A Tour Through My Art Collection 1

I’m not a great fan of art. With modern art I just don’t get it and religious art seems to be a lot of suffering and fat babies. I quite like a landscape and I do like waterlillies. Van Goghs’ Potato Eaters makes me laugh every time I see it. It’s like someone’s dressed up some monkeys and he’s tried to paint them. But at the same time I do like his sunflower and a poem I wrote when I was about 10 about his Pavement Café was published in the local paper.

My personal art collection is slightly different to what you’ll see in the Louvre or the Hermitage but I still see it as the highest form of art. Cartoon Art.

I bought my first picture about 20 years ago when I was still working as a cartoonist. It’s of one of my all time favourite cartoon characters Muttley. He currently hangs at the top of the stairs out of the way of the kitchen makeover but he will return to pride of place in the new dining room.

‘Wake up there, Muttley, you’re dreaming again! You’re not Robin Hood and you’re not Gunga Din. You’re not a brave knight or a king that’s been crowned. You’re just plain old Muttley, the snickering hound!”

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You Couldn’t Make It Up

I’m a bad man I smoke an e-cigarette. I haven’t touched tobacco for well over two years I’m now just addicted to what the wife calls “my dummy”.

At work today I took a crafty drag and without thinking blew a smoke ring.

One of the girls I work with got really excited and asked me to blow another. When I did she straight face asked me if I could blow a boat like Gandalf !!!!

She was most upset when I told her that it was probably created by CGI !!!!

A Comedy First

Last week I took my youngest to his first comedy gig. It wasn’t what was planned just the babysitter had a better offer so instead of taking the wife I took my twelve year old.

He’s a big comedy fan, loves Mock the Week, Live At The Apollo and Russell Howards Good news, but live is a slightly different proposition to the carefully edited shows on the BBC.

Jon Richardson is fairly new to the comedy circuit and not someone who’s material I had seen much so it was a nervous night out to start with.

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I could tell Jake was a bit wary, he’s seen people getting ripped before and as we were only 5 rows from the fun he was obviously nervous of being picked on. As the show started and Jon Richardson was kind to the members of the audience he interacted with he began to relax and enjoy himself.

Jon Richardson is a bit of an old grump (nothing wrong there) but he is very OCD on some topics especially cleanliness and he almost had a heart attack when a fleck of dust crossed his eye line on its descent from the lights. This became a running theme as he observed the theatre hadn’t been cleaned since Queen Victoria’s day and dust fell with amazing regularity. There were a couple of stories which could have been very squirmy to a 12 year old but they were well told and weren’t lingered on too much.

In the second half Jake was totally chilled and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the show. Listening to him chuckling along beside me was great and Jon Richardson was excellent. Definitely on my see again list. I like a grumpy comedian who can have a good moan and get properly irate at times. So if he comes to a theatre near you get yourself a ticket.

On the way out we were presented with an upcoming gigs flyer so we have now booked for Milton Jones and Reginald D Hunter.

I have a new comedy buddy.

A trip to the Butchers

We are lucky where we live to have a proper family butchers at the top of the road run by a father and son double act.

Returning son informed me last night as I bought him yet another pint he quite fancied pulled pork for tea, so this morning off to the butchers I went.

Gary, the son, enquired on my entering the shop that he hadn’t seen me for awhile.

“No” I replied ” the wife’s gone vegetarian”

Without blinking an eye both father and son made the sign of the cross and carried on serving their respective customers.

A Walk on the Surreal Side

Last night a trip to the local theatre for an evening of comedy. And a evening which you knew could go either way.

For any one who doesn’t know him Noel Fielding is a British comedian, actor and musician and he’s to say the least completely away with the fairies. I’ve not watched any of his TV series and just know him as a team captain on a music quiz. But I do like where he goes when he takes a surreal tangent into his own weird world.

So as previously stated this evenings entertainment could go either way and it certainly did.

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The first half was more your usual stand up comedy just without any real jokes. Don’t get me wrong it was very funny but I think the wife would have nodded off or gone to the bar. And when I say the first half featured an animatronic Dark Side of the Moon, a plasticine Joey Ramone and an argument with Antonio Banderas being resolved with the use of tennis’s Hawkeye technology you may well have joined her for a large glass of some strong alcohol. Or a toke on whatever Noel had been enjoying.

And who would have thought that whenever Mick Jagger does his trademark clap on stage he is actually scaring away monkeys.

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The second half was just something else, The Mighty Boosh side of the audience lapped it up but apart from a few moments and some very clever real world to plasticine world moments it whooshed over my head. There was some audience participation, a New York detective, a randy triangle, a rescue from a farting reverse minotaur and David Bowie stealing a baby.

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But it was fun, it was certainly a different place to spend my Friday night and I still managed to fit in a few pints afterwards.

So if you fancy an evening you’re unlikely to understand with some genuine big laughs and a chicken with a real Southern drawl get yourself along to An Evening With Noel Fielding.

My Bestest Job Ever

Credit CardAt the end of the 90’s I was made redundant and decided I wasn’t going to get another job I was going to be a cartoonist. I had no skill in drawing but I could write a gag so as the wife was suitably employed we decided I could give it a go.

It took awhile to develop a style but I got published fairly quickly and fairly regularly so I was at least paying some of the bills. The majority of my work was published in The Sun which needs no explaining to a British audience but to the rest of the world is the UK’s worst tabloid newspaper. But hey they bought cartoons and they paid for them, but it also explains the type and level of humour of the time. The Sun hasn’t moved on much but I hope I have.

dadhOvertime I got published in more upmarket publications like The Spectator, Punch, Private Eye and The Oldie. I also had a regular column in a couple of magazines and the Harlequins rugby club matchday programme.

dadgI used to draw and write at least ten gags a day and would spend the rest of my time mailing them out to all and sundry and then waiting for the postman to arrive each morning to see what if any had sold. I had great days where I would sell 5 or 6 and then others without a sniff but boy what a way to spend your working day. I even became a member of a club, The Cartoonist Club of Great Britain, and attended meetings in London in a pub off Fleet Street.

dadbThis happily continued for about three years and for the last year I was a stay at home Dad looking after my son and writing gags about nappies and food splattered walls. It was an even easier job when the punchlines actually developed around you.

But like all good things it came to an end and it was time to re-enter the normal world of work. That though is a whole different story.

So I know its not high art and its not going to hang in any gallery but it was great to know it might have made someone smile on their way to work. It’s also a buzz when your niece tells you that someone was laughing at one of my jokes and she proudly told them “He’s my Uncle”.

And it also gave me a chance to draw a pirate joke!

I apologies for the quality of the images as they are scanned straight from the original newspapers they were published in. Even I have got time to look through a few thousand cartoons to find the originals.