Friday, 22 August 2014

REMEMBERING RAY

Today would have been the 94th birthday of my late literary hero, Ray Bradbury.

I'm remembering my friendship with Ray with a cartoon I made for his birthday back in 1983. The brontosaur kid is reading Ray's book, Dinosaur Tales...


And here's Ray's letter in response...

Click image to enlarge

Just one of so many happy memories... but how weird it feels to think that, at the time when we had this exchange of communications, Ray was two years younger than I am now...

Monday, 18 August 2014

PEEPING AT PIERS

BBC Radio 4 has a long and noble history of tackling the unlikely in a daring – even outrageous – way: yesterday, writer Ian Sansom, decided to attempt an adaptation of the 14th Century poetic allegory, Piers the Plowman...


Ian found himself locked away in a Curfew Tower in the Glens of Antrim...


...and, calling from a nearby phone box, seeking help from a certain radio dramatist...

You can read about this bizarre and rarefied – but rather splendid – programme here...



The programme is repeated on BBC Radio 4, next Saturday at 23:30 or, for the next six days, you can catch up with Ian Sansom's wild experiment (and my fleeting cameo) by Clicking Here! 


Friday, 1 August 2014

SIBLEY SILLINESS

I've been involved in some fairly weird and wacky radio projects over the years, but this is probably the most bizarre piece of bonkersness I've ever perpetrated...

Some time (I'm not exactly sure when) after the BBC launched Radio 5 in 1990, someone at the network came up with the idea for a zany experimental series entitled The Last in the Present Series.

Each episode was intended to spoof radio and to provide a solo vehicle for a different writer/presenter/performer. I have a vague memory that Simon Brett was another contributor – but that may be a terrible libel!

Anyway... my episode – Time for Rhyme – was a spoof radio programme in which a children's presenter (plus meddlesome kid sidekick) blunder around the network, eavesdropping on or interrupting the regular output – that's about the measure of it, EXCEPT that all the programmes also happen to feature characters or situations from well-known Nursery Rhymes.

I provided all of the voices - for better or worse – many of which are (or were) supposed to be impersonations of British household names.

So here it is: 25-minutes of Sibley silliness...


...incidentally, I'm not sure it was all my fault, but The Last in the Present Series proved to be EXACTLY THAT!!
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Sunday, 27 July 2014

WAKE-UP CALL

A Venetian angel sounds reveille…


Monday, 14 July 2014

RETIRING PERSONALITY


Not really RETIRING, of course – I've never earned enough money to get myself a decent pension! So I'll just have to keep on working till the ink runs dry...

Monday, 7 July 2014

ANY OLD BRIAN?

Back in 1972, my 23-year-old younger self put on a 'One-Man Show'as a fund-raiser for Christ Church, Chislehurst., aided and abetted by my best friend, Ash, and the church organist on the pianoforte...

On the bill were monologues, songs, sketches and skits and featured my then extensive repertoire of vocal impersonations advertised as being subject to change "as the fancy takes me or the voice leaves me"!

The programme had cover-art (I use the word 'art' loosely) featuring some of those whose voices I borrowed. One or two of the caricatures owe something to the work of artists I hugely admired – among them Hirschfeld and Trog – others were (as Bert says in Mary Poppins) "all me own work from me own memory..."

I wonder how many of my subjects you can identify, although you probably have to have been born in Britain and been around in the '60s and '70s to get them all...

Feel free to guess – and I'll reveal the answers later...





Friday, 4 July 2014

STUFF AND NONSENSE

There's another reason for celebrating today – 4 July – apart from its being American Independence Day and that's because 152 years ago an Oxford mathematic don, the Reverend C L Dodgson, took the three daughters of the Dean of Christ Church on a boating trip on the river Isis and wove a story to entertain his young passengers that featured the middle daughter, Alice Liddell, and was eventually written up as Alice's Adventures Underground...


...and was later refined into that classic of nonsense we now know as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, published in 1865 by Dodgson under the pen-name, Lewis Carroll...

To mark this occasion, it seemed to me that a song might be called for – well, two songs actually – so here's an extract from my second-ever radio programme for the BBC, The Tune's My Own Invention about the music written by various composers down the years as settings for the songs in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking-glass and What Alice Found There...

The programme, first broadcast over thirty-five years ago in 1978, was written with my good friend the late Antony Miall and, between us, we provided all the character voices –– with the exception of Alice who was played by Miss Eva Haddon!

In this sequence Tony, as well playing the piano, speaks, sings and weeps for the doleful Mock Turtle while I growl away as the Gryphon.

Won't you come and join the dance...?


A SIGN OF INDEPENDENCE

HAPPY 4th JULY!


Photo: © Brian Sibley 2004

Monday, 30 June 2014

BOTTLED UP

I've always had a soft spot for the ubiquitous cartoon desert islands that, in my youth, were a staple icon of the cartoonists who drew for such magazines as Punch, Lilliput, Men Only, Weekend, Titbits etc.

As an aspiring cartoonist – some forty-odd years ago – I tried my hand at several jokes featuring desert islands and/or messages in bottles like this one, which combined the two...


Friday, 20 June 2014

SOMETHING ABOUT MARY

She was a woman working the male-dominated world of film animation and what she brought to it was a artistic sensibility that helped shape some of the best-loved Disney animated films of the 1950s and one of Disneyland's most popular and enduring attractions, it's a small world...

Mary Blair (1911-1978) had a talent for graphic art with, as her fellow concept artist, Joe Grant, noted, "almost a calligraphic quality to her line" combined with an eye for shape and form and how they might be expressed in animation and, above all, an astonishing talent for choosing colour palettes that arrest the eye and fire the imagination.

Mary Blair's work is currently being celebrated at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco in an exhibition entitled Magic, Color, Flair: The World of Mary Blair, a title shared by the accompanying book/catalogue written by Disney authority, John Canemaker. You can read more about Mary Blair, her art, the book and the exhibition on my decidedly disney blog.

Meanwhile, here are few favourite examples of Mary's sensational art * from arguably her three greatest film projects: Cinderella...





 

  ...Alice in Wonderland...




 


...and Peter Pan...







* Not all of the art are featured in this blog post appear in the exhibition or the accompanying book.