Page 45 Review by Stephen
"But I've only got eyes for what's straddling our strada."
Our Oliver's out for a bit of bimble.
That's what he does: he's comics' wandering, ever-observant explorer, setting himself a goal, packing pens and paper, then seeing what comes of it.
Always on foot but far from pedestrian, Oliver set off in TRAINS ARE... MINT then PROPER WELL GO HIGH to follow railway tracks as faithfully as was practicable, charming us with whatever unexpected details caught his keen rover's eye. Since then he's widened his expeditions to include the likes of a 200-mile trek south from Waverly Street Station in TAKE ME BACK TO MANCHESTER.
Here Oliver's headed east and become something of a troubadour, ditching his first love, the railway, for a Romanian River called the Some?ul Mic and committing to paper his impressions of this sun-filled stroll in the form of poetry. And they are very much impressions.
The language is full of words like "bimble" and "strada" that should be taken out for their own stroll more often, and illustrated by the pared-down shades of strutting, noisy cockerels and packs of kennelled or stray dogs announcing "some slight or other" and giving "unsolicited counsel" while casting shadows on gravel and asphalt. That's what dogs do.
It's exquisitely enhanced by the complementary colours of sand and blue sky on a bright white paper reflecting the blinding erosion of form. There's a huge sense of space and a spirit of place as the locals go about their dusty, daily business, unaware that the Homesick Truant is roaming amongst them, casting his speculative eyes left and right, jotting it all down in a series of visual and literary sketches.