I love Peanuts so much my stomach hurts

A new show at Somerset House reminds us of the enduring brilliance of Charles M Schulz’s cartoon strip, while inviting contemporary artists to create work inspired by it. Patrick Burgoyne reflects on why Peanuts meant so much to him

By rights I should probably never have liked Peanuts. As a child in 1970s Suffolk, I had little in common with this group of 1950s, American schoolkids who played baseball, clung to ‘security blankets’ and offered psychiatric help at five cents a go from a wooden booth. Half the time, I had no idea what they were talking about.

Part of the reason why Peanuts meant so much to me as a kid is that so much of its world was, literally, foreign to me. This was a place in a different country, populated by a bunch of kids whose lives were different to mine, who spoke differently, played different sports, went to a different kind of school (book reports, what were they?). And that was fine, because I loved them.