27 Nov 2009

Kirk (Teasdale),Gateshead '07

This is the jaundiced specter of an angel of the north. Kirk forewarned me "look out for Bart(Simpson) in his mam's slippers." He'd travelled by public transport in his mother's baffies - his ankles were too swollen to fit his shoes. It was a bleak winter's day in Gateshead- verging on the Baltic. Nothing was going to stand between Kirk and a good blether, not even a recent liver transplant.
 I first met Kirk 18 years ago when he was the ebullient Geordie art-director of Time Out magazine. He had a reputation for bold commissioning and could bend ears like a clown with a box of balloons. Kirk summoned me into his office after being tickled by a photograph in which I'd coerced John Galliano to strip down to his loafers. Despite our local derby differences Kirk always fought my corner. He loved to book a ring-side seat at my shoots and embroider "the tale."
Kirk now, '09 Baltic Flour Mills, Gateshead

 Kirk has won his battle but keeps warring on; shirked the demons and the yella-fella but he'll never lower his guard. He's unburdening some of his emotional debt by creating a coordinated interface between transplant services, donors and recipients.
 In his time as an art-director Kirk discovered and nurtured many photographers who went on to lead successful careers. One pretender to benefit from his stewardship was fashion photographer John 'Rankin' Wardell who he spotted at a St.Martin's degree show. Kirk couldn't hold back telling me that Rankin had consented to shoot him for his recent 'Rankin Live' project and was rewarded with a commemorative 'Ranked' badge! The funny thing was, we couldn't see the irony - there was none to be found.
 I gave Kirk my hand and he resisted the temptation to be himself, choosing instead to parody a patient he'd observed in rehab. As I said, he can't help telling the tale - long may he keep spinning.