This is a book of my Art from the early seventies along with my whimsical philosophy. It is short, light and thought provoking with some humour thrown in for good measure.
You only live once. You have to have purpose. Creativity gives me a reason to live. Appreciation of the wondrous world we live in gives me a buzz. Love of friends and family give me a wealth of happiness. Making the world a better place is an ideal. Creating beauty and communicating is a good thing. I started to write and paint in 1971. This book combines the two. This is my philosophy in colour and symbols.
Here is an extract:
In 1971 I graduated from North East London Polytechnic with a degree in Zoology. I was wild, crazy and looking for some direction in the midst of the vibrant London scene. The sixties Underground was winding down and I had a head full of ideas, dreams and madness that I wanted to splurge on to the universe. I was looking for an outlet. It poured out of me. Anyone who would listen was bombarded. I had to get it out. The world was an incredible universe of mysteries that needed unravelling. There was no time. There was too much going on, the energy was zooming crazily. I had to understand. There were things to see, to listen to, ideas, thoughts, film, books and revelations.
The world was full of revelations!
London was full of mad friends who were making music, writing books, poetry and elegies to the folly of mankind. We were breaking away, striking out on new paths, making it up as we went along. It was ecstatic. Every day was euphoric with discoveries.
I was hunting for a means to express myself. I couldn’t find it. I was hunting for a way of earning a living. I rejected them all.
In 1971 I started painting and writing and I never stopped. Pete, as maverick friend, built me an easel and I was away.
I’ve always been suspicious of education. It tends to cramp the creative spirit. My instinct was not to learn or study but to give full vent to my instincts in uninhibited flow. My writing was a flow of consciousness as themes, feelings, inspirations and thoughts tumbled out. My art was much the same.
My wife had turned me on to art and it was like a light going on. I digested the surrealists with Dali and Magritte. I loved Dada. Picasso was a wild fury and Liz took me to the Impressionist gallery in Paris as the colours of Gauguin, Van Gogh and Renoir glowed out at me in psychedelic glory. What was there to study? You just had to be in its presence and absorb it through the retina.
We went to Madrid in search of Bosch and stumbled across Burra. There was a whole universe of art to assimilate. Yet all I wanted was to put my own brush on to paper, words into form and ideas into substance.
The sixties stormed and I stormed in it.
This is what came out.
Work – 1973
I called this piece work with rather a tongue in cheek attitude. I have never minded work. I like working hard. What I resent is the time it takes. There are always a thousand more pressing things to be doing with my life than work. Work gets in the way.
On those days when there were poems to write, books to get out of my head and paintings clogging up the arteries, it was hard to become motivated by work.
On those days when you have been up to three in the morning getting into the flow of a novel it is incredibly frustrating when the alarm goes off at seven and you have a whole day of work ahead of you before you can get back to doing what seems overpoweringly important.
Work is prostitution. You sell your body and brain for a sum of money.
You were stuck within the confines of the workplace. Outside the universe raged. You were not free to experience it.
In 1976 I discovered teaching. I’d saved up my PGCE training as a year at college to escape work. I had no intention of going into teaching. I merely needed a year off. I found that teaching gave me a creative outlet. It allowed me to give vent to my passions. If I had to work at least I had found something I could be happy with. I was part of building a better, fairer, just world.
When you are doing something you enjoy it is not work.
The alarm clock still frustrating went off at seven and there were five days a week that were set in stone.
I’d grown up in the 1960s under the constant threat of mutual annihilation. This was the cold war era – the age of the Cuban Missile crisis. I remember going to school on that day not expecting to return home. The Russian fleet was heading for Cuba with missiles for the Castro. The USA told them that if they crossed a certain point it was an act of war. Kennedy may have been bluffing. We will likely never really know. The Russians steamed straight up to the line. We held our breath. They turned back.
We grew up with the knowledge that tens of nuclear warheads were pointing at us wherever we were in Britain.
America was using us as a forward base for their missiles. They had hopes of a nuclear war being confined to Europe. It would leave America and the bulk of the USSR out. We were the equivalent of a huge aircraft carrier for American planes. We were expendable.
When I taught in Beverley the great US Vulcan bombers took off from Leconfield directly over the school. The whole building shuddered as the giants clawed their way into the air. Each one of those huge planes carried a dozen nuclear bombs.
It was not a question of whether we were going to be consumed in a nuclear holocaust so much as when.
Britain was splattered with nuclear shelters for the politicians and civil servants. Under the House of Commons, far below the underground the politicians put their faith in a hardened shelter fully resistant to direct hits. I put my faith in CND and multilateral disarmament. I put my faith in CND and unilateral disarmament too. I felt it was better not to be a forward base for American whims. Too many of them were evangelical Christians who were looking forward to the end of the world!
I wanted to live!
It is out on Amazon (along with all my other books) :