Something for the Weakened

Archive for January, 2009

Hitchhiker’s What?

January 31st, 2009 by

Wale on an Orange Sky

Whale on an Orange Sky

May 1994. Coloured pencils and rust on half a sheet of cartridge paper.

This isn’t going to fit on the site, so please click on the link to get a better look at my feeble scribbles.

My near life long tendency to rip off Douglas Adams was already in full swing by this point, hence the plummetting mammal. Again the colours on the original are considerably more subdued, but to get the scanner to pick everything up I’ve had to realy saturate things again. That’s another girder next to the train track, the perspective of which I’m oddly pleased with. The chair looks sort of familiar, but I honestly can’t think where from. At the time I had never had regular access to a swivel chair and thought of them as being some kind of mystical luxury. I still get a minor thrill when I park myself in one today. The half a face seems to be speaking, though to whom or about what I shan’t even begin to speculate. Don’t really know what’s supposed to be growing in the diddy allotment either. The severed hands are trying to smoke a chillum, though frankly have it far too high up to get a good pull from it. The brown globules running between the hands and the chasm (hmm, symbolism of what I wonders?) are actually rust. All of these pictures were stored in a clipboard and this one was at the top, in direct contact with the metal of the clip. I don’r recall having spilt anything on it, but dampness managed to creep in somehow. Bah.

The Greatest Pop Video In The World!

January 25th, 2009 by

Try and deny it if you can.

Shamelessly stolen from the lovely Robert Popper.

An Unwieldy Title

January 24th, 2009 by

Yul Brynner is startled, when on a trip to Australia he is mauled by a tiger, causing the loss of one arm

Yul Brynner is startled, when on a trip to Australia he is mauled by a tiger, causing the loss of one arm.

Undated, but presumably mid 1994. Coloured pencils on cartridge paper.

Again, this won’t all fit on the site, so please click through the link to view this in all it’s pitiful lack of glory. Ta.

The original of this is frighteningly pale, so the saturation of the colours on this uploaded scan is quite excessive. It’s not really this bright, though the colour clashing is more over the top than some of the others. I don’t think it was originally supposed to be Yul Brynner, but when it became clear to me that he wasn’t going to have any hair, he became Yul in the way that most bald men do to me. It doesn’t really look like him either, does it? Not sure why the left arms gone either. Probably just my love of gore back in my youth. Do like his tie though and wish I owned one quite as garish. The portrait of Zappa in the bacground would be shortly after his death, the letters behind his head actually being RIP. The hair looks good, but beard aside, there’s really no facial resemblance there really. Looks like an actor playing him. He is wearing a Doors T-shirt too, which I doubt Frank would have done himself (but have no justification for this). Just behind the tree stump the painting’s nailed too, you’ll find another girder. I might stop pointing these out, as they do seem to be something of an easily drawn motif that I slotted into most of these things. The iron maiden over Yul’s bloodied shoulder, the falling trolley and the distant gong contain no obvious significance that I can see and are probably mainly present to fill up space. The hovering javelin pierced fellow and the naked lass are also a bit of a mystery and are probably mainly present due to my imagining them being fun to draw. The space shuttle looks shamefully poor frankl, though I suppose the fire’s kinda cool. I think it might be on a collission course with the equally poorly drawn pigeon from the other side, though quite how that works in terms of scale I really couldn’t say. The hand from the pond is holding a bottle of bleach marked ‘BLERCH’, for this was how my cadre and I were pronouncing it at the time, for our own limited amusement. Ecological comment or satire on Excalibur? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Fruity Serenade

January 22nd, 2009 by

Dennis the Banana

Dennis The Banana

March 1995. Felt tip and biro on lined refill pad.

I developed some kind of an obsession with massive quiffs and sideburns combined with unwieldy ties worn by superdeformed midgets back in the early nineties. This is the only colour realisation of one I can recall producing. The mouth, ear and eye are stolen from some dubious character design I attempted for some terrible Nosferatu rip off I thnkfully never got round to producing. Don’t know how legible it’ll be in the upload, but the banana is singing the Dennis Waterman sung theme to Dennis Waterman starring situation comedy On The Up – take that Little Britain! I quite like the colours, though I’m a little disappointed by the little man’s skin tone. Think it’s just because I didn’t have any fleshier pens.

Don’t think this is going to all fit on the site again, so do click through the link if you can’t see four fingers on the far right of the image to see the whole thing in it’s dubious ‘glory’.

Bah

January 20th, 2009 by

Quick note on the post below – my hopes that the whole image would spread out off the edge of the screen have been dashed, so I ask that you click through to the Fickr page to view the whole thing. Ta and sorry for the added inconvenience.

Gah, Colour!

January 20th, 2009 by

Balance

Balance

May 1994. Coloured pencil on cartridge paper.

Hey folks. As you may have surmised, I’m currently in possession of a scanner, so for the next few of days will be delving into the files to see if there’s anything worth slinging up here. The next few will be from when I was sixteen and scrawling on paper with coloured pencils while busily fucking up my A-Levels. This was the first thing I produced in that period and I’m still not entirely dissatisfied by it. It’s a lot more phallic than I remember it being, what with the girder, flagpole, easel and all. I quite like the packet of Rothmans that the fountain pen’s balancing on, though I didn’t actually smoke them at the time because of their revolting taste. The fat, one armed, earless, clog wearing dwarf with the flaming scimitar is wearing a Nirvana T-shirt in case you hadn’t realised. I didn’t have one, though several of my friends at the time did. The painting on the easel is a rather poor representation of a John Lennon T-shirt I had at the time. The chess board is horribly out of perspective, but I’ve never been good with parralellograms. The significances of the fallen satellite, the lone soldier in the distance and the giant playing card are entirely lost upon me, as is the crab’s claw, though I think that’s probably just there because I like drawing crab’s claws. The violin’s glasses look to be a reference to Lennon again, though could possibly be a representation of the pair I had just started wearing at the time. I had just started smoking too, so I’m guessing that I’m the violin, especially as the spade is identifiably my father’s. The castle looks a little too much like my old Castle Greyskull playset to be coincidental, though the skull seems to have been transplanted to the top of the balencing pile. The censored naked lady on the bed is a reference to the fact that a great deal of the pornography I was using at the time was similarly censored, though not over the eyes, so perhaps I’m commenting on the anonimity of the object of desire. Doubtful, but possible. I was probably just worried that my Mum’d find it and scold me for drawing boobs. I have no idea why the skull is wearing an American Football helmet. It’s probably because I could never satisfactorily get the outline right when I’d drawn skulls before, so sticking a big hat on it avoided the problem quite cunningly. Don’t know if it’s legible, but the helmet has ‘HELLS A POPPIN’ written across it. Again, I have no idea why. Quite like the path running between the grass. I imagine it’s actually a metaphor, though I wouldn’t have known it at the time.

Next time, something slightly less good.

Who Is Number None?

January 19th, 2009 by

My first actual exposure to the works of Patrick McGoohan must have come in the form of references to them. I’m sure I had heard talk of

The Prisoner

before, but my first memory of anything relating to it is from an episode of Lew Stringer’s Combat Colin when it was running in Marvel UK’s Transformers comic. The episode turned into a serial, set in ‘The Village’ and spoofing many of the concepts found in The Prisoner itself. Seeing as I was in the target demographic when it was running and that the show hadn’t been shown on terrestrial television for close to a decade, quite how many of us reading it got the reference is hard to say, but mention was certainly made of it, if not in the letters page, then I certainly recall a mention next to the artist’s signature saying something along the lines of ‘with apologies to Patrick McGoohan’.

It was many years before I finally got round to seeing the show itself, but Mr. McGoohan’s face had impinged onto my subconcious beforehand, though I wasn’t to realise this until some years later, cunningly disguised under a layer of facial hair as it was. It was during my phase of videoing anything that the TV guide in the Torygraph described as ‘horror’ that I ended up first seeing Cronenburg’s Scanners. Like many youthful gore afficianados, I was quickly hooked by the sight of a bald man with a ‘tache’s head violently exploding within the first twenty minutes (my brother and I watched it through frame by frame on a few occasions, which still didn’t spoil the magic weirdly). The beardy doctor was of course integral to the plot, but had none of the spectacular psychic abilities of the rest of the cast, so I didn’t pay him an awful lot of heed. It wasn’t until I actually bought the film on video that I realised that it was actually McGoohan putting in the facework in the role. It wasn’t one of his best roles by a long shot, but it was my first real exposure to the man in motion.

It must have been the late eighties when Channel 4 finally got round to showing The Prisoner again. By then it had acheived an almost mythic status in my mind and I must have tuned into every episode. I don’t think I videoed any, and with it being shown at ten at night I must have ended up watching them on the dubious black and white television I had in my bedroom by that time. So ancient was the set that it had no channel buttons and I had to manually tune to any station I could manage to pick up on the weak internal aerial. Surprisingly I could normally get all four, even living at the bottom of a valley as we did. I was hooked from the opening titles and still consider them to be the greatest opening to any show ever. Ron Grainer’s music (from a tune whistled by McGoohan allegedly) is probably close to being one of my Desert Island Discs and I would consider taking up driving again if I could get one of those lotuses. Such was my fascination that in later life a friend and I managed to read the street name that appears for a split second outside McGoohan’s London pomme de terre and made a pilgrimage there. It’s a lawyer’s office now, but still overlooks the skyscrapers that swirl through Mcgoohan’s vision as he’s gassed.

I don’t remember my reaction to many specific episodes, with a couple of exceptions. Living in Harmony, which aside from having the show’s normal opening credits, was ostensibly a western for forty of it’s forty-five minutes amazed me with how it played with the formula the previous episodes had built up. The Girl Who Was Death played with the format too, with it’s manic Boy’s Own antics, only to cop out with a slightly annoying ending.

And then there was Fall Out.

Much has been made of the last episode by many and I doubt very much that I can add anything else to the debate. I have my own theories of what has happened at the end of those gloriously psychedelic three quarters of an hour, but have no desire to impose them onto you. I think everyone should have their own take on them and I certainly believe that everyone should watch them, even if they have to have their peepers forced wide, Alex style. Of course it wouldn’t have the impact of watching without all the prior parts, but I still consider it to be a pinnacle of televisual acheivement that nothing else has ever quite lived up to.

My love for the show continued after Four had finished showing it. I caught it again when they repeated the whole lot again a year or so later. A few years after that, when I was in steady employment, I forked out for the whole series on video in a couple of boxsets on the day of release. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched these now, but rarely a year passes without my sticking at least an episode on. As I say, I made the pilgrimage to the street from the opening credits and a few years later finally saw my ambition to visit Portmerion come to fruition. Lovely place, but an awful lot smaller than they managed to make it look.

Of course I realise that Patrick McGoohan did an awful lot more work than just The Prisoner. Some of it I’ve seen – Danger Man, Ice Station Zebra and several mighty fine episodes of Columbo being the first that spring to mind – most of it I haven’t – much as I love him, I’m still not going to sit through pissing Braveheart just to see his contribution. The world at large will probably remember him best for that little show he did at the end of the sixties and, more importantly, that is how I’ll remember him.

Running down a beach, persued by a roaring weather balloon.

Seriously, does it really get any better that that?

Be seeing you, Number One.

SUPPLEMENTAL – A couple of other tributes I’ve run across on t’internet that I thought I might share. The genius that is Brendan McCarthy uploaded this picture, which I really quite like. Witticist extraordinaire Evan Dorkin manages to sum up everything I’ve rambled on about up there far more succinctly and movingly than I’ve managed and also provides us with this strip as a little farewell. Enjoy.

Will people please stop dying now, eh?

January 18th, 2009 by

Tony Hart now! That’s a bit of a pisser too, but less of a shock to my system if I’m honest. He looked fairly unwell when he was on the fairly unamusing Meet Ricky Gervais (I did chuckle at it a couple of times – I am not Lalla) and that was getting on for a decade ago. Still, it is sad news as his were some of the first non-cartoon TV shows I ever watched. Never Vision On – I think that was still during the phase when I refused to watch anything that wasn’t animated – but I certainy recall sitting through a fair few episodes of Take Hart for pleasure. I was probably just waiting for Morph to come on, but Tony still left an impression. Never tried any of his drawing techniques, but that I think was down to my continued conviction that when it came to art, I always knew best. The dubious results beneath this post show how misguided this view continues to be. Anyway, deep regrets on your passing Mr. Hart, and I apologise for not devoting more time to you, but there are others whose passing I must write a little on.

Ricardo Montalban is one of these. Like most of the British Isles, I never saw The Love Boat (it was never shown on terrestrial was it? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t, I certainly never saw it. Do tell me if I’m wrong and I will scowl dubiously in your direction), so my first exposure and lasting impression of the man came entirely from the second Star Trek film. I’m no Trekkie, really I’m not, but as a nipper The Wrath of Khan is easily in the top ten of films I watched more times than was healthy for my budding psyche. I forget if it was me or my brother who taped it off ITV one night, but we sat in front of that tape dozens of times before we got sick of it or taped over it by mistake. On subsequent viewings (and there were several after the tape had been lost) I was always narked that they edited out the trilobites in the ears sequence, as that was always my favourite bit, little gore hound that I was. But I digress. Ricardo’s air of menace in that film was a wonder to behold to my youthful eyes. Over the top, certainly, but never toppling over into pantomime in spite of the setting and working against the powerhouse that is The Shat. I do occasionaly find my mind repeating his delivery of the lines “Botany bay, botany bay . . .” in my head. So long since I’ve seen it, I can’t remember what significance they have to the plot, but they’re still there, stored away in the ‘comfortably menacing’ cupboard in the vestiges of my memory. For that and the Kensington krovvy he was smeared with at the end of the movie, I shall always remember him. Say hi to Nick Nack from me.

This just might work, y’know…

January 18th, 2009 by

B.A. Barrabas

Croaky

January 15th, 2009 by

In the last twenty four hours both Ricardo Montalban and, more importantly (to me anyway), Patrick McGoohan have both snuffed it! That’s more than a little crap, isn’t it. More extensive obituaries might follow, if I get it together and probably after I write the one about thumbs I’ve been meaning to all week. But still, shit. Really. Shit.