From Magnificent Murals To Favourite Five

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I have been fortunate to have some very talented musicians appear on the My 80s show, choosing their Favourite Five 80’s tracks. This week I can add an exceptionally talented artist to that list, because my special guest on this Thursday’s show is David ‘Gnasher’ Nash. Below are just a few examples of his work, more of which an be viewed on Gnasher’s website.

Illustrating how music and art can be mutually influential, Gnasher’s Favourite Five choices reflect not only his musical tastes but also the effect music has had upon him as an artist. Listen from 9pm this Thursday on Mad Wasp Radio.

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What Difference Does It Make?

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One legacy of growing up in the Eighties is believing that each and every one of us can make a difference. Whether it was going on protest marches, taking part in various sponsored events (the sponsored swim I did at school in the mid-Eighties is forever etched in my mind, as there was a thin layer of ice on the water surface of our outdoor pool, which had to be broken before we could get in to do our lengths!) or buying a charity record, we firmly believed that our efforts could, in some small way, change the world.

In today’s fast-paced climate, where technology seems to rule, and information overload can make a fundraising appeal seem like more white noise, how do you make yourself heard? The honest answer is, I don’t know. All I can tell you is what I know to be true. Firstly, there can be very few of our generation who has been unaffected by cancer, and the devastation it leaves on both the sufferer and their family. Secondly, no matter how small your contribution, it will still make a difference to changing the lives of others for the better. Which is why I want to bring your attention the fundraising efforts of David ‘Gnasher’ Nash.

Some of you may already be familiar with Norwich-based Gnasher’s murals and street art, such as this memorial piece of Robin Williams.

Robin Williams

More of his work can be viewed on Gnasher’s website, through which he can be contacted regarding prints he is selling to raise money for Colchester Cancer Centre. To further ensure that “Cancer Can Do One”, donations can also be made via his Just Giving page.

What difference does it make? You’ve only to look to your 80’s self for the answer.

Goodnight Vietnam

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Along with thousands, if not millions, of others, I am deeply saddened by reports today of the passing of Robin Williams. Young or old, there can be few people who do not have a favourite Williams’ character. My personal favourite was his portrayal of Adrian Cronauer, in the 1987 release “Good Morning Vietnam”. The role enabled him to show not only his dynamic energy, as he leapt from one mercilessly funny character to another, but allowed him to fully exhibit his acting talent through a range of emotions, both joyous and painful. We, his audience, felt his disbelief, anger and sense of betrayal, when he discovers his young friend’s true allegiances.

Williams’ ability to excel in the delivery of characters, beyond his better known comedy roles, was never better exhibited than in the 2002 release “One Hour Photo”. I found it incredibly uncomfortable to watch, as Williams immersed himself as Sy Parrish, a lonely photo lab technician, with an unhealthy fixation on the Yorkin family. Uncomfortable, but absolutely mesmerising.

I believe that in order to deliver such outstanding performances, an actor must have a strong empathy for the entire spectrum of the human psyche. That may come through an understanding of others, but can also come through an actor’s own life experiences. Sometimes, those life experiences manifest themselves behind the mask of comedy, as was the case with Robin Williams. He is certainly not the first master of comedy to hide behind the “tears of a clown”, which is why I have been surprised at the mass shock that his depression should result in him taking his own life. Anyone who has an addiction, has it for life, regardless of how long they have been “dry” or “clean”, and anyone who has suffered depression knows that it never really leaves you. It is always there, gnawing at the edges of your life. The trick is keeping it at bay, far enough so it doesn’t completely consume you. Unfortunately, even with all the love and support in the world, it is something the sufferer can only do for themselves. Sometimes, the struggle alone becomes too much to bear any longer. Let us hope Robin Williams has now finally found his peace.