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  • Writer's pictureAndrew J Bannister

Dark side of the 'Villa'...

One evening, back in early 1973, I was living at my fathers house and attending Art College in Eastbourne, UK. By choice, we had no television, instead we had a record player, a radio, a piano, drum kit, accordion, bagpipes and a guitar. My father was the resident carpenter at the Glyndebourne Opera House, and so we spent, what rare evenings we had without work, which was seldom, as I also worked evenings at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne on the lighting and sound,... discussing life and the mysteries of the universe. Smoking cigarettes, and with only candlelight to illuminate the evening. The discussions could be deep, very deep and 'meaningful' more about where we ( humans ) fitted into the cosmos of everything. Life, Death and everything in-between... A haze of smoke would slowly drift up and around my father, who had the talent of smoking an entire cigarette without any ash falling from it.. death in slow motion.. as he, many years later, succumbed to those inhalations...

It was either BBC radio three, or four, that had a program every week and which would air a new music recording, normally classical music, but that particular evening it was rock..much to the disgust of my father, but for me.. and I was introduced to probably the best selling record ever to have been recorded...Dark Side of the Moon, by Pink Floyd.

It was an introduction that I will never forget, it introduced me to a different type of music, because we normally listened to opera and the classics... but Pink Floyd were and remain as a part of my DNA, because when a piece of music hits you so hard and deep, it can remain with you, forever. It is almost beyond words and is a living memory.

My father, for awhile as the carpenter of the famous opera house, had the job of stripping out some old organ housings and replacing them with new. Part of that were some solid pine panels that were to be thrown away, but he had the smart idea to keep them and he set them aside for me to use for my art. Oil on wood. And so over several evenings, I listened to opera and painted abstracts on the wooden panels.. whilst listening to operas, which inspired me. One was called Ulysses... another was called Scheherazade... And I was totally inspired by those vinyl records, on our low cost record player, and I hope those paintings are still hanging in the house where I left them in Newmarket, UK.

So what has this to do with my architecture ? well to this very day I still have some of my most creative moments when listening to music, and the most played records of my creative time are, "Dark Side of the Moon", and "Wish You Were Here"..Pink Floyd of course... So it could be said that David, Richard, Mick and Roger are partly responsible for some of my creations...

If only I could be as inspirational as those boys.. ? maybe I am to some, but never to as many as they.

Architecture and design are truly a creative force, but architecture has to be linked to engineering and a host of practical issues and site management than any musical artist could never imagine.. However, the link between the genres of music and architecture are a bond of sound and vision inextricably connected by the common bond of creativity. Who knows, maybe some musicians look around them sometimes and are inspired by their surroundings, the buildings they live in or see across the way... Maybe ?

As an architect, designer and artist, a life without music for me would be a far worse place. I suppose I could be creative without it, and probably from time to time I have been, but given the choice, then a piece of music befitting my quest, certainly helps in the creative process. But would I call any of my designs after the name of the music I have listened to ?

Dark side of the "Villa"... Wish you were "Home" ... no, somehow its not quite the same... !

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