Govett-Brewster as an emerging and awkward teenager ca. 1985. We’d purloined tickets through my father’s business being stockists of the sponsors – Kodak, from memory. I don’t remember a lot – wearing a black and white shirt, lots of people and stairs, a glimpse into a world that equally awed and terrified me.
Somewhere along the line it must have impacted though, subsequently acquiring, as I did, a degree in art history, a job at the Govett-Brewster for a fashion, quite a few pieces of and books about art, and an insight into a world that still equally awes and terrifies me.
I was reminded of all this on Saturday, when we took Jasper to the Cafe Govett-Brewster for a celebratory birthday fluffy (him) and to check out the new exhibitions (us). He went in armed with his new modern take on an Etch-a-Sketch (birthday present), with which we drew a bunny rabbit in honour of Peter Peryer’s Hare, and an upside down ship which was still installed from the previous show.
We bravely ventured into Gallery 4, which previously held the ‘bouncy castle’ – much feared because of its loud noise – to see Fiona Pardington’s new works The Pressure of Sunlight Falling, and nervously and hastily looked beyond the barrier ropes and into the darkened spaces that were still in changeover, before retreating to the safety of the main gallery via a lift ride.
On leaving, the half-dozen or so gallery staff present in and around the foyer delivered a stunning rendition of Happy Birthday to a very chuffed, if slightly shy, birthday boy.
One day I hope to look back and be able to think to myself “that was when it all began.”