Tuesday, 10 September 2013

No news is good news

About a year ago I held an exhibition because I was angry.

Five years previously, a group of young men with the strength of adults and the judgement of spiteful children beat up a 'mosher' for no reason other than to exercise their aggression.
When his girlfriend intervened, they turned on her and killed her.
In their minds they were entitled to single out victims for recreational violence, and anyone who got in their way invited the same treatment.

It made me angry then, and it still makes me angry now, mainly because I'm powerless to do anything about it.

Painting a few pictures, raising a few quid for the charity, inviting people to think about it comes a poor second to the significance of what happened.

For those close to Sophie Lancaster, that moment will walk one step behind them for the rest of their lives.

Fast forward six years to the Harbourside Festival in sunny Bristol.

We all meet up and have the sort of day that you'd expect.
A mixture of young and old, youthful exuberance and grown ups being daft; music and beer and telling people whose names you can't remember that you love them  ( "but not in a funny way..." ).

We all go our separate ways, but later on two of our group walk into trouble.

It's the usual depressingly familiar scene of hate fuelled violence.
Ugly, relentless and dangerously out of control, the victim incapable of offering resistance.

By intervening, the son of our family friend broke the flow of the attack but in doing so made himself the target.

He wound up with a few bruises and a chipped tooth, but he'd defused the moment enough for others to assist, for the violence to fade, for help to arrive.

It's entirely possible he saved a young man's life.

He's off to uni now, his future bright, his smile restored thanks to the wonders of modern dentistry and his cheerful enthusiasm undiminished.

There's no headlines in the paper, no Daily Mail tub thumping about "Broken Britain Ruled By Thugs", no bedside vigil, no need for charity fundraising, no moment when the clock stopped.

There's nothing to report.

And that's as good a reason as I can think of for painting someones portrait.


  1. It's a very sad story but a great painting. Good work.

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for that; appreciate your comment.
      I try to only paint subjects that really mean something to me.

  2. Hey James,

    Jeeze you know how to paint em'. The story touched me greatly and I know the anger you were feeling. It was a pleasure to meet you in Bali and we must keep the plan alive still..
    Much love
    Jerseybob and Monika x