Trogtastic!

London, Media

trog_howerd

trog_queenHe was one of the greatest caricaturists and cartoonists of the 20th century, but has been disgracefully overlooked for too long. ‘Trog’ was Wally Fawkes, who drew political cartoons, personalities and the ‘Flook’ cartoon strip from 1945 to 2005.

As the chronicler of London’s fads and fancies during that time his work was quite unique, and has a strangely pleasurable quality about it that makes the eyes smile.

He designed the title sequence of ‘Smashing Time’, to my mind one of the best (and certainly silliest) films about swinging London, beating out the more serious-minded ‘Blow-Up’ and ‘Darling’. He’s a British-Canadian jazz clarinetist and an amazing artist – and still plays the clarinet in his eighties.

Now his genius has been properly recognised. London’s charming and usually deserted Cartoon Museum has an exhibition of his work running until the end of April. You can find it at 35 Little Russell Street in Bloomsbury.

6 comments on “Trogtastic!”

  1. Dan Terrell says:

    Wow, what expressive and detailed work. And both beat the official portrait of Kate, don’t you think?

  2. Jez Winship says:

    I love the title sequence of Smashing Time – Trog’s exaggeration of Rita Tushingham’s big green eyes is particularly good. He shared his love of trad jazz with George Melly, who wrote the script of the film. In fact, his pen name derived from the name of his jazz band – the Troglodytes. He and Melly collaborated on several Flook stories, in which the tubular nosed little fellow (an imaginary friend of a young boy called Rufus) wandered into various scenarios influenced by Melly’s love of surrealism, dada and the writings of Alfred Jarry.
    The Frankie Howerd caricature is brilliant – you can almost hear him emitting one of his elongated ‘ooooohhhs’.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    Another Brit-Canad. We send people back occasionally to help the culture along. Wonderful drawings.Hm, clarinet. That’s Hilary Clinton’s husband’s instrument, isn’t it? One of our local band leaders has just celebrated is 95th birthday by playing with the Vancouver Symphony. He still fronts a band regularly and gives interviews, but his instrument is the saxophone. He’s been doing it since he was 15. Do you think any of us will have that kind of endurance? Think I’m going to see The Quartet with Maggy Smith et al to encourage myself.

  4. Dan Terrell says:

    Hilary’s husband plays the saxaphone (invented by a German named Sax in Leipzig, perhaps, but I’m not double checking).
    Wind instruments are in fact very good for the lungs and keeping your endurance and breathing normal or better than. Some doctors suggest those with lung-power difficulties take up an instrument, perhaps carefully at first.

  5. Helen Martin says:

    Why would I have thought he played clarinet? You’re right, Dan, but didn’t Herr Saxe have an e on his name, or was that only Saxe-Coburg-Gotha? Singing will develop the lungs as well. If I’d had a cold I could come home from practice with a very tired chest. I had to quit choir when I found I was literally doing the vocalezes (or however it’s spelled) in my sleep. I was standing in my place asleep and singing.

  6. glasgow1975 says:

    Is there something missing from the Frankie Howerd one? Or is that my dirty mind 😉

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