(photos a bit rubbishy cos I took them with my BlackBerry, but you get the idea; latest issue is North vs South. They put my story in with the Southerners! Me? A soft southerner? Eeee...)
Christian Pattison and I go way back to our first day at St Catz, when I was 18. I think I may even have met Christian before I met my husband, which happened on day 3.
He hasn't changed much; still madly enthusiastic for art and culture in all its forms, still has the looks of a Panzer Fuhrer or a Nordic god, and the build of a muscle-bound, black-belt martial arts dude...which he actually is. By day he takes care of a severely disabled man, by night (and on his days off) he writes his novel on his iPaq and edits and co-runs The Illustrated Ape, one of the world's leading fringe arts/literary magazine.
(website still under construction as I write, a big Ape party planned for when it launches)
Christian may not know it, but he had a big influence in inspiring me to write. He was in the Very Cool Arty Crowd at college, which you had to be studying English to be in, more or less. As a (northern) biochemist, I should have been beyond the pale but Christian always talked to me about art and literature as though I might actually have a clue (I didn't and still don't but he's nice enough to act as though I do). He carried on talking to me years after we left college, both still living in Oxford. When he and a friend started Ape years ago, we bumped into each other and Christian enthused about getting me to write some graphic novel-style Blake's 7 stories for Ape (which I did until the copyright holders had a stuff word after 3 issues...)
Anyway, I'm a big fan of Christian's, can't wait to read his finished novel and I hope he finds a publisher, and I hope The Illustrated Ape goes from strength to strength. It's sold in over 150 outlets, and in 30 countries.
I've a short story published in the latest version. My first short story published under my own name! It's illustrated by two guys from the Black Convoy urban graffiti guys. (Black Convoy are a a UK based multi-disciplined art/design collective.) The image at the top is from their brilliantly funky work on my story.
Buy The Illustrated Ape! It's way, way cool.
P.S .At breakfast today Christian told me that he met Joseph Heller when Heller spent some time at St Catz, before he died. Heller told Christian that he never wrote more than 300 words a day. I've been trying to match Graham Greene's manageable 500-words daily target. Now I feel like an overachiever. A smug one, at that.