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The Genius of Giles

January 7, 2020 in Comment

Rupert Besley writes:

Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies are back in the news.

It’s become something of a festive tradition to bemoan the lack of good viewing in the Christmas schedules. ‘Absolutely nothing on telly,’ goes the cry. ‘Last year was bad enough and this year is worse.’ And so it has seemed this last month.

The BBC’s star contribution to the season has been The Trial of Christine Keeler. It has been well received. I’m sure it is well written, well acted and well done, but I only half-watched the first episode before deciding to give it a miss. The main facts are well enough known, with characters too self-indulgent and story too sordid to grab my interest. As Peter Cook put it, ‘I go to the theatre to be entertained. I don’t want to see plays about rape, sodomy and drug addiction. I can get all that at home.’

The Macmillan era was far from Britain’s finest hour. The Tory government was led by a patrician figure hamming it up as quirky and characterful but trustworthy elder statesman straight off the grouse moors, ready to gull the public into believing they had never had it so good (remind you of someone?). On one thing Macmillan was right: the unpredictability of politics, with its potential for everything to be brought crashing down by things unexpected. ‘Events, dear boy.’

The Profumo story unfolded in the summer of 1963. That was the year that ‘sexual intercourse began’ (Philip Larkin). Sex came out from under the covers and dared to speak its name on the front pages of reputable newspapers.

Cartoonists had a field day, few more so than Giles. I was about to turn 13 and had little interest in or understanding of politics at the time. But I well remember the cartoon above appearing in my mother’s Sunday Express and the amusement it gave at breakfast. Then, as now, I marvelled at the genius of Giles and secretly hoped (in vain) that one day I might work out how to do something similar. I can’t, of course, and never will. The talents of Giles are not given to all, but it has been fun to see what magic he brought to the pages of a newspaper.

The cartoon above begins with a strong idea, even if that comes from the common cartoon device of bringing a larger issue down to a personal level that we can relate to. In lesser hands, that idea could still have fallen pretty flat. What makes this cartoon so wonderful is all that Giles brings to the artwork. The composition is masterful. Without need of great detail, he conjures up the comfortable, sunny world of the well-heeled Establishment, about to get one hell of a rocking. Instead of putting the central figures at the centre of the artwork, he has them already racing off to the left; this, together with the papers still in mid-air above the garden lounger, deftly conveys the urgency of impending crisis. Centre-stage is the small dog, yapping at heels and loving every moment. What member of the press or public could not identify with that dog? What puts the cherry on the cake is the expression captured on the face of each of those racing over the grass, especially the wife with long-held suspicions now rampant. Two days later, Giles followed the cartoon up with this (below) in the Daily Express. Genius.

PCO Cartoon Review of the Year 2019

January 1, 2020 in General, News

Cartoon © Brian Adcock, The Independent

Glenn Marshall reporting from behind the paracetamol bottle:

Once more it is time to look back with the traditional (well, third year running) PCO ‘Cartoon Review of the Year’. It was always going to be a very hard task to not just fill it with cartoons about Trump and BORXIT® so in the end I just gave up and ran with it!

So to set the tone here’s a great drawing from © Chris Burke.

Martin Rowson sums up the plight of cartoonists facing a metaphor shortage in 2019.

I’m having to restock my Brex-mageddon bunker as most of my haul is now well past its sell-by date. I should’ve taken © Andrew Fraser’s Valentine’s Day advice in Private Eye and just bought tinned goods rather than Greggs vegan sausage rolls and doughnuts.

This © Colin Dukelow cartoon from Private Eye sums up what many felt about the ‘B’ word by the end of the year…probably by the beginning of the year too.

In March Brexit was taken off the menu for a few more months. Cartoon served up by © Mike Stokoe in The Spectator.

Moving on to April the heavily redacted Mueller report was released. Loved this cartoon by •••• in the •••••••• •••••

Illustration by © Steve Bright

In Sports News: May saw Liverpool ‘pipped’ (GERIT?) at the post for the Premiership title by the WONDROUS Manchester City. Eat that Klopp (the PCO strenuously denies any bias in their reporters) After coming so close I really can’t see Liverpool ever winning the Premiership! (Nosramarshall)

In June ‘stable genius’ Donald Trump visited the UK. © Royston Robertson shared this cartoon to mark the occasion. Really Royston could post this daily, or even hourly, and it would still be applicable.

In more Trump news: In July Trump told four Democrat congresswomen ‘go back to the places they came from’. This was Steve Jones’ lunar take on it tying in with the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. (Private Eye)

I loved this Boris arse-faced Mona in The Guardian by Steve Bell. No idea what the story was, but I’m a Mona Lisa obsessive. I’m writing this review, so I’m putting it in.

A lovely drawing of the Time magazine ‘Person Of The Year’ (cue FUMING Donald) Greta Thunberg by © Andy Davey from The Evening Standard

© Wilbur Dawbarn’s Greta-inspired back to school clothing range, product placed in Private Eye.

Retail News: In October it was announced that, following a spate of high street closures, Debenhams was facing financial difficulty. © Sarah Boyce may have put her finger on why with this Private Eye cartoon.

Back to climate change: © Kathryn Lamb had this seasonally adjusted cartoon published in The Spectator….

… and this inflammable Private Eye cartoon by Clive Goddard. Sadly this could be a current scene from the Australian Met Office.

A cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy from Prospect which could virtually apply to any of 2019’s news stories.

Cartoon by © Nick Newman, The Sunday Times.

In November Prince Andrew pizza expressed his views on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal to Emily Maitlis. I suspect he’s someone else who may shy away from being interviewed by Andrew Neil in the future.

On that subject here was a rather prescient cartoon by © Kipper Williams actually from a June issue of The Spectator!

Also in November Boris visited flood-hit Yorkshire mostly to gargle his campaign message. Illustration by © Rebecca Hendin for The Guardian.

And still on matters aquatic (and to mention someone other than Bojo) here is Dave Brown’s cartoon for The Independent of Jezco and Joswin getting their campaign messages across…or not.

©Zoom Rockman in Private Eye visits the polling station.

As we head into the New Year here’s another excellent cartoon by •••• from the FT showing you can get new life out of a cartoon metaphor Mr Rowson.

© Brian Adcock, bookends the year with this offering from The Independent.

So what fresh horrors will 2020 have in store? I expect A LOT more about him, him, and more him!

Thanks to Procartoonist members for the use of their cartoons.

Happy New Year from the PCO.

Political Cartoon Awards 2019 – The Results

December 17, 2019 in Events, General, News

The winners! Peter Schrank standing in for Peter Brookes, Photo © Kasia Kowalska


Clive Goddard writes:

Another year of backslapping and mingling with strangers has been and gone at the glitzy Poltical Cartoon Awards. This time the whole event was forced to decamp from its usual palatial venue due to ‘the impending election’ causing everyone to cram into the offices of the sponsor over the road. The body heat generated by the assembled humans made the free, cold beer even more essential.

Veteran MPs, Kate Hoey and Ken Clarke had been dragged away from their respective sofas and selflessly agreed to miss Emmerdale in order to hand out the gongs, almost all of which went to the younger end of the cartooning spectrum. The winners, featuring a good showing from PCO members, were as follows:

Political Cartoon of the Year, 
Rebecca Hendin, The Guardian.

Runner up Politcal Cartoon of the Year, Ben Jennings, 
The Guardian.

Political Cartoonist of the Year
, Dave Brown, The Independent.

Runner-up
 Political Cartoonist of the Year, Peter Brookes, The Times.

Pocket Cartoon of the YearZoom Rockman, Private Eye.

Pocket Cartoonist of the Year
, Jeremy Banx, Financial Times.

Jeremy Banx says a few words, Photo © Ellwood Atfield

Cartoon Glenn Marshall meets Ken Clarke, Photo © Lord Lucan

Zoom Rockman meets Ken Clarke, Photo © Ellwood Atfield

Rebecca Hendin meets Ken Clarke, Photo © Ellwood Atfield

Brian Adcock meets Ken Clarke Photo © Donna Payne


Ye Olde Whynge

October 16, 2019 in Events

Ben Jennings, Dave Simmonds, Dave Brown & George Leigh. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Kasia Kowalska writes:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, if was the age of foolishness, if was the epoch of belief, if was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, if was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted of its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities”

It is widely acknowledged that the collective noun for cartoonists is a whinge.

At the beginning of the year, I had asked a whinge of cartoonists to make good on their bellyaching about not seeing one another often enough. They complained that they were sick of solitary sobbing over their paint pots and drawing boards and were vexed with venting into the void about the state of the world. And so, Ye Olde Whynge was born. Seemingly, out of frustration.

Jeremy Banx & Tim Sanders in compulsory berets. photo © Kasia Kowalska

The Whynge is an informal and unaffiliated cartoonist gathering in a small, friendly pub in central London. Topics of conversation have historically included: the B-words, the T-word, the state of the nation and the state of the world, not to mention the occasional heated debate about gouache and appropriate sharpness of pencils.

 Marten Minkema interviews Ros Asquith. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

The September Whynge played host to a special guest from the Netherlands, Marten Minkema, who was gathering material for a radio programme commissioned by the Dutch National Radio, NPO 1.

The subject of the report was Brexit from the view point of British cartoonists, as a means to elucidate the current situation in the UK and explain it to those living across the Channel, with a prevailing motto of ‘show me your cartoons and I’ll show you your country.’

Marten Minkema attempts to interview Steve Way while Rob Murray savages the microphone. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Marten wanted to find out whether the dynamics of Brexit provide inspiration, or whether it is difficult for cartoonists to surpass reality. The voices of Steve Way, Ros Asquith, Martin Rowson, Bob Moran, Martin Newman, Mac (Stanley McMurtry) and Dave Brown provide some of the answers.

Many raised eyebrows when Marten said he’d brought over a substance for us all to try…turns out it was a fine Dutch cheese.

‘Brexit: De Spotprent Voorbij’ (‘Brexit: Beyond the Cartoon’) is available on NPO1 (the Whynge section begins at 06:57)

Cartoonists are welcome to come along to the next Whynge and have a good whinge.

 

Additional cheese photography by Glenn Marshall.

PCO’s Gagged at St-Just-Le-Martel 2019

October 8, 2019 in Events, General, News

The Surreal McCoy writes:

Our exhibition had two outings this year: one at the high-profile Defend Media Conference in London during the summer and then again at the St-Just-Le-Martel Salon d’Humor in France over September/October.

58 cartoons by 25 members were displayed at the Centre Permanent’s exhibition space that saw many visitors over the two weeks of the festival. Very positive feedback was received from the educators who guided around 50 groups of schoolchildren around our exhibition. Yes, the art of cartooning is taken very seriously in France!

‘Steve Bell: 40 Years of Political Cartoons’ exhibition

There was a major exhibition featuring the PCO’s very own Steve Bell, plus cartoons from the Scottish Art Studio. Also on show was an exhibition that included some PCO members on the theme of Brexit.

Brexit exhibition curated by Terry Anderson, poster image by Steve Bright. All photos from Glenn Marshall

 

 

Noel Ford 1942-2019

September 30, 2019 in Comment, General, News

Noel with daughter Sara at Nottingham’s Big Grin Cartoon Festival 2003. Photo © Pete Dredge

Pete Dredge writes:

It’s a cruel irony that it is only when someone passes  that the outpourings of love, praise and acknowledgement spill out from friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Such has been the response to the sudden and unexpected death of ace cartoonist and one of the founders of PCO, Noel Ford , who died on September 27th after a cruel return of the kidney cancer that was first diagnosed two years previously.

I suspect Noel would have been, on the one hand, hugely embarrassed, but on the other, quietly delighted by the tributes that have been pouring in on the forums and social media, not only for his cartooning skills but also to the nature of the man.

One of Noel’s many Punch covers.

Noel was a modest chap, never one to blow his own trumpet but was someone who would go about his business with the supreme confidence of knowing that he was, and had been for many years, on the top of his game. His game, of course, was cartooning, particularly gag cartooning and, at his peak, was producing double page spreads and covers for Punch magazine with audacious regularity.

Punch original from the recent ‘London Cartoon Show’ exhibition.

It’s pointless listing Noel’s professional credits, there are far too many to mention, but one of his many gifts was his ability to rally, organise and deliver cartooning projects. A professional cat herder, if ever there was one. I’ve seen Noel’s patient diplomacy, wisdom and common sense work effectively at close hand on many occasions when others’ egos, intransigence and misconceptions – no names! – would lock horns and all it would take was a few choice words from Noel to smooth over troubled waters. Such was the respect that his fellow professionals had for him. Take Noel out of the equation and many of these initiatives would never have seen the light of day.

A digital drawing for the PCO ‘GAGGED’ censorship exhibition currently on display at Saint-Just-le-Martel cartoon festival.

The Cartoonists’ Guild, College of Cartoon Art and, most successfully, the PCO had all benefitted hugely from Noel’s vision, perseverance and professionalism. Add to this his invaluable committee work on the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival and The cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain, Noel certainly put in much more than he took out from these extra-curricular calls of duty.

Clipping from ’80s magazine, either Weekend or Tit Bits (via Davey Jones)

Noel was born in Nuneaton on 22 December 1942 and  apparently displayed early signs of his future calling, drawing cartoons in chalk on the pavement outside the front door of the Ford family house. After leaving school it was at the Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts where Noel received the oft repeated advice we have all probably received, to “forget about any ambitions of becoming a cartoonist. You’ll never make a living that way”. The rest is Noel Ford cartooning history. Sadly, today, that  lazy, dismissive piece of advice is probably more pertinent that it would have been in the 1960’s and 70’s. More’s the pity that today the markets for showcasing Noel’s and other’s superb gag cartoon craft have all but disappeared.

Caricature of Noel by Bob Monkhouse and a picture of Bob drawing it (via Royston Robertson)

Noel was irritatingly multi-talented. Not only was he a superb draughtsman, he was also a gifted musician, writer and an early pioneer of the digital art platform as well as being a fine exponent of the Argentine Tango (check this.Ed).

Cartoon from the exhibition at the ‘Music’ themed Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival 2014.

It has to be said, Noel enjoyed the good things in life. Good food, fine wine, a good book, comradeship, country living, dogs and, above all, the love of his family and friends.

Noel demonstrating his equestrian skills at Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2017. Photo © Karol Steele

I’ll miss his mischievous twinkle and Muttley-like chuckle when something, invariably, would tickle his proverbial fancy.

Noel at one of the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival ukulele-thons. Photo ©The Surreal McCoy

With deepest sympathy to Margaret, Sara and family from all your friends at PCO.

The London Cartoon Show review

September 7, 2019 in Events, General

The private view at Charing Cross Library. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Clive Goddard writes:

Imagine the excitement which rippled through the UK-wide, nay, global membership of the PCO when we announced we would be holding another exhibition down London way. And not only was it in London but was alsoabout London! Palpable joy ensued.

I’m very pleased to say that this latest exhibition, the third in Charing Cross Library, was wonderful. Just under fifty cartoonists submitted work themed around London past, present, and imaginary, and we managed to hang 130 pieces, quite a few of which were sold to grateful visitors (10% of the proceeds from sales are going to the Mayor’s Fund for London). Other prints, books, merchandise and indulgences were flogged by our volunteer invigilators.

On the eve of the show media mover and shaker, Glenn Marshall managed to get us some very nice coverage on ITV London News which, despite starting with a link to knife crime and getting our name wrong, was an excellent ad for the event and brought in most of the punters. You can see a video of the report, starring Carol, Sarah and Jeremy here.

Chichi Parish, Dave Brown & Tim Sanders. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Steve Way, Martin Rowson & Clive Goddard. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Mike Stokoe & Zoom Rockman. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Thanks to all those listed above and to the others who sent their cartoons, gave their time and energy collating, framing, hanging, invigilating, advertising and de-hanging. Special thanks to Kipper Williams for his talk and to Rob Duncan for his cartooning workshop, both of which were well attended and enjoyed by Joe & Joanna Public. Further thanks to Kasia for capturing the action (above) on camera.

Kipper Williams’ talk. Photo © Mika Schick

Robert Duncan’s workshop. Photo © Jeremy Banx

Air Show

July 31, 2019 in General

Back on planet earth, away from the lunar orbiting Herne Bay Cartoon Festival, Helen Wilde & Terry Sole are putting on an environment-flavoured exhibition on the theme of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ at  One New Street Gallery. As in previous years the exhibition is a mixture of art, cartoons, illustrations and the odd marshall.

There’s lots of art in the show and here are two pieces by the proprietors:

Dead Pen City by © Helen Wilde

Cartoonists in Herne Bay 2016 by © Terry Sole

There is also a good smattering of PCO members work including:

© Wilbur Dawbarn

© Zoom Rockman’s HUGE canvas of Hornsey Gas Holder.

,

© KJ Lamb

© Royston Roberston 

© Rupert Besley

© The Surreal McCoy

© Steve Jones (Jonesy)

© Des Buckley

…and of course no One New Street Gallery exhibition would be complete without a ©Banx cartoon that includes a penis.

Does your exhibition have its own jam?

‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ runs from 2nd August to 31st August. Open Fridays and Saturdays 11am to 5pm.

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2019 launch countdown

July 29, 2019 in Events, General, News

This year’s poster was created for the festival by © Marf.

Sue Austen (Festival Organiser) writes:

The Herne Bay Cartoon Festival has landed for another year. This is the seventh consecutive festival in the lovely Kent seaside town. The theme for this year is Fly Me to the Moon referencing the fiftieth anniversary of the first manned mission to the moon in 1969.

The Fly Me to the Moon exhibition is now open at Beach Creative featuring new work by PCO members including Dave Brown, Martin Rowson, Kathryn Lamb, Andrew Birch, Noel Ford, Tim Harries, Roger Penwill, Royston Robertson, Des Buckley, Kipper Williams, Jeremy Banx, Gerard Whyman, The Surreal McCoy, Rob Murray, Sarah Boyce, Glenn Marshall, Chris Burke, Neil Dishington, Jonesy and others.

Poster cartoon by © Steve (Jonesy) Jones.

Also open now is Book Marks at the Bay Art Gallery in William Street. Book Marks is a PCO exhibition on the theme of literature and books which has come to Herne Bay from Westminster Reference Library as the first small step on a planned tour of the solar system. The show features work by over 30 members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (PCO) including a host of familiar cartoonists from the pages of The Guardian, The Independent, Private Eye and the rest of the British press.

The festival’s third exhibition is One Giant Leap which will be open from Friday 2nd  August at The Seaside Museum, 12 William Street, CT6 5NR. This show features work on loan from the British Cartoon Archive held at the University of Kent. The exhibition includes original cartoons and artwork from the time of the moon landing in 1969, other Apollo missions and moon related stories.  Artists represented in the show include Giles, Trog, Garland, Jensen, Homer, Emmwood, Langdon, Gary Barker, Rowson and Dave Brown.More than 20 cartoonists and caricaturists will descend on Herne Bay for the weekend of 2nd- 4th August.  On Saturday 3rd Zoom Rockman hosts a cartoon workshop at Beach Creative and later the same day Roger Todd will run a puppet caricature workshop there.

On Sunday 4th the weekend culminates with the annual Cartooning Live event on Herne Bay Pier where the visiting artists create giant cartoons, aunt sallies and peep boards. We are promised a balloon Boris will be attacked by seagulls whilst astronaut ‘John’ Glenn (Marshall) will be attempting Herne Bay’s first moon landing on the town’s iconic pier.

For updates on the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival, follow @HBCartoonFest on Twitter or go to Facebook.com/HBCartoonFest.

With thanks to all our sponsors and supporters including Arts Council England, Canterbury City Council, British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent and the PCO.

Cartoonists Gagged again

July 20, 2019 in Events, General, News

Media crews filming the Gagged exhibition wall. 

Our GAGGED exhibition on the suppression and censorship of cartoonists around the world had another outing last week. It was displayed at the international conference ‘Defend Media Freedom’ in London. The conference was instigated by the UK and Canadian governments.

Media freedom is in decline worldwide. It was reported that the number of journalists jailed for their work is at the highest level since the 1990s. We’ve seen an increase of cartoonists around the world being harassed, imprisoned and censored.

Amal Clooney with Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and UK’s Foreign Secretary (at time of going to press) Jeremy Hunt.

One of the main speakers was human rights lawyer Amal Clooney who said ‘journalists are under attack like never before’. She added that after the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Istanbul Saudi Arabian embassy last year, world leaders responded with ‘little more than a collective shrug’. She went on to single out Donald Trump and commented that ‘the country of James Madison (one of America’s founding fathers and a champion of a free press) has a leader today who vilifies the media.’ There have been a number of cases recently where cartoonists in the States (and Canada) have had their work censored and lost long-standing work.

Jeremy Hunt spoke of meeting Malaysian cartoonist Zunar who suffered years of persecution and restrictions but is now enjoying more freedom since the regime change in his home country.

A powerful and colourful mural being painted live by ArtLords a street art collective from Afghanistan. Here’s an Index on Censorship film about them.

Every plaque on the wall names a media worker killed over the past years, 99 died worldwide in 2018 alone.

PCO member Alex Hughes from Drawnalism was transcribing the talks in cartoon form (he produced more work in two days than I do in a year)

Terry Anderson (Cartoonist & Deputy Exec Director, CRNI) with Jodie Ginsberg (Chief Executive, Index on Censorship)

A gagged Marshall  

In September GAGGED is moving on to the Saint-Just Cartoon Festival in France.

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