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The cartoonist as endurance athlete

October 4, 2010 in Comment

Marathon cartoon by Nick Newman
In the week when applicants for the London Marathon find out whether they have been successful in securing a place in the 2011 event, Nick Newman, cartoonist for Private Eye and the Sunday Times, tells the Bloghorn why he takes part:

I’ve always had the itch. Since living in London since the early 1980s, and seeing the first London Marathons on television, I always felt that the distance was the pinnacle of human endeavour – after all, the Greek Pheidippides died as a result of running the very first one.

At school, I was the fat boy who tried to get out of all games. The annual steeplechase – 4 miles of muddy terrain – was the source of nightmares. Running was, quite literally, a punishment.

Yet now I “enjoy” nothing more than a 6-mile run. This is, of course, a joke. It’s all hell, pain and regret – instead of warmth, comfort and breakfast. I enjoy it when it stops. So why do I do it?

I started running to try to lose weight. While that worked, I found an unexpected side-effect: solitude. A chance to think. And when I was really thinking, I forgot about how annoying the running was. The result was ideas, jokes, storylines for potential scripts and jokes about running which could be converted into ideas about storylines for potential scripts.

Cartoonists are well primed to run long-distance. It’s lonely and introspective. Road, road, road, dog waste, road – she’s nice – road. You just have to think of something else. Russell Taylor (of Alex fame) wrote an excellent book about his own marathon experience after he ran the New York Marathon. The fact that he wrote a humorous book about it shows how it can stimulate the creative juices, as well as blisters.

My own marathon experience began with me hooking up with a friend who put me in touch with a charity (the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign) which was all too happy to take me on as a potential runner and give me a marathon place – provided I could guarantee £1,500 of sponsorship. This year I ran for the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, on a similar basis.

Still, it puts a strain on your loved ones, who weary of the decrepit, bow-legged invalid shuffling round Sainsburys after a 15-miler. Falling asleep spilling your wine down your front doesn’t help either (though, to be honest, I was doing that long before I started running seriously).

The result is a truly life-changing experience. I’ve now run two of the buggers, and I can honestly say they are the most life-affirming events I’ve ever experienced.

This is an extract from an article which is in the running for an appearance in our print magazine, Foghorn, later this year. Bloghorn thanks Nick.

Support the UK’s Cartoon Museum

March 18, 2010 in Comment, News

Bloghorn_cartoonists ©http://thebloghorn.org for the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation http://www.procartoonists.org

The Cartoon Art Trust, the registered charity [pdf] behind the UK national Cartoon Museum, receives no state or public funding. This means that every year the trustees have to raise £150,000 to run it.

For the first time in several years, the museum have managed to get a funds-runner a place in the London Marathon. Step forward one Marcus Barclay. Bloghorn thinks respect is due to this volunteer.

Marcus and his efforts are one of the museum’s main fundraising events of the year and any donation, however small, is very welcome. Bloghorn understands it is easy to make a donation using the Cartoon Museum’s online sponsorship page – which we have linked to below – and we would like to encourage our readers to do so.

Cartoon Museum London Marathon fundraiser

The Museum is currently showing Ronald Searle – Graphic Master which we have reported on here.