POKKETZ cartoons, by Alan James, were featured in On The Edge Magazine from June 1991 to late in 1995. Most of them appear below.
Bleedin’ Bivi Ledge (OTE 24 – Jun 1991)
The very first cartoon featuring Messers Moffatt, Moon, Dawes and Nadin. The origin of this cartoon was a bizarre conversation while belaying friends at Buoux in France. Of course the ultimate root of the cartoon is in the Monty Python Yorkshiremen sketch.
Hardest Boiled Egg in the World (OTE 25 – Aug 1991)
Featuring Mr Moon, Mr Moffatt and Mark Pretty (Zippy) who had a reputation for over-bolting at that time. It coincided with Ben Moon doing a lot of hard things elsewhere.
Trivial Pusuits (OTE 26 – Oct 1991)
It features Paul Williams, Chris Bonington, Mr Dawes again and Jon Readhead. Paul was a font of all climbing knowledge and he is sadly missed from the UK climbing scene.
A Christmas Carol (OTE 27 – Dec 1991)
A certain climber’s prolific new routing is called into question on Christmas Eve.
Shin-Aid (OTE 28 – Feb 1992)
A somewhat dated cartoon featuring Andy Pollitt (who was renowned for his success with the ‘wimmin’), Geoff Birtles (the then-editor of High Magazine) and Jim Curran (who had recently appeared in a gratuitous photo in High with a semi-naked woman sat on his lap). It also features Sinead O’Connor.
Hello Girls (OTE 29 – Apr 1992)
Reflecting on some of the more memorable quotes that our top climbers have come up with over the years. Two of the final three frames include Simon Nadin (the World Champion at the time) and Stefan Glowacz (who memorably failed to win a competition in Birmingham after looking a dead cert up to the point he fell off). The final frame is a quote Jerry Moffatt made to me and two female co-workers one day when he came in to check how we were progressing with the new sign for the Foundry (although I expect it wasn’t the only occasion he made it).
Moonies (OTE 31 – Aug 1992)
An early idea for do-it-yourself route kits that was inspired by a birthday card cartoon drawn by my father.
Johnnies (OTE 32 – Oct 1992)
Exploring a few, mostly male, climbing stereotypes.
Kylie Moon (OTE 33 – Dec 1993)
A vision of a world where plastic climbing has taken over. The interview with the latest female hotshot features references to broccoli, which had been promoted in OTE as the latest wonder fuel by some strong young guns led by Malcolm Smith, Ian Vickers and Stuart Cameron.
Incorrigible Batchelors (OTE 34 – Feb 1993)
Moffat, Nadin and Dawes contemplating why, in 1993, Ben Moon was declared to be one of Britain’s 50 most eligible batchelors.
Come On Rams, Do Your Stuff (OTE 36 – Jun 1993)
Ron Fawcett, Andy Bowman and three sheep.
The Guide to Epics (OTE 37 – Aug 1993)
No climbing stars in this one, just a couple of blokes having an epic on Gogarth.
The Belayer (OTE 38 – Oct 1993)
Exploring the competative dilemma faced when belaying a mate. The origin of this is Captain Haddock and his whisky bottle in the Tintin books.
25 Lentils (OTE 40 – Feb 1994)
A conversation between the top female climbers of the mid-90s. There was a slight obsession with diet at the time. The characters are: Fliss Butler, Airlie Anderson, Anne Arran, Ruth Jenkins, Lucy Creamer and a guest appearance from OTE editor Gill Kent at the end.
Pokketz Fashion Shoot (OTE 42 – Jun 1994)
Some classic climbing fashions inspired by an incredibly naff fashion photo feature in OTE 41.
Vickers Profile (OTE 43 – Aug 1994)
A profile of the top climber of the time, Ian Vickers.
The Secret Diary of John Dunne (age 16 3/4) (OTE 46 – Feb 1995)
A day in the life of John Dunne featuring the censored punch-line which OTE wouldn’t allow!
Rockfax Fatwaar (OTE 53 – Dec 1995)
In 1995 the Pembroke Rockfax was published and to some people it seemed that it was the end of the world, or something very near to that. The most vociferous and outspoken critic was Ken Wilson.
Ben and Jerry (Unpublished)
A cartoon which was never published in OTE. It was written at a time when the top two climbers in the country were Neil Carson and Ian Vickers and it was just after Jerry Moffatt had put up the routes Evolution and Progress. Allegedly these routes were put up to keep Jerry’s sponsors happy.