Tuesday, July 31, 2007

from the archives, week 10 

S.O.B. A6 number 3, circa late '93.

More extensive use of colour coming up next week. Brace yourselves.

Monday, July 30, 2007

double whammy 

It must be a very hard time right now for all those people who were devotees of the work of both Ingmar Bergman and Mike Reid. My heartfelt sympathies to you.

Friday, July 27, 2007

life of a pen part 2 - page 8 

Click image for larger version.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

from the archives, week 9 

From S.O.B. A6 No 3, late '93ish

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Packshot Thursday is taking a break. It may return sporadically or it may not, depending on if I think of any more buyable stuff I'd like to write about (or whether or not an evil multinational offers me a lucrative sponsorship deal). So next time I discover an exciting new marmalade I'll let you know but I don't really want to force myself to write about stuff halfheartedly just for the sake of it.

That said, I shall try to even up the word/picture balance a bit from here on.

More words soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

from the archives, week 8 

Another spread from Seawhite of Brighton (I may start to abbreviate that to S.O.B. regardless of the possible confusion) A6 sketchbook number 3, circa autumn '93.

(Just realised, I don't think I've yet linked to Seawhite's website which is a bit scandalous after mentioning them so often. It's here).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

life of a pen part 2 - page 7 

Blimey, over a month since page six. Very poor. I do apologise.

Click image for larger version.

packshot Thursday number 6: King of Shaves shaving gel 

Is it because their industry is basically all about lying that people in advertising are referred to as "creatives"?

Most of what they do seems not to be especially creative at all - unless paying obscure eastern European animators to remake their award winning films (laboured over in poverty and darkness for seven years and eventually seen by a worldwide audience of sixty three) to include a packet of Persil can be deemed to be creative. Perhaps it can. Certainly it creates an improvement in the obscure eastern European animator's bank balance.

But this financial creativity is dwarfed by the creative achievement of the advertisers' mendacity. True, there are few individual lies in advertising - there is legislation to prevent this. If the ad states that you can comfortably fit four elephants in a Renault Espace then you can bet that somewhere at Renault HQ they have photographic evidence of such a feat along with signed and witnessed declarations from the elephants in question that they at no stage felt in any way cramped and, oh, by the way, the sound quality of the stereo was amazing. But there are ways and ways of lying and the advertiser's way is magnificent in its scale. Every individual statement may be true but together they are configured to build The Big Lie, the only lie they ever tell, the one upon which all advertising is based:

This Product Will Change Your Life.

And again, in one sense, that's true too. If I buy some Lynx deodorant then undeniably my life has changed. It now has slightly less money in it and smells strongly of chemicals. Not a big change but a change nonetheless. However, it is not, strangely, changed with regard to the frequency with which my presence elicits unbidden and uncontrollable sexual urges in attractive (as defined by the readers of FHM) young women.

But of course there's no suggestion that we are meant to believe this stuff. It's all very knowing and ironic and inclusive. It's all one big joke that we've been invited to join in on, so that we're chuckling to ourselves as we buy the latest brand of overpriced snake oil. But it feeds The Big Lie just the same. Consume your way to happiness. It's not that your life is deeply unfulfilling through a total absence of character, spiritual substance, job satisfaction and meaningful interpersonal relationships. Oh no. It's just that you're using the wrong brand of toilet cleaner. You fool, you brought it upon yourself. It's not as if the CGI-animated duck didn't make it perfectly clear to you. And look, your jeans don't have a brand name writ large across your arse, your trainers* weren't made by genetically modified Filipino orphans (to keep costs down so as to finance the multi million dollar endorsement of this year's most famous piece of sporting muscle), the water that you're drinking, good God, man, came out of the tap and your razor (as we slowly drift toward the point) has only two blades. You, sir, are clearly a loser.

In fairness (or as close to it as I care to be) to advertisers, the task of selling shaving products isn't easy. In essence the process is a simple one: sharp metal, its passage eased by means of some form of lubricant, dragged across flesh so as to avoid the unnecessary unpleasantness of possessing a beard. It's gone on for a while now, no one over the age of fourteen enjoys it, it's just one of those quotidian nuisances in life. So, you know, it's not something you should expect anyone to get excited about.

But look at the ads! Gilette, you will no doubt be aware, is "the best a man can get". Note that they're not merely saying that it's the best shaving product a man can get, it is just the best. Presumably the best anything. There is, apparently, no life experience that can equal, much less surpass, that of shaving with Gilette's patented gloop plastered over your mush. I can't help thinking that, if true, this is a shame. It certainly takes the edge off many of my more ornate fantasies. If wrestling with Jennifer Jason Leigh in a bathful of custard isn't going to be as much fun as shaving then I guess (and I feel confident that, in this, I would have Miss Leigh's full agreement) it's not worth the bother**.

Shaving though (done right) clearly is worth the bother. Look at that chap on the telly, the man with the strange face that has all the attributes of a human's and yet, through its very perfection, is deeply unnatural. He's just had a shave and look, he can't help but run a rugged manly (and yet surprisingly sensitive) hand down across the contours of his jawline to feel the perfect smoothness that has resulted. The sheer satisfaction of a job so very well done combined with the sensual ecstasy of his rugged manly (and yet surprisingly sensitive) hands on his rugged, manly (and yet surprisingly sensitive) skin makes it impossible for him not to rearrange his rugged, manly (and yet surprisingly sensitive) features into a carefully test-marketed lop-sided grin. He is in a post-shaving state of bliss, he has achieved razor nirvana and all is the best that it can be. This being so, one can only hope that he'll now make alternative use of his multiple razor blades and slash his rugged, manly (and yet surprisingly sensitive) throat. It's all downhill from here sunshine, what's the point in going on?

This, you may have gathered, is not my experience. I shave and I don't much like it but it's got to be done. A while back I bought some of this:

It did not give me unprecedented sensual pleasure. It did not make me the centre of an epidemic of nymphomania. I remain resolutely unrugged and unmanly (though not, I hope, surprisingly insensitive).

It made shaving a little less unpleasant and for that I am, quite genuinely, very grateful.

*Just do what exactly, Nike?

** We should also note that Gilette is only the best a man can get. Apparently there are yet greater heights of pleasure for the female of the species. This much, at least, I can believe.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Bird Brain, my entrant to Sam Hiti's marvellous Fist-A-Cuffs competition rather pathetically went out in the first round of the third division.

Actually, he didn't lose as such, it's just that he was paid to take a dive by a local crime lord (that's my story anyway).

The fourth division has just got underway so, again, I urge those of you who can to go vote for your favourites.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

from the archives, week 7 

Well, book number two is still lost so I'm skipping ahead to Seawhite of Brighton A6 sketchbook number three and stopping looking for number two in the safe and certain knowledge that that's the only sure way to find it.

This spread is from somewhere around August/September of '93.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


"From the archives" has been postponed on account of my not currently being able to find the appropriate sketchbook. Had I just chucked it in among all the other sketchbooks when I was packing then I would have found it by now but, no, I thought "ooh, I'll be needing that on Tuesday, I shall keep it separate so that I can find it easily when I need it". And then I put it... I put it... Somewhere safe.

Always a mistake.

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