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The Cut - celebrating the 40th anniversary of its launch

             




About the artist
Derek was born in 1945, and spent his early life in Conisbrough, gaining a place at Kingston upon Thames College of Art in the sixties.

His professional life has been in further education, mainly at Rotherham College of Arts and Technology where he worked for 38 years and rose to Head of Division of Art & Design before retiring in 2005.

He is now teaching part-time, at the WEA, and holds classes at Ulley Country Park, and also exhibits in shows across the north and midlands, and with fellow artists in the Alluvium art group, which was formed in 2007.

More details >>

 


The Cut was brash, daring, fun and a breath of fresh air for Mexborough, and it’s still fondly remembered even today.

It’s exactly 40 years since this inspired monthly swipe at authority and champion of local Arts hit the streets, and this irreverent mag has earned its place in our ongoing archive.

The brainchild of three talents brought together by their love of drama – Geoff Sargieson, Ken Griffin and Derek Allport., the paper published 21 issues over its short life, with Howard Lloyd becoming the third man after Geoff left a year in.

It started innocently enough, with three regulars at the Rockingham Theatre Company on Schofield Street deciding Mexborough needed a voice for the thriving Arts and community scene. But it evolved into a strident force in the town, using humour and satire to have digs at civic leaders, and showcase the memorable characters that made the town special.

Latterly, the magazine lost its teeth somewhat and settled into a routine of fun and frivolity, with few of the side-swipes at authority which had made it a must-read.

Looking back at those 21 issues, it’s clear the Cut’s success and charm owed a lot to Derek’s drawings; each issue is peppered with cartoons and caricatures, bringing the town worthies to life.

Derek used a subtle blend of cartoon style and insight to nail his subjects; politicians come off worst, as you would expect, but there is genuine affection for others, all inked with care and skill.

And they have stood the test of time – far better than normal photography; there is an immediacy and vitality in them which would never exist in a snapshot. To any one who remembers the subjects, they are captured with affection, and often the devil is in the detail, with hidden gems uncovered only after careful scrutiny.

Derek does, however, have one regret and that is his portrayal of Police Inspector Dilcock, whom he was asked to portray in one front-page drawing as a minion of Sheriff Buckroe (larger-than-life councillor Tommy Roebuck). “I know that caused upset, and I’d like to have it on record that I regret it” he said.

Indeed, Mr Dilcock’s son Michael said his father was put out by the portrayal, as he had no great liking for the councillor.

One of Derek’s favourite drawings of the time was the Catholic Club committee, with the priest in the centre of a scene based on The Last Supper.


 

I have two I rate above all others – the first is the lovely Florence Payling, landlady of the Miners, who adorned the front cover of the second issue, and the second is a remarkable scene showing the homecoming of Iron Hague. It spans two pages and is full of character and affectionate observation.  Both are included in the flip-book at the foot of this page.

Later issues became more jokey, more rag-mag than news and satire, but they still reflected the town and its characters through Derek’s artwork, and raised a smile as the Seventies doldrums set in.

Of the 21 issues, one – summer 1972 – is different in style, and that is because the trio had taken their performing talents on the road, to the Dales. So that publication was masterminded by brothers Denis and Tony Ratcliffe. Meanwhile Geoff, Ken and Derek produced a kind of ‘Cut Lite’ which was in effect a programme of their tour, and we’re grateful to have that in our archive too. The illustration below is from that issue, and shows that Derek could turn his sharp eye to bringing his colleagues to life.

In the 40 years since The Cut was launched, Mexborough has changed out of all proportion, not always for the better either. There are fewer characters around, fewer interested in local politics and more of a void where the sense of community once thrived.

Which makes celebrating The Cut’s golden age so important. The trio helped us laugh at ourselves while on a serious mission to improve the town’s culture, and they left a lasting record of local life which we’re proud to have preserved for the future.

Peter Lee

Our grateful thanks to Derek Allport for the loan of his original Cuts, and for permission to use his illustrations.

And to mark The Cut's milestone, Derek has created three new drawings which we are privileged to showcase here.

Ted Hughes Brian Blessed Harry Dews

Below is an interactive flip-book document. You must have Flash player installed to view it.
To turn a page, click on the lower right corner of the right-hand page, and drag the page open. You can also click on the top right corner too and drag, or simply click once to turn a page. Moving backwards uses the left-hand page edges.

You can email your  comments to us here:

 

 
 
COMMENTS
Thanks for the memories!
We lived on Doncaster Road -  Miners Arms to one side of us, Ken Griffin to the other side.
The arrival of Florence and Ken Paling to the Miners was a breath of fresh air to be sure! Ken [Paling that is!] always so smartly dressed with crisp shirts and ties and a cherubic face that always looked like his mother had just scrubbed him!
Florence - well her style was certainly a draw for the customers! She was a damned good landlady though.
The pub was always vibrant and full of characters during their time.
Ken Griffin moved up from Don View with his cat Cleo. Just a streak of a man with wild hair and a wicked sense of humour and strong beliefs, such a pity that health let him down!
I remember The Cut, my dad would bring in the copy and it would be picked up and read over and over, and the caricatures laughed at - If only we had those times back at Mexborough!
Thanks again,
Sue Thomas [Millwood]