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We're Out h/c (Sketched & Signed)

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We're Out h/c (Sketched & Signed) back

Philippa Rice


Page 45 Review by Stephen


One of the finest advertisements for our fine city of Nottingham, locals will be familiar with so many of the images here and relish that recognition - just like I did when Page 45 appeared 36 minutes in during BBC One's drama Truckers!

This is like Oliver Postgate, creator of The Clangers etc, but with sharper photography and slightly fewer Soup Dragons.

I'm in no way criticising the late and very great Oliver Postgate's camera skills; I'm merely commenting on modern technology and the advantage Philippa Rice has taken of it in terms of focus and sheen. Boy, does she dust! Whatever can I mean?

Philippa Rice, who designed the GameCity banners which festooned Nottingham's Council Building, its bus stops and Page 45's shop window last year, has made her career out of repurposing paper, corrugated cardboard, cloth, wool and the occasional piece of string… chocolate coins, real coins, tin foil and sticking plasters, with pen at the ready and Tippex on standby, to tell the two-dimensional stories of Cardboard Colin and paper Pauline. I don't mean that the tales fell flat, I mean that they lived and breathed in a two-dimensional world. Now… they're coming out!

They're coming out of their comic and into the real world, our world, starting with Philippa's own flat. And as they heave themselves out of the panels and onto Philippa's cloth-cluttered, paper-littered desk, the effect is nothing short of stardust. It's like Bagpuss, Bagpuss, fat, furry catpuss waking up to look at this thing that you bring, and the mice on the magical mouse organ bursting out of their semi-relief in shrill celebration. Oh, how brave is Philippa to open up her bookcases and piles of PS3 console games to the public as Pauline and Colin scuttle about her flat, foraging for food and founding base camps to kip in!

They make one heck of a mess.

But then they flop through the letter box and are well and truly out in the open air, trundling around Nottingham's Arboretum cemetery in their cobbled-together cornflake-packet car before hitting the city centre and, by pure coincidence (serenditpity, synchronicity - call it what you will), Page 45 appears on its 45th page! How cool is that?! I nearly did cry.

After a quick picnic on the open Market Square, admiring the Council Building in all its neo-classical splendour, Pauline and Colin become gleeful tourists, taking in The Castle and the Robin Hood statue, clambering onto the rails outside the Caves.

But these characters are just four inches tall and made out of paper and cardboard; plus Nottingham has some serious footfall, thankfully. And rainfall. So puddles. Our puddles are Colin and Pauline's floods and cornflake cars - whilst economical on the fuel front - are notorious for breaking down at the most inopportune moments, and they have no AA cover!

Will Pauline and Colin be safe? It's much easier to tear paper than break a bone and, oh, they are ever so small!

All of which is told with wit and a real sense of wonder, the camera angles and compositions chosen for maximum magic and, at times, danger. Quite how Philippa caught the Market Square open and uncluttered by some hideous beach or "fun" fair is beyond me.

As an added bonus a pair of 3-D glasses are included which make a re-read feel like looking through one of those old-school View-Master from forty years ago: everything shining in such sharp, hyper-real relief.

They say you can never go back, nor should you. But in Pauline and Colin's case it may be vital that they do so, for forces are gathering around them. Can they get back into their comic in time? Or has Philippa returned home to find her house a complete tip and taken appropriate action? Uh-oh!

At the time of typing all our copies are signed and sketched in for free, just like Philippa's ST. COLIN AND THE DRAGON, MY CARDBOARD LIFE, RECYCLOST. Still available: SOPPY, SOPPY #2 and LOOKING OUT.