Michael Heath, The Spectator’s brilliant cartoon editor, has been on Desert Island Discs - which is like a knighthood, but without the cronyism. He's been talking through his illustrious career and his decades-long association with The Spectator. Subscribers know how well he draws; but his wit is a secret hitherto shared with those of us lucky enough to work with him. The interview (above) shares a bit of that with the rest of the world. Avant-garde jazz, he says, "sounds like fire in a pet shop".
"I am the most romantic man you’ve ever met in your life – absolutely, completely certifiably-mentally soppy. If you showed me Bambi, I’d mop the floor sobbing..."
"I don’t think there’s any fun without you being depressed at the same time. Depression is the averse side of people giggling all the time."
"I am not an artist, I am a cartoonist. I am rather angry about that because, if I had played my cards right and become an artist, I wouldn’t have to think of these damned ideas all the time. If I’d become a 'contemporary British artist', I wouldn’t have to do anything."
So what were Michael's song picks? He opted for Thelonious Monk's Criss-Cross, children's song Teddy Bears' Picnic and Max Miller's I Never Slept A Wink Last Night. And his luxury item? A painting kit, so he could, in his words, learn to 'paint properly'. To celebrate his appearance on Desert Island Discs, here's a selection of his cartoons from over the years:
1950s: 11 December, 1959
1960s: 24 April, 1974
1970s: 1 April, 1978
1980s: 3 April, 1982
1990s: 22 March, 1997
2000s: 21 November, 2009