Tracey Emin Be Faithful to your dreams 1998 Neon 40.6 X 223.5 X 6.4cm
‘Music was my first love’.*
From an early age I obsessed with it, listening constantly, reading voraciously, dancing ‘my legs down to the knees’**. Whilst other boys lived for football and Match of the Day, I was all about Top of the Pops, Smash Hits and later NME. The elder brother of a close friend in his role as babysitter was particularly influential on my early tastes in the late 1970’s early 80’s with the mod and ska revival and then early synth/electronica and the New Romantic sound. Over the years different friendship groups and venues for socialising (pubs, clubs, festivals, friends and family houses) have exposed me to a wide variety of music. Whether the Specials, The Supremes, The Stone Roses, The Strokes, Sia, at different times, different artists for different reasons have dominated my listening. Conversely, Chicago, Cast, Cameo, Cardigans, Cocker have left me cold. Why so? Well I’ve never felt the need to explain, that’s just how it is, the rhythm, styling, vocal, lyric of some music connects, feels like mine, feels like me, feels important and some just doesn’t. And guess what? I’m rarely challenged on my taste in music, rightly so as I am invariably right, I am also highly unlikely to challenge others, I respect their choices, it’s not for me to judge.
So why is art different? Why do people, and I mean everyday people like myself, not artists, lecturers, students, feel the need to slate certain artists and challenge others’ tastes. Why do I feel the need to explain myself when I say I like Emin, Schiele, Weiwei, Van Gogh but find Bacon, Hirst, Dali, Monet far less appealing. Maybe it’s an insecurity in the validity of my own opinions, perhaps art feels like something other people understand, the great brains, the better off, the more creative, the better informed. But as I’ve got older, and more bolshie, I feel less inclined to follow others opinions and have started to value my own tastes. Thinking about it, there are good friends and family members, in the same way as my teenage babysitter, that have helped me to trust my instincts, or more honestly to just give less of a fuck. So I like some artwork, and some artists more than others, for some reason the colours, the styling, the idea, the message, just connects with me and that’s just how it is. I don’t have time to think deeply about it, I’ve got a job to keep, a family to support and a life to be lived, so let’s just say that something about my background, upbringing, experiences, education, makes some music and some art resonate with me. I’m not explaining that to anyone, it just is what it is.
I like the Emin image above, I like her work and I like her thinking, don’t ask me why.
Oh and by the way…
…art is my new love.
* John Miles ‘Music’
** The Smiths ‘Paint a Vulgar Picture’ #ironic