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Alice in Sunderland

25 April 2006

Coo. I just spent the last two days in Sunderland, proofreading Bryan Talbot's new graphic novel, and I feel uniquely privileged. It's called Alice in Sunderland, and it's a remarkable achievement: a kind of meditation on history and other storytelling, via the medium of one city from nowhere to now. It's about Lewis Carroll, and interpretations of Carroll; and Alice, and interpretations of Alice (both the fictional and the fleshly girl); and stories, myths and lies more generally. And Sunderland at the heart of it all. Extraordinary. And I'm in it. I actually am, this isn't a story; rather, I'm involved with one of the stories Bryan tells. Me and Colin Wilbourn, down on the sculpture walk by the river where Colin's work is tricked out with my words, and all about the history of Sunderland.

I've written plenty of comic strips in my time, but I've never been in one before. As I said above, it's a privilege.

And I came home with a couple of chilli plants from Bryan's partner Mary, which she'd grown from seeds from the plants I gave her last year; and in between being very happy to see me and delightfully snuggly and all of that, Barry has already knocked them both off the windowsill in a single almighty calamity, and I have no idea if they'll survive, and they've only been in the house a few hours. He is wickedness incarnate, incarnadine. That'll be why he's so beautiful.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2006
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.