You're probably familiar with the work of Jon Link and Mick Bunnage. Together as Modern Toss, they've mastered the art of drawing cynical cartoons that make people laugh and laugh and laugh. Some of their new work is currently showing at Ink_d Gallery in Brighton, so I used that as an excuse to call up Jon and ask him about the Modern Toss book that will never get published because it's called Britain's Biggest Cunts, as well as the £850 Swearing Jacket and his black dog, Peter.
VICE: Hey Jon, how are you? Are you still trying to get your massively libellous book published?
Jon: Yeah, I'm good thanks. I don't know if we are actually. We were trying to get it published as a whole book, but all the publishers got legal reports done on it and the lawyers told them it was unpublishable. The trouble is, there are so many people who could go in Britain's Biggest Cunts that's it hard to get the rules right. It's actually funnier, I think, just to have him on the cover and let people imagine what's inside.
Sorry, I haven't seen the cover – who's on it, at the moment?
Piers Morgan. He's like the leader of it, you know.
What has Piers done to be worthy of the cover?
It's probably his Life Stories show where he's really hammered it home.
Is that one where he asks people if they were abused as children in front of a live studio audience?
It's just the crying and stuff, you know. All the crying and that.
What would the book have looked like, if it had come to full fruition?
We'd have had pictures of cunts against shots of the British countryside – the Lake District, the Grampian Mountains, the Cotswolds. Beautiful country scenes. Maybe sunsets. And then pictures of them on those backgrounds, with quotes from them floating over their heads like clouds. It was quite majestic, actually. Some of those quotes were tweets, so they looked really nice when you put them in tweet-language with a really pompous font.
What was the criteria for entry?
They had to be proper, international cunts, that were spreading their language around the world.
Like ambassadors for a new cunt empire?
Yeah, I suppose so. But that made it quite difficult and it ruled out certain people who spend the vast majority of their time being cunts in Britain alone. A lot of people don't really travel well, do they? Especially if they're cunts. People like Chris Moyles, Chris Evans – they're not really in that proper "Nuclear Cunt" category. Mick wrote a really nice thing to go with the book, actually, on how these people are spreading a new form of Britishness around the world.
"21st Century Britain has an international reputation for producing world rank, self-obsessed tits and top level entrepreneurial bullshitters. This beautifully illustrated (but sadly unpublishable for legal reasons) concept coffee table book cover is a celebration of this proud cultural renaissance, featuring full colour photographs and inspirational words from the nation's higest-level shit spouters and alpha silverbacks as they spearhead Britain's export shit thrust." - Mick Bunnage, Modern Toss
Fucking hell, maybe we should do it. Put a call out asking for publishers.
IF YOU'RE A PUBLISHER AND YOU'D LIKE TO PUBLISH BRITAIN'S BIGGEST CUNTS, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OK, will do. We're living in dark days, Jon. Dictators are bombing their own people. There's all this recession, and now 2012's looming...
2012, what's that? The next terrorist attack or something?
No, it's the apocalypse isn't it.
Is it? Oh what, I thought that was just a film?
No, it's real.
Oh it's real? OK. Brilliant.
So in this world of overwhelming negativity, is there anyone who makes you happy?
Umm... yeah, I think so. What, like animals and stuff?
Yeah, could be an animal if you want.
I've got a dog.
I think you've got to learn to like things like the cunts. That's what we're saying – that it's a good thing. You've gotta find things you like in the cuntworld. Yeah. They've got a certain outlook, haven't they? Where they're not bothered about what people are saying about them. They're just spewing it out.
Continued on page two.
How's the show going?
Yeah. We've got a few exhibits in it, which are headed up by a swearing jacket that we've had made by Gresham Blake, the tailor. It's for sale. It can be made to measure. It's £850. We sold one to that bloke who's got that ice cream parlour in the West End that sells human breast milk ice cream.
Oh, that guy. Are you a fan of his?
Dunno. It's not up to us, is it? He just wanted a jacket. We thought there were already jackets for doing so many things – hunting, smoking, sexual activities, stuff like that – but there had never been a jacket for swearing in.
That statement's harder to deny that the stains on my black satin fuck jacket. Would you buy ice cream off a man who was wearing a swearing jacket?
No, no. I might do, I dunno. I'll have to think about it. [Goes silent for a while.]
What's your dog's name?
What sort of dog...
What's wrong with that?
Nothing. I like dogs with human names.
Human names? Yeah, yeah, it's nice. It's a sort of a black thing. It does actually look like a human. [laughs]
What does Peter like doing?
Just normal stuff. Walking around, looking at things. Lying down. Going for a walk.
Putting food in his mouth?
Haha. Yeah. Drinking.
OK. What are your plans for the rest of the day?
I've got to make a portrait booth. It's like a photo booth, but you get your portrait drawn in it. We've mastered the art of the 12-second portrait. It's a skill that takes a lifetime to master. We did a load at the show at the weekend. 150 people turned up – they sit down for 12 seconds and we do really shit drawings of them. Then they go off really happy. We needed to formalise it a bit more, so we had this booth made, so we sit in the bit where the "camera" is supposed to be, and they sit the other side, behind a curtain. That's going to be at Latitude Festival, in a special little tent.
Do you charge people for that?
Yeah, they put their money in a little slot. About a fiver, normally.
So you're earning £5 every 12 seconds?
That's the same as Chris Evans, isn't it? Or Chris Tarrant.
What do you think Chris Tarrant's doing right now?
I reckon he's just staring. At a wall.
I dunno, I think it's totally blank in his head. He's just staring at a wall. I think he only becomes human when there are other people in the room. When he's in a room on his own he just stares at a wall.
Is that why he doesn't appear to have aged?
I dunno, I think he is aging actually.
His skin's quite firm, though, isn't it?
Do you think so? Have you been that close to him?
Just seen him on the telly.
Just on the telly, yeah. It's all make-up though, isn't it? If you saw him in real life it'd be a different story. When he goes to bed at night pieces are falling off of him. Bits on the pillow. Yeah. Good.
Modern Cloth from Modern Toss is showing at the Ink_d Gallery, Brighton until the 29th May.