After last night’s totally exhausting show in Glasgow, the mind and body needs rest.
And so I hopped aboard a train for a 2-hour ride over to Dundee, Scotland to fulfil a personal pilgrimage to meet a living legend. All aboard!
You will recall in my first “Load-In” segment I shared with you the seeds of my Alice Cooper affection that were sown in Germany. While I loved the colourful pictures and posters of my POP idols, I could not read the accompanying German text. So I would purchase the British music weekly Melody Maker for the English narrative. With each issue, I would marvel at the simplistically brilliant black & white caricature art by Jimmy Thomson.
From 1960 through 1978, Jimmy Thomson created a weekly caricature of a music personality to smile back at the Melody Maker readers. Those images symbolized an artistic style emblematic of the times… akin to the “big eyes” style of Margaret Keane. It is just fine that the highly acclaimed can morph into kitschy… art is truly in the eye of the beholder.
The beautifully intrusive nature of the Internet afforded me the license to find and reach out to the living legend who is Jimmy Thomson, resident of Dundee, Scotland. To my delight a friendship has grown over the years that I can easily attest is as valued as the +100 pieces of incredible Jimmy Thomson art in my collection. With the Alice Cooper tour coming so close, I had to make plans to visit Mr. Jimmy and Dundee.
A finely dressed gentleman in the true sense of the word greeted me like a returning friend on the railway platform. We wandered the narrow streets and historic Howff cemetery that dates back to 1564, met Jimmy’s bride Stella and visited the wondrous McManus Gallery and then lunch at the Italian Grill. Pretty sure my feet floated over Dundee’s cobblestone streets. Blessed.
I presented Mr. Jimmy with an Alice signed litho of my most favourite piece “Alice Cooper” (Thomson – Nov 1972) and a copy of Dennis’ “Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!” Jimmy was teary-eyed when reading Dennis’ emotive inscription: “From one melody maker to another melody maker… we still got a long way to go.“
And while I was on my sojourn for the day, Dennis aka “Dr. Dreary” held a book-signing at Birmingham’s Swordfish Records. The event was also steamed live on FB. With a constant line of fans that snaked out the door, Dennis took time with each person to share a story or five, sign his book and collectables that had been brought along.
It is often said that we should not meet our idols, for our expectations will most certainly be disappointed by these mere mortals. Well, I say “BOLLOCKS!”
As a fan, I have truly been blessed. Dennis and Jimmy are the epitome of class and they are equally appreciative and acknowledge that their acclaim and success is dependent upon their ability to connect with those who appreciate their art or music.
And the day ended with a six-hour train ride and a nightcap toast among friends.
Just don’t wake me up… I am caught in this dream.