In 2020 I was given the honor of drawing the artwork for Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s member’s Christmas Card (The Wraptor). You can imagine my delight at getting another opportunity to produce the Christmas Card artwork again in 2021. This year we chose one of the most recognisable and beloved of all UK birds, the Kingfisher. These three wise and noble Kingfishers are on their way to visit a stable somewhere east of here, with gifts of Frankincense, Myrrh and Goldfish.
Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust do amazing work in my local area making a space for wildlife to thrive in a picturesque, but heavily industrial part of the country. Their 15 reserves are open access and are located in a variety of habitats from the city centres to the moorlands. Throughout the repeated lockdowns, these beautiful spaces have remained open to all. Somewhere to enjoy exercise and fresh air and restore the soul with plenty of space to do so safely. Their education team do essential work supporting schools and teachers, and creating experiences which engage young people with nature and their environment. Not only this, but they work on a larger scale with other Wildlife Trusts to campaign protect our environment as a whole and fight environmental crime.
If you have a few quid to spare this festive season, may I suggest joining or donating to Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust (or your own local area Wildlife Trust). You can also gift membership. It makes a wonderful present! Click one of the images below to find out how. You can also follow their work on twitter through @WildSheffield and @WildlifeTrusts respectively.
Thank you for reading Idol Scribblings in 2021, and for all your support, social media likes, retweets, plugs and shares. You are the best supporters an artist could have. Merry Yuletide and a Happy New Year to you all.
Hooteninny is the God of “Business Meetings”, and never have a pair of quotation marks been so heavily weighted. In fact, his followers make the “air quotes” hand sign when they say his name, in much the same way as a Catholic would genuflect.
Hooteninny is the son of Hujanus the “Do As I Say Not As I Do” demon and Incontigate the Goddess of Embarrassing Leaks. He started out, sometime in the 1980s, as a minor deity of liquid “business lunches” and even more fluid “executive team-building weekends”. In the 1990s he branched out into watching over “fact-finding trips” and “corporate gifts”. If the activity in question breaks a few rules, then that just makes it a greater expression of devotion to the god, and more fun. It was during the 2020 pandemic that he finally came into his own as a major deity when the ranks of his cult were swelled by a flock of political aides who just wanna have fun. Hooteninny’s is an easy religion to follow, as you don’t need to overly concern yourself with following the rules and, usually, it is others who make the sacrifices.
The sacred winter festival of Hooteninny is also known as, “The No-Masque of the Blue Death”. It is held clandestinely somewhere in a central government building. The threshold must be guarded by a phalanx of the Metropolitan Police’s finest, who have absolutely no idea what is taking place inside, or who is in there. Despite being in charge of door security. How these brave officers manage to discharge their duties despite being deaf, blind and greener than a Brussel sprout, I don’t know.
To set the right mood for the ritual, the priesthood will festoon themselves with tinsel and put on a playlist of their sacred “Hip-hopcracy” music. You may know some of the more famous tracks, such as, “Simply Having a Meeting with Cheese and Wine”, “Fairy-Tale of New Pork Pies” and “Christmas Time (Let’s be a Bell End)”. They put out a good buffet spread, with the savoury dainties artfully displayed on paper Steven Doylies. The ambiance is further helped along by draping festive decorations elegantly over the CCTV cameras. If a few grieving covid-bereaved relatives and traumatised NHS workers can be seen sobbing in the snow outside the window, so much the better. It really adds to that Dickensian theme.
To warm up the congregation and break the ice, the senior priesthood will lead them in a series of games. Sorry. “Essential training exercises”. These exercises include old favourites such as Musical Cabinet Reshuffle, Pin the Blame on the Immigrant and Sajid Says. All this generates an atmosphere of, “Whilst the cat’s away, the mice play.” Which somehow persists even after the cat shows up to lead the quiz. The quiz questions are pitched at quite a low level. Such as, “What is three hundred thousand, and thirty-four, nine hundred and seventy-four thousand plus one?” (You must remember that the majority of Hooteninny’s followers have the unfortunate educational disadvantage of having attended Public School). If the “cat” had a bit more wit, he might have slipped in a question like, “For 20 bonus points – Name five MPs planning a leadership challenge in the New Year.” Which would have made planning the “quick-fire” round much simpler.
The proceedings end with a presentation of awards to the worthiest worshippers. Each follower hopes to be recognised as this year’s, “Spin King” or “Best Pressed” or perhaps win the “Best Dead Cat Distraction” prize. Some of the awards are more tongue-in-cheek, such as “PM’s Pet”, “Cabinet Clown” or “Most Likely to Mysteriously Avoid Jail”. If you see someone stratton’ around Westminster wearing a small bronze lapel pin in the shape of the door to Number 10, you’ll know they were a winner.
Now, the first rule of Hooteninny’s Cult is that you don’t make jokes about Hooteninny Cult, on film, at a mock press conference. Should the general public find out about one of these rituals having taken place it looks very, very bad. The attendees have to decide whether to admit to being at a prohibited gathering, or to boozing on the job. Either way, not a good look. In this instance, the two priests who officiated the rite must sacrifice themselves by falling on their own swords. One must do this immediately when the story first breaks, and other has to wait until the official inquiry report is released.
If you are considering following the way of Hooteninny as a good example of how to live your life… …please, please choose a better example.
Idol Scribblings Volume Two OUT NOW!
Even more deities for every eventuality with a foreword by Gary Brannan of the Technical Difficulties ( TechDiff.co.uk )
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