'Stepping Through The Void'

'Space Oddity', David Bowie, 1969

38 x 63cm, Gouache and Pencil Crayon on Paper

Available framed from the RSA

'This song reminds me of my first not Cleavehurst or family Christmas – Cleavehurst was sold when I was 15, a few months after my dad died. I went to a strange house for Christmas Day and I knew no one there except Martin, my brother. I don’t know how it happened, but I had nowhere else to go. It was 1976, and I was living in rented digs at Court Farm with the Heywoods. They played Bowie albums all day and it was very refreshing in some ways, and so untraditional compared with the rest of my past.'

My Dad

STEPPING THROUGH THE VOID - smaller.jpg

In 1974, my Dad's father passed away suddenly; his mother had recently taken a job in a school hundreds of miles away. He continued to lived for a short time with one of his elder brothers in an otherwise empty house, but this in time was eventually cleared out and sold. In a matter of months, my Dad's life as he had known it had crumbled and gone.

After finishing his O-Levels, he undertook an apprenticeship in cabinet making, supporting himself and living as a lodger. He was fifteen and essentially on his own. 

Almost every aspect of this experience is entirely as alien to me as it was to my Dad then; the difference being that he actually had to face it. A small piece of fortune came when he came into some money which, combined with savings, allowed him to buy a house of his own, and begin building some stability.  He continued to work as a cabinet maker until 2003, when I was six.