a peek into the life of francesca cassavetti
A few days ago, I realised I’d been doing so many book events that I hadn’t had a weekend in ages. So I spent yesterday catching up with three people I’d really wanted to chat with, starting with comics artist and cartoonist Francesca Cassavetti. We drew each other sitting in her north London garden (the one signed ‘Sarah’ is actually Francesca).
I’m so nosy, I love poking around people’s houses and seeing where they work, and Francesca’s is a real treasure trove of her paintings and stuff she’s collected:
Francesca was born in London, on Hyde Park Corner, when there used to be a hospital there, but she moved with her parents to Paris when she was six and went to French schools. She sounds like she was a bit of a handful as a teenager, and got chucked out of college in Paris for her political activism. Here’s an early photo I spotted of her in her studio:
Francesca saw all the great stuff happening in London with the punk scene and left home for Britain, where she studied graphic design in Watford. She designed band flyers and record covers and eventually met her husband, Nicky Tesco, who set up and was lead singer for a punk band called The Members. Here’s Francesca in the studio she shares with Nicky (he was still asleep when I dropped by):
Francesca and Nicky are currently collaborating on a graphic novel memoir of their rock ‘n’ roll days. I had a quick peek at it and it looks like a great read, as well as chronicling a fascinating bit of British history. Here’s the cover, along with a photo I saw on the shelf from a film Nicky acted in, called Leningrad Cowboys Go to America.
More cool stuff in the studio:
Coincidentally, today the Forbidden Planet International features Francesca’s latest comic on her trip to Angoulême. (Ellen and I make a cameo appearance, whee!) Go read more about Francesca’s comic and her trip here!
So now I’m sitting in the studio listening to The Members on Spotify. Stuart knew all about them, but I missed a lot of punk stuff while I was living in America and I’ve a lot of catching up to do. I remember visiting London in the late ’80s with my family, and my sister and I sitting in front of St Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square, looking in awe at all the punks sunning themselves on the stairs. My sister and I had this discussion, wondering how such a small country managed to come up with all the best music. But a few years later we were distracted by the grunge scene in Seattle and thought we were the centre of the universe.
Here are a few clips from YouTube: