Many years ago, when I was at school and the bane of all teachers there, I was urged to syphon some of my bottemless well of anarchic energy into joining the school play. Initially I was opposed to the idea but when a very shrewd teacher pointed out that I could play to the gallery as much as I wanted in the play and it would be seen as a good thing; that it would layer me with plaudits and my rambunctious sense of the ridiculous would gain me accolades from my teachers and not detention, which was their course of action to my fun loving attitude.
I thought for a while then decided to audition for three parts in the play, and I was shocked to find I was offered all three. This sent all kinds of wrong messages to my ego. So far as I was concerned I was a natural, a prodigy and future recipient of the Gielgud Award for Acting Excellence. The probable truth was that the teachers had colluded to offer me any part I wanted, just so long as it drained my energy a little, and took the edge off me during their classes.
But what ever the reason, I actually really enjoyed it. The play was a huge success, the original music score, written as it was by our music teacher and one of the English masters, was deemed so good that the BBC asked us all to come to their studios and cut a record. But most importantly, I got to meet a gang of kids that I would not under normal circumstances have come into contact with.
And one of them, and my reason for writing this blog, was a true prodigy called Ian Blick; a genius who used to sit in the music room on rainy lunchtimes and play the piano like an old bar room crooner. He would talk, listen, take requests and inbetween, treat us to his own, remarkable compositions.
Now the name of this post is called 'Deja Vu' for a reason. Because when I left school I left the area, leaving behind a lot of childhood friends as well as the new ones I'd made during those fun days of the school play--- Ian amongst them. So imagine my surprise when I get an email, out of the blue from Ian, who is now a music teacher and also a composer of school plays.
After thirty odd years of no contact, the first time we re- established a connection was Ian asking me to illustrate the covers for the plays he'd written the music for.
Some times life just doles out stuff for which there can be no explanation; like how, after all these years did we re connect, and what were the odds that two independent school kids, who were part of the same play should re connect after so many years, just get together over a school play project.
I'm very grateful for having met back up with Ian and so glad that he's doing what he was obviously built for, and his plays are bringing out illustrations from me that I am actually very proud of.
The pieces I've shown here are the first two; there are more to follow
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