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Scribbles from The Seaside – Nathan Parker and Grumpy Girl Graphics

Where were you on the 8th of September 2022 when The Queen passed? The now famous date will be etched into many’s memories – and for me, I was at The Scribbles from The Seaside book launch listening and looking at all things northern on Blackpool promenade.

The invitation into a cosy room at The Art B&B situated behind The Metropole Hotel on Blackpool promenade to experience the Scribbles from The Seaside book launch was not to be missed – especially after I did indeed miss the launch event at Bootleg Social Club last week. Nathan Parker has become somewhat of a local literary celebrity with his spoken word about what it means to be northern going viral during lockdown. But I first met him at Notting Hill Carnival many years ago – we were part of a similar friendship group and I remember him asking me if I was looking forward to ‘carnival’. Blackpool is such a small place that it did not surprise me when he popped up on my radar again.

Scribbles from The Seaside is not Nathan’s first book – he’s penned a trilogy of novels too, the Granville Series. The first two were shortlisted for the Lancashire Book of the Year Award in 2019 and 2021 respectively, making him the first ever self-published author to make the shortlist.

If you get a chance to listen to Nathan recite his poems you will not be disappointed, in fact, you will probably walk away feeling “filled up”. His witty stanzas include references to everything from house music to Northern Soul, and mentions of Vimto, Bovril, Billy Elliott and, in fact, Notting Hill Carnival. He displays a vulnerability that creates connection and a feeling of not being alone.

Delve deeper still and buy his latest book, Scribbles from The Seaside and you will be taken for a written word ride. Through highs and lows, life experiences, and shared experiences. Important experiences that create empathy bring to light the commonalities that might bind us together rather than set us apart. His text helps create space for community and connection – whether through descriptions of a chippy tea, or a favourite Stone Roses song. I admit that a blurry eye crept through on reading my own copy of Scribbles From The Seaside when I got home later that evening, as I was invited on a journey through Nathans’s heartfelt depictions of this town and beyond. But perhaps key and most importantly it feels like Nathan offers hope and solidarity.

Gnarly illustrations by Grumpy Girl Graphics amplify the sense Nathan evokes of what it means to be Northern, working class and, quite often, male as he navigates what masculinity means to him. So ends the story of where I was at the moment I found out Queen Elizabeth II had died, a collision of events that left me pondering how she enjoyed visiting Blackpool on a number of occasions – maybe taking her own stick of brightly coloured Blackpool rock home to the palace, to enjoy alongside a steaming cup of Bovril.

You can catch Scribbles from The Seaside this Sunday at Upside Down Cafe or visit both:

Grumpy Girl Graphics and Nathan Parker Book to purchase Scribbles From The Seaside and associated merchandise.

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