Tag Archives: art

October 7th 1975

“Got all TD  & Art stuff together for tomorrow. Godfrey getting right up my nose! Felt really fed-up all day. Went up Nigs in evening”

For the life of me I can’t remember being at all nervous about my scheduled interview at Southampton Art College.

To be honest, apart from dates and the arguing that went on between my folks I can’t remember getting nervous about anything else significant that went on in my teenage years.

The fact that I had to scramble together the kind of portfolio that was expected of me at the interview doesn’t seem to have phased me very much. I suspect though that my remarks about “Godfrey” – my art and form tutor – were as much about him getting more nervous about my ‘date with destiny’ than I was!

It has to be said though that ‘getting fed up’ is something that came quite naturally to me back then. Just as it does now.


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October 1st 1975

“Got letter from Art College. Interview next Wed. Holly came round in the evening. Went with Nig & Kim down pub”

Yes, this self-confessed useless artist applied to get into Art College.

Southampton Art College to be precise.

I had applied for two separate courses, one of which I believe was “Technical Design” or something?

You’ve already suspected this isn’t going to end well haven’t you?

In other news, Nig & I (a pair of 17-year-olds) took our girlfriends (a pair of 16-year-olds) down the pub in the evening.

Thank heavens for lack licensing laws in the seventies!

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July 6th 1975

“Went to Winspit with Nobby, Mrs D’orders and her tutor group. Quite the grin. Fell in sea with clothes on”

Winspit is an abandoned stone quarry on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, England.

It was a working quarry until 1940 by which time it had supplied the stone for many of London’s major buildings. During WWII it became an important naval defence site, and after the war the caverns and caves were opened to the public.

Its foreboding ‘other world’ look means it has featured in the background of many sci-fi shows, including “Blake’s 7” and the iconic “Dr Who”

It seems as if Nobby & I tagged along with Mrs D’Arcy Orders tutor group (we were in her art class, not her tutor group) for a day’s fun and frivolity by the seaside. I’ll be a betting man here and guess that at some point during the day alcohol got involved, something which ultimately resulted in me falling in the sea fully clothed.

I wish I could remember more. For my sake as much as yours, dear reader.

I do know that Mrs Orders was one of the best teachers I had in all of my years of education and that I remain privileged to have been taught by her.

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July 4th 1975

“Came home at 3 o’clock. Had to do speech in assembly. Got 43% in Art”

Now, was I doing a speech to the outgoing students, to the possible newbies, or to the BP ‘student body’ as a whole?

Whatever I had to do, it looks like I was able to skive off early and get home by 3 o’clock in the afternoon. (“Skive” being a british slang term for avoiding responsibilities and/or work)

Is 43% good? I know if I had 43% of my mother-in-law’s lemon pie left that would be very good indeed, but I can’t be certain it represents a ‘pass percentage’ as far as my exams go.

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June 16th 1975

“No phone call – stuff ’em. English = hahahaha / Art = farce”

So to precis the day…

Whitwams bailed on the best record salesman (or worst instrument salesman) they were ever likely to find. Their loss, someone’s else’s gain.

Meanwhile my English exam was a joke and my Art exam redolent of a dodgy Brian Rix production.


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January 2nd 1975

“Nig came round in the afternoon”

What? You were maybe expecting more?

Yes, this 1975 diary is getting off to a lacklustre start isn’t it?

Maybe I should use this lull in the proceedings to do a brief “cast of characters” primer for the years ahead?…

Nig could probably be described as my best mate at this time. He lived just around the corner, and we spent loads of time in and out of each other’s houses.

Via Nig I also got to know other Fair Oak lads like Malc (later my best man) and the four Martins (P,P, T, & R)

Tim was someone I worked with at Lancaster & Crook supermarket. He was the other main member of my (now,sadly defunct) “band”

Nobby was my very good mate from Nursling. He will be mentioned  a lot through 1975 and beyond. He attended many of the same classes and courses as I did at Barton Peveril.

Other people from Nursling and Rownhams who I palled around with included Norm, RickieDASmutters, and Judy Gina (the Butler sisters)

In my Art classes at college I was good friends with Nobby, Niles, Derek, Sarah & Paul D. Our Art tutors were Tessa D’arcy Orders – an adorable “hippie” lady – and Roy Godfrey – a somewhat haphazard and eccentric tweed-wearer who was always pulling his socks up. (In a weird twist of fate in the early 80’s, I would not only end up employing Mr Godfrey’s son for a company I was running at the time, but I would also date his rather delightful daughter for a few months)

During my Technical Drawing classes I mucked about with (again) Nobby plus Tony, Bob, Mick & Nigel (not to be confused with Nig). Our tutors were Mr Brown (who always smelled of cigarettes) and a firm, but fair, belligerent Scotsman by the name of Bill Pollock. Many of us also did a “Technical Studies” class – the basis of which I can’t remember (metalwork? woodwork?) – where we were taught by Mr Whitfield.

It’s hardly worth mentioning my English Lit classes. Except to say I was tutored by a stiff-collared very strange man called Archie Benham whose face went BRIGHT red and who would visibly shudder with barely contained rage anytime a student pissed him off.  I was one one of those students.

In order to remember one of those tutor names I had to refer to my old school reports which reminded me – and you may find this as funny as me – that I also took typewriting classes! Something else I wasted my time with at college obviously?

All these people and more will appear from time to time as this diary unveils its dirty little secrets.


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December 9th 1974

“Started to write in Dairy again. Occasional Holiday from School. Went to Southampton and bought Xmas Cards Pressies. Wrote some Xmas Cards to people”

Somewhat ironically given the content of this entry, this would prove to be my last scribblings in the 1974 diary.

Annoyingly, the dearth of entries over the summer, autumn and winter periods means that I am unable to properly express my reaction to starting sixth form college following the “ahem* successes of my O-Level results.

I can tell you that I opted to continue at Barton Peveril, which was still in its transition stage from being a Secondary School into a full Sixth Form College.

The new school year meant that I joined the “1st year 6th”, bringing with it both freedom from any kind of school uniform and a whole influx of new friends (and some foes). The college brought 16 or 17 year-old kids in from the surrounding secondary schools and with some of those people a new set of influences and distractions arrived. (The distractions were generally housed in a female form)

I chose a peculiar triumvirate of ‘A’ (Advanced) Level subjects to study. The first was Technical Drawing, something I vaguely enjoyed at Ordinary Level and one of the few subjects I successfully passed. The second was Art, not because I was in any way talented in the subject (I wasn’t) but because I felt it would be a subject in which I could express myself as well as gather with people who, like me, were interested in music and films. (I was also eager to become a “graphic artist”, my head doubtless swayed by the works of record sleeve designers such as Roger Dean or photographers like Mick Rock)

My third subject was an undoubted mistake. I took English Literature. I think I stuck with it one term (semester) before dumping it off my schedule (the 1975 diary may prove enlightening in this respect). I quickly realised that none of the literature we were exploring in the classes was material I was even vaguely interested in reading, let alone discussing.

The (eventual) lack of all those English lessons meant I had many mornings and afternoons free to spend around other like-minded ‘slackers’ in the college’s “common room” a space put aside where people congregated to drink tea/coffee, play records and generally do very little other than lounge about on vinyl-upholstered chairs and sofas.

I do believe that this “common room” – somewhere I shall probably refer to regularly during 1975 and early 1976 – was more of a place of ‘education’ for me than any of the classrooms. Here, I listened to more music than I could ever imagine and was introduced to lots of new (to me) stuff like R&B, Soul and early German electronica. I interacted with not only my own ‘lower sixth’ classmates but also those students who were a year older in the ‘upper sixth’. I started to come out of my shell more and was able to express myself without feeling reserved or withdrawn. In short, I guess my time in the 6th Form helped me to “grow up”?!

In terms of this project I can’t help feeling – as you may – disappointed that my 1974 diary yielded so little. However, I hope what I have managed to share has been fun to read and that you’ve found my meanderings a satisfactory and entertaining distraction.

On then… to 1975…

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August 4th 1973

“Work all day – Ward in BAD mood. Nig came up in evng. Done painting”

Hey, a boss in a bad mood?

In the best traditions of ‘karma’ and/or the philosophy of “pass it forward” I bet I got my own back later in my life when I ran my own businesses!

As for the painting, I can REMEMBER it!

(Pauses for regular readers to go “blimey flip!”)

The reason I can remember it is because…. well, I still have it! Around this time I painted an entire series of ‘space/sci-fi’ canvasses – directly onto thin hardboard no less – which have somehow stayed with me and managed to survive several house moves, including my international one.

I would present the painting here, except we’re currently in a “no camera” predicament.

It sounds like a lousy excuse, but its true!

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