Friday, May 18, 2012
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.
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.