In Praise of Moomins

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Moomins are great, aren’t they?

I’m tired today. A number of late nights, several glasses too many of certain delicious substances and pages and pages of editing have left me rather blank and worse for wear. So with today’s post I will mainly be talking briefly about Moomins, followed by a period of sitting very quietly and trying not to fall asleep.

My first exposure to Moomins was via the really quite weird puppet/felt cut out children’s TV show in the mid-80s. I imagine I would have been around 4 or 5 years old at the time, but I was immediately attracted to the weirdness of it and the pleasing appearance of the Moomins themselves. Some years after that was the Japanese cartoon, which popped up around about the same time I was furiously borrowing anime videos off a friend at school. It was bouncy, colourful, mad, and had the sort of sugary theme tune that could make parents wince from three rooms away, so obviously I loved it. The oddness of anime was a suitable partner for the strangeness of Moomintroll I think, and I could well imagine a Moomin film produced by Miyazaki now, with Snufkin muttering philosophical musings and the Groke being mournful.

Skip a few years on, and I found a second hand copy of Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson (in the same place I found my original copy of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, funnily enough). Moomin Valley was a eerie, beautiful place where hattifatteners lurked and characters came and went with the seasons. I was very taken with the illustrations, which were unsettling and atmospheric and I spent a lot of time trying to re-create that feeling in my own illustrations.

Tripping even further on, and Moomins are still with me in one form or another. Marty bought me the collected comic strips and I was introduced to even more cheerful weirdness- I highly recommend seeking them out; the artwork is beautiful and many of the stories darker than you might expect. I have moomin badges on my jacket, a Snorkmaiden mouse mat, a lunch box with Snufkin on the front… In the end I think an appreciation for Moomins, with their pleasing shapes, amusing hats and admirably tolerant attitudes, is something that stays with you for life.

“I like stars more than anything else.I watch them as I fall asleep and wonder who lives on them and how to get there. The night sky looks so friendly with all those little twinkling eyes.”  – Snufkin

7 thoughts on “In Praise of Moomins

  1. I only saw the cartoon, but I loved it. Haunting and melancholy and adventurous and jolly. It was brilliant.

  2. Being Swedish I grew up with the moomins. Tove Janson used to do the voice for the cartoons, and she is an amazing story teller. Her finnish/swedish accent is lovely as well :)Almost worth learning Swedish just to listen to her reading about the moomins.

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