I lost my internet (and hence my reason to live) for much of yesterday, throwing out my plans for the day…

Virginmedia are generally reliable but they have lousy fault reporting. Their system status doesn’t actually pinpoint if their engineers are working on the local network, so when the system does go down, it’s too easy to assume it’s a problem with your hardware. Hence how I wasted too much time rupturing myself in various places by crawling into the network tangle in order to push the reset button on the router with a needle. I should have just left it for eight hours and done something more useful/less stressful with my time…

I had intended to watch and write about the Trump psyche test on Fox but, by the time my connection was restored, I was past the point where I cared. Today it just seems too batty to comment upon. The really important story is now taking place in Portland, where the federal/state system is under strain. I try my best not to be too hysterical about these things and people throw around terms like ‘fascism’ and ‘Nazi’ with too much abandon (Rick Wilson has just tweeted about jackboots). Yet I also think that we can fall into the trap of thinking that the next authoritarian regime will begin exactly like those of the past. So long as there aren’t brownshirts on the streets, we tend to think, America will be fine… Won’t it?

I tend to think they will but what Trump and his Republican enablers are doing is wresting control of the country away from the people ahead of the election in November. It really is the first step towards locating all power in the White House which is where the trajectory of this presidency was always going to end up. I very much doubt that it succeeds but with increasingly politicised sectors of the law enforcement community and a legal challenge over the result in November, things might get ugly very quickly. Perhaps I misjudge the man but the one scenario I find it almost impossible to imagine at the moment is Trump graciously handing over power in January. I very much doubt he’d be at a Biden inauguration.

Being cut off from the world is particularly acute when nearly all information enters via the web but also when you work there as well. I’d planned to upload my second volume of cartoons to Amazon and only managed to do it this morning. [UPDATE: And typical of my luck lately, the book passed the vetting stage and was heading to publication, with a page I could link to, when the KDP system goes down for maintenance. Could be a few hours until the book is live…] [UPDATE 2: It’s finally live!]

I’m not sure what bits of my site people enjoy the most, so excuse me if I’m more self-indulgent than usual (yes, that is just about possible) and talk about my work. I’ve spent the best part of lockdown drawing new cartoons. I had plans to produce a new 150-page book until I realised how unfeasible that would be to publish myself. I could do it via Amazon but they limit file sizes for books they’re happy to distribute without charging the author per download. To price a book at £1.99, it has to be less than 10Mb, which means I could only squeeze 55 cartoons into a book.

The result is two collections, with, perhaps, a third on the way. I have 25 cartoons (perhaps more) in draft form should I decide to push on and make it into a trilogy. That would make for 165 cartoons over three volumes (55 each) and still priced (£5.97 for all three) less than my Monks book was in paperback.

The first book I had intended to call ‘Cuttlefish Neckties And Other Fashion Calamities’ until I realised it made it sound too much like a book about fashion calamities. Now it’s Cuttlefish Neckties and Other Drawings and the other two books will follow the same “… and Other Drawings” pattern.  

As for the second volume: I didn’t know what to call it until I found myself doodling a very silly cartoon the other day. I’d watched Henry Cavill building a PC because, obviously, I would. He built the machine I dream about building myself. He also wore a vest, which didn’t excite me as much as it seemed to excite people on the internet. However, it did give me an idea for the cartoon and the title for Volume 2.

Yes, it is a blatant (and perhaps hypocritical) attempt to attract attention by tapping into the very celebrity culture I criticise so often, though, really, that’s has become part of my schtick. Plus I need the sales…

Speaking of sales: this might all be a complete waste of three months and perhaps 10 years of my life. These 155 cartoons amount to all the best non-political cartoons I’ve ever drawn (excluding my Monks book). There are some real favourites here but that doesn’t mean anybody will buy them or even like them. There’s a good chance that the 15th of next month (when Amazon have tended to pay me) will be a very depressing day. They still tell me that that I’ve not sold any books in the past year, though I’m just hoping that’s a fault with their dashboard…

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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?


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.