Doris cleaner to the chattering classes
A UCL European Institute series of cartoons by Ros Asquith featuring Doris, a cleaning lady that witnesses the divides of a society shaken by Brexit. This series will be composed of a monthly cartoon shedding light on a particular issue around the British society and Brexit from July 2018 till the departure of the UK from the EU in March 2019.
About the author
Ros Asquith has been a Guardian cartoonist for 20 years and has written and illustrated over 60 books for young people. She answered only to the name of Jim until she was five and believed herself to be an Apache brave until she was nine. Her first job, aged 17, was illustrating Greek Myths for an American audio visual company. She graduated from Camberwell School of Art, working as a photographer, designer and teacher before becoming theatre critic for Time Out magazine, Co-Theatre Editor of CITY LIMITS, deputy Theatre critic of the OBSERVER and diary writer for TV TIMES. She has painted murals in several countries and many children’s bedrooms, cuddled a wolf and caught an escaped tarantula. Ros has two sons and lives in North London with a jazz critic.
Doris appeared in Weekend Guardian for ten years. Doris cleans for the chattering classes but never speaks herself. Her comments all take the form of thought bubbles, or a silence that speaks louder than words. Doris is someone who we are all too busy to listen to, but she is an autodidact, far better educated than most of those she serves. For the author, she represents a figure in all of our lives: that of the barely visible worker, mother, grandmother, aunt, undervalued by the society whose wheels she is oiling.
Like all comic creations, Doris endured insults, and generated love. Perhaps her highest praise came from a reformed convict who told the author: ‘I love Doris. My mother was a cleaner. I used to sit in the corner while she tidied little Tarquin and Amanda’s nursery. I couldn’t wait to grow up and rob the lot of them.’