Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Streets Ahead: Nihil Novi Sub Sole

Streets Ahead is the column from London Walks' Pen and Daily Constitutional Special Correspondent David Tucker

In this instalment, and as our Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London series draws to a close, David finds a chime of Wodehouse in the work of a beloved contemporary cartoon satirists…

Nihil novi sub sole.

Favourite phrase of mine. Comes from the bible, Ecclesiastes 1:9 to be precise.

Means – of course – there's nothing new under the sun.

And it's spot on. Of course.

Take our age's Gillray and Rowlandson and Hogarth rolled up into one. The brilliant cartoonist – and truth teller par excellence – Steve Bell. He's been joying us – let alone comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable – for several decades now. And long may he continue. Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown – he's nailed them all. Mercilessly – and deservingly – guyed them.

The bead he's drawn on the current occupant of Number 10 may be the best in his ongoing freakshow.

It's – as just about everybody in this country knows (and delights in) – Cameron condomed up.

Here's an example.

But nihil novi sub sole because the incomparable P.G. Wodehouse – the finest prose stylist of the 20th century – got there over 60 years ago.

Drum roll....

"Stilton Cheesewright is a man with a pink face and a head that looks as if it has been blown up with a bicycle pump."

And, yes, London Walks does a What Ho, Jeeves – The London of P.G. Wodehouse walk. Diaries ready? The next one will take place on Sunday, July 12 at 2.30 pm. Goes from Marble Arch Tube, exit 2 (the Park Lane exit). It's guided by one of the brightest lights in the London Walks constellation – actor and swordsman, Richard IV.

Steve Bell is the cartoonist for The Guardian – view his work here: theguardian.com/profile/stevebell

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