Logan, Andrew - The British Guide to Showing Off
Type of spiritual experience
A description of the experience
From Stephen Applebaum: Culture Web - Flamboyant London artist Andrew Logan, 66, discusses Jes Benstock's affectionate documentary The British Guide to Showing Off
............“ my message is about joy and happiness. Celebrating life. I think people forget it, don't they? They have so many pressures. So I'm hopefully there to be able to encourage them to realise this fact.”
Are you, in a way, giving people the space to play in that your parents seem to have given you and your siblings as children?
“I hand't thought of it like that, Stephen, but I think perhaps you're right. Yes, you're given a framework and you [play] within it. I give the contestants the day and the place and the time and everything, and then they do anything they want.”
I wonder if people sometimes feel that they need permission to express the more outragous aspects of their personality, and that's what you give them?
“I think this is true. As I said, there are so many limitations being put on us all the time.”
In the film it mentions that you had an experience with acid. How defining was that in terms of the way that you subsequently pursued your art?
“It gave me the confidence to actually create the art. Until then I had been an architecture student and thought about making things and doing things, but never had. I didn't have the confidence, which I think a lot of young people don't. Mine happened to be through that little trip. I only had one and I never touched it ever again. But it can come through other ways as well. This event, possibly will give people that confidence or make them think suddenly they want a change.”
How important was becoming part of the London scene in the early 70s?
“I suppose the London at that time was very open and the artistic community was very small. And fashion, really, things were very open. You could just move one to another. Everyone had gone to New York in the Seventies, so London was ignored, which was fabulous, because it was like a playground. You could just do anything.”
You went to New York but it didn't work out for you. Why was it a bad fit for you?
“Well there was a famous gallery downtown, I think Any Warhol was exhibited there, and I showed the guy my book of sculptures I had done, the Biba roof garden and things, and he just looked up at me and said, 'Smiling is out this year. Good bye.' So, as I say in the film, I became almost an alcoholic. Everywhere I went I was rejected. Everywhere. I was just interested.”
You've never lost your kind of joyful outlook. Has it been difficult at times to retain that?
“Of course there's pressures and things. I think you have to work on these things. That's why I took up yoga, which I've been doing quite seriously. And it's funny because it was age 50, I think, when my body suddenly said, 'I want to do yoga.' It wasn't my decision, it just happened. It was announced.”
You say in the film that if something is not flowing then it's probably not supposed to happen. So is this how you have led your life in general?
“It may indicate another direction, yes. So if something happens it means you just have to step sideways and you'll see another door, and you go through that door.”
How did you feel what you watched the film for the first time?
“[Laughs] I felt very humble. And yet, one thing that I thought that was fantastic was that Jes has created an entity. Okay, it's about the Alternative Miss World and me, and Michael [Davis, his life partner] and my art, and life and everything, but he has created something that stood up by itself. I just thought that was magical. He had created this living being. The message of joy really. He had created the message.”
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Observation contributed by: John Bryant