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Sunday, 17 June 2012

The butlers don't feel a thing



Ronald Carl Giles (1916-1995), unpublished sketch, date unknown (British Cartoon Archives, University of Kent)

Head of the hon. Hons was Josh, the groom, who was greatly beloved by us all and worth buckets of Norman blood; chief of the horrible Counter-Hons was Craven, the gamekeeper, against whom perpetual war to the knife was waged. The Hons would creep into the woods and hide Craven's steel traps, let out the chaffinches which, in wire cages without food or water, he used as bait for hawks, give decent burial to the victims of his gamekeeper's larder, and, before a meet of the hounds, unblock the earths which Craven had so carefully stopped.

Nancy Mitford: from The Pursuit of Love, 1949


Ronald Carl Giles (1916-1995), Daily Express, 24 February 1949 (British Cartoon Archives, University of Kent)


Ronald Carl Giles (1916-1995), Daily Express, 4 September 1951 (British Cartoon Archives, University of Kent)


Ronald Carl Giles (1916-1995), Christmas card (publisher unknown), November 1976 (British Cartoon Archives, University of Kent)


Ronald Carl Giles (1916-1995), Daily Express, 2 February 1982 (British Cartoon Archives, University of Kent)


Ronald Carl Giles (1916-1995), Conservancy Trust Christmas card, 1985 (British Cartoon Archives, University of Kent)


Mac [Stan McMurtry], Daily Mail, 1 November 2002 (British Cartoon Archives, University of Kent)


Steve Bell, The Guardian, 4 December 2002 (British Cartoon Archives, University of Kent)


Christian Adams, Daily Telegraph, 11 October 2011 (British Cartoon Archives, University of Kent)


Andy Dave, The Sun, 8 March 2012 (British Cartoon Archives, University of Kent)

News: "Burly Seb Baker told yesterday how he was mugged by a fox -- which nabbed garlic bread from his shopping. The 15-stone civil servant was cornered after going to Tesco. Terrified Seb, 29, tried to fight off the beast by swinging his shopping bag. But the fox was unfazed. He said: 'I had expected it to run away. I thought a fox would be scared of a 15-stone man.' Seb had seen the animal sitting on the kerb moments before Monday evening's incident in Orpington, Kent. He said: 'I turned down an alley, but when I looked round I saw it running towards me. I stopped, thinking it would run off. But the fox started circling me and then jumped up, trying to grab my shopping bag.'"...  The Sun


Susan Kay Anderson said...

Foxes prefer not to be so openly bold, but sometimes have used up all other ideas, getting themselves into a further mess. Even the foxes are at a loss today and resort to going after garlic bread.

The foxes are so beautiful. They laugh with their teeth. It is their only revenge.

TC said...

The foxes will have their day before this is over.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Love gets chased
around and around.
That's what it was all about?
Now, I have the elusive answer--
runs away again, a streak
of copper in the distance,
reddish gold. My fancy horse,
expensive tack, won't make me
the winner, exactly,
but cool
to ride hard with the rest of them
to kill a small, wild animal
over and over
until my story is woven
tightly together.

TC said...

It's funny, and extremely depressing as well, when you stop and really think about the fox-and-hounds metaphor -- which like most metaphors people make up using animals is based on some cruelty really. In any case it was interesting... er, is that the word?... to drag the concussed brain through some six or seven hundred cartoons (a century's worth indeed) in which foxes and the pursuit of them were used in satirical and political metaphors referring to the deeds and misdeeds and general sillinesses of British politicians. The British cartoonists can't get too much of that metaphor. Only in the past decade do the cartoons turn the figure on its head and employ it to show the hypocrisy and displaced viciousness of the hunt. Homo necans on the job of being man the killer, and calling it sport. Not so pretty when you think of it, esp from the point of view of the prey. Killing something you don't intend to eat and calling this activity a sport and a game. How charming, and let's tune in again on the next episode of the dead empire show. Yoo-hoo, there goes a Royal on a horse!

Perhaps ironic that for all his unsubtle killing off of women and men it should have been a fall from a horse during the hunt that did in the capo di tutti Tudors.

TC said...

It ought to be said that the work of Ronald Carl Giles stands out as an exception over the years, as seeing right through the blood sport charade, in cartoons both gentle and wicked -- of which I've shown a half dozen examples at the top here.

Wooden Boy said...

The Giles cartoons are great. He always gave such thought to composition. I love the work of Steve Bell - his strips are often hilarious - but there's not so many pieces that stand alone. The one posted here is undoubtedly an exception.

It put me in mind of the royal staff cull sketch from The Day Today:

(one for this year of Jubilee).

Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad someone here has common sense when it comes to The Royals Far too much romance and affection is attached to these overblown pirates

Anonymous said...

Whatever my reservations about Hughes the poet and Hughes the man -

The cat and I finally hunted down a fly that wouldn't give either of us any peace

The cat ate it
We can both sleep

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

“The foxes will have their day before this is over.” One of them already did, taking out one of Homo necans’s fowls which I discovered during my walk through the countryside early this morning; the chicken must have flown the coop because its mangled body was found on the dirt road a few feet from the fence line. Fearing a repetition of foul play, I’m positive the man will proceed to strategically place meat laced with poison so as to discourage any more foxy behavior.

TC said...

I suppose that now we're off island it's safe to admit to a continuing contempt and loathing for the silly and at times truly disgusting folderol surrounding these never-give-up Royals, their awful tacky wedding dresses, their diamond and golden jubilees, ever more leaden in the bearing-up-under. The phenomenon of Royal Worship is oddly (or perhaps not so oddly?) more noisome in its excrescences here in the colonies than there on the slippery decks of the mothership, where at least it's understood that it would take a thousand Royals with their heads off to provide sufficient organic fuel for a single cruise on a Russian oil billionaire's yacht. This is imagining those megayachts to be running on Green Energy, of course. (Perhaps a bit hopeful -- the crystal ball may be a bit fogged in at the moment.)

Colin, as always with Ted and his animals, I cannot escape the sense that it is not the animal itself but its clenched little anthropomorphized sign or icon, balled up there inside Ted's head, which is what really matters. The poem would suggest that what enters the picture is a fox, stealing in as stealthily as a thought. But when one reads closely it appears that the true subject is a thought, stealing into Teddy's head as stealthily as might a fox. Presumably there would be a difference. A Teddish thought might well concentrate upon a fox, or the idea or imagination of a fox, as a thing to put into its poem. Now that would be clever enough. Whereas a fox would by no means concentrate upon one of Ted's thoughts. Unless that is Ted's thought appeared attractively tasty. Which would not seem extremely likely really.

I think he did better with spoors and perfumes of the two legged sort of animals, and, in that manipulation of the dynamics of predation, operated less efficiently as prey to idle thoughts than as the other thing. The thing that expects Nature always to be enquiring, "Are You Being Served"?

Well WB what with the times we should have seen those austerity measures coming. Perhaps also the Royal scythe-sharpener has been... er, severed? Because that work in the attic comes down to 15 seconds per cull (kill). A bit slow given the Germanic origins. Princess Margaret's lines -- "You should have seen the looks on their faces. I laughed and laughed and laughed." -- do cover the occasion quite well. Those Hanovers were always known for their wonderful sense of humour. And one expects the rust on the scythes must have added a special touch. Ferrous oxide on blood. Now that would blend into a dull red tone that might be said to be rich with Royal Nuance. Spatter a bit upon the sandwiches at teatime and the job is done.

TC said...

Vassilis, this late dispatch from the rear of the Front came in late to the holding tank, yet remains rich with portent. And we say yet again: a reckoning shall come.

Anonymous said...

Yes Tom, laughing (wryly). I can well imagine Hughes meaty face, straining to get to the head of the chasing pack.

Have been outspoken about my dislike of The Royals for many a year. Margaret Thatcher also seems to have been a big hit here and back on the septic . . . sceptic sorry, sceptred isles of “home” . . . but then so was/is Ronnie Rayguns. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Except maybe to add that Hughes was one-time Puppet Laureate .... and with all the attendant duties to the Royals conferred on him by that position

TC said...

This report of Ted's colloquy with Maggie may be apocryphal. But there it is.

No sense disrespecting the dead as we shall so soon be in their company. I met TH just the once, after a reading he did at Kings a few months after the demise of the American wife. The reading went much as though the poems were emanating from a tightly clenched fist transformed into a man.

One can't help thinking Literature ruins everyone it touches, whereas one can hardly say that about the Pennines.



Can still hear Burl Ives singing (in my mind) --
The Fox went out on the town one night,
Prayed to the moon to give him light. . .


circle of sun rising above still black
plane of building, shadowed brown wall
in foreground, sound of cars in street

axis of the planetary orbit,
velocity of the light

“gradient” of, differential
quotient, taken curve

green of wall against whiteness of sky,
bird slanting toward building on right

TC said...


Glad to hear you have found the green wall (all it needs now is a door!), and that the slanting bird has found you.

Still dark here, and...

Burl Ives: The Fox Went Out

TC said...

Edda the aptly named archivist has dredged up from the deeps a memory of the witnessing (by the effects of his presence) of this watchful red fox, trying his luck in the bog amid the buckbean and the loosestrife.

TC said...

By the Hanovers of course we meant the Windsors and by Edda we meant...

Anonymous said...

Ah the "Royal we" Tom but then they were all related one way or another .........



Ah, Burl! Thanks!