You are browsing the archive for Alan Coren.

The ghost editor and the cartoonists

April 30, 2010 in Comment

Alan Coren, ex-Punch editor and PCO patron (Art: John Roberts)

Bill Stott is a cartoonist. A rather good one, actually. Even the great Alan Coren thought so. But then he loved cartoonists generally.

Like many cartoonists, Bill doesn’t change his trousers with unseemly regularity. It’s a working-at-home thing. Why bother when the ones you’re wearing have a perfectly serviceable extra few weeks in them … and probably a healthy supply of mints and pocket fluff? However, the recent change of season occasioned a re-trousering, whereupon one of the pockets yielded a piece of gold dust.

It was a short note from Mr Coren, penned a short while before he died, which Bill had rammed into the pocket for filing; a paean to cartoonists intended as an introduction to the website of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, of which he had just accepted the title of inaugural patron. Bill hadn’t the heart to publish the piece because Coren died shortly after sending it.

In it, having left Punch, Coren mulls over what he misses. The limos, the yachts, the voluptuous assistants? No, he says, “None of these. What I miss most is those Tuesday mornings with the sadly late and very great Bill Hewison, my brilliant Art Editor, when we would sit at a huge leather-topped desk overlooking the complete absence of central heating, pull off our generously lent company mittens, and sift through the hundreds and hundreds of roughs submitted by the extraordinary numbers of extraordinary cartoonists which – and, remember, I speak as a writer – made Punch the brilliant and, most important of all, hilarious magazine it was.

“I miss the six hours of those golden-era Tuesdays when Bill and I would struggle – handicapped by constant helpless laughter – to choose, from 20 times as many, the 50-odd cartoons we needed to lift the readers’ spirits and break their ribs in next week’s magazine.”

He continues:

“Cartooning is the toughest art of all. A freelance cartoonist lives and works alone, staring out of the window in the fervent daily hope that something will begin to draw itself on the sky, then murmur its caption in his ear. He needs this to happen several times a day, every day, because he has not the faintest idea whether the editors who pay his rent will laugh at the same thing he laughs at, and therefore has to send them lots and lots of things, praying that they will laugh at at least one of them, and the cartoonist can get his shoes mended.”

Coren concludes that his greatest struggle was that “we couldn’t put a thousand gags in the paper, so how to select the best when ten are equally funny?” Enough, enough already. We cartoonists couldn’t possibly be so immodest about our talents. But … thank you, Mr Coren.

Declaration of Interest: Andy Davey is chairleg of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation which runs The Bloghorn (Editor: Matt Buck) and the print magazine Foghorn (Editor: Bill Stott).

He and the organisation welcome your comments, and your contact with us at our artist portfolio websites, through our social-media services, or via direct contact with our media team led by Pete Dredge.

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BBC man Andrew Marr is new PCO patron

December 18, 2007 in General


News of an early christmas present for the PCO as Bloghorn can report that TV’s Andrew Marr has signed up as one of our patrons. We don’t hand these honours out lightly and as he’s got to follow the late great Alan Coren, perhaps we should be extending sympathy to the poor man too. But, welcome aboard Mr Marr, we and our other patron, Libby Purves, are most pleased to have you.
19th December 2007
British cartoon talent

PCO Procartoonists – October 2007

October 28, 2007 in General

October was a mixed month for the PCO, we received an official vote of thanks for our work at The Big Draw which we attended during October – and also some anonymous comment. The official feedback ran something like this;

“We’ve received nothing but praise from our partners, sponsors and the public. Our hosts reported that this was by far and away their best event of the year.” And as the hosts were the management company who run Covent Garden in central London, we were quite pleased about it. Bloghorn is still digesting the anonymous comment but promises to post something about it soon.

Much less happily, we also had to hear about the death and burial of Alan Coren, one of our founding patrons and a man who had always enjoyed and promoted the art of visual joke-making.


Caricature by John Roberts.

You can listen to a News Quiz tribute to Alan here and PCOer Ken Pyne is also quoted in the local Cricklewood news coverage of Coren’s passing – alongside an obituary cartoon.

British cartoon talent

Alan Coren cartoon caricature: 22 Oct 2007

October 22, 2007 in General


Alan Coren was one of the PCO’s patrons. Caricature by John Roberts.
British cartoon talent

Alan Coren is dead: 19 October 2007

October 19, 2007 in General

All hands in PCO were stunned to learn of Alan Coren’s passing. We’ve looked in our cliche box, found lots he would have taken the proverbial out of, but absolutely nothing which comes close to marking our regard for him. The understatement department has been ransacked, too, unsuccessfully, save one. There won’t be another big time editor, humourist, and consistently funny bloke quite like him. Hats off. We’ll miss him.

UPDATED:
The BBC tribute is posted here – and includes a link to an audio file, which features Wally Fawkes (TROG) talking about Alan’s decade as editor at Punch.

UPDATED UPDATE:
From the Times

A SORT OF REFINED UPDATED UPDATE
Aggregated news coverage from Google on Alan Coren’s death

Memories of Punch