Sunday 31 March 2024


 [Photo: Brian Sibley]

Friday 29 March 2024


“He was the boy I had given birth to and he was more defenceless now than he had been then.”
― Colm Tóibín, The Testament of Mary: A Novel (2012)
[Photo: Brian Sibley]

Saturday 23 March 2024


It's Eastertide and Radio Times magazine has just unveiled the cover-art for its Easter 2024 Issue. The work of Dawn Cooper, it comprises a bunny, a bird (a red-breasted swallow?), spring flowers and, obviously, a few eggs. What could be nicer? They are, of course, all part of the traditional tropes and trappings of the season, but it sent me off in search of how Radio Times marked Easter in days gone by.
For five decades, like a number of other weekly magazines, Radio Times employed artists noted for their skill at working with woodcuts and pen-and-ink illustration and allowed them the time and space to create lavish pieces of decorative art that – for what was nothing more than an ephemeral publication – are astonishing in their unrivaled detail, story-telling and arresting imagery.
Many Easter issues of Radio Times contained interior artwork presenting classic or newly-created depictions of the Passion, but the covers – unsurprisingly, perhaps – mostly comprised intensely rural, village-centric scenes from some of the finest illustrators of the age – in all of which the church was either a central feature or at very least an integral element of the design. It may be hard to believe, my children, but that is how it was in Britain during those early All-Things-Bright-and-Beautiful years of the Twentieth Century.
Easter 1934 - John Austen (1886-1948)

 Easter 1948 - J. S. Goodall (1908-1996)

Easter 1949 - [Unidentified artist] 
Easter 1950 - Robin Jacques (1920-1995)

 Easter 1951 - C. F. Tunnicliffe (1901-1979) 


Easter 1952 - S. R. Badmin (1906-1989)



Easter 1954 - S. R. Badmin (1906-1989)

Wednesday 20 March 2024


Everything MUST be CHANGED!

And NOW ––– or SOONER!

Everyone knows: Dettol is yellowy-brown in colour and smells like a hospital.


It is absolutely
NOT this colour... and it does NOT smell of 'Lavender & Orange Oil'.

As American novelist Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945) observed:

"All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward."


Monday 18 March 2024


There are days when I totally despair of the rank bonkerness with which our media is now infested!

A display currently on show at the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) 'mentions' (as a historical fact, please note) that the popular seaside entertainment, the Punch & Judy Show, has – over the years – opted to substitute the play's original 'Devil' puppet with one modelled on the features of hated public figures including Adolf Hitler, Margaret Thatcher and Osama bin Laden.


Well, that story has now been re-presented as the V&A promulgating the monstrous proposition that Thatcher was as evil as Hitler and bin Laden and, as a result, that the museum ought to have its funding taken away and that those responsible for exhibition-label-writing should be flogged, naked, through the streets of London!

What utter whiffle and piffle! You can't possibly learn from history if you hide or deny it!

Anyway, here's Mrs Thatcher (or, rather, her 'Spitting Image' alter ego) as I accounted her at the Tate Gallery at their 2010 exhibition, 'Rude Britannia'.


[Photo: Brian Sibley]

Sunday 10 March 2024



Even when they're no longer with us, our Mothers are ever-present in our memories...


[Photo: David Weeks]

Wednesday 6 March 2024



Back in print after ten years: a fabulous celebration of fantastic illustration: The Art of Ian Miller; a book crammed with 300 astonishing images of graphic brilliance to which I had the great privilege of contributing an Introduction.

As I wrote (in part) back in 2014, and as I still passionately believe: 


"A good illustrator may capture the essence and detail of author’s work, transforming word into image, but a truly great illustrator transports us into the silences between sentences, evokes the possibilities between paragraphs, illuminates the shadows that lurk in the turning of a page."


Welcome to Ian Miller's amazing and disturbing world of flying fish, walking trees, floating cities, mechanical warriors and creatures from the worlds of Tolkien, Lovecraft, Bradbury and Peake not to mention the darkest recesses of your nightmares!