20 things...

Earlier this year I met someone, I say 'met', it was all communication via email, with the occasional trans-atlantic phone call. It's a long story. Aren't they always? It's over now...

In wanting to know more about each other, we would list '20 Things...' on a topic chosen by the other. An interesting task for writing too. 20 things about summer. About women. About anything. I had saved most of them, and I had been thinking about sharing one or two of them maybe. Some are perhaps a bit too personal, and written directly to her, but some like this are more open.

So here's one I thought I'd share, here we have...

20 Things That Have Shaped Me. 

  1. The Blues. From John Lee Hooker to Led Zeppelin. 
  2. Atlantic Soul. Aretha, Otis, Booker T, etc
  3. Books, in particular Robert A Heinlein and Douglas Adams in my youth, Hunter S Thompson and Phillip K Dick in my 20s, Charles Bukowski in my 40s, and as for my 30s...
  4. Photography, at an academic level. The critical appreciation of photographs, and photographers, in particular...
  5. The life and work of Diane Arbus. Too important to briefly skim in a list. One for discussion in person. 
  6. Similarly, the life and work of Don McCullin. 
  7. Star Trek, which pushed me towards science and...
  8. Astronomy, which captivated my mind and imagination. 
  9. Poetry, although only within the last 5 years. 
  10. My mother, who always supported, and sponsored me and my art. 
  11. Manchester, which believed in me, and inspired me, and made me feel like someone better. 
  12. The work and art of Reuben Negron, who became a friend, and a mutual supporter of my work. 
  13. Alcohol. Helps clear my mind when things turn bad, helps me get shit done. Another tale for another time. 
  14. My friend Katie. Dancer, saucy cabaret performer, and the original model for my abstract work in 2012, which got noticed around the world. 
  15. Motorbikes. The reckless freedom, the danger of pushing myself closer to the edge. 
  16. The female nude, which had driven me to want to study and capture it (as in photograph, draw, art, not kidnapping) as best as I can. I still haven't succeeded to my expectations yet. 
  17. The Big Lebowski. More than just a film, a way of life. 
  18. Depression. 
  19. All the women who fucked with my head, and inspired me to start writing. 
  20. Having a bad ass motherfucking beard before the beard boom.