I am drawing a graphic memoir that is based on two periods of my life: my teen years as an Eighties goth in rural Devon, and my middle age in which I come to terms with the events of that time.
Satin and Tat takes as its theme – without being entirely slavish to the truth — the suicide of my first boyfriend, and the ways in which this event has resonated through the rest of my life. By no means a misery memoir, the story dips into the music, hairstyles and outrageous fashions of the 80s, pondering on motherhood, marriage, friendship and ageing, all in an archetypal Devonshire seaside village.
The music and fandom of David Bowie is also a recurrent theme; the title, Satin and Tat, as well as being a good description of the jumble sale clothes we goths favoured back then, is a phrase taken from the song Queen Bitch. Bowie was important to all who grew up in the 80s, and his own half brother Terry died by suicide.
In 2019 my work in progress on Satin and Tat was longlisted for the LDComics Prize and shortlisted for the Myriad First Graphic Novel Award.
I’ve been charting the process of drawing this challengingly lengthy book in the regular blog posts I’ve been writing as I continue to chip away at it.
FASHION AND POP CULTURE
As an ex-goth who can’t quite give up a fascination with clothes, I love drawing all aspects of fashion – and, along the way, recording some aspects of our shared social history. Read more.
REPORTAGE, SKETCH DIARIES AND SELF-PUBLISHED COMICS
Comic-making doesn’t bring fame and fortune — but it can bring opportunities for travel and fellowship, ample rewards in themselves. Read more.
I am interested in how comics can encourage activism and make real political change. While political cartoons are a familiar feature in our newspapers, I do not believe that research has ever been conducted into what tangible effects they have in the real world. Read more.