I recently had the pleasure of spending the 8.5 hr flight from Dubai to Newcastle, UK sat next to an endlessly fascinating couple. Going back home from their holiday in Dubai they are a fascinating mixture of new world glitz and, what I’ll call, ‘down home Northern certainty’. Dressed up in all manner of designer finery for a longish haul flight in cattle class. They spend the duration of the flight listing the bountiful wonder of luxuries sampled in Dubai, which, they told me would be cheaper in Newcastle. My inner anthropologist kicked in, and I was absorbed in their world. Meet Tony Toon and Julie the Geordie Princess. (The names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
I was in awe of their certainty of their world, their confidence to apply their cultural norms to high contrast contexts (Julie : “ the girls wear the burkha, but they’re still really beautiful girls”). I admired the way in which they’d extended their Geordie sensibilities from South Shields to the Southern Arabian Gulf (Tony: “the cabs [in Dubai] work out cheaper than the cabs in Newcastle”).
A few days later I found myself in Whitby, North Yorkshire (UK). Whitby’s a lovely little fishing town, with a picture postcard setting with hills tumbling down to the harbour. It was a freezing cold day, a strong wind coming in off the bitter angry grey-green North Sea, rain blowing around, and heavy grey skies. It was late April in the UK and spring was supposed to have sprung !
I started to contrast this cold grey seaside town with the warm ochres of Terry & Julie’s Dubai seaside break. I started to think what it would be like if Terry & Julie took their holidays at their close northern English seaside rather than the far Arabian seaside. In that imagining this set of cartoons was born. These cartoons were drawn in my sketchbook whilst travelling in N.England, and are just fragments of my imagination.
Daniel, Bangkok, April 2016