To paraphrase Dylan Thomas’ view that ‘the memories of childhood have no order and no end’ I would say that, for me, my memories of the Bluecoat have no order and no end.
I choose one, that of George Melly’s illustrated talk on Rene Magritte in June 1981, part of a week of fundraising/publicity events (to raise funds for the roof repairs badly needed at that time). George Melly’s mother had been one of the original Sandon Studios Society, the group that helped secure the future of the building in the 1920s as a centre for the arts. Good to mark the continuity of purpose, to move into another phase of keeping the building going. Even better to see the Bluecoat flourish and fulfil its mission in more ways than imaginable then.
George Melly had a carousel of slides of Magritte’s work and a list of titles, all he needed to speak fluently and amusingly for an hour or so (before going on to perform with John Chilton’s Feetwarmers for the rest of the evening). I asked if he needed a carafe of water, to which he gave the immortal reply ‘I never touch the stuff’. Salut George! To the past, present and, most importantly, the future of the Bluecoat – ever onward!
(Bluecoat 1980 – 1984)