The Renaissance Era
I told my career advisor at school when he asked me what I wanted to do in life that I wanted to be a renaissance man. I seem to remember that he wanted me to be a little more specific, he had a posh new computer program that could sort this out for me if I could just give it something a little less 15th century to play with.
As Robert Heinlein suggested, ‘Specialization is for insects.’
I was lucky to have learned the piano for a number of years as a child, popping over to see John and Ian, a cosmopolitan gay couple who would fuss over my red curly hair whilst setting tricky tasks to enhance the art of connecting with sound. I was cared for and gained a love of music. I took the spirit of those years into my teens and picked up a guitar when I slotted into the raw chaos of the early 90’s. These days there’s less disharmony, but the love and the spirit remains in my music.
Whilst in my early twenties I was asked by a friend if I wanted to do a weekend course that involved all sorts of barking mad stuff. I said no, I wasn’t going to spend £100 barking at anyone. My friend paid for me to do it anyway.
It was a course based on the kind of thing that flourished in 70’s San Francisco, there was no barking, but we did do lots of laughing, shouting, crying and I left with a head hungry for more knowledge.
Gurdjieff, Idries Shah, the 12 steps, buddhist principles. I went on to sit vipassana courses, have slept in Shiva temples, danced with Sufis, I put down the books and went for experience instead, because perhaps the most important thing I have learned is the reading can useful, but experience is vital.
To cut my teeth on learning I felt the need to, well learn some things, so I went to college and did a marine fitting course, worked in a few boat yards to cut my teeth, then went to college in London to learn how to build musical instruments.
I didn’t really want to be a boat fitter, or a luthier, what I did want to do was learn all of the little bits that went into doing both of these things. As a result I did many things that used these skills, such as furniture building and welding on the new airport in Hong Kong.
Moving Image and Scuba Diving
Before the internet age one of the best ways to earn a living in the wilds was to teach scuba diving. I loved doing this for a while, working for a dive school where I drove an old long tail boat to the clear bays to do confined water training, then cluttered back with an old Thai engine that hauled us through the clear sea.
I then decided that a bit or autonomy would be handy, so I got a camera and housing from Singapore, then set-up making underwater video on Koh Tao in Thailand. This kept the rent paid for two years on what was a relatively untouched island at the time, there was no-one else making video in this way so I got a free ride on the boat every day, I also got to spend so much time relaxing underwater on my own that I got to know the fish, the little nooks and crannies and a whole new world that is so different from the one above the waves.
Video Production Company
When my daughter was five years of age we came back to the UK to give her some good honest UK learning, so I set about working for a local TV station to pick up some more first world video techniques. I had a lot of fun making video, filming at festivals, outside performance companies and a rally that went from Plymouth to Banjul in Africa.
I had many wonderful experiences, from being on Stage with many wonderful bands to filming the inca trail, but perhaps my funniest memory is when I was filming a british couple in the Plymouth to Banjul rally, we were in a Chrysler Voyager, driving across the Sahara watching Peter Kaye perform at Blackpool Tower, everything else is downhill from there!
South Hill Park is an interesting place, an old royal hunting lodge that is too near Bracknell for comfort, but comforts Bracknell with it’s creativity.
SHP was managed for a good while by a very creative director who brought many projects to the place, including a yearly festival but also a wonderful arts project that I got involved in with a photographer and a musician, truly a learning experience for us all.
My love of photography started with an Olympus camera back when you had to carry rolls of film with you for weeks until finding a place to capture them.
Here is a small collection of pictures that were displayed at an exhibition in the basque country.
Whilst doing my dive instructor exams in Tioman, Malaysia, I came across a Norwegian man who was sitting on a beach, with a laptop, working. I saw my future, so I learned many of the basics regarding website management, image manipulation, SEO, how to build and secure a server, 3d software, built one of the early Template stores and then managed websites for clients such as County Hall and the London Film Museum in London. These days I use that early adopter experience to make the web a less befuddling place for other people.
Scuba Diving amongst coral or swimming in wild waves with a simple pair of goggles I love the water, or paragliding up in the sky!