Saturday, 31 October 2009

The trouble with Hallowe'en... even with Christopher Lee

I never "celebrated" Hallowe'en as a child. We knew the date and that it was something to do with bad spirits but that was it. The only traditions we had were bobbing for apples and marshmallows on a string - all done without hands, of course. You'd end up wet and sticky. I think we'd play conkers as well

Come October our thoughts were on "Guy Fawkes night" also known as bonfire night. Sure kids would go around with homemade effigies of Guy Fawkes and chant "Penny for the Guy?" As an English Catholic I was always dubious about the emphasis on the Catholic plot to destroy Parliament but I would celebrate it because I could see that change needed to be within the law. Always felt sorry for the chap. The bonfire and fireworks were something different, to light up cold November evenings. Writing our names with sparklers and watching fireworks that went off. Even the ones that failed were entertaining. And the guy's were always a source of amusement, being pushed around in prams or dragged on go-karts.

Traditionally we'd eat baked potatoes and black peas, toffee, toffee apples and "Parkin".

"Cop calling" was another tradition where we lived in Manchester. Children would knock on the door - with or without a Guy and start singing Guy Fawkes rhymes usually "We come a cop calling this Bonfire night..." There was more but I can't remember it - possibly because they were never allowed to get past the first line at our house. "You had the feeling they never got past the first line sometimes as the next line, if sung, was frequently mumbled. I've tried looking it up but can only find this rhyme.

Sadly I was reading today, this custom in in decline being replaced by the American custom's of Hallowe'en. I never went to a Hallowe'en party until the early nineties when I was nearly 30! "Trick or treating" being the most dubious in my mind. We, as a family, never encouraged cop calling because it was seen as begging but there was no harm done if you said no. The idea that it's OK to go around begging for treats and, if none are received, it's OK to threaten to play a trick on someone is immoral! It's begging with menaces! The idea that it is OK to scare people. What does that teach young minds? I know many an elderly person who feels threatened in their own homes at this time of year. My main gripe is that it's an American import, it's just not British! If we must import from America I'm sure there are more worthy imports.

I think I'm turning into a grumpy old woman...

So, drawings wise. In spite of what I've said against Hallowe'en it seems churlish not to do something relevant! Especially when Christopher Lee was knighted only yesterday. So, despite his request not to be so addressed....Here's Sir Christopher in what can only be described as a Hammer Horror classic image.

Christopher Lee 001

OK, it may not be Hammer but I love the association.

It's another quick sketch, the lines didn't go quite where I wanted them but I think it works.

I've also had a few cracks at Robbie Williams. No cigar yet. I'm getting cramp in my drawing hand so I think I'll call it a day now.

Oops...sound of sirens... GRUMPY OLD WOMAN ALERT!

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