Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Street Cred

An interesting mix of stories for the cartoon in this week’s Westmorland Gazette.
And regular blog readers may have spotted that I’m not enamoured of interesting mixes. If the cartoonist’s eye roves over too many stories, it usually means there isn’t enough in one of them to work up a good head of cartoon steam. (Unlike last week’s smoking story, for instance.)
However, I settled on two this week and pitched ideas for them. The first was a report about a Passion Play coming to Kendal next Easter. Not sure why I used capitals there but apparently a Passion Play is a Thing and not just a random play with a religious theme. Frankly I would (and will) rather go and see Mintfest, which strikes me as more diverse and interesting. Besides, it’s always disappointing if someone has already given away how the play ends.
The other story concerned Grange-over-Sands venerable Lido. This was built in the 1930s and has had mixed fortunes over the decades. It currently sits empty whilst developers circle overhead. In a bid to thwart their plans, someone has set up a Facebook page of objectors and is trying to get the Lido listed by English Heritage.
Below you can see my three plus one cartoons on these subjects. To see which graces the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper, stroll casually over to my website on Thursday morning.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Going up in smoke

Smoking is a contentious issue. 
There are those who think it is bad for you - e.g. medical practitioners. Then there are those who think it makes you look sexy, is a declaration of free will and may even prolong your life by keeping away germs - e.g. everyone in the tobacco industry, UKIP members and the certifiably deluded.
So when a local councillor proposed a New York-style ban on smoking in public open recreational spaces - such as play grounds - you can guess the lines along which opinion divided. 
“Good thing too,” declare the medical lobby (which is a sort of corridor with doctors), “it prevents secondary smoking.”
“Secondary smoking? No such thing!” cry various outraged interest groups, political ne’er-do-wells and people whose regular domicile is a padded cell.
I like to remain neutral on most matters * but will happily admit to coming down on the side of the smoking-is-harmful-and-makes-you-look-like-a-weak-willed-pillock side of this argument. So I was moderately gleeful when the story appeared for my consideration in this week’s Westmorland Gazette.
Below are the four sketches I submitted. I won’t say which one got in but here’s a hint: It required a slight caption change.
If you wish to see the chosen cartoon in unrealistic colour, sashay forthwith to my website.

(* I’m lying)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

It's a Riot

It's been a riot the last couple of weeks in England. Unfortunately not the good kind. You may have noticed.

As the rioting largely involved disaffected young people, the media (in some cases) wheeled out middle-aged comfortable people to pontificate on the causes of the riots and how the rioters should be punished. 

One of these was Kendal-born historian David Starkey, who got into a spot of hot water with one or two of his views. Ever ready to spotlight the sons of Kendal, The Westmorland Gazette has an article about the fuss.

Meanwhile, Cumbria tourist groups are focussing their immense brains on how to encourage people to the Lake District whilst next year's Olympics are on in London. I'd suggest a big sign saying No Olympics Coverage In The Lakes and then we all promise not to talk about it.

These were the two stories which became cartoon fodder this week. You can see the sketches below in all their scribbly, black and white glory. For the editor's choice, don your dark glasses and sashay over to my website first thing Thursday morning, where it will be presented in full colour.

"We could always divert the men's 1500 metres …"

"This is our new marketing slogan."

"He's trouble, that one … it's David Starkey."

"A right little trouble-maker … he wants to be a 
historian when he leaves school."

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Tombstoning for Beginners

Do you tombstone?
This may seem an odd question. Especially if, like me, you associate the word with Twilight or Wyatt Earp. Tombstoning is, however, the sport of leaping off cliffs and bridges into pools of water. It’s been popular in the US for decades but also attracts people to the Lakes, where you can do it at a number of locations.
Frankly, I think it’s about as sensible as tying yourself to a rubber band and jumping off a bridge. If you want that sort of thrill, do it properly and jump out of a plane.
Tombstoning in the Lakes is now attracting attention for the wrong reasons. A local Tory councillor managed to hospitalize himself as a result of engaging in the activity. 
The fuss associated with the activity (calls for it to be banned), rather than the incident itself, formed the lead story in this week’s Westmorland Gazette. Never one to forego the chance to get involved in a touch of tasteless controversy, here are the four ideas offered for this week’s front page cartoon. To see which one got past the editor’s eagle eye, go visit my website.