I woke up and clicked the radio on. Bowie was playing, I instantly started singing and just for a second I was transported back to my childhood.
My childhood was great and happy (mostly)…I was one of those kids that didn’t fit into any of the normal groups within school. One, I was mixed race in a very racist part of London and two I was (and still am) asthmatic.
When the teacher picked the best two sporty kids to be captains and they in turn had to pick players to form teams – a subtle yet brilliant form of humiliation (a technique that would break the spirit of any spy or prisoner of war after 5 years) – the last three left were always the kid with the calliper and the kid in thick glasses with a plaster over one of the lenses (the scientific way to cure a stigmatism …I’m surprised they didn’t stick a leach on his eye) and me.
Well Calliper Boy was always picked first because he looked vaguely bionic and had a fit older sister that had just developed breasts, so it was between Wheezy and Long John Silver. I know Long John had both eyes, but he was the only pirate our thicker but more sporty peers knew and yes, we were aware that Calliper Boy was more Long John than Steve Austin, the irony is not lost on us.
That was by no means the most stupid nickname. At least Wheezy and Long John had some kind of grasp on the whole put-down nickname genre unlike the one I got in art class.
We had to make a still life out of the stuff we had on us and capture it in any medium we wanted. The still lives of the other kids were interesting compositions. Ann to my right had a school scarf with a pregnancy testing kit propped up next to a vodka miniature, while Colin to my left had a chewing gum, a knife and 20 Benson and Hedges arranged on a Co-op carrier bag …I love art!
I attempted to paint Wheezy McWheezy’s footwear of humiliation – my gym trainers. It turned out I was the only one using paint. Colin looked over my shoulder, saw I was using paint and asked why, but before I could tell him how it felt more free and as a medium it allowed me to feel a connection to all the art made before, even before I put this cheap brush to canvas ( cheap school paper). He said “You’re a right fucking Louis!”…”Louis???” “Yeah Louis Pasteur. He’s the only artist I know…”
Education is a wonderful thing.
And these children that you spit on, as they try to change their worlds, are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they’re going through.
It’s very sad when your childhood world starts dying. And 2016 has robbed me of a few more heroes and a fair few memory nudgers. The music you listen to as a kid, like it or not will become the sound track of your youth. And just hearing that music will bring good and bad memories flooding back.
To this day I can’t listen to Boney M singing By the Rivers of Babylon with out wanting to cry and lash out and break things. Not because of the bad memories but because I really hate that song.
I think that’s why there are some songs that we feel should never be covered, because it sounds like someone is interfering in the past in someway. Yes Marty Mcfly I’m talking to you.
Time takes so much from you…but gives you so much in return…it takes people you love and gives you people you will love. It takes your innocence and wonder and gives you understanding and insight. It takes the trials of youth and gives you the accomplishments of adulthood. It takes our teenage spots and gives us irregular shaped moles that we should really get checked out .
2016 has been a shocking year for many reasons. It has proven democracy only works if the people voting are sane and that even princes and princesses can die.
We need to remember, those of us that can…it’s not that 2016 was crap because of the people we lost, but how amazing the 70s, 80s and 90s were when they were alive and at their best.
Though nothing, will keep us together
We could steal time, just for one day
We can be heroes, forever and ever
What’d you say?
And it came to pass that the art I loved creating as a child became the work I’m lucky enough to produce as an adult (hopefully a bit better than a painting of a barely used trainer on a crappy piece of cartridge paper though!) – check out my current creations in our Etsy store.