Arts and culture cartoon: The waiting game

Sometimes you have to wait quite some time before a cartoon which is taken by a magazine actually appears in its pages. The above cartoon is a case in point. It appears in the current issue of The Spectator. My records show that it was part of a batch of cartoons sent to the magazine on May 8th, 2007. So it has taken 13 months to see the light of day.

I've found, from talking to other cartoonists, that this is not unusual. Some have horror stories of even longer delays. My own personal record is the cartoon below which appeared in the New Statesman in early 2001, two years after they took it.

By the way, Newsnight Review, for those not familiar with it, is a BBC2 arts show that is screened on a Friday night after the regular Newsnight show. It's always good for a laugh as some of the comments of the participants can be a bit on the pretentious side. It's particularly amusing when discussing stuff that isn't generally what you'd call high-brow. For example the poet and critic Tom Paulin seems to say about more or less any Hollywood film, "Essentially, I think, the subtext here is Vietnam."

Kids, on the other hand, have two default settings when it comes to "reviewing" films and TV. As a parent I'm acutely aware that everything is "cool" or "boring". They should hand Newsnight Review over to the kids for one show. They'd get through a lot of stuff.

***UPDATE July 4, 2008***
Unbelievably, the "Newsnight Review for Kids" cartoon has come true! This week they brought in a panel of kids, rather than the usual pundits, to discuss the stage version of High School Musical. The words "like" and "cheesy" were heard a lot more than usual. Here it is: The REAL Newsnight Review for Kids.

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Boardroom cartoon: A bit topical

I do cartoons for various business/trade magazines. Usually they're drawn to accompany an article, in this case one about governing boards putting together questionnaires to assess their own effectiveness. But on occasion you can allow a spot of topicality to creep in – which is what happened here.

Note to non-UK readers: there has been a spate of cases where officials have left top-secret documents on trains and buses lately. The public reaction to this phenomenon was summed up neatly by the comedian Jeremy Hardy on Radio 4's News Quiz: "Everyone says, That's ridiculous! What kind of person would do that? And then you stop and think ... I would do that ..."

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Comic strip: The Wedding Present

Here's something else a bit different from the usual gag cartooning, an excerpt from a comic strip drawn for a forthcoming book about David Gedge, lead singer of influential indie band The Wedding Present. Click the image to enlarge.

I used to draw strips for the band's fanzine in the late 80s/early 90s and was invited, along with other cartoonists who drew for the band, to contribute to the new book. We were provided with rough storylines, and asked to illustrate and expand on them. My strip was a transcription of a real tour-bus conversation, to which I added a few humorous flights of fantasy.

A postscript to this is that I received a free copy of the band's new album El Rey this week and found that I'm among the thank-yous in the CD booklet! As I've been a fan of the band for 21 years I got quite a kick out of that.

You can see a couple of my strips from 1989 at the Wedding Present fan site Something and Nothing.

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