From The Age, February 2014.
By request for my friend and fellow drawer Darby. He tells me he worked in retail for seven years and this is documentary more than satire. I never did retail - I paid my dues in hospitality, first in low-end (Pizza Hut), where smiling was probably expected but not enforced, and then attitude-heavy yuppy cafes, where the default was a cool surliness rather than a smile. Perhaps my smile-muscles are under-develped, as a result of inner-city cafe jobs through my formative years?
From The Age, February 2014.
From The Sunday Age, 2nd March 2014.
I’ll let the cartoon do the talking on the issues, suffice to say the policies that have allowed the situation on Manus island to occur are shameful, as are the things that have occurred. How any decision-maker with a conscience has allowed this to develop is beyond me. The junk-food lobbying thing is shocking too, but in a lower-stakes sigh-the-Tories-are-taking-advantage-as-expected way.
Any existing paper readers of The Sunday Age will have noticed that I’ve moved off the back page this week with a redesign of the paper to tabloid size. I’ve loved the back page - chuffed to be placed with the brilliant Annabel Crabb, and the seriously witty (and bafflingly uncredited) Richard Castles (‘Headlines You Won’t See This Week’). Annabel, Rich, it’s been a privilege. I always loved the idea of Sunday morning cafe patrons around the state being ambushed by my colourful Strip each week as it sat there face up, exhibited like a baboon’s behind. Now I’m moved into the news pages, Annabel’s still on the back, and Richard is M.I.A. (say it aint so? Rich?).
Not being on the back is a pity, but there are significant upsides to the move. Swings and roundabouts. A) I’ve survived the redesign! A redesign is the time a newspaper editor can, I know from experience, most painlessly (for them) and effortlessly let you slip away (Once I was given the flick from a regular spot after a redesign and not even told. I had to ring up after the fact, and have it confirmed). And B) I’m bigger! Might not seem like much to the casual reader, but it is several sq.cms. bigger in size, and this is a boon for a wordy, perpetually space-challenged cartoonist. Many thanks to Sunday Age editor Duska for her continuing indulgence, and enthusiastic support of the Strip.
Well, onwards. I pledge to continuing to work towards fixing the problems of the world - to bringing this government down, solving climate change, bringing evil-doers to satiric justice, etc - one good joke at a time. It’s dirty work, but someone has to do it.
From The Age, 27th February 2014.
I have to admit that there is an element of bluffing here. Having minimal contact with real, live teenagers, I have no idea if they a) say things like “so totally”, or b) use paper textbooks anymore. In all likelihood this is a more a scene of nostalgia for *my* year 11 than some snapshot of contemporary teen life. Are highlighters even a thing anymore? I saw a guy use one in a cafe the other day, but maybe it was an ironic, anachronistic quirk - life someone using a Poloroid, or listening to cassettes?. Clearly i should get out more.
From The Big Issue Australia, early February 2014.
We’ve moved onto bigger stinky fish, but cast your minds back a couple of weeks…
THIS SUNDAY! FUN TIMES! BIG ISSUE MELB. FUNDRAISER
Firstly check out the musicians listed on this flyer! TBI have put together an amazing line-up this year for their 2nd Barefoot Bowls fundraiser, and, if you’re free and in Melbourne this Sunday you should totally come, play, enjoy the music, eat and drink. All welcome! I am involved as a ‘team captain’ again this year - farcical, as I am allergic to, and incompetent at, all sports excluding ping pong. Actually probably ping pong too these days. Last year was an excellent day - so round up a group of buddies, or just come and be welcomed by the friendly crowd!
From The Sunday Age, 23rd February 2014.
It’s not that I think I’m drawing the best the best Tony Abbott in the world, but I think I’ve found my groove a bit. In that I have previously been floundering every time I went to draw him, and each effort was like starting anew and took half an hour plus, but now at least I’ve attempted him enough times that I’ve found a bit of a formula for myself that I’m happy with, and do not feel all at sea on starting. I’ve gotten a bit of confidence, rightful or not. (Note - I am not fishing for compliments/insults here, just ruminating on my experience of drawing.)
Maybe it’s also something about the groupthink evolving of an Abbott template - the national community of cartoonists is slowly, subconsciously agreeing on his caricatured ‘persona’. The more times one sees him drawn, the more stylised the general perception of him becomes. I have previously watched this happen with other politicians, most notably George W, and Malcolm Turnbull. They slowly went from being bland, vaguely handsome undrawables, to, well, the walking cartoons that we now perceive. It may well be it’s happening with his perceived personality as well as his appearance..
From The Age, 20th February 2014.
Incidentally, this is, more or less, what I look like in underpants now. I know.