Some Filth Nobody Asked To See…

Chatting with Rob about Philip Schofield (in my previous post) reminded me that I’d drawn a cartoon strip last year that I’ve never made public. There’s a good reason for that.

I’m sure there are cartoonists out there far more obscene than I am (in fact, I’m certain of it) but if you like my stuff because it’s quirky (or funny) or my writing because I’m (hopefully) reasonable and moderate, the following is a bit more… well, in your face. I drew it deliberately trying to be offensive (though I hope I also made a serious point). I do know I could be a lot more offensive but this one sits on the point where my sensibilities step in and tell me to stop.

I drew it last year when I was having another of my regular black moods brought on by drawing “clever” cartoons that were always being rejected by the Eye, Spectator, Oldie… So I turned my mind to Viz.

It was Twitter that drew me there. I’d been spotting Barney Farmer’s tweets cropping up in my timeline, found them funny, so I started to follow him and then read Viz which, I confess, I hadn’t ever seen before. That confession should make you wonder. Surely everybody of my generation read Viz… Well, I didn’t. The reasons why are probably long and boring, but amount to somebody I really disliked at school constantly banging on about Viz. That association probably stuck in my head for many years.

So, I started to read Viz, enjoyed it, and particularly liked their really dark sensibility and the stuff that other people probably found most objectionable. I particularly like the stuff that pushes the bounds of good taste. I rewatched Monty Python’s Meaning of Life the other day and realised how predictable I am in my tastes. There are long periods of that movie where Python are at their absolute worst (the tedious missing leg sketch). The best bits, though, are brilliant, and usually involving really objectionable content: Every Sperm is Sacred, Chapman’s Protestant discussing contraception, Mr Creosote, The Penis Song…

A juxtaposition I find myself returning to often in my work is that between the pious and the obscene. I don’t mind good people being good as I don’t mind bad people being bad. What I despise, however, is when one tries to pretend it’s the other. The hypocrisy really grates with me.

Which brings me to Philip Schofield. What annoys me about him and his show (and this was true in the Richard & Judy days) was how it tries to be innocuous morning TV, yet it’s clearly driven by the most objectional motives and utterly lurid obsessions. Hence, my cartoon, in which I mix the virtuous with the obscene.

As for if it’s any good. I honestly don’t know. It makes me laugh every time I read it but I’ve only shown this to one person (a friend who is a Viz subscriber who said they liked it) and then the editors of Viz who gave me one of my very worst bits of feedback: “nicely drawn but it’s just not funny” (I’m paraphrasing but that’s pretty much what they did say).

After that, I figured I didn’t know what “funny” meant. Didn’t try again. This does, however, remain the nadir of my bad taste (and it’s really not that bad compared with many cartoonists). That much said: some won’t find it objectionable at all and others will think I’ve gone too far. Myself, I can’t tell and that’s why this has been sitting unpublished in a folder for a year.

4 thoughts on “Some Filth Nobody Asked To See…”

  1. 😅🤣😂 I’m not sure how you’ll feel about this but that’s my favourite cartoon of yours! “Good Luck with tow truck”! LOL

    1. Hmm… So, what you’re saying it that you’d like more filth? Well, that’s easily done. 😉

      Actually, I’m relieved that I’m not the only person who liked it. Couldn’t figure out what Viz’s editors were talking about. The exact words (I’ve gone back and looked) were “the cartoons of the characters were good but it didn’t make them laugh”.

  2. Didn’t ask as I thought you were posting it anyway, and you were.

    Feedback from the Walker household. We did both laugh, which suggests that it must have had a level of funniness to it. The characterisation of Schofe was very good, the pastiche of This Morning equally so. We did feel however that the Cortina up the fanny went too far, the Barry Gibb bellend would have been on safer ground. To be honest it is ages since I read the Viz, but in the 90’s that would have been a bit beyond what they published at the time.

    Another thought did occur to me, which is that you offended them by submitting something that highlighted how formulaic their mag is. It is quite possible they thought you were taking the piss and took the hump. I’m reminded of Ronnie Barker who apparently was very offended over the “Two Ninnies” sketch that NTNON did. A funny sketch (to me), clearly not to him though , as it showed his comedy wasn’t half as clever as he thought. I once showed my in-laws the Two Ninnies, not a titter, put on the Two Ronnies and they were laughing away.

    1. Ah, thank you! I think… The fact you both got a laugh out of it reassures me that, indeed, some level of funniness. 😉

      Yes, I remember being bothered by the chuff bit but, oddly, it’s the bellend bit I thought was possibly too much. Perhaps because I had to draw it rather than imply it. The former does have backstory, though. The thing I remember being most disgusted by (in my atheistic yet puritan way) was when they interviewed the woman with the world’s biggest breasts. They said it was for the emotional story when really they just wanted to have the woman with the world’s biggest breasts on their show. So this was a bit of a play on that. I think you might be right about the formula stuff. Hadn’t occurred to me. I was definitely writing to a style that wasn’t my own but I now also realise was influenced (in a bad way) by Derek and Clive. Always been a fan of the Jayne Mansfield lobster bit. Reading it now, I sense how much I was pushing at the envelope of what I felt comfortable writing but also holding back.

      So glad I posted this now. I’ve always enjoyed drawing these full pages things but there’s no market for them, except, perhaps, Viz. I keep pondering doing a 30 page comic of my own… Perhaps one day…

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Why Dunciad.com?

It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?

Really?

Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.