August’s been hard work. I’ve been drawing like there’s no tomorrow trying to plug the hole made by being sacked by a magazine earlier in the month. Being dropped from a publication goes with freelance territory. The excuse is usually money. I say “usually”, but it hasn’t happened to me very often. Another reason is a magazine acquiring a new editor. I was once told by the new editor of a wine magazine that she didn’t think that wine was a funny subject. Bet she threw great parties.
But this recent sacking was much worse than that. The wine lady couldn’t help not having a sense of humour, but the new thrusting young editor in this case [ of a sailing magazine which shall remain nameless, called Yachting Monthly] knew damned well he was doing wrong. He emailed to say how much he liked my work, and how it had really worked for the magazine but that he was letting me go because he was giving the slot to a cartoonist friend of his ! Honest ! Of course, in freelancing, there are no contracts. In editing, for some at least, it would appear that there are no principles.
That’s all very small beer, when seen alongside what’s going on in Syria. The power of present-day communications is such that very few places are far away and of which we know little these days. But there’s not a great deal the democratic West can do. Wade in and sort Assad and/or the rebels ? Knock out his airforce ? Send in a heavily protected humanitarian mission ? That would really annoy the Russians who aren’t above gassing folk. Or the Chinese who, unlike the U.S. aren’t fighting wars all over the place and have lots and lots of big guns and wouldn’t take kindly to that sort of Western intervention. So the U.N., as so often happens, sits on its hands when its not wringing them. And in Syria as in Afghanistan opposing forces shift and alter depending on which regional warlord’s in charge. These big fish in small local ponds are like professional footballers and sell their allegiance to the highest bidder whilst hiding under the convenient cloak of religion. And use arms which often come from the West.
Oh dear. This has all got a bit serious. Let’s talk about something really silly instead, eh ? HS2. The government’s pointy, sexy, shiny WHOOOOOSH ! high speed non-freight carrying train scheme. How silly is THAT ? Its going to cost at least 80 BILLION quid – most of which will come from the taxpayer – to the tune of about 5k EACH ! Does independent, non-party research suggest that taxpayers are clamouring to be able to get to [the outskirts of] Leeds from London at 250mph ? No, it does not. Do the majority of taxpayers want this daft idea to go ahead ? No they do not. Is the Labour party in favour of HS2 ? No it is not. Are very significant Tories AGAINST HS2 ? Yes they are.
Now you and I ,being rational human beings, would at this stage – earlier in fact, when the projected costs started to spiral out of control, have given it the bullet. Stopped it. Why aren’t Dave and his rich- boy chums stopping it ?
Because they’re not rational. And they’re rich. I won’t affect them.
There. That’s that sorted.
And so back to things cartoony. Tony Husband, Chris Madden, Bill Tidy and I have a cartoon exhibition coming up, starting on the 14th of October at the Richard Goodall Gallery, 103 High Street, Manchester M41HQ and closing on the 16th of Nov. Its called “Hey Wayne” [Constable. The Haywain. Think about it] It’s a hopefully intelligent [and funny] pop at the sometimes pompous, even phony world of fine Art. I’m excited about this because Art galleries don’t usually entertain cartoons. I mean, if it makes you laugh, it can’t possibly be Art, can it ? But Richard Goodall [for it is he] thinks outside that stuffy box.
So, if you’re in the area, pop in and have a look. And if you’re outside the area you could get a SSST [Super Slow Speed Train], admire the countryside a bit,and pop in too, buy a cartoon at an absolutely extortionate price and go home poorer but happier.