Published On: Fri, Sep 6th, 2013

Song of The Freaks – S. Sinclair Thomson

Song of The Freaks - S. Sinclair Thomson

So, I’m standing there, trying not to stare at her too much, trying not to drink so much that I would no longer be standing there, but staggering up and down the bar looking for the cooker, when I’m surprised and a little bewildered to be suddenly launched into a deep conversation with David Richardson.  He was an artist, whose work, he claimed, was on display in the art galleries just across the road from this den of arty beers and insane wines. Before I know it, this guy had rolled off twenty cities and twelve countries he’d visited in recent times and he’d also managed to establish, within a few short sentences, that I was quite smitten by the barmaid, that I was a struggling writer and was completely skint, lacking all self-belief and was rolling the dice of chance once more into schizoid territory. Quickly drawing me into his world of the pursuit of arts and globe trotting discovery escapades, within a short while, in my very accidentally drunken state, I was held captive by this man’s energetic discourse.

Here I was, the storyteller, enthralled by this accomplished artist, unable to escape his vocal paintbrush as the mob of drinkers around us faded into a background melody and I forgot all about the existence of the woman I had sought to engage in a similar conversation. Before I knew how much time had passed, David was gone with the breeze, leaving me the website containing his works and last orders were being called at the bar.

Blinking, I turned my gaze back to the barmaid.

‘Just ask her out’, David had said, before I had mumbled on about the busy environment and her status of being at work. Suddenly realizing that it was last orders for sure, I looked into the dregs of my pint, considered my life in comparison, threw down the last mouthful and…

‘Kirsten!’ I emotively screeched, bringing a sudden silence all around. I stared at an invisible spot two feet from my face, off in another direction, dread filling my being.

‘Um, I’ll maybe talk to you later’, was all I could manage, before I quickly made my escape with the full revelation that I was stupendously drunk and incapable of stringing together a sentence.

So the next morning, after going through all the motions of self-recrimination and general terror and guilt, I sit in the coffee shop and browse through this man’s website, through the galleries on display and find that his works capture the spirit of our encounter to the fullest extent. Weird, bizarre depictions of various sights and sounds of Glasgow’s West End merge with even more exotic and stylish images revolving around the city of Barcelona.

A second gallery collection browses through a dream-like gathering of surreal art, each work punching through the psyche with various compositions of human emotion and thought, of the stranger side of reality and life. A third collection is a display of murals and portraits composed with all the finesse I had quickly come to expect from this adventurer and artist, whose incredibly sharp and penetrating eye and wrenched me into a netherworld of visual and transcendental otherness  which made one hear the song of the freaks. I accepted that if talent this vibrant can sweep through your own path of experience and leave you feeling a little more enlightened and that perhaps this awakening is spreading, from Glasgow to Barcelona and further in the winds, into the surreal of the human mind itself.

Full of excitement and wonder, I resolved to investigate his display first hand, and trailed back along to the Art Galleries. Wandering through the tremendous amalgamation there, I kept asking staff about this exhibition I’d heard about, where it was and finally I spoke to a pair of gentlemen at the main desk, one of whom claimed to know David, saying that he was ‘some guy’, but no, there was no such display on at the moment.

Directed up towards a showcase building near the Oran Mor, I quickly became lost in the sprawl of Byres Road and abandoning my search, I settled for the craft fair in the Botanical Gardens. Tired, spaced, hung-over, I made for home, sealed myself inside and wondered how long it would take for people to forget the freak from the night before. Fully aware that The Brew Dog is really my dream bar and a world renown operation, I contemplated that deepest of crushes and began to consider the realities of living in Antarctica. But, thinking back on the intervention of David Richardson, I realize I can’t do that just yet, as there would be nowhere to hang his paintings.