Put a jumper on

I am surprised to find, at a somewhat late stage, I am fashionable. It is hard to discern from looking at my outer shell that I am a clothes horse. It is only when you peek at what is underneath that my true stylishness is revealed. No, this isn’t an invitation to my ill-conceived OnlyFans account, I am referring to the news that thermal clothing is taking off in a big way in the younger demographic.

You see I have been sporting thermals for years. Not because I enjoy socialising out of doors during a pandemic but because I work from home, am thrifty and have taken the parental advice to, ‘Put a jumper on,’ to heart.

Upbringing and circumstance mean I am hesitant to touch the thermostat on the central heating. If you are the sort who enjoys lazing around in your shorts in the middle of winter with the radiators blasting at a subtropical temperature you are probably not living within a cartoonist’s means. We are hardy souls shivering in our garrets, nibbling pencil shavings for sustenance and fantasising about landing a work-for-hire gig in the hope that one day we can turn up the heating by two degrees. That won’t generate enough income to buy a new boiler but it might provide a few logs to throw on the Indian fire bowl.

“Will draw a three-issue Deathlok mini-series for a book token and a blobfish sandwich.”

I have found there are limits to putting one’s jumper on. After I have forced myself into four toasty layers it can be hard to bend an arm at the elbow to draw. Or to breathe. Breathing is for people with proper jobs.

I now realise I have been at the cutting edge of fashion for some time. First there was my famed arctic camo PJ pants, much discussed on the catwalks of Milan. Then there are my Vans. As a man with ravaged knee ligaments and fond memories of Fugazi concerts it will come as no surprise that I used to skateboard. I was a terrible skateboarder as it requires athletic ability. I have no athletic ability but I did enjoy pootling around, falling over and leaving generous portions of my skin on the kerb. It eventually dawned on me that I was risking the gold mine that is my drawing hand and should quit while I could still hold a brush. That it took until my early twenties to come to this conclusion gives you some idea of how sensible I am.

I’ll have you know, fellow kids, that I was wearing Vans before they were cool. In fact I was wearing them before you were born. The pair of high tops I currently own are older than the pupils of the local primary school. I am not one of those pathetic trendy dads trying to get down with the kids. I am one of those pathetic trendy dads who won’t throw away a pair of trainers before they have gaping holes in the soles.

First there was Hardcore, then there was Normcore and most recently Cottagecore. I am sure I am overlooking entire geologic periods of cores in my summary but what do you expect? I can’t be both a keen observer of subcultures and a fashion icon at the same time. There are only so many hours in the day.

I have come up with a name for this new movement for thermal undergarments: Warmcore. Take it from me, a seasoned trend forecaster, Warmcore is going to be huge in 2021.

You know what warms the heart of a cartoonist? Praise, adoration, respect? Yes. Also cold hard cash. So buy my books. Two new ones were published this year. Available from places where you buy such things or (in the case of Kerry and Dumped) directly from me. Or from Page 45 (with a signed bookplate), OK Comics and Gosh

Unlikely to arrive before the big day but they will make perfect presents to bridge the gap between Christmas and New Year. What better way to spend your time than by wrapping up Warmcore and reading comics?

take care,


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