|Sketchbook illustration of me holding court by Priya Kuriyan ©2018 Priya Kuriyan|
Chalkwell Hall is a beautiful Grade II listed Georgian building, renovated by Metal, set in the picturesque Chalkwell Park, about twenty minutes walk from where I live. I could hardly turn down an offer to contribute to a comics event so close to home, only somewhat daunted by being asked by Metal to speak for two hours, “about [my] life in comics.”
|Photos: ©2018 Metal|
A plastic folder containing ten pages of notes I had prepared for myself didn’t get opened, as I managed to ramble on regardless, and somehow my unrehearsed presentation concluded with one minute to spare. I then spent some further time answering some astute questions from the well-mannered, warm and receptive audience.
I was invited to hang around for some pea and leek soup, eaten on the terrace overlooking the rose garden in warm autumn sunshine, which gave me the chance to mingle with the LAB’s hugely talented constituent parts; Alexandre Szolnoky (Buddha Boy), Amy Ison (stepping from fine art to comics), Clio Isadora Delcour-Min and her amazing-looking Risographed zines, Carl Doherty of the Shelf Abuse blog, Daniel Locke, (Out of Nothing), freelance illustrator Dominique Duong (The Black Cloud), Emma Burleigh (My Other Mother, My Other Self), Priya Kuriyan (Ebony & Ivory), Ros Asquith (Guardian cartoonist working on a spectacular new book), autobiographer and fellow comic festival veteran Sean Azzopardi (Voice of the Hall) and Wallis Eates (Fear of Mum...Death and the Shadow Men).
The day also gave me the opportunity to finally meet bestselling local horror author Syd Moore (The Drowning Pool), as well as catching up with the other marvellous Metalheads who made the whole thing happen; writer Colette Bailey, designer Camilla Fox and painter Simon Monk.
|Left: Kokaachi talk [Photo: ©2018 Metal] / Right: Sketchbook illustration ©2018 Priya Kuriyan|
Then the main event of the day took place, local hero Warren Ellis’ Q&A session, where Warren did what Warren does and everyone gasped and laughed and listened in respectful awe in all the right places.
Little known comics factoid: Warren and I grew up in the same local village of Thundersley, albeit a decade apart.
|The Thundersley Thames Delta Comics Massive Reunion. Photo: Syd Moore ©2018 Metal|
|Left: Carl Doherty's three minute wonder. / Right: Drinking and drawing. Photos: ©2018 Gary Spencer Millidge|