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Bloghornery – June 2010

June 30, 2010 in Comment

Foghorn Bloghorn for The UK Professional Cartoonists’ OrganisationThings the Foghorn saw this month…

Tristram Shandy redux

June 25, 2010 in General, News

Cover for Martin Rowson's Tristram Shandy re-issue

Shy and retiring soul that he is, The Guardian’s own Martin Rowson would blanch at the thought that Bloghorn would puff his upcoming talk at the London Literature Festival on 3rd July, but we feel it’s our duty as he is a fellow PCO member.

The subject at hand is the reissue of his graphic-novelisation of Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy – a monumental, rambling, discursive life of “gentleman” Shandy, first published in 1759 and often called the first “modern” novel. This promises to be fun, as Rowson himself was designed for the Rabelaisian environs of Georgian London in which the novel is set.

Martin is a veteran apologist for all things Georgian London, but primarily his heroes, Hogarth and Gillray. You can see the Hogarth advocate at work here in this short film. London is so ingrained in his DNA, that the Caligulan court of Red Ken bestowed the official title of London Cartoonist Laureate on him, before Boris installed some Victorian parsimony back into City Hall.

Rowson tells Bloghorn that the evening promises “an impossible talk about the impossibility of producing a graphic novelisation of a novel about the impossibility of writing a novel”. So there. His talks are always lively and interesting, although Bloghorn recommends not bringing one’s maiden aunt as the language can sometimes be somewhat, er, Georgian. Tickets can be purchased here.

by Royston

Review: Ray Lowry – London Calling

June 24, 2010 in Events

Ray Lowry Rock'n' Roll The Corporate Years
“What the hell are you wrecking your room for? We own the hotel chain”

Royston Robertson reviews the exhibition Ray Lowry – London Calling which is at the Idea Generation Gallery in East London until July 4.

This show is being promoted largely with artworks created by well-known names as a tribute to the Clash’s London Calling sleeve – a masterful piece of graphic design by Ray Lowry who was the “official war artist” for the band at the time – but it is the work of Lowry himself that is the real heart of the show.

Ray Lowry London Calling poster
That work can be divided into several sections: his most familiar drawings – cartoons from Punch, Private Eye, NME and the like – often on music and pop culture; a collection of lesser-known artworks, including some abstracts, sketchbook drawings, and even some photography; and reportage drawings of The Clash on tour.

The cartoons are, of course, hilarious. They still work because the absurdities of the rock and roll lifestyle which Lowry pinpoints are still with us today (as indeed are the many of the rockers, though sadly Lowry himself is not). From a cartoonist’s point of view it’s amazing how small so many of them are. With those detailed, inky drawings, I assumed Ray was one of the big canvas guys.

But the standout of the show, for me, were the drawings of the Clash live. They are so coourful, spontaneous and vibrant that you can feel the excitement of the moment in them. They are full of movement, the rapidly moving sticks of drummer Topper Headon, in particular, are brilliantly rendered.

The Clash by Ray Lowry

Some of the London Calling tributes are worth a look: there’s a great collage portrait of Lowry by the artist Ian Wright, and there’s a collage by Paul Simonon of The Clash which features a piece of the bass guitar which is smashed in the Pennie Smith photo on that iconic cover. The others are a mixed bag, some not so successful.

In this show Lowry is really a tribute to himself: the rock and roll cartoonist. Go and see this encore.

by Royston

Modern Toss makes a display of itself

June 21, 2010 in General, News

Modern Toss magazine
An exhibition put together by the makers of the cartoon magazine Modern Toss opens at the Maverik Showroom in London tomorrow (June 22).

If you’re not familiar with Modern Toss, it is an adult magazine that divides opinion. To some it’s the cutting edge of dark humour, to others it’s a load of scribbled cartoons that rely too much on swearing. You decide. The magazine also became a Channel 4 comedy, featuring animation and live-action sketches.

This writer finds it a mixed bag, but does enjoy some of the characters, such as Mr Tourette – Master Signwriter (you can guess the usual outcome) and, in particular, the Drive-by Abuser, who zooms around on a moped hurling pointless abuse at things. He criticises traffic lights for their “limited range” and a tree for shedding its leaves (“You gonna clean up that mess, yeah? You want a dustpan and brush?”)

Drive-By Abuser iPhone app

The exhibition, which will feature the Period Table of Swearing and a massive fly sculpture (because the fly is “really under-represented” in art) is organised by Sabotage Times, a web magazine run by the former Loaded editor James Brown. There’s an entertaining interview with the creators of Modern Toss on the site.

The Maverik Showroom is at 68-72 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch. The exhibition runs until July 4.

Left: Drive-By Abuser is now available as an iPhone app!

Cartoons Calling: Ray Lowry and The Clash

June 18, 2010 in General, News

Bloghorn recommends the new exhibition of cartoonist Ray Lowry’s work at the Idea Generation Gallery at Shoreditch in London. Do watch the BBC preview of the exhibition – packed with some great cartoons and visual reportage from Lowry’s work with The Clash in the late 70s and early 1980’s.

Rock and Roll cartoonist Ray Lowry and The Clash at Image © Ray Lowry

Foghorn cartoon magazine – Issue 45

June 16, 2010 in Comment

The new issue of Foghorn, the cartoon magazine of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, has been published. Featuring a cover by the PCO’s Andrew Birch (and a back cover by Higgins), Foghorn is available to subscribers for the modest sum of £30 for six full colour issues delivered to your door.

What’s inside?

Money in the wrong handsClive Collins recalls a case of mistaken identity.
This is your caption speakingRupert Besley goes back to school to find the trouble with words.
None shall pass!Neil Dishington writes a short but sweet piece on the perils of online security.
Tickling the ivoriesTim Harries grabs his gold cape and widdly synth. Music lovers beware.
Foghorn guide to…Bill Stott explains Equestrianism to non-horsey folk the world over. Some of it may even be true.
A full page of Noel Ford cartoons!


…all the usual features – Buildings in the Fog, The Critic, The Potting Shed, Andy Davey‘s ‘Foggy’ strip and plenty more cartoony random acts of humour.

You can also read older issues of Foghorn online here, right up to our most recent issue featuring a cover by, er, the author of this post Alex Hughes.

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BBC plays Rude Britannia

June 15, 2010 in General, News

Rude Britannia Cartoon at Tate Britain. Reports at for the UK's Professional Cartoonists' Organisation

You can watch BBC Four’s take on the theme of Rude Britannia, which ties in with the exhibition of the same name at Tate Britain, just click the picture.

The documentary is one hour long. Parts two and three can be seen tonight and tomorrow night on BBC Four or on the iPlayer.

Oh say, can you see that II?

June 14, 2010 in Comment

Following our recent post on Apple and control of digital content, The New York Times reports on another example of editing of drawn content. These issues around the suitablity of content mirror old arguments about what can be published in print. They are now being fought over what is acceptable inside the digital applications published on Apple Computer’s distribution systems.

by Royston

Cartoonist's football song gets animated

June 14, 2010 in News

Cartoon by Patrick Blower
A football song created by the cartoonist Mike Barfield has been used as the soundtrack to a World Cup animation by another cartoonist, Patrick Blower.

As everyone seems to be releasing Eng-er-land football songs these days, it’s probably no surprise that there’s one by a cartoonist. But while most are all about flag-waving optimism, the song by Mike Barfield, who draws the strip Apparently in Private Eye, is a little more down to earth.

Called Don’t Set Your Sights Too High, Mike’s ukulele ditty, recorded on a home computer, made it into the final of a World Cup song contest on Radio 5 Live last week. Mike described the song as “an antidote to all the bombastic, triumphalistic swagger of pretty much every World Cup England song you’ve ever heard”.

Mike insists the song is realistic, rather than pessimistic – and bearing in mind the England team’s performance on Saturday, he may have a point – but in the end blind faith won and the song came second to one called, ahem, We Are The Rulers.

Now Mike’s song has been set to animation by Patrick Blower, a member of the PCO which runs the Bloghorn, and creator of the new Private Eye strip iBores. That’s a screen shot above, and you can see the full animation – and hear the song – here.

It’s part of Patrick’s Livedraw series which is featured on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website. The video seems to have attracted quite a few vitriolic comments (is there any other type on the internet?) though in fairness to the cartoonists concerned, that’s more to do with the Guardian’s decision to use the headline “Celebrating the British way”, rather than English. Still, it’s one way to get a debate going.

by Royston

Rowson works go under the hammer

June 10, 2010 in General, News

Martin Rowson Creations in Bad Faith
Bloghorn attended a charity auction at the Martin Rowson exhibition Creations in Bad Faith on Tuesday (June 8).

The exhibition features artwork from New Humanist magazine, which is published by the Rationalist Association.

Many items were sold for quite impressive sums, with the artwork for Rowson’s meeting of Richard Dawkins and God, above, and for his “God Trumps” series – Top Trumps-style cards on world religions – being particularly fought over. Radio presenter and New Humanist writer Laurie Taylor was auctioneer.

The show runs at the Menier Gallery in Southwark, London, until Saturday (June 12) and many items are still for sale. Admission is free. More details here.

And, don’t miss … You have until June 18 to see the show Alex in Love at the Last Tuesday Society in Hackney. Your correspondent saw this last week and it is very much recommended.

If you’re not a regular Alex reader– perhaps you have no interest in City matters – fear not because the strips, as the title suggests, are all about love, sex and relationships. And they are very funny.

The exhibition is free, but if you pay £1 you can also get access to the Last Tuesday Society‘s “museum of curiosity”, a chance to see shrunken heads, some creepy taxidermy and all manner of bizarre artworks. Not for the faint of heart.