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D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 8
• • • Jim Cawthorn, 19292008
We are intensely saddened to announce the death of James Cawthorn, an artwork contributor to Savoy for over thirty years and a friend for far longer. He was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead, Co Durham, UK, on Friday 28th November, for routine tests, and died unexpectedly there on Tuesday 2nd December. An autopsy revealed the cause as pancreatic cancer.
Jim was born on 21st December, 1929, in Gateshead, and lived there and in London.
Jim was at the forefront as an illustratorand often the first illustratorfor many writers of fantasy and science fiction including Moorcock, Tolkien, Alan Garner, L Sprague de Camp, Robert E Howard, Henry Treece, Poul Anderson, Arthur C Clarke and Nigel Kneale; for books including Stormbringer, The Lord of the Rings, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Tritonium Ring, Treece’s Celtic tetralogy, The Broken Sword and many others. After Tolkien himself, Jim and Pauline Baynes were the first illustrators of The Lord of the Rings. But Jim's real passion was for Edgar Rice Burroughs, for whom he delivered definitive illustrations. He illustrated The Moon Maid for Tom Stacey (a first edition with Kingsely Amis introduction) and many other Burroughs titles. Over a fifty year period he contributed to all the major ERB publications.
From the mid-50s to the present day Jim was a prolific artist for small, independent publishers as well as more mainstream publications. He appeared in magazines throughout the amateur scene in England and America including Burrousania, Triode, Camber and Eldritch Dream Quest. He was a regular illustrator for Peter Ogden’s Erbania, one of the world's longest-running Burroughs fanzines. During the 50s and 60s his distinctive artwork was well-known to readers of Amra, the seminal US sword and sorcery magazine. He was a staff artist for New Worlds magazine during its Moorcock-edited phase in the 60s, providing covers and atmospheric illustrations for JG Ballard and others.
Jim’s greatness as an illustrator and graphic artist was one of the main reasons we formed Savoy Books. Stormbringer, Jim’s adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s Elric, was the first Savoy publication in 1976. Our second book was Moorcock’s Sojan, which featured a number of new illustrations by Jim. Over the last thirty or so years he was a constant at Savoy, whether illustrating Henry Treece or Maurice Richardson, or being showcased in anthologies such as Sieg Heil Iconographers or A Serious Life. The two Hawkmoon graphic novels he produced for Savoy, The Jewel in the Skull and The Crystal and the Amulet, will now be seen as his greatest achievements. The latter featured an introduction by Burne Hogarth, a rare honour, for it turned out to be the only introduction Burne ever gave to a living artist.
Jim was a very insightful writer and critic. In addition to contributing reviews to New Worlds and regular articles to prestigious children’s magazine Look & Learn, his Fantasy: The 100 Best Books (co-authored with Michael Moorcock, but largely written by Jim) stands as a landmark overview of the genre's greatest novels. To all his writing he brought an expert and discerning judgement, backed up by an extensive knowledge of literature and cinema.
David Britton writes:
"Fifty years ago in Britain, you'd find on the stands of your local newsagent’s shop a weekly comic, Tarzan Adventures, which regularly featured the artwork of Jim Cawthorn. A bold summons to the nation's youth, opening portals into mysterious and thrilling Other Worlds. There had never been black-and-white art quite like this.
"As an artist and fabulist, Jim was the greatest of his generation. His was the work of a naturally imaginative draughtsman, untouched by scouring art school antiseptic. Jim’s hand was exuberant and freeflowing, open and adventurously rebellious, and his work flourished simultaneously with that first great eruption of rock’n’roll in Britain, born in tandem with Little Richard and Elvis Presley, and promising stranger times to come. Jim’s art had the force, individuality and imagination of a Beardsley, Scarfe or Peake. His artwork was, and still is, the most exciting black-and-white art I’ve ever seen. I loved the man as much as I loved his art. It's a cliché that the world is a smaller place without Jim and his inspiration but also an embarrassing truism. Good bye old friend; you'll be missed. But your incredible artwork will live forever."
The funeral will take place at 12:05pm, December 9th, 2008.
Watson's Funeral Directors
A U G U S T 2 0 0 8
• • • Savoy music downloads
To set the catfish jumping, this initial batch of recordings is ready for instant purchase:
Savoy Wars, Britton & Butterworth’s musical magnum opus and a mutant-wired affront to propriety features incendiary reinventions of ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Raw Power’, Savoy’s salute to the Pistols' ‘Anarchy In The UK’, the pumped-up paean to Wagnerian Northern Soul ‘Reverbstorm’, Meng & Ecker’s joyfully lewd and seminal chant ‘Shoot Yer Load’, and the track that killed rock’n’roll, ‘Hardcore: M97002’.
The Savoy Sessions contains the unabridged versions* of Savoy’s classic PJ Proby singles. Included are the hip-shaking Philly-buster ‘I’m on Fire’, the revisionist nightmare, ‘Sign O The Times’, ‘In the Air Tonight’, a post-modern deconstructed classic executed in the best rock’n’roll manner, the epic lament which Proby educes from Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, and two takes (live and studio) of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ ('The Joy Division original is just a draft by comparison, Proby's a full-blown Hitchcock masterpiece. A definitive version.' Melody Maker).
*Readers of these pages may remember the announcement concerning a company called Magnum who legitimately licensed some of these songs from Savoy. They then went on to release them in an edited form on their album Heroes (now on the Synergie OMP label). We did not approve this editing vandalism and regard the songs as having been pirated.
Savoy Digital Angst. A maxi-single featuring ‘Bobby Sands’, a sincere hymn to the hunger-striker, ‘The Old Fenian Gun’, a tribute to Irish rebel balladeers The Wolfe Tones and ‘Kevin Barry’, a loose-limbed version that deconstructs the deconstructed. The cherry on the cake is ‘The National Anthem’, thoroughly mauled and left for dead.
Lord Horror. One of our most elusive items, a reading from David Britton’s equally-elusive and notorious novel by legendary rocker PJ Proby, embellished by string arrangements, thundering beats and carefully-crafted sound design. Unbelievably intense. The toughest thing you’ve ever heard!
The Waste Land. An original reading of TS Eliot’s Modernist masterpiece by the Texan, PJ Proby.
• Available on Savoy download soon
A collection of obscure B-Sides and alternative takes including PJ Proby’s extraordinary ad-lib on acoustic guitar ‘I Was Born a Poor White Boy in Nigger Town’, a cover of ‘Tainted Love’ (Savoy’s first musical outing'Single of singles! Sounds like a motorway pile-up in Hell.' Kerrang!) and Meng & Ecker’s charming urological anthem ‘Golden Showers’.
Fenella Fielding reads Colette, the first of our long-awaited Fenella Fielding recordings. Sophisticated readings of the French author are homed on Fenella’s definitive theatrical presentations in London and New York as she reads with complete empathy and mastery from her own choice of texts. A virtuoso act, accompanied by magnificent orchestral arrangements by Savoy's own Maurice Ravel, Stephen Boyce-Buckley.
Four Quartets. Fenella Fielding’s unaccompanied reading of the TS Eliot masterpiece.
La Squab, Fenella Fielding’s reading from David Britton’s forthcoming novel in which she effortlessly evokes the book’s skippy menace. With accompanying musical hijinks.
Fenella Fielding: The Savoy Sessions.* Ms Fielding’s readings (above) may be followed by her infamous album of cover songs, a scintillating, unique and strange mix of all things Fenella and Savoy.
*Subject to Savoy and Ms Fielding reaching agreement.
• Savoy’s most recent recordings
The Britton & Butterworth compositions, ‘The Love of Love’ and ‘Nicholas van Hoogstraten: Emissary of Beelzebub’ (the latter warbled by Jessie Matthews), plus other ongoing studio work, will be available online next year.
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