Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Our Cartoonist - Alan O'Cain

Alan O'Cain

SEVERAL of you have emailed asking who the resident cartoonist on this blog is.
He is Alan O’Cain, an artist who is rewarded handsomely by me for his brilliant efforts.
Every month, I invite him to the ‘umble ‘ovel on the ‘ill to eat as many cabbages as he can in one sitting.
However, since News International sent its Panzer division to obliterate my cabbage patch, dear old Al has had to do without his wages until they grow back.
I’ve known Al since 1973. We went to the same school and university and we shared digs together for two years.
He was always the brightest fellow in our year and annoyingly, always managed to pip me come exam time.
Happily, he now has considerably less hair than me so it is now me who is the vastly more superior person obviously.
He has been commissioned by the RSC, exhibited in a top West End gallery, and painted many famous people, including the Nobel Prize winning laureate Seamus Heaney and the distinguished actor Patrick Stewart.
But he still can’t down a pint of cider in less than five seconds like me, which leaves him lagging behind me considerably in the cultural stakes unfortunately.
His adorable wife Juliet, who invaded our messy, student bachelor lives with glamour and sexy blondeness in 1982, now works in the heavy engineering industry manufacturing blogs in the cellar.
In fact the one you are reading now came right off her factory line. She can be reached on 
Here is Al chatting about art and his upcoming Sir Peter Blake exhibition on BBC Radio Kent on Easter Monday morning.
He’s on at 1.48.35 - you can drag the time bar along to the exact start. (Available on the i-player for one week).
Sir Peter is an English pop artist, best known for his design of the sleeve for the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The exhibition is entitled, "Love is All You Need: 108 Studies for a Portrait of Sir Peter Blake".
It runs from June 18th to July 6th 2012 at the Blake Gallery, Gravesend Civic Centre - a wonderful new art space named after Sir Peter, who went to art college in the town.
The exhibition is timed to celebrate his 80th Birthday on June 25th.
Al created a 108 portrait study from a single photograph of Sir Peter Blake in 2009. Below is an image of the work, but for a much better view visit his interesting site at:

Al and me at the Army and Navy Club as he unveils his portrait of Sir Ralph Richardson which I commissioned him to do in 2008. In the foreground is our friend from uni, the National Theatre actor David Verrey. 103 years of friendship between us. This wonderful portrait now hangs on my study wall.

Al, Me, David

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