“it’s lights out and away we go!”

Oct 24 2021 watching F1 on couch

A Sunday afternoon sketch at home from October, drawn on the iPad with Procreate, a slice of the life. Watching the Formula One, this was the United States Grand Prix, which seems like a million races ago now. More on that later. There’s my increasingly-tall teenage son on the couch stretched out with his favourite cat on his lap (apologies to the other cat, no he loves you both equally), while I draw. Outside was a massive rain storm. They called it the “Bomb Cyclone” because everything has to have a gimmicky name now. The “Atmospheric River” and the “Moisture Firehose” were also terms used by the weather news people, who frankly are just having a laugh now. Moisture Firehose indeed, do me a favour. We had such little rain this year, the drought in the west has been very worrying, but then all this rain came along on the same day and provided a perfect backdrop for staying inside, which we would have been doing anyway, especially with this race going on. I was worried that we would lose power, the lights were flickering for a bit, and not get to see the race (it really would have been “lights out and away we go” as they say at the start of the race). And boy, was it was exciting. The young Dutch buck Max Verstappen beat seven-times legend Lewis Hamilton in the end with them being close right down to the final lap of the race. This whole Formula One season has been one of the most exciting in years, with Max (we used to call him ‘Waluigi’- MarioKart reference) Verstappen storming about to win loads of races in the Honda-powered Red Bull, maybe on course for his first world title, while the GOAT Lewis Hamilton in the slick Mercedes has pulled off some of the best drives I’ve seen him do to bring it back to level-pegging, and they go into the final race of this season on EQUAL POINTS, a situation that’s only happened once before (back in the 70s), and that final race is this weekend in Abu Dhabi. Lewis has been magnificent in recent races but it all comes down to this. Whoever comes ahead of the other will WIN the title. If they both crash out (something that’s been done before), Max will win, because he has one more race win than Lewis. To say I’m excited for this grand finale is an understatement. I’m a long-time fan of Lewis (and especially after the way he raced in Brazil this year) but more than anything I’m just a fan of the sport and I like all the characters, and it would be interesting to have a different champion, and I’m not particularly interested in the arguments and entrenching into different camps and all that, I’m just glad we’ve had an epic season. It’s very much a team sport, and a technical sport, not just about the bloke in the cockpit, there’s so much involved. I think Red Bull need to win it now because Honda will leave the sport next season and they won’t have that great Honda engine. Max will be probably champion at some point regardless, but I’ve said that before about drivers. Still, I’m actually very nervous about this weekend. I really don’t want a ‘both crash, Max wins by default’ situation, that would be crap, I just want good racing, and good strategy. I’m still annoyed about Schumacher and Hill in 94. But it’s all drama, and the big race is this Sunday. I would love if the team principals Toto Wolff and Christian Horner just had a massive punch-up, the psychologicals between them all season has been just as entertaining. I have a feeling that Max will win. Aargh I’m so excited!  

lewis hamilton

And just as a throwback… November 2008, Lewis Hamilton’s second season in F1, and he won the title in the very last race of the season, in dramatic fashion, right at the end when local lad Massa thought he had won it (still feel so bad for him). Back then, we didn’t get the channel that Formula One came on but the cable channel still showed it without sound, and I’d have the closed-captioning on. The people writing the subtitles obviously weren’t familiar with a lot of the names, and would write “Lou Is Hamel Ton”, “Right Gone On” (that was Räikkönen), “Cove Align On” (Kovailainen), and “Along Sew” (Alonso). I would watch it for the subtitles mostly. Those were exciting seasons though, and so I drew this in my notebook back then, Lewis Hamilton’s winning McLaren. I didn’t draw cars much back then…

playing with colours, missing the games

Living Room
Decided to play with this big set of Prismacolour coloured pencils I’ve had sitting my cupboard, while watching old sports events, in this case the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix. That was fun. I really miss my sports. I especially miss the Formula 1, which nearly started they all went down to Australia, they were having practice and qualifying, and then decided maybe you know having a big event like this at the start of a major pandemic probably isn’t a good idea, so the season did not start. I love the F1 so the lack of it has been worse than not having the football. No honestly the way Jose’s Spurs have been playing, it’s not been missable. Watching this old and ridiculous race brought back some memories, and I had forgotten some of the drivers were that long ago, it doesn’t feel like it. Jos Verstappen was there, Max’s dad, for almost a lap at least, and Schumacher wet out early. Damon Hill was there of course but did not win. And of course Murray Walker, the great voice of Formula 1, commentating in his memorable diesel tones, and I had forgotten who he pronounces the word fastest like they are two separate words, “Fast-Est”. So, sat on the couch. The exercise I’ve gotten used to this past year has fallen away, I’ve been getting up too late in the mornings for my morning runs, just not been feeling it.
Dinner Table and Kitchen

And here, using the pencils again, but this time sat at the dinner table (though admittedly we eat our dinner in the living room). These are drawn in a Stillman and Birn ‘Nova Trio’ book I got in Amsterdam last summer, it has grey, black and beige paper, so perfect for these sort of fun drawings. I watched the classic 1982 World Cup game Italy v Brazil, that was very enjoyable. I was only 6 during that World Cup so my memories of it are extremely foggy, just remember seeing them talk about it on telly, my brother watching it a lot, I remember Kevin Keegan being absolutely massive around then and that brilliant England shirt. I met Kevin Keegan 18 years later in Charleroi, in Belgium. This game though had the legendary Socrates (no, not that legendary one) for Brazil, and Italy’s Paulo Rossi nabbing a hat-trick. I’m gutted right now because all our youth soccer is being cancelled for the season, much to my son’s great disappointment. In particular, the Davis World Cup, our annual soccer tournament. I had designed the badge again, going for a very retro logo this year, but I’ll have to save it for next year. And change the year to 2021 obviously. Here they are, the three versions (for the t-shirts, medals, and other materials). After all this, the things we love will be back! In the meantime I’ll be watching old games, like listening to old records.


Ferrari tales

Lego F1 Ferrari
Two of my favourite things rolled into one: Lego and Formula 1. This is the Ferrari SF-16H (new Lego toy but last season’s car, which wasn’t as fast as this year’s but didn’t have that big shark’s fin). I was so excited for this F1 season to begin, and now it has I’m even more excited. I can see it being a properly epic season, hopefully with battles between teams rather than the old 1-2 finishes from the fastest team’s drivers. Hamilton vs Vettel! Verstappen! Ricciardo! Watching the podium after the Chinese Grand Prix, they just all looked so happy. Much better than the tantrums and hat-throwing. I don’t know, I just want to see great competition, and watch the cars and hear the roar of the engines. I have a few other F1 Lego cars, and I might even draw them too. GO GO GO!

formula 1 on mother’s day

mothers' day
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day in America (two months later than England). We were over in Santa Rosa, and we all had doughnuts on Sunday morning (or ‘donuts’ as they insist on spelling them over here), after which my son and I watched the Formula One, for it was the Spanish Grand Prix, which was won by Spanish driver Fernando Alonso. I sketched the living room in my Moleskine, while family milled about. Sketched with brown uni-ball signo um-151, with a spot of red paint.

Hope you mothers all had a happy mother’s day!

you’re a racecar in the red?

toy red racecar

Formula One starts this weekend, belatedly, and I can’t wait! Nor can my three-year-old son, who was busy playing with his playmobil racecar in anticpation today. I love watching it, even though it means either getting up really early or staying up really late (one of which i do anyway). Now I have the Speed channel, I can watch it properly; in the pre-extended-cable past, I used to watch the channel in a fuzzy black and white form with no sound but static, while watching updates on the BBC website; the real entertainment came from the closed caption subtitles, obviosuly written very quickly by someone completely unfamiliar with formula one driver’s names (eg, names like  ‘kimmy right gone on’, ‘world champion jason bunton’ and my favourite, ‘knack jim’). Sometimes I put the captions on for old times’ sake. It’s a fun game, convert your name to a closed caption gaffe; mine’s ‘peat’s gully’. 

Anyway, here’s to another season of safety cars and dodgy new circuits, alonso sulking, hamilton rueing some silly mistake, webber and vettel trying to convince us they’re teammates, and the great legend michael schumacher making a big deal out of coming ninth rather than tenth.

Illustration Friday this week is themed ‘toy‘, so this is my entry (thanks Shiho Nakaza for pointing it out, I hadn’t seen IF for a while!). I have a feeling I’ll draw more toys this week, since I have been lately. In fact I have put together a Flickr set of my toy sketches: “toys“. 

By the way, the line that follows the title of this entry is one of the greatest in movie history…

allez racing

lewis hamilton

Wow, that was worth getting up on a Sunday for! But I felt really sorry for Felipe Massa. I watched the Brazilian GP silently; we don’t actually get the channel it was showing on, not properly, but you can see a not-too-bad picture. To compensate for no sound I had the CC on (closed captioning; is it still 888 on teletext back in the UK?). They do a hilariously bad job of transcribing the commentary (to be fair, it’s not an easy job). Cove Align On took some working out, as did Along Sew. Oh well, another F1 season over (another international sport nobody cares about here).

And another race finishes tomorrow, Election Day here in the US. Oh my, what a long, long election it has been. Our elections in the UK are nice and short, only about a month or so, without anywhere near as much of the trash talking rallies and for-show debates (where both candidates always say they won). Where punditry, which pretty much is the media over here, is usually restricted to smug Andrew Neill talking to smug Dianne Abbott and smug Michael Portillo, and an interview with a journalist means being utterly slaughtered by Paxman, not slightly embarassed by Katie Couric (can you imagine Sarah Palin talking to our Jeremy? Oh I can, and it is a LOT of fun: “Just answer the question, do you agree with the Bush Doctrine? Just answer the question! Answer it! Never mind Joe Six-pack or Bob the Builder or Ivor the Engine just answer the question Governor!” and so forth). And staying up all night watching the Swingometer, all those little constituencies, where red and blue mean the opposite of here, memories of Portillo’s not-so-smug face in ’97, Mandelson going all psycho in his ’01 Hartlepool victory speech, Major surprising everyone in ’92, Prescott punching an egg-throwing layabout (now I can imagine Palin doing that, actually), absolutely no political TV ads, except those special ones with the announcement in fron (warning you to switch over now to something more interesting), various Dimblebys confusing everyone, and the Prime Minister clearing his furniture out of No.10 the morning after defeat, none of that waiting around until January malarkey, get out of there now and don’t steal the towels. Oh I miss the British elections. I’ll make a point of going backnext time there is one, just for the fun of it (read about how I spent the last UK election here, here and here).

But tomorrow will be fun too (if the Republicans lose). Obama is preaching for change, while McCain is saying Country First and denouncing Bush (although Bush is a country member; I’m sure you will remember) (and that joke’s older than McCain). And Californians, please vote NO on Prop 8, save gay marriage, and save the state constitution from bigotry and discrimination. It has nothing to do with teaching schoolchildren about gay people, as the scaremongering ads say (like there is something wrong with teaching children that some people are gay, and not encouraging bigotry). Grrr! 

This started off being about Lewis Hamilton…

non-sports fans, turn away now (and sports fans too)

I’m officially disappointed with sport. I blame Mystic Pete, naturally, for jinxing everything. Tottenham, what the hell is going on?? what the hell? And letting Arsenal go top? I apologize on behalf of Mystic Pete (who is unavailable to comment, of course).

And the Rugby…yes, they did remarkably well, but this week isn’t England’s. Mystic Pete to his credit said they’d probably lose, but was still disappointed. I bet there were a lot of four-year olds called Jonny who weren’t too happy, either.

Quite a time if your name’s McLaren, too. I’m sure the England footy manager was crucified, I’m in no doubt of that. Now they’re very unlikely to go to euro 2008, and play in Bern’s Wankdorf stadium (they’ll just be Pissdorf at home). And Scotland, conquerors of France, they go and lose to Georgia, or Alabama or whoever it was. Now they have to beat Italy, world champions. As for my two Irelands, well my beloved Republic were just awful, but the North, my granddad’s land, were amazing, and mathematically (i only in fantasy world) they can still qualify…

Lewis, you did bloody well for your first year in Formula 1, and at least your pouting team-mate didn’t pip it from you. but I knew that would happen, I’ve used those same tactics in the final race of Super Mario Kart against my brother, leave a green shell here, a banana skin there, win all the points at the end.

And Celtic, losing to 3-0 to Rangers, despite having beaten mighty Milan (whose goalkeeper Dida coincidentally studied his at DIDA, the Dirty Institute of Dramatic Art).

Grrr. One consolation to all of this – I live in America, which is blissfully unaware of any of these events. “Rugby World Cup? rugby has a world cup? Formula 1, that’s a type of toothpaste isn’t it? Steve McLaren? Oh yeah, that guy should not be in charge of the england soccer team…”

Originally posted at 20six.co.uk/petescully