Music business cartoon: It's that dog again

This cartoon is in the March issue of Prospect. It was inspired by a story in the news a while back about the new EMI boss insisting that his acts work harder. But the cartoon was non-specific enough so that it has "legs", unlike some topical gags.

Bizarrely, this is the third "HMV dog" cartoon that I've had published in the last six months or so! Click on "HMV" under Labels below to see the others.

Cartoons by Royston


Cartoon TV show: Modern Toss

I was asked by the Editor of The Jester (the Cartoonists’ Club newsletter, which I edited until the end of last year) to write a review of the TV series Modern Toss. So I did.

Review: Modern Toss, Channel 4

Private Eye readers may remember when, a few years ago, cartoons started appearing in the magazine by someone called “Link”. These caused some grumbling in the cartooning community because they were, frankly, baffling.

It wasn’t just the fact they were drawn in a na├»ve, scrawly style, that got people’s backs up, but the fact that no one could see what the joke was. I recall one featured someone with a profusion of nose hair saying, “I’m having a bad nose hair day” … nope, still doesn’t do it for me.

Shortly afterwards, a magazine called Modern Toss appeared, filled with cartoons by Link, who we now knew to be Jon Link, and his cohort Mick Bunnage. Here the odball ideas were fleshed out to strips as well as spot cartoons. These were pretty juvenile and largely based on elaborate swearing (especially “Mr Tourette – Master Signwriter”) but they were more successful than the spot gags. Although there was still an “Emperor’s new clothes” feel, there were chuckles to be had.

Now you can experience Modern Toss on the telly, its second series appearing in the wee small hours of Thursday morning on – where else? – Channel 4.

It features animations, live-action sketches and a mix of the two. So you get real scenes populated by characters that look like doodles drawn while on the phone. The look of the magazine is reproduced faithfully and the end result is a TV series that’s hit and miss but pretty funny in places. And it’s certainly one of a kind!

A character called Drive-by Abuser made me laugh a lot. He’s a scribble who drives around on a moped hurling pointless abuse at things such as traffic lights, and a tree shedding its leaves – “You gonna clean up that mess? You want a f***ing dustpan and brush?” He has that cheery London demeanour which means that his foul-mouthed tirades are always followed by a friendly “See y’around, yeah?”

Most of the sketches put you in mind of the kind of daft things that people pass around by email. In fact, the internet is probably the natural home of this show. If you do a search for Modern Toss on You Tube you can see lots of the sketches there. Just make sure the f***ing nippers aren’t around, yeah?

Cartoons by Royston


Theatre cartoon: A-level comes in handy

This cartoon, in the February issue of Reader's Digest, is one of those where the magazine wanted an edit. Originally I had another line at the end in the speech bubble: "I expect he'll be here soon." But I think they thought the point was already made. I think they were right.

I find that editors usually are right (probably because I used to be a newspaper sub-editor myself!) so I'm never very precious about making changes. I always think of that Gary Larson line: when his editor suggested the title "The Far Side", Larson was just so happy to be seeing his stuff in print that his comment later was, "They could have called it Revenge of the Zucchini People for all I cared".

This is not the first Waiting for Godot cartoon I've done. I'm not a huge Beckett fan or anything, but I studied it for A-level so it's etched on my brain - particularly the memory of a young, female teacher reading out the line "let's hang ourselves, it'd give us an erection". Never forgotten that for some reason ...

This is another cartoon submitted for the "But is it Art?" exhibition, part of the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival.

Cartoons by Royston


Art cartoon for the Shrewsbury festival

Here is one of four cartoons I submitted for the "But is it Art?" exhibition which is part of the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival. The festival takes place on the weekend of April 18-20, though the "But is it Art?" show will run from March 30 until April 26.

Cartoons by Royston


Valentine's Day cartoon

Here's a limited edition pink cartoon for all you lovers out there ...

Cartoons by Royston


Private Eye cartoons: A hit and a miss

Here are two cartoons submitted to Private Eye – a hit and a miss. The top one is in this week’s issue. Expect to see the show they’re watching on Channel Five within three years. You read it here first.

The second gag I’m posting here because it’s one of those topical ones that you can’t send on to another mag because the story is finished. (Note for international readers: Jeremy Beadle was a TV practical joker who died last week). I was pleased with the cartoon as I thought the joke was simple and funny. I thought it was in with a chance as the Eye often goes for “gravestone” gags after the deaths of well known personalities. But what do I know? They passed on it.

I also considered just the gravestone with the words “Beadle’s Not About” (after his show “Beadle’s About”) but decided against it. The following day that was the headline on the front page of The Sun, proving that my skills as a newspaper sub-editor (I was one for eight years) are still intact!

Cartoons by Royston