Monday, 27 July 2009

Coventry Inspiration Book Award

I came back to a mass of emails. And some good and bad news.

The good news was that Sarah Odedina had been in touch to say that Uncle Montague's Tale's of Terror has been nominated for the 2010 Coventry Inspiration Book Awards under the Read It or Else category. Thanks to the good people of Coventry for selecting my book from the crowd.

The bad news was that my New Statesman strip - Payne's Grey - is about to fall victim to that curse of the strip cartoonist: the 'redesign'. Magazines seem to redesign themselves every couple of months these days, in the same way that shops move everything around every now and then to make us feel like we are in a new and exciting place. Actually we all know we are in the same old shop, its just that now we can't find the pasta.

But Payne's Grey has survived for many years so I have no complaints. It was my last contact with the world of newspapers and it will feel weird not to do it when it comes to an end in September. Maybe this will be the spur to do another strip elsewhere. Or maybe it is a reason to stop doing them altogether.

I have done a few now. My first was with my good friend Chris Riddell in the Independent on Sunday some years ago. I came up with the idea and wrote the strips; Chris did a brilliant job with the pics. It was called Bestiary and was an extended riff on the fun to be had with inventing animals on the back of awful puns. Like, oh - I don't know - The Unwanted Hare, for instance. Or the Sole of Discretion. Or the Maiden Ants. Or the Cricket Bat. You get the idea. It amused us, anyway.

We did the strip for many years and it could have gone on, but for Chris moving to The Observer. In fact Chris is still shamelessly mining this particular seam in a pocket cartoon he does for the Literary Review, published as The Da Vinci Cod. . .


Some of us are fated to come up with original ideas; some of us are fated to steal our friends ideas and pass them off as our own. T'was ever thus.

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