Friday, May 18, 2012

The Fairy Godmother



Meet my Fairy Godmother – he’s the one on the right. The one on the left, is a latex doppelganger, conceived back in the era of Spitting Image puppetry and the satirical UK television series. The larger than life version, was born with a glint of evil in his eye, a shocker of a temper (bellowing roar to match) and a talent for the foulest vocabulary. To this day, I have only Fairy Godmother Roger’s influence, to credit for our full-to-the-brim-and-overflowing swear jar.

Roger Law was also born with a heart of gold, though he’d deny it to the death. He disguises his acts of fairy godmotherliness in a veil of self-interest. As the creative director of Spitting Image for 13 years, capitalist (it used to say so on the business cards) and artist, he markets the employment of the latest young upstart for the advantages of enthusiasm and cheap labour. From the young upstart’s point of view, Roger presents only exciting possibility.

I met Roger at the AGIdeas design conference in Melbourne. I was his ‘minder’. Collecting a jetlagged, two-metres-taller-than-me, long-haul-from-the-UK, non-driving, backseat-driver in the wee small hours, inspires a certain level of fear. Deirdre Amsden, Roger’s wife, who was born talented, gorgeous and Thank God A Diplomat, (as well as considerably shorter and more conducive to good-humoured, sardine-like air travel), typically smoothed things over.

Later that year, with one week of a design degree remaining, I received a bolt-from-the-blue call from Rog. Did I fancy coming over to London to work on the final series of Spitting Image and could I start in ten days? Born with a gene prone to fabulous bolt-from-the-blue opportunity, I’d committed an unhesitant YES before I’d put down the phone.

I never did work as a line producer on the show, but I did play at Assistant Puppet Co-ordinator on set, hanging out on reception inbetween. As it turns out, I wasn’t born with the single-minded, eat-’em-alive drive of a TV producer – but geez, I had a heck of a lot of fun finding out. After four months, the show and an era ended, then Roger bumped into his mate, (my other Fairy Godmother) and pushed me onto the right career path.

As it happens, Roger is also my Mr’s fairy godmother. Straight out of the Royal College, the Mr landed a job as a sculptor for Spitting Image. It is therefore a lot Roger’s fault, that the Mr and I are the Mr and I. For our wedding gift we were presented with not one – but two – of Roger’s framed paintings, (the explanation in the inscriptions is: “in case of divorce”).

My Mr and I watched Artscape on Tuesday night. Both of us wore great, ridiculous grins for half an hour. This is because we were reminded that there is something else that Roger was born with. It’s a bit intangible this ‘something’. It’s a bit bloody-minded determination. It’s a lot to do with that eye glint, that palpable obsession with his craft(s) and a booming enthusiasm. Mostly it’s his infectious living life LARGE. There is no regret. There is a truckload of mistakes, tailgated by three lorry loads of swearing, and a crashing write-off of lessons learned. To top it all, the Fairy Godmother has a heartstopping talent. His ceramics are breathtaking. He draws in infinite beauty.

I don’t think I ever said a proper thank you.

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The ABC’s ‘Artscape’ programme, ‘A Law Unto Himself’ is one heck of a worthwhile, half hour watch, currently easily accessible on iView.

Watch out Sydney, Roger is back in town! His latest exhibition, ‘Travelling Light’ is on at the Mary Place Gallery, May 15 to May 20.

15 comments:

Mrs Smith said...

What a great character! How lucky you are to have such a fantastic personality in your life.Here's cheers to those out-there buggers who live life large!
Great post. i am off to watch the show

Kylie said...

Wow! What a wonderful influence / mentor/ co-conspirator to have in your lives!! LOVE the wedding present(s) quip - there was a hoot of laughter here ;) Cheeky bugger. I'm off to watch the show too. Thanks for this Mrs - another great post :) Kx

jennie said...

Oh WOW!
Saw this the other night and really really loved it.
I new nothing about the Spitting Image creator. I love how he paints, and his ceramics are amazing -
inspiration all round.x

lamina@do a bit said...

WOW... what an inspiring man! I never really liked the spitting image series (probably because I'm not into politics) but I can appreciate all the hard work!
Love his new works... amazing... just makes you want to rush out, get creative and do some pottery! What an interesting man... thank you for bringing Roger to our attention :)

Flaming Nora said...

What a brilliant story. He is a bit of a hero round here. We spent our teenage and early 20's being corrupted by spitting image. I suspect I had a healthy disregard for authority before, but it certainly helped!

A Peppermint Penguin said...

I think you are way too cool. You sure you should still speak to a square like me?!

trudi@maudeandme said...

Another WOW from me!!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Probably a nightmare to work for , but what a wonderful adventure . And with Mr. as a bonus !!

And , thanks to the link , I've just seen the Chinese drawings . We were at an All-You-Can -Wok place last week and his maitresse d' bore an uncanny resemblance ....

flowerpress said...

We happened to see the end of that the other night, what a whirlwind! Loved the bits in China (in china), he's obviously a real talent.
Nice to hear your how you met story too, I love those :-)

Suse said...

I thought your fairy godmother was Brian Blessed until I read a little further.

(Or BRIAN BLESSED as he is known here. In big shouty capitals).

Libby Morris said...

thank you! WOW!

Loz and Dinny said...

So this is the 'puppet show' where you and the Mr met! Brilliant! What a lovely fairy godmother to have!

silverpebble said...

Are you SERIOUS???? *never again washes hands after clicking onto your blog*

P.S. BRIAN BLESSED is on twitter. You'll be able to hear him from there.

Jo James said...

I love him already! Lucky lucky you! And lucky him for getting to have you. I'm in dire need of some fairy godmothering myself just about now. I wonder if there's some sort of matchmaking service :)

His ceramics are SO so so amazing. Wow, what a talent!

Stomper Girl said...

I watched that show and thought of you! He looks a larger-than-life talent. I also really liked how affectionate he and his wife seemed to be.

What a fantastic wedding present, did you ever have a fight over who'd get which one in the event of a divorce?