Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2017

In early August I received a text from my old Rubber Balls mucker Rosie Duffield inviting me to the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival. Now, Rosie had upset the political world in the June 2017 General Election by winning for Labour, against all expectations, the erstwhile safe Conservative seat of Canterbury, which had been solidly Tory since the Great Reform Act of 1832! It was in her capacity as a newly-minted MP that she was hosting a talk at the Festival on Saturday 5 August being given by the august cartoonist and scourge of political arseholes Martin Rowson, one of my all-time satirical heroes, and would I be free to attend and meet the great man himself?

Would I 'eck as like! So I turned up with long-suffering boyfriend in tow, and suitcase in hand containing three puppets (Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson - a fortuitous selection, as it transpired), met Mr Rowson beforehand and attended the talk itself, a wonderful mixture of musings on the history and nature of cartooning and satire, anecdotes from Mr Rowson's long career, smidgens of gossip about various public ne'er-do-wells, and a glimpse of Martin's magnificently repellent Nigel Farage pinata, which was in a rather sorry state having had the crap beaten out if it some time before by the comedian and activist Mark Steel...

Not only that, but Martin used my Farage and Johnson puppet heads during his talk as props for a couple of anecdotes, and afterwards we ended up going for drinks, visiting a gallery showing his work, attending another gallery for a wine & nibbles reception where I met several fascinating (and incredibly welcoming) people, including the charming on-the-spot caricaturist Helen Pointer (who drew me in mere minutes whilst we chatted), went to a dinner afterwards and finally only just managed to make the last train home to London!

What an extraordinary day...




Trumped Again...

Channel 4 now being the proud owners of my original Donald Trump puppet, I needed to make a new one (cast from the original mould in the same way as before), but this time I managed to improve the hair enormously...




Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Putin's Puppet Show Tonight...

Back in mid-February, The Last Leg contacted me to ask if they could use all my old puppets for a skit they wanted to do on their Friday 17 February show (Series 10 Episode 4, I believe). They also wanted a new Farage puppet, all this with only two days' notice! On top of this, they asked if I was free all afternoon and evening of Friday to act as a puppeteer, and could I bring along anyone else? So I roped in my old muckers Dodders and Paul, while Channel 4 got in three other guys to be puppeteers, and their props people made bodies and costumes for my puppet heads.

They already had Trump, but my other puppets were supposed to portray non-famous figures (namely, three Russian whores and three Russian spies) and so they had to be heavily disguised to conceal their actual identities. The whores were played by Boris Johnson, Nick Griffin and David Cameron, while Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and Benjamin Netanyahu played the spies!

We actually performed the skit - a parody of The Muppet Show song rewritten as The Putin Show - live on air! It went like a dream, the TV people were without exception lovely to work with, no air & graces or attitude on show, and afterwards they laid on a taxi at their expense to ferry us and the puppets back home.

Oh, and Nigel? Well, ironically, after the mad rush to make the new puppet, Channel 4's lawyer got the jitters and said he couldn't be used... That's showbiz, I suppose.












Thursday, 2 February 2017

BIG DONALD IS WATCHING YOU...

Needless to say, the extraordinary advent of Donald Trump as US President has demanded a response in rubber...



Thursday, 17 November 2016

Body Transplant...

For some time I've been mulling over changing the look of the puppets, and going for a Large Head/Small Body aesthetic, which is more in line with traditional drawn caricature. To that end, on Christmas day I made a small body using foam sheets glued together and cut to shape, and children's clothes I'd bought some time ago with this use in mind. Here are the results with Boris Johnson and Benjamin Netanyahu...



Sibling Rivalry...?

Some time ago, my Rubber Balls collaborators Jon Rist and Ian Buchan asked if I could make - wait for it - a talking belly creature for a short film they were planning. The upshot was that I found myself one day slathering Ian's midriff with a load of soft-soap mould release, and then bandaging him up like an accident victim, so I could produce a mould of said body section.

From this I made a hard polyurethane foam 'plug' conforming to the shape of Ian's belly. Slap a load of clay on that, sculpt a weird face into it, fling a ton of plaster onto that and voila! You end up with an open mould of the belly creature, from which a latex skin is made. Using foam sheet cut into shape, I made a substructure for that onto which I attached a 'chassis' bearing cable-operated mechanisms to operate the creature's eyes (left and right movements) and mouth, the lower jaw being sprung and capable of moving up and down.

Although appearing to be a radical departure from my usual subjects,  the belly-brother's face was modelled vaguely after Ian's features, my concept of it being that it was kind of a Siamese Twin gone wrong...

Anyway, here's the film:



And here are some photos which are, hopefully, fairly self-explanatory (mainly because I can't be bothered to explain them)...










Sunday, 31 July 2016

Nigel Hits Channel 4!

Recently, I spent a few weeks in the United States visiting my boyfriend. Whilst there, I received a private Facebook message from Jon Rist, the Rubber Balls cameraman/compositor/editor etc., to the effect that Channel 4 wanted to use the Nigel Farage puppet head as part of a mock statue which was pulled over, in the fashion of a deposed dictator's statue, on The Last Leg (Series 8 Episode 5) broadcast live on Friday 8 July 2016!

Not only that, but my name appears in the end credits!

Here are some screengrabs...