This post has very little to do with my audio/visual artistic efforts yet has everything to do with them. There’s nothing here about how I made this or that particular sound or which filter I used in After Effects to get that blue grid-like structure to spin. This is more about the structure of me; my brief history. Some clues as to the origins of my experiments.
In 1969, when I was five years old, we drove from the Midlands to London to begin a new phase in family life. My father had various jobs, including physiotherapist (he used to massage Patrick Macnee from The Avengers, amongst others), milkman, bus conductor, mobile Polish grocer, lorry driver, auditor…the list goes on.
I remember looking out of the back window of the car into the night sky and feeling scared at the unknown and what lay beyond the darkness. We lived in the first floor of an old Victorian house on Trinity Road in Wandsworth, South London. An area close to big open common land and Wandsworth Prison, from which Ronnie Biggs escaped. On cold nights, my father would fill the portable heater with magic pink liquid and light it. Giving us a glowing metal mesh covered in flame to warm ourselves by.
Part of my education at that time was provided by Highfield School, at 256 Trinity Road. We lived at 252, so the journey to school wasn’t that long, although when there is a towering white-haired headmaster who wears a black cloak and mortar board governing, who has a propensity for caning young boys, the journey can be as long as it likes.
One day in the playground, I saw a fork of golden lightning high in the sky. My friends and I wondered what it meant and I believed that lightning was a crack in the sky that let us see into heaven, albeit briefly.
Many of my childhood school days were spent negotiating my way out of trouble with teachers or bullies. At times, it was hard to tell the difference. I couldn’t wait to go home and draw war ‘planes and tanks or play with small toys or my pen collection (yes, like Pauline’s). There were some nice teachers, though. One was called Miss Denton and she had a boyfriend called Europe. I liked the very battered, old looking book she once brought into class and read from. So when my parents bought me a new story book, I tried to age it artificially, with poor results for the book and me.
At an early age, I was used to experimental failure. Meccano, books, toys in general…all succumbed to my special style of engineering. For the artist, I often wonder if the process is more joyful than the result. Any artists reading this, please let me know.
Next time I’ll tell you about dentists, Saturday wrestling on World of Sport and Luke, the funeral director’s son.