Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Socks All Request Zoom Party - the videos



The Socks first All Request Zoom Party was a resounding success, with positive reviews all round, and the next three shows already lined up throughout August. And I've now uploaded most of it, so you can enjoy it if you missed it. In order of appearance (having failed to record the opening routine, I'm A Sock song, Halloween and the Michael Jackson tribute routine) we begin with Period Drama (above). Then we have...






Always A Bastard, and rounding off with...


Star Wars. We ended the show with Sweary Poppins, but I won't upload that so we always have it for future live gigs, whenever they return.

By popular demand, the Socks are reviving three of their classic Edinburgh Fringe shows to perform throughout August. All three are on sale now:


Aug 13  Socks In Space  - Their 2013 sci fi extravaganza, including Star Trek, Alien, Star Wars, and a song about David Bowie's 65th birthday which we're sure hasn't dated at all.


Aug 21 - Boo Lingerie, the Socky Horror Show - Their 2012 horror special, including Frankie Valli and the 4 Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, Burke & Hare, Jekyll & Hyde and more.


Aug 29 - Socks Do Shakespeare - 2016's Shakespeare anniversary classic show, attempting everything fro Hamlet to the sonnets, Romeo and Juliet to Othello, and so much more. In fact, you name it, they'll try it.


All shows are at 8pm and are hour long shows (though they may overrun). One ticket admits as many people as can fit round the screen, so get the whole bubbled family in the room (then chuck the kids out, it's for age 12 and over only, some strong language).

Monday, 3 August 2020

Socks August Zoom Specials - on sale now

By popular demand, the Socks are reviving three of their classic Edinburgh Fringe shows to perform throughout August. All three are on sale now:


Aug 13  - Socks In Space  - Their 2013 sci fi extravaganza, including Star Trek, Alien, Star Wars, and a song about David Bowie's 65th birthday which we're sure hasn't dated at all.


Aug 21 - Boo Lingerie, the Socky Horror Show - Their 2012 horror special, including Frankie Valli and the 4 Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, Burke & Hare, Jekyll & Hyde and more.


Aug 29 - Socks Do Shakespeare - 2016's Shakespeare anniversary classic show, attempting everything fro Hamlet to the sonnets, Romeo and Juliet to Othello, and so much more. In fact, you name it, they'll try it.


All shows are at 8pm and are hour long shows (though they may overrun). One ticket admits as many people as can fit round the screen, so get the whole bubbled family in the room (then chuck the kids out, it's for age 12 and over only, some strong language).



We look forward to seeing you at our shows. Keep in touch with the Socks on Twitter and Facebook. And when live shows return, we look forward to heading your way in person again.



★★★★ 4 stars Daily Record



★★★★★ 5 STARS A Younger Theatre - Boo Lingerie

★★★★ "A riot of laughs" Broadway Baby - Chunky Woo...

★★★★ "Sock It To 'Em" - Broadway Baby on Boo Lingerie

★★★★ "Never mind the stand-ups" Edinburgh Spotligh...

★★★★ "More groans than Babestation" 4 Stars Giggle...



★★★★★ "Genius!" "Hilarious" etc - Edfringe Reviews

"Wee gem of a show" - Scotsman (reads like a ★★★★)

★★★★½ "Make you glad to be alive" - Liverpool Sound...

★★★★ "Eat your heart out, Olivier" - What's On Midlands...

★★★★★ "Accessible, contemporary and ridiculous" - Brighton Argus

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Animals Revolve Around Boris Johnson - new comics by Zoom kids


Zoom classes are indeed a different kettle of fish from being in the classroom, and nothing quite equates to making a roomful of kids laugh, but my latest spate of Comic Art Masterclasses delivered long distance have been fun, and a reassuring indication that I might be able to keep working in this way until normality returns. This bunch of classes have included a birthday party with the most time-zone-diverse attendees ever, my very first self-set-up classes, and a couple of classes that technically haven't happened yet.


A phenomenon of the current season is the one-off class, or what would have been a half-day back in the days of travelling. These morning or afternoon session are easier to do than ever before. Indeed I could do one in Inverness in the morning and one in Cornwall in the afternoon, should the need arise. God, I do hope some needs arise in the new school term. This was for an after-school group organised by Surrey Explorers.


These novelties are from two classes that, sort of, haven't happened yet. I have pre-recorded three half hour classes to be shown to kids in Waltham Forest. I've done them exactly like my normal Zoom classes, filmed on my laptop, the difference being there are no actual kids present. So when it comes to the naming of the comic, I react as if they're shouting out suggestions - and I would love it if some of them actually do that - then I put the comic together as if they have. Whether the finished items will be sent to the kids I don't know, but the client has them. I did a class for 6 to 9 year olds, one for 8 to 11 year olds, and one for 11 - 15 year olds (which didn't include naming a comic).


The first Zoom classes that I've set up and promoted myself ended up well enough attended, and were well worth doing (though at time of writing, their successors aren't selling too well. It's an irony that, when I turn up at a remote art centre in the middle of nowhere, they've usually sold out 60 tickets. But with the whole world as my potential audience, I struggle to pull in a dozen at a time). The kids were from as far afield as Boston Massachusetts and, I only discovered afterwards, one lad in Kinshasa. It's the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and now I can say I've taught comics there.


I'm supposed to be doing two sessions for Bexley Libraries, but only one's happened so far. This was it.


And the class with the most widespread audience was this, for a 10th birthday party. The birthday boy and friends were in Abu Dhabi, with guests in Dubai, South Wales, Oxfordshire, and one lad all the way over in Sydney. For me it was midday, it was mid afternoon in Abu Dhabi, and for the lad in Australia, the two hour session finished at 11 o'clock at night.

The celebrities these seven groups chose to star in my demonstration strip were Ariana Grande (twice), Robert Downey Junior, Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump (though those two shouldn't be counted cos they in the Waltham Forest classes, so I just pretended kids had suggested them), Donald Trump (once for real), and Stan Lee.


My next Comic art Masterclasses on Zoom are on August 5th and 28th, 10am and 2pm. Two hour sessions at the end of which everyone goes away having produced a comic together, and with a caricature by me.

Tickets are here:

Socks All Request Zoom Party - a success


Thanks to everyone who came to the Socks' very first All Request Zoom Party last night. It was a great turnout and we've had nothing but good feedback so far, with no-one seeming to mind the technical hiccups that I was so aware of. If you didn't see it, the line up - drawn from requests by the ticket-buying punters - was:

New opening routine
I'm A Sock song (inevitably)
Halloween (2nd most requested item)
Michael Jackson Tribute
Period Drama (unseen since 2010)
Macaque (09)
UKIP Song (14)
An Actor Prepares (from the most requested show, Shakespeare 2016)
Walk On The Wild Side
Casablanca (09)
Word Association (09)
Dead Ringer For Superman (from Superheroes 2018)
Always A Bastard (10)
Star Wars (09/13 from 2nd most requested show, ...In Space)
Sweary Poppins (09)

Popular items that we didn't include were I Change The Key, Horror Movie Cliches Song and Go To Greggs, because they'd been done so recently on Dean Friedman's Live Stream and are fresh on Youtube. We could have included more, as I realised when we got to the closing number and the show had only been 55 minutes long. The lack of live laughter makes a real difference to the length of a show, as we discover every year at Edinburgh when we find we trim a good five minutes of material in the first week as certain bits grow funnier and thus longer. That's not an issue on Zoom, where pausing for laughter is kept to a minimum, ergo over 60 minutes over material flying by in under an hour. It's okay, we padded and did an encore.

Mind you, I don't know if people were voting for material just cos they liked the sound of it, but the two votes for Kraftwerk Do Improv from 2008 didn't tempt me to dig that long-forgotten experiment out of the bin!

The three most popular shows chosen, and the ones that we're going to perform through August, were:

Socks In Space - which we'll do on August 13th
Boo Lingerie - which we'll do on August 21st
and Shakespeare - which we'll do on August 29th

The runners up were Superheroes and Minging Detectives, with mentions for Roll Up and another Best Of, and no votes for 2014's And So Am I (though people remembered the UKIP song fondly).


Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Missing the live experience - Comicons and Edinburgh


A very interesting breakdown of this past weekend's virtual San Diego Comic Con that can be summed up as "you had to be there - and no-one was".

This is what we've all felt, when trying to emulate the experience of a gig, a party, or even a drink with friends. Nothing but nothing equates to the 'buzz' of real people together in a room.

Zoom is proving annoyingly inadequate in allowing more than one person to speak at the same time. Though I'm having great experiences with my Comic Art Masterclasses and am looking forward to my first Socks Zoom gig on Friday, frankly having to 'mute' your class and your audience all the time, and unmuting for questions and applause, is really not the most satisfying feeling.

Comedy and theatre, and indeed the Edinburgh Fringe that I would have begun performing in a week's time, really are demonstrating the big difference between live shows and watching stuff on a screen. When you're in a room with an act there is a constant back and forth between performer and audience, even those who are sitting silently. Yes, even in the case of my comedy show (Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre) where I can't even see the audience and can only hear them. You can still feel them, and their every response - or, importantly, lack of one - affects what you do next and how you feel about it.

Thinking of comic conventions, the first I ever attended being around this time of year (maybe later) in 1979, every memory I have of it is something that simply couldn't be recreated virtually. We stayed up late in the bar surrounded by comic professionals whose names we'd only ever heard before, including Dez Skinn in a Captain America costume; I got to speak face to face with the biggest names in comics, including Jim Steranko and Chris Claremont, and Frank Brunner signed my Howard The Duck comic (in fact a whole load of people signed a whole load of stuff); I bid a quid for a rubbish item in the charity auction, the star prize of which was a 10 foot high movie poster that someone ended up having to try and take home on a train; and me and my mate Steve got to have a coffee with the entire staff of 2000AD. And we spent a record-breaking amount on comics (over £17, yes I said £17! That was a lot, when your weekly Marvel comic still cost 10p).

Try emulating any of those experiences on Zoom. Exactly. Man, I miss live stuff.

Did I mention my Zoom Comic Art Masterclasses are on August 5th & 28th? Almost as good as real life, on sale now. 


My next Comic art Masterclasses on Zoom are on August 5th and 28th, 10am and 2pm. Two hour sessions at the end of which everyone goes away having produced a comic together, and with a caricature by me.

Tickets are here:

Monday, 27 July 2020

Midsummer Night's Dream Team - work in progress (continued)



Having plotted, treatment, scripted and pencil-roughed my new 120 page graphic novel The Midsummer Night's Dream Team (as detailed in this earlier blog) the next steps are a bit of rewriting, and then the artwork. And it's the artwork that's turning out to be the revelation.

The rewriting mostly concerns the opening silent sequence. Both of my script editors, Heather and Steve, have concurred that the opening sequence is hard to follow. In the treatment (which very much suggested I was approaching this as a film as much as a comic book) I referred to that opening sequence as 'slow motion'. And whereas that might have given a dream-like effect that might have led us into the story, were it done on film, in comic strip panels it's ended up with people who you don't recognise yet, doing stuff you can't quite work out. I fear I may have to cheat it and put some words in to make it work. Those 15 pages are work in progress. The other script changes are just in the dialogue I think.

But the art, oh the art, that's a big step change. You see for the past two books (Findlay Macbeth and Prince Of Denmark Street, both available on Amazon) I've done A5 pencil roughs which I've blown up and traced through to the Bristol Board on a lightbox, then pencilled and inked. Because, as you can see from this example page of PODS, the roughs were very rough, and the bulk of the drawing was done at the pencil stage.
But with MNDT, the cartoony style of the characters, and the limited number of settings, has meant that for most of the book the pencil rough layouts are good enough for me to start inking over. Which realisation is when I hit on the idea of blueline. A lot of people do it, and I never have. Blowing the roughs up onto the Bristol Board as blue lines, inking over those and cutting out the re-pencilling stage. And it worked. Here's the blue line...


And at the top of this page you can see my attempts at inking, scanning, tweaking and finishing. I am indebted to my fellow artists on Facebook who replied with their tips. Dave Shelton passed on this tip: Image/Adjustments/Channel Mixer...

Then from the "preset" dropdown menu select "Black & White with Blue Filter"

Then click "OK"

Then they should disappear, though you might want to monkey with levels a bit to remove the last traces.


David Leach, Paul Holden and others had tips along similar lines which, when combined variously, seem to have given me a method that will work. Let us see how we progress. I shall keep my usual worksheet below...

Monday July 27th - Pages 36 - 41. 6 pages inked and assembled! How's that for a good start? On the first day of Findlay Macbeth art (Jan 2nd) I got two pages drawn, and on the first day of Prince of Denmark Street art (April 14th) I just got one page pencilled. To be fair, not only are the MNDT pages simpler, and these were 6 of the simplest ones, they're also not totally finished as I have backgrounds to drop in a couple. But still, 6 pages on the first day. If I did this every day I could finish the book in 20 days! (NB: I will not finish the book in 20 days. With a half dozen days of Masterclasses, a handful of Socks gigs and guest appearances, and the mailing out of over 100 Prince Of Denmark Street books in the coming weeks, we can look forward to this artwork being spread out over a goodly while yet).

Tuesday August 4th - 4 pages inked (34, 35, 42, 43), and the backgrounds drawn and dropped in for the interview room. No work done for a week, thanks to a day and a half of classes, the Socks first Zoom gig, another Dean gig, a day trip to Exeter, and two days packaging up Prince Of Denmark Street books and posting them.

And look, I made banner ads too. Get me, I'll be starting a Kickstarter before you know it.






My next Comic art Masterclasses on Zoom are on August 5th and 28th, 10am and 2pm. Two hour sessions at the end of which everyone goes away having produced a comic together, and with a caricature by me.

Tickets are here:

Saturday, 25 July 2020

I Change The Key & The 4 Horsemen - new videos by the Socks


Dean Friedman has been kind enough to ask The Socks to appear on his DeanZine LiveStream every week now, having previously appeared fortnightly, which means we're getting the chance to record and upload new songs every week. I say new, obviously they're hits from the back catalogue, with new vocals to accompany our "as live" appearances. This technique, of pre-recorded clips, looks like the best way of us doing musical numbers for our first live show next Friday. Above is our Johnny Cash tribute, from the 2008 show, and below...


Frankie Valli and the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, as seen in 2012's Boo Lingerie (The Socky Horror Show), and which stayed in the set well into the next year. A very popular number, and a pleasure to dig it, and its prop, out again.

DeanZine's LiveStream can be seen every Sunday night from 8pm on Youtube, Facebook, and all points inbetween (technology we really must master ourselves someday). We'll be doing another song this weekend stay tuned for that.


The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre's All Request Zoom Party takes place this coming Sunday, July 31st, at 7pm. Tickets still available

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Unbelievable Truth questions - Pandemics and Dinosaurs


Thanks to Felicity & Tom for organising another excellent Zoom quiz party, this time the challenge was based on Radio 4's Unbelievable Truth. You had to give an essay, sneaking 5 truths past the other contestants, disguised among the lies. Panelists get one point for every truth that they spot, but lose a point for a lie they mistake for a truth. Here are my two essays, see how many you get, answers below.

Unbelievable Truth - PANDEMIC

The first person to write about pandemics was JM Barrie in his book, the Adventures Of Peter Pan-demic, the boy who wouldn’t grow up, because he had polio. The word pandemic comes from the ancient wood-nymph Pan, who got up everyone’s noses. And the word demic, which is usually separated into two words de and mic. De mic is the thing a DJ talks into.

A pandemic means a widespread disease that you can ignore if your mate on Facebook says it’s all a hoax. The most fatal pandemic in recorded history was The Black Death in the 14th Century , which was so influential it lead to the Black Deaths Matter movement. 

During the Black Death, or Teutonic Plague , nearly 3 million people died. Though people didn’t call it The Black Death at the time preferring names like The Big Stink, The Big Easy, The Big Lebowski, and The Big Bad Wolf. 

After The Black Death, nothing unpleasant happened in all of Europe until the 20th century when suddenly we were struck with the 1918 event known as The Belgian Flu. The Spanish Flu of 1918 was so called because it started in Spain. 

Other dreadful things to have started in Spain are 
the Eurovision Song Contest, Big Brother,  The Macarena, The Birdie Song, and Baby Shark.

Using the same basic formula as the 1918 hit The Spanish Flu, Swine Flu was an international success in 2009. Swine Flu was so called because you got it from contact with pigs and pig products.

The current world number 1 pandemic, COVID 19, is so called because it was developed in a laboratory, after the 18 previous attempts had failed. Covid 19 was the star of the movie Contagion 

Other movies about international pandemics include:
One Flu Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Bubonic and Clyde, The Viral Staircase
Monty Python & The Holy Grail, and Orange Is The New Black Death

(Answers at foot of page)

Unbelievable Truth - DINOSAURS

Dinosaurs were invented in the 1950s by Ray Harryhausen who made the first dinosaurs out of plasticine.  Dinosaurs feature in his most famous films The Mighty Joe Young, The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad, and Jason and the Argonauts.

Other films that feature dinosaurs include
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
The Hunt For Red October
Dirty Dancing
Citizen Kane
 & The Usual Suspects

Dinosaurs in films struggle with the fact that actual dinosaurs are, of course, rubbish actors. So the Triceratops in King Kong was played by a small child in a suit, The velociraptor in Jurassic Park was played by a tortoise, and the dinosaur skeleton in One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing was played by buffalo bones and later made a guest appearance in Star Wars. 

The taxonomic term ‘Dinosauria’ was coined in 1921 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who put dinosaurs in his novel The Lost Boys. The name dinosaur means rubbish horse. Other literal translations of dinosaur names are
Triceratops - means a choice of toppings 
Stegosaurus - means Roof Lizard
Velociraptor - means cycling bird 
Pleisiosaur - means do what you like 
Brontosaurus - means lizard with a hacking cough 

The best dinosaur obviously is Tyrannosaurus Rex. A feathered dinosaur, the most complete specimen of a Tyrannosaurus is nearly 13 feet long and would have weighed 18 metric tons. Tyrannosaurs are most famous for their hit records. Top hits by Tyrannosaurus Rexs are:
Seaside Shuffle 
Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows 

(Answers at foot of page)


Answers PANDEMIC

Truths:
The Black Death in the 14th Century (TRUE)
People didn’t call it The Black Death at the time (TRUE, not recorded till 1750s)
The Macarena (TRUE, by Spain’s Los Del Rio in 1993)
Using the same basic formula as 1918 The Spanish Flu, Swine Flu... in 2009. (TRUE, Swine Flu & Spanish Fu are both H1N1)
Monty Python & The Holy Grail (TRUE, Black Death) 

Lies you may have mistaken for truths:
Teutonic Plague (in fact included Bubonic, Septicaemic and Pneumonic Plagues)
Nearly 3 million people died. (In fact 75 - 200 million people)
The Big Stink (no, that was the Thames)
The Belgian Flu. (No such thing)
The Spanish Flu of 1918 was so called because it started in Spain. (Not true, in fact, but everyone else suppressed news of their pandemics, except Spain, creating the false impression that Spain was worst hit). 
The Eurovision Song Contest (no, it started in 1956, they joined in 1961), 
Big Brother (no, Netherlands),  
The Birdie Song (no, Switzerland), and Baby Shark (Germany and South Korea).
Swine Flu was so called because you got it from contact with pigs (not true, a theory suggested it originated from pigs in central Mexico, but remains contentious ).
Covid was star of the movie Contagion (no, it was called MEV 1).

Answers DINOSAURS

Truths:
Citizen Kane (TRUE, Pterodactyls appear in CK, because stock footage from King Kong was used)
The velociraptor in Jurassic Park was played by a tortoise (TRUE, sound of Tortoises mating)
Dinosaur skeleton in One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing...made a guest appearance in Star Wars (TRUE, it was a model later used in desert scene in Star Wars). 
Stegosaurus - means Roof Lizard (TRUE)
Tyrannosaurus Rex. A feathered dinosaur (TRUE)
My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows (TRUE - album by Marc Bolan's Tyrannosaurus Rex)

Lies you may have mistaken for truths:
The taxonomic term ‘Dinosauria’ was coined in 1921 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (no, it was 1842 by Sir Richard Owen) who put dinosaurs in his novel The Lost Boys (no, The Lost World)
The name dinosaur means rubbish horse (no, terrible lizard).
Triceratops - means a choice of toppings (no, 3 horned face)
Velociraptor - means cycling bird (no, swift seizer)
Pleisiosaur - means do what you like (no, near lizard)
Brontosaurus - means lizard with a hacking cough (no, thunder lizard)
most complete specimen of a Tyrannosaurus is nearly 13 feet long (no, it’s 40 feet) and would have weighed 18 metric tons (no, 8 tons)
Seaside Shuffle (no, Terry Dactyl & Dinosaurs)

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Socks All Request Zoom Party July 31st


They're back - and this time it's impersonal.

I'm delighted to announce the Scottish Falsetto Socks' return to live performance with an hour long All Request Zoom Party on Friday July 31st at 7pm. We'll be performing the most popular choices, and some favourites from the suggestions, though we can't guarantee to squeeze everyone's suggestions in.

We had a successful technical rehearsal on Thursday 16th, a taste of which you can see here. We still have to improve the sound quality for recorded music, and I think I have that in hand. If this works, and indeed if anyone buys tickets for it (at time of writing, Saturday morning, we've been on sale for 12 hours and sold 11 tickets, so not a bad start at all) then I'd like to do a series of Socks shows through August when we would, of course, have been playing the Edinburgh Fringe. 

My favoured idea is redoing some of our classic shows. Having put out a shout on Facebook, the favourite choice so far is a Best Of show, with Socks In Space in second place, and Superheroes next. There have been votes for Boo Lingerie and Minging Detectives, but so far no shouts for Roll Up or Shakespeare. I may have to organise a better poll. 



UPDATE: Sales have been good. It's been like the good old days of Edinburgh, checking my stats every few hours to see they've gone up. The odd thing is, of course, that sales go up one at a time. Whereas, for a live show, tickets are commonly bought by couples. For an online gig, two people see you for the price of one. At time of writing (Weds July 22) sales stand at 34.
Sat July 25, sales are 41.

Friday, 17 July 2020

Comic Art Masterclasses on Zoom, July 23rd - open to the public




My first Comic Art Masterclasses, open to the public on Zoom, are now on sale. They're on Thursday July 23rd, one at 10am and one at 2pm, for age 7 and older.

Book now folks. As it says on the website...

Create your own comic characters, put them into a comic strip, create a comic book together and get your caricature drawn, in a fun two hour masterclass with Kev F Sutherland, comic writer and artist for Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who & many more.

Described as "not remotely tedious" by a Zoom pupil just the other day!

In under two hours Kev can make comics-creating easy for you, even if you think you can't draw. You'll get your caricature and the comic cover we create together emailed back to you, and will have learned so much you could steal Kev's job! All you need is a few sheets of A4 paper, a pencil, and any other drawing stuff you have to hand.

Tickets must be booked by parent, guardian or pet grown up, please. Class size is limited, but I won't mind if a sibling joins you on the one ticket and shares your screen.

Kev F Sutherland has full DBS clearance for working in schools, certificate No: 001560316200


UPDATE: By the weekend of July 18th, sales were low. Only 3 for one class and 5 for the other. So I put out a shout which may have sounded a bit desperate, on Facebook and Twitter. And it did the trick. At time of writing (the night before the classes) I have 16 in the morning class and 19 in the afternoon, which is a healthy number. I plan to line up more classes imminently.

Friday, 10 July 2020

The Traffic Cone



Storm in a teacup as I'm sure it'll turn out to be, I whipped up a lot of response on Facebook this week when I spotted this on the road outside our house. As I explained...

First world problems. Just drove to the shops and was delighted to find the space I'd left was there when I came back.
With a cone in it.
So, what do I do? Move the cone and take my space back? Or respect the thought that someone might have a genuine medical emergency and really needs that space?
I have done the latter. I'm currently on the double yellow line with a "local resident waiting for a space, please don't ticket" sign in the windscreen. Keeping an eye on that coned spot. If it turns out it's taken by someone who really needed the space, I'll feel like a good citizen who did the right thing.
If it turns out to be someone who just greedily nabbed and coned the space for their own selfishness, I shall never respect another traffic cone in a parking space again. That's fair isn't it?

I got a lot of responses on both my Facebook timeline and Hello Clevedon, here are just a few...

I’d move it. I doubt a traffic warden would be at all sympathetic to your sign and medical emergencies don’t usually leave enough time to plan to go out and put out a cone. They’re of no legal authority and you’ve as much right to park there as whoever put it there. - Steve

It'll just be someone with a sense of entitlement. - Other Steve

Putting things like cones or wheelie bins on the street to block out space without permission is an offence under the Highways Act, and anyone caught could be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100. - Hello Clevedon

Move it, it's not a legal cone. Its basically an unlawful obstruction. Only police cones are a legal requirement. - Dave

I work in car Insurance. If your car is insured and there is a legit gap, you can’t stop someone parking in a certain spot. Unless you have a drop kerb and they are blocking your drive. Or private property. I would have removed the cone and parked. End of. - Sim

Absolutely right what hello Clevedon said I had same issue with a neighbour who used to do this it back fired on him . Pay car tax park where you like . - Sarah

Move the cone.
Public road and you have a right to park. If it's an emergency they can park on double yellows and explain the situation to the authorities if need be. - Jonathan

Yeah move it ....no dibs on parking....the nerve of some people - Gary

The wardens are instructed not to read notes in the window. Move the cone you have a right to park on any unrestricted street in the UK - Jon

You really shouldn't get out more - Declan

Phone Cone-stabulary! - Neil

Walk - Paul

Bugger the cone. I would've popped it back on the pavement and parked. It's one step up from Wally's who put their bins out as though that is some international signal of ownership. - Graeme

We’ve got two people that do that who live near a primary school. It’s very sad and pathetic - Alice

We have turned a bit into a society which has an underlying feeling of 'entitlement' - perhaps this exemplifies this trend. Mercedes owners included presumably. - Dave

Take a photo of the cone before you remove it into safe keeping. Leave a printed image behind with a ransom note and a PO Box number for the payment if the owner ever wants to see it again. Should there be any delay you could cut out the shape of a little finger with a scalpel and leave it on the kerb side.…………I have been in quarantine for a while now so I don’t know if this is a film!!!!!! - Paul

When you see it again, put it in your own boot! He’s knicked it anyway, so it’s not his property! - Ian


I updated the story with the news that...

UPDATE: A car has come and taken the space, a big black Mercedes. And I suspect it is the cone-culprit himself. Why do I think that? Because the cone has now disappeared! (My bet is it's in his boot. If I see that cone again I shall move it, but not until I've secretly marked it with marker pen so we'll know it's his if he tries it again.)

Nice plan Sherlock Cones! - Bruce

Then, rather ominously, this post came on my timeline...

Which, if genuine, is quite worrying because the man who posted it is a Krav Maga self defence instructor? Is everyone so keen on me moving his cone now? (Actually, yes, you probably are, you sadistic lot.)

I'm sure that's the last we'll hear of the story.


Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres - AND NOW ONLINE VIA ZOOMemail for details. His graphic novels Findlay Macbeth and The Prince Of Denmark Street are available on Amazon. Follow Kev on Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Space Chicken - the last comics of March and the first on Zoom


Here, united in one montage, are the final two comics produced in my Comic Art Masterclasses in the old world, in live classes at Baldock Arts Centre on the 14th of March, and the comics produced in my first two Zoom classes, in the last week of June and the first week of July. The old times meet the new, and I'm so pleased to have returned to working with, if not in, schools once again.

After the longest break my classes have ever taken, I think, since I started them in earnest at the end of the 2000s, I'm back, thanks to the technology of Zoom, and the generosity and ambition of a first few schools and art centres. After March 14th's Baldock classes, the pandemic's effect well and truly took hold, and every school visit that was scheduled from that date onwards was cancelled. Nobody knew when that sort of thing would resume, but certainly throughout April and May there wasn't the slightest feeling that they might.

As we entered June, Hev and I were getting used to using Zoom for Felicity & Tom's regular quiz game  parties, and I'd been guesting on Dean Friedman's online shows with the Socks and, in June, played on the first of his Zoom gigs. It became clear that Zoom was a way that I could do classes, and I'd stayed in conversation with schools about the possibility of my classes resumed.

But it wasn't until Laura, a teacher at Red Maids Juniors in Bristol, took the initiative that we actively set up and did a day of Comic Art Masterclasses. And on June 24th, after a full three months away, I was back. You can see those first two comics in the montage. To begin with I was worried that the kids would miss the photocopied comic that we usually produce, but that wasn't an issue. And more than that, I was able to work with a larger number of pupils in one session. As long as they weren't bothered that only 30 per session would get their caricatures, then I was able to work with groups of 50 or more.

My second day of classes, with year 5 and 6 of Edgeborough School in Farnham, was on July 7th, and went even more smoothly. With a mix of kids in "bubbles" of classes of 12, sharing one video screen, and kids with individual ipads and laptops, I'm continually working out ways of making the classes hit the mark on Zoom. And, in lots of ways, it enables me to have more impact with some things than I do in the class.

Little by little, routines are changing and developing so that, soon, the Zoom classes will very much be their own entity. The only worry then will be, when live classes return, will I remember how I used to do them?

The celebrities these 6 groups chose to appear in my demonstration strip (which survives intact in the Zoom classes) were Donald Trump (twice), Lazer Beam (a Youtuber), Kim Kardashian, Kim Jong Un, and The Queen.

I have two more days of classes lined up in July and two in August, so far, with the hope that more will continue to be added. Let's see if, by the start of the new term, whether this couldn't become my new way of working. Until, as we all hope, normal service is resumed.

(That said, the amount of time I've not spent stuck in a car is already appreciated. Today's classes in Farnham would have seen me drive 230 miles and be in the car for four and a half hours alone. The forthcoming classes in Bexley, Surrey and Harrow would have seen more of the same. The petrol station's loss is my gain, with the comic covers from each of these classes being coloured and emailed back to their schools faster than I would have made it as far as Leigh Delamere services.)


Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres - AND NOW ONLINE VIA ZOOMemail for details. His debut graphic novel Findlay Macbeth is available on Amazon. Follow Kev on Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Monday, 6 July 2020

Should The Socks do a show on Zoom?



How's this for one of our more popular suggestions? Fired up by doing a second Zoom concert as guests of Dean Friedman, the Socks made a quick video and put out the suggestion - Should We Do A Show On Zoom

The reply seems to be a pretty resounding yes so far. In the first fifteen minutes since the question went out on Twitter and Facebook, we've had about 20 thumbs up, with more coming in. Thanks everyone.

(Making mental note to make sure the first replie-ees get reminders when we set a date.




Case van Stolk
I’d love to watch the Scottish falsetto sock puppet theater over zoom!
Nick Kent
Please never do anything on mute :)



  • Linda Brooks Socks.... would LOVE to see you on Zoom!!
    My all time favourite moment is the false teeth Bee Gees scene 😬
  • Wendy McAngus Yes please!



    • Lindsey David Vigor The socks were soooooo funny on DeanZine last night. Best backing group ever and multi-talented, is there no instrument they can't play????????
    • Wendy Verth Yes please 🙋🏻‍♀️
    I'm going to have to stop cutting and pasting these from Facebook, as the amount of code that comes with each message is mind boggling and might just break Blogger. Suffice it to say I have to get cracking and schedule a gig.
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