Monday, 30 June 2014


When I was a postman. We had to clock in at 5am six mornings a week. I found that difficult. This morning I woke up at 5am - back then I would be expected to be sorting the mail into boxes and attempting to engage in the bawdy banter (bawdy banter?) flying round the Hampton sorting office. That was a test. Eric Fraser lived in Hampton. Very nice house. Walled garden out of a Victorian novel. Fraser had wisteria growing up his wall growing round  his impressive front door. Large shiny polished letterbox. Big envelopes carrying his illustration briefs for Radio Times and General Electric. His regular postman was Bill Sawyer, peaked cap at a jaunty angle. Bill always looked as if he was in on a joke and might have something of interest to say, but he never did. Bill was a bit dull but he 'owned' the best walk in the postal district of Hampton and Hampton Hill. I was a relief postman and I would cover all the walks of the postal district of Hampton and Hampton Hill when the regular posties were off on their holidays. Bill would panic knowing when any of us relief postmen would cover for him, his was the easiest and most beautiful walk. By the Thames on a summer's morning herons skimming through the  mist raising from the water's surface an all that, ducks having a domestic. Bill would take over two hours to complete his first morning's delivery (In those olden days there would be two deliveries of the Royal mail before one o' clock) and on Thursdays three hours and same again most Fridays. We relief boys might take forty five minutes on a Monday or a Tuesday and maybe an hour and a half on the heavy days. Bill with his peaked cap at a jaunty angle always had a smirk on his face. Dull Bill was a bit of a ladies man. Dapper. Red tie checked shirt and cycle clips. Nice area to be a postman. He didn't approve of our express delivery. He would always hiss advice to  spin out his delivery technique or else Bill would be in danger of having extra postal codes added on to his nice little walk. He was a crafty seasoned pro. Was Bill. Much to learn from.  Hat at a jaunty angle for one.
Illustrating Juvenal I found difficult. How far to push the envelope... is that what they say. How far to go in 2014. Not very far.  Drawings at a jaunty angle add a little humour, seduce the ladies. No I have this capacity to make life difficult. I need to be a bit more like Bill Sawyer.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Less beige maybe.......

Less pessimism. More light. More joy. Laughter. More grass to cut. Yes lighten up. More Juvenal. Pen an'ink. Less drink.More ink. 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


The wood pigeons are persistent that's for certain re building the nest in the wisteria every day building everyday demolishing every day. Stupid or what? Go somewhere else yes I live in a house with wisteria growing up it. What is the average length of duration of producing a so called graphic novel? Three years? A fb friend shows an example of his graphic novel  to his fb friends seeking advice seeking comments after three years and still drawing still colouring in. Why do we do it? Is this it? Is that all there is........... What's in this cup of Peggy Lee? 

This is a picture from Juvenal. The Sixteen Satires. Juvenal is not a graphic novel. It is a boxed book by the Folio Society. I got a box in the post last week containing 5 copies. I experienced nothing when I saw the printed version. Nothing. One glance one flick through before closing. The book is contained within it's own black box. Black sleeve. Gold leaf lettering. All the grief from October to February rejection after rejection. Those gentle subtle beige like colours, so polite. Encouragement and encouragement from the art director. Art director needs a medal . Needs a slap. I need a slap. My protests my bleating. Can't I draw Clockwork Orange? I want to draw A Clockwork Orange. Why don't you then? Draw A Clockwork Orange. I started it once. The estate of Anthony Burgess liked my start. Others did not. Others had their opinion. Their sayso. The No's won. It was abandoned. Oranges aren't the only fruit hahahahahahuh - there's more than one way to skin a rabbit. What a fuss. All meat eaters should be made to skin a rabbit. Gut and pluck a pheasant. Stare into the eyes of a condemned pig. 

So they asked for a few words some thoughts about Juvenal. Simon Callow wrote the introduction. Ask him not me. I just draw to order. But I can't even do that draw to order. Juvenal was written in AD94. Aubrey Beardsley illustrated it over a hundred years ago. Something's telling me my time is up. Come in number 16. Your time is up. You've dropped a paddle. You are going round in circles. Come in, it's getting dark. Ink, it's in my blood. Well there's a 6H length of pencil lead embedded in my third finger left hand since 1984. Didn't half hurt. That's it.