Refusal to admit defeat?


I make no excuses for publishing this one again. Looking back to when I started my project to re-visit the ideas and drawings of Pont, the cartoonist from the 40s who inspired this whole project, this drawing is very close to his own. His drawing had a number of bears surrounding the hapless explorer and he was armed with a large rifle on an expansive ice field. Mine has just the one bear and the ice has melted, so both the bear and the explorer are under threat, from elements outside their immediate control. The ice is melting. I would expect the British explorer to talk his, or her way out of this situation.

I’ve also changed the title, Pont’s was: “Refusal to admit defeat”, mine is “An ability to stay afloat even under the most trying circumstances”. This is one of the first drawings of the project and done before Brexit, but it illustrates in some ways where we are now.

There I’ve gone and done it. Explained a cartoon, something I always say I should n’t

You can see the original and others at my exhibition here in Cheltenham from the 16th August to the 22nd at the Gardens Gallery. I’ll be waffling on about it too on BBC Radio Gloucestershire. The programme will be broadcast on BBC Radio Gloucestershire on Sunday  6th August at 12 midday and will be repeated at 5am on 13th August.

After it’s first broadcast it will also be on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days.

Cartoons on the radio?

Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character

Cartoons on the radio?

A brilliant new concept.

I was lucky enough this morning to have been interviewed by Pete Wilson for BBC Radio Gloucestershire about my forthcoming exhibition at the Garden’s Gallery here in Cheltenham. It was great fun and very flattering to have someone interested in what I do and how I got there. He saw the odd side of talking about cartoons on the radio but it soon became clear that this was not a problem. I was lucky too to have the chance to talk about my new little book, which will be on sale at the exhibition too.


This is a project I took to give my own interpretation of various Gloucestershire place names. Lots of fun to do and printed by my old chums at  Severnprint

You can see the sort of fun I had by clicking right here Glossary : A Collection of Gloucestershire Place Names

For those of you thinking that cartoons on the radio might not be a good idea, then think again. After all,  there was a time when the BBC had a radio programme with a ventriloquist on the radio: Archie Andrews and Brough! You could never see his lips moving.

My interview with Pete Wilson will be broadcast on BBC Radio Gloucestershire on Sunday  6th August at 12 midday and will be repeated at 5am on 13th August. After the first broadcast it will also be available on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days. ( |Will anyone be listening at 5-00 on a Sunday morning? )

Exhibition A4sheddism

Cornfield singing

As a change from my drawings about the British here’s my chum Robin singing about John Barleycorn, in a cornfield near to the River Severn in Gloucestershire. It’s all part of the British Character, and we talk a lot about marmalade. It’s important.


Miss Freud

One of the joys of my last job, which was as a print rep for a local company, was the people I had the pleasure to meet. Almost all of them were pleasant to deal with and at times it was fun. Not all the time, but then even my previous career as a cartoonist for 30 years, was not always a bundle of laughs.

I love people watching as might be obvious from some of my drawings. The only attraction of an Airport is the other people on the edge of panic. I came to study many people as a salesman, although the company insisted on calling me an account manager, and I can truthfully say that the most pleasant people were those in the transport business. Generally of good humour and patient to a fault and almost always as calm as a  cucumber. Which is something of a relief as they were people let loose on our roads behind the wheels of behemoth trucks. The least calm and collected clients: almost any female in the alternative therapy business. They worried constantly, generally had a sense of humour bypass fitted, and were not averse to shouting from time to time on the telephone. Terrifying.

As you may well know by now, as I’ve banged on about it for a number of weeks right here, I am closing in on the start of my exhibition here in Cheltenham. Apart from the subject of the British, I’m also exhibiting some drawings of people with what I call “apt names”. And here’s the connection with therapists: this drawing is based not on any particular therapist I’ve encountered, let’s call it an amalgam. Her name is Petra, I’ll let you work it out from there.



And just in case you need reminding here are the details about the show.

Exhibition A4sheddism

This one’s for charity

My dear old Dad never allowed me to buy or ride a motorbike, for good reason, he’d seen too many people injured by them. Generally,  these were younger men lured by the thrill of speed. I was very tempted and the closest I ever got to one was a Honda 50 scooter in the last year of my college days. One of my good friends also had a scooter and the sight of her backside going over the crossbars at a set of traffic light in Central Manchester is something I can still picture now. We were racing and she’d forgotten that one is supposed to stop at the lights. She survived with nothing more serious than blushing and bruises.

Riding back to Wigan from Manchester on a cold December day also nearly finished me off as I appeared to have a gap in my trouser fronts and the breeze freezed. My hands also took about an hour to thaw out when I got home.

A good school friend of mine had a brother with a more powerful machine and he gave me a ride on the back of that one time. Sparks came off the foot rest as we went around the corners. I very nearly ruined a perfectly good set of “y” fronts, again. I was never tempted further.

That’s about the whole of my motorcycle career in three paragraphs.

More seriously if one does have an accident on a bike like my dear friend Margaret’s son Ollie, then those first minutes afterward really count. Fortunately, Ollie survived and is making good progress towards full recovery. He and his family were much helped through the difficult time by Headway

Those vital first minutes after an accident…

Since the accident, Margaret has been busy raising money for Headway and in my own attempt to help I will be donating whatever anyone will pay for the drawing here, which is one of my British Character pieces for the Exhibition in August. I’ll be taking offers for it over the week and every penny will go to the charity.

This one’s called: A liking for traveling in leather. 

Travelling in leatherweb



Here’s a poster for the Exhibition and you can see more about it on my new website:
My new site

What’s happening to the French?

Just been there and before I go on about them let me say that there’s something I like a lot about the French. In fact, there are many things that I like about the French. They tend never to apologize, we are always saying sorry. They tend to think that the response to something going wrong is, of course, your fault. It may well be, but in France, it is always the case. Even when it’s not.

Another thing I like about the French is the food and their attitude to it, but here something is going terribly wrong. The French are able to cook like almost no other nationality, and they have exported their skills. We’ve learned a lot of them, and put them into practice. We’ve learned from a lot of other people, as we had no one to learn from over here. Apart from Saint Delia and that geezer wot is saving our kid’s school dinners. Elisabeth David brought us olive oil, and a load of recipes from the Med, when the prevailing wisdom here was that olive oil should inserted in the ear for an earache. Now we actually use it on salad in place of salad cream which was not cream and was not pleasant. Our salads were n’t up to much either.

One could get a decent meal almost anywhere in France, and motorway service areas served food that was passable and coffee that was so strong it would enable the sleepiest of drivers to stay awake and alert for at least 400 miles per cup. And it was served in a white china cup. Not anymore. Service areas are awash with coffee machines and if you do go and get a ‘cup’ from the counter, it will more than likely be a paper one. Whereas over here our Service Stations are better than they have ever been. The one in Gloucester, where there is no branding of any kind is a beacon of good taste and a magnet for local people searching for good food items.Take a look or call in Gloucester Services and these days one does not have to go far to search for good food in the UK. It’s everywhere. Whereas in France they have taken backward steps.

It’s time for them to learn a few of their own lessons from us. To import what they exported to us: the love of food and coffee. I am naturally hoping that their new President will be reading this and will be taking steps to improve matters quickly before it’s too late.

I’m not expecting him to apologise. They never do. That’s one thing that will never change.


Another feature of my trip was a meeting with a French woman who was an English teacher. She spoke superb English without the slightest Fench accent. Yet we have Frenchmen over here who’ve lived here for years, like that chef Raymond Buerre Blanc or whatever he’s called, sounds like e as joost left le bateau een Porsmoof. Now there’s a word in English that the French can never pronounce: Portsmouth. It’s torture for them. They get their own back by naming a French south western seaside town : Royan.This is a word beyond the ability of an English person to pronounce properly. So we’re even.

Au revoir. Vive La France!


This is me in typical French holiday fashion gear, it was chucking it down.
As we say: We brought the English weather with us. Yes, I’d packed it with the
shorts I’m wearing now I’m back in England.



British Railway Station kiosk reader, is this accurate today?Perhaps not.


Another in my series of black and white drawings about the British and reviewing this today, it seems perhaps that it may be a bit dated. Artists sometimes talk about their work in terms of how they have been inspired by others, and what they were trying to do. Well this is supposed to be about those people who’s job is to sell  newspapers and magazines, none of which are normally of great literary merit. I imagined that perhaps there exists somewhere a newspaper seller that spends his or her ‘downtime’ reading the classics whilst surrounded by all the other stuff.

Our man here is reading ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ a favourite of mine in the literature stakes. It’s interesting to note that Thomas Hardy who wrote this classic, wrote many of his stories in episodic chapters, to go into ‘journals’ that would no doubt have been found at Railway stations a little like this one, for passengers to read on their journey.

This Railway station is an amalgam of places like Paddington and others where large column dominated. The soot from the previous train generations cooked them into  areas lit sometimes only by the light of the kiosk. This has changed and a recent visit to Birmingham’s New Street station with it’s acres of carefully designed and beautifully lit concourse gives the lie to this drawing, perhaps. However, there was something quite romantic and mysterious about these old Victorian Sooty monliths.

I’ve always had the feeling that these people who inhabit these little workplaces are never closed and perhaps live in an underground shelter beneath.

This drawing, along with loads more, will be in the Exhibition in August which is from 16th August to the 22nd at the Gardens Gallery, Montpellier, Cheltenham. Come along and say hello, I’ll be there every day.

More about the theme of the show can be found right here: Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character


My drawing was probably inspired by this sort of thing seen in the Guardian, except in my musings I expected the bloke behind the counter to be something a little more intelligent than smoking, false hope perhaps.