Monday, 21 April 2014

CRACKERS? BONKERS!

Easter takes one hop nearer to its inevitable Christmasization...


Along with yellow paper crowns there were 'mottoes' with eggs-cruciating punning jokes (or, I should say, 'yolkes') such as...

Q: How does a soggy bunny get dry?
A: He uses a hare dryer!

Now, I bet that really cracked you up!

Some, people, it should be noted, really enjoyed them – as you can see from buttons' blog!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

HE IS RISEN INDEED


Stained glass window in Honor Oak Crematorium, London
Photo: David Weeks

Saturday, 19 April 2014

EASTER EVE


Click image to enlarge

Stained glass window by W T Carter Shapland in St John the Divine, Kennington, South-east London

Photographed by David Weeks © 2013

Friday, 18 April 2014

IT IS FINISHED


Click to enlarge

The Three Crosses – Etching and dry-point painting by Rembrandt van Rijn 

About the picture

Thursday, 17 April 2014

HERE THERE BE DRAGONS!

Dragons a-plenty!


And not just dragons, but also walking trees, robotic warriors, flying fish, floating cities, machineries of war and a host of other marvels and monstrosities!

I am referring the strangely wondrous worlds of fantasy artist Ian Miller, whose extraordinary visions are celebrated in a new book, The Art of Ian Miller, to which I had the singular honour of contributing a foreword...


A modern master of pen-and-inkery, Ian Miller is a true child of Albrecht Durer, Gustav Dore and Hieronymus Bosch and he has used this exceptional skill to illuminate the dreams and nightmares of such authors as Ray Bradbury, H P Lovecraft, Philip K Dick, Mervyn Peake and J R R Tolkien whose The Lord of the Rings here provides the artist with an opportunity to depict Treebeard and the Ents destroying Saruman's stronghold, Isengard...


 Here a few more striking images from this electrifying portfolio...






 


Written by Ian Miller and Tom Whyte, The Art of Ian Miller is available from Titan Books as a trade edition and as a limited edition in slip-case with a signed print. For full details Click here

And you can visit Ian Miller's website here



Friday, 11 April 2014

MAKING MERRIE!

As you probably know, I am currently grappling with a six-part radio adaptation of T H White's Arthurian romance and like the legends of King Arthur, every generation seems to acquires its own Robin Hood: Douglas Fairbanks, Errol Flynn, Richard Todd, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe or their small screen counterparts like Richard Greene (left) who, in ITV's The Adventures of Robin Hood between 1955-1960, started my life-long obsession with men in tights!

With a band of outlaws who included Archie Duncan as Little John, Alexander Guage as Friar Tuck and Bernadette O'Farrell (and later Patricia Driscoll) as Maid Marian and with cameos from such later-film-and-TV-stars as Robert Shaw, Patrick Troughton, Jane Asher, Leo McKern, Joan Sims, Paul Eddington, Harry H Corbett and Wilfred Brambell, Greene swashbuckled his way through 145 episodes of wrong-righting and derring-do.

The theme song was on every kid's lips, mine included...


Those 30-minute black-and-white adventures so fired my imagination (and those of my contemporaries) that Robin Hood became our chief playtime game at primary school which, since I was then living in what was comparative countryside, meant that we played it among the trees, bushes and undergrowth of the un-walled, un-gated school grounds. Those were the days...

I have to admit that I was instrumental in organising these games: devising scenarios and designating roles and it tells you a lot about me that I cast myself not as Robin Hood but as the Sheriff of Nottingham!

With my school mac thrown over my shoulders and buttoned under the chin to form a cloak, I modelled my portrayal on that of Alan Wheatley who played Richard Greene's nemesis with a cold, softly-spoken sneering menace that also had about it, I now realise, more than a touch of theatrical camp!


My prize possessions, aged 6, were my collection of Robin Hood sweet cigarette cards and my first Robin Hood Annual. Although the latter was long ago lost (when my late mother purged my annuals and gave them to a cousin) I can still turn the pages in my mind's-eye.

As for my set of plastic Robin Hood figures collected from packets of Kellogg's cereal (and equally thoughtlessly disposed of), they were so precious that when, a year or two back, a set turned up in a book-dealer's catalogue, I simply had to buy them...


Anyway, all this is but an excuse for me to give you a chance to hear another vintage Sibley radio programme, Robin Hood: Back to the Greenwood. It was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Kaleidoscope on 16 February 1991, the year that two new Robins – Kevin Costner and Patrick Bergin donned the Lincoln green to make their cinematic debuts.

Contributors to the programme include: Sean Connery, Alan Frank, John Irvin, Richard Lester, Mike McShane, Jeffrey Richards, Patrick Bergin and Richard Todd...


This blog post is, in part, reprinted from an earlier post in November 2006.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

SIBLEYTOONS TWO

After such nice comments on my recent posting of adolescent Sibley caricatures, here are a few more – though for some of them you need to be quite old to be able to recognise the subjects!

Sci-Fi/Fantasy author (The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451 etc) Ray Bradbury...


Writer and poet, Edith Sitwell...


Character actor, Robert Morley...


Character actor, writer and teddy bear aficionado, Peter Bull...


And two more teddy-fanciers: comic Richard Hearne ('Mr Pastry')...


And Elvis Presley...


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

COMINGS AND GOINGS


For your listening enjoyment, here is a rare vintage radio programme from my personal archive.

Originally broadcast thirty-four years ago today on BBC Radio 3, The Coming Tide is a thirty-minute portrait of the much neglected poet, Brian Alexander, presented by Professor Christopher Ricks with contributions from, among others, novelist Kingsley Amis, broadcaster and critic Michael Billington and poet George McBeth. With Brian Alexander's poems read by James Bolam...



Photo: © John Gravett.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

SIBLEYTOONS

A folder of my youthful art has recently surfaced and I thought I'd share a few examples of what the 20-year old Sibley – aspiring cartoonist – was turning out.

Here's Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons...


Orson Welles as Cardinal Wolsey in the same film...


Conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent...


Dame Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple...


And writer and philosopher, Bertrand Russell...


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

DEAD SPIT

Tricky to say for the unwary, the names of Luck and Flaw were once the enfants terribles of British TV shocking, outraging, horrifying and, let's admit it, delighting the nation with their Spitting Image shows, in which scarily life-like celebrity puppets with uncannily sound-alike voices were seen generally behaving badly and taking the p*** out of royalty, politics and popular culture.

The latex caricatures by Roger Law and Peter Fluck (seen left among some of their early creations) soon became a beloved (and in certain quarters loathed and feared) institution that combined the knock-about politically incorrect humour of the Punch and Judy show with a three-dimensional realisation of the kind of savage satire and vitriolic humour popular with the British across several centuries of political cartoonists and social lampoonery from Gilray, Rowlandson and Hogarth to Ralph Steadman and Gerald Scarfe.

To celebrate three decades of Luck and Flaw's irreverent partnership, The Cartoon Museum has an superb new exhibition –– Spitting Image: From Start to Finish...


On show are cartoons, puppets and the superb models that Luck and Flaw created for many leading magazines and journals at the time and featuring Her Maj...


HM's third child, Prince Andrew posed naked as a Playgirl centre-fold and proudly displaying a couple of pounds of Cumberland sausage...


Former Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock as Pinocchio with his wife, Glenys as Jiminy Cricket...


Tennis bad boy, John McEnroe...


US President Reagan and Nancy...


And unquestionably Spitting Image's greatest triumph – the ultimate Maggie Thatcher that out-Maggied and out-Thatched the real thing...


Here's a reminder of what she was like in action – twice over!!


And here, at the opening of the Cartoon Museum exhibition is Steve Nallon who loaned his voice to Mrs T and others...


Also on show is art from Luck and Flaw's amazingly illustrated editions of Treasure Island and A Christmas Carol...

 
And numerous examples of Spitting Image souvenirs that back in the '80s no British home was complete without!


Spitting Image:
From Start to Finnish continues until 
8 June 2014 at...

The Cartoon Museum
35 Little Russell Street
London
WC1A 2HH


Tel: 0207 580 8155

OPENING HOURS:

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

LATE OPENINGS (until 8pm):
Thur 15 May, Fri 16 May, Sat 17 May
Thurs 22 May, 29 May, 5 June

Please note the Museum will be closed on Monday 9 June 2014

Check out the SPECIAL EVENTS being held at the Museum during the exhibition

WARNING: Don't miss this great exhibition –– if you do, SHE will know!


All models: © Luck and Flaw Spitting Image Archive © Spitting Image Productions Ltd, Spitting Image Archive.
John McEnroe ‘I’m playing to win’ Model Peter Fluck & Roger Law Photograph by John Lawrence Jones. Radio Times 19 -25 June 1982
© Luck and Flaw Spitting Image Archive
Margaret Thatcher PM
Model Spitting Image workshop. Photograph by John Lawrence Jones.
© Spitting Image Productions Ltd, Spitting Image Archive.
'Thatcher Cutting Up Britain' by Spitting Image Workshop.  Photograph by Spitting Image Workshop.
© Spitting Image Productions Ltd, Spitting Image Archive.
'Her Majesty The Queen' by Spitting Image Workshop.  Photograph by John Lawrence Jones.
© Spitting Image Productions Ltd, Spitting Image Archive.