EDIT 04/12/10: The auction ended yesterday at 5pm GMT, with the highest bid being £400 from a silent bidder. The silent bidder has chosen the 1/50 'SPARTACUS' print. 'SPARTACUS' print 2/50 has been gifted to @crazycolours, and 3/50 gifted to @TwJokeTrialFund. 'SPARTACUS' prints 4/50 and 5/50 have been bought for £250 and £150 respectively. Print 1/50 'BOAT' has been purchased for £125.
All the proceeds from the auction and sale of these prints are going directly to/have gone directly to the Twitter Joke Fund Appeal.
When I entered into the idea of running an auction for Paul, I could not possibly foresee this amazing outcome, and I am humbled by the generosity of the online community. Thank you to absolutely everyone who took part, and to @nickparkhouse for having the idea in the first place. I piggy-backed on his coat tails, and unexpectedly stole his thunder. He's being very good about it, though, and I bought him some scones yesterday to make up for it.
EDIT 29/11/10: For the duration of the auction, new SAD FACE illustrations will appear below this post.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, we lived in a time when we could be sarcastic without fear of retribution. Where we could say or write dumb things, and people knew we were saying something dumb, and the worst that might happen is that someone might shout at you in a really loud voice, and perhaps call you a 'nob'. Or maybe even a 'wanker'. And then it would be all over and the dust would settle and we would all be friends again.
Recently, something happened that has changed all that. In the UK, a man named Paul Chambers wrote something dumb on the social networking site Twitter, and he got into a great deal of trouble. He was prosecuted and found guilty. He was fined and given a criminal record. It's all a bit unbelievable, really, but affects all of us very deeply. It has set a precedent against which all other similar cases can be measured.
If you were to write something threatening and dumb on Twitter, or Facebook, or your Tumblr, or anywhere, and the person or people you write it about decide to prosecute you, they could win, and your life could be destroyed. As it stands, Paul Chambers can't become an accountant now. Not unless he wins his appeal. That might not seem like a big deal to you, but think about it. What if something dumb you once wrote in jest meant you could not follow the career path of your choice? What if it meant you could not travel to some fantastic foreign countries? It's all possible now, thanks to this bizarre ruling.
Paul Chambers is appealing his conviction. To do so is going to cost him in excess of £10,000. A whole bunch of people, Stephen Fry included, want to help Paul. And so do I, because I understand that this could have happened to anyone, and can happen again if Paul doesn't appeal like he is, which freaks me the hell out. We need Paul to appeal. And we need Paul to win.
To help in my own small way, I would like to auction a signed and numbered limited edition A4 size SAD FACE print. It will be print number 1 of 50. I've chosen a special illustration for the auction, one that reflects perhaps how poor Paul might be feeling.
All proceeds will be going to the Twitter Joke Trial Fund, set up on behalf of Paul, and given his approval.
To bid on the auction, please leave a bid in the comments. The auction will end at 5pm GMT, Friday 3rd December, 2010. The highest bidder at that time will be the winner. I will post the print anywhere in the world as required.
Many thanks, and all the best to Paul.
UPDATE: So I went up the loft after I started the auction. And while I was up there I was struck by some inspiration, whereupon I came down from the loft and drew this.
If the winner of the auction prefers this illustration above the other, then they are most welcome to have a signed limited edition A4 print of this one as their bounty instead. Again, it will be numbered 1 of 50.
Also, I failed to mention it before, but yes, the auction is in GBP.
As you were.