Soon it will be my birthday and once again I’ll have to sort through the expensive and extravagant presents I’m always showered with. The Aston Martin Vantage an admirer gave me last year stands, still unwrapped, behind the garage.
I’m just back from the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival – now in its tenth year. As ever, it featured 40 professional cartoonists and caricaturists working live, for free, and whilst its hard work, its very, very funny, which is down mainly to the public.
Every year I note down the things which I hear behind me whilst I’m working on one of the twenty 8foot by 6foot boards in the Market Square, then publish them on the end of my board the following year. “My uncle was hung in a gallery” and, “ That’s not really a cartoon. Its too big” are among my favourites.
Live caricaturing, which features heavily at Shrewsbury is something I don’t do and I take my hat off to those who do. Let’s face it, some people who sit down to be drawn are – how shall I phrase it – visually uninspiring. And yet the caricaturist will produce a likeness which IS like the subject, but doesn’t feature the uninspiring bits too heavily. Amazing. And they do it so quickly. Five, ten minutes max. AND its free. There’s always a queue for caricatures and this year one or two people got stroppy because they had to wait their turn. Ignorant dimwits.
The day before Shrewsbury kicked off I was down in London – on the day of Mrs Thatcher’s funeral. No, not to pay my respects but to be a guest on Libby Purves’ R4 Midweek chat show. Libby is a cartoon aficionado and asked all the right questions. Excellent. In fact quite a few people I met at Shrewsbury had come to the festival because they’d heard the show – including a girl I taught 33 years ago ! I swapped her a cartoon for one of the off the wall [so to speak] clocks she makes. 33 years ! Gordon Bennett !
And my new hip performed well. Nothing fell off.
But its back to the drawing board now. Cartooning is probably one of the few jobs where you can actually say that.