Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

At home I work in a cupboard under the stairs just to keep me grounded, so you won't hear me talking about my 'studio' -- unlike some cartoonists I could name. My cupboard has in it, apart from old clothes, a cat litter tray and a collection of hundreds of jazz CDs.

Do I put them back in their cases when I've finished playing them? I do not; anyway, I now have an iPod with all my music downloaded on to it. Fancy that! All those wonderful CDs on a machine the size of a packet of five Woodbines. Now I can have music wherever I go, so don't even try and speak to me. I can't hear you.

In fact I have caught up with the rest of you with plugs in your ears, but I still haven't got a mobile phone and so I'm not texting this diary from anywhere exotic.

I'm writing it in my cupboard under the stairs. A hangover from the war, I'm afraid. At least then if you had a large black Bakelite telephone you could pick up and dial Whitehall 1212 and the police would be round in a tick and apprehend the yob attacking you. His name was Hitler, by the way.

Iread the other day of a woman who said she suffered from hairdresserphobia. Is there anyone out there with a similar complaint? Well, I'm certainly phobic about having my hair cut, and have been ever since my mother had me tied to a hairdresser's chair when I was five and left me there and went God knows where. I'd rather go out on stage at a Royal Command Performance than have to make conversation with a crimper. 'Been away have you, sir?' 'Well, yes, I have. It's a little island near Naples. It's quite unspoilt. . . .' 'How do you want it? What about this nasal hair?

Shall I cut it back, along with your eyebrows?' Some awful pirate radio station is pumping out rap drivel at full blast. And remember one can't get out! Still, as they all say, I'm very lucky to have such a head of hair -- 'at your age!' Yes, it's true: I'll never see 69 again.

Iam always amused by the photographs of very important, very interesting people that appear in Vanity Fair showing writers, actors and contributors sucking the ends of their glasses and looking sideways on to Annie Leibovitz's merciful lens. So as a birthday present to me our editor arranged to have one done of the editorial department of The Spectator. It's a joke! Or is it?

To nail a cartoon to a particular topical subject, I often have someone holding a newspaper with a headline identifying the subject of the cartoon. Quite often these made-up headlines come true. I once put the first three horses to come home in the Grand National on a bookie's blackboard the day before the race in some long-lost cartoon in the London Evening Standard. …

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