When the eldest was little I bought her ALL the Lauren Child books. I made her watch back to back Charlie and Lola on repeat. I bought her Charlie and Lola pencil tins and notebooks and stickers and rulers. Every week I made her “choose” the Charlie and Lola magazine from Borders instead of the pink sparkly pony one she often had her eye on.
I was freelancing on babywear and nursery designs at the time. But I decided then and there that I actually wanted to BE Lauren Child.
Fast forward 15 years and yesterday I actually met her. She was doing a talk at Newcastle University so I hopped on a train up to the furtherupnorth to go see her.
She was AWESOME. She was funny and interesting and eloquent and inspiring.
And just when I could not love her any more she said she avoids using purple in her illustrations wherever possible. She actually said that! Like me! SAME. I bloody hate purple! I avoid it wherever possible in my illustrations! 'I am almost Lauren Child' I thought.
But that’s where the similarities ended I’m afraid.
I now realise that I will never be Lauren Child.
I met up with my ex-niece whist in the Toon and took her to TGI’s for lunch.
Lauren Child would never go to TGI’s. Lauren Child would’ve gone to some hip Madagascan bistro she knew of, down a trendy dark alley.
Lauren Child was rocking this beautifully tailored skirt suit which was very probably Vivienne Westwood. And these really cool and quirky boots.
I was in my jeans and trainers.
There were a couple of stupid random questions after the talk. Lauren Child didn’t act like they were stupid random questions. She nodded like they were really interesting and came out with something profound about publishing having to make a profit and therefore having to go for commercial projects more and more.
I would’ve just rolled my eyes, tutted and mumbled “I haven’t got a clue love”
I bought her new book and queued for her to sign it. I had a ton of questions I wanted to ask her. I couldn't ask in the Q+A because I was surrounded by intellectual academic types and I didn't want to sound like a knob. But then I didn't feel like I could ask her when I got to the front either. So I told her I’d bought all her other books for my daughter who hadn’t appreciated them as much I did so could she write MY name in this one please.
She said “Oh ha ha, of course Dawn.” And that was the end of that.