Friday 28 May 2021

Comic Cuts - the panels

Thankyou for listening to Comic Cuts - The Panel Show, our podcast about comics. Every episode two guests bring a panel from a comic for us to identify and talk about. Here are those panels.

Comic Cuts on Spotify * Amazon Music * Apple podcasts * Buzzsprout

Episode 1 - Doug Segal & Iszi Lawrence. Listen here

Episode 2 - Sonia Leong & Nigel Parkinson. Listen here

Episode 3 - Peter Hogan & Bethany Black. Listen here.

Episode 4 - Ashley Storrie & Louise Leigh. Listen here.

Episode 5 - Jessica Martin & Wil Hodgson. Listen here.

7 - Jaleelah Galbraith & Okse

Kev F Sutherland is a comic writer, artist, and entertainer. You'll find his comics, graphic novels, and teaching & public speaking at and his award-winning comedy act The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre at He's on Twitter @KevFComicArtist and @falsettosocks and on Facebook as KevFComicArtist and ScottishFalsettoSocks

Comic Cuts - the first three recordings

On Wednesday I recorded my first three Comic Cuts podcast episodes, and I'm genuinely pleased with them. Technical issues notwithstanding that is. I've found that I need to give a little more attention to the quality of sound recording, and I'm working on it. The first recording was with Ashley Storrie and Louise Leigh. You can see their comic panel choices in the episode image (above) and I won't be spoilering any of these by giving the answers away before the broadcast goes out. I had this one edited and ready to go before I recorded the second show, I'll be scheduling it in the weeks to come.

Recording number two was Doug Segal and Iszi Lawrence, and this is the episode I've chosen to go out as our debut. Doug & Iszi both recorded their own vocal tracks separately and sent them to me. Had I recorded my own separately this might have been a perfect recording. As it is, my voice came only from the Zoom track, meaning it has the other guys voices in the same track. Inevitably this one took longer to edit than the others have done, but it was worth it. We have a great and wide ranging conversation, that takes us away from the source material in inspiring ways I couldn't have anticipated. And all squeezed into a 35 minute episode (I was trying to get it down to 30 mins, but sometimes you can only trim so much).

Episode 1, Doug & Iszi, is here on Buzzsprout, and already comes up on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, as well as Amazon Music Podchaser, Podcast Addict, Deezer and others. 

The third recording of the day was Sonia Leong and Nigel Parkinson, and is going out as episode two (on Friday, after which we'll release them weekly). Once more the conversation was wide ranging and inspired, and I struggled to edit it down to 38 minutes. 

This one, however, suffered from the worst of my tech issues. Though my microphone was set at the same level as it had been for Ashley & Louise in the morning, for some reason there's sound bleed through my headphones which means you get an echo on Sonia and Nigel's voices which are all on the Zoom track, and my voice is peaking. Hopefully the "Magic Mastering" feature on Buzzsprout has equalised our voices slightly. But I'm going to have to address my microphone issues (which haven't cause me any problems for the last year of Socks performances, but are suddenly noticeable in podcast recordings) before the next batch of shows.

Episode 2, Sonia & Nigel, is here on Buzzsprout, and should be on all the usual outlets.

On Monday I'm recording Peter Hogan with Bethany Black, and Jessica Martin with Wil Hodgson, and on Wednesday I have Jaleelah Galbraith with Okse, Laura Howel with Nigel Auchterlounie, and David Leach with Laura Watton. Here's to perfect sound and even better chat, eh?

Talking of changing the subject, I've produced my first ever banner, for use at comic conventions. It should be appearing at LFCC in London in July, the Lakes in October, and Thought Bubble in Harrogate in November. It makes its debut in Clevedon next month...

My first live Comic Art Masterclass, open to the public, is Sat June 12th  at Princes Hall Clevedon. Book now!

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Comic Cuts - The Panel Show. I'm doing a podcast

At the weekend I chatted in the car with Hev about the idea of doing a podcast - because she's started doing one with Dr Jude Montague, which you can hear here, and I was inspired.  

Lo, by the end of Monday, I've got rsvps from probably 25 guests (the tally keeps going up) and have lined up my first recordings for Wednesday. 

The title is Comic Cuts - The Panel Show. Steve Noble can take credit for the second part of that title, reminding me of the "panel" pun inherent in the concept (having googled and found there are already shows called The Panel, and one about comics called The Panel Panel, we wound up with what you now see).

The concept is, to be honest, borrowed from a TV show that was on Channel 4 in the 80s called Gallery, where George Melly and guests, including Maggie Hambling, would see a tiny detail from a painting, try and guess what it was, then chat about it. That's what we're doing, with two guests per show, and all about comics. My starting point being that I wasn't aware of any podcasts covering British comics. It turns out there are in fact quite a few, which I've started dipping into. Though, to date, I'm mostly hearing discussion of 2000AD or American comics. Let us see if my format, which also owes a lot to Radio 4's A Good Read, works when I've recorded the first few.

Lined up for Wednesday I have Louise Leigh with Ashley Storrie, Iszi Lawrence with Doug Segal, and Nigel Parkinson with Sonia Leong. And the following Wednesday I've lined up Okse with Jaleelah Galbraith, Nigel Auchterlounie with Laura Howell, and David Leach with Laura Watton.

On the rsvp'd list I have Dean Friedman, Juliet Myers, Peter Hogan, Bethany Black, Jessica Martin, Paul Savage, Gary Northfield, Wil Hodgson, David Roach, Alex Collier, Simon Donald, Rik Carranza, and of course Steve Noble and Hev, with more on the possibles list (and only two No's, who I'll leave anonymous, they were both very polite). I'm trying to keep the male/female balance even if I can, to avoid being another two-blokes-in-a-shed cast.

Let us see how flat on its face this venture falls, shall we?

My first live Comic Art Masterclass, open to the public, is Sat June 12th  at Princes Hall Clevedon. Book now!

Friday 21 May 2021

Nans galore - comics by kids, in real life and online

These two comics were produced by pupils at Colmore Junior School in Kings Heath, Birmingham. And eagle-eyed readers of this blog may notice something they've not seen on these comic covers for a while: little doodles by the kids themselves. Yes, for the first time in a year (apart from a one-off visit to Coventry in October last year, during the false-optimism-break) I've been back in a real school in person and it's been great. Having had to skip 2020, my annual visits to Colmore have resumed, teaching all four groups of Year 5s. They took away photocopied comics, and I found I could remember how to do everything as if I'd never been away.

These are from day two at Colmore, where an obsession with nans and grandads seems to have set in. Note how I swerved the dumping image they were obviously going for. The little scamps. Classes were done without masks even, those only being needed in the corridors, and it all felt very back to normal. Though I did hear from a teacher in the staff room who'd suffered from quite bad Covid just this year, being hospitalised and, ironically, catching it in the week after he'd been vaccinated. So we shouldn't get too complacent just yet.

Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham was a Zoom class on a Sunday afternoon. Another perfect one, with kids on separate screens, and without me having to travel to Kent, which is the sort of luxury I'm going to miss when we do get fully back to normal.

Selskar College in Wexford was the first of my two totally coincidental classes with Wexford schools in little over a week. This one had to be done on Teams, which is the most frustrating of software, but went smoothly and was great fun.

Arc Arts Centre in Stockton's class also had to be run on Teams and was much more frustrating, with me discovering more vagaries of that annoying software I hadn't encountered before. When kids are watching on a phone the Teams software zooms in on their image so as to fit a widescreen box, meaning I was seeing an ultra close up shot of peoples noses and couldn't understand why they wouldn't get further away from the screen to be drawn and to show me their work. I guess, before now, when I've been obliged to use Teams, people have been on tablets and laptops so this hasn't occurred. It is such a user-unfriendly system, Microsoft Teams is the biggest thing I won't miss about online classes.

Kennedy College in Wexford rounded up a busy week, and indeed the month, of classes, in style. They have to wear masks in class still, and I came up against my first, and only to date, pupil who wasn't comfortable taking her mask off, even to be drawn. She relented later, so ended up with two versions of her caricature (you can see them on the back cover, above). Zoom on two big screens, now you ask.

The celebrities these eight groups chose to appear in my demonstration strip were Elon Musk, Ariana Grande, The Queen (twice), Michael Jackson, Harry Styles, Da Baby (a rapper), and Mr Beast (a Youtuber).

My next Comic Art Masterclass open to the public - and my first in the flesh since March 2020 - is on Saturday June 12th at Clevedon Literary Festival. On Sale Now!

Saturday 15 May 2021

Eurovision Sock Contest report

And the winner was.... the UK. Quite to my surprise, waltzing away with 48% of the vote in the Socks' Eurovision Sock Contest last night, was Fine Fare singing Stick Your Brexit Up Your Arse.

I'd rather overlooked it as a contender, as it was the only song in the show that had been written before last week (it featured in Roll Up in 2019 and had been included in live shows before that, certainly as long ago as our Denmark tour in 2018). And the punters loved it, which is great. 

I must admit I was surprised by most of the voting. The song that I thought would win easily came in fourth, and my other two favourite compositions got no votes at all. The biggest delight for me, though, was that all 6 new songs were written in the past week. It was only last Saturday, in the shower, that I came up with the idea for the East Bloc and French songs. Then, in the car to the shops, I started busking ideas for the Austro-Hungarian song, which Hev took down as dictation and emailed to me later. On Monday I recorded those three songs and came up with the Ireland song, and on Wednesday wrote and recorded the Scandinavian song. As a last minute afterthought, easily the quickest to write and record, I rattled off the German entry, secure in the knowledge it would get no votes whatsoever. Here is how the show went...

In The Bins - Graham Norton (Ireland). To the tune of It's A Sin, I thought this was a fun idea, singing about the presenters' booths at Eurovision, but didn't expect it to get votes. It came 5th.

Nous Somme Francais - Johnny Forrina (France). I thought this was the funniest set of lyrics, and it did indeed get some good laughs. It attracted, however, no votes. (Had we been able to do a more sophisticated voting system, I'm sure it would have been lots of peoples' second choice).

Thumping - Deconstructivist Kollectiv (Germany). I honestly thought this was a throwaway filler and would get nowt. It came joint second. Hev loved it and thought it was the closest to an actual Eurovision entry, Steve (Noble) compared it to the stuff we did at art college, and even name-checked Einst├╝rzende Neubauten in comparison. Who'd have thunk it?

East Bloc People - Azherbi-curious (Former Macedoslavian Republic of Serblakia). Because it was written to someone else's tune (Pulp's) I thought less of it, but it was the first song I came up with in the shower and I can see why it came in joint second place.

Scandi Noir - Sexiblonde (Norway/Sweden/Denmark/Finland/Iceland). I was most proud of this because it's a totally original composition (as are the German and Autro-Hungarian songs) rather than a re-wording of someone else's tune, and I thought the premise of it was very clever (that the Scandinavians will get Scandi Noir on your ass if you don't vote for them). The voters thought otherwise, nul points.

Stick Your Brexit Up Your Arse - Fine Fare (UK). The outright winner, as previously seen in our 2019 show, but not by most of the viewers of tonight's show. I guess it is a very funny number, tried and tested on stage many times, with a sentiment the audience agree with. A deserved winner, even though I'd have loved something else to get that much love.

Ignore The Song - Deep C Diva (Austro-Hungarian Empire). Far and away my favourite song of the night. An all-original composition, with lyrics lampooning Eurovision stage productions, it was also the only entry to have a video production, with the Socks performing in front of clips from actual Eurovision shows. I thought this entry would walk it, and the others would trail in its wake. Shows what I know, it came in fourth. I still think it has genuine merit and beats lots of genuine Eurovision entries for quality, though I may be delusional.

Dean Friedman did two numbers, knocking everyone out with his rendition of Lydia at the end of the show, and the aftershow chat was great, with nearly 30 people staying and joining in. We eventually wound up around 10.30.

I haven't announced the next Zoom show yet, concentrating on the live shows we have lined up. Let's hope the punters are champing at the bit for our return when I do.

Live shows:

May 29 - Leics Showground Harborough  (cancelled)

June 11 - Bath Widcombe (20 mins) 

June 26 - Zion Bristol (Shakespeare at Zion’s 10th anniversary party) 

June 28 - Frog & Bucket Manchester, Beat The Frog 

July 2 - Lichfield Garrick (Fingers Crossed)

Jul 3 - Theatre Shop Clevedon (Superheroes)

Jul 4 - Derby Bar One (Fingers Crossed)

July 18 - Sheffield New Barrack (Fingers Crossed)

July 24 - Bedfringe (Fingers Crossed)

Sept 3 - Whitchurch Comedy Fest

Sept 4 - Stourbridge Comedy Fest

Sept 17 - Bridport Arts (Shakespeare)

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