Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Can You Guess What It Is Yet?

I was lucky enough to meet the great Bruno Richard in Paris in the early 1980’s and overnight became heavily influenced by his transgressive Elles Sont de Sortie project. I began producing lots of stuff like this - I had a strong desire to make an aggressively visceral way of drawing that would in some way mirror the cultural and political atmosphere of that time. You don’t have to listen to too many punk records to sense the frustration in the air at the beginning of that decade. But somehow Thatcher, Murdoch and the corporate state, one way or another managed to marginalise a lot of that feeling. Council house dwellers were enabled to buy their homes and ordinary people were encouraged to buy into the stockmarket as the national utilities were all put up for sale. Amongst the young creative types that I knew, ideology began to give way to the pragmatism of getting onto the property ladder, filing tax returns and filling up that filofax with all those lucrative contacts. I carried on producing ‘angry’ looking artwork for a while but increasingly began to feel looked upon as a quaint but misguided soul. Anger just wasn't cool anymore. It took a while for that to sink in.

Actually I still really like this stuff and can’t understand why I don’t work in this manner nowadays.

To add a bit of period flavour, here's another big influence, the brilliant JG Thirlwell (don't call him Foetus!) as Clint Ruin here performing 'Ghost Rider' with Marc Almond:


  1. Sorry, me again! At the risk of sounding like a sycophant, I think your angry a/w is great as is your summing up of that strange early '80s period. My memory is of it being weirdly paradoxical, on the one hand listening to/watching Crass (my b/f's band frequently supported them) and living in constant fear of an impending nuclear war, on the other hand the ordinary person's need to stake one's place somewhere, somehow, (almost like if you can't beat 'em, join 'em?) You said it better than I could! Nice post.

  2. Thank you C. Haha - You drive me crazy with all these connections... Crass! I’ll post more about that at some other point. I’m not normally a nostalgic person but I must admit that Sun Dried Sparrows has motivated me to start rummaging through some of my own old folders and so there’s going to be a bit more about the good old days. Like you I have mixed feelings about the 80’s, but there most definitely was a sea-change and much of the mess we’re in now quite directly leads back to things that happened then. (Ooh can feel myself getting all hot and bothered again - must go and have a lie down I think...)

  3. I've never been sure of the healthiness of being nostalgic either and have never wanted to hear myself sounding old/jaded whilst saying 'it was so much better in my day..' or any other lame/lazy excuse not to embrace the present in all its various forms, good and bad! But I do believe our pasts make us who we are plus there is simply much pleasure to be had in exploring our own and identifying with others' experiences, etc. too. So bring it on! Look forward to seeing more here on past, present and future. (After the lie down!)