Afterimage : A Remembrance Piece

After hearing the news of Neil Peart’s death earlier this week – my thoughts turned to how I might acknowledge his life through the free art project. I wanted to reference his lyrics and connect these with a design familiar to Rush fans.

The song Afterimage opens with the lines:

Suddenly, you were gone

From all the lives you left your mark upon

N Peart

The song later begins to conclude with:

I learned your love for life

I feel the way that you would

I feel your presence

I remember

N Peart

Neil Peart was a private person, and news of his ill health had successfully been kept from the media – so in that respect, his death came as a shock. These words feel apt.

As an image – I chose to adapt the Rush Starman design originally by Hugh Syme. Peart once described the design as ‘the abstract man against the masses’. I’ve chosen to represent the design with tiny dots – and sought to create a fading out appearance towards the bottom of the design. ‘Afterimage’ will be the next free art drop and it will be accompanied by a print out of this blog post.

‘Afterimage’ adapted from an original design by Hugh Syme

Neil Peart : Rest In Peace

Waiting For The Band : R40 : Columbus Ohio

Rush. I have so many memories associated with this band. As I emerged from my fascination with punk and new wave, they offered something completely different, Rush became and stayed a guilty pleasure through the 1980s. Going to see them at the old Wembley Arena became a habit, and though I became less interested in their music in the 90s, I returned with renewed excitement in the 00s and beyond. The last three tours, Time Machine, Clockwork Angels, and R40 were all very, very special.

My excellent friend Curly and I went to the O2 for the Time Machine and it was pure joy – slightly helped by the fact that I managed to sneak a really nice bottle of wine into the venue up my coat sleeve.

I took the equally excellent Ade, and Curly to Clockwork Angels as a thank you for their support in the aftermath of the death of my Dad. We popped a bottle of champagne over the Thames on the riverbus, and though for me there was a tinge of sadness around the gig (2 reasons – thinking of Dad and I spilled a whole pint of overpriced beer!) the music was perfect and we got to see Rush perform The Garden – it only happened on this tour. For me, The Garden is the ultimate song about death, about passing, about what if anything remains. Beautiful and fitting.

When Rush announced the R40 tour there was no European leg. I was 50 when they toured, and I had some work planned in the USA (thank you Laurie I’ll never forget your kindness). The very lovely Carole suggested I try to link the work with the tour – and so I bought myself a ticket to see Rush live in Columbus Ohio. I travelled via Summer Brandcamp where I got to hang out with Dwane, Jason, Laurie, Michael, Jonathan, Amanda and many others, at an outstanding event which changed me for the better. I went on through Cleveland, spending excellent time with friends Tammy and Frank, before driving down to Columbus which included a brief stop to meet Jackie and some of her colleagues. The Columbus gig was excellent. This was the first and only time I saw Rush perform live without a friend to accompany me, and I watched them bring the curtain down in spectacular fashion.

I love how music and other art forms are able to get under the skin – connect you with others, move you, raise you, and drop you too. I never got to meet Neil Peart – but I couldn’t be happier that Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson did. Neil Peart. 12/09/1952 : 07/01/2020 <3

Spaces in Between – Part Three

I was on the train home from a celebration last Friday when I stuck these words on Facebook:

‘Forget neat and tidy. It’s the gaps, the spaces in between which leave room, for you and I to grow.’

I confess – these words are not entirely mine, there’s a heavy borrow in there from the wonderful lyricist Mr Neil Peart. I’ll quote him fully later.

I also confess to being a little drunk at the time of scribbling, though thankfully nowhere near as smashed as the guy Keira and I saw earlier that day being helped across the road at the traffic lights. ‘There goes the drunkest man I’ve ever seen’, said Keira. He was wobbling all over the street. Anyway, where were we…

Ah yes, spaces in between. My friend Nigel Bird contributed to the flow with this:

True. The solid properties of matter are illusionary – matter is made out of atoms, which are 99% empty space, yet we see & experience it as being solid. Everything is just space with a few particles spinning around. And energy. Space and energy. Thats what it all is.

A few more likes and comments followed and then I walked up the hill to home and bed. The End.

Except not this time. On Saturday I awoke and scribbled Part one of Spaces in Between, then Ian Pettigrew and I had a useful exchange on Twitter about frameworks, models and spaces. On Sunday Part Two followed and here we are on Monday in the home straight.

Forget neat and tidy. It’s the gaps, the spaces in between which leave room, for you and I to grow.

Those gaps are full of:









And much, much more besides

I guess this Friday to Monday meander has been as much about the acceptance of the randomness of change as it has anything. As human beings we’re all unpredictable, flawed and a lot bit out of whack. We don’t often fit the mould, and yet a lot of time, effort, energy and resource is expended trying and failing to get us to fit. I understand that sometimes people need and appreciate a framework, a model, a lens through which to operate. And not always. Sometimes we just need to recognise the differences, appreciate the differences and let those differences help us to do our best work.

Heather Bussing puts it like this:

We have mixed feelings about most things, most of the time. Our culture and our brains like to label everything as either good or bad, black or white. But when we do that, we leave out all the other colors, feelings, and possibilities for insight. Things are not inherently good or bad. They just are. The way we view things is entirely dependent on whether what is happening is what we want. But when we can put that down, there’s a chance to see more clearly. Then whole new options begin to open up.

And Neil Peart puts it like this:

We are secrets to each other
Each one’s life a novel
No-one else has read.
Even joined in bonds of love,
We’re linked to one another
By such slender threads.

Just between us,
I think it’s time for us to recognize
The differences we sometimes fear to show.
Just between us,
I think it’s time for us to realize
The spaces in between
Leave room for you and I to grow.

Have a great week.