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Monday 19th
posted by Morning Star in Arts

Michal Boncza reviews a new graphic story by Spencer Woodcock and drawn Denny Derbyshire

Alice isn’t Happy

by Spencer Woodcock, drawn by Denny Derbyshire

(Derbyshire and Woodcock, £10)

THIS heart-warming selection of graphic vignettes is an episodic account of an elderly socialist and the social worker looking after her welfare.

Based in north London, it describes candidly and humorously their adventures between 2002-2003. The Alice of the title, independent all her life, finds her present situation restrictive and periodically rebels against it. She’s grumpy and quarrelsome and can be a handful.

When unwell she’s interned in a dementia ward — drawn by Denny Derbyshire to resemble a hallucinogenic Hieronymus Bosch painting that is apocalyptically funny — though we’re assured that it bears no resemblance to the ward she occupied at the Royal Free hospital in Hampstead.

Alice’s pet hates are Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Big Brother. She insists on reading the Morning Star and she has been to Moscow — where much was lost in translation, or the lack of it — her dad was mates with Tom Mann and she’ll do a runner if she gets half a chance.

Thus there’s plenty for a carer to look forward to on visits and weave conversations around.

Engaging stuff, and the ending engenders the sense that meaningful lives like Alice’s, lived honestly, are forever.

You can buy the book here: