Thursday, 27 June 2013

Soap and Sand

After last week’s excitement, I thought that this week’s Westmorland Gazette cartoon would be easier. But no. Adventures lay in store.
The main, front page story features the Gazette’s campaign to highlight the dangers of the Morecambe Bay quicksands. Another two people had to be pulled clear last week and the sands are more dangerous now than at any time in living memory.
Another jolly story is about the area’s first online soap opera, set in the fictional village of Cawthwaite.
Meanwhile, in the national news, the CQC cover up story continues …
Add these into the cartoon blender and you have the four ideas below. Rather gratifyingly, my steamed editor picked the one I liked best. I tidied up the artwork and off it went.
Then, lo at the absolute final deadline at 5.30, the phone rang. The cartoon had been pulled again. On consideration, it was decided that the cartoon rather undermined the quicksand safety campaign. It wasn’t really about the quicksand campaign but I got the point.
So we went for another. No time to redraw or do final artwork this week so what you see in the paper and over on my website is exactly as you see below, with a few tweaks to the caption.
Can you guess which one it was? Post a few comments below and then rush to my website to find out if you were right.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Don't Care, Won't Care

An exciting afternoon in Gazette Towers this week. During the course of the morning, the story broke that there had been alleged cover-up by the Government's Care Quality Commission (CQC) into the investigation into infant deaths at Furness General Hospital.

A report had been suppressed, information deleted, unwise things said and a general cover-up in place. Allegedly.

And for a newspaper cartoonist, there's the tricky part. 

That word "alleged".

As you can see from the first four cartoons below, I had a go at tackling the story and making a point. The cartoonist's job isn't always just to raise a laugh. 

Unfortunately some of the first four fell foul of legal considerations. (I should make it clear that the drawings below are mere whimsy and nothing could possibly be further from my mind than to hint at the even merest suggestion that anyone involved with the CQC ever knowingly now or at any time in the past, future or in a parallel quantum universe did anything wrong.)

So I was asked to submit some further ideas. Which I did. Another four, in fact. Then, about 20 minutes after my deadline, I had a call from editorial. The cartoon had been pulled at the last minute. Could I do draw up of the others? Oh and by the way, the page goes to press in 10 minutes.

This is what makes newspaper cartooning so exciting. And furthermore, the new choice was closer to hitting the nail on the head. 

So whoosh … new artwork submitted with seconds to spare. 

But which one do you think it was? Vote in the comments box below and then blow across to my website to see which cartoon graces the front page of this week's Westmorland Gazette.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Blowing in the wind

A mixture of darkness and light in this week's Westmorland Gazette stories.

First, the light. A farm in Kirkby-in-Furness is going to be host to 50,000 solar cells to generate green electricity. The cells will be built above grazing land so the sheep can continue to mill about underneath.

On a darker note, complaints have been heard of boxes littering the fells. Apparently people are scattering the ashes of their dead relatives and then leaving the boxes behind.

Now, normally this last story could be relied upon to set off the Bad Taste Klaxon which is permanently installed on the desk of my Steamed Editor. But no, the subject passed and a cartoon was approved.

So, dear gentle reader, which of these cartoons would you have chosen for the front page of this week's Gazette?

Make your vote known in the comments box below and then shuffle off to my website to see if you were correct.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Stuck in the mud

Lots of danger, excitement and ancient history in this week's soaraway Westmorland Gazette.

The front page is dominated by tales of daring rescues from the Morecambe Bay quicksands. These are getting more frequent as man-made climate changes causes a pronounced shift in local weather conditions. Even so, both the coast guard and Queen's Guide, Cedric Robinson, were scathing about walkers heading onto the Sands without a guide. The latest rescue of two girls took 45 minutes and a lot of effort by the coast guard.

If you want to explore Morecambe Bay, go on a guided walk.

Elsewhere, doubts are being raised about plans to expand the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks and the concomitant increase in bureaucracy.

And Kendal Museum is to host the UK's first exhibition about the long-extinct dodo.

So, dear gentle reader (and Ian), imagine the scenario: Due to an unexpected win in the even less-expected editorial lottery, you find yourself as the editor of The Westmorland Gazette. Have you got what it takes? Can you pick the right cartoon for the front page?

Make your selection in the comments box below and then spring nimbly over to my website and see if you were right. Remember, there may be prizes.*

* but probably won't.