Barbican Centre by Andrew Murray

I found this print of a 1983 Andrew Murray painting on eBay ages ago. It's been sat in a drawer waiting for a decent patch of wall and a frame, but in the meantime I thought I'd share it on here. The caption reads "Barbican Centre, City of London. An interior view looking towards the the Sculpture for Light (by Michael J. Santry) and the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre". It's wonderful – so much life and colour within that familiar vast space, like an illustration from Miroslav Sasek's This Is Brutality (oh if only that was a real thing). I'm not really familiar with Murray's work, but I did find another 1980s Barbican painting by him the other day, which is equally lovely – I wonder if there are more there … ?

Best Animated Feature … feature


Okay, so this is pretty pointless, but also kind of interesting.

What are the chances of an animated film ever getting a Best Picture Oscar nomination, now that Best Animated Feature Film exists? The category was only introduced in 2001, but what should have won, had it always existed? And what exactly is the difference between a “Picture” and a “Feature” anyway?

Ponder these questions no longer! Here is a full(ish) list of actual and probable winners from the past couple of decades. And yes, that’s right, my critical judgment is equivalent to the entire voting membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In some cases, it's not even a matter of opinion, it's just that nothing else was released that year, so films like The Rescuers Down Under would have won by default.

The actual winners

2014 – Big Hero 6
2013 – Frozen
2012 – Brave
2011 – Rango
2010 – Toy Story 3
2009 – Up
2008 – Wall-E
2007 – Ratatouille
2006 – Happy Feet
2005 – Wallace And Gromit And The Curse Of The Wererabbit
2004 – The Incredibles
2003 – Finding Nemo
2002 – Spirited Away
2001 – Shrek (Monsters Inc was robbed!)

The winners that weren't winners because the category didn't exist yet but they probably would have been winners in my humble opinion

2000 – Chicken Run
1999 – The Iron Giant 
1998 – Antz
1997 – Princess Mononoke
1996 – James And The Giant Peach
1995 – Toy Story
1994 – The Lion King
1993 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
1992 – Aladdin
1991 – Beauty And The Beast
1990 – The Rescuers Down Under 
1989 – The Little Mermaid
1988 – Akira
1987 – I can’t find a single recognisable animated film released this year. 
1986 – Castle In The Sky
1985 – The Black Cauldron
1984 – Nope, nothing here either.
1983 – Nothing.
1982 – The Secret Of NIMH
1981 – Heavy Metal

… and then that’s where my research ends. It’s a bit depressing that there are entire years without any recognisable films. What we can learn from this: the eighties was a terrible decade for animation, and we have it very, very good right now.


Updated from a post originally written in 2008.

The 16 types of dads


Thanks to @WeMakeMags for the scan of this classic Life in Hell strip. I'm still undecided as to which of these types of dad I'll be most suited for. I'll probably aim for Fun, but come across as a delicate blend of Snooze and Goofy.

For those of you unfamiliar with Life in Hell, it's the rather smashing strip with which Matt Groening made his name. Entirely written and drawn by him, there's a lot more of him in it than in The Simpsons or Futurama – he is a master of daftness. It's endearingly doodly, in a good old-fashioned pen-and-paper way. Plus it was used to sell Apples, way back in the 80s.

A good place to start is The Huge Book of Hell, although as he's recently retired the strip for good, it's possible that an online archive of all the strips will appear at some point soon.