Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Terror On the High Seas

You know that final shot of Jurassic Park when a T-Rex roars and a banner drifts down proclaiming the time ‘When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth’? Well, I think I’ve thought of an idea for a sequel that brings it right up to date. We have a similar banner but it now reads ‘When Arseholes Ruled the Earth’ and instead of a dinosaur, we have a large CGI recreation of the soup-brained editor of Yachting Monthly magazine.

Of course, it needn’t be the editor of Yachting Monthly magazine. It could be any of the fiendish fuckers who miraculously achieve positions of prestige in this country of ours. Local councillors, civic planners, and the management at my local Tesco… Pick your fool of choice and I’m sure the CGI engineers at Industrial Light and Magic would be able to recreate them at a larger scale.

But you might wonder why I’m picking on the editor of Yachting Monthly magazine. I don’t know the man and couldn’t tell you his name. However, I have been reading Bill Stott’s blog post for September and it's a real white knuckler. Bill has been relieved of his freelancing duties providing cartoons for Yachting Monthly. As he himself explains:
the new thrusting young editor in this case [ of a sailing magazine which shall remain nameless, called Yachting Monthly] knew damned well he was doing wrong. He emailed to say how much he liked my work, and how it had really worked for the magazine but that he was letting me go because he was giving the slot to a cartoonist friend of his! Honest! Of course, in freelancing, there are no contracts. In editing, for some at least, it would appear that there are no principles.

I don’t know which shocks me more: that the editor is so brazen about hiring a friend or that he actually thinks it a good idea to drop Bill Stott. For a long time Yachting Monthly was Mike Peyton’s patch. Peyton has been described as the world’s greatest yachting cartoonist so it was only right that when he retired he was replaced by a cartoonist with an equally high profile. Bill Stott definitely has that. His signature is one I’ve recognised since I first started to take a studious interest in cartooning. If you’re unfamiliar with his cartoons, I suggest you check out his blog. His work has appeared pretty much everywhere that matters and most compilations of great British gag cartoons will usually include some of his more well-known panels.

supreme_beingUnlike many cartoonists who tread a very safe middle ground where the jokes follow established precedents, Stott’s work can occasionally wander into wonderfully surreal areas. I keep intending to write a long piece about why I adore his work and perhaps one day I’ll do that. Needless to say, if you read as many gag cartoons as I read, it’s hard to be surprised, yet Stott constantly surprises me.

There’s be an exhibition of his work along with that of Tony Husband, Chris Madden, and Bill Tidy at the Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester this coming October and I’m really hoping they’ll let me in.

Bill Stott was also one of the founding members of the Professional Cartoonists Organisation, which makes his treatment all the more disgusting. Personally, I’m up for organising marches and protests against this shabby treatment. Would a lynch mob be too much? I’m not so sure. We need hairy bikers with grim attitudes and we need them now. At the very least, can’t we cartoonists block harbours and prevent yachts from sailing to make a point about that we don’t live in a country that tolerates this nepotistic crap? What kind of organisation is the PCO if they can't organise a riot mob? It also makes me wonder what the hell a company like IPCMedia are thinking giving editing duties to a nepotistic dunderhead who has clearly been hit over the head a few too many times by a swinging boom.


  1. Speaking as a armchair sailor, I'm furious. I don't know why craftsmanship is so undervalued, and salesmanship is so overvalued. I think its time people who make things went on strike

  2. Couldn't agree more. And it's precisely the kind of story that really pisses me off.

    Funny you say that about salesmanship. I was just having a discussion about celebrity and I was expressing my usual observation that we've become a nation that celebrates our presenters and under-appreciate our talent. For the life of me, I can't understand why any presenter is paid more than the national average wage.