Happy Holidays 2021

Happy Holidays to you and yours, congratulations on making it through another tough year.

A thinly-veiled Boris Johnson stand-in cohorts amidst total catastrophe once again.

Here, ‘Highly Questionable Santa’ is breaking COVID regs and having a Christmas party, just like it’s been revealed that the UK’s Conservative ruling party did too, back in December 2020… Which they’re still denying, despite all kinds of testimonies to the contrary. They even fired someone who had nothing to do with it, which kinda backfired and then made them look even more silly.
Don’t end up looking silly, kids.

Meanwhile, could this be the end for Highly Questionable Santa..?
All the very best for 2022, which can only get better.
– Love from Lee, Bex and Seb.

(To see all of Highly Questionable Santa’s previous shindigs against common decency; they’re all on the blog, click here!)

Tea Towel II: This Time it’s Personal… ‘Metronomy’s Eight Wonders of the Small World’

So we did it again, there’s another METRONOMY TEA TOWEL in the works.

The English Riviera one was just so well received, we had to go and do it again.
Buy the forthcoming ‘Small World’ album from Drift Record Shop – click here – and you’ll get a special tea towel and a comic, both with art from me, for free!
(You can get the comic bundled with the album from any indie record shop in the UK, but the tea towel is a Drift exclusive!)
Again, this was just a massive laugh from start to finish.

‘Metronomy’s Eight Wonders of the Small World’, Tea Towel II: This Time it’s Personal... The art! Ignore the border.

Here’s a lil’ preview of the art for the tea towel.
We went for the full chintz on this one. Truth be told, it’s based a lil’ bit on a genuine vintage tea towel, banging on about how The Isle of Wight has eight wonders, more than the rest of the entire world put together. Eeesh.

The choices of places are from all over the world are are Joe Metronomy’s top location picks, spread out all over the globe. They are;

  • Garden Bowl bowling alley, Detroit, USA
  • Zona Arqueológica de Cholula ancient pyramid complex, Puebla, Mexico
  • Nice ‘n’ Sleazy indie night club, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Broadmarsh Banks skate park, Nottingham, UK
  • The Montmartrobus route, Monmartre, Paris, France
  • The Thai Oase karaoke bar, Lindau, Hamburg, Germany
  • Coin Laundromat, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
  • Bunbury Beach, Bunbury, Western Australia

It’s really nice that Nottingham and Glasgow got a look-in too.

(Thanks to Because Music!)

Here’s Joe Metronomy modelling a mock-up of the tea towel with customary high style in a charity shop. That guy!

‘Metronomy’s Eight Wonders of the Small World’, Tea Towel II: This Time it’s Personal... Says the Mountster himself!

Buddy the Cat Merch

Roll up, roll up, you can now get my art on T-shirts, tote bags and yes, even tea towels..!

Buddy the Cat is; Fritz the Cat, Fat Freddy’s Cat, Itchy from Itchy & Scratchy, Felix the Cat, Garfield, Heathcliff, Custard from Rhubarb & Custard and some kind of hero for our times, all rolled into one.

Follow this link to buy..!

We got T-shirts!
Buddy the Cat T-shirt

Clothe yourself in a surly cartoon cat trying to keep his hooch (and records) out of the sun. Lovely off-white, pink colour. Really makes the art pop and the whole thing look tasteful.

We got Tote bags!
Buddy the Cat tote bag

The tote bags are made of great, thick material and have side and bottom panels on them,  you could fit eight heavy bottles of hooch in one, no problem… Or whatever you choose to lug about on street corners, while you’re going from pillar to post.
Buddy’s pose on the bag is an obvious reference to the ‘Keep on Trucking’ underground comix motif from Robert Crumb et al.

We got tea towels!
Buddy the Cat tea towel

Admit it, everyone hates washing up… I’m really pleased with how these turned out, the slightly distressed art and off-white cotton look great together.
I think everybody’s with us on sentiment too.

So just to sum up, you can use things with my art on to pose in, keep you warm, hide your nakedness, carry things, dry things up, rub things down and more…

Buddy is the new mascot of The Drift Record Shop. He’s based on a real shop cat. Well, he’s there sometimes, but he mostly lives with his Drift owners. Won’t you let him into your life, too?

Metronomy’s ‘Small World’ Album Comic

Metronomy 'Small World' album, 'It's Good to be Back' comic.

Comic strip I did for the band Metronomy!
Preorder their forthcoming album ‘Small World’ (on vinyl) and you’ll get this bundled in with it, it’s a comic expanding on the ‘It’s Good to be Back’ lead single music video, directed by the rather wonderful Dreamjob Directors.

Metronomy don’t really need an introduction, which is high praise from me indeed, but if you’ve not heard of them, rest assured, they are the very finest in grooving electro-pop music. I’m obsessed with loads of their songs. Lots of people are…

You might remember I did a tea towel design for the same good folk a while back.
The album’s out in February and there might be more goodies to tell you about later on, too.

Metronomy 'Small World' album, 'It's Good to be Back' comic.

You can pick up the album and get a physical comic (12″ x 12″ size!) from your friendly local indie record shop, like the Drift Record Shop.

Metronomy 'Small World' album, 'It's Good to be Back' comic.

The comic expanded upon the premise of each band member playing the role of a funny kind of idealised animal, something that was pretty hard to convey during the passage of the music video, but we could play with it a little bit more here.

Metronomy 'Small World' album, 'It's Good to be Back' comic.

…It’s at this point that the story then loops back to the beginning of the comic, just like the video does. So you turn over the ‘back cover’ of the comic and then you’re back at start of page one again.

The music video loops, I said… Wanna see? Check it out:

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s even a ‘making-of-the-video’ video that’s an eye-opener:

Many thanks to everyone at Metronomy’s record label, the esteemed Because Music.

Trinity Continuum: ‘Aberrant’ Superhero RPG Comics – Silver Age Pastiche

Another comic I did for the ‘Trinity Continuum: Aberrant’ RPG book from Onyx Path Publishing. The comics in the book each riff on a different bit of superhero comics history. This one is paying homage to the ‘Silver Age’ of comics in the sixties, artists like Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Steve Ditko and so on.

Silver Age - 1960s - style pastiche comic for the Trinity Continuum: Project Aberrant RPG for The Onyx Path Publishing.

It’s also supposed to be an-universe document: a recruiting leaflet for a particular group of superheroes.
I pored over any silver age comics I had to try and get the feel of this one right… Sadly I am no draughtsman like John Buscema and I can’t get the bombast that Jack Kirby had…

Silver Age - 1960s - style pastiche comic for the Trinity Continuum: Project Aberrant RPG for The Onyx Path Publishing.

But I can try and bolster it up with jiggery-pokery like making it look like it’s on newsprint paper, the printing transfer isn’t great and there’s a phoney version of a four-colour printing dot screen… Which you can’t really see on this, but it’s there when you see it in print, honest!

Trinity Continuum: ‘Aberrant’ Superhero RPG Comics – Alternate History

Aberrant tabletop RPG book comic art, a recruiting leaflet for the superhero group ‘Team Tomorrow’.

Comic I did for the ‘Trinity Continuum: ABERRANT’ table-top role-playing game book from the storied Onyx Path Publishing. The theme of the game is comic book style super-heroes… So, comics plus RPGs together means its automatically me all over.
Not only that, but the chapters and the full-page art of the game book pay homage to different ages, styles and movements in the history of comics, which is sooo good to see. (If you’re down with that kinda thing, it’s magic. If not, ya might learn something.)

This comic was bit of a homage to Frank Miller’s ’Batman: The Dark Knight Returns’ series/graphic novel and it was great fun. ‘DKR’ brought in the MTV style, channel-surfing chatter of the eighties to comics and here that thread is used to inform on a quick primer for the ABERRANT setting.

Aberrant tabletop RPG book comic art, a recruiting leaflet for the superhero group ‘Team Tomorrow’.

(The ‘Aberrants’ are people who have developed super-powers, y’see.)
Onyx Path is the new name for White Wolf, the publisher of ‘Vampire: The Masquerade’, ‘Werewolf: The Apocalypse’ and all of the ‘World of Darkness’ games.

FIONN Graphic Novel Lettered Pages, First Batch!

First five pages of the FIONN graphic novel finished! Written, drawn, coloured, lettered.
Next step is to carry on finishing pages, to get a pitch to publishers together.
Have a look.

Fionn Mac Cumhaill graphic novel lettered page
Fionn Mac Cumhaill graphic novel lettered page
Fionn Mac Cumhaill graphic novel lettered page
Fionn Mac Cumhaill graphic novel lettered page
Fionn Mac Cumhaill graphic novel lettered page

(Ironically, the great thing about finishing something is finding out how it needs to change. And change it will, the very beginning of the story needs to really work well.)
Anyway, thanks for your patience.

Happy Bealtaine!

Liath Luachra & Bodhmall from the FIONN graphic novel are herding their cow between two bonfires while festooned in sunny yellow flowers to mark the 1st of May.

Bealtaine card with Liath Luachra and Bodhmall from the Fionn Mac Cumhaill graphic novel.

The May-Day celebrations stem from Bealtaine – one of the four major Celtic festivals of the year – when sprigs & branches in bloom were gathered. In Ireland, Gorse, Rowan, Primrose, Hazel catkins and Marsh Marigold flowers were all plucked and cattle were (and are) herded between two bonfires before they’re turned out to pasture for spring. Fires are extinguished, set alight again (maybe even by a passing,officiating Druid) and may even burn all the way through the night.

Roughly, ’beal-’ means ‘shining’, ‘-taine’ means fire and the whole affair is lit by bright fire and the beaming of golden sunshine.

It’s also linked with Benelus (or Benelos), a (mostly) continental Celtic god of the sun, who received widespread worship, back in the day.

In the UK, the May Pole associated with May Day started out as the most handsome straight branch or tree trunk anyone could find, which was then decorated with flowers. All this ‘pagan’ stuff is still all around us.

Metronomy’s ‘The English Riviera’ Album Tenth Anniversary Edition… Tea Towel!

Metronomy English Riviera Tea TowelApologies for subjecting you to my mug, it makes a change from all of the art and I have great news! I was stupidly lucky enough to be able to come up with a design for a… TEA TOWEL for the British band Metronomy.

Metronomy English Riviera Tea Towel

Here’s the artwork itself, the idea is that it’s Joe METRONOMY’s favourite spots in The English Riviera (the Torbay area of coastline in south-east Devon, UK).

You can only get yourself a tea towel by buying the Tenth Anniversary double vinyl LP version of Metronomy’s ‘The English Riviera’ album from the Drift Record Shop.

Metronomy English Riviera Tea Towel

An alternate wave design (possibly inspired by a real wave lapping against Paignton sea front).Always loved this album, always loved Joe and Metronomy.

Metronomy English Riviera Tea Towel

All the shouts out to METRONOMY’s label, Because Music.
The idea is that it’s a spin on the tourist trap tat souvenir tea towels you used to get. It’s still making me chuckle.

Metronomy English Riviera Tea Towel

And a very early rough. I’m still obsessed with this record, even to this day, ten years after its release. It’s all about being from the bit of the country I’m from, the sun-drenched, sea-side, technicolour… Melancholy? The track ‘The Look’ is a stand-out one, if you’re short on time. ‘The Bay’ has more of the titular English Riviera conflicted feeling to it though.

Locations include; the YMCA Skate Park and Shoreline Cafe in Paignton, the Avon Dam, Torquay, Totnes, Stoke Gabriel and more.

Dry Cleaning Band ‘New Long Leg’ Album Window Painting

Dry Cleaning band 'New Long Leg' album laundrette window painting mural at Drift Record Shop in Totnes.

Faux cheesy laundrette window painting to celebrate the release of the band Dry Cleaning‘s debut album ‘New Long Leg’, out on the famous 4AD record label.

Dry Cleaning band 'New Long Leg' album laundrette window painting mural at Drift Record Shop in Totnes.

This is probably the most ambitious window painting I’ve done at Drift so far, definitely in terms of the multiple colours this time around. There’s even a tiny bit of metallic gold paint in there too!

Dry Cleaning band 'New Long Leg' album laundrette window painting mural at Drift Record Shop in Totnes.

The band are British – from London – are are some proper, head-down, high-speed, chugging yet acrobatic guitar goodness, laid over with a full flow of compelling, stream-of-consciousness lyrics that are more like poetry. Go seek out!

Dry Cleaning band 'New Long Leg' album laundrette window painting mural at Drift Record Shop in Totnes.Dry Cleaning band 'New Long Leg' album laundrette window painting mural at Drift Record Shop in Totnes.Dry Cleaning band 'New Long Leg' album laundrette window painting mural at Drift Record Shop in Totnes.Dry Cleaning band 'New Long Leg' album laundrette window painting mural at Drift Record Shop in Totnes.

I was kinda freewheeling with all the bubbles towards the end there… Didn’t look too bad in the end there!

Anyway, here are your huckleberries, for context: