The Pop Comix of Guy Peellaert


Found over at the always groovy World of Kane blog.

Belgian advertising illustrator Guy Peellaert was one of the first cartoonists to embrace Pop Art and incorporate Andy Warhol’s appropriation of mass market iconography into his work. His first comic, Les aventures de Jodelle, (Jodelle’s likeness modelled after yé-yé chanteuse Sylvie Vartan) appeared in 1966, swiftly followed by ‘Pravda la Survireuse’ (her likeness based on Françoise Hardy) for the magazine ‘Hara-Kiri’ in 1967.

Hard to believe this is the same artist that went on to design the cover for Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs’.
I realized I’ve been looking at Peellaert’s work for some time: it’s the cover of this Mansfield CD.

Stephen Gill: Archaeology in Reverse


Continuing to photograph where his award-winning book Hackney Wick left off, Stephen Gill has made Archaeology in Reverse in his cherished area in East London. Still making pictures with the camera he bought at Hackney Wick market for 50p, this time he focuses on things that do not yet exist. This magnificently produced book features traces and clues of things to come in a poetic, sometimes eerie and quiet photographic study of a place in a state of limbo prior to the rapid transformation that this area faces during the build-up to the Olympics in 2012.

I think I blogged about Stephen Gill before…oh wait, yes, I have.

The IT Crowd, Season One


When it first came out last year, I watched two shows, laughed, then forgot to download the rest. Now, because of the mentions of Season Two on BoingBoing, I went back and caught up. And so should you if you haven’t heard of this British comedy. “The IT Crowd” is a sit-com about two IT nerds–one slobby, one uptight–in a faceless company, whose geeky male environment is flipped upside-down with the appearance of an equally incompetent female manager. Much comedy is made of this threadbare set-up, getting progressively sillier each episode. Stick with the show until about Episode 4 before giving up–I bet you won’t.

Thankfully, all the eps are on YouTube until somebody notices.

Here’s the opening sequence

Episode One: Yesterday’s Jam: 1 2 3
Episode Two: Calamity Jen: 1 2 3
Episode Three: Fifty Fifty: 1 2 3
Episode Four: The Red Door: 1 2 3
Episode Five: The Haunting of Bill Crouse: 1 2 3
Episode Six: Aunt Irma Visits: 1 2 3

Here’s some outtakes/bloopers: Part 1 2
Here’s some cut/extended scenes: 1

May I just note, appropos of nothing, that I find Katherine Parkinson very hot. Thank you.

Opening the gates of the NYT, and an early restaurant review

Kottke.org, by way of Chuck Taggart’s blog, went nosing about in the recently unlocked New York Times online archive and found the earliest restaurant review. That’s worth reading for many reasons, including a list of the types of dinner to be found in New York in 1859 (Stetsonian! Delmonican!). But what tickled me most was the excerpted account of dining at the last on the list, an unnamed “Third-class Eating-house”:

The noise in the dining hall is terrific. A guest has no sooner seated himself than a plate is literally flung at him by an irritated and perspiring waiter, loosely habited in an unbuttoned shirt whereof the varying color is, I am given to understand, white on Sunday, and daily darkening until Saturday, when it is mixed white and black — black predominating. The jerking of the plate is closely followed up by a similar performance with a knife and a steel fork, and immediately succeeding these harmless missiles come a fearful shout from the waiter demanding in hasty tones, “What do you want now?” Having mildly stated what you desire to be served with, the waiter echoes your words in a voice of thunder, goes through the same ceremony with the next man and the next, through an infinite series, and rushes frantically from your presence. Presently returning, he appears with a column of dishes whereof the base is in one hand and the extreme edge of the capital is artfully secured under his chin. He passes down the aisle of guests, and, as he goes, deals out the dishes as he would cards, until the last is served, when he commences again Da Capo. The disgusting manner in which the individuals who dine at this place, thrust their food into their mouths with the blades of their knives, makes you tremble with apprehensions of suicide…

Not too different from now, except we can add TVs blasting out cable news and twats on cellphones.

Mort Sahl Interview on TruthDig


Mort Sahl was one of America’s best-known satirists during the ’50s and ’60s. His politics offended enough people on both sides that he never really got the breaks other comedians who followed after him would get. He’s quoted as saying “If you maintain a consistent political position long enough, you will eventually be accused of treason.” However, I hadn’t thought of Sahl for some time until Mr. C sent me this link to an interview with Sahl at TruthDig. It’s full o’ good quotes:

Mr. Fish: Are you at all frustrated by [Barack] Obama’s recent public displays of toughness, his willingness to bomb Pakistan and Iran, etc.?

Sahl: Obama is a black guy made in the lab by white guys.  Again, it’s about [Democratic] virtue, “We’re going to nominate a black man.” Look who they pick—they didn’t exactly pick Paul Robeson or Malcolm X.  Or it’s like with Hillary Clinton.  She says, “Believe me, I won’t let the war go on!” What reason is there to believe her?  She’s running on the entitlement ticket.  It isn’t enough that we had [Bill Clinton], now we have to have her?  Has everybody forgotten that he went into Kosovo and that he bombed civilians in Yugoslavia?  I mean, his presidency wasn’t exactly a high time in America—maybe for the stock market.  But getting back to Obama, Bill Bradley just the other day referred to him as a rock star.  What kind of an appraisal is that?  It’s not even a good parallel—how often do rocks stars have anything to do with music, not the music industry, but music?  It’s vaudeville.

And on the current state of satire/standup:

Sahl: I think the artist is only that good. I don’t think it’s a broker’s decision to even try to meet the audience’s needs. A comedian nowadays is there to accommodate the audience’s materialism. They don’t have anything on their minds. [A comedian] will get up there and talk for an hour about women like they’re aliens, and that’s his act. I was in New York and I saw Judy Gold and she was complaining that CNN runs that line of headlines at the bottom of the screen—is that really what’s wrong? I just don’t think there’s any cultural depth perception anymore. Even the guys at “The Daily Show” aren’t making fun of the worst of [political wrongdoing]. Maybe they should just do more of what the real news doesn’t do. Those guys at CBS really ended [the Vietnam War]—Rather, Morley Safer and John Hart—by showing us what was going on. Everyday we hear that a bunch of American soldiers got killed, but we don’t see anything. You will on Al-Jazeera.

It’s good stuff, read it.

The UAW Strike, here’s a thought

Most MSM news run with the “but how will it affect you, the consuming consumer?” angle. This brief essay by someone called Trapper John on Daily Kos has this important point to make about the UAW and its history:

The UAW was at the heart of the creation of what we know as the American middle class — more than any other force in society, it institutionalized the idea that workers should be entitled to health care, vacation, and a secure and comfortable retirement.  Before the rise of the UAW, blue-collar workers had no hope of securing their family and their future, and lived in constant fear of injury or layoff, with no prospect of anything resebling “retirement.”  The UAW changed that.  The UAW made sure that the workers at the base of the postwar boom got their share.  The UAW made it possible for a man like my grandfather, a brilliant guy from the Irish ghetto in Buffalo who never had the opportunity to study past high school, to send every single one of his kids to college.  And the victories won by the UAW bore fruit well beyond the homes of their members — because of the size and importance of the union, every UAW contract had a massive ripple effect.  Employers in other industries — even non-union employers — had to raise their standards to attract employees.  In short, the UAW allowed workers to get a taste of a life where leisure was possible, where relaxation and economic security were something that could be earned with hard work, and where their labor was treated with honor and dignity.

Hey, most everybody I know lives in fear of layoff with no $$ for retirement…not to mention huge debt. But hey, keep buying things, folks!

Danny Gregory’s Upcoming Book

Now this is going to be cool.

In the next few entries, I’ll describe some of the things I’ve been doing instead of posting and journaling but let me begin by telling you about my newest book. It’s called “An Illustrated Life: Drawing inspiration from the private sketchbooks of artists, illustrators and designers” and it’s been so exciting to work on it. I contacted every person whose work I’ve admired over the years and asked them if they would be willing in sharing pages form their illustrated journals and allowing me to interview them about their process, their tools, how they use their books, and what impact it has on their lives. To my delight everyone I asked said they would be happy to be part of the project. I accumulated an embarrassment of riches: dozens of pages from more than fifty amazing people and now the book is overstuffed to bursting.

Check out the sample pages, including ones from Robert Crumb, Chris Ware, and plenty others I’ve never heard of. I love to have a nose about in people’s sketchbooks (when they let me!), so I’m looking forward to this.