Thursday, 30 June 2011

Silver Ninja

This was one of those frustrating weeks when it came to doing the Westmorland Gazette cartoon. My cartoon always appears on the front page and usually relates to the lead story. Since the paper went - um - compact, this hasn’t always been the case. And this week, the best story for ages was tucked away inside the newspaper.
The front page story concerns a 63-year old lady who was mugged. The mugger got more than he bargained for as the lady in question was a retired night club bouncer. Good cartoon subject, as you can see from the options below.
The gem, though, was the story of a mountain rescue. Man goes missing. Wife raises the alarm. Mountain rescue called out. Wife returns to hostel where they’re staying and discovers husband was in bed the whole time.
I was quite proud of the cartoon for that, although it turns out that only 2 out of 3 journalists in editorial had ever heard of the phrase. Must be a generational thing.
If you want to see which of the other three cartoons got onto the front page, pop over to my website.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

That Pesky Wabbit

This week’s blog and Westmorland Gazette story comes straight from the Department of Irony.
On the west side of Windermere lies a pair of tiny hamlets called Near and Far Sawrey. In one of these stands a little, Lakeland cottage called Hill Top. And within that house once lived a lady called Beatrix Potter who became very famous for writing her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. And over the next 110 years, people came from all over the world to see the funny little house where this funny little lady wrote this funny little book … and she became world famous, all because of a funny little rabbit.
And now, the locals are rather less keen on funny little rabbits because the local rabbit population has got somewhat out of control. There has been a veritable bunny boom in population and both hamlets are knee-deep in rabbits and the funny little locals are not at all happy.
After ruminating for a while, this was my reaction to this tale. Can you guess which cartoon my Big Bad Editor chose, children? *

* See my website or Thursday’s Westmorland Gazette for the answer.
P.S. He’s not that Big.

Friday, 10 June 2011

London Lies for Tourists

The last couple of days, the Twitterati have been indulging in a splendid game called London Lies for Tourists (click the link to see them all). It was instigated by Time Out magazine, who have 20 of the best on their website (although, quaintly, they think they were all from Londoners - hence 21, below). 

Clearly, it was the duty of every cartoonist to join in, so these were my contributions. Feel free to add your own in the comments box.

1.  London IS paved with gold. Make sure you examine all the cracks very carefully as you walk along them

2.  The man on the top of Nelson’s Column is actually a mime artist

3.  The Olympic Stadium will be finished in time

4.  London cabbies are chosen because of their broadmindedness & inquiring natures

5.  A Monopoly board will help you navigate easily around London

6.   Covent Garden is an area set aside for quiet contemplation & religious meditation

7.  In Harrods you get special attention if you say you know Prince Philip personally

8.  Rest assured that every souvenir bearing a Union Jack is guaranteed to be made in Britain

9.  All London branches of MacDonalds sell whelks and eels

10. The patron saint of London is Tommy Steele

11. You are not allowed to get off the tube at Baker Street unless you know all the words to the Gerry Rafferty song

12. Everyone in London is a personal friend of @stephenfry

13. London was actually sold to the Americans in 1967. The one in England is a replica

14. Cyclists are allowed to ride down the escalators

15. The Saatchi Gallery is full of interesting & attractive art exhibits 

16. You are only allowed to travel clockwise round the Circle Line. If you miss a stop you have to go round again

17. There is a Royal Wedding held in London on the first Saturday of every month

18. London was sold outright to Russian oligarch Boris Johnson in 2008

19. If you read out all the station names backwards on the London Underground map, you summon the devil

20. Whitechapel and Baker Street are still lit by gaslight and shrouded in fog

21. Once you get outside London, nothing else exists

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Stalactite Nights

Drawing cartoons for a newspaper is an odd way to earn a living. 
A major UK news organisation gives me money. In return, I produce some scribbly ideas. One of these is then refined into a finished drawing. This gets placed on the front page in a computer program. The page goes down some wires to a printing press. The presses roll, the newspaper is distributed and the following day the cartoon makes several tens of thousand people laugh over breakfast.
It’s very odd, when you start to think about it.
But perhaps not as odd as agreeing to get married in a hole in the ground. Not me, I hasten to point out, but the subjects of one of the stories in this week’s cartoon.
It’s the old story. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Boy and girl decide to get married. They invite all their friends underground for the service.
Did I mention that they are both potholers?
Elsewhere in the paper is the news that Google Street View has issued a self-serving fatuous press-release held a competition and the A591 beside Grasmere has been voted the most romantic stretch of road in Britain.
Below are my sketches on these two stories. To find out which made it to the front page, join the thousands and buy the newspaper on Thursday morning. Or be one of the millions and find the answer on my website.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Digging a hole

Cartoons, dogs and the 2012 Olympics; a fine menu for a Wednesday afternoon. Add a dash of deadline, a seasoning of sketches and serve hot on tomorrow morning’s front page.
By now you (or your bank manager) will probably know whether you’re one of the lucky 420000000000000 to get tickets to watch the event of your choice at the Olympics. It was a bizarre way to allocate tickets but presumably someone thought it a good idea. Probably the banks, as they’ll profit hugely when everyone goes unexpectedly overdrawn.
I didn’t apply. Partly because I thought I’d let you all have a better chance. And mostly because I’m busy trying to get to see the final space shuttle launch in July, which I regard as considerably more interesting than watching drug-enhanced athletes running round a circle.
In other news, two dogs were lost down a hole in the ground. They were out with their owners hunting squirrels at the time. At night. Yes, I thought so as well. Once they went down the hole, they got stuck and were down there for several days whilst their owners mobilised the forces of western technology to get them out. It all had a happy ending: The dogs got out and the squirrel got away.
Two cartoons on each subject were submitted for the gimlet-gaze of my esteemed editor. You can see them below. The choice to adorn the front page will be revealed in The Westmorland Gazette tomorrow morning. And on my website, in full colour, around the same time.