Saturday, 9 April 2016

GO!

So you leave college and what next ? Well there's a question. Apart from a very drunken and hazy graduation night nothing much was going on in Winchester , I took to writing , something I'd done all the way through college , but now I was splitting the day between going to the job centre , getting drunk , and writing , generally late at night . The summer dragged on without a job ( though I applied for everything I could) and I kept writing eventually having enough for a novel length book which I later completed in Ireland . Sometime towards the end of the summer or was it autumn I finally got a job , part time , but still it was a job and I could pay rent and carry on writing , I still knew a lot of people at college , I still lived in the house owned by my then best friend Patrick , who put up with my drinking and general untogetherness. Another friend I'd met at college kept visiting me , she owned a Van , autumn turned into early winter and Winchester had become more and more of a ghost town to me , why was I still here , as I wrote at the time ' I'm bored when does the next excitement begin' .

It felt like the door had closed and the party was behind it and I wasn't at that party. Like walking down the street after midnight in winter , empty cold and filled with sodium light .

So one drunken night I phoned my friend Claire up and said , as I recall lets go to Europe , and so we did . I woke up in the van somewhere in the middle of Spain with the Idea for a novel in my head , I wrote the idea down and when we got back to England we squatted a house in Essex so I could finish the book. It was never published , but I did finish it. But then we went a travelling in the van , ending up at Jeremy Sandfords house near leominister along with a lot of other people which Thatchers Britain had decided to throw down the tubes . So from Essex  to Leominster we travelled on to Ireland and the promise of land and lodging in exchange for sweat and work, but like all promises made to the naive these things never quite turn out the way you think they will . 

Claire eventually sold the van and bought a horse named Harry , the intention being to go horse drawn , but I was scared of horses and Harry was very big . 

And all this time I wasn't thinking of myself as a visual artist anymore , more a writer I think , though the welding lessons we had at college came in handy because the first thing you learn when living in a van or under canvas is the need to keep warm , so I started making stoves ,
  and getting up to all sorts of welding related tomfoolery , who would have thought a half hour evening class a few years before would turn out to be so handy , cos if you can weld stoves you can weld frames for horse carts , axles , geodesic dome frames ( as well as living under canvas for a few years we also lived in geodesic dome frames covered in canvas , made in the middle of a field hacksawed to size and shape by hand with the odd trip to a friendly local farmers shed to weld odd lengths together , and in return to work on their turf trailers !


The only painting I did during those years , roughly 92 to 94 was the designs on a horse cart I built for Claire and her new boyfriend Alan . In the background you can see one of the benders we lived in at the time.





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