Black Country life and the legacy of comic artist Charlie Grigg focus for Halesowen Library events

By Thomas Parkes | Halesowen | Dudley entertainment | Published:

An event was held at a library in the Black Country to promote a book showcasing the history of a well-known artist.

Broadcaster and poet Brian Dakin aka Billy Spakemon hosting book signing for his latest work unearthing more on the life of Dandy comic book artist Charlie Grigg at Halesowen Library with Carol Yapp

Dr Brian Dakin, known as entertainer Billy Spakemon, has pieced together the roots of artist Charlie Grigg – famous for his iconic artworks.

His pieces have appeared in the likes of The Dandy and The Beano, but his connections to the Black Country are not widely known.

And now Dr Dakin is hoping to change all that through his book called The Life and Story of Charlie 'Chaz' Grigg, a Black Country Artist, which launched in September.

A book signing was held at Halesowen Library where the author chatted with people who remembered the artist.

Mr Dakin, from Oldbury, said: "Some people came who remembered him playing bowls – he used to bowl at Langley and some knew him from school as well.

"It was lovely really and people were swapping memories and it's all about sustaining what we've started.

"The next thing is to write a musical play of his life and we've just started that."

More than 500 copies of the book, which explores Charlie's history in the Black Country, have been sold so far.


It came as Halesowen Library hopes to preserve more tales of Black Country life for future generations.

Proud Black Country mon Billy Spakemon

The library will be hosting two of the Cup On Tay and a Gud Old Chinwag events in the new year.

Hosted by Dr Dakin and Tom Stanton, they will feature conversation and songs about life in the area.


Library assistant Carol Yapp, from Smethwick, hopes to be able to record some of the stories as time goes on and make them available for people to listen too in a project called Bein Black Country.

The events take place on January 24 and February 28 between 2pm and 3.30pm.

Carol said: "The events came about as I met up with a friend and went to the Black Country Living Museum and seeing how the Black Country was first for this, and best at that, it got me thinking that we should celebrate this more.

"Billy is all about celebrating the Black Country and I think that it is something we should try to engage the community with.

Charlie Grigg, a comic book artist who worked on The Beano and The Dandy, and who hailed from Oldbury

Charlie Grigg’s comic drawings included cartoon characters such as Desperate Dan and Korky The Cat, the latter of which appeared on the front cover of The Dandy for 20 years.

Family and friends of Charlie's helped the entertainer piece together the book, with 40 pages of hand-written notes included and some drawings used.

Proceeds from the book will be donated to the Me, Myself and I group which meets supports people with alzheimers.

The artist, who suffered from the condition, attended the group before he died in December 2013 at the age of 97.

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at


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