My Gospel Oak with cartoonist Kipper Williams: ‘Tracey Emin provides never-ending mileage for satire’

14:00 05 September 2014

Cartoonist Kipper Williams

Cartoonist Kipper Williams


Kipper Williams, 62, is a cartoonist whose work appears in many publications including The Guardian and The Spectator. He lives in Shirlock Road, Gospel Oak, with his wife Pamela Holmes. They have two sons.

What brought you to Gospel Oak? I’m from Cheshire so I think I’ve always wanted to live near Euston Station, either for convenience on arrival or for a speedy getaway. I’ve lived in Hampstead, Kentish Town, and for the last 20 years in Gospel Oak. There was a very brief spell off Fulham Road which I’ve just about erased from my memory.

What makes it such a special place? There’s the Heath of course, but the whole area’s generally very relaxed and peaceful – often much quieter than being in the country. Also I can cycle to my studio off Tottenham Court Road very easily. In one of his earlier diaries, Michael Palin was a bit sniffy about our road, for reasons I’ve never fully understood.

How has it changed since you arrived? Not massively, which is partly why I like it. I do miss having a cinema in South End Green, though.

What is the area’s best-kept secret? My wife’s allotment.

You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what would you get up to? I’d give a cartoon demonstration at Fleet School (so long as they wanted me), followed by a brisk stroll to Kenwood House to see Vermeer and Rembrandt (assuming they wanted me). Then lunch at The Magdala, in the hope it was still there in something like its current incarnation. I’d then head off via Daunt Books for an early evening Parliament Hill bandstand concert, most likely featuring John Etheridge. A meal at Dars in South End Green would finish things off nicely.

As guest editor of the Ham&High for a day, what one local issue would you most like to see reported? The utter madness of huge basement excavations.

How did you get into cartooning? I drew teachers at school then, via student newspapers, won a student journalist competition run by the New Statesman. Then I just kept drawing for anyone who’d have me.

Who is your favourite subject to draw? All politicians get easier to draw as they grow into their own caricatures. I love drawing older rock stars too for similar reasons (Keith Richards is a gift). And there’s a lot of pleasure to be had in drawing Martin Amis. In terms of actual satire, Tracey Emin provides never-ending mileage.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say? All things considered, I’d rather be in Shirlock Road.

Kipper Williams was in conversation with Tom Marshall


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