What is our blog about:
Usual Muttwits follows the misadventures of a diverse community of dogs inhabiting the fictitious Thameside town of Westley Piddle. The blog features stories on the various muttwit characters and is experienced through their own particular dogs’-eye point of view.
Each story (which is weekly serialized) focuses on one particular muttwit from the pack, forced off his furry butt to do something extraordinary to help out his best mates. What should be a simple enough ask mostly ends up in pure doggerel, lots of ear-flapping, and a quick bite or two of both friend and foe.
The blog is presented in the style of a graphic diary with the manga-inspired illustrations drawn or doodled beside the text which [‘”wot’] is written in a colloquial London voice. The stories are created to be family-friendly so there is no gratuitous language, sex or violence either written or depicted. However, the muttwits do have their own unique lexicon of ‘gruff’ words such as dog-dammit, snifz yuz, silly old poop, etc. And there is a fair amount of mindless snapping and biting!
We have created a universe for the muttwits to live and breath. Accompanying the stories the site also features a detailed map of Westley Piddle (also attached), an A-Z of illustrated muttwit characters, and a snifz colour chart on how they use their snouts to understand the world around them, and the emotions of humans (called hindlegs throughout). We even have a pub-chat corner (Quick Pint down the Pig&Ferret) where the human companions can vent their frustrations over a pint or two of best bitter.
A brief word about Zozo&Jools:
Zeynep Arpaözü (Zozo) is a blogger cartoonist from Istanbul in her early twenties who currently attends university studying languages.
Julian Boyce (Jools) is a copywriter from South London in his early sixties.
Collectively, we call ourselves Zozo&Jools. We are two people from different generations, cultures, religions and political ideologies who agree on almost nothing, except for one thing: creating ridiculous doggy stories stuffed with insane characters. It helps that we have both grown up surrounded by a motley crew of dogs and cats. We speak their language – they speak ours!
Why a blog and not a book?
In fact, we had just started submitting to literary agents when Covid-19 hit. It seemed pointless to continue (as unknown writers) in present circumstances, so we converted the first three completed books into serialised stories online. However, it is our intention to complete a story arc of ten books, each containing five fully illustrated stories. Maybe, one day, when it all blows over, we might even try approaching agents again…
Thems Usual Muttwits’ is our singular take on the 4x leg vs. 2x leg modern world, as experienced through the sights, sounds and sniffs of a right tight pack of muttwits.
(Here’s a taster of their new Saturday series that started on 1st August)
Donuts : Part 1
Scratch are on the rise. A nightmarish cross between furry little doggies and sharp-clawed killing machines. They’re invading Westley Piddle and something’s gotta be done. Donuts, the rugby-loving Welsh Terrier, decides enough is enough – at the infamous battle of the Tesco Extra 5 bins.
A particularly fresh–sniffing day in Westley Piddle, that inconsequential town on the Thameslick between Bisham and Cock Marsh. Winter snowlick is melting away as daffodils and croci burst from the ground in Herdwick pooping park, waving about and begging fourlegs to squirtz ‘ems. And wot can be better than that? When a squirtz is all that really matters to a fourlegs, apart from solid noshing, corss.
Trouble is, changing weather is making the bright hot ball in the sky brighter and attracting a lot of unwanted scratch. It’s no longer safe for a decent fourlegs to go sniffing ‘round abouts the undergrowth and marker posts in the woods, cocking a leg. Scratch just sit there, watching, waiting. An unspeakable contempt in their malign presence. Wotz worse, more scratch are appearing in Westley Piddle. The opening of a scratch sanctuary down the far end of Nelson Avenue, close by Tesco Extra, may have something to do with it.
A particularly troublesome snifz is hanging over town and fours are in a tiswas. Ain’t natural!
Wotz that snifz?
Snifz lyk bacon at Greggs all day brekkers
Nah, snifz heavy legs to me over on the farms
Muttwits, the loada yuz…that snifz scratch snifz!
“oi,yerlittleWelshbugga” Wynn scritches, holding up a bowl of sausage and scrambled egg
‘yourmomsays,yougottadiet…butafterthis, mate” and drops it down in front of Donuts, the rather large and pudgy Welsh Terrier.
His wet snout is deep into it before the bowl touches the ground.
That’s wot I’m talking about snout vacuums up the breakfast, today’s second breakfast, cleaning the bottom of the bowl before methodically sweeping ‘round the edges all thorough and professional, lyk.
Pork, burnt down one side, just the way I lyk ’ems
He eyeballs Wynn in further expectation of more, his trusted hindlegs companion and food provider. “don’ttellyermom,butI’malsogivingyoumine”
Corss. And Wyn, would be good if brekkers can be a bit, erh, brekkers-faster, next time, right boyo?
Donuts snifz all over the immediate eating area, disappointed to find nothing further except a crumb of sausage stuck in the mat. He licks over the spot for good measure until noshed.
Right, brekkers ticked off, walkies up next
Handpaws touching the power harness catches his attention.
Gotta get out! Gotta get out! thick curly-haired paws scrabbling for purchase on the tiled floor as he bolts out the kitchen and into the hallway, lassoing himself into the power harness Wynn is holding ready. Unable to check his forward momentum his snout crumples into glass front door.
“easymate” Wynn tugs him back “let’sgetthedooropen,first”
Donuts is into the hall of the apartment block, scrabbling full on towards the lifts.
“..andmakesureyoutakethestairs,Wynn” scritches out Dona packmom from the apartment “he’stoofat!”
I don’t do stairs! Donuts reminds Wynn, waiting at the lift, giving him the eyeball.
Wynn shakes his head and quietly presses the lift call.
“whatdidIjustsay?” Dona’s faint scritch, making Wynn cringe.
Pooper-scooper at the ready, Wynn wobbles up the path between the communal gardens of the once shabby council tenements, now a spanking renovation project thanks to London’s sprawling hegemony. This don’t mean a thing to Donuts who’s forever happy to grace the flowerbeds with his poop – and walkways, stairwells or renovated lift, given half the chance.
Keep up, bach he admonishes Wynn who’s wobbling along behind. Wynn stops to sprinkle some monkeynuts under the trees, enjoying feeding the grey furrylegs who scurry all over the place.
Waste of good peanuts and if they weren’t husked, Donuts would nosh thems himself.
A healthy poop later, just on the paving edge and not in the flowerbeds – to keep Wyn sharp, Donuts pulls his companion into Birch Street, down to Nelson Avenue, across the road, and into Herdwick pooping park.
Snifz yu, fat Welsh bast’ad
Snifz yu, One Ear growls Donuts at One Ear, who’s better known as Tuffy, beforenows, but hates to be called One Ear since it was bit off by Big Knickers ‘enry. Who used to be called just plain Henry beforenows, but –
They bump snoutz and wag end bits.
Name’s Tuffy, by the way One Ear replies, hurt.
Ear today, gone tomorra Donut shrugs.
Anyways, watcha doin’ Dog nuts?
Walking Wynn here he flicks his head back, indicating the morose hindlegs at back.
Tuffy sits and idly rubs his belly with all the time in the world.
Catch a load of that scratch snifz he says, snout quivering, one leg daintily cocked.
Donuts snifz the air. Closest is Tuffy, then a few fourlegs, followed by flaplegs up in the marker posts, and lastly, ad hoc hindlegs wobbling ‘round abouts the park, obviously lost. Even snifz the sap squirting its way up all the marker posts as they prepare to pump leaves out into the spring air. And scratch?
Dog-damnit!! Tuffy’s right. A whole pooper-scooper load of scratch snifz!
Up at five bins Tuffy keeps belly rubbing, one paw stuck straight up taking it over, lock, stock and bin, can yu believe?
Thems Tesco Extra five bins? Donuts knows Tuffy is simple. Partly coz he’s a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Mostly coz he only half-hears anything these days.
Yes, Tesco Extra. Who else got five bins, mate?
Yu havin’ a laugh?
I ain’t. But they are!
Donuts is aghast. Scratch ‘round thems five bins!
I’ll drag Wyn over and snifz ‘ems
Careful up there Dog nuts. Scratch’re nasty bas’tads, the load of’ems
Scratch? Donuts scoffs, hauling on Wynn’s lead and leaving Tuffy to sort out his belly rubbing.
Scratch taking over Tesco Extra five bins!
Just ain’t natural!