Forgive my late absence from the Shed, poppets. Much has been going on, and Time's Winged Chariot has been pursuing me with reckless enthusiasm, like Steve McQueen in Bullitt. I've been very busy writing the first two sections of the Gin Lane Gazette (the 1750s and 1760s), and doing a little drawing and design for its opening pages.
I have also been thinking about the racy 'courtesan of the month' section, and was very graciously assisted in this endeavour by a charming young lady and 1700s buff who goes by the Twitter handle of @18thCent_Kitty. The courtesan feature will be the only illustrated part of the book which isn't pure caricature, and my life-drawing skills are a little ring-rusty, to say the least. Kitty was kind enough to pose for me, and - nudge-nudge humour to one side - this was incredibly useful, as the wholly unsatisfactory alternative was buying a lads' mag, and basing my drawings on some perma-tanned WAG with a pneumatic chest and a trout-pout. Some weeks ago, the #twitterstorian Katrina Gulliver also helped out by allowing me to sketch her as a demi-mondaine. Keep an eye out for both ladies in the 1750s and '60s sections of the completed book.
In other news, I'll be giving a talk about the Gazette at UEA towards the end of next month, at the kind invitation of Sarah Churchwell (@sarahchurchwell). I'll be operating on the assumption that academics will think of an upstart caricaturist talking historical filth at them as a breath of fresh air. What can possibly go wrong? Some other truly wonderful Gazette-related developments are cooking, about which I can tell you nothing until details are firmed up and arrangements are made. I can only suggest you watch this space for glad tidings and happy intelligence. I know - I'm a rotten tease, aren't I?
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