Sunday, 31 October 2010

You can’t lick this

The Times Higher, August 4th 1995, for a review by Lyndall Gordon of The Oxford Book of Letters, edited by Frank Kermode and Anita Kermode.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Creepy scrawly

The Times Higher, February 23rd 1996, for a review by Philip Thody of Arachne: Interdisciplinary Journal of Language and Literature, edited by David Darby.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Capturing consciousness

This Times Higher drawing, issue dated May 27th 1994, was for a review of The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul, by Francis Crick. The article was by C. U. M. Smith.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

and it’s time, time, time that you love

A THES drawing from the issue dated November 25th 1994, illustrating articles on the writing of history, one by Arthur Marwick, with a response by Hayden White.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

An illustration thing

Once more from the dusty archives of the Times Higher Education Supplement, published on April 7th 1995, this adorned a review by Allan M. Winkler of a book by James W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

As nature intended

A drawing from the THES,  May 19 1995, for a feature on Neo-Darwinism.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Clucks or eggs?

A drawing of mine from the Times Higher Education Supplement, March 15 1996, illustrating a review of two books, The Bell Curve Wars: Race, Intelligence, and the Future of America, edited by Steven Fraser, and The Bell Curve Debate: History, Documents, Opinions, edited by Russell Jacoby and Naomi Glauberman. The article was by Robert Audley and Richard Rawles, and you can see the whole page here.

An earlier drawing on this theme, also for the THES, can be found here.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Radio Bug

Sadly, the Speechification blog, main source for the last two radio posts, has gone off the air. You may still get some joy by searching Google’s cache of the site, at least for a limited time.

On the plus side though, BBC radio seems to be keeping ever more programmes available online for longer, for example The Age of the Genome, a four part Radio 4 series presented by Richard Dawkins from June is still available. Some Radio 4 programmes which are no longer available for streaming after a week, then turn up on the BBC World Service available indefinitely.

From across the Atlantic, here are three programmes looking back on the last seven years of war in Iraq, in order of my preference.

First, from This American Life on WBEZ, Iraq After Us, an outstanding hour of radio built primarily on interviews with Iraqis recorded in Iraq.

Second, on PRI’s The World, Reflections on Serving in Iraq, Former U.S. Army Captain Blake Hall interviewed by Jeb Sharp of How We Got Here.

Third, on WHYY’s Fresh Air, A Foreign Correspondent Reflects On Iraq War, Anthony Shadid of the New York Times interviewed by Terry Gross. The interview focuses on this story about the trials of a family trying to locate the body of a family member kidnapped, tortured, murdered, and dumped.

I had minor reservations on that last interview, to do with distracting comments by the interviewer, but I still recommend it.

Related, Roland Dodds writes, State Building in Iraq has Just Begun.

From those same three sources, let’s have some other topics.

Here’s a This American Life broadcast from 22nd of May 2009, Turncoat, on red-baiting amongst America’s Vietnamese population, on Brandon Darby’s trip from anti-cop anarchist activist to FBI informer, by way of encounters with one of FARC’s pals in Venezuela and a pro-Hamas bombing conspiracy in the US, and ending with reading a short story from Israel by Etgar Keret.

And another from PRI’s The World, Revisiting the Trial of Slobodan Milosevic, lawyer Judith Armatta talks about her experience of monitoring the trial, and of her book Twilight of Impunity. Interviewer Jeb Sharp includes a report from the trial she recorded in 2003.

Three related blog recommendations: Café Turco, Greater Surbiton, and Americans for Bosnia.

One more from The World, in the science archive, Seeking the Roots of Kindness: The Life and Work of George Price, in which Oren Harman talks about his book, The Price of Altruism.

And a blog post related to that, at Stumbling and Mumbling, Gamu Nhengu and the context of justice, on altruism, asylum, and familiarity.

A bunch from WHYY’s Fresh Air: Mark Feldstein talks about Jack Anderson and Richard Nixon, ruthless journalist vs ruthless politician, David Bianculli talks about The Smothers Brothers (see earlier post), Eric Foner on the evolution of Lincoln’s thoughts on slavery, and Isabel Wilkerson on the Great Migration (see earlier).

Finally, not really radio, from Wolfgang’s Vault, a 1978 interview with David Bowie. You’ll need to register for this, but it’s free, it just means being put on their mailing list. More Bowie at Bob’s.

PICTURE CREDIT! The comic strip is The Radio Bug in ‘If 8:15 isn’t a good hour, what is?’ by Walt McDougall, reprinted in Jerry Robinson’s The Comics, an Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art, soon to be reissues in a new edition. Copyright © Walt McDougall.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Sectarianism in the UK

Channel 4 News headlines it as: Tower Hamlets votes in independent mayor.

Francis Sedgemore puts it as: London jihadis control billion pound budget.

Via HP, reaction from Luke Akehurst of Labour’s NEC.

Also via HP, Jessica Asato, Labour Islington councillor on her experience of campaigning in Tower Hamlets, and Ken must go says David Prescott, and earlier, Ken Livingstone has left the Labour Party.

Bob from Brockley: An enormous EDL post.

From Your Friend in the North: “I have no interest in a party that does not want to be at the centre of government in Westminster.”

BONUS! On sectarianism in the US, via AM: Pictures of Muslims wearing things.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Waiting for Spring

Fall in Lebanon.

In Van, Turkey, looking to Iran and waiting for the thaw.

A woman in exile, reading.

Out from the Basij, in with Hezbollah.

Released by the regime, but still not free.

Speaking out.

Illustration by Bahman Dadkhah from the book Poems for Children, Iran 1972. More drawings at A Journey Round My Skull. Copyright © Bahman Dadkhah.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

War on TV

At The Afghanistan Conflict Monitor, a new survey: 60 Pct. of Britons Oppose UK Military Mission in Afghanistan.

In The Independent, Ian Burrell writes on a survey of TV coverage of Afghanistan:
The survey by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), in partnership with American analysts Media Tenor, examines the coverage of 37 international news programmes and names News at Ten – alongside Fox Special Report, CBS Evening News and ABC World News – as an outlet that devoted more than 50 per cent of its coverage of world news to stories about violence.

Steve Killelea, founder of the IEP, says such an approach is not helpful to the process of rebuilding countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq. "When too much media attention is placed on violence, 'security' is seen as the only way for establishing peace; this runs contrary to current study and analysis of what creates peace." The report claimed that the channel Al-Jazeera English provided a more balanced picture of events in Afghanistan than either the BBC or CNN.

It found that Al-Jazeera reported three times more positive stories on that country than the BBC, and eight times more than the American network.
(Thanks to RB.)

I usually find BBC Radio 4 a less sensationalist source of reporting than TV news, but have a listen to this recent File on 4 report on training the Afghan police, and compare its focus on a small number of cases of Afghan security force members killing ISAF troops with the very large number of Afghan police and military who have died fighting the Taliban. There is a story here that is not getting through.

The video below gives another view of training the ANP, via the Helmand Blog.

ADDED: For a view of Afghanistan as more than the name of a war, Francis Sedgemore recommends visiting Canada House (Trafalgar Square, London) to see their current photography exhibitions of Kandahar through Afghan eyes, and Unsung Heroes of Afghanistan.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Round our place

Just getting down to work when the heavens open and Peggy comes running up the stairs demanding to be let out in the back garden. Her mother refuses, but she threatens to fight me “to death” if I don’t, so we get raincoat and boots. By the time she’s out though, the weather has gone from hail to heavy rain and now to light rain. “It’s too late,” she wails, “It’s only spitting!” I tell her not to cry in the rain, she’ll get all wet. “I don’t care,” she shouts, and marches to the bottom of the garden where she struggles to undo the zip on the raincoat. I tell her I’ll take her straight back in if she does.

Then her boots are off, and she’s on the trampoline, bouncing in the rain that’s getting heavier again, hood down, almost hysterical with laughing. “Mama, where are you, look at me!” Suddenly, as the water soaks through her socks, she feels her feet freezing, and wails again, louder than ever. Out I go in the rain, lift her in, and her mother takes her up to a warm bed and a story tape. I follow with the cup of warm milk. She’ll need to be up again in an hour for the music lesson.

In the neighborhood

Art done for a neighborhood association poster. I won’t be able to make the party, though.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Afghanistan: the trust deficit

The Trust Deficit: The Impact of Local Perceptions on Policy in Afghanistan, is a report on how Afghans view the war, written by Erica Gaston and Jonathan Horowitz.

In the video above, Erica Gaston outlines the report’s findings, and discusses them with Michael Semple and Andrew Exum.

More links at Afghanistan Conflict Monitor.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Cathedral

Via Tigerloaf, here’s a blog outstanding in its combination of tight focus and bountiful richness: Weimar, on the theme of art and modernity in Central Europe. And with such a subject, political history is central to very many of the posts.

The above image is by an artist new to me, A. Paul Weber, the subject of a post at the Weimar blog. Though he was actively anti-Hitler, and was imprisoned for a period because of his politics, nonetheless the Nazis used his satirical drawings on British imperialism as war propaganda. More on his story at the Weber Museum.

Image copyright © the estate of A. Paul Weber.

Monday, 11 October 2010


Who were the “reasonable” Khmer Rouge?

Who are “the mainstream Taliban”?

Who is winning, and who is losing?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Cake No. 8

Digital proof, changes will be made.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Tico Tico

Performed by The Ray Conniff Orchestra, with celluloid spliced by the prolific Rob of Suburbanbatherson.

UPDATE: Suburbanbatherson gone from YouTube. More.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Cake No. 7

Above, digital proof, and below, hand-drawn colour separations.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

History by radio

The lovely hand lettering on this cover reminds me of FG Cooper. The background was printed with silver ink.

I’m still working my way back through the Speechification radio blog archive, and I’d like to recommend Stonewall: The Riots That Triggered the Gay Revolution, broadcast on BBC 2 last year. More Speechification recommendations from Poumista.

UPDATE 19th October: Speechification has gone off the air, along with its archive. I’m leaving the dead link in place in case of some future change of heart. In the meantime, Google’s cache might be useful.

I’ve also been revisiting the How We Got Here history podcast from PRI’s The World. From August, Jeb Sharp interviews film maker Yael Hersonski on her documentary A Film Unfinished, an investigation into the making of Nazi propaganda footage of the Warsaw Ghetto from 1942. More on the project from Bloomberg.

More recently from The World, yesterday in fact, Lisa Mullins interviews Cuban artist Inverna Lockpez on her experiences in joining Castro’s revolution, and how she became a casualty of the revolution. Comic artist Dean Haspiel has drawn an adaptation of her story, Cuba, My Revolution. His account of the project is here, and there’s an exhibition of art from the book currently at the Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn.

Inverna Lockpez’s own art is here. In the later part of the interview, she talks about coming to the US in the ’60s, still a liberal, but experiencing a difference with fellow artists of the American left:
...I could not talk about Fidel with my friends, with my artist friends, because they adore him, and they adore Che [...] Che Guevara is an idol for so many individuals, and they don’t know who Che was really, and after fifty one years people are still looking at Fidel like the saviour, the one that has stood against the Americans.

These covers all come from the fabulous collection at

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Cake No. 6

Cyan, magenta and yellow proof. The black plate hasn’t been drawn yet, and I will also be making  changes to these three colours.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Golden time

Here’s something nice that arrived in the post today. Ik hou zo van... de Gouden Boekjes is a history of de Gouden Boekjes, as Little Golden Books are called in Dutch, from the first arrival of American Little Golden Books in aid parcels to the Netherlands at the end of the Second World War, to the first Dutch editions published by De Bezige Bij, to the current editions by Uitgeverij Rubinstein. The book is written by Joke Linders, and beautifully designed by Piet Schreuders and Sonja van Hamel.

As well as publishing Dutch translations of titles familiar in the US, Rubinstein have restored and reissued some Little Golden Books long out of print in their country of origin, such as a favourite of mine, Bobby and his Airplanes, or Jan de vliegtuigman in Dutch. Over the years, the standard page count of Little Golden Books has been cut, and so most current editions of old classics are missing a major portion of the original illustrations. Rubinstein have produced restored editions of some of these titles, re-scanning artwork and printing them on high quality stock in hardcover with stitched binding, so if you want to get a new copy of Scuffy the Tugboat with all the pictures included, then it’s the speciale uitgave of Sloffie Sleepboot you need.

Below: A personal pleasure for me in this book is that I got to draw a number of well-known Little Golden Book characters for this interior illustration.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Right Wing Radio Duck

By Jonathan McIntosh, via Cartoon Brew.

An earlier Donald Duck post here.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Rad dead red zombie kitsch from HELL

At the Brand Licensing Europe trade fair in London earlier this week, I picked up this leaflet:
One of the most famous photos in the world, is now a legendary license!
This is the copyright protected photo taken by the legendary Cuban photographer Alberto Korda Guitterez. It depicts Che Guevara, legendary and romantic hero of the Cuban revolution on the 5th of March, 1960. Little did he know that it was destined to become one of the world’s most famous and recognized images, revered by Cubans, Central and South Americans and young idealistic Americans alike. Che has come to symbolise the epitome of the struggle of the working class and the oppressed everywhere. Even those who don’t know who he is know and recognize the image, adding to this “coolness factor”. The image is now available for licensing for a number of product categories and has been the subject of a very successful licensed apparel program in the United States and Europe, among many others. The excitement grows monthly as new image treatments are developed and new categories are added. Noted rap and hip hop artists have worn clothing with the Che image in the past year. Numerous international companies have licensed the image to symbolise the revolutionary nature of their company’s vision. It appeals to a wide spectrum of demographics for different reasons, and now it is available to enhance your licensing program.
As this BBC News story from 2007 explains, the popularity of this particular image of the late Mr Guevara is largely due to Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, who produced several poster designs based on the Korda photo on the late 1960s, initially in a psychedelic hippy style, then in the more familiar simplified red and black and yellow star brutalist stencil style. (Lots of examples from him on Flickr.)

As a child growing up in Ireland I enjoyed Jim Fitzpatrick’s illustrations, derivative as they were of popular American comics and art nouveau cheesecake. I knew him at the time mostly for his highly saturated and over-embroidered illustrations of Irish myth, his Thin Lizzy album covers, and his paintings for Captain America’s, the Grafton Street burger restaurant.

Later my friend Stephen introduced me to the sport of spotting poses in old American comics that had been swiped by Fitzpatrick. A favourite artist for him to copy was the artist Barry Winsor Smith, who had first become successful drawing Conan the Barbarian. Early rip off efforts by Fitzpatrick perfectly replicate the unnaturally small foreheads seen in BW Smith’s drawings.

Jim Fitzpatrick declared his Che Guevara images to be copyright free, in order to aid the cause of revolution worldwide, but you shouldn’t expect a similar attitude from the rights holders of the Korda photo, no matter how revolutionary your intentions. In 2005 the film maker Bruce LaBruce was sued for using the image in his ‘agit-porn’ movie The Raspberry Reich. Read his account here.

For more Che merchandising madness have a look at this thread from 2006 on the Typophile message board. It starts off with a discussion on a satirical Che cover illustration for the magazine Communication Arts. The fun really gets going on the third page of comments when the artist responsible, Cuban born Edel Rodriguez, turns up to respond.

Earlier on Airforce Amazons: Best use of a Che Guevara t-shirt.

2018 UPDATE: Jim Fitzpatrick has by now ended up exactly as you would expect, spreading pro Putin and pro Assad conspiracy garbage on Twitter. There’s not much room for brains inside those deformed Barry Winsor Smith-style barbarian skulls.