Martin Chatterton was born in Liverpool at almost exactly the same time that The Beatles were discovered, Kennedy was assassinated and the space race began. Historians have seldom made a connection between the events but surely they are unlikely to have been mere coincidences?
A phenomenally talented and attractive baby (he would have won first prize in the Rhyl 'Cutest baby' competition in 1963 if it hadn't been for that damned kid with the ringlets) Chatterton showed promise from the very beginning. A career in the arts seemed assured when he painted what is regarded as his finest early work; a three-panel diptych depicting the linear development of industrial relations in the early twentieth century as shown by a ducky and a horsey.
A spell as John Lennon's paperboy led to Chatterton taking an interest in words and language and he was dead good at writin at school. With both parents (allegedly both teachers but in fact deep cover agents working for MI5) often absent for long periods, Chatterton learned to fend for himself. A botched espionage plan led to him becoming a punk rocker before taking a graphics degree at Kingston and diving into a career as an illustrator.
Sid Vicious was rumoured to have modelled his 'look' on Chatterton.
As an illustrator, Chatterton proved to be a master, working for customers around the world from the Sydney Opera House to Uncle Pung's Chinese Noodle Snax. His distinctive 'funny' work featured in TV commercials, posters, packaging, electronic media, newspapers, comics . . . anywhere and everywhere.
His stint as a scribbler was only supposed to be temporary while he developed his 'cover' but at art college Chatterton had gone native and he began dressing weirdly and believing he was in fact, an illustrator. His MI5 handlers gradually lost interest in planting him in Moscow and he assumed the name 'Martin Chatterton' permanently (his real name, Piers Ilyoivich Ilyushin John Winston Dixie Dean Smythe, was concealed in Whitehall files until last year).
It’s a little known fact but ‘Martin Chatterton’ is actually TWO people! Yes, Chatterton works alongside his elegant wife, Annie.
Despite working side by side for many years Chatterton makes sure that his wife gets little credit for her contribution, hogging the limelight for himself and sending Annie out to Tesco’s whenever he needs additional supplies of chocolate raisins or fake tanning lotion.
"As long as I get the credit cards," says Annie. "He can keep the credit." Annie is responsible for the stunning colour work that Chatterton is renowned for (quite falsely as it turns out).
It was during his time at art college that Chatterton had first fallen under the spell of the infamous Cold War siren, 'Annie 'Legski' Carroll', the scourge of MI5's top agents. But such was Chatterton's animal magentism that Carroll abandoned her role as Russia's top seductress and became his ever-lovin' wife in a touching ceremony presided over by Elvis Presley in Las Vegas. They are still happily married (Chatterton and Carroll that is, not Chatterton and Elvis) with two sprogs: Sophie, 19, a concert pianist/playwright/mirror polisher, and Danny, 15, the child soccer prodigy currently being sought by half the top clubs in Europe. "It's in the genes," said Dr. B. Boffin, Head of the government Brainy Bloke Department. "Martin Chatterton was a skilful enough player to have captained Brazil and it's Danny's good luck to have inherited his father's ball skills (to say nothing of his chiselled good looks)."
In the eighties Chatterton embarked on an ambitious plan to become the Greatest Writer Ever To Walk The Earth. His five-year plan, now nearing it's glorious twentyfifth year, began by writing books whenever he was asked and by lurching accidentally from one book to another. Along the way he also opened a design company, taught sulky teenagers how to be good designers, sold lingerie, worked as a pipe-fitter's mate and travelled the globe from Seattle to Sydney. He has illustrated more than seventy books for other less talented writers in addition to writing and illustrating twenty five of his own s (several have no pictures and are in joined-up writing). He has appeared on TV several times where he effortlessly made a complete prat of himself. He has also graced the pages of many of Britain's most fashionable publications including 'The Southport Visiter' and 'The Lancashire Evening Post'.
These days Chatterton cuts a dashing figure as he strides across the dew-laden pastures of his rambling colonial estate clad in his trademark perfectly tailored suits, his tousled hair flecked with distinguished silver, a smile playing across his gleaming yellow teeth as he throws a stick to his faithful labrador, Coffee,
and waving to one or two peasants (better known as 'Australians') along the way. Succesful, rich beyond the dreams of most, good-looking enough to make even David Beckham ill with envy, with a devoted and gorgeous family, what else is there for Chatterton left to achieve?
"I'd like to reach out and touch those less fortunate than myself," says the Grand Old Man of British letters, "poor unloved fashion models and Hollywood actresses for example. I can pass my knowledge on to them and perhaps make a difference in their humdrum lives . . . did I mention I was a trained masseur? I would also like to establish a re-education centre for Manchester United supporters who don't originate in Manchester."
Simple wishes perhaps, but who is to say that Chatterton will not one day achieve the few goals left in the years he has left (unless he walks under a bus, or catches an ironic life-threatening disease, or gets offed by the Mob in a mistaken identity scenario).