Thursday, 19 February 2015



Yes, it's the Year of the Goat...

Or, maybe (apparently), the Sheep...

Or, possibly, the Ram!

Oh, well, something with horns, anyway...

Ram and goats on Kalymnos © Brian Sible

Saturday, 14 February 2015


The way we were – apparently...

Sentimental, silly, strange and, sometimes, sinister Valentine's Day cards from older (and odder) times in an age before online dating...

  Ah, yes, those were the days!


For this special day: some verses from one of my favourite humorous poets, Ogden Nash.

Written during WWII (hence the reference to the Axis in the first verse) it appeared in book form for the first time in Good Intentions, 1942.

Why not share its simple message with your own loved one...?

To My Valentine
More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That's how much I love you.

I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than a gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.

As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
Or a juggler hates a shove,
As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
That's how much you I love.

I love you more than a wasp can sting,
And more than the subway jerks,
I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
And more than a hangnail irks.

I swear to you by the stars above,
And below, if such there be,
As the High Court loathes perjurious oaths,
That's how you're loved by me.

Thursday, 5 February 2015


The recent heavy snowstorms to assail the east coast of America (despite falling short of the prophesied 'snowmageddon') inspired this week's cover design for The New Yorker by Mark Ulriksen...

In turn, this prompted me to look through my photo files and pull out a few pictures I took in snowy New York back in January 2009, beginning with another dog-walker...

And here are some more – including, it seems, quite a lot of bridges!


Apart from all those bridges, on any afternoon in Central Park you can see everything from sightseers... sledgers...

...and skaters... posers and poseurs... well as some surprising snow-revellers...

But, when all's said and done, this is probably my favourite photo from that chilly visit...

Monday, 2 February 2015


When cartoonist Mark Boxer died of a brain tumour in 1988, at the absurdly early age of 57, he had, nevertheless, achieved a remarkable legacy in the world of journalism...

He had been Editor of Lilliput, Art Director of Queen, Founding Editor of the Sunday Times Colour Supplement and Editor of Tattler.

Not only that, but he had succeeded in forging a career as one of Britain's most noted cartoonists and caricaturists in a range of publications using the pen name...

Marc's cartoons are the subject of a new exhibition at The Cartoon Museum in London. On show are examples of his 'Pocket Cartoons' that delighted readers first in The Times and then The Guardian. Created with George Melly they use minimalist line and have typewritten captions – a precaution against tampering by editors!

The exhibition additionally features Marc's brilliantly observed caricatures: spot-on pen portraits of royalty, politicians, literary figures, theatre, entertainment and media figures...

Also on show are many of his cover designs for the paperback edition of Anthony Powell's 'Dance to the Music of Time' novels...

The exhibition, Marc: The Caricatures and Cartoons of Mark Boxer continues until 22 March at–––

The Cartoon Museum
35 Little Russell Street
0207 580 8155

Opening Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 10:30 - 17:30
(including Bank Holidays)
Sunday: 12:00 - 17:30

Admission Prices:
Adults:     £7
Conc:       £5
Student:   £3
Under-18s, registered disabled and carer: Free
(Children 12 or under must be accompanied by an adult)

Saturday, 17 January 2015


Contemporary art is such a testing thing... You look, you try to pocket your prejudices and open your mind, hoping to comprehend: neither wanting to to be fooled into pretending to see the Emperor's New Clothes, nor wanting to be the first to giggle at his nakedness in case there is a greater profundity to the nudity than at first meets the eye...

Such moments are not uncommon at the wonderful Venice art gallery, Punta della Dogana, the triangular-shaped building that separates the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, Venice...  

The gallery, part of the Palazzo Grassi art collection is officially described...
As a center for contemporary art, the former customs house of the city presents exhibitions of works from the Pinault Collection, the institution that supported the transition of this masterpiece of architecture, so emblematic for the city, from its eminently commercial function to port of contemporary art and ideal venue to share it with the world.
Currently on show is Untitled by David Hammons (2008). 

The catalogue explains...
Hammons covers the canvas using garbage bags, as if the painting needed to be obscured in order to work its magic and thusly function as an art object. Ironic reference to the mechanisms of how art is perceived, this work actually evokes one of the artist’s main themes and inspirations: the street, street people, street life.
'Thusly'? Hmmm...

Rudyard Kipling's 'Conundrum of the Workshops'...
They builded a tower to shiver the sky and wrench the stars apart,
Till the Devil grunted behind the bricks: "It's striking, but is it Art ?"
The stone was dropped at the quarry-side and the idle derrick swung,
While each man talked of the aims of Art, and each in an alien tongue.

The tale is as old as the Eden Tree - and new as the new-cut tooth -
For each man knows ere his lip-thatch grows he is master of Art and Truth;
And each man hears as the twilight nears, to the beat of his dying heart,
The Devil drum on the darkened pane: "You did it, but was it Art ?" 

Click here to read the whole poem