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 .

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