Archive for the The Rake's Progress Category

Ronald Searle 1920-2011

Posted in Cartoon stuff, The Rake's Progress on January 4, 2012 by brunswick

Very sad to see that Ronald Searle died a few days ago. One of the greatest cartoonists and satirists of the 20th century, by his thirties he’d already created the notorious denizens of St. Trinian’s School for Girls, and collaborated with Geoffrey Willans on the Molesworth series. Already quietly rattled by his long internment in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, he had something of a midlife crisis at the height of his fame, and left his young family behind to begin a new life in France, where he produced glorious work for the next fifty years.

He was also responsible for rebooting Hogarth’s Rake’s Progress series in Punch in the mid-fifties, the model for my own short-lived series in Salient… we know how well that turned out!

Everything looks nicer printed on 310gsm German etching paper

Posted in Lovely pictures, The Rake's Progress on August 2, 2011 by brunswick

And it’s yours, framed, for $175! This is archival paper and will apparently last for between 200-400 years, which I presume means it will one day make a super hat for a post-apocalyptic hunter-gatherer.

Auckland Grammar School Art Expo

Posted in Cartoon stuff, Deep Thought, The Rake's Progress on July 13, 2011 by brunswick

Here’s the website for an exhibition at Auckland Grammar School in August that I’m involved with. I’m approaching this seriously, but at the same time I’m finding it desperately hard not to take the piss*. It’s a commercial exhibition, so the pieces are designed to sell. Some of the biographies** are quite pompous (keeping in mind that the artists wrote them themselves) and some of the prices shocking. Also note how the cartoonists all have (Cartoonist) after their name, to distinguish them from the actual artists.

They’re expecting a bunch of original cartoons, but many of the “favourite cutting edge editorial cartoonists” (spot the oxymorons in that description) are sending prints because they do all their work digitally. How are you supposed to price those? They’ll have been paid for already by whoever commissioned them, and a good-quality print costs under $10. How can we honestly sell that for $300? I suppose if I have to ask the question then I don’t understand the art market.

I’m sending them four pieces:

The original ‘Awful Flatmates’ drawing from Bristle #10.
A woodcut titled ‘Stress Bunny Panics About the Future’ which has nothing to do with the catalogue image.
What was going to be a canvas based on a cartoon about a magpie, but might turn out to be a combination woodcarving and acrylic painting on a big chunk of plywood.
Either a digital print of a new Rake’s Progress about Auckland celebrities, or a poster based on that alphabet I did a while ago.

* I may not be alone… I suspect that at least one of the profiles is an utter pisstake. It’s hard to tell with modern art.
**They edited my biography to say that I “enjoy” painting murals, which makes it sound as though it’s something I dabble in for the lulz, instead of something I do for money.

“That thingy’s gonna haunt you forever, isn’t it…”

Posted in A Good Whinge, Cartoon stuff, The Rake's Progress, Unwarranted criticism on January 3, 2011 by brunswick

The most recent issue of Muse, an intelligently-written local feminist magazine, contains an article written by an ex-student editor about the Aotearoa Student Press Association’s annual conference last year. Apparently one of the topics under discussion was “Student media controversies: how to pick ’em and how to deal with ’em”.

Every now and then student newspapers get in trouble for publishing articles which are deliberately provocative, usually to do with sex or drugs. At their best, these articles seek to push journalistic boundaries. At their worst they’re childishly offensive for the sake of offence, and win their editors some free publicity and an interview on Campbell Live. I was distressed to see that one of the examples given was a certain Salient cartoon:

“depicting a young women [sic] sleeping with an entire rugby team”

I’ve sent the writer an e-mail and some links, respectfully suggesting that it shows no such thing. Either she’s deliberately misrepresenting it, or she’s never seen the original. Luckily I’m not named, but I resent the implication that it was drawn and printed as a malicious stunt to generate controversy when there was no such intention. As a friend of mine said, “That thingy’s gonna haunt you forever, isn’t it…”

Thirteen hours in Auckland

Posted in Bloody brilliant observations, Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, Shameless Namedropping, Sound & Vision, The Rake's Progress, Utter Trivia on June 12, 2010 by brunswick

Just the right amount of time to spend, really.

At 7am on Saturday, people are still drunk, and the Sky City area is filled with dazed problem gamblers and other wretches. I walked to the waterfront, which is impossible to do in a straight line*, past some very expensive apartments. In Wellington, people want to live where there’s a view. In Auckland, they want to live where they are the view. There certainly wasn’t much to do at that time of morning. I eventually trickled up to Auckland University to clean myself up. There were nervous students everywhere about to sit an exam, so I mingled as best as I could, and went upstairs in the library to check out their cartoon section, which I do every time I pass through. I also looked at their copy of Ronald Searle’s The Rake’s Progress, which is the only immediately accessible library copy in New Zealand.

Have you ever had that dream where you’re in a low-ceilinged windowless room with a group of pretty young women who are singing songs you’ve written? Weird, isn’t it? They were blocking out the last dance number before a run-through, and I got to meet the vivacious set designer Rose (who has plans for a 1.9m Fatboy-type nuclear missile covered in sparkles which folds flat so they can get it through doors). The girl playing Alex is brunette, but I think I’m the only person in the audience who’s going to find that weird. Enderby Hedgehog is being performed as Truman Capote, complete with lisp and little glasses, which is something I’d never conceived of.

There’s about 12 people in the cast, so there’s less doubling-up of parts. Half the cast are immediately and strikingly professional. By contrast, some of the others aren’t trying very hard and treating the whole thing as a bit of a laugh. It’ll be brown-trouser time for them in a few weeks. They’re basically halfway through the rehearsal schedule, so their grasp on the (admittedly complicated) lines is a bit hazy – there were many fine joke-killing improvisations during the run-through. As director Simon points out, they’ve sketched out the basics, now they have to fill in the gaps. Musical director Robin plinked away determinedly despite a cold, and one of the actresses’s boobs popped out during a dance number. If she can do that on opening night, we’ve got a hit.

One of the actors had to leave before the run-through, and he was roundly ticked off for disrespecting me… it was quite embarrassing.

It’s being staged in a curious manner – to accommodate the needs of the other two Young & Hungry plays, the audience is being seated in two tiers on opposite sides of the stage, so the actors work in the centre and have to watch where they’re facing. In practice this means that they spend a lot of time facing each other from extreme stage left and right, so the best place to sit so you can see everyone’s faces would be in the centre of the aisles.

I filmed the musical numbers to cut together for a YouTube trailer. At the end some expectant faces turned my way, and it was only too late I realised I should’ve given a speech of encouragement! I was too hazy after the bus trip to think of anything, but I handed out copies of Brunswick: Rat In the System (“Did you write and draw all this yourself?”) and went with Simon and Robin to the cafe at The Epic, where we thrashed through the entire play very, very thoroughly for a few hours, so I think ATC got their money’s worth from me.

I was catching the 7:50pm bus home, so I went shopping for a few hours. On High St at Jason’s Books there was a handsome display of Ronald Searle books that had just arrived. I was talking to the store owner about The Rake’s Progress when she casually said “There’s a copy right there, you know.”

Glurk!

So, for $35 I’m now the proud owner of a first edition copy, in better condition than any of the other three I’ve seen. I could take it as a Sign, but the rational interpretation of that Sign is: Jason’s Books is an awesome bookstore.

After a quick meal at Wendy’s and a trawl through Real Groovy’s sale bins I was in a great mood and perfectly happy to get back on the bus. Auckland is a dreadful place in many ways, but it’s obviously doing something right. Just as America signifies where the rest of the Western world is headed, Auckland signifies where the rest of New Zealand is headed. We’ll all be acting like them in five years. Who knows how Auckland will be acting by then, but it’ll probably involve knives.

*Many cities are just awkward to walk around, but Auckland seems actively hostile to pedestrians.

Never mind

Posted in Cartoon stuff, Jitterati, Lovely pictures, The Rake's Progress on May 4, 2010 by brunswick


The Rake’s Progress won’t be in Salient next week, it’s the Women’s Issue and there’s no room for a cartoon… about a woman… a professional woman… who becomes a Supreme Court judge…

Wait, what?

I’m not sure why that took so long…

Posted in Cartoon stuff, Lovely pictures, The Rake's Progress on May 3, 2010 by brunswick

Click on the thumbnail below if you’re not expecting to pick up Salient in the next fortnight: