Saturday, 7 March 2015

My life as a Tapestry - 5 (the perilous '60s)

This panel was inspired by a tragedy - the recent death of my old school friend Paul. He is the one on the left in the white raincoat and silly grin. I'm the one on the right, also in a white shorty raincoat (very cool in 1963). Mick (Paul's older brother) and Tony make up the rest of the gang, swaggering down Romford North St., trying to look hard. 

The faux-Latin caption says 'Here, gang violence breaks out', reflecting the awareness of the possibility of violence that we all had in our early teens (a characteristic of the early 1960s, or of our adolescent hormones?). 

The main picture depicts us getting beaten up by mods in Trafalgar square. We hadn't done anything to them - mods were just psychotic.

(Eagle-eyed Londoners will notice that the buildings in the background are on the wrong sides. The spire of St. Martin-in-the-fields should be on the right, not the left. Well, the only photo of the square I could find from this angle had too much space to the right of the column and not enough on the left, where the action happened. So I reversed it. Actually I reckon St. Martins looks better there).

The doomsday bus that the nuns warned me about (see Tapestry 3) lurks in the background.

The borders reflect on violence that was going on elsewhere in the world. The Cuba crisis, the Kennedy assassination, the Kray brothers. Mods invading Margate on their Lambrettas. 

And two examples of sanctioned aggression - scouts boxing in approved style (I had two bouts but never had a punch landed on me because I was nimble-footed and terrified of being hit), and the TV cop show Z-Cars which showed a country brought up on 'Dixon of Dock Green' that policeman are as capable of illegitimate violence as criminals (who'd have thought it?).

Although we were scared of it, we laughed at all the violence at the time. But it got poor Paul in the end. Rest in peace mate.