Wednesday, 12 April 2017

New car and other trivia

Guess who's got a new car then? At the end of March Peugeot phoned me up and asked if I'd like a new car without having to pay any extra, so I said yes. In brief, though it took half a day sat in a showroom signing things and waiting for stuff to go through, I continue paying a little over £200 a month (I've been paying £210 a month since I got the last car at the end of 2015, now I'll be paying £219 a month) and we've replaced my silver Peugeot 208 with... a silver Peugeot 208. Yes, apart from updating the 13 plate for a shiny new 17 plate, for all the world it looks like someone's just given my old car a really good hoover. I forgot to photograph the mileometer when it had nothing on the clock, so here it is after we'd driven from Robins & Days to Cabot Circus.

Meanwhile, since last I updated my diary, it's been travelling and working as per usual. March took me to Rathdrum County Wicklow, Darlington, Levenshulme, Dundee, Swansea, Malvern, Swindon,  Aberystwyth, Caerphilly, Hendon, Birmingham, Glasgow, Uley in Gloucestershire, Gloucester, Andover, Newcastle, Alnwick and back, while so far this month I've been to King's Heath, Rickmansworth, Halifax, Bath, and tomorrow I fly up to Hexham. It really doesn't get any quieter till August when, did I mention, the Socks won't be going to Edinburgh?

In the meantime, here are the few trivial notes I've made on Facebook recently.

John Clarke has died, aged 68. If you've never heard of him, and I hadn't until a few years ago, he and Brian Dawe did brilliant satirical sketches on Australian TV. This is quite possibly the best and most famous.

I've just read the history of Gibraltar (Wikipedia version) for the first time. Neanderthal, then Phoenician, then Carthaginian and Roman (at the same time), then Visigoth - yes Visigoth - then Islamic, then Nasridian then Marinidian (no, me neither), then Castilian - the first vaguely Spanish sounding name on the list of owners, and we're up to the 14th century already. Then the Castilians sold Gibraltar to Conversos - those were Jewish converts (oh good, we've got the Spanish Inquisition in there) - who were then expelled, and it stayed Spanish till the Anglo-Dutch captured it on behalf of Austria and finally, in 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht put it under control of the British. Somehow it was even part of the American War of Independence. Suddenly the idea of going to war over Gibraltar sounds like it might be compulsory.

It was supposed to be a joyous trip to one of France’s famous gastro palaces – what could possibly go wrong?

I rarely read restaurant reviews, but who could resist this gem by Jay Rayner. A meal for two in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris, costing £600? And it includes mushrooms that are ", like nightmares, and sticky, like the floor at a teenager’s party". A joy to read, and a reminder that you're missing nowt sticking to a Ginsters.

I don't want to worry any of my fellow illustrators, but over on Children's Book Writers and Illustrators group, someone's just told us of the Phillippine artist they use, who'll do a page like this for 20 dollars. That's 16 quid.

Just watched The Nice Guys by Shane Black. Was I alone in finding the mysogyny a bit distasteful, spoiling the tone of the film? He seems to be trying to have his cake and eat it. Simultaneously saying "wasn't the porn world of the 1970s awful & exploitative?" and "now look at these lovely boobies". His story structure and comedy routines are excellent, but does he ever write anything other than violent buddy movies? Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Last Boy Scout, Lethal Weapon? I gues you know what you'll get when you go to old Shane.

Who else is watching This Country on iPlayer? Hopefully it'll get a showing on BBC 1 or 2 and get the audience it deserves. It's brilliant, and by two creators - Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper - that I'd not come across before. Trust me, it really is worth catching.


Got an Only Connect for you. What's the connection?
The Incredible Hulk (1963)
Dan Dare (1967)
X-Men (1969)
Wonder Woman (1986)

Comic Art Masterclasses coming up in 2017:

2017 TOUR
Feb 15 - Buxton Pavilion Arts Centre Studio 
Feb 17 & 18 6.50pm - Kayal, Leicester Comedy Fest
March 9 - Aberystwyth Arts Centre
March 15 & 16 - Dram! Glasgow Com Fest
March 23 - The Bill Murray, London
Apr 1 - Rotherham Comedy Festival
Apr 6 - Victoria Theatre Halifax
Apr 8 - Rondo Bath
Apr 13 - Hexham Queen's Hall
Apr 22 - Swindon Arts
Apr 27 - Stroud Subscription Rooms
Apr 28 - Merlin Theatre Frome
Apr 29 - Perth Concert Hall
May 1 - Chiddingstone Castle Kent
May 5 - Artrix Bromsgrove
May 6 - Stafford Gatehouse
May 13 (4.30pm) & May 14 (5.30pm) Komedia Brighton
May 19 - Carriageworks Leeds
May 26 - Aberdeen May Fest
June 2 - Eden Ct Inverness
June 15 - Crescent Arts, Belfast
June 20 - Grassington Festival, Yorks
June 23 - Hertford Comedy Festival
June 24 - Ludlow Fringe
August 15 - 17 Camden Fringe

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