And so, it finally ended. Woo – and I cannot stress this enough – hoo! Though of course it will keep going on for a while. Almost worth it being most of a week to get the results on a Saturday morning, and celebrate the rest of the day (or in my case, go for a run, coach soccer, draw a lot, and have some beer). As if there weren’t quite enough words filling this week, the three sketches I did of the TV (one above, of Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris, first female VP as well as first black VP and first VP of Indian background, gave a great speech introducing President-Elect Biden. I wrote down as much as I could while drawing. Same below, though my sketch of Biden doesn’t look too much like him, more like Alan Pardew. Personally I am just really looking forward to having leaders where we don’t have to worry about what nonsense all-caps words they have rage-tweeted. But I try not to think about those too much, I don’t follow it, nor engage in it; as much as I use Twitter (mostly I tweet about Tottenham or football shirts) there are so many bots and trolls sweeping it looking for fights about politics, it’s like Camden Town at 2 in the morning but with Warhammer and Robot Wars thrown in. Actually it’s nothing like that at all, because that sounds awesome. (Who hasn’t witnessed Sir Kill-A-Lot glass a Giant Orc outside the Mixer before getting a bag of chips and jumping on the Night Bus?) Apologies to my American friends, this reference is possibly niche. Still it was nice to hear a calming voice, a voice of reason, rather than one moaning about how unfair everyone is to him and how tremendous he is. I get enough of that watching Jose Mourinho. By the way, this morning Tottenham actually went Top of the Premier League for a few brief moments, before Leicester retook the lead in the next match, which was a fake match and actually Tottenham have in fact won the league with a big 1-0 win, and I’m claiming victory in all remaining games. (Literally the entire world has done a variation of this joke already, better than I could). By the way, the actual funniest thing yesterday is far and away the press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Straight Outta The Thick Of It. Earlier in the day while still watching the Newsathon, I drew various announcements on my iPad (below), as people celebrated and danced on the streets of Washington DC, and cities everywhere. My cat looked out of the window, unaware that there has been a change in the human leadership, only concerning himself with whether he will be allowed to play in the yard or get dinner a bit earlier. The cat agenda is never taken into consideration by human politicians. I’m glad the new President will have pets though, the only pets the last President (whoever that was – still is, I guess) had were peeves. Of our two cats, they disagree on a number of issues and call each other all sorts of uncivil names but they cross the aisle when it comes to Being let outside to play in the yard, or Opening the window a bit, or Getting fed now right now. It’s been quite a week, exhausting and exhilarating, and sure the fun isn’t over yet (not by a long shot; just give it up, man!), but I probably won’t be glued to the TV waiting for Breaking News Updates about there maybe being a few extra votes counted in Wherever County or whether the Losing campaign claims there were votes from time-travelers from the future or something. I’m glad I drew some of it though, historical record and all. 2020 is really the story that keeps on storying. I got a new great-nephew on Friday when my eldest niece gave birth (welcome baby Che!), and a new President and Vice-President on Saturday. Take the good moments when they come!
Hello folks! Sorry about the blogging break! Been very busy lately, settling into the new job, also coaching soccer again, also a little bit of travel (a couple of days in LA helping my friend from England celebrate his 40th birthday), and a slow-down in the sketching (but only a slow-down, not an actual break…never an actual break!) Also I just have had a lot of things piled on top of the scanner and you have to move it to scan things and…excuses, excuses. So I am up super early today watching Tottenham beat Huddersfield (it’s 3-0 at half-time, Harry Kane is giving a masterclass) and it seemed like a good time to start catching up. So, this sketch is of the Davis Farmers Market and I drew it at the August “Let’s Draw Davis” event, which are still going monthly, this one was organized by fellow Davis sketcher Alison Kent. I stood and sketched this among the Wednesday evening ‘Picnic in the Park’ crowd. That’s what the Wednesday evening summer events at the Farmer’s MArket are called, they have music and bounce houses. A few days later I added this sketch to the Pence Gallery’s annual Art Auction, and it sold!! I’m so glad, as I really enjoyed sketching this. The Farmers Market on a Wednesday after work is a nice place to hang out in this town.
I did a couple of other sketches, of the band performing, using one of those multi-coloured pencils for the second sketch.
My final sketches of the evening were at a very important event elsewhere in the park, the Unity Rally, organized in resistance of bigotry and hate, this coming just days after the events in Charlottesville. One of the speakers was US Congressman John Garamendi, who very kindly signed my sketch afterwards! He did look it over to make sure I hadn’t misquoted him; I thanked him for repeating the Nelson Mandela quote a couple of times so I could get it right. The evening ended with a touching candle vigil, of course I’m always nervous about candles all around me (a candle once burned a massive hold in my shirt at a party in east London, leaving me to go all the way across London on the night bus with basically half a shirt on, very embarrassing) so I sidled back with my sketchbook. Another of the speakers was the new UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May, who has now appeared in my sketchbook three times; I’ll post about the other two times soon, but I’m very happy he is our new chancellor (he likes Lego! and Comics! And is obsessed with Star Trek!)Speaking of Lego, one of my latest things is making Lego animations. I’ve made a few this past month, and if ever one gets any good I’ll maybe even post it here…
The 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, was at the UC Davis campus yesterday for a rally organized by Davis Campus Democrats. I love Bill Clinton, so I wasn’t going to miss this. I took an early lunch, and sketched the crowd waiting around before the main man arrived. Pres. Clinton was giving support to local Democrats running for Congress, as well as to President Obama (apparently there is an election next month? I wouldn’t know as I have avoided all contact with TV ads, every time the TV goes to commercial I go for a walk). I can’t vote, of course. It was a large crowd, and an excited one. It was also very sunny, and facing the sun was getting a bit hot after a while, so I went to the shade and sketched one of the news vans (KCRA3, which I’ve sketched before, I like them better than News10). When Bill came up to his podium the atmosphere was electric, ie everyone raised their smartphones and cameraphones into the air to capture some footage. The funniest was seeing people simultaneously want to clap and take photos at the same time, so lots of one handed slapping of own thighs. I returned to my main sketch, adding in Bill and writing down some snippets of his speech (he loves UC Davis, he said, every time he comes to the campus). It was pretty special to see and listen to him in person. It’s one of my ambitions to have a beer with Bill Clinton.
Ken and Boris (and some other people) are the choices today for the London Mayoral election. I’m for Ken, personally, not ‘he of the unbrushable hair’. I wish I were there to vote, but I missed the first one in 2000 (living in Belgium), missed the second one in 2004 (off visiting France), missed 2008 (moved to California), and obviously I’ll miss this one too. But I still care who runs my home city! Boris could at least offer to shave his head if he wins. So to mark election day I drew them in my Stillman and Birn book in a pilot hi-tec C, a quick lunchtime sketch when I couldn’t leave the office due to the high pollen count. Ok here’s the inevitable pun, I’m hoping Boris gets a low polling count and has to leave office.
Yesterday was Super Tuesday. I’m not sure why it was so Super, it didn’t exactly fly by. A really Super Tuesday would be one where the next day turns out to be Saturday or something. That is the epithet they give to the day when lots of presidential primaries – in this case, for the Republican candidate – happen at once, therefore making the eventual nominee appear that little bit more clearly. The eventual nominee (Mitt Romney, above) has not emerged very clearly as the eventual nominee (though he will be), with the race still very much open for Rick Santorum (yeah it won’t be him) and Newt Gingrich (no, no it won’t be him either). Ron Paul is still in it too, apparently, though he really looks like Magneto. Personally I think they’re all nuts, and not very Super. Less-than-Fantastic Four? Mitt has a bit of Reed Richards going on with those grey bits, and he’s certainly the most elastic of all of them. Santorum I suppose could be the Preacher (except Jesse Custer is the epitome of cool while Santorum is clearly off his trolley). Newt, well he already sounds like a sinister twisted mutant super-villain (not his name Newt, just his, you know, personality and politics).
So it’s going to be Mitt Romney, isn’t it. At least we can look forward to such headlines as “Romney You Plonker” (well, maybe in the English papers). Now seemed to be the best time to draw Romney though, if only to capture that hair, because after November I would either have to wait another four years for him to run again, or he’ll get elected President and be completely grey by June.
HB Pencil in the Stillman and Birn gamma sketchbook.
Politics has come to town. The first of the California gubernatorial elections (yes, I do just like saying that word) was held yesterday in the Mondavi Center at UC Davis. The race for Arnie’s successor is on. In the democrat corner, Jerry Brown, the man who was governor a long time ago, during the 1849 Gold Rush or something. In the republican corner, Meg Whitman, founder of e-bay, which might come in handy when she’s auctioning off all of our public services and state parks. I watched some of the debate on TV; it was pretty underwhelming, as expected, but I know which of the two I’d vote for, if I had the vote.
I popped out at lunchtime to witness some of the preparations. Police cars were everywhere, lining the entire building. The media were setting up camp, and so I sat in the shade and sketched this KCRA3 News TV van. KCRA3 is our local station, it’s the news channel with Edie Lambert and Gulstan Dart (who hosted the debate), and of course KCRA3 Chief Superior Weather Plus Meteorologist Doppler Radar Controller Grand Lord Mark Finan and his colleague/substitute/baldrick, Dirk Verdoorn; I’ve spoken about these Californian weather guys before. It was really hot – it may be almost October, but we’re having 100-plus degree heat here in Calfiornia. As I was finishing the sketch, a member of the UC Davis news office took my photo. I couldn’t sketch the debate itself, but I was pleased to at least document it in my own small way.
What an interesting few days! A week really is a long time in politics. The first general election to end in a Hung Parliament since 1974. The Conservatives won an extraordinary amount of seats, but not enough to gain a majority and legitimately form a government. To explain, this means that the party that came second, Brown’s governing Labour party, remain as government for now, until deals can be made for Labour or the Conservatives to form some sort coalition with the smaller parties, meaning all those that lost the election are allowed to govern rather than the party that ultimately came first, or failing any agreement, allow the Conservatives to form a minority government with Cameron as PM. Got all that? Don’t worry, I don’t think even they get it.
So amid the wooing of the Liberal Democrats by both parties, Gordon Brown offered his own head, and committed to stepping down as Labour leader. It was inevitable, of course (and he was constitutionally correct to remain in office while a new government is formed, despite Murdoch’s media arm of Sky News, The Sun et al trying to force him out in favour of their bloke).
The Liberal Democrats’ situation is wierd, isn’t it? The nation was so gripped with Cleggmania before the election that they forgot to vote for them – the Lib Dems ended up with fewer seats than in the last election! Even Lembit ‘Mr. Cheeky Girl’ Opik lost his seat to the Tories. But that doesn’t matter – despite such poor results, they now hold the key to deciding the next government, because it’s Clegg that Brown and Cameron are courting. Now explain that to the aliens from outer space.
I was thinking of that song Jilted John, and thinking of David Cameron. Listen to the lyrics and replace ‘Julie’ with ‘Clegg’, and imagine Clegg ditching the possibility of alliance with Jilted Dave and going off with Gordon. “And they were both laughing at me! But I know he’s a moron, Gordon is a moron…” It could still happen. One can only hope.
The election was fun though. I always used to stay up all night for elections, getting excited as they called such exotic places as Ceredigion and The Wrekin. This time we were treated to no ‘Portillo moment’, but watching Jacqui Smith lose her seta while dressed as No. 6 from the Prisoner was amusing. Paxman was a relative gentleman, while Dimbleby was getting tired of the shots of cars going down motorways. Bill Wyman showed up at one point, apparently dressed as Worzel Gummidge, declaring that basically he was working class but Labour did nothing for him, now he’s rich so he votes Tory. I didn’t even have to watch the sun rise; the great thing about living in California is that, being 8 hours behind, I could watch it all and see the new PM ‘crowned’ before bedtime. Well that didn’t work out! Several days later, it’s not done and dusted yet.
In other news, Chelsea won the Premier League, by a single point. Which presumably means that second-placed Manchester United can now do a deal with Arsenal and Spurs to become coalition champions instead. What? That’s not how it works? I’m so confused…
Drew the UC Davis Bike Barn building…again. Well it has one of those looks, cant help but be turned into a drawing. The way one side of the roof is longer than the other, the shadow beneath the eaves, the unsketchable army of bikes in the foreground. I still have that brown paper cut up from envelopes.
I forgot to mention: Davis is now home to the newly opened (last weekend in fact) U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame. That’s right, the actual hall of fame for bike-riders. I wonder if they have a special section for those ones who cycle up on the inside of buses as people are trying to get off, those cyclists deserve a medal, yeah. And the ones who go around texting or yapping into their cellphone with their ipod in their other ear.
Hang on, I’m starting to sound like a certain Tory politician on the eve of the election. “Last week I met a 70-year old nurse who told me he couldn’t get on the bus because all the unemployed eastern european immigrant asylum seekers were cycling around with their ipods and their mobile phones taking our jobs and claiming our benefits…” Oh, the UK General Election is only a week away now, and with ‘bigot-gate’ or whatever it’s being called, we’re already having our Joe the Plumber moment, or will if the Murdoch press has its way. I really hope the media leaves that poor pensioner alone, but have a feeling she’ll be used to the fullest extent by The Scum newspaper over the next week.
The UK General Election is upon us. Unlike in the US, where the election date is known years in advance and the campaigning goes on for about three hundred years, filling the airways with irritating paid-for campaign ads, British elections are called with only about a month of soapboxing and eggfacing until the big day, and the long swingometer-filled night. Also unlike America, Britain is not electing a President, but a party to govern. We’ve all become very comfortable with being uncomfortable at how ‘presidential’ our Prime Ministers are getting (ie, they brush their hair and grin a lot), so with thought in mind, which of the three below do you think will become our next ‘presidential’ PM?
See, I’m glad Gordon Brown (above) is not a smiler, and has unbrushable hair. Makes him less presidential. David Cameron (below) on the other hand, old Etonian, friendly chap, cheeky grin, America will love him like they loved Blair. Like so many pop groups before them, our PMs probably feel they can only be truly big if they can break America.
He has a big forehead doesn’t he. By the way, America, if you’re following the UK Election, Blue means Conservatives and Red means Labour. Red is the traditional colour of international socialism; it’s only the US that has that the other way round, where it means the colour of Limbaugh-loving necks.
And then in the Yellow corner there is the Other Bloke, who by all accounts won the UK’s first presidential – i mean, prime ministerial – debate (it’s not like they don’t already debate in the House of Commons though, is it). These debates mean nothing, the Liberal Democrats aren’t ever going to really win a general election, because they are deliberately ignored by the Murdoch press (the true rulers of the UK). Unless…surely not? Nick Clegg (right) is apparently becoming swiftly popular, and let’s face it, Brits (like Americans, to whom we gave most of our reality TV shows) love nothing more than an instant overnight popular political hero – oh, what am I saying, there is one thing Brits like more, and that is knocking said hero off his perch and dragging said hero through the razor mill of the tabloid press (hello again, Mr. Murdoch).
No, he’s not smaller because my Murdoch-payroll editors have instructed me not to get in the way of their Tory revival saga (I’m not The Times, you know). More that the sketch simply looks nothing like him, but hey, I don’t really know what he looks like, or stands for. I know he looks a bit like Philip Schofield, David Duchovny, Kilroy and Jim Davison (shuddering at the thought). Time for me to do some reading up on this election. I won’t get to vote, but I also won’t get to live through the consequences, now I’m over here in Obama-world. I do really miss British politics, honestly I do, I want to watch Paxman, I want to watch Dimbleby, I want interactive 3d Swingometers, I want to see eggs on faces and Prescott punches (whoever the modern equivalent of Prescott is), staying up all night and watching the results of Haltemprice & Howden and Cannock Chase and other places I’d never heard of. This election even looks like it might actually be a three horse race (unlike the last few, which were definitely one-horse races). I drew a political cartoon which got onto the Channel 4 web site last time (Goldilocks and the Three Unbearables), I need to sharpen that pencil again (Last of the Summer Whine: Foggy, Compo and Clegg would be a start, cascading down the hill in a tin bath).
At least this time I won’t need to stay up all night. I’m eight hours behind, so hopefully it’ll all be decided by midnight. I suspect Labour may have to do a deal with the Lib Dems to keep the Tories out of Number 10; if not, Brown won’t have a Clegg to stand on. May the Sixth be with you.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the 44th President of the United States, new leader of the Free World, Barack Obama. President Obama. No more George W Bush. Did you hear that? NO MORE GEORGE W BUSH!! Off you pop. No more Cheney. But thanks, by the way, thanks for the wonderful state you’ve left the world and the country in. Not your problem, leave it for the next guy.
Finally, someone intelligent running America. Though of course, he had to take his oath of inauguration twice, because he kind of fluffed it up the first time. Was I the only one who thought, when he paused right after the words “I will execute”, that he was about to slip up and say… “George W Bush”?