Monday, 28 April 2008


Who can forget those immortal images of Steve Mcqueen racing across the Austrian roads n' grassy feilds on his motor bike ,(being chased by himself dressed up as a German officer, apparently.) ,as he tries to escape from German prison camp Stalug Luft Einz,vie ,drie, or something. You must've seen it ,its the 'Great Escape', for 'gawds sake ' ,the single most ,if not watched ,repeated film of all time. The king of cool, was trying to get away from a prison in the days when prisons were prisons ,and the inmates had nothing ,but a galvanised bucket and a cup n' spoon ,oh yeah ,and a catchers mitt and baseball to help pass the endless days in solitary confinement. Even after the war prisons were miserable places. My late 'awl fellah', god bless him .Spent a little time at one of her majesty's holiday camps .Strangeways ,in Manchester ,an experience he did not really enjoy. Whilst he was 'doing his time', there were riots over conditions and a lot of inmates seemed to prefer doing their time on the roofs ,rather than in their cells. If you'd rather sit on a wet ,victorian slate roof in Manchester in the middle of winter than inside, it must've been wonderful. But that was then ,this is now.

As everyone knows jails are enclosed indoor centres of joy n' comfort for those poor unfortunate wretches ,twisted and distorted ,neglected and forced into a life of self survival, by an uncaring system, totally geared towards those law abiding scum that infest our land .Or, as once they were known ,criminals and a life of crime. Gone has the boiled cabbage; 24 n' half hours a day in your cell and nought but a bucket to be shared amongst the others in the cell, i wont go into details....But suffice to say its all changed, now all cells and prisoners have sattelite telly ;Computer games; mobile phones ;Study courses ; cheap booze and drugs .In fact things're so good people are 'BREAKING IN' to jails. Escapes have dropped drammatically. In fact i was due to go on holiday to Florida with my lovely wife Lynne and 'The Daughter!'...But, i didn't fancy queuing up for rides in Disneyland. So, what i've done is gone to my nearest 'nick'(got to get into the lingo)..And i've confessed to parking offences; Not picking up 'Doggy poo',and other evil offences. But it didn't seem to be doing the job, so i've confessed to a few mass murders and being 'Jack the Ripper'...All to no avail, until one of the officers thought i looked like Alan Titchmarsh and asked what happened to the red haired woman,"with the big knockers n' no bra?". So, i told him i'd buried her in a garden somewhere ,so i'm currently on remand, so i might make jail, yet .

If Steve McQueen knew what it was like, i bet he'd be revving that bike back towards the jail walls, to do a jump back in. Sex,drugs,booze ,telly AND his catchers mitt n' baseball ,eeeh! its sheer luxury.

( By the way this isn't me in jail, this is me)

at home.

Friday, 25 April 2008


Last Friday i arrived in the fine town of Shrewsbury,as an invited guest of a strange ,but very nice bunch of lads n' lasses who thought it'd be a good idea to invite the scum of the earth into their idylic little town ,and call this plague like influx a cartoon festival. So, cartoonists being the sad ,deadbeat low lifes we are ,willing to go anyway ,anywhere ,anyhow (as a, certain Mr Townshend once put it. )..for a drink and a talk with the other sad ,boozed up deadbeats that comprise the cartoonist fraternity turned up in their hoardes .Actually there would've been many more ,but due to the increased use of Sat-Nav,i think half the Cartoonist Club of GB, is still wandering hoplessly lost around GB. I'd say they're the lucky ones. Some set their wonder devices for Shrewsbury and stopped just short of Finland. But, not me ,i got the good ol' Choo-Choo train .Aaah ,cold windy platforms ,cold tasteless coffee in plastic cups, delayed trains that cause you to miss your connections ,ohh ,there's nothing like a journey on a train. One thing thats driving me absolutly 'Stark raving nuts' is;The constant ROBOT,electronic announcers appologising for the delays ,etc, etc. The sci-fi 'fave' about giving robots ,computers , replicants ,as in Blade Runner ,etc emotions and feelings has started on the train platform .The Warrington Bank Quay box of electronic bits was almost in tears apologising for the 15 minute delay due to line difficulties,of the 11.25 Glasgow train .I really felt sorry for her/it. But i was heartily cheered up as i now know that the wonderful Peter Cook persona ,E.L.Wisty is alive and well and is the station announcer at Crewe station. I couldn't understand his announcements ,i was laughing so much,half expecting his train information to be interupted with ,"Did you know you have 14 miles of tubing inside your stomach.."

But ,your hero(thats me) finally arrived in town. The hotel was only 5 minutes walk ,so i walked for 10, asked, was told it's only 5 minutes that way , so i walked for 10, then asked ,"yeah ,i know it's 5 minutes down there."Eventually,10 minutes later i came across a bunch of cartoonists in the main town square. Some were painting and drawing on big boards and some were drawing caricatures of the Shrewsburians. A whole heap of scribbling going on by a pile of talented lads n' lasses who had one thing in common . They were all absolutly freezing their bollocks(n'stuff) off! There was a wind blowing across Siberia and Russia,steadfastly avoiding the warm bits, scooting around Sweden n' Norway and picking up a little heat from that holiday paradise ,the North Sea ,before meeting up with high rain packed winds and clouds from the Atlantic, this climatic cold war happened on the main square of Shrewsbury. But were we deterred? No ,not us, we're too stupid,sorry i meant dedicated. We were all suffering together and we were there for each other .I thought Helen Martin and Sheba Cassinni,the glamour girls of british on the spot caricaturing could've shared their body heat with us tho'. We shivered away trying to draw smooth ink lines,but the shivering gave the 'likenesses(?)',shall we say a sharper edge ,more like a Scarfe or Steadman look to them,i like to think.(just let me dream on will ya,i mean its my blog ,so i can think and write what i want ,so there! ,Ya boo n' sucks to you.)

But we worked away over the next couple of days and the good Shrewsburyians and visitors ,of which there were many ,all seemed very happy and good crowds seemed to be attracted by the different events in the square ,even with the cold weather. I could feel my throat giving up on me and this constant dew drop hanging from my nose was growing constantly ,I put it to good use tho ;and smudged the drawing with a little of it to give some grey tone shading ,it worked nicely ,grey (albeit with a slight green tint). I was coming down with a cold.

All was going well ,very nicely indeed, when ,'Those Words',were uttered by Paul Baker and Simon Cassinni ,fellow caricaturists. It was then that the devil (or the Divil,as the family ,back in Ireland'd say.).He took control of my ,up to that point,anyhow ,pure and angelic(if cold) body n' tongue." F***'in' right!..I want a few."I blurted, in reply. So, we scarpered from the town square ,we'd no guilt in our hearts at leaving other cartoonists in the square working,we'd done a good few hours ,so there . Anyhow they turned up within the next half hour .They didn't want to be the first to be seen to 'hit the boozer'. That has never been a problem for us.

The cartoonists may differ ,the locations ,the temperature ,but one thing that doesn't ,is the copious amounts of drink consumed at the various cartoon festivals. The chat ,the 'crack', gets louder as does the laughter and the drinking based disgusting sounds .The guzzling ,slurping, glugging,glucking. Followed by by thunderous belches n' various gaseous emmissions .All horrible to those around ,all who are doing exactly the same. Until you uncontrollably blurt out that noise that everyone wants to hear ,but is horrible to your own ears ..the "I'll get these!"..the wallets being finally opened and wont be closed till your home,in the doghouse,(although, no chance of your beer laden breath going within a mile of any busoms of the family). But the boozers n' the hotel we stayed in are all very nice traditional pubs and i liked them so much ,we visited quite a few and tested them out ,for future cartoon based events ,you understand.

We were treated to food as well .Some people seem to feel a need to interrupt the drinking with the eating of food. There are some strange people about. In the morning was a lovely cooked breakfast ,bacon ,sausage ,toast ,etc, and gallons of tea. The evening meals were a little more exotic .For a 'Chip buttie' lad like meself ,the food was better on the menu ,than the plate ,but everyone seemed happy ,lots of wine and guitars and singing cartoonists ,aplenty .Not always a pleasant experience ,but always interesting. Then through the rainy cobbled streets to the hotel to guzzle n' gab the night away until some ungodly hour. Again ,shall we say thanks to the amounts consumed by certain folk ,there was some interesting behaviour, sights ,sounds and ,yes smells from certain people,which will haunt me for years to come.

On the sunday morning ,a lovely freezing cold day ,i had a lovely freezing cold shower,i couldn't un clench my mouth for about an hour n'a half . I went downstairs to leave my bag at reception,opened my mouth to speak and absolutly nothing happened .My throat had packed up totally. I eventually got some vocal ability back ,sounding like a bad Dalek impersonator ,i managed some breakfast. The voice was lubricated with about 8 pots of tea. Then we went to the gallery and i was chatting away ,chewing on some snacks ,when the lovely Helen opened her big gob and i found myself slaving away drawing caricatures of those fine Shrewsburyans of Shrewsbury ,again .I was the last to finish scribbling ,gosh ,i'm just a hero.

The only thing that stuck in my swollen throat was that i'd drawn 4 drawings as asked and only one was put up . Which was fair enough ,as i suppose it was space and frames permitting, or whatever and i wasn't the only one ,so there y'go. But what did wind me up was the idea they put up ,was the one i nearly didn't do .but threw in to fill the bloody envelope.Aaah ,thats life i s'pose. But there was some bloody good stuff up there. It's when you see all this good stuff displayed up there ,you get an idea how many bastards are out there and why i hate them.

Well done to one n' all at Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival, it was good to see you again and hopefully i'll see you again next time. And it was good to see all my cartooning mates n' buddies n'friends, See ya soon, Ya bunch o' arse'oles.

Now ,the recovery ,hacking coughs ,ripping the lining of my throat off, snorting n' sneezing gallons of snot with a single snort. body temperature ,up n' down n' all over the bloody place. I can hardly speak ,which seems to please a lot of people for some reason, just a pathetic little squeak,(thats not a description of me ,its how i sound ,smartarse!) ,instead of the deep manly bass most people associate with me. Right i'm off to dissolve in a pool of sweat n' snot .

Tuesday, 15 April 2008


Years ago in Hong Kong ,apparently when aircraft were flying into 'the old airport' ,these huge Jumbo jets would swoop in over the harbour and fly towards a mountain. The route they took ,took them between the cities appartment blocks ,people were leaning from their balconies looking down on a bloody 'jumbo'jet flying past their building,below them! with their wingtips mere inches away from the living room windows .And not much further below was streets filled with traders ,market stalls and shoppers. Apparently at the end of this man made chasm was a hi-tech boulder painted with a white cross. When the pilot saw the cross ,it was full-on 'hard -a-port' for the approach to the runway .So ,this massive plane with its straining sweating pilot ,with such a tight turn the wings trailing laundry hooked from outside the appartments to dry,were almost vertical. Totally insane, but it must've been amazing.
I'll bet you thought that spirit of adventure and danger was gone ,but you'd be wrong. Every airport on the planet is built somewhere 'safe'. No danger to anyone around .But .not us ! We're British! And we don't do things the easy way. Theres been a lot of fuss lately about how our beloved goverment, in conjunction with the British Airport Authority, n' British Air this n' that have hidden plans for various runways and alterations to good ol' Heathrow. The plans for Runway 3 are a wonderful example of the fine work the maniacs who make our decisions for us are doing.
The flights would swoop in over the 'safety zone',the approach to the actual runway .In this case the 'Safety zone?' just happens to be that mass of ,junctions ,overpasses, underpasses and the labyrinths of roads that is the junction of two of the busiest motorways in the land. So, when your sitting in one of the 'jams' ,that the M25 has ,on occassions . Try not to get too alarmed when you glance out of your window to see a 747 howling towards you. Don't dive down ,or you'll get a gear stick in your gob. But you'll get a good view of the undercarriage tyre tread scraping across your sun roof. And then ,if you were too paralysed by fear to take the experiance all in ,the first time ,just hang on for a mere 60 seconds (the 'jams' do tend to last a bit longer than that.) for the next one to come howling(hopefully)over you.
Then we have the other end of the runway, were the planes fly over a little town and have to pull hard on their joysticks to get the plane up n' over a church steeple which was foolishly built long ago ,directly on the take off path of runway 3. This must be wonderful for the locals having to duck every 60 seconds as a 747 comes screaming up the main street .Theres a danger of pets ,small children and little ol' ladies being sucked up into the jet turbines. Also it could prove nasty for WH Smith customers, as the store is at the bottom of the street .The customers will have to time their entering and leaving between flights.
Who sez flyings dangerous, it's staying on the ground thats dangerous.

Monday, 14 April 2008


When your in a state of empty mindedness ,when you have no thoughts and you are at one with the drawing board you've been leaning on for over 3 hours .In many parts of the world ,it would be said that you'd attained a ZEN -LIKE STATE ,or a STATE OF ZEN,and this state of EMPTY MINDEDNESS,or as can also be classiffied as a MEDITATIVE state, is the ultimate state to be in. Priests n' monks sit cross legged gazing at walls for years on end . Twisting themselves into very painful looking ,body twisting positions to attain similar states. This total relaxation of the body n' mind is supposed to endow almost mystical health benefits and powers to the practitioners of these mystic arts .
I have attained an almost MYSTICAL ZEN -LIKE STATE, without having to sit cross-legged, shaven headed ,wrapped in a blanket on top of a snowy Himalayan peak for 70 years. I have the EMPTY MIND and relaxed body as soon as i looked at a blank piece of paper on which i was going to draw something on .Now for YOGI'S N' MONKS,etc, etc this calm relaxed state of mind is a wonderful thing. But ,if your a cartoonist trying to write your blog ,you need a mind that is a buzzing, whirring maelstrom ,exploding with ideas and thoughts...A state which would have your average BUDDHIST MONK thouroughly 'pissed off'. But ,hey let them go off and think about not thinking. And leave us (slighty more than..) average CARTOONISTS to think 'all the usual useless rubbish', needed to fill a blank piece of paper.
Anyhow, hopefully i will attain a Zen-like state of TOTAL RELAXATION OF BODY AND EMPTINESS OF MIND,sometime next week at the CARTOON FESTIVAL IN SHREWSBURY, after about 37 pints of GUINNESS....Theres not much MYSTICAL about it ,even not particually ZEN , but it's definitly A' STATE !'

Thursday, 10 April 2008


The other day amidst a heap of junk in the shit'ole of a studio i occassion to visit from time to time on the rare times i put inky brush to heavily pencilled paper, i came across a few photos. These particular photo's were of 'your hero(me !), on a caricature job, gig ,as us rock n' roller caricaturists like to refer to them. I looked 'dead smart ,in a dinner suit n' dickie bow .There was a photographer there (obviously.) .But he was taking pictures of people as JAMES BOND. There was the gun barrel film opening titles graphics ,as a background ,a variety of pistols and shoulder holsters, so everybody could have a good pose, imagining they were our 'fave' SECRET(?) AGENT. It was all very silly and childish, and were there many 'takers?...You can bet your bottom GOLDFINGER, There was takers galore ,in fact there was takers HONEY GALORE(ok ,sorry!)...And yours truly was up there at the front ,cocking my eyebrow ,fit to bust, uttering the imortal "THE NAMES BOND, JAMES,BOND!"...Even tried "THE NAMES LEATHERBARROW ,TIM,LEATHERBARROW!"....But even with the music playing behind me ,it didn't quite ring true.Ah whats in a name ,just a lot of letters ,a few too many in mine to be a good spy name.

But when it comes to 'good spy names,what is there? NAPOLEON SOLO, ILLYA KURYAKIN, MAXWELL SMART , CALLAN, HARRY PALMER, ANTHONY BLUNT( The names Blunt ,Anthony Blunt ,dear boy,hmmm?). JAMES BOND ,is the bench mark against which all spies are named and must compete. The new kid on the block JASON BOURNE ,isn't too far from JAMES BOND, is it when you look at it? The funny thing is that IAN FLEMING, when he sat down to write CASINO ROYALE ,was looking for his hero's name and found it on a bookcase over his desk. Apparently it was the author of a book about birds .The worlds greatest ,coolest ,smoothest ,bravest,most dangerous ,sexiest secret agent ,killing machine ,trained assassin is ,A BLOODY ORNITHOLOGIST ,A BIRDWATCHER ,A TWEETER!!!!.....If IAN FLEMING had been around a bit later ,the worlds greatest ,coolest,smoothest,bravest, most dangerous,sexiest secret agent and trained killing machine and assassin could've been none other than ..BILL ODDIE.....

Could you imagine SEAN CONNERY ,or DANIEL CRAIG uttering those immortal words..."THE NAMES ODDIE, BILL,ODDIE !"

Wednesday, 9 April 2008


Pete Doherty 's a fairly tall lean slightly stooped scruffy 'smackhead' who ,apparently ,when he's able to walk ,and or stand on a stage ,sings a bit for a band ,called 'THE BABYSHAMBLES'. I don't know about the rest of them ,but it seems to be a good description of our hero(?). When he's not making a fool of himself on stage , he can be found any time of the day sitting bombed out of his brains in his car ,along with his emergency supply kit of every narcotic known to the police who 'nick 'him ,on average about 6 times a week. Or , he used to be getting his leg over Kate Moss and sharing exotic powders and not so exotic soft drink straws ,with the face of London ,whatever that means.
ROGER DALTREY and PETE TOWNSHEND referred to him as a 'FUCKWIT',"Who'll be found dead on the floor of a toilet somewhere, one day soon." And i don't think anybody 'd be too suprised ,if that gruesome scenario came to pass. What amazes me ,is that 'Our Hero'(?). was voted THE COOLEST PERSON,In some N.M.E. poll. So ,to be cool n' trendy ,we've got to be a useless ' smackhead' who can't stay out of court or jail. Mind you he'll probably enjoy his few days in 'The Pokey', as there's probably more drugs going around inside the walls then outside. Heck ,'Our Hero(?)' wont want to come out.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008


I woke this morning and it was like any other day. But, was it? I thought so until i arrived at the big ASDA store near where i live. I was mooching around the store when i heard this irritatingly cheerful woman's voice announcing anouncementts to 'the Shoppers. ' Each announcement preceeded with either "Good morning shoppers" ,or, " Hello Shoppers."But it sounded not only annoying ,but familiary annoying. Then it 'hit me'where i'd heard it from .That voice was the voice of the woman who used to make the announcements to everybody in 'THE VILLAGE',in PATRICK MACGOOHAN'S classic series 'THE PRISONER.' She always made these 'happy ,chappy' cheerful announcements over tannoys scattered about 'the village.' Well, she's either escaped ,retired or defected to ASDA superstore in Warrington. But ,is it as simple ,as that? Could it be i've been kidnapped and placed in the Asda store, like NUMBER 6 thrown into 'The Village.' Is there a NUMBER 2 ,who is there to get information from me?("they wont get it") Like why i changed from PG TIPS tea to YORKSHIRE TEA. Or why from SLICED BREAD to CRUSTY BREAD. Well, they wont break me.So, with supreme cunning and derring do' i escaped across the car park ,managing to avoid the big white MOON HOPPER,they called ROVER in the series, bouncing up n' down merrily on my face.

Monday, 7 April 2008


The missus ,the lovely Lynne , shakes her head sadly as she comes in from another hard days slogging n' slaving away ,only to find her husband sitting with a 5 gallon mug of tea with 2 tea bags still floating in there ,just to give it taste, watching old sci fi telly shows on DVD's. The other day i was watching an old episode of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA.It was on a DVD from good ol' E-Bay. Afterwards as i was pottering about the house,doing good househusbandy stuff like washing the dishes from 3or 4 days ago,like a good hubby does. I found myself, not playing music and howling along to it ,as normal ,but ,i was singing the sound of that sonar from THE SEAVIEW,the submarine in the show .And i know a lot of you ol' farts out there will deny remembering that distinctive BA-DUM...DUM-DUM-DUM........BA-DUM.........DUM-DUM-DUM.........BA-DUM...........DUM-DUM-DUM..... But i know you do. As it ran through the whole of every episode. I admit that it is fairly sad and i am fairly sad,but it gets sadder. I bought some computer CD's containing comics .A heap of Marvel and D.C characters .It's fantastic hundreds of issues on one CD.In fact i doubt i'll ever be able to read them all. One collection is SUPERMAN,ACTION COMICS. In some of them they had the SUPERWOMAN character zipping about being generally super with her cousin SUPERMAN. But, she wore this short frilly skirt ,and she looked dead sexy!And i fancied her ,somethin' rotten. I'm trying,unsuccessfully, to get the lovely Lynne to dress up as SUPERWOMAN. So she can give me a break from leaping off the wardrobe ,dressed as BATMAN. She can try it as SUPERWOMAN, if only so my BATMAN KIT can have a much needed clean in the BAT WASHER n' BAT SPIN DRYER.

Thursday, 3 April 2008


Apparently ,according to a wonderful ol' film cliche ,we drink to forget. who knows maybe it is true . Maybe that is the main reason we drink and abuse our systems ..To forget. I don't know,i can't remember!

I've been drinking and abusing my system for many a year now,so whatever it is i've been trying to forget ,i must've forgotten it by now,'cos i've forgotten damn near every other bloody thing, without the aid of alcohol ,just old age ,stupidity and Tetley tea bags. Whatever it is i was trying to forget ,i don't know if i've forgotten it ,so i don't know when i can stop drinking safely .I need to remember what it is i'm drinking to forget, so i'll know when i've had enough so i can stop drinking again once. But once i'm reminded it'd be straight down the boozer to start the forgetting proccess all over again untill i've forgotten it all again. And then a few more pints ,just to make sure that all my newly (again) forgotten memories are really forgotten.

A good way of forgetting what you don't want to remember is to remind yourself what it is you want to forget by writing it down on a piece of paper, so your reminded when you've forgotten what it is you don't want to remember.But then you'd need a few more to wipe out what you've just remembered,so when your finally blind drunk ,unable to read your reminder, your prostate form being picked off the floor by the bouncer and slung out into the gutter, getting the odd kick in the ribs from all the other 'pissed up' tortured souls who've been trying 'to forget' and are staggering around the city streets,in between the boozer and the chippy. It's all very well this drinking to forget ,but you've got to keep your strength up ,so don't forget a nice bag of chips ,or a good curry.Believe me it'll take more than a good drink to help you forget that . (If my memory serves..)