It’s very easy to anthropomorphize inanimate objects lying around the house. Who hasn’t, for example, eaten the last two Cherry Bakewells in the packet in one sitting, for fear of leaving the final cake alone and inconsolable in the kitchen cupboard? I may be speaking from repeated personal experience here.
Growing up in Dorset in the 1980s, the young Chris Lambert clearly felt the same way. He gave distinct personalities to the chairs, lightbulbs and TV sets that surrounded him in the family home, and used them as the inspiration for The Objects, a series of original stories intended for younger children. Any resemblance to Roger Hargreaves‘ multi-million selling series of Mr Men books was, it transpires, entirely intentional…
Over to you, Chris:
“I seem to remember sitting with a friend when I was about 12 and having a conversation in which I worked out that the best way to make it as a writer wasn’t to write vast space operas (more on that another time) or Star Wars sequels (more on that another time, too) but to follow in the footsteps of Roger Hargreaves and write lovely little books for children. Tales that would be bright, exciting and teach a valuable moral lesson.
And so it began. As with many of my projects, I planned out the full series of books before writing them, coming up with titles before I created the actual story. Interestingly, this was the same method I used when writing Tales from the Black Meadow many years later. Kev Oyston would send me a track and a title, and I would ‘discover’ the folklore behind it.
The first of my books from The Objects series was ‘Stanley the Stone’…
In this epic tale we meet Stanley, who is minding his own business when all of a sudden some hooligans pick up him and another stone for the purposes of mindless vandalism. The cads!
And I was clearly so excited by the success of this book that I quickly tossed off a few more…
There are a couple of things that strike me about The Objects. Firstly, I like the fact that they are pretty much the same dimensions as the Mr Men books. They also share a similar ‘design’.
Also, I call myself ‘Christopher Lambert’ on the covers of these books. Which I guess means that I was writing these before I was aware of the Gallic actor of the same name, from Greystoke and Highlander. I think I actually shortened my first name to Chris to ensure there was never any confusion between me and him. Because I was going to be a famous writer…
Although maybe now I could pass the books off as his?”
Along with Kev Oyston, Chris is now part of The Soulless Party, a multi-media project exploring the folklore of the the “Black Meadow”, a mysterious area of the North York Moors. The full story is here:
Felt Trips is a collaborative effort. If anyone wants to contribute their own childhood drawings from the era, I would be utterly delighted – please drop me a line using the “Contact” link at the top of the page. A good quality scan would be perfect, but – if not – then a clear photo of your artwork, lying flat, is fine. And maybe a few words of explanation, too: when the drawings were done, how old you were, what inspired you to tackle those particular subjects? Thanks so much.