I knew it was going to be a day siding with the odd from the moment I woke. It wasn’t that Bosswell’s voice calling for her mummy at godawful o’clock was in itself any different (‘She’s at work, go back to sleep’), nor that my eldest (Catnip) misread the clock by an hour and so was ready, peculiarities included, to be off to school an hour ahead of time. No, it was that bed, bathrobe and bookends had been drawn quickly, scratchily, and without doubt marvellously. For the day began all very Quentin Blake, and praise Cope for that.
Born in 1932, Blake has been involved in way more than three hundred books. Some thirty odd he wrote, all of which he illustrated. Perhaps best known for his association with Roald Dahl I remember him for Jackanory where he would tell his story and illustrate it as he went, all on a big old wall along which he walked marker-pen in hand. The speed of the man is not perhaps so very unbelievable when one looks at his work, and it’s childlike, and for children, but make no mistake Quentin Blake has studied art and taught it for decades besides. He draws like we know he does, because he wants to, because he can, because it’s just so very right in every scribble and dotted eye.
Quentin Blake is endless summers. Lemonade in glass bottles. Spangles, and life unfettered by misery and responsibility. It’s a few years till we walk into the woods to poke a dead body with a twig, we’re barely riding everywhere on our pushbikes and to the shop, for flying saucers, with our pocket money still warm and whatever change dad had that Saturday. He’s the first Monday of the summer holidays, he’s the stick that is everything and better than any toy.
He’s Quentin bloody Blake, and you my friend (like I) are simply not worthy.