Today I’ll be skipping my evening meal. I would normally call it my ‘tea’ but I’m reliably informed that you civilized folk call it ‘dinner’ and today I’m trying to raise my game. That means it’s a non-jeans day as I also give myself an early birthday treat. Birthday, you ask? Well, yes. Tomorrow, this lump of the corporeal jam marks the day when the Earth reaches the same arbitrary point in its orbit that it reached when I first had my bottom smacked by some firm-handed midwife. Famous people who also had their bottoms smacked on October 13th: Margaret Thatcher, Paul Simon and cartoonist Michael Heath. And what’s remarkable is that I’m a big fan of all two.
As to my treat: later I’ll be catching the Manchester train to attend the opening of ‘Hey Wayne!’, a new exhibition of cartoons from Bill Stott, Bill Tidy, Tony Husband and Chris Madden. It’s at the Richard Goodall Gallery starting at 6pm and ending at 8 with fisticuffs in the car park (Bill’s words, not mine). Now that I’ve advertised it here, I expect queues around the block, though I’d expect that anyway. This is a rare chance to see some of our most important contemporary gag cartoonists together in one room. If you like gag cartoons and live in the Manchester area, you’d be crazy not to attend. A prize for anybody who spots the tall nerd standing in the corner…
It’s my high level of cartoon nerdishness that gives me the confidence to attend, otherwise, it’s not in my nature to go to cultured events such as this. I usually plan to go and then discover a path of less resistance which takes me back to my more familiar routines. However, this time I’m determined to make the effort of showing up, standing in a corner, feeling extremely out of place, and then slipping away unnoticed. I wish I could be different, arrive with a flourish, slap Tony Husband on the back and give Bill Tidy a thumbs-up. Instead, I’ll be happy to finally meet Bill Stott, one of my favourite cartoonists and a really nice guy who displays remarkable levels of tolerance by enduring an email correspondence with a miserable would-be cartoonist plagued by a compulsion to over-draw everything.
Okay, now for a late lunch (dinner in these parts) and then I’ll get ready for the train. I’ll probably blog tomorrow. It’s my birthday but I try not to think about these things. I look younger than my years and I’m still a child at heart, even if you can count the years on the rings of my teeth. If I have the nerve, time, and figure out how to put a pound on my phone, I’ll Instagram tonight’s event. From here on, things will be bleak. Next week I’ll begin to anticipate the huge disappointment of not featuring in the results of the Observer’s short graphic story competition.