Louder and funnier

louder and funnier

I’d love to know the occasion behind this one.  It looks like Ab was presenting some kind of a talk, not something I think he did very often.  The paper in his hand suggest he’s got a script.  Although the people at this gathering are depicted impressionistically, you can somehow tell that there are various ladies-of-a-certain-age turning round in their chairs to eyeball the heckler.

And of course this is the kind of note that my director, Mr Nicholas Philippou, never gives me!


Some toilet humour

It's not condensation - your aim is terrible

One of the remarkable features of Ab’s art is his capacity for self-denigration.  But, looking closer at the picture, is he actually making a joke at the expense of his own decrepitude?  Well, we see Celie pointing to the ceiling, so my guess is that there really was condensation in the smallest room and, in a week without much incident, Ab decided to make a funny from a banal everyday detail.

But then again, note the detail of the toilet seat being up ….

A balcony scene

Oh Abbo Abbo

This cartoon seemed appropriate to me today as I’ve been preparing to run a week-long Summer School based on Romeo & Juliet.  One of the things that I love about Ab’s cartoons is that he sometimes characterises the two of them as coming from two different worlds – when in fact their backgrounds were very similar: Ashkenazy Jews, first generation born in London, aspiring and making their way (painfully) up the social ladder.

TGI Shobbas

Shlap on shobbos

So, as it’s Friday, here’s an Ab cartoon for anyone hoping for a day of rest sometime soon.  Perhaps the phrase “You want that I should schlap on shobbas” requires some unpicking?  A”schlap” is a shlep, in my view particularly associated with carrying a burden.  “Shobbas” is Shabbat  – that is the sabbath.  So Ab is saying:  “Are you asking me to carry a burden during the day of rest when it is religiously forbidden to do so?”  Only, of course, he says it in the poetry of Yinglish, with all the layers of irony and self-deprecation one would hope for.

Battle of the blanket

It's the way you make the bed

This is something, in my humble opinion, that has got better since this cartoon was drawn – probably in the 1940s.  The duvet, or “continental quilt” as it used to be called by early adopters in the 1970s, reduces the incidence and impact of wayward bed-clothing.  I hasten to add the phenomenon hasn’t been totally eradicated, but here you can see that these two blankets are conspiring to separate, duvet’s don’t do that.  They are also annoyingly covering some bits, leaving extremities to suffer chill.  The bit of blanket around Ab’s head is an additional annoyance.  I imagine it’s a bit itchy.  Any attempt to rectify only exacerbates.   Times were tough.

A battery of tests


With the NHS much in the news today, I thought this cartoon would ring some bells.  Dated June 1978, almost exactly 35 years ago.  For those of us who are regular hospital

users this is familiar territory; the battery of tests.  For me, Ab gets a remarkable sense of subtext in this picture.  Although the doctor is blathering on, the tests for him an every day procedure,we focus on Celie and Ab.  They’re clearly anxious.  “So many tests”, I think they’re thinking, “they’re bound to uncover something …”