In October/November this year, two of my favourite music people are going on tour together. I probably wont make it to see em, cos it’ll be in the States, so I decided to draw this in their eternal honour.
With the help of my dear old friend Steven Browne and his trusty motor car, I recently managed to escape the post-industrial dystopian City of Bradford for the day. We swapped it for the lovely town of Ilkely, which lies just 10 miles to the north. Though it’s not very far away, culturally, it is a different place in many ways. It made me imagine how a desperately lost Vandal or Visigoth might have felt if, after some amazing navigational errors, found himself alone & wandering the streets of ancient Rome at the height of it’s splendour. Barely able to understand the customs and the culture of the locals, I carried with me a gnawing feeling that I didn’t belong there and hoped I was doing just about enough to blend in.
Arriving in town, it was immediately clear that things worked a little differently around here. Everywhere, other drivers were polite and patient, displaying a level of manners I could hardly believe. It seemed that the vehicles people were in were not chosen for how obnoxiously loud the engine could be. I realised at some point that I had not seen anyone speeding, or behaving recklessly in any way. Once we were on foot with the pedestrian folk things were equally agreeable. I saw no one spitting or dropping their litter. I got shoulder-barged a grand total of 0 times. The clean & tidy state of things everywhere was a wonderful thing to behold. I felt safe.
No one would hurt me here. (For example: mugging)
It was £10 for a sandwich in a local cafe. Normally, I would assume such a thing was some sort of hilarious prank and laugh, but I felt so uncomfortably alien to this strange, stainless place that I didn’t even think to question it. Plus, a powerful instinct told me to fit in. When in Rome… (Or Ilkley, as was the case) then do as the Romans do. If they eat £10 sarnies here then you do it without question. It was probably like being mugged actually, albeit in the nicest way possible, and then fed afterwards.
When in Ilkley, it is also considered compulsory to visit it’s beloved natural feature, the cow and calf rocks up on the moor. While we were up there looking on the landscape below, it struck me that it somehow didn’t really matter to me that this was a sight of beauty. As an artist, it inspired in me no creative ideas. No brilliant & poetic revelations were bestowed. I just looked at it, and my brain went: “Yeah? So we can see a few more fields & trees than normal… So what?” and it duly switched itself off for the remainder of the visit. For whatever reason, I probably feel more inspired by the rough edges in life, the things that are wrong in the world, & the drama that entails from it.
In Ilkley, aside from the price of the sarnies, nothing seemed to be wrong. So I didn’t know what to say, think or feel. It was nice.