Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Fire up the DeLorean and set the co-ordinates for half past weird, it’s time for Rob’s Random 5...

1. Purple Tentacles: It was a story written by Chris that made me think (and also not want to sit on the toilet for a week, but that’s another story) about purple tentacles. They’re somewhat of a signature in my cartoons, specifically whenever I draw any ‘group’ pictures, there’s always a couple lurking in the background, but it was only after reading Chris’ story and subsequently drawing him a cartoon featuring a purple tentacle, that I realised this and how much I draw them. I’ve been drawing them for years and years in my cartoons without ever really knowing why (I haven’t checked on the blog but I reckon there but be about ten cartoons that feature a tentacle of some variety, maybe more). Perhaps it’s just because they’re easy to draw and I’ve got quite good at drawing them that they’re so prolific (even the aliens I draw always have tentacles, although that’s a 50s B-Movie/Kang & Kodos tribute more than anything). But more than that, looking around there seem to have been a lot of purple tentacles recently: including Futurama’s ‘The Beast with a Billion Backs’, Doctor Who, and the first episode of the recent Red Dwarf special. Now Chris’ story. If Watchmen had featured its graphic novel ending I’d be sure there was a conspiracy afoot. I wonder; are all these tentacle appearances a sign or portent that some massive pan-dimensional space octopus is coming for us? Or have I just been watching too much TV? (Incidentally, the cartoon I did for Chris, just as a bit of fun, is below the Random 5, but if you haven’t read his story, 'Bzzzz', you won’t get it, so go read it now at http://www.nevertooserious.wordpress.com/)


2. Unnecessary Facebook Albums: Honestly, really, I don’t care about another album of your umpteenth Saturday night out in Durham or Newcastle or wherever I really don’t. If you and your family or friends had a nice get-together after months of being apart, or a birthday, anniversary, wedding, or holiday to somewhere nice, or you took a few photos of some beautiful scenery, that’s fine. Absolutely fine. Albums of stuff like that are great. I have a few of them myself. We all do and they’re lovely to look at and to remind you of a good time. But do not bore me with mundane shot after shot of you and your ‘bezzie mate’/other half in your kitchen, warming up your stomachs with cheap cider before you go out, take more unnecessary photos, get pissed, take more photos, and come home, vomiting and singing ‘Lady Marmalade’, all while documenting it in snap after sordid snap. Just put it away. I was out on Saturday with a few friends and on the table next to us, a group of fake-tan and mascara-plastered women who were old enough to know better were taking shot after shot of each other kissing the air, laying across the table, lifting their already short skirts provocatively as they hugged each other and pouted, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for all the people on Facebook who, the next day, would have to see the product of what looked like an amateur photo shoot for that glossy cage-liner Nuts magazine. ‘Phew’, rant over. Sorry about that. Now on with number 3...


3. Who killed the Pipe?: I think everyone should have a pipe. Not to smoke, but just to look cool. Alright, it’s not cool right now, but if enough people did it then it would be. The pipe is a style icon waiting to be brought back. If George Clooney was spotted with a pipe then everyone would be after one. When did the pipe go out of style anyway? They used to be so popular. Everyone from government scientists to wing-commanders to professors to ad executives used to have them. They were everywhere in films and society. And then suddenly they went out of fashion, round about the late 1960s. Everyone started smoking cigarettes, which are bad for you and don’t look half as classy as a pipe (seriously, look at pipe-smoking Pierce Brosnan in Mars Attacks! And tell me he doesn’t look cool). The pipe was no longer seen as the thing, and for that I blame Big Tobacco. And Hippies. Granted, Juno bravely tried to bring the pipe back into mainstream cinema but its valiant effort just wasn’t enough. The pipe is now only the preserve of old salty seadogs, the reverend at my old school, and kooks like me. But with two Sherlock Holmes movies being made and out next year the pipe is poised for a comeback. So be prepared! Pipe up and get ready to enjoy the fashionable resurgence of an icon.


4. Pirates’ Plundered Reputation: Pirates – sea pirates, not shady folk in covered markets selling illegal DVDs of X-Men Origins: Wolverine - were once seen as cool. They were rogues; quixotic figures living swashbuckling lives of adventure and excitement in films and books. Even the Muppets loved them, making the classic Muppet Treasure Island. But in recent months the perception of their picaresque lifestyle has been challenged by modern day pirates. The uncool kind of pirates. The news has extensively covered the Somali pirates’ audacious and violent attacks on ships and holding crew hostage, and every time I hear news of this happening I can’t help but think ‘They’re just sea-thugs, they’re not pirates’. Pirates at least had a code of honour. And now it’s like the public knowledge we have of them, however false and romanticised it may be, is being defiled by this new generation. Blackbeard didn’t have a fleet of speedboats and men armed with AK-47s and rocket launchers. He did things the old fashioned way, with canon and sabre and cat o’ nine tales. These modern fellas can’t call themselves pirates because they’re not keeping the pirate tradition: they don’t have an old wooden galleon, a swarthy crew or a man with a wooden leg and eye-patch. Nor do they have plenty of gunpowder and hard tack. They don’t even sing sea shanties. You can’t be a pirate if you don’t sing shanties. The Somali pirates are just ocean thugs. So sod off false pirates, and leave our memory of high-seas piracy to Long John and his boys, because I can’t see the Muppets making The Muppet’s African Coast Hijacking...


5. The Things Left Undone: A nice bit of segueing here, rounding off a list with another list. There’s a great TV show (formerly a Radio 4 show) called I’ve Never Seen Star Wars, in which a celebrity tries everyday things that they’ve never done before but which loads of other people have. Stuff like, seeing Star Wars or reading Great Expectations or listening to a Pink Floyd Album or tap-dancing. Last week actor Hugh Dennis went down a coal mine, read a Jeremy Clarkson book, and ate road-kill (including Badger casserole, blackbird pie, and Otter Risotto aka ‘Risotter’. Yum.). It’s a really great format and it got me thinking about five things I haven’t experienced that loads of other people have. I’m still working on the list, but it includes watching Lawrence of Arabia, going up in a hot air balloon and trying crocodile meat (washed down with monkey-picked tea perhaps?). What would your list be?


And here's the cartoon I did for Chris...

1 comments:

Cassandra said...

I’ve never seen Star Wars, read Great Expectations, listened to a Pink Floyd Album, gone down a coal mine, read a Jeremy Clarkson book, and ate road-kill, watched Lawrence of Arabia, tried crocodile meat or monkey-picked tea either.