CSM meets R. Crumb and Gilbert Shelton live at the British Library’s Comics Unmasked!



Charles Shaar Murray presents Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Fat Freddy’s Cat, the Oz Trial, Felix Dennis, Geoffrey Robertson and Deyan Sujic in July.

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. Since I must have done something good in a previous life (or maybe even this one), I was invited by the curators of the British Library’s Comics Unmasked! season to host a pair of back-to-back panels on the evening of July 14. The second will be cool enough — a retrochatty thing on the OZ Obscenity Trial featuring Felix Dennis (among many other CV items, one of the three editors of the Schoolkids Issue which kicked off the whole hilarious mess), Geoffrey Robertson (distinguished civil rights lawyer who worked on the defence case as a junior to the late John Mortimer) and Deyan Sujic (now a frontline architecture guru but, back in 1970, the sole skinhead member of the OZ Schoolkids posse).I may also be contributing one or two of my own recollections.

The first, however, will be a rare joint public appearance (arf, etc) by the two most distinguished cartoonists to emerge from the San Francisco underground of the late ’60s: Gilbert Shelton (creator of The Fabulous Furry Freak brothers, Fat Freddy’s Cat and Wonder Warthog) and R. Crumb (creator of Mr Natural, Fritz The Cat and — ummmm — R. Crumb). The latter will, we hope, also be sticking around for the OZ panel since it was a culture-jam mash-up of one of his strips with the Daily Express’s Rupert Bear which caused so much of the agg and trubb.

My answer? You’ve got two guesses, and one of them doesn’t count. The words ‘pleasure’ and ‘privilege’ spring irresistibly to mind.

(Almost) everything you need to know about this fabulous cultural event can be found here. It’s sold out — quite rightly, too — but it may be worth checking with the organisers to see if there are any available returns you can snaffle.

In the meantime, I’ve been catching up with the latest collections of both Crumb and Shelton’s work from Knockabout Comics – needless to say, I salute their indefatigabilty – and urge y’all to do likewise.

Hope to see you there …

Plus I’m immensely flattered that, out of all the work by megadistinguished comix creators which could have been chosen to represent the 1988 Alan Moore-edited anti-Clause 28 comic AARGH! (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia), the one that the curators chose to display and to excerpt in the catalogue was the one I wrote (illustrated by Floyd Hughes), entitled Friday Night At The Boozer. All I can say is: my output as a comix writer is tiny … but cute.


PS As an added tasty treat, I’ve commenced the reconstruction oof this site’s Comics section with a piece I wrote about Crumb some years back — find it here.

Having a Brainstorm! with Bryan Talbot


Pic above by Tim Pilcher: (l–r) Bryan Talbot, Lee Harris et moi.

To  The Muse Gallery on Portobello Road at the behest of my old friend Igor Goldkind for a long-overdue reunion with another old friend, master comic-book artist Bryan Talbot (creator of One Bad Rat, Luther Arkwright, Alice In Sunderland and much much more), who was the centrepiece of a career-spanning exhibition of original art, including original 2000AD and Batman pages and loads of his later and more personal work. The event was introduced and curated by Lee Harris, a man with a dizzying CV which includes (amongst many other things) having been Our Bry’s first-ever publisher.

This culminated in a rather magnificent Thai feast, incorporating much reminiscing, laughter and imbibement. Culture, friendship and food: three of life’s better things. If you’re anywhere near Ladbroke Grove before Bryan’s Brainstorm! exhibition closes on April 13, stumble into The Muse and do the check-it-outy thang. Tell ’em CSM sent ya.

Shots From The Hip shoots back!

Charles Shaar Murray Shots From the Hip Aaaargh Press After decades in the out-of-print wilderness, Shots From The Hip, my 1991 collection of journalism, criticism and vulgar abuse has once again reared its fuzzy head as a Kindle-type ebooky thing from those wonderful folks at Aaaargh! Press. Originally published by Penguin, and edited and introduced by my dear friend and former boss Neil Spencer, it now boasts a groovy new cover, a phabulous phoreword by my blues brother Dr Joel Nathan Rosen and a brandnew Outroduction by … well, by me.

Don’t be without it for another nanosecond. Clickage can occur here.

Too Much Stuff: The Ultimate Solution

Charles Shaar Murray books,CDs DVDs West Hampstead Thameslink

Hi, my name is Charles and I have Too Much Stuff. Too many books, too many CDs, too many DVDs … you name ’em, I have piles of ’em. Great big tottering towers of ’em, to be precise. Unfortunately, there is no longer enough space in my bijou residence to accommodate said Tottering Towers, and my study resembles a cross between the aftermath of an explosion in a head-shop and a Turner Prize-winning installation on the subject of compulsive hoarding.

Soooo … the ultimate solution has been devised. To wit:  flogging off a bunch of the surplus, plus other oddage and soddage, at 11am this coming Sunday (that’s December 8) via a stall at the West Hampstead Community Market, held in the forecourt of West Hampstead Thameslink Station, on West End Lane opposite Costa Coffee. If you want to solve a few of those ticklish Xmas-prezzie dilemmae, stick some of that folding stuff into your wallet, set your GPS for ‘NW6 2LJ’ and c’mon along.

I’ll be there (along with a couple of lovely accomplices) to say hey and maybe even bend your shell-like on assorted topics, includng the spring 2014 Hothouse Project course in Journalism As Craft And Art. (If you can’t find anything you like on the stall, you could always buy your Loved One – or even yourself – a place on the course.)

So hie thee thither. And dress warm.