Glen Baxter

Went to Ilkley Literature Festival on Saturday with Rob. Well actually we went to a little event which was part of the ongoing festival.

It was based around two cartoonists Glen Baxter and Jacky Flemming who seemed very nice but didn’t seem to have that much to say really; much to the chagrin of the bald gentleman who’s job it was to turn the thing into a Parkinson-style chat-show.

We struggled through a few awkward silences and fumblings with answers, before Glen (the purveyor of wonderfully innocuous looking cartoons with wonderfully surreal captions) decided that it would be a good idea to apply that same surreal humour to the art of question answering.

"So Glen are there any themes going through your work?" "Yes, there is a theme of tofu in my work"

"When’s the new book coming out?" "It’s not because it’s been impounded in Hong Kong by an international tofu smuggling organisation."

You get the idea. Quite amusing, but certainly not extremely enlightening. Luckily though the organisers had the good sense to have asked him to prepare a little slide show; something far more suited to his style and which he carried off with dignified aplomb. It had just the right ratio of surreal asides to real information and completely won me over.

Afterwards there was the opportunity to buy a book and have it signed by the artist. I have to say having seen any number of posters and chalkboards in bookshops and record stores in my time, advertising the impending visit of some minor celeb, I’ve never actually queued up and had anything signed before. It was quite a strange experience. It’s all very well to sit and passively watch a man squirm on stage, trying to make the best of a bad interview, but to have to talk to him afterwards while he kindly signs his own book is something completely different.

Well, he was very nice about it and dutifully scribbled in my newly bought book. I asked him a quick question about his influences and suddenly he was rambling on like nobody’s business. Seems, he much preferred talking in a one-on-one situation (perfectly understandable). So I left feeling like I’d really "made contact" in a corny kind of way.