Ever since I found Our Garden Birds on the book shelf of the Rough Trade East years ago, I have loved Matt Sewell‘s work. It reminds me of my first summer in Kent, back in 1990, when I had to walk a mile from my house to school and there were so many songbirds, so abundant, with the loveliest colours, compared to what I had back home in my intensively farmed wasteland (Silent Spring practically, maybe also because my neightbour used to shoot down virtually everything in his garden and sometimes also in mine with the complicity of my grandmother, yes of course it was illegal). I was also amazed by starlings, especially because the fact that no one was killing them, so they were not scared and they were coming so close you could count the spots on them.

Today bird watching can be a grim experience, as you may have noticed from Jonathan Franzen book, plus this very day marks 100 years from the extinction of the passenger pigeons due to overhunting and loss of habitat, once a a very common bird (common as in 5 billion), so I am grateful to Matt Sewell for his delightful watercolours and his kind words, that keep me going out there in search for the life that is still alive.


In his new Our Woodland Birds I have also discovered why the Subbuteo game is called like that, you wouldn’t imagine. Or maybe you already knew from Wikipedia, but weren’t you surprised when you first found out.