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Monocle Husky

The Seven Ages of Posy

For people of a certain age and, let's face it, class, Posy Simmonds will always be one of the cornerstones of British cartooning. My mum admitted recently that I had had 'a very Posy childhood'; something I had been claiming for years, only to have it roundly denied. Certainly Posy was equalled only by The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a source of family quotations and in-jokes, while phrases from her speech bubbles ("Momma's Fault!"; "This urban rot is quite appalling!") were a useful shorthand which could bypass whole conversations.

Last night I went to see Posy speaking and sketching at Foyles as part of the Comica festival. She was exactly as I'd imagined: well-spoken, obviously well-educated, funny and self-deprecating.

By the magic of modern technology - a webcam taped to a mike stand - we were able to watch live drawing appear on the screen in front of us. It was a strange feeling to see characters who were as much a part of my upbringing as Bagpuss and Postman Pat take shape before my very eyes while Posy talked us through their design and evolution. (At the end of the talk, the Posy originals were whipped quick as by eager fans.)

We got to see some works from Posy's childhood: a strip cartoon called BULLET VENGEANCE created when she was nine and inspired by the comics her classmates gleaned from the local USAF base, and a women's magazine pastiche, Herself, from a few years later. I used to do this sort of thing, too, but eventually realised I should confine myself to the writing side of it.

In the signing queue afterwards, I was afraid the man from Foyles would be cross that I'd brought a yellowing Pick of Posy rather than forking out for the new collection, Mrs Weber's Omnibus, but he just said "Oh, you've got an original!" Posy herself was similarly impressed and checked the publication date: 1982.

While my name was being blocked out on the title page and Wendy Weber drawn underneath it, I seized the opportunity to name my favourite Posy strip: the one that ends with Wendy and George on Wendy's scooter, because it's so rare to see a woman rider with a male pillion. Posy said "Oh yes - going to the Partisan!", so she is as familiar with her own work as the fans are, which is somehow pleasing.

I will leave you with the sobering Word of God thought that Benji, last seen rejecting traditional gender-lined roleplay while picking his nose, is probably 'forty and an options broker'. Or, indeed, a software developer...


Hmm. I'd noticed you posting/tweeting about this upcoming thing and kept thinking that I must look up who Posy Simmonds was. I feel I fall fairly and squarely into the relevant demographic (about your age, suitably middle class) but it seems she is someone whose work has completely passed me by. I wonder how that happened.
I blame the parents!
Actually, when I was little my mum was the only person in her newspaper's office with a small child, which meant she got all the kids' books to review. As a result my childhood reading was closely shaped by what came out that year and what was sent to a small provincial paper for review.

So I missed out on lots of standards, but had some really delightful books no one else has ever heard of :)
Ooh, nice!
The important part was to read The Grauniad...
My parents didn't start taking the Grauniad until well after I'd moved out, so I missed out on Posy until relatively recently. I met her at a comics event last year, she was absolutely lovely and embellished my copy of Nelson for me.
Fab! I was too scared to try the 'draw me a husky' trick again.
I hope to get the Weber Omnibus, as I miss those characters and am glad that this collection revives them, if only in reprint; and I wish I'd remembered about this otherwise I might have stayed in London later!
Ah dammit!

The omnibus is selling very well, apparently.
Heh! Like the Benji link... ;)
I was hoping to find a picture of the character, but what I found was way better!
He should so have a Posy clip of Benji doing something disgusting on his website. ;)
He's probably too young to remember the Webers D:
Oooh you lucky so and so! I've got the Tamara Drewe and Gemma Bovery books that she wrote and drew and did and everything, and I thought they were just amazing. So that must have been great to have been there! And I notice Alison Bechdel mentioned too, who is very much another favourite artist and writer of mine!
A friend went to the Alison Bechdel talk - I'm seeing her tonight and will demand details then!

I got hold of Tamara Drewe recently and was very impressed. Posy's children's books are lovely too; she's very good at drawing cats.
Alison Bechdel is a remarkable artist, and she has a brain the size of Jupiter, I'm sure of it! Very talented. :)

I've only seen those two graphic novels from Posy, so far, and I didn't realise that she had other books available. I can see her writing style and artwork being just perfect for children's books - I'll have to see if I can track a few down! :)
That sounds splendid - would have gone had I known about it. I too grew up with Posy, and will probably buy the Omnibus, as I can only find three of the six component books.
Such an excellent write-up, thank you! :)
Glad you enjoyed, wish you could have been there, hope she comes to Brighton!
I'm not sure we ever had all of them - I certainly haven't read True Love.
I loved reading this, as a long term Mrs Weber fan.
At first I thought the software site was you doing a fictional thing!
( I loved "Mustn't Grumble" especially those scenes with people living in France, complaining about the septic tanks and the French!)
I wish I'd had the idea of doing a fake site for a grown-up Benji! That one's obviously not very good at googling himself, or else he's choosing to ignore his namesake.

Have you read Gemma Bovery? I haven't, but I understand there are ex-pat shenanigans...
Gemma Bovery is brilliant for the depiction of ex-pats, and very funny apart from the underlying tragedy of the story, of course. I recommend it.
I have wondered whether some of the people reading it, or more particularly Tamara Drew, have actually read the original novels...

I have not only not read the original but I had no idea until the talk that Tamara Drew was based on Hardy! (If I'd known I probably wouldn't have read it. Can't stand Hardy.)