My friends at the Cartoon Museum in London have a new summer exhibition on – and I’ve got a few things in it.
It’s called “animal crackers”, and as the name suggests it’s a big collection of animal-based cartoons.I’ve got two Bunny suicides cartoons and two Selfish Pigs pages in it. this polar bear and Penguin cartoon isn’t one of mine… It’s by Royston Robertson, and I’ve taken the liberty of using it here because I like it. And it’s in the exhibition.
animal crackers runs until 21st of October 2012, and all the details can be found here.
I thought I’d better mention the place where theress usually a nice pile of signed copies of my various books. It’s the Cartoon Museum, Little Russell Street, right near the British Museum in London.
I call in every now and then to say hello to the great Alison Brown, who runs the shop at the entrance most days. When I do, I’m always sure to sign whatever they have that’s got my name on it.
As well as their permanent exhibition, they’re currently showing cartoons by HM Bateman. He was one of the very best cartoonists operating in Britain between the wars, and was a very powerful inspiration for me at the age of 13. It was when I encountered his work that I became absolutely certain I wanted to be a cartoonist. I can’t recommend HM Bateman highly enough for anyone who’s remotely interested in cartoons (which I hope includes you).
You can find out more, and order books directly from their shop, here.
Very big news of the gnome front – we are finally able to reveal what we have already been working on for a couple of months now. There is going to be a sequel to last year’s movie Gnomeo and Juliet, called “Gnomeo and Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes”. There’s going to be a major new character. Guess what he’s called.
Me and my writing partner Kevin Cecil are writing the script.
My son, Bill, is nearly 7. And he’s figured out that I have a website. Instead of starting up one of his own, the lazy tyke, he wants me to post up some of his artwork. After a week of badgering – here it is.
Bill is very proud of the superhero he has invented here, named “Good Bad”. You may notice a similarity to Capt underpants here… A key source of inspiration to Bill at the moment. However – unlike Capt underpants, Good Bad has a spaceship and a gun. So he would probably win in a fight.
he hasn’t yet drawn many adventures for this hero. If you have any suggestions for Bill, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org .
And next time, I will get him to draw in black rather than pencil for better contrast.
The competition is now closed:thanks to everybody who entered, 65 in all, from lots of different countries. Using the magic of a random number generator website, I can announce the results…
Winner: Sam Heijens
Runners up: Simon Bensley, Fiona Fisher
Sam will receive the bunny notebook, a signed copy of Dawn of the Bunny Suicides, and a signed copy of Selfish Pigs. Simon and Fiona will each receive a signed copy of Selfish Pigs.
Thanks again everybody! If you’re looking at this and you didn’t win – sorry that you didn’t win.
Right, let’s have a competition!
I’m giving away a notebook. Not in the spam competition sense, but an actual notebook: a little green thing that I scribbled in when I was coming up with the ideas for my third bunny suicides book, “Dawn of the Bunny Suicides.” It’s got lots of the ideas that made it into the book, captured in their nascent stages (like the picture here) and a few more ideas that didn’t make the final cut. I’ve never given away one of these books before so this is, if nothing else, a unique little piece of bunny suicides memorabilia.
All you have to do to enter is send an e-mail to email@example.com containing a mailing address, with the words “Bunny competition” in the log line. That’s all. I will post to any address in the world, so you can enter wherever you are.
Closing date for entries is 20 October 2011.
Our sitcom The Great Outdoors is now available to buy. It was on BBC four and BBC2 last year, starring Ruth Jones (of Gavin and Stacey) and Mark Heap (of Spaced, Green Wing and much else besides). Not to mention Katherine Parkinson from the IT crowd, Steve Pdge from Phoenix Nights, Stephen Wight, Joe tracini and Gwyneth Keyworth. It’s one of my favourite thing we’ve ever done. it’s about a rambling club, but not a normal functional one. A really funny, demented one. go on, you know you want to buy it. Get it for somebody for Christmas. Go on!
Here’s where to buy it:
Walking through Bloomsbury in central London last week, I realised I was just round the corner from Black Books. Me and Kevin wrote eight episodes of the sitcom over 2002 and 2003. Although the interior of the Bernard’s shop was a purpose built set in a studio in Teddington, with a studio audience sat on one side (a detail often missing from real bookshops), the exterior was that of a real bookshop: Collinge and Clark, 13 Leigh Street, London, WC 1. I hadn’t walked down that street in years. Time to pay a visit.
I recently read a terrifying fact in the Daily Telegraph: the number of bookshops in the UK has halved since 2006. Halved. As someone who has written sitcom set in a bookshop, and who makes a lot of his living from things sold in bookshops, I’m very attached to the places. Not just little musty ones, but great big ones too. In 2003 we wrote an episode guest starring Simon Pegg as the manager of a super–efficient book retailer, clearly modelled on Borders, which opened right next door to Black Books. Back then, that’s what the future looked like. In 2011 Borders is no more. Was it realistic to hope that Collinge and Clark would survive?
There it was. Still, an’ antiquarian’ bookseller. One glance at the window display reassured me that yes, that just meant second hand. Behind a desk, underneath wood covered walls remarkably similar to the ones we had on the set, a man sat doing nothing in particular except wearing glasses. I tried to enter the shop: the door was locked. Oh well, I thought, and carried on down the road.
Seconds later the man peeped out of the door.
– Oh, you are open then? I said.
– Well, yes…
It was like I had just asked him an open-ended philosophical question.
– You sound unsure, I said.
He pondered for a couple of seconds, then decided.
– Okay, yeah. We are open.
Suspecting by this time that he really didn’t want me there, I went round the corner to Judd Books where the door was definitively 100% open. However, I left Leigh Street greatly heartened. Not only had Collinge and Clark made it into 2011, but they were still carrying on in a highly Black Books way, locking customers out in the middle of a working Monday. Maybe that’s the way bookshops will survive. How can you close down what does not open?
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If you want to visit this great little bookshop, hopefully when it’s open, here’s a link for more information:
the animated film that me and Kevin have been writing for, on and off, for nine years is finally in the cinema. Nice! For years,we have mentioned this film about warring garden gnomes to our friends, who must have thought well, what the hell are they talking about? It’s kind of a weird experience to see it advertised on the telly and on the sides of buses. Mark Kermode, the film critic, hates films being advertised on buses. but I’ve never cared what he thinks. And his rockabilly quiff has receded so far back on his head that it’ll the halfway down his back by next year.
Gnomeo and Juliet has had a cracking first three days at the box office. It was the highest grossing film in the UK over the weekend, and in America it’s come a close third behind Adam Sandler and Justin Bieber, grossing about $25 million so far. A good, good result. The producers have been sweating bullets but I think they can relax a little bit now and enjoy the ride.
Now, how are we going to do a sequel?
don’t forget – the third episode in our initial three episode run of The Great Outdoors is on BBC2 tonight, Thursday 27th of January.
Christine, played by Ruth Jones, brings everything to a head in this episode… And there’s a cameo appearance by me. I play the part of “angry cyclist” who sprints past and shouts “oi!”
And I’ll mention it again… I did all the lettering for the opening titles.
if enough of you watch it the BBC will let us make some more.hurray!