Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Avengers, Dennis, Hitler - new comics by schoolkids


These comics have been produced by pupils in classes in Doncaster, Birmingham and Aylesbury, with a little bit of colour added by me after the fact. I'm always delighted when I get the time to put a wee bit more detail on these comics, and when they give me something inspiring to work with. Killer Coleman was one of their teachers, and they found me a photo to work from, and who doesn't enjoy the chance to draw Taylor Swift?


The pupils at Aston Park, in the first of my two classes, were mostly in wheelchairs, so I took a moment to try and draw a couple accurately. It's mostly scribble. Have you ever looked at how many bits and bobs and layers and cables and wheels and whatevers there are on a wheelchair? As for Hitler Poos His Pants, it wasn't a school class, they were mostly teenagers, so rather than strenuously try to eliminate the unsuitable title (all the class write title on bits of paper, then I read them out and we play an elimination game until we're left with the most popular), I went with it, and took the opportunity to give them a Captain America No 1 pastiche into the bargain.





And lastly, and very much leastly, Fat Grandad is the sort of front cover you get when the kids have chosen an uninspiring title, and I haven't quite left myself enough time to do justice to it. It was a class without a break, so nothing like morning break or lunchtime during which to give the cover drawing that extra bit of thought. I'm also slightly frustrated that I didn't spot that tooth on Dennis's face that I've coloured in skin colour. Sure I could go back & correct it, but it's too late now. These things happen to the best of us.





The celebrities they chose for the demonstration strip were Donald Trump (twice), Taylor Swift, The Queen, Harley Quinn and Beyonce.

One month into this year's classes I've already stopped doing the Simon Cowell trick, whereby when I ask them to name the most famous celebrity they can think of, I write "Simon Cowell" down on the piece of paper in my hand. Then, when one of the 4 suggestions that gets called out is Simon Cowell, I flip the paper round and say "every time". This impresses kids and surprises teachers. But this year, for the first time in 5 years, Simon Cowell has suddenly stopped being suggested. Donald Trump has replaced him completely. Who knows whether he'll return to the kids minds when one of his TV series starts running again? It's significant that none of the judges from either Let It Shine or The Voice has been suggested by pupils so far this year.



Comic Art Masterclasses coming up in 2017:

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here



Sunday, 26 February 2017

A young Kev auditioned for a TV show. But which one?


Yes, that is me in the back row in the gold lame tie, but what TV show were we all auditioning for, and which two of this lot got the gig?

I threw that question out there on Facebook. Here are some of the replies that came back.

Lew Stringer Kids from Fame? Hunger Games?
David Leach The Double Deckers
Stu Munro The Red Hand Gang?
Mark Ashley TV show: Jim 'll fix it
Who got the gig: the unlucky ones...
Shaquille S Le Vesconte Metal Mickey? Ashley Knight and Lucinda Bateson?
Ade Brown I see Strawberry Switchblade also applied. And 2 of Depeche Mode. And Ray Parker Jr.
But it was clearly an audition to present Central Television's answer to The Tube. Paul Coia and Steve Lamacq?
Peter Crocker Junior Showtime. Glyn Poole and Bonnie Langford.
Gordon Rennie The Kids From Lame?
Is that Howard Jones in the row just in front of you?
Felicity Harper Why don't you...?
Toby Longworth No limit?
Bruce Dessau Ewen Bremner & Gordon Ramsay (both in the back row with you?)
Alistair McGown Blockbusters?
David Brunt Crimewatch?
David French Noel's House Party. You were all auditioning to play Mr Blobby.
David Brunt Bodger and Badger
David French The Banana Splits for Hanna-Barbera.
Richard Cray I think it's the guy roughly in the centre with the white t-shirt who looks a bit like David Easter and the guy second from right in the front row who looks a bit like Kelly Temple. And I'm going for something on CITV (or a predecessor thereof)...something like Magpie or CBTV, but not Magpie or CBTV.
(I'm nowhere near, right?)
Becky Armstrong The Word...?



Kev Sutherland You lot are lovely, and only one of you's got it half right. I'll happily leave you guessing if you want. The winning candidates were Michel Cremona and Nick Laird-Clowes, if that helps.
Gordon Rennie The woman in the front row, next to the black guy with the shades......is she actually someone's mum who blagged in pretending to be her own daughter?
Mikal Dyas The girl middle right with massive hair looks familiar.
Louisa Gummer The Tube then!
Simon Spencer Not The Tube, I made the shortlist for that gig




Kev Sutherland It was, as a few of you have guessed, The Tube. There was an advert in the NME and, I think, Smash Hits asking "Are you the face for the space?". We sent off photos and, I think, cassette recordings (I doubt I sent a VHS, though it wouldn't have been impossible as I was at art college by then) and were summoned to a hall somewhere in London (I didn't know London at all at the time so have no memory where it was. A church hall of some sort.) I don't think we knew the name of the show yet when we were doing these auditions, which mostly involved sitting round in discussion groups talking about pop music and fashion. I recall Magenta Devine being there, though she's not in this group shot. There were other auditions in Manchester and Glasgow, from which they found Mark Miwurdz and Muriel Grey. Jools Holland and Paula Yates weren't part of this process, obviously. The auditions were to find the lower rank of presenters. It was June or July 1982.
Simon Spencer And Newcastle.
Louisa Gummer It would be really interesting to know what happened to all those fresh faced optimistic youngsters - perfect twitter material!
Melanie Berman I was at Sunderland poly at the time of the Tube and successfully auditioned to be a regular weekly audience member/dancer/person to stand next to the stars for a couple of years. It was fab to walk straight in past the queue to get in and to see loads of bands for free! 😀



Comic Art Masterclasses coming up:



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 17 - Dalkey Festival, Dublin
June 23 - Hertford Comedy Festival
June 24 - Ludlow Fringe

70707, 2000AD, Zazous, & other notes

As ever I write more on Facebook than in my blog. Here's some recent trivia & dross.


Feb 22: On this day 40 years ago a new comic went on sale called 2000AD. I didn't buy it, because I was more impressed by the glossy covers of the weekly Marvel reprint comics, and thought The Defenders, written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Sal Buscema, was the height of comic strip storytelling and that this 2000AD comic looked a bit old fashioned in comparison. I was also enjoying the serialisation of Steve Gerber's Man Thing in Planet Of The Apes comic, and had started getting Steve Gerber's Howard The Duck comics in the local newsagent. Basically Steve Gerber is the reason I don't have a first edition of 2000AD number one, with the space spinner. He owes me fifty quid. (NB: I got to interview him on stage at Glascac in the early 90s and, yes, I am well aware he's dead). (PPS: Howard The Duck is still way better than 2000AD number 1, though the Brit upstart did get pretty good after a few months).

Feb 21: Can I just say, as a childhood David Cassidy fan, that today's news is quite sad. (He has dementia). Also makes his song titles sound weird - Didn't We Have Ourselves Some Kind Of A Summer, How Can I Be Sure? Could It Be Forever etc


Here's me posing with a flyer I designed for David & Carole Chapple, for their charity fundraising 70707 bid, which you can read about here.






Feb 14: Happy Valentines Day. A strip by me from Gas comic, back in the day.

Feb 19: Well, we've happily given up on SSGB after one episode, thanks to its risible dialogue, but mostly Sam Riley's whispering. Why do people think it's dramatic to not use your Outside Voice? Seriously, if you're in a confrontation situation, it would be way helpful if the person on the other side of the room could hear you. #SSGB #SpeakUp

Feb 9: Far be it from me to defend The Daily Mail, it's its politics with which I disagree, not any awareness of its factual unreliability. If the second biggest selling newspaper in the country, with the second biggest online presence, can't be cited on Wikipedia, where does this leave other UK papers? They cite "sensationalism" as a reason? Surely The Express and the Star have to be worse than the mail, and the Mirror not far behind. And I've seen a lot of criticism of Metro and "i" for being lightweight and possibly unreliable on occasions. The article says they still allow Fox News to be cited. This is what happens when you leave decisions in the hands of the public, I guess.

Just been watching Grossflix. It's like Netflix but before tax.



Feb 17: A very good piece (by Scott Adams of Dilbert fame) looking at the selling techniques, and even hypnosis, that Donald Trump uses. Have you ever wondered why he talks like that, repeating certain phrases, certain phrases? http://blog.dilbert.com/post/126589300371/clown-genius (Thanks to Phil Chippendale for this)



Feb 24: Good news kids, when the war comes you don't have to fight, you can do what these French kids did. So we need to update the phrase Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys to Cheese-Eating Ironic Badge Wearing Fannying About Like Steve Strange At Blitz and Not Giving A Toss About The Resistance Surrender Monkeys.



Comic Art Masterclasses coming up:



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 17 - Dalkey Festival, Dublin
June 23 - Hertford Comedy Festival
June 24 - Ludlow Fringe

Trump notes


Reading Facebook posts happily gloating at the demise of Paul Nuttall and Milo, suggesting that's the last we've seen of them, it seems some people have never come across an Unflushable before. I am reminded of a book I saw, just this weekend in the charity bookshop. From 1991, John O'Donnell's book Trumped is proudly subtitled "His Cunning Rise and Spectacular Fall". Yeah, he certainly fell all the way, didn't he John.

It's a well know adage that life is like a chemical toilet, the biggest shits always end up on top. Trump, and all those of whom you've ever heard the phrase "now this one will really finish them off" just keep on rising despite all hopes of karma or natural justice. People of my generation will recall Jeffrey Archer, and I notice Piers Morgan and Rebecca Brooks seem to be doing fine despite their criminal activities and widespread unpopularity. There are many more examples (before we even get to the Jimmy Saviles of the world who, to be fair, genuinely knew where actual bodies were actually buried, which is unfair competition).


Excellent. "Prank" may be among my least favourite words, right up there with Banter and Lolz, but this is a good'un. Prankster makes Trump supporters wave Russian flag at him.



Feb 25: BBC barred from Whitehouse briefing. I look forward to hearing the BBC-bashing, non-licence-fee-paying anarchists on my Facebook rejoicing at this. Also banned were The Guardian, CNN, New York Times, The Daily Mail - yes, that's right libertarians, the Daily Mail - and half a dozen others. Since Trump is calling the media "The Enemy Of The People" and the Mail recently used that same phrase as its front cover headline, maybe the two will get into some kind of paradox and disappear up each other? We can but hope.

Trump just made the crucial mistake that could sink him for good.
OCCUPYDEMOCRATS.COM|BY DAN AREL

"This one will finally bring him down" says someone on Facebook about Donald Trump every day. Yeah. And my arse can play the banjo. I predict we'll hear no more of this story ever again.



Comic Art Masterclasses coming up:



2017 TOUR
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 17 - Dalkey Festival, Dublin
June 23 - Hertford Comedy Festival
June 24 - Ludlow Fringe

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Buxton & Leicester - tour starts with a sellout


Okay, re that headline, not a sellout on the very first night. The very first night of the tour was Buxton Opera House, and that ended up with a small but perfectly formed crowd making a lovely noise in the Pavilion Arts Centre Studio. But, no, not a sellout. We also didn't manage a sellout on the first of our two nights in Leicester, despite the publicity effort. (Photo above by Elliott from NCF Comedy)


Last Saturday we left the house at 4.30am in order to get to Radio Leicester for a 7.30 interview. Later that day I, as Kev F, did an hour long podcast interview on the subject of the old comedy clubs of Leicester, and took the opportunity to leave some flyers around. So you can't say we hadn't made the effort in plugging Leicester. Burton, by the way, had also had a phone interview with the Socks and High Peak Radio which may, indeed, have made a difference to the audience size.





It was the 2nd night of our Leicester Comedy Festival that was the bonafide sellout, and a cracking show too. Before Buxton, we hadn't performed Socks Do Shakespeare in full since November 11th last year at the Nottingham Comedy Festival, which is a long time to go rusty in. Blimey, until I wrote it just then I didn't realise that's three months! Well, we did pretty bloody well then, though Buxton lacked a little spark, and some of that fluidity that comes with the confidence of a show that's on a roll. By Leicester it was all back to its Edinburgh form and great fun was had by all.


Another thing that was had by a few was the merchandise, including the freshly minted Socks Do Shakespeare DVD. It's a limited edition of just 50 copies, each one individually burnt, hand-packaged, signed and numbered, intended to be sold at gigs. It makes it quite clear on the outside that it's not broadcast quality, but I think it's a cracking memoir of the show, and I'm pleased we finally managed to make a show worth recording in its entirety, and managed to record it in full.  You;ll get that at the rest of the tour gigs after which, if there are any left, they'll go on sale online. (Photo by Deb Green)



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 17 - Dalkey Festival, Dublin
June 23 - Hertford Comedy Festival
June 24 - Ludlow Fringe
August 15 - 17 Camden Fringe

Friday, 10 February 2017

Othello and Love Story - new Socks Shakespeare videos


I'm dangerously close to having put Socks Do Shakespeare online in its entirety. With only Romeo and Juliet still to do, the rest of the show is now up there in bite sized chunks, thanks to me getting Othello edited and uploaded (click to play) and also Love Story.

Surely, you say, putting the whole show up there is going to decimate the sales for your tour dates? Well, it would seem not. Sales for the shows are looking healthy, with Buxton, the first show, less than a week away, and the bulk not happening till March. And the videos, unlike these Youtube sensation kids you read about like Pewdiepie and Jake Septic Eye and I don't know what (I am so old), who get millions of hits for everything they upload, are getting only a few hundred viewings a time.



It's true that you have to see the Socks live, so the videos act mostly as a reminder of the show you've enjoyed on stage. My plan is to make a DVD of the show, from these edited chapters, which we can sell as souvenirs. Let's see how that pans out shall we?


UPDATE: Romeo & Juliet's now online as well.


UPDATIER UPDATE (Mon 13th): F Up Some Shakespeare is now on Youtube too. That's the whole show. For the first time ever!

You'll find a full running order, with links to every clip, and analysis, of Socks Do Shakespeare in this blog here. Warning, it's a little naval-gazing and a bit self-congratulatory. But if you like detail about how I develop comedy material, it's there to be seen. See you all at the tour dates.



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 17 - Dalkey Festival, Dublin
June 23 - Hertford Comedy Festival
June 24 - Ludlow Fringe
August 15 - 17 Camden Fringe



Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Shrek Hugs Kermit - new comics by kids


The first comics of the year from my Comic Art Masterclasses have taken a month to emerge, largely thanks to me being busy at my desk drawing actual comic strips for a living. For a change. So only one day of classes in January, and now I'm into the swing of February. (You wait till you see the coming months. Some weeks I'm not out of schools from weekend to weekend, so let's make the most of this oasis of calm shall we?)



On the very first day of this year's classes (above, at Kings School Worcester) we had the first appearance of something that's going to become a trope we might not see the back of for a while. Donald Trump. Last year he was on more than 25 front covers, this year he's already cropped up on 2 out of 6.


I can never tell when a comic title, as suggested by the kids in each class, is going to inspire a good looking cover. I draw them quickly, during the class or occasionally at breaktime, and there's no time for a second stab if it doesn't work out. So, what I'm saying is, I'm well pleased when something like Shrek Hugs Kermit emerges. That second title, Whallabanasakayapanteyosemak, sounds for all the world like a real place name, but is just some random gibberish dreamt up by a Primary 6 (year 5) pupil in Denny, near Falkirk.


I've just spent two days teaching Newly Qualified Teachers how to do what I do, and how to teach how to do what I do. They came up with Michael Gove (nothing to do with schools any more, I hope, but fun to draw) and penguins. Good on them.





The celebrities these six classes chose for my demonstration strip were Donald Trump (twice), Simon Cowell, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, David Walliams, and Daniel Craig.

I have a few Comic Art Masterclasses coming up in spring 2017 that are open to the public. Book now, they'll most likely sell out quickly.




Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Feck News - and other trivia

I went on one of those Speak Your Weight machines. It said "2 decibels, 5 decibels, minus 3 decibels". I thought, that speaks volumes.

"Dave, can you redesign our tour logo in the style of - "

David Hockney: "Nailed it."

A t shirt design I did for a charity event the Chapple family will be doing in Edinburgh in August.

Just heard a story about Father Jack. Feck News.




So how come we see here 5 US satirical comedy shows, and we don't have one? You do realise the USA's population is only 5 times the size of ours, not 50? So they get Colbert, Noah, Myers & Fallon every night, with Samantha Bee weekly, and we get Have I Got News For You every few months, scheduled to run inbetween good news stories and always at exactly the same time as The News Quiz? Come on BBC (other broadcasters are available, but really?). Oh yeah and also, apparently, they don't get irony.

Everyone saying I'm not wearing eye make-up. It's Bowling Green Mascara.






For all of us hoping for Olivia Colman to be the next Doctor, it'd be a good idea to look at her trophy shelf. If she signed up for as long as Peter or Matt did, she'd be turning down the chance of another Golden Globe (win + 5 noms in other awards, for The Night Manager); a BAFTA, an RTS, a Crime Thriller Awards and a Press Guild Awards (4 wins + 5 noms, for Broadchurch); and those are just recent ones, being nudged off the mantlepiece by 15 other Winners trophies from everything from Sundance to Monte Carlo and back. And she still has to nab a Big One - yes, that elusive Comedy Award that she's been nominated for three times and still not taken home. Oh, and an Oscar, she'll want one of those. (Photo via DoctorWhoTV)

When Goebbels' secretary dying at the age of 108 is trending on Twitter you know you can dial the Celeb Death Alert down a peg.

You hear the phrase "We hope this year's Eurovision song will change all that" almost as often as "this Woody Allen film is his best since..."


Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here.



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