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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

A-Wop-bop-a-loo-lop a-lop-bam-boo! (The Dork's Tale)

Clockwise from left, Cool Carol Campbell with Cool Peter Capaldi his daughter Cicely), John Byrne, writer, artist and sultan of cool, Me (on the left) with my pal Irene...

The 1980s-inspired Tutti Frutti night at Glasgow School of Art's Vic Cafe in aid of the Steven Campbell Trust last Saturday night went off with a big en-routey.
According to Carol Campbell, the tally for the night was £28,000 (aided by the sale of a John Bellany painting) which got this fantastic charity off to a great start. The aim is to assist artists at key stages in their careers and has been set up in memory of the late Steven Campbell.
I nearly didn't make it due to childcare blip, but in the end my husband stayed with the kids and I did that most unparental of things... I spontaneously called my pal Irene, who said yes, she'd leave her husband in charge of her brood, and off we went.
Now, as you can see from the pic above - I'm the one on the left in the daft glasses duo - I'm not cool. Never have been, never will be. Have tried. have failed...
It was ever thus.
Now when I and young and easy under the apple boughs, I had a notion I'd like to go to Glasgow School of Art.
I remember going to a fashion show there with my school pal Laura when we were about 16 and it just felt like the coolest, most happening place on the planet.
The Mackintosh building was a sight for sore eyes. The atmosphere literally seeped from the walls and I just wanted to be there and be part of it.
It must have been around the time Steven Campbell was there, as it would have been 1981/2. I was doing Higher Art at the time and was reasonable at it if not touched by genius. I could probably have scraped in, and ironically, I'd have been good on the ideas stuff, which was coming to the fore at that time.
I ended up being steered away from this art school dream by my dad, who wanted me to follow the academic path that he had gone down. Probably wasn't suited to that either, but you do what you do...
Anyway, back to cool.
At some point on Saturday night, I felt as I might have felt all these years ago had I got into Glasgow School of Art. Quite dorky and shy.
The Vic Cafe is your typical student union. A bit tatty, with a wee stage and a dance floor and incredibly cheap drink. All that's missing in these days of a smoking ban is the smoke filling up the room.
On Saturday night, there was a mixed crowd in - but it still had the feel of an arty wedding in an unlikely venue - especially as The Bluebells belted out Young At Heart.
John Byrne? Yes, tick. Looking like the grooviest 70 year old on earth, albeit with not a gnasher in his head. Where does he get these customised jeans?
Peter Capaldi? Yes, tick. Looking, well pretty good actually from where I was sitting in his old stomping ground. (I know from having interviewed him though that even he felt dorky inside when he started at GSA...)
Carol Campbell and her brood were lighting up the dancefloor too, looking cool, cool, cool.
They all looked completely at home because this was their patch. The place where they'd sat for hours drinking and smoking and talking nonsense as students, with the odd dance inbetween.
Me? Well, I sipped my orange juice and did my dorkiest best not to look like I didn't fit in.
So if you were there, and you thought, there's that Jan Patience who writes about art in The Herald, she's quite standoffish - spare a thought for my inner-18-year-old self.
I'd have been murder on the dancefloor anyway...

To find out more about The Steven Campbell Trust, go to:


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