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Webcomics: Holly Fishman Crook

And the band begins to play
Webcomic chapter one's front page. Made up of a collage of high rise towers. The words "And the band begins to play part 1" is superimposed over the top.
Webcomic in a watercolour and collage style. A woman sits on the toilet. There's a drip from the ceiling into a puddle on the floor. She picks up a box of tampons but its' empty.
Close-up of the woman's face and she shout "Nan, I'm going to the shop, do you need anything?"
The nan is sat in a comfy chair and shouts back that she wants pears from the shp.
Nan changes her mind to tinned pineapple and then asks Joan if she was out with Louis last night. Joan replies that he said he wants to marry her.
Joan is out on the balcony, shutting the door. On her way to the shops someone out of image asks if she's going to the shops.
That voice belongs to Amal. Joan says hi and Amal asks what Joan's getting from the shops.
Joan says she's getting pineapples chunks and tampons. They encounter Louis in the corridor and Joan and he give each other dirty looks. Joan says to Amal "don't ask".
Amal invites Joan and her nan to her house for tea with her grandad. Then they encounter Lucy who seems upset and Joan asks what's wrong.
Lucy and a few others are upset and tell Joan that they've received a message telling them all residents of the tower block need to find the money to pay for their flats or they have to leave them and find somewhere else to live.
Webcomic chapter two's front page. Made up of a collage of high rise towers. The words "And the band begins to play part 2" is superimposed over the top.
Joan tells Amal to go home and that she's going up to the office to find out more about this selling the flats situation.
Amal asks Joan if she's still going to the shop because her nan will still fruit and she'll need tampons. Joan looks back shocked as if she forgot.
Amal and Joan get to the office but have a carrier bag in their hands, so they've clearly gone via the shops. They turn up at the office and call out for Louis and Robyn who work there.
Louis explains that every flat needs to be bought outright otherwise the whole block will be sold off to be redeveloped. Amal asks what redeveloped means.
Robyn explains that the company have said it costs too much to maintain and it's not worth it. Joan angrily says that they don't even maintain it as it is. Amal asks what they mean by evict. Louis says Robyn's asked for more info and that hardly anyone will be able to buy their own flat, never mind every single one.
Alan pops by and interrupts, asking to get some cash out to buy something in the catalogue. Robyn goes with him and tells Louis that when she's back they'll have to think about announcing the bad news to the whole block.
Louis and Joan look at the computer and Louis tells her that they only have 24 hours to respond or everyone will be evicted. The date at the top of the email shows the date is April 2068.
At this point, Amal gets really frustrated and shouts "you're not listening to me, what does this mean?" Joan explains that it means they probably can't live in the block anymore. Amal is confused and asks where they would go. Joan agrees and trails off saying "I don't know...you're right..."
The final image for this chapter is a big reveal: the towerblock sits alone in a large body of water. Joan's speech bubble comes out of it saying "no one has left for years".
Webcomic chapter three's front page. Made up of a collage of high rise towers. The words "And the band begins to play part 3" is superimposed over the top.
Joan and Louis chat about what they're going to do. There are over 400 families in the block and they comment about how no one is building any more housing. Louis mentions someone he knows who went through the same thing and also couldn't buy their block.
Joan and Louis keep talking. The temporary accommodation they've been offered is simply a boat filled with all the displaced people. Louis mentions the person he knows who went through this process has never been heard from again. He also says his argument for them getting married got stronger and Joan replies "oh yeah, how did you put it: we could be dead tomorrow so might as well?"
Joan and Louis are on one of the balconies when a tannoy announcement blares out. It tells people that the state of their living accommodation has changed and that they should remain calm.
The tannoy continues telling people they have to buy their flats by tomorrow or they'll all be evicted and be moved to temporary accommodation. All the people around the block look worried and scared.
People across the block are scared talking together in a panic. They don't know what to do or why this is happening. They mention family members in other blocks across the flooded region whom this also happened to.
Robyn runs to find Louis and Joan to tell them that she's received the extra info she'd asked for about all this. She says they accidentally sent far more than they should. Robyn blames the floods for the confusion in all this and says the company has accidentally revealed something. That the rent request is just an excuse, just like they used for all the other blocks around the place. She says they haven't received the rent from their block in decades!
They group realise no rent was taken by the company for 80 years, despite Louis and Robyn processing and sending it every month on behalf of all residents. They don't understand if it's a mistake or what. Joan asks what difference it makes since there's nothing they can do anyway.
Someone tells Robyn that her wife is looking for her so she turns to leave. Joan and Louis don't know what to do and Robyn says, defeated, that they only have 14 hours left. They need to start packing.
The final image for this chapter is a collage of the high rise block against the dark dusk sky.
Webcomic chapter four's front page. Made up of a collage of high rise towers. The words "And the band begins to play part 4" is superimposed over the top.
Joan returns to her flat later that evening, looking concerned. She spots Amal, and they have a hug.
Joan and Amal go into Joan's flat and nan is there asking where she's been and says "they're coming". She asks Joan if she got eggs but Joan says no, just the pineapple. Amal asks what eggs are.
Nan is apparently talking nonsense and Amal asks what she means. Joan tells her she's confused and remembering things from her youth, the rent strikes before the floods. Nan is saying  that her mother led the whole block against the company in a strike and that they withheld rent until something was done, every flat.
Nan continues to tell of how the block and the flats were always in a state and the company never did anything to help. They'd gone on strike and withheld rent. They would use eggs and flour to throw at people from the company asking for rent so they wouldn't get in. Nan says they still collected all the rent to show the company they were serious and that they'd get all the money once the conditions were better.
Joan and Amal ask Nan what happened after. Nan said her mum organised it all and withheld all that money but Nan had never explained how the strikes ended.
Joan gets up and heads through the flat. She asks Nan where Nan put her mother's things. Joan starts to look through it all and finds minutes from previous meetings 80 years prior.
Now we're on the balcony with Joan and Louis, and she's clearly half-way through telling him something she's discovered. He tells her it doesn't make sense because someone would have noticed. She retorts that with all the flooding, it would have slipped through the cracks. He says it was 80 years ago though, and Joan says "exactly! the timeline fits!"
Louis and Joan are at the computer at the office and checking the records that Joan had found. They put in the account number of her Nan's mum and in a massive twist realise that all that gathered but never submitted rent is sat in the account still. Louis exclaims that there's more than twice what they need to pay for the whole block!
Joan and Louis are on their way back to Joan's Nan to tell her the good news. They wonder if it will work, but decide that they'll say it's an inheritance. The webcomic ends with Joan saying she has some good news. Nan replies "oh you're not getting married are you!?"
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Inspiration

Joan lives with her nan, Olive, in a small flat in Victoria House. Work, pub, popping to the shop to pick something up for dinner (all within a five-minute walk from home). Every day is much like the next. But one Saturday morning, the residents of the large tower block receive some news that's about to turn the tide on their way of life.

Biography

Holly is a comic creator and cartoonist from South London. After training as an actor in Manchester, she wound up serving and sweeping up popcorn in a cinema in Brixton.

Working at the cinema surrounded by film and a strong local community of artists and activists had a big influence on Holly's work. There, she produced posters and promotional artwork for the cinema, as well as comics, leaflets and posters for her union branch.

In Holly's own words: "Through my work, I like to explore the political, the personal, a bit of pop culture and the relationship between people and place. My experience as an actor impacts heavily on my approach as an artist and I enjoy finding ways I can incorporate the storytelling culture of the theatre into my comics."

A collage of comics in a line to act as a separator on the page.

The webcomics published across our digital channels have been created by University of Dundee’s Masters in Comics and Graphic Novels students.