Sunday, 10 November 2013

This is a film I initially resisted going to see because things have got so bad with my emotional threshold that I now sob at tv adverts. And you just know that anything even loosely based on an Oscar Wilde story, set in a bleak, industrial but hauntingly beautiful northern landscape that revolves around the friendship between two teenage boys and their tenuous relationship with the local 'Giant' scrap metal merchant - oh and throw in some horses - isn't going to end well. I don't even think that I need to say 'Spoiler Alert' before confirming that inevitably, it doesn't. Yet thanks to the sparkling and joyfully natural performances of the central  boys, the unsentimental yet tender direction of Clio Barnard and the exquisite cinematography of Mike Eley, the film never falls into hyperbolic cliche and the final mood is that of redemption rather than despair; reflection rather than melodrama. Silence, or rather the removal of any extraneous sensations at moments of unbearable intensity, heightens the drama without sensationalising it, forcing the viewer into the landscape, to reflect upon the smallness of life and the potency of it.

Perhaps, more than anything else, the film is remarkably full of love; carefully drawn in the loyal and affectionate relationship between the boys, in the strong bond they have with their caring, if despairing mothers, and then in that extraordinary, epiphanic moment, that act of instinctive sacrifice when the 'Giant' steps up wearily, as if it were something he should have done a long time ago. It is a moment when the director more than nods towards Wilde for the common threads that tie the film together; those of love and the acceptance of humanity, in all its shapes and forms, alongside the basic human need for forgiveness and absolution. It is, quite simply, a very beautiful film. And yes, I cried a lot at the end.

BACKGROUND information...

My first picture book - called A Possum's Tail - is a collaboration with brilliant illustrator Alex Barrow and came out 6th February 2014. A second book called London Calls! is a whistle-stop tour of London, led by a Pearly grandma and her granddaughter. London Calls! came out on 4th September 2014 and is my second book with Alex Barrow. A Possum's Tail was nominated for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.
Both books are by Tate Publishing.

Please see my CURRICULUM VITAE for more details & updates.

As well as writing children's books, for children's television and two award-winning children's magazines, I do both private and commercial art commissions, a selection of which you can see here.

The children's shoes are part of an ongoing series of "first shoes", including several cards commissioned by the Almanac Gallery.

Hand-drawn, bespoke invitations, announcements, portraits and menus, such as the examples here are also available upon request..

Any enquiries please email:


I've been a regular contributor to children's art and science magazine OKIDO since 2007. HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY (WOW) beautiful Okido!

An Okido animated kids tv show, based on characters from the magazine is currently in production with Doodle/Squintopera The original adaptation of the show (co-created/adapted by myself, producer Ceri Barnes and Doodle Productions) was acquired by CBeebies. 52 x 11 minute episodes will be coming to a screen near you soon in 2015.......... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .............................
N E W S F L A S H! MESSY GOES TO OKIDO Series TWO is now in production, following a super-successful 52 episode first series!



Cartoon Forum 2011 Okido booklet

Cartoon Forum 2011 Okido booklet
Okido Cartoon Forum 2011

Happy Birthday OKIDO!

Happy Birthday OKIDO!
Okido was 5 years old this issue...the wonderful art and science magazine for kids I've been lucky enough to have worked on for the past - 8 - years now