Firstly, thank you to Wickipedia. While reading, please compare with the economics, the state, education and the arts of today.
As we mourn the passing of Lemmy, David Bowie and Alan Rickman, I think we ought to also look to the future to remind politicians of the social landscapes that bred such great artists in the first place.
This is so our politicians may learn from successes that helped make the United Kingdom great, instead of running us all into the ground.
Alan Rickman was born in 1946 to a working class family in Acton. His mother, Margaret, was a housewife and father Bernard, a factory worker who died when Alan was 8, leaving his mother to raise her 4 children alone.
Still, Alan attended a local primary that practised Montessori teaching methods, won a scholariship to upper school where he started drama, then Chelsea School of Art and the Royal Academy of Art, before starting a graphic design company with friends. After 3 years of successful business, aged 26, he attended RADA as, he said: ” “Drama school wasn’t considered the sensible thing to do at 18”. Rickman then started out in rep and experimental theatre before landing RSC and screen roles.
Alan Rickman as Severus Snape.
David Bowie was born in Brixton in 1947 to his mother, Margaret, who was a waitress of Irish descent and his Welsh father Heywood, who was an events promoter for charity Barnardo’s. (My brother has done this on a voluntary basis).
Instead of being tied down by constant early academic tests, Bowie showed promise on the recorder and showed promise in the newly introduced Music and Movement aged 9.
His father’s salary afforded the purchase of many American 45s by artists including Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, the Platters, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Little Richard. Taking up the ukele, tea chest bass and piano, Bowie participated in skiffle music sessions with friends.
After 11 plus, Bowie went to Bromley Technical High School, which had emphasis on “languages, science and particularly design, where a collegiate atmosphere flourished” according to his biographer Christopher Sandford. Under the tutorship of Owen Frampton, a leader by personality not intellect, Bromley Tech “yielded the school’s most gifted pupils to the arts, a regime so liberal” that Frampton actively encouraged his own son to pursue a career in music.
Bowie studied art, music and design, including layout and typesetting and left the technical school aged 16 (not to be troubled by academic requirements again), a year after starting his first band who played at weddings and youth events. Aged 15 he declared to his parents his wish to become a pop star.
Heroes by David Bowie
Lemmy was born in Staffordshire in 1945, three months before his parents separated and his mother moved their family to Newcastle, then Madeley. Aged 10, his mother remarried a retired footballer and they moved to Wales, where Lemmy attended the local comprehensive and earned his nickname. He was the only English kid amongst 700 Welsh ones.
By the age of 16, Lemmy had left school, taken menial work at the Hotpoint electrical appliance factory, started playing guitar with bands and saw the Beatles play the Cavern in Liverpool.
Stockport was the scene of Lemmy’s start in music, after he followed a girl there aged 17. Aged 20 he joined the Rockin’ Vicars, signed to CBS, released 3 singles and toured Europe.
Aged 21, Lemmy moved to London (not likely to be possible today) and shared a flat with the bassist and manager of Jimi Hendriix Experience. He played with various bands until joining Hawkwind in 1971, aged 26.
Motorhead was the last song Lemmy wrote for Hawkwind, before forming a band called Bastard, which his manager said would guarantee they’d never play on TOTP. The rest, am sure you’ll agree is history.
With our government, it is very much history.
Motorhead, When the Sky Comes Looking For You:
Please circulate this to remind everyone how important it is to have art and music education, to be free to choose to leave aged 15, for education to be free and not-overly academic. To also remind the government how social mobility has gone down the chute and a full time job should provide sufficient income for a whole family to have enough to eat and a roof over their head.
Also, that scholarships, mature education, affordable accommodation and time for creative people to practise their art is an important way escape from peer pressure to conform amongst young people by way of cyberbullying and other onslaughts on the unique and creative soul.