Stories about artists, starving in their attic studios are legendary.
During World War II, however, it wasn’t only food that was rationed, the government added the artist’s staple requirement, paper, to the list. A shortage that led amateur artists to sketch on whatever paper was available , old greetings cards, discarded exercise books, official forms. No potential drawing material was ignored.
For George, things improved when he joined the Auxiliary Fire Service two weeks before the first air raid by the Luftwaffe. A training manual issued to new recruits had several blank pages, ostensibly for notes, but ideal for sketches, especially his cartoons about the AFS.
The early air raids grew increasingly severe and for firemen there was an ever present abd increasing risk of death during the Blitz – over 2,700 Merseysiders lost their lives, including 68 firemen. It appears that sketching and cartoon-humour became the coping mechanism that helped George through those difficult and traumatic times.
War has the effect of putting schemes and hopes on hold and it’s not too difficult to see a few parallels between the massive wartime disruption and the Corona Virus lock down of today. Everyone and everything is effected, with bookshops and book wholesalers closed, and everything working at a slower pace.
So it’s not entirely surprising that Flights of Fantasy has hit a little turbulence, following which its ETA has been delayed, but only a little and still in time for Christmas…