Tuesday, 31 March 2009


The other night after a few pints with a few mates in the fine city of Liverpool, now uncultured, just as we've always loved it. I returned to the bosom of my beloved, the lovely Lynne, who proved her loveliness by getting a chinese. Not a person on the couch in front of me, that would be silly, after what happened last time!..No, this time she got a take away meal for us to enjoy as we watched the DVD of 'A QUANTUM OF SOLACE'. The new James Bond film, of course. Now i am a confessed lover of everything Bond and always look foreward to the next film and rewatch the old ones again and again. I also think that Danny Craig ,the new boy is very good and thought Casino Royale was very good too. So, when i went to the pictures a few months ago, my spirits were high and there was something approaching excitment in my middleaged (slighty) protruding belly. But watching it, i thought the best word for it is, 'frenetic'. I put it down to sitting too close to the screen. But watching the DVD, it was worse. The film makers,in my considered opinion starting with the BOURNE films got increasingly 'frenetic'. They have decided 'The MTV generation' think that Frenzied and Frenetic means exciting and action-packed. Then this lousy stupid way of filming started turning up all over the place. Spiderman 3, compared to the first two was frenetic; The Dark Knight, frenetic. Now They've decided that 'Frenetic'is what we want. Whereas as far as i'm concerned these 'frenetically edited scenes are just totally baffling and confusing. I think i'll send them the bill for a new remote control, after the hammering it got watching Bond ."What happened there? Wind it back!". This went on for most of the film. So after a dissappointing meet up with my old hero, the lovely Lynne tells me "You stink of garlic!" I wasn't shaken or stirred, i was gutted. This never happens to James Bond.

Friday, 27 March 2009


I'll tell you something those DARWIN fellahs were clever fellahs. Discovering the EVOLUTION OF THE SPECIES and making biology the new physics, and, according to some nutballs ,he 'killed god??'....But ,most important without the great intellect and genius of Charles Darwin we'd never have had the PLANET OF THE APES FILMS( Five of 'em.) And the telly series....

But what isn't generally known, but i shall now reveal to you seekers of knowledge, is that, Good ol' Charlies son, GEORGE DARWIN.Not a great lover of worms plants n' monkeys. Made a lifetime study of the tides. Which must've been a little awkward in Shrewsbury. But he carried on searching high n' low (tides) for the answers to a heap of tidal questions. He clicked onto the fact that the moon had something to do with it. And also calculated that the moon is moving away from the Earth.(celestial objects ,like people just drift apart, i s'pose. But people move apart faster than 3 1/2 cms/ year.).....This Darwinian insight was confirmed much later by a certain Mr NEIL ARMSTRONG and colleagues on the APOLLO missions to our lunar companion. It's sad to think that our friendly 'man in the moon' is in the process of packing his spotted hanky on his stick to start his journey to who knows where in the universe ,boldly going where no moon has gone before, etc,etc.Or just crashing into Jupiter or something.
It is the anniversary of Charles Darwins birth and is being deservedly celebrated in his hometown of SHREWSBURY, at the annual SHREWSBURY CARTOON FESTIVAL,Which is themed on Darwin and the Natural sciences in tribute to the great man. The festival is on in april and well worth a visit(24-26th April, i think.) And also gives me an excuse to use the cartoons i submitted here. See! There's madness behind my method.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


If you are into clothes and fashion and are of a 'trendy bent', as a lot of chaps n' chapesses are these fashion concious days. In fact it seems that the buying of the' right gear' is more important than buying boring stuff like food for the family, etc. I have never been a victim of fashion, although people might agree that i'm a fashion victim . Or ,even not fashion concious, but more fashion unconcious. I can understand the urge of some people when they see some people wearin 'the next big thing', and want to get in there before everyone and those over 25 start wearing them. But what i can't understand is why people start wearing cloths in a certain way, which catches on. Like wearing jeans with the arse hanging down around their knees. And the length about 2 ft too long so all the water and shit they drag their manky unlaced 'pumps' through is soaked up by the ridiculously flared denim. The fact that some odd sorts look at that and think "cool, i want sooooo much to look like that!"...Very strange. Well, i'm too old to understand whats 'in', 'on the street.'

The other thing of equal bafflement and beffudlement to me is how these odd bods, trendy tho' they may be can look at those ridiculous brightly psychadelically coloured woollen bobble hats with the ear flaps and long bobbled straps hanging from them. Then think "wow! They're soooooo cool, i want to have one and walk around looking like a real cool dude(gobshite)." I hate them .I get this unreasonable urge to grab the wearers bobbled toggles and strangle the stupid moronic prick with them. I'd give them a kick up the arse as well, but the droopy arse look does serve as a defensive mechanism. It looks like they've had an embarrassing accident or a distended rectum, either way it looks like a place you wouldnt like to plant your boot.


I'm not a great sport fan, i used to watch Liverpool many years ago and had a season ticket for a few years once upon a lifetime ago. I do enjoy watching old games and old boxing on the 'box' from time to time. There's a channel called ESPN on the SKY network and they show old sporting events. I've just been watching a heap of old Liverpool games from the 70's and early 80's. And a series of documentaries on various old time boxers. Things just seemed more real and exciting, as well as 'harder.' There was a documentary about 'Football..The wonderful game'..All about the 70's . It was great all these teams with shocking haircuts;Droopy mustaches; Shorts that were so tight they seperated the blood in the legs from the blood in the rest of the body. Thats probably why the players were always boozing n' shagging all those models, etc...As soon as they took those shorts off and the blood from above and below re-connected in the 'middle-nether reigons'..Well, i'd rather not think about it, it makes you wonder about the team bath. The pitches started the season green and pristine. A few showers of rain and a few games and the bowling green became a bog. This was also the days when tackling was allowed. Players, who wouldn't be allowed in the ground, these days, even if they were allowed out of the solitary padded cell in the psychiatric hospital they were sentanced to spend their life in. In those days they were encouraged, cheered and praised for attempted murder every Saturday afternoon. God bless Tommy Smith! The players used to suffer from proper medical conditions....None of your damaged meta-tarsels, ligament or tendon damage...... It was stuff like "He's done his leg in.... Busted his foot .....Done his knee....Or had his nose busted!!!" All this was cured by the cold wet sponge that had spent the game festering in stagnant water in an old club rusty bucket before being slapped, not placed, but slapped onto the 'sore bit'. 9 times out of 10, the player saw the bucket and sponge coming , muttered 'Sod that!', suddenly found the inner strength to ignore the pain and get back into the battle, it wasn't a game. As the immortal BILL SHANKLEY once said about football being a matter of life or death.."No, son , it's far more important than that".

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


I found this cartoon the other day, done a few years ago for an independant Liverpool brewery called Cains. Sadly the, once small, but highly successful brewery, i think has had to close up a while ago now. Which was/is sad, as it needn't have happened it was all down to some red tape involving the gobshites in Brussels;Westminister and Liverpool city council. Some might say that my idea of an ad campaign, focusing on the concept of the hangover wouldn't be something that would help the sales of beer. I would dispute this feverently, as in my considered opinion the hangover is what made the British great. As i have had many experiences of hangovers throughout my formative years, or what i can remember of them. I feel i can speak with some authority on the Great British Hangover. I, of course include my kith n' kin over in Ireland in this. Partly due to the boozy geography aspect, but also , because its 'The black stuff and an Irish wee one, as a chaser' which has been the main cause of my suffering , and as a result personal development through the years.
When Johnny Foreigner hits the bottle, it normally is ,a bottle. Whereas we Brits go all out on quantity rather than quality, after a few pints. There is something inherantly strange about drinking beer. The more you drink the faster it goes down and the more you can drink. You would find it totally impossible to drink 15 pints of ;water, milk, lemonade, etc....But 15 pint of black sludgey Guiness and it doesn't touch the sides. Nobody drinks like as we do. So, that is why our hangovers are like no others. Other countries get hangovers, of course they do, but our hangovers are truly British hangovers.
It is said when people, die on an operating theatre, they see a golden light, etc, etc. The hungover, virtual corpse, sees nothing but impeneterable blackness as they lie in 'their pit' like a dead jellyfish on the beach. Eventually as the 'body' becomes aware that, unfortunatly they are still alive and have to wake and face the pain and suffering that is waiting on the other side of those tightly closed eyelids. The hangover incorporates every symptom of every disease virus, bug, injury or bang on the head that you could catch, be infected by, be hit by or inflict upon yourself. It has ;headaches, blindness; Nasal and sinus problems and blockages; Furry tongues; Inflamed throats; Flemmy lungs; Incredibly upset and volatile stomach, gastric and intestinnal problems; Bowel disorders; Nervous disorders causing damage to co-ordination. Even the most simple and natural of tasks become virtually impossible. The body temperature veers madly between raging almost fever like high temperatures to shivering chills.......And we do this to ourselves, for fun and pay (increasingly) large amounts of money to do it . But there is a cure, but it takes a cast iron stomach and courage beyond belief to attempt the cure........... A GOOD GREASY FRY-UP...(As frowned upon by good doctors everywhere.)....Followed by a stumble down the road to the local boozer, if it hasn't closed down, yet for A COUPLE OF PINTS!!!!...(As frowned upon by good politicians everywhere).. It's a case of if it doesn't kill you, it'll cure you. There, y'see, If we can survive and joke about this level of suffering we are indeed a hardy breed, possibly not the most sensible of hardy breeds, but pretty hardy.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


The other day as i watched the English rugby squad; smash ,slaughter and destroy the French......Excuse me a moment ......"HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!!!........Right, where wuz i?"........ "Oh yep i remember...HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!...Oh sorry about that i shall make an effort to get to the point starting in the very next paragraph...Honest !....(snigger, chortle , cackle...)

In the middle of the pitch was this huge advert for some bank, but its painted in such a way that it's in perspective to the television cameras over in the stands alongside the pitch. Which i find a little disconcerting it makes the pitch look as if its been tipped up on one side, and the pitch is on a 60 degree slope and the ball and the players should be bouncing and rolling down to the nearside touchline. The only way to reach the far side touchline would be with climbing boots; knotted ropes and crampons. And then theres the crowd around and behind the advert. They would see it at very different angles to the pristine bank advert we television armchair supporters see.( after all it is us that matter.) It would be viewed as a variety of distorted shapes, depending where in the ground you are seated. Also, on occassions the paint comes off the company logo, onto the players .Instead of ,grass,mud and blood colours, as one would expect. There is quite often ;Pinks, blues, oranges and a whole spectrum of corporate logo colours plastered over our Butch boys.

Around the pitch where once the advertising hoardings were in front of the crowd. These days there are a number of parrallel hoardings as they are now digital. And now a whole range of clever animated adverts are displayed,then break up into digital dots to advertise something new then change again, or go back to the beginning. During the England game there was a pork pie advert and part of this consisted of a pork pie travelling the length of the pitch. This caused a fantastically surreal vision of an England winger racing down the wing being overtaken by a digital pork pie zipping along the advertising hoarding.......!

The change of ads ,the break up of the digital dots n' stuff , is according to my sister and wife, who suffer from migraine, the oncoming of an attack is not dissimilar to the effects on the screens. I noticed during a recent trip to London, that a lot of Ads , mainly on the tube are digital /video/liveaction/ whatever?.....20 adverts of the same adonis-like man with his 6,7,or 8pack stomach(bastard) having a shave .This is a very boring image and i find it very irritating, especially as the gorgeous gobshite is smiling at his reflection in the mirror....Nobody smiles when they are shaving!..Shaving is a pain in the arse, even as your shaving the chin and if you do smile, the advertised - crappy8 blade dispossable Zoom blade, or whatever it's called will cut chunks out of your face....The pain is then compounded by throwing the stuff in the advert that is fresh and full of Zing, much like the throwing of concenterated sulphuric acid over the mass of open sore that was once your face. Thats the difference between advertising and real life....Real life is pain...Advertising is just a pain.

Friday, 13 March 2009



I was watching a programme on the telly the other night all about a very odd bunch of chaps indeed. The Samurai warriors of Japan. They would train all their life with the most fantastic weapons ever made, (before atom bombs ,polaris, trident, of course ),but the samurai sword. perfectly balanced and razor sharp. Which, unfortunatly couldnt be said for the weilder of this perfect blade /sword. These noble brave warriors devoted their life to learning to fight and devoted their lives to their emperor , overlord ,or whatever they called the 'bosses in those bygone feudal days. They would march into battle cutting and slashing their opponents ,then if they won, all was well and good and celebrations abound . But, if they lost their fight they would commit a very silly thing indeed. Ritual suicide, or Hari-Kiri..... A very strange way to get over a defeat. Clutching a smaller samurai sword, specially designed for the purpose they would kneel down; Ram the dagger into the lower belly; Pull the blade across to the other side then pull up???..Then as their guts spill out over the deck, their 'second' would take a swipe at their neck with a full sword and decapitate the disembowelled warrior, or ex-warrior. This was the only honorable way to go. One Samurai commited Hari-Kiri and his assistant had to take 3 or 4 swipes at his neck to decapitate him..Just not his day, some days it's not worth a Samurai getting out of bed.
Thankfully the Samurai spirit doesn't abound around here. All sports fixtures would be a blood bath.At the football, after full time as the beaten 11 at the 'match' disembowel themselves in the shower.(bloodbath in the shower, eh?) But on the bright side, the season would be a lot shorter and they'd have to be a lot more flexible with the transfer window, ; The snooker player ruining the green baize with his innards; The defeated darts champion trying to hack his way through his hugh beer belly with his tiny Samurai dart; In golf the 18th hole would be a mess ,all that blood, the green wouldnt be green for long . In my case dissappointment and defeat is something i'm quite used to. But pain, funnily enough is something i never got the hang of. So, i've decided i'm going to be honourbound to stay dishonourable. The only Samurai spirit in the Leatherbarrow's is a bottle of after shave in a cupboard in the bathroom.......Gawd it stinks, too!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


Last week i curled up in my missus's suitcase and was smuggled onto a train for a few day in London. Our beloved capital ,where the streets are paved with gold ,or i assume so under the burger wrappers and plastic coffee cups. I do like London and as The Lovely Lynne was about her business ,saving the financial systems of the planet . I had more important things to do . I had a cartoonist meeting to go to. I met my ol buddy and caricaturist(extraordinary or extraordinaire ,i'm not too sure.)..The one ,the only, GUY CARTER, we met in a pub,( funnily enough). As i was following Guys instructions, i had a tour of all the boozers around the area of Liverpool st station. But, eventually we met up and started to drink. After a 'good few' in various hostleries on the way to the CARTOONIST PUB. The Cartoonist pub is near to what was once the cartoonist dream street , where all the newspapers were printed. FLEET ST, and the hundreds of bars where the reporters used to spend their days boozing and swopping 'scoops' at the bar with each other. According to a lot of the barstaff ,some very famous news people renowned for their daredevil news reporting ,never left the pubs of Fleet street...

Ace reporter A would meet ace reporter B at the bar and one would say to the other for a large brandy. "Did you hear some war has started, or somebodies been assassinated?"...."Yer joking !.....Here's your drink...Have you got 10p for the phone ?", and with that our ace reporter would phone in his scoop. Aaahh those were the days. Cartoonists would drag their portfolios from one newspaper ,next door to the next ,maybe stopping for a 'quick one', in a boozer in between. Aaah those were the days....

The ace exuberant SIMON ELLINAS is planning to arrange a cartoon exhibition in London sometime. So that was the main reason that there was a congealing of cartoonists at the pub, as if there ever has to be a reason for cartoonists to congeal at a pub. Some very ugly faces were there, but sentimental ol' sod i am, i was glad to see 'em all. As ever cartoonists are always grumbling n' moaning and i wonder if a collective noun for a group of cartoonists should be a WHINGE OF CARTOONISTS,...or something. But eventually, braced with a few dozen pints of Guinness; A bottle of wine with big hairy ugly SIMON CASSINNI, and the not so big ,just as hairy, but definitly not as ugly SHEBA CASSINNI...(Ohh be still my beating heart.) ; A greasy cheesburger, then getting pissed on in the pouring rain,( i thought it never rained in the cissy south). I eventually arrived in the arms of my beloved as she shoved me over to my side of the bed in a very nice hotel room over by the old east end docks. nowadays all exhibition centres ;hotels; Luxury appartments, etc, etc, now .Non of your boats ,docks ,Jack the Rippers n' stuff there now ,y'know. Very smart n' posh.... I think i preferred it the old way.

The next day i wandered around town and ended up in the Imperial war museum .I'd always meant to go there one day . I'm glad i did , some,sad, amazing, inspiring, and plain impressive and exciting stuff there. A reminder of horrific times, but celebrating the human spirit of those fighting ;Caught up in the fighting ;Left at home; All victims ,in general. But then you come out into today! Again!.... Everybody, absolutly, everybody pushing past each other. Going either from A to B or B to A, for some no doubt, vitally important reason. with bloody mobile phones clamped firmly to their ears having, no doubt, very important world shattering conversations with very important people. If they weren't attached to a mobile phone, they were plugged into MP3's, totally disconnected from the world. I have a MP3, but i couldn't use it 'out and about. I hate not being aware of whats happening around me...Is it my primevil survival instinct ,or just i'm a nosey bastard?

The tube ,ahh the 'tube'. I amble along, getting knocked and battered by people rushing for trains in case they miss one and have to wait three minutes for the next. It is a point of fascination to me, coming from a part of the world where the gap between trains can, quite often be measured in hours, not minutes. Now, thats a good reason to rush. But as the train shakes, rattles, clatters and bounces along, everybody being slung from side to side much like the crew in the T.V. classic ;VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. Getting slung from side to side as the submarine SEAVIEW took a hammering for some totally mad reason.... But even though the passengers hang on for dear life, lots wearing wooly hats so their MP3 ear phones wont fall out during the bodily shaking. But amazingly, seemingly unaffected by the shaking and bouncing about are the young girls who sit there applying make up to their face, using the lipstick with the precision of an electron microscope writing words on a human hair, but on a London tube train !!!!!


Whilst keeping in touch with whats going on ,and whats cool n' groovin' out there on the streets by tuning into Sir Terry Wogan and Laird Kenneth MacBruce on Radio 2 the other morning. It struck me as a little odd that during the news there was an item relating to how the number of successful police cannabis raids had increased. The item always started with the line,"The B.B.C. has recently become aware of an increase in successful police seizeures of cannabis". Then listening to the wild celtic ramblings of the aforementioned aged hippies, it struck me. SIR TERRY WOGAN and KEN BRUCE(untitled).. ARE GROWING THEIR OWN CANNABIS!!!.... I can see it now the once respectable studios of once respectable radio 2 are hidden in a fog of high quality unrespectable 'wacky 'baccy'.... Thats why the two once respected broadcasters are always making mistakes ,they're blind and stoned. Just listen to Terry Wogan reading one of the 'Janet and John'stories from time to time...I rest my case. The Beeb have become aware of the increase in police raids and seizeures as it it is broadcasting house that the boys in blue and black bullet-proof kevlar are storming through on their almost daily drug raids. C'mon kids get with it, tune into Sir Tel and The Brucemeister.

And in the spirit of grooviness and 'with it ness'. These drug raids on the Beeb are helping the envoironment by keeping the metropolitan polices 'carbon footprint' to a minimum . New Scotland yard is only 'up the road from the Beeb. So exhaust gas emissions are kept down , drug and sea levels are kept down. Thank you Sir Tel ,and Ken for saving the world......