Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Angle - from a different angle

When I was asked to illustrate comedian and writer Sean Lock's Guide to Foraging for the recent QI Annual, the first thing I did was look for humorous opportunities. Luckily, Sean is a very funny chap and there was plenty of material to work with. In the end, the final three page spread was jointly decorated by myself and cartoonist Tony Husband.
One set of pictures I submitted accompanied Sean's handy rhyme for remembering the methods used to catch animals: mangle, strangle, dangle, tangle. In other words, shooting or clubbing etc., snares, fishing lines and sprung traps, and nets.

My pictures didn't get used in the end but Tony's cartoons were much funnier so it was the right decision to make. However, I came across them this evening while tidying up some files on my computer and I found myself thinking about words that end in 'angle'. Apart from the four above there are triangle, rectangle, pentangle, octangle and quadrangle, bangle, wrangle, jangle and wangle.
Cangle is an old spelling of 'candle' rarely used these days. A brangle is a noisy dispute. To embrangle means to embroil or involve in a negative way. A twangle is the sound made by an instrument that twangs. To rangle means to range about in an irregular manner while gangle means to move in an ungraceful way. Fangle has fallen from use (meaning new or played around with) but remains in use in the term new-fangled. And a spangle is something shiny. Or a 1970s boiled sweetie.
What jumped out at me was that so many of these words have negative connotations. Apart from the geometric shapes (although pentangles do have associations with the Devil), many of these words conjure up images of maiming, injury, ungracefulness, disorganisation, entrapment, suspicion or some other sinister quality. Things that end with 'angle' are bad things it seems.
Never, ever forget the horror that was 1980s girl band The Bangles.
Oh. I've just realised that England and English both derive from that ancient tribe of trouble-makers, the Angles.

P.s. Don't forget that the QI Annual 2009 is still available from bookshops and Amazon!


Protege said...

Love these illustrations; are these yours or Tony's? If they are yours, you are indeed very talented.;)
Weren't you suppose to blog only on Saturdays?;))

doctawho42 said...

Hey Protege: I think perhaps the little SC in the corner of the illustrations denotes One Stevyn Colgan as the artist. I was asking the same question myself. ;)

Also, I agree he is talented and that I was pretty sure this was not a Saturday. I may be wrong on this count.

Well, say hi from me to Sean Lock, you don't have to, but you know, if theres a lull in the conversation or something...

Stevyn Colgan said...

Protege, Hannah - Yup, the pics are by me. Not my best stuff but they did the job.

Sent from mobile email

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Think positive, and swop the last two letters round!

Love the pics, SC!

I'm off on my Saturday visit to the library now ... it's one of my New Year resolutions.

Jon M said...

Spangles...mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Apart from Olde English Spangles which were a plot of some kind, I'm certain!

SweetPeaSurry said...

I don't think my comment will be intelligent or observational.

I do like your pictures though.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Raph - Aren't you a couple of days too early?

Jon - Remember the 'mystery' spangle in the individual wrapper adorned with question marks?

Surry - No matter. That's all that matters with art - whether you like it or not. x

Nola said...

Do you do any work from photos? Like for instance, If I was to send you a clear photo of my parents with a list of their interests and things like that, would you be able to do a cartoon incorporating their likeness and interests?? For a fee of course!! I ask, as next year they will have been married for 50 years...(which also means I will be turning 50...sigh) I love, love your drawings and think you should consider my request!!!!
As they say in the classics....
Luv ya....luv ya work!!!!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Nola - Will be in touch. x