Politcal Sketch
September 25, 2008 1:35 PM   Subscribe

"As he walks past I am struck by the way, from his default gloomy expression, he constantly flashes his rictus grin at people, like a doomed and slightly out of control belisha beacon" - The Guardian's cartoonist Steve Bell on drawing Gordon 'Gordy' Brown (video). He's in the process of producing a number of sketchbooks covering the conference season - Liberal Democrat, Labour 1, Labour 2. And he covered this year's Democrat and Republican conventions and also visited 'Manifest Hope' (video), an art exhibition based around images of Barack Obama. Previously.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (9 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm told that a Belisha beacon is a tall black and white pole topped by a flashing orange globe, placed on either side of the road at zebra crossings in the UK. (Zebras? who knew?)

Performing a rictus grin, as I do know, requires that the mouth be open.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:01 PM on September 25, 2008

On the one hand, yes, Gordon Brown has a weird, socially uncomfortable rictus grin. But on the other hand, I'm so, so sick of talking about what politicians look like. So I think on balance, meh.
posted by hazyjane at 2:27 PM on September 25, 2008

I liked these, particularly to see Bell's commentary on the images.

If has been in good form recently: The Blairs meet the Royals (flashback), Maggie's back.

And if you want to hear more of the man behind the pen, here is Steve giving an audio tour of his and my home city.
posted by athenian at 2:44 PM on September 25, 2008

I think I prefer his descriptions to the cartoons themselves:

"In the afternoon session, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, makes a not very good speech. He has massive hands with which he continually makes ill-coordinated gestures to incorrectly punctuate his oration. His facial expressions are edging towards madness

His hair is worth a paragraph on its own. It is stiff, furry, slightly spiky, apparently stuck on with glue and probably velvety to the touch. He seems blissfully unconcerned by these image questions, and is even quite happy to pose for a photographer clutching a banana"

The Cartoon | The horrible, HORRIBLE truth

Steve Bell's caricature seems incredibly tame by comparison. We can only hope that history will accord those photographs the same sort of credit for sabotaging that oleaginous bastard's premiership aspirations as the sea at Brighton got for Kinnock.

Gerald Scarfe has got nothing to worry about, though (his most recent caricatures - Brown, Obama etc. - start at 2:25 in that link).
posted by boosh at 3:00 PM on September 25, 2008

rictus. ructus. rictus rictus rictus.

it's a new word for me, and i like it.

rictus. rictus. rictus.
posted by CitizenD at 3:12 PM on September 25, 2008

"oleaginous bastard"

Have you met him, or is this just unfocused rage?
posted by athenian at 3:20 PM on September 25, 2008

I like his concluding comment on Palin's speech:

After a particularly successful passage and her 17th standing ovation, a very nice Republican lady next to me says (knowing I’m English): “Another Margaret Thatcher?”. Diplomatically, I say: “It’s a bit early to tell,” but I have a horrible, sinking feeling she may be right.
posted by decagon at 4:14 PM on September 25, 2008

More about Steve Bell previously
posted by adamvasco at 1:00 AM on September 26, 2008

'A plumpish face and piggy eyes' - Steve Bell draws the Tories
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:22 AM on October 3, 2008

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