Granada TV responded with Tony Wilson’s punk influenced “So it Goes”. I can remember a chaotic Peter Cook being a regular on this short-lived show and it reminded me of an earlier BBC satire show, “Twice A Fortnight” featuring a memorable live version of The Who performing “I Can See for Miles”. “The Tube’’ and “The Word’’ were probably the last of the edgy music shows and what we For those with more eclectic tastes, are left with now is ‘’Later...with flared loons and longer hair, BBC2 Jools Holland’’...a fine show, introduced “Colour Me Pop” in 1968 nonetheless, featuring a good when colour came to TV for the first mix of top flight international time. This was the forerunner for the musical artistes but more aimed album-led “Old Grey Whistle Test” at the cosy, middle-aged exhosted initially by Richard Williams Whistle Test viewer rather than and, later, the legendary ‘Whispering’ the younger, anarchic music fan. Bob Harris. Such was the lack of Time for a re-vamped “Cheggers budget for these shows that they often Plays Pop”, eh pop-pickers? featured early silent animation films as visual accompaniment to a Captain Pete Dredge Beefheart track – wonderful stuff.
FOGHORN (PRINT) ISSN 1758-8758