thro’ each charter’d street

Eagle-eyed visitors to London can see my drawings on the latest info-packed leaflets for London Walks (see walks.com), which you can pick up in any tourist-area pub in central London. They’re the oldest walking tour company in London, and I’ve provided the illustrations for their forthcoming book (all will be revealed). My mum and my sister came across the leaflet (see left) while out one day by the Thames, and mailed it out to me. The drawings are pretty small, but then I do draw pretty small.

Several years ago, I used to be a tourguide myself on the streets of London, mostly as an open-top bus tourguide for the Big Bus Company, but I did a few long walking tours as well. Those buses, now that was an education in tenacity, let me tell you. When it’s pissing with rain, the microphone has stopped working so you have to shout above the London noise, when you’re stuck in thick traffic on Bayswater or scrambling round corners in Mayfair while being attacked by trees (I was actually knocked down the stairs by a tree once; I carried on speaking, “…and on your right, that’s where the Queen was born…”), being verbally abused by cab-drivers and asked strange questions by tourists (“why is it called snappy snaps?”) or being corrected on the tiniest details by smug locals (and subsequently smirked at for correcting their correction, none more smug and local than I), and making Americans laugh with a hilarious spontaneous-sounding joke I’d actually been told by another American on the previous tour, oh I enjoyed those days a lot, and I really learnt a lot. I actually loved tourguiding in London almost as much as I love drawing, so it’s a fitting pleasure that I’m illustrating this new book by these particular tourguides who, I’m told, really know their stuff.

dial M for redrum

Just as you get off the freeway at downtown Davis. Caffino is a drive-thru coffee booth, and Murder Burger is an old-school american diner that does incredible burgers and amazing milk-shakes. Oh, sorry Redrum Burger.
caffino & murder burger

They used to be called Murder Burger, and to most Davisites they still are. But a few years back they opened another one in some other dog-knows-where town, and someone complained that Murder Burger (“so good they’re to die for”) was not appropriate as a place to eat (even though appropriateness is usually measured by the money something makes). So they decided to change their name, and asked their customers to vote on a new name. The name that won with an overwhelming majority was, in fact, Murder Burger. So they went with the second choice, Redrum Burger (yes, I thought it meant the horse at first).

I don’t eat red meat anyway.