Tag Archives: envelope

milk snatcha

maggie

In case for some reason you don’t know who this is (and apparently there were a lot of young people on the internet who didn’t), this is Margaret Thatcher, aka Maggie Fatcha, former British prime minister who died recently, prompting some long-awaited celebrations across the UK. The most divisive PM in history, large areas of Britain are still reeling from the policies of her government. Even now, bingo callers all along the seaside refer to the number 10 as Maggie’s Den, I presume. But she was also a very popular Spitting Image puppet, lest people forget, and indeed our own dog Lady (aka ‘Soppydog’) had a squeeky toy Maggie which she carried everywhere with her. It was her Baby. “Where’s Maggie?” we’d ask her, and she’d go and get her from behind the sofa, wagging her tail, peeing on the carpet. Maggie would be all chewed up, and the squeak was gone out of her after a while, but Soppydog loved that little Maggie and would cry for hours if she couldn’t find her.

Given the spontaneous outpouring of non-grief, in a kind of reverse-Diana situation, it was quite funny to see the accompanying call of “don’t speak ill of the dead” and “show some respect” and “it’s too soon”. The not speaking ill of the dead thing amused me enormously, because it’s like, oh it’s fine if she’s not dead yet. That sort of thing may be true if you’re at her funeral among her family, or if this was just a neighbour who ran over your flowers once, but I think it’s ok to speak up about a national leader whose policies tore your community apart at a time when that person is being brought into the spotlight again, such as at the time when she dies and everyone is trying to re-evaluate her legacy. I think it’s absolutely essential to speak ill of the dead, lest the ills be overlooked. Do you think Maggie herself would have held back ill words? But after all the dust has settled, one outcome of all this is that I can no longer watch the Wizard of Oz without thinking, ooh those Munchkins, what heartless little bastards. Don’t they know it’s too soon? That Wicked Witch of the East is still there, under the house, and you’re coming up with whole song and dance numbers? Spontaneously? Think of how her poor family must feel! No wonder her green sister was so angry. And then Dorothy comes along and snatches her shoes. “Oh I didn’t mean to,” she says, but come on Dorothy. Too soon, too soon.

There’s one other thing I noticed. It’s well known that Maggie was not popular in the city of Liverpool, and with very good reason. However, Liverpool FC, once the undisputed kings of European football, have not won a single League Title since Thatcher went bawling out of Number 10. While she was in office, Liverpool were English champions a whopping EIGHT times. Manchester United didn’t win any Leagues, weren’t even close. Post-Mrs-Thatch, United have been champions thirteen times, Liverpool zero. Makes you think, doesn’t it. The curse of Maggie Thatcher, league title snatcher.

the great dane

michael laudrup

Another football drawing, this one is Michael Laudrup, the Danish manager of Welsh team Swansea City. I love Laudrup. He is forever-young, good-looking-but-man’s-man, right attitude, and in his first year at Swansea he has led them to their first major trophy ever. Swansea City as a club are great too, and it’s great to see a Welsh side gaining so much respect in the Premier League. Laudrup was a great player in his day too, as was younger brother Brian, but Michael was The Man. Total man-crush of course (he’s competing with AVB and Mancini), so he had to get drawn on a Chinese envelope in brown pen. I’m enjoying this series. And I have a lot of these envelopes this year…

all gone quiet over there

arsene wenger
Monsieur Arsene Wenger. Long-time manager of Arsenal, my club’s arch-rivals. Since he arrived at Arsenal in 1996 from Japan, that club (who, for those unfamiliar with English football club geography, are a South London team from Woolwich residing in North London temporarily for the past century or so, a few miles south of native North London team Tottenham Hotspur, my team) went into terminal incline, winning big trophy after big trophy as if some day winning trophies would go out of fashion. Meanwhile, Spurs remained fashionably trophy-free, except for a couple of league cups, the ‘thinking man’s trophy’, and beat Arsenal hands down in the ‘number of managers’ league table. Now Tottenham are flying high as the top London club (check the league table, Chelsea, it does not lie), third in the table, while Arsenal are languishing in a lowly fifth, with only the prospect of a second-leg Champions League tie against Bayern Munich to keep them entertained. “Champions League”, haha - you don’t even have to be a Champion to be in it. It’s like a game at a kid’s party where you tell the kid who came last that “they’re a winner too”. With a fashionably hip seven years without a trophy, and an attitude at the club that 4th place is the same as getting a trophy for the cabinet, Arsene is riding high, being talked about more than ever, and his players are so good that other competing clubs are lining up to buy them.

I actually feel sorry for Arsene Wenger. Despite about fifteen years of living in an undeniably massive Arsenal-shaped shadow, until just a few years ago, I cant deny that he is one of the game’s true legends. He changed Arsenal from being boring-boring 1-0 merchants to one of the most exciting teams in the world. When they did that invincible season, nearly a decade ago, and Thierry Henry was in my mind the best player in the world, it was pretty hard to argue with that. With no trophies for the past seven years, even many Arsenal fans are calling for Monsieur Wenger to call it ‘un jour’. His methods were a revolution in their time, but their time has passed. Ferguson, on the other hand, continues to win, win, win. Arsenal are not competing in the age of the Billionaires, the Chelsea-City nouveaux-riches, but despite banking their money on every turn they are increasingly being seen as the Weakest Link (but then, compare them with how Liverpool have fallen). and as Spurs rise and rise, I should be laughing at them as I go, but I’m finding myself feeling sorry for them. They are not the lottery-winners of your Chelseas and your Citys (and your, um, QPRs), and I do believe that in the long run acting sensibly with football money will pay off, but well, selling your best players to your rivals, that’s just silly. When games go badly on the pitch for Arsenal it is amplified; Wenger was accused of not taking the FA Cup seriously when they were knocked out by lowly opposition, and he angrily retorted that he has won that competition four times, arguing “name me one manager who has won it more” (the answer is Alex Ferguson, by the way, if not counting dead managers in which case there are three others). Last Sunday, Spurs beat Arsenal 2-1 in a big derby game, but if it had gone the other way, we’d have only been a point apart. At a similar time last year they beat us 5-2, and we were something like ten points ahead – and Arsenal ended up catching us, beating us to third place. That is the measure of Wenger, he can still pull it off. I’m sure he would prefer to leave on a high, finish his Arsenal career with one last big trophy, but if he doesn’t (and as devoutly Tottenham and anti-Arsenal as I am, the romantic in me kind of hopes that he does), I hope he isn’t forced out by the impatient salmon-sandwich bunch at the Emirates. If he should go, they’ll soon realize that their club will have lost their greatest figure since Herbert Chapman.

Drawn on a Chinese envelope in uni-ball sign um-151 (brown and red) with white gel pen.

the boy bale

gareth bale

He’s been brilliant lately, hasn’t he? This is Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur’s great young Welsh star, drawn on another Chinese envelope. I have him up between the drawings of Messi and Ronaldo next to my desk, and he is probably in that company. His free kicks lately have been spectacular, Spurs have barely needed a striker with Bale moving about up front. He needs to do something about his barnet though. Young people, eh.

schoolboy’s own stuff

gazza
Paul Gascoigne, as I will always think of him. For those who read my blog and don’t know the names of every footballer I mention (and I mention a few), Paul Gascoigne – aka “Gazza” – was a player from the late 1980s to early 2000s, who had perhaps his greatest playing period while a young cheeky lad in the white shirts of Tottenham, scoring a bullet of a free-kick against Arsenal in the FA Cup Semi-Final in 1991. As an England player he was perhaps the most ‘gifted’ player of his generation, playing with unrivaled passion yet a tinge of tragedy, famously crying on the pitch after receiving a yellow card (undeservedly) in the 1990 World Cup semi-final against West Germany, meaning he would have missed the final, if England had been any good at penalties. He became a national hero and an international icon. His golden spell at Tottenham ended with an FA Cup medal in 1991, though he never finished that match, having been so hyped up that he attempted to kick a hole in the chest of one player (laughed off by the Gazza-loving ref) before seriously injuring himself trying to remove the legs of Nottingham Forest’s Cary Charles. That injury put him out for a year, after which he was transferred to Lazio, and so on and so on. You can look up his history in Wikipedia or something. While he had a few moments of wonder, such as his amazing goal against Scotland at Euro 96, Gazza never quite reached the heights we knew he was capable of. Injury, personal issues, drinking, (cf Chris Evans and Jimmy Five-Bellies), famously being left out of the 98 World Cup squad, he never could live up to the hype of being Gazza. For me and so many other Tottenham fans, that free kick against Arsenal was the defining moment (and for me, all the more fun as I watched the match with my Arsenal-supporting dad). At his best there was nobody in the country even close.
Gazza has had a lot of trouble in his life since his glory days, alcoholism, domestic troubles, mental health issues. And now last week he was admitted into a treatment centre in the US, having suffered another setback in his health. It’s unlikely he will ever be free of his demons, but I’ll always think of him like this, young, cheeky and brilliant.

AVB-in

AVB
AVB – or Andre Villas-Boas as he prefers to be called – is the manager of Tottenham Hotspur. He is also Manager of the Month for December, following Spurs’ fantastic run lately. He is young too, and the first Spurs manager ever who is younger than me. He doesn’t like shaving (I can relate, though I can’t do stubble for very long without getting grumpy about it). I drew him yesterday lunchtime, when I was too tired to leave the office for lunch, and stayed in to draw on one of many envelopes I get at this time of year (this one is from Shandong University in China). It has been a very busy week, with an even busier one to come. In fact I was so tired yesterday that when I got home I fell asleep almost straight away, and when I woke up at half past five this morning this man was on the TV, leading Spurs in a 0-0 draw against his predecessor, Harry Redknapp, now boss of bottom-placed QPR. I like AVB. “A valuable boss.”

whiskey in the jar-jar

little prague, davis (envelope from peking university)

Last night, I partied like it was 1999. That is to say, I went to see the Phantom Menace. In 3D. I know I always say that 3D is shite, and that Phantom Menace is, largely, also shite, but I couldn’t wait – this would be awesome man! Well, the chance to see Star Wars, any Star Wars, on the big screen again couldn’t be passed up. Phantom Menace has its faults (I am looking squarely at you, Jar-Jar Binks – time has not made it easier to forgive the Gungan for his hapless existence) but in many places it is quite great – Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon is someone everyone would want to know, a favourite uncle, Obi-Wan’s lightsabre skills are still world class, and I think Jake Lloyd was superb as young Anakin. They made some improvements, fixing Yoda from that terrible puppet to a digital one that more closely resembles the original puppet, and switching all of Amidala’s lines with ones that made sense (actually they didn’t do that, sadly).  I was reminded of how excited everyone was when the trailer first aired,  when double-bladed lightsabre wielding face-painting experiment Darth Maul told us he would be revealed to the Jedi. But was it 3D? Nope.

It’s hard to just switch a regular movie into a 3D movie, I guess. I remember seeing Jaws 3D at the pictures when I was a kid and jumping out of my seat when a harpoon flew out of the screen – now that was 3D (actually, Edgware cinema it may have been a real harpoon, looking back). There were trailers for new 3D movies last night which did look quite spectacular, but they were made with 3D in mind. Phantom Menace just wasn’t. Not even the podraces, exciting though they were, particularly flew out of screen. The most 3D bit, seriously, was when Watto was speaking Huttese and the subtitles came up. I was like, “oooh floating letters!” After a while, the 3D glasses (“3D – Real D” it says, whatever the heck that is supposed to be) were bugging me. I expected those light cardboard ones you used to get, red on one side, blue on the other, but these were proper plastic sunglasses. They’re great, if you don’t already have glasses on. They fit over your glasses, but wearing two sets of specs is a real pain on the nose.

Still, after Darth Maul went to pieces, after Qui-Gon Jinn was set on fire and after the Gungans paraded their vuvuzelas in the streets of Naboo  (with Palpatine looking on saying to himself, seriously what part of “wipe them out” did they not understand??), it was fun to come out of the movie theatre feeling like I had relived the olden days. I then fancied a beer and a sketch. One other thing I did in 1999 was spend a couple of weeks in Prague, so I went to local pub Little Prague for some Czech beer. I’ve drawn this place several times before, and this time I drew on a brown envelope (from Peking University), using a uniball vision micro, a superb Y&G Calligraphy pen, and a white gel pen. Oh and a bit of warm grey Pitt brush pen. Took me about an hour and a half, while people milled about dancing and drinking. I like Little Prague, but the music on Friday nights can be a bit loud and, well, not my thing. Lots of others seemed to enjoy it though, but I concentrated on drawing all those bottles. I considered extending the envelope to draw the rest of the bar (I would love to do a curving panoramic of this bar sometime, perhaps on a less busy evening). I would like some time to organize a Drink and Draw type group here in Davis, something that seems to be popular in other cities. In the meantime, here’s wondering how the other Star Wars films will look in 3D. I think I can guess!

and the seasons they go round and round

south silo on a chinese envelope

Here is another familiar scene, but drawn in a different way, at lunchtime today. My recycling bin is always bursting at the seams at this time of year, so I like to recycle the nicer brown envelopes for some sketching. I used a different pen, a black Y&C Calligraphy pen from Japan (well, from the University Art store in Sacramento), which was really fun to draw with. I have drawn this same view, of the south Silo from the steps of Bainer Hall, every six months since mid-2007, once in Winter, once in Summer, once with leaves and once without. One way to capture the changing Davis seasons. Here are the others…

view from bainer uc davissouth silo uc davisthe view from bainer, againbikebarn from bainer (yet again)bike barn from bainerlunchtime sketch by the hog barnrainy rainy daysmoky and the bikebarnno leaves for youuc davis trees encore

say hello to my little friends

hydrant by eversonhydrant on 2nd & Univ

I’ve been drawing fire hydrants this week, ones I have not drawn before. The taller yellow one below was drawn at the end of last week’s sketchcrawl; the stumpy yellow one above is on the corner of 2nd and University. The other two are drawn on brown envelopes – I work with graduate applications, and recieve mail, transcripts, from all over the world (well, mostly China). I like to recycle the envelopes from time to time for some drawing, and well it’s that time of year. The one above was drawn on an envelope from Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China, and is a hydrant from the UC Davis campus (they are white and blue). The one below is drawn on an envelope from Sri Lanka, and is found in the parking lot of Davis Commons. There are still one or two styles of hydrant in Davis that I’ve not yet drawn, I’m sure!

sketchcrawl 34 hydrantanother davis hydrant