In her editor’s letter, Katy ponders her love of cowboys…
Art & Writing by Katy Somerville
I can’t believe we’re here.
“The Cowboy Issue” got playfully bandied about way back in February, much to my delight (literally, I trawled back through messages between Dia and me to check).
What started extremely unofficially as “MY COWBOY DAY” because of a day in our Valentine’s issue (February 2nd, FYI) where everything skewed towards a somewhat cowboy-esque theme, became a bigger conversation, which was loosely, “Maybe we can do a whole entire cowboy issue” and my fangirling and shrieking YES without much further ado.
I’ve been thinking so hard about why I have such a love for “cowboys.” Where did it start?
Was it with my dad’s country music? He had tapes in the car with country songs (frequently featuring cowboys) on them. I knew all the words to “A Boy Named Sue” before I knew that Shel Silverstein had written additional works.
We have spangled and pristine cowboys from my musical-loving childhood. Howard Keel and Gordon MacRae have a lot to answer for regarding the cowboy thing.
Shirley Jones as Laurey in Oklahoma! with her perfect blonde hair and beautiful smile has a lot to answer for, but not about cowboys.
Young Gun was a movie I watched on repeat as a kid and it’s one of my first memories of the Wild West and Cowboys. The old west themed movie features members of the Brat Pack in cowboy hats and on horseback and it immediately galloped into Katy’s young heart.
It was made in 1988 and despite its many faults and flaws, Katy, at the time of watching just saw cowboys and heard accents and was delighted.
Regulators, mount up!
Fievel Goes West—that little mouse with the hat must have snuck in too.
There was a young, all-singing, some-dancing Christian Bale as Jack ‘Cowboy” Kelly in Disney’s Newsies with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman (which is now a musical with a book by Harvey Fierstein but less cowboy content).
I know that the cowboy love was already firmly in place when I was in high school because that’s when I got my cowboy hat.
Before The Hat, I sat inside at lunchtime rather than obeying school rules by wearing a broad-brimmed hat. Why was I so against wearing a broad-brimmed hat? I don’t remember exactly.
At some point when I was about 14, I entered and won a radio competition, “What do you want for Christmas?” I wrote that I wanted a cowboy hat and won the competition.
My prize was a voucher to a store in our town called O’Dea’s Saddlery and I was very pleased to trot on down to claim The Hat.
School lunchtimes thereafter obviously featured the hat.
It was also used in a show in our community theatre group where it was worn by a man doing a strip routine. He was dressed as a cowboy. And became more and more… less dressed.
My poor innocent hat!
Honestly, I have no idea where this obsession or love for cowboys came from. But it’s here, so I’ve invited it to sit down.
I’m so thrilled about this issue.
I was so surprised and delighted that the theme was embraced by so many contributors. There have been some of my favourite artworks included in this one, y’all, and it’s been such an amazing time to read and pore over everything in Wild West.
A great big shout-out to Dia. You’re the ringleader of the circus and the director of the Cream Scene Carnival Wild West Show. You amaze me all the time. Thank you. From my hat brim to my sparkly pink cowboy boots, thank you so much for the Wild West.
And the carnival.
About Katy Somerville
Katy Somerville was beamed into existence on a Monday night in the mid-eighties by stars, glitter, and a glorious Italian woman from a long line of very strong women. In the present timeline, she likes to drink coffee, pat any animal that will engage with her, make collages, and spend time laughing and finding moments of joy wherever she can with her partner and her goofy, lanky dog.