Looking again at Fly Home McDoo I've been reminded of how obsessed I was, back in the 1970s, with the Glasgow slums. Maybe it was because I had to live in Glasgow for three years.
I spent a lot of my time in the Gorbals and Maryhill sketching. Today, these Victorian tenements have all had their nineteenth century grime removed and are restored to beautiful pink and yellow sandstone but back then they were grey. In places, Glasgow looked like a bomb site with piles of rubble and rubbish and gaping gable ends exposing interior walls and intimate glimpses into what was once someone's home -patterned wall paper and old fireplaces.
What appealed to me as an artist were the small patches of colour in this dirty grey setting of boarded-up shops and tenement back courts. I found the Glaswegians an exceptionally warm and good humoured people and I was always trying to slip the the place into stories but my editor, Pam Royds, was firm - no picture book stories set in slums -
somehow she missed the one in Fly Home McDoo.