THE LAST DAYS OF BELIEF (2)



INTRO

I was getting a bit worried about the silence from George in respect of the last two pages. However, in this last week of September, 2017, he's written:

'I’ve finally found the time needed to read your emails and read the text for the exhibitions. They do make me laugh. In my world this is not an insult but the highest compliment one can give or receive.'

I'm going to take these words at face value and carry on writing
The Last Days of Belief with gusto! I'll have failed in my purpose if the reader doesn't laugh at some stage when reading what follows. Not that such is the only response I'm after. Or even the main one. But the combination of surprise and stimulation that gives rise to laughter is important. Very.

Darren G provided the only image I have of the paintings that were on a second wall of Wilkinson Gallery from May to July of 2015, for the show 'The Last Days of Belief'. Here it is:

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George Shaw.The Last days of Belief. Installation view. Photo courtesy of Darren G and Wilkinson Gallery

I've been debating in which order to take the paintings which have titles inspired by (from left to right): The Jam, Madness, Simple Minds, Stiff Little Fingers, Motorhead, David Bowie and Japan (that last painting is out of shot).

Not such a relentlessly post-punk list of acts, especially towards the end. So I'm tempted to reverse the order and go, from right to left, Japan (out of shot), Bowie, Motorhead, Stiff Little Fingers, Simple Minds, Madness and Jam.

Fuck it, I'll just take them in any old order. Or rather, first, those that I can trace to the streets of Tile Hill. And then the three that are sited in the ever-mysterious woods.



ONE:
The Boys All Shout For Tomorrow

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George Shaw. The Boys All Shout For Tomorrow, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

I don't want to be too explicit, but George wasn't long out of the house when he came across this site. Would he have been singing 'Going Undeground' by The Jam as he walked along Roosevelt Drive? I can imagine he would have been back in March 1980 when it went straight to number one. What a rousing anthem! Listen
here and be transported.

"Some people might say... my life is in a rut
But I'm quite happy...
with what I've got.
People might say that I...
should strive for more
But I'm so happy I...
can't see the point."

Here's a Google shot of the site of the painting, taken in 2008. A harmless/charmless suburban scene one might think.

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But not from where Paul Weller stood shoulder to shoulder with his pacifist, socialist contemporaries in 1980:

"Something's happening here today
A show of strength with
your boy's brigade.
And I'm so happy and
you're so kind
You want more money -
of course I don't mind.
To buy nuclear textbooks
for atomic crimes
And the public gets what
the public wants

But I want nothing this society's got
I'm going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet
start to pound
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the boys all sing and let the boys all
shout for tomorrow."

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George Shaw. The Boys All Shout For Tomorrow, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

God, what a blast, eh? The painting and the song.

In this week's email, George told me that Mark E Smith once phoned to ask him if his paintings could be used on the artwork of
Reformation Post-TLC. And that Jerry Dammers of The Specials performed a version of 'Ghost Town' with his Spatial AKA at the Barbican some years ago with George's Tile Hill paintings as a projected backdrop. Surely, The Jam, if they still existed, would be playing a live version of 'Going Underground' with the three-piece standing on the pile of earth in the middle of Roosevelt Drive. Take it away boys:

"Some people might get some pleasure... out of hate
Me, I've enough already...
on my plate
People might need some...
tension to relax
Me, I'm too busy dodging...
between the flak."

Below is a photograph taken of the spot by Google in 2012.

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Has the road been dug up because of some trouble with the drain? Or simply to smooth the tarmac surface?

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I think I'm somewhat missing the point:

"We talk and we talk... until my head explodes
I turn on the news...
and my body froze
These braying sheep...
on my TV screen
Make this boy shout,
make this boy scream!"

George chucks his schoolbag (Jam decorated) to one side and he dives in. He dives right into the road. He'd rather be Kafka's mole than a pet dog happy to walk the suburban streets with its tail wagging obediently. Come on George, let's have you! Get in there! Under the skin of Tile Hill.

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George Shaw. The Boys All Shout For Tomorrow, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

"I'm going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet
start to pound
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the boys all sing and let the
boys all shout,
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet go
pow, pow, pow
Going underground (going underground)
So let the boys all sing and let the boys all s
hout for tomorrow."

Yeah!

I'll be coming back to that from another angle. See if I don't.



TWO
It's All The Same To Me

By the time our 14-year-old friend had turned a couple of corners (left onto the other bit of Roosevelt Drive, left onto Hawthorn Lane, left into Hawthorn Court) back in 1980, in his mind'e eye he had morphed from Paul Weller into Lemmy:

"If you like to gamble, I tell you I'm your man
You win some, lose some, it's all the same to me
The pleasure is to play, it makes no difference what you say
I don't share your greed, the only card I need is...
The Ace of Spades
The Ace of Spades."


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I'm afraid that song by Motorhead doesn't float my boat, especially not after the scintillating Jam. On the other hand, the George Shaw painting keeps me interested.

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George Shaw. It's All the Same to Me, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

What do I like about this painting? Well, what does it consist of? A row of council houses on one side of a fence. A magnificent sycamore (or plane) tree on the other side. It's autumn, which makes sense as 'The Ace of Spades' was released at the end of October, 1980, as a precursor to the album of the same name. Listen to it on Youtube,
here, if you can stand the bombast. Me? I'm thinking how quickly a human year can speed from revolutionary March to melancholy October.

George has already introduced the motif of the dangling rope in two of the paintings displayed in Dublin in 2013. The rope that might once have been used as a swing for youths but looks as if it might have a more sinister use in the mind of a depressed teenager.

tilehill3_0001.tilehill3_0001_2

After all, if Ian Curtis could hang himself in his own kitchen, surely a Tile Hill teen could do the same in a bit of common land at the bottom of the garden. And what would make a Tile Hill teen feel suicidal? Listening to the posturing lyrics and thrashing guitars of 'The Ace of Spades' for a start:

"I don't wanna live for ever
And don't forget the joker!

"I see it in your eyes, take one look and die
The only thing you see, you know it's gonna be...
the Ace of Spades
The Ace of Spades."

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George Shaw. It's All the Same to Me, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

Let's switch that OFF and tune in to a conversation between two Tile Hill parents looking out of their bedroom window:

Dad: "What's the lad up to?"

Mum: "Swinging."

Dad: "Swinging in a good way or swinging in a bad way?"

Mum: "He's got his headphones on. Lost to the world. Lost to our world, anyway."

Dad: "That's all right, then."




THREE:
Decadence and Pleasure Towns

A hypothetical boy, whether it be George Shaw or another, continues his 1980 walk by returning to Hawthorn Lane, turning right onto Frisby Road then left onto Bushberry Avenue. By the time he's crossing Jardine Crescent he's humming 'I Travel' by Simple Minds. Were Simple Minds an indie rock item back in 1980? Obviously they must have been, but I associate them with U2 and over-indulged stadium bands of the mid-80s

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"Travel round
I travel round
Decadence and pleasure towns
Tragedies, luxuries, statues, parks, galleries."


Just north of Jardine Crescent is three tower blocks. An important part of Tile Hill's topography and one that George Shaw has painted a few times. Below is a first look at the painting presently under consideration.

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George Shaw. Decadence and Pleasure Towns, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

The intervention being highlighted this time is the two brick pillars. As if survivors from a time when this area was the site of a country house. The pillars marking the ends of the drive, perhaps. Yeah, that just about hangs together.

"Travel round
I travel round
Decadence and pleasure towns
Tragedies, luxuries, statues, parks, galleries."


Below is the green-based tower in question (the three are colour-coded to help residents orientate themselves after a night out on the piss). However, from where this photo was taken there are no brick pillars to be seen.

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The aerial view below left shows the three tower blocks (in the centre of the image. The blue lines show where one can access views of the tower blocks via the Google Street View camera. The tower block in question being the bottom left of the three.

Screen shot 2017-10-02 at 13.45.53...........Screen shot 2017-09-30 at 11.59.58

In the aerial view, above right, I've marked where it's possible to get four distinct views of the green-based tower block:

The image below is from the bottom left of these four viewpoints. As you can see, it's from rather far away from the tower block:

Screen shot 2017-09-30 at 12.16.49

But by zooming in one can distinctly see one of the two brick pillars. See it in the centre of the image towards the bottom of the close-up?

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I think the pillar in the above photo is the left hand pillar in Shaw's painting.

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George Shaw. Decadence and Pleasure Towns, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

I've done all that without so much as even listening to the Simple Minds song. So I'll do that now thanks to
this link.

Hmm. Not bad, I suppose. Driving drums and keyboard; swooping vocals. In a word, portentous. Not a patch on the Jam, anyway. But more my thing than Lemmyhead.

"Travel round
I travel round
Post-war, heavy metal towns.
Tragedies, embarrassments, football posts, dog shit."

If Tile Hill is so much more than that facetious list, that's partly due to George Shaw. Partly to do with the Jam and partly to do with the Specials. I'll try to spell that out later.




FOUR:
If You Ever, Could It Ever Stop

It took me a while to find the location of the next painting. Plenty of time for me to get familiar with the Japan song, 'Quiet Life', that gives it its title.

"Boys, now the times are changing, the going could get rough
Boys, would that ever cross your mind?
Boys, are you contemplating moving out somewhere?
Boys, will you ever find the time?"


No way that Japan is a post-punk band. More like the start of a new wave of glam, influenced by Bowie, Roxy Music and other groups that emerged in the early seventies. Anyway, here's If You Ever, Could It Ever Stop.

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George Shaw. If You Ever, Could It Ever Stop, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

Three concrete bollards marking the end of a lane, blocking it for vehicles, crops up here and there in Tile Hill. After I'd found a few examples that weren't the right site, I considered the painting again and wondered whether that might be the Massey Ferguson tower in the misty background.


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I reckoned it might be. And I reckoned the view from just north of Tile Hill Wood might be about right. In other words, the view to the west from Hawthorn Lane. So I got on my Google bike and soon came across this.

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It's the railing that gives the game away, the curve as it changes direction. In other words, George Shaw was standing a few yards back from the concrete bollards when he took the photo that was the basis for the painting currently under consideration.

"Here we are stranded
Somehow it seems the same beware
Here comes the quiet life again."


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George Shaw. If You Ever, Could It Ever Stop, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

This painting transports me. Back in 1980 I worked in a tower block called Gillett House; I worked for a firm of Chartered Accountants called Dixon Wilson. It was a strange time. On the one hand, the music I listened to was a combination of glam and punk bands, principally, Bowie, the Fall, Elvis Costello and Pere Ubu. On the other hand, the exams I was passing were in Auditing, Management Accounts, Taxation and Financial Accounts.


"Boys, now the country's only miles away from here
Boys, do you recognise the signs?"

Something had to give. As soon as I passed the last exam and gained the initials A.C.A. to put after my name (Arse Cunt Arse), I gave in my notice and walked away from the tower block.

"Now as you turn to leave, never looking back
Will you think of me?
If you ever, could it ever
stop!"

Actually, I did go back to Gillett House a few times. For well-paid temporary assignments. I managed to temp for DW and others until 1987, at which point I just couldn't hack the emotional turmoil any more. On my nine months off months off, I was writing fiction, going to art exhibitions and listening to music. While working my three-month stint, I was doing none of that and drinking too much. I felt more dead than alive.

"If you ever, could it ever stop!"

Screen shot 2017-09-30 at 14.15.11
George Shaw. If You Ever, Could It Ever Stop, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

I particularly like this 'class' of Shaw's Tile Hill paintings, those that are dominated by horizontals. Like the others, this one is very calming, if you look at the layers, one by one. First, the pavement slabs, then the narrow strip of pavement tar, the river-like road, the far kerb, the far pavement, the roadside vegetation, the fence, and then the sky in the distance. A quiet - but exhilarating - life. A
quiet life, not a pointlessly noisy one doing other people's financial calculations for them. Of course, there are verticals as well, the three bollards in the middle-ground and the single tower - highlighted by a lamppost - in the background. There's joy in them there sticky up bits. More power to 'em!

The above painting is not dissimilar, structurally, to the one below, which was considered on the last page.

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George Shaw. Maybe I'm losing My Touch, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

And yet, there are differences. Which I won't bother to set out, as you can see them for yourself. Instead, I'll do something else.

In the aerial view below, I've marked where George Shaw stood looking towards the tower to make
If You Ever, Could It Ever Stop. This is a recent shot so the tower is not there, but a dusty patch of land marks where it once stood on Banner Lane.

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As it happens, George was on the tower side of Banner Lane looking towards the site of If You Ever, Could It Ever Stop when he took the photo from which Maybe I'm Losing My Touch was made.

In other words, there are many, many horizontal layers between the site of
Maybe I'm Losing My Touch and the site of If You Ever, Could it Ever Stop.

Maybe this would be a good time for George and I to have a chat. With luck our voices will carry across the fields that separate us.

Screen shot 2017-10-01 at 12.10.32

After all, if either of us wants to bail out, we can dive into the forest.

Me (shouting): "I've said a bit about Dixon Wilson. Have you anything to say about your relationship with Massey Ferguson? All I know is that your brother worked there and that reproductions of paintings were taken to the factory by him."

George (shouting): "I have got so much to say about it all. But I've said a good deal already in the paintings, my medium of choice. Anything else, I'd rather say in a pub over a pint."

Me (shouting): " Are you suggesting we meet up in the Black Prince? Or do you mean you'll write me an email from a pub in Devon?"

Silence.

In due course, I realise that the situation is this...

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I reckon George has retreated/advanced into the woods. Perhaps I'll bump into him there because that's where I'm going in order to carry on with this work.

The Jam, Motorhead, Simple Minds and Japan have accompanied me/you/us through the streets of Tile Hill. Stiff Little Fingers, Madness and David Bowie are waiting for all-comers in the woods themselves. Exciting or what!

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FIVE:
No-one is a Nobody

In the painting below, my eye sees that the word or name 'MAX' has been 'written' on the tree. But the marks are a combination of 'sculptural' gouges and 'painterly' black daubs. Was the painter the same person as the sculptor, with the same message in mind?

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George Shaw. No-one is a Nobody., 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

Let's look to the painting's title for guidance.
No-one is a Nobody. That's a line from a song by Stiff Little Fingers. I thought I had a single by them. But I've gone through my box of 45s and I must have been thinking of Scritti Pollitti or Swell Maps or Spizzenergi.

So let's turn to Youtube for help.
Here is Stiff Little Fingers performing on Top of the Pops in the summer of 1980. Oh, yeah I just about remember the bright and breezy delivery of that song. According to the comments on Youtube, the group is still going strong today. A lot of lyrics for a song so short and sweet, so let's edit down.

"You think you're nobody
And I get all the fun
But no-one is a nobody
Everyone is someone."

Fair enough. Max is a someone. Max is an M with an ax.

"Don't wanna be nobody's hero
Don't wanna be nobody's star
Don't wanna be nobody's hero
Get up, get out, be what you are
Be what you are."


Something ironic about a lead singer appearing on television, becoming an instant star while telling his equally young or younger audience that they should simply be themselves, there was no need to aspire to be a hero.




SIX:
Oh, What Fun We Had

Once again, the painting shows a scene where Tile Hill man has intervened in the given order. A tree has been cut down and its trunk sawn into seat-sized blocks. How often and by whom have these 'seats' been sat in, kicked over, kicked back again, sat on again, and so on? The name of the painting is
Oh What Fun We Had, which rings a bell. No sign of George in this neck of the woods. But let me sit down on a fifth seat and ponder the word 'Madness'.

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George Shaw. Oh What Fun We Had, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

Actually, I didn't like Madness that much back in 1980. I could see they had musical and visual flair, and were markedly original, but something about their determinedly working class stance distanced them from me. I could relate to the angry young man-ness of Elvis Costello, Mark E Smith, Kevin Rowlands, John Lydon and Paul Weller, but Madness seemed to be coming from more of a collective place.

Anyway
here goes, courtesy of Youtube:

"Naughty boys in nasty schools
Headmasters breaking all the rules
Having fun and playing fools
Smashing up the woodwork tools
All the teachers in the pub
Passing 'round the ready-rub
Trying not to think of when
The lunch-time bell will ring again.

Oh what fun we had
But, did it really turn out bad?
All I learnt at school
Was how to bend not break the rules
Oh what fun we had
But at the time it seemed so bad
Trying different ways
To make a difference to the days."

The song 'Baggy Trousers' is written (and sung) from the perspective of someone looking back on their schooldays with nostalgia. At the age of 23 I should have been able to do that, but couldn't quite identify with the secondary modern perspective (I had been in the final year of a grammar school that was morphing into a comprehensive). And at 14, George would surely have been too young to relate to the nostalgia of the song. Unless listening to it in the woods gave him a different take on his all-too-present schooldays. Can I imagine George and some chums sitting on slices of tree-trunk in the wood, listening to a radio emitting sound waves from the leafy ground in the midst of them?

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George Shaw. Oh What Fun We Had, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

"Headmaster's had enough to-day
All the kids have gone away
Gone to fight with next-door's school
Every term, that is the rule
Sits alone and bends his cane
Same old backsides again
All the small ones tell tall tales
Walking home and squashing snails.

"Lots of girls and lots of boys
Lots of smells and lots of noise
Playing football in the park
Kicking push-bikes after dark
Baggy trousers, dirty shirt
Pulling hair and eating dirt
Teacher comes to break it up
Back of the 'ead with a plastic cup."

Or is it easier to imagine the blocks of wood as members of the band? Suggsy in his trademark shades, a particularly expressive band member on mouth organ and the saxophonist flying through the air as he does in the 1980 video that appeared on Top of the Pops.

If, in the end, there's a disconnect between the painting and the song, that's because I'm giving too much weight to the source of the painting's title. So maybe it's not worth labouring that so much. Though I'm committed to such an approach, at least to the end of this page.




SEVEN:
She Had A Horror of Rooms

David Bowie was still in his first prime in 1980. The album
Scary Monsters was released that year. 'Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)' was the third single off it, released in January, 1981. So by including a line from it as a painting's title, Shaw is acknowledging that he knew the album it came from. Or am I being pedantic?

Actually, lots of punters had bought the album after seeing the video of 'Ashes to Ashes' on
Top of the Pops. But let's stick to 'Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). First, here's the painting:

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George Shaw. She Had a Horror of Rooms, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

"She had a horror of rooms, she was tired, you can't hide
Beat.
When I looked in her eyes, they were blue, but nobody
Home."


She had a horror of rooms so she fled to the leaf-smothered woods with a few sticks and boards? Maybe she even tried to make a den there with her bits and pieces. If so, that was an effort doomed to failure.

"Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared."


Cut to a parallel story. Cut to 1998 when David Bowie phoned me up to ask if his publishing company, 21, could publish my
Chinese Illustrations of the Path to Immortality.

At the time, I was living in a bedsit in Forest Hill, south London. As I had been since I'd given up accountancy altogether. In all, I had been trying for fifteen years to get stuff published. And had just succeeded with a wilfully naive book on contemporary art called
Personal Delivery. The relevant editor's initiative changed everything. It meant that - in other people's eyes - I wasn't a madman/idiot who had given up a secure salary only to waste his one and only life on 'the creative muse'. The publication of the book immediately led to a column in the Independent on Sunday that allowed me free rein to write about art in any way I wanted. It also led to the opportunity to write lavishly illustrated features on artists (such as George Shaw and Paul Noble) for an art magazine. But most dramatically it led to the call from darling David, the person on the planet I'd have put top of the list for having a one-to-one with.

I'd got out of the bath to take the call, the first time the landline had rung for over a week - even though this was the era before mobile phones - such was my self-imposed isolation. I had a big orange towel wrapped round me, curious to know who had got in touch. Immediately after the call, the orange towel was lying on the floor of my room, mixed up with wires and pieces of telephone.

OK I hadn't been at my coolest while talking to the individual who had first begun to save me from the negative side of suburbia as far back as 1972, when I'd been 14, with his
Top of the Pops appearance singing 'Starman'. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that during the call I'd been the super creep to his scary monster.

But eventually I had been composed enough to ask him which chapters he'd read of my
Chinese Illustrations. The answer revealed that Bowie had only got as far as chapter two, in which I said very nice things about his song 'Rebel, Rebel'.

Ah, David, you can phone me again anytime. Even if it's just to hear how highly I think of your
Blackstar. As for that first call, deep down I know it's real purpose was to congratulate me in moving from tower block to wild wood.




OUTRO

It's the Friday morning after the Thursday night
Top of the Pops featuring David Bowie's 'Ashes to Ashes'. The first showing of the most expensive music video ever made up until that point. In the song, while cowering in the corner of a padded room, Bowie sings:

"Time and again I tell myself
I'll stay clean tonight
But the little green wheels are following me
Oh no, not again."


I guess those lines about addiction would have meant more to me aged 23 than George Shaw aged 14. But I'm guessing that the image of Bowie in a pierrot costume, as he is throughout much of the video, meant something to both of us. Transforming our grey and tedious streets, as it were. I may, of course, be wrong, but I can see George leaving the house and instead of a pile of earth at the end of Roosevelt Drive, he sees this in his mind's eye:

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Still from Ashes to Ashes video. Reproduced without permission but with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder.

It's the Tile Hill bulldozer! In later years said bulldozer would do for several buildings flanking Jardine Crescent, but one extraordinary morning in the summer of 1980, George Shaw saw it blessing Roosevelt Drive with an overwhelmingly positive presence.

One of the reasons that Shaw's paintings of Tile Hill have an edge is all the influences he was under while he was living there. Not just the Francis Bacon paintings and the DH Lawrence books but, of course, the' pop' records and the TV shows. That's why the streets of Tile Hill are never just grey and boring. They always seem to imply the knowledge of how to break through to another dimension.

It's almost like an episode of
Doctor Who. The boy is in the front room all evening soaking up the rays emitted by the cathode tube. His mind lights up. The next morning, as he walks the streets, streaks of enlightenment - bolts of magic - keep firing from his mind, lighting up otherwise mundane scenes. Years later, what's left of the cathode rays - their honed-down essence - is squeezed back out of the eyes in the form of Humbrol enamel paint, meticulously positioned in lines on squares of board, permanently recording those instances of the mundane-made-magic.

Of course, the key program in this context was the one that's been mentioned so often on this page. Just as George Shaw called his first exhibition of 14 paintings, 'Scenes from the Passion', I feel that this 'last' exhibition could have been called 'Top of the Pops'.

The Jam, David Bowie, Stiff Little Fingers, Madness, the Clash, Dexys Midnight Runners, Echo and the Bunnymen, Japan, Motorhead, Simple Minds, the Specials, Joy Division all appeared repeatedly on Top of the Pops. Mark E Smith of the Fall was only on once, and it was deemed a disaster by the authorities. Elvis Costello was a fellow guest that time. And when one of Costello's band asked for another run through of their song for technical reasons, E Smith got up close and told him something along the lines of: "There's no point, pal. It was
shit the first time and it will always be shit."

Hence the importance of the radio in Tile Hill wood (or wherever). Youths listening to Radio One DJ, John Peel, who, from 1978 onwards, championed the Fall where others feared to tread.

OK where have I got to?

Familiarity with this evocative material over a number of days has taken me once again to the edge of Tile Hill. Accompanying me is a particular song. I hope you know it well enough from the previously given Youtube link to follow it with just the typed lyrics and a reproduced painting or two.

"Some people might say... my life is in a rut
But I'm quite happy... with what I got.
People might say that...
I should strive for more
But I'm so happy...
I can't see the point."

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George Shaw. If You Ever, Could It Ever Stop, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

"Something's happening here today
A show of strength with your boy's brigade
and I'm so happy and y
ou're so kind
You want more money,
of course I don't mind
To buy nuclear textbooks for
atomic crimes

And the public gets
what the public wants
But I want nothing t
his society's got
So I'm going underground
(Going underground)
Well the brass bands play and feet
START TO POUND
Going underground
(Going underground)
Well let the boys all sing and the boys all
shout for tomorrow."

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George Shaw. Maybe I'm losing My Touch, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

"Some people might get some pleasure... out of hate
Me, I've enough already... on my plate
People might need some...
tension to relax
Me, I'm too busy dodging...
between the flak

What you see is
what you get
You've made your bed, you
better lie in it
You choose your leaders and
place your trust
As their lies wash you down and their
promises rust
You'll see kidney machines replaced by
rockets and guns

And the public wants
what the public gets
But I don't get what t
his society wants
I'm going underground
(Going underground)
Well the brass bands play and feet
start to pound
Going underground
(Going underground)
So let the boys all sing and the boys all
shout for tomorrow."

Screen shot 2017-09-30 at 14.15.11
George Shaw. If You Ever, Could It Ever Stop, 2015: Humbrol enamel on board. 56 x 74.5cm

"We talk and we talk... until my head explodes
I turn on the news... and my body froze
The braying sheep...
on my TV screen
Make this boy shout... make this boy scream

Going underground
(Going underground)
Well the brass bands play and feet start to
POUND, POUND, POUND
Going underground
(Going underground)
So let the boys all sing and the boys all
shout for tomorrow."

Hang on a minute. If I'm not mistaken that's the grown-up 'boy' George in the distance. Let's just swop to aerial view to make sure...

Screen shot 2017-10-01 at 12.10.32

OK, this is too good an opportunity to miss. (Like I missed the opportunity to get David Bowie's email address back in 1998, when he offered it, cos I didn't yet have a computer and thought that email was an elitist form of communication that would never take off!!!)

"Hey, George, can I make a suggestion?"

"Yo, Duncan. Sure."

"I think you should call a painting
The Boys all Shout for Tomorrow.

"Already have done, mate."

"Yeah, but I'm thinking of
If You Ever, Could it Ever Stop. I'm suggesting you change it's title to The Boys All Shout For Tomorrow.... Have I said something funny?"

"I love it. It's a great idea. I'll just let Anthony know. And the owner of the painting."

"Tell them that the new title is
The Boys All Shout For Tomorrow (2). And while you're at it, how about letting Anthony and the owner of Maybe I'm Losing My Touch know that the new title of that rock-solid painting is The Boys All Shout For Tomorrow (3)."

"Great stuff, Duncan. Are we finished now?"

"I hope not. I've asked Poussin and Titian to meet us in the woods ASAP."

"I wonder what ASAP means to a Seventeenth Century Frenchman."

"Hopefully, we'll find out, even if it takes decades."






Acknowledgements

1) The images of George Shaw’s works on this site are copyright the artist.

2) Thanks to Google for the use of their Google Maps and associated tools.

3) Thanks to Darren G and Rik Rawling for providing images of the show.

4) I've quoted song lyrics without permission but with the forbearance, I hope, of the relevant copyright holders.