With thanks to a chance collaboration with the late Peter Williams.
When he asked me to help him put a selection of poems and photographs together
as a series of postcards, he awakened an interest in the expressive possibilities
of combining image and word in such a way that they can amount to more
than the sum of their parts. As a graphic designer this should have been a
fairly routine exercise, however the extremely surreal unconscious connections
between his poems and photographs awakened me to the possibility of
exploring parrallel, paradoxical, personal realities as a way of alluding to the
hidden truths that run concurrent to our perceptions of the
conventionally accepted historical narative.
found myself using lyrics from songs I'd written many years earlier as a
starting point for this project, which inevitably resulted in me writing lyrics for new pieces
focused more specifically on the overzero project. Around this time Walter Fabeck,
in return for some publicity material I designed for one of his performances, kindly
gave me a PowerBook complete with a suite of music writing software that far exceeded
the capacities of the analogue recording equipment I had been using in the late Eighties.
took overzero to the next level. Now I'd reacquired the things I once disposed
I could use music to influence and enhance the words and the images!
Each new composition inspired and required words and they needed an
equivalent visual expression to create a unified whole.
I was born before war time rationing ended and after the famous Festival
of Britain exhibition,
like the rest of my generation, I was born with one foot in the past and the other ready
to jump into the future. My head was filled with Dad's war time stories from the RAF
and his current job building nuclear bombers, while Mum was telling me in hushed
tones about her time with the Foreign Office and the intrigue of Bletchley Park.
The mystery deepened and my sense of indignant outrage grew as at school I was
introduced to Orwell, Huxley and Solzhenitsyn and the lengths to which the
establishment was prepared to go to manipulate our perception of truth.
the time of the Cuban missile crisis I remember seeing a Victor bomber
flying over my Primary School with a missile strapped underneath it. That evening when
I asked Dad what it was he said, "Oh that was a Blue Steel nuclear stand off missile son,
but don't worry - it's not armed!" I wished I hadn't asked. This must have been the time when
the dreams started. I guess most people around my age had those. The worst of all was where I
woke in the night to the feel of my legs burning and a blinding light outside the shattered window,
then the terror and the pain subsided as it slowly dawned on me that it was only a dream,
they hadn't really dropped the big one and ended it all, there was still life, still hope.
As I heaved a sigh of relief and drifted back into the comforting safety of sleep,
it happened again. The consequences were too dreadful to consider.
was probably the second time I came face to face with the awareness of how
we may live or die at the arbitrary whim of others and through no fault or transgression of
our own. The first occassion was also in a dream - seems like my unconscious was
trying to teach me a vital lesson in life!
the end of the twentieth century there was a feeling that all was either
about to come
to an end, or at least change profoundly. The millennium came and went, but we were still here.
The nasty little incident the following year, though insignificant in the grand scheme of things,
was a useful focal point for all our apocalyptic angst. It also gave us a chance to bring the future
into line with the popular Orwellian vision of it, thus raising a dilemma. Are we to look at the state of the
world today and assume that life will descend from bad to worse, or dare we suppose that there
might be something better just over the horizon?"
been quite a few years since I wrote that last paragraph and I find it painfully
What we are currently living through is a version of the future I didn't see coming -
I just thought I was looking in the rear view mirror...