News and Views from Oliver Preston
I was talking to a good friend from Switzerland the other day and we got talking about giving things up. Drinking, smoking, rich food, you know the form. He is super fit, ski tours most days, but really enjoys the finer things in life – those little shouldn’t haves that niggle away at our consciences. He shrugged his shoulders at me, and said, “I’ve tried on so many occasions, but have finally decided that the only course of action is to actually GIVE UP giving things up.” He smiled a self satisfied smile. He is content in himself and a happier man for it.
I wrote down his comment in my sketch book which I revisit when sitting at my drawing desk, later to discover wonderful seedlings of inspiration for cartoons. All too often other people’s throw away lines are my bread and butter (see above). The downside is that I keep the sketchbook by my bedside, and often in the middle of the night I get hit by a sudden inspiration. There follows a mad scramble in the dark for a pencil and sketchbook, which has to be executed with aplomb without turning on the light, or waking up my wife (most unpopular). I usually spend most of the next morning trying to decipher the incomprehensible scribble, trying to make some sort of sense of what had seemed a brilliant joke only hours before.
Next sunday we’re going to need a Plan B. We are going to be at The Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace outside Perth, the gateway to the Highlands, the third day of selling my cartoons and books and prints to the scottish public. It’s a very scottish occasion, and a first for us.
Obviously. Because, oh dear, if (when) Andy Murray gets into the Wimbledon Final, it’s sure to be a five setter, and the final is……….. next sunday ! It’ll be exciting, a nail biting, edge of seat, heart racing, nerve jangling television extravaganza – and yes, the denizens of Dunblane and the whole of Scotland will be ensconced at home, on their tartan sofas, with tinnies and crisps and shouting at their televisions and egging on their favourite son.
So it’s going to be a quiet one for Viv and Ollie, and we need to take matters into our own hands. Execute plan B. There’s only one thing for it, we need to hire a whopping 70 inch screen for our tent, and dig deep to purchase the widest width of broadband in the borders, and stream the match live into our stand. Maybe add a bit of colour – strawberries and cream, free champagne – give out panamas and floppy wide brimmed sun hats, and an occasional sprinkler for those intervals of rain stopped play. The punters will all be on our stand , pretending to browse, but in reality transfixed at the cliffhanger that is the Wimbledon Men’s final. Glory days!
Oh lordy, there is one week to go until the CLA Game Fair – this year at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire. We are packing up the prints, boxing books and preparing our stand for this year on “Bond Street”, the Game Fair tented shopping equivalent – great shops and not a traffic warden or congestion charge in sight. It’ll be a fun three days, and if this weather stays, we’ll be packing a couple of big fans in the van. Not fat admirers of my cartoons but the windy, cooling sort – it can get pretty hot in a tent in July in England. If you are around drop in and come and see some of the new cartoons, have a browse, or just come in to cool down!
The poet Henry Birtles has put pen to paper for the 2013 Ashes tour – illustrated by Oliver Preston. The original was sold for Stg 3,500 in aid of The Shane Warne Foundation and Hop, Skip and Jump Charity, at a star studded 20/20 cricket match at Cirencester Park in June attended by a team of England stalwarts led by Michael Vaughan, and an Australian side led by Shane Warne.
Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Darren Gough, Merv Hughes and Australia captain, Michael Clarke all took part, and the match was umpired by England veterans David Gower and Allen Lamb.
Every year at The Cartoon Art Trust Awards dinner at The Mall Galleries we play a game involving the 160 guests to fundraise for The Cartoon Museum. Last year everyone was given balloons. The first person to blow up their balloon, tie a knot, sit on the balloon and burst it won a magnum of champagne. (It’s quite hard to do, and inevitably there were accusations that the winner illegally used a fork to achieve victory).