There was only going to be one theme for the 2020/21 Askia New Year card. Most years there are weeks of debate around Askia Towers, choosing what the global theme of the year just gone should be. So no wasted time this time around. It was clearly the pandemic. But how to find the right angle on what is a truly difficult situation for everyone? This one did take weeks of debate and brainstorming, until we organized one of those Zoom wine drinking gatherings. After a few glasses the mask idea surfaced, swiftly followed by the concept of a foolhardy Zorro misinterpreting the message – perfect for Patrick to act the suave fool! Then we thought an actual Askia mask inside the card would be a nice touch and something genuinely useful. We had a plan.

The photography was going to be a challenge – Patrick wanted Zorro to be riding a horse. Of course he did. In locked down Paris a real horse was too much of a challenge, but Paris is famous for its statues, although most have a rider. Eventually we found a magnificent equine example, in a place that will need to remain secret . . .

As you can see there is an upturned harrow below the horse, so Patrick was genuinely going to risk life and limb to provide this photograph.


Our resident photographer in Paris is Stephen Bronnec and so Patrick & Stephen planned the shoot late one freezing evening in November. The pair were liable for arrest for any number of reasons – there was a lockdown in Paris, it was after curfew and Patrick was mounting a national monument! But they were not disturbed, and the photograph was captured. Here is the one that was used for the image on the front of the card.

Patrick had spent a couple of hours in make-up and wardrobe preparing his Zorro look for the photoshoot. And prior to that he had spent a month growing a real pencil moustache. And it was all worth it, as he really does look like he has just stepped off the set of a 1920’s Hollywood movie.

The disguise certainly fooled a lot of people – many of Patrick’s close friends failed to recognise him in the card. Even in this close up image inside the card.

We got some great feedback from the card as always. People appreciate the effort and fun that goes into the Askia card each year and long may the tradition continue . . . .