Showing posts with label Barrie Greenan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barrie Greenan. Show all posts

14 Mar 2010

An example of when the virtual world infiltrates the real - the unexpected and unintended consequences of social media;

email 1

  Hi Gavin my name's Gemma, I'm Barrie’s niece. I would really like to meet up with him, I haven't had any contact in about 3-4 years. If I was to go down to Argyle St would I be likely to see him? I'm happy to see someone is doing something to help him,* he’s a good guy. Reading you're blog has really touched me. I would appreciate it if you could find the time to get back to me as to where I could find him.
Thanks Gemma :)

email 2
  Hi Gavin, just to let you know I met up with my uncle Barrie earlier today, he’s looking great, I really enjoyed spending time with him, I’ve realised how much I’ve missed him. I'm meeting him again through the week or weekend, I’m glad to back in touch with him, thank you.

Correspondence reproduced with the express permission of Gemma – (Biopic) Barrie’s niece:
* Barrie is helping himself

10 Mar 2010

Barrie in Print

'Gavin Evans has immortalised icons... the acclaimed photographer... the result of the pair's time together, during which Barrie has been fighting an alcohol problem, is a unique collection of raw and compelling images...'

The Big Issue Magazine 8-14th March, 2010

The Big Issue Magazine has flagged-up the Barrie sessions but makes no mention of biopic and the iPhone app. Still, it's a start!

5 Mar 2010

biopic 02 chapter 7

Barrie turned up with a new cut, a benign cut - a hair cut. The scars on his head were now sharply revealed. "The two on the top were when I went through a windshield, the other was from a paving slab," the consequences of joyriding and betrayal.

It had been another one of those somber weeks that seem to shadow Barrie: his terminally ill friend passed away sooner than expected and yet another died from gambling - Anthrax Roulette. I'm amazed that his spirit hasn't been ground away by the constant knocks. Barrie assured me that (somehow) he's been attending AA and keeping a grip on the wheel, and reality.

We finished with another touch shot. This time he took my hand and pushed it to his outer limits. There was the merest of contact, but contact nevertheless. The previous touch was just an alcoholic aberration. He couldn't remember me taking the shot and was affronted to learn that he'd shaken my hand. “Oh aye, ah’d had a drink” were his mitigating circumstances.

You can’t kid a kidder, kidda.

17 Feb 2010

biopic 02 chapter 6

As the Pyramids of the M8 disappear from view I can't help thinking what lies ahead. The last time we met, Barrie had taken the wagon on one of his joy rides. It's cut and dry; he knows he has no option but to jack-in the booze. I don't condemn or judge him for his lapses - they're temporary. I'm not his social, case or care-worker, but naturally I care. Last orders have been rung but he's not ready to throw in the towel, not just yet and not without support. The best I can do is listen.

 Barrie was edgy and frayed - news of a friend diagnosed as terminally ill was compounded by the recent death of another from anthrax. I weighed-up the situation and decided to cut the session short.
  Barrie can't break the cycle alone - although he is giving it his best shot. When the wagon breaks down you need the assistance of an expert recovery service - something I can't provide. In the Saltmarket, only 50 yards from the Big Issue office, stands an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting house. I introduced Barrie to some familiar faces and accompanied him to an open meeting. 30 minutes in and he needed out; the speaker's story resonated too deeply.

You can lead a horse to water...

8 Feb 2010

biopic 02 chapter 5

 Barrie kept the appointment; determined not to let me or himself down. He entered the studio like a crash survivor stumbling from a wreckage. Barrie thought he could be drunk at the wheel of the wagon. He believed that he could pull the wool over my eyes, but his eyelids gave him away - they weighed down like a Buckie Monk's foot pressing on a grape.

 I've seen him drunk and rattled but never somnambulating shit-faced. It was painful to watch as he performed the hula - without the hoop. Conversation is in Desperanto, the Wegian vernacular slowed to a monotone slur.
 His boozin' buddies are his worst enemies, they'll fight to the bitter end to keep the marriage going. The only way he can move forward is to divorce himself from them and the culture. It is going to be tough; his brides are pernicious bunny boilers fueled by their faith in the spirit. 

 The lens was an empty optic and the only way to fill the stupoured voids was to play music. The soundtrack to Barrie's life is Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon.' I didn't have the LP on my iPod but I did have 'Comfortably Numb.' Barrie skipped with anticipation as I scrolled down the playlist. He held himself close and swayed like a father caressing his child. Word perfect he whispered the lyrics as if the song were a lullaby to an orphaned youth.

Once again I asked Barrie to take my hand and put it in the frame. This time, for the first time, he took my hand... he touched. I was under no delusion, we hadn't made a breakthrough. This wasn't the moment when we'd crossed the barrier - the drink had deceived him into dropping his guard.

28 Jan 2010

biopic 02 chapter 4

Barrie strode into into the studio with unerring accuracy and announced he was feeling "brand new." He hadn't taken anything and he wasn't reborn. Sure, he was reading from the script, but his words weren't slurred. He'd been distributing the Big Issue since 5am and was fired-up, for once he hadn't doused the flame at dawn. Barrie was alight; articulate, focused and funny - Barrie was sober.

"Jus' wan can," he proclaimed, as proud as Punch, "all weekend, jus' wan can!" Barrie had started reducing his alcohol intake a couple of months before the diagnosis. Since our last session he had faced the challenge head-on and squared-up to sobriety.

We made certain of the occasion, only too aware that this could be one of those fleeting moments - a glitch on the timeline.
  On our last encounter Barrie revealed the catalyst that spurred him to try heroin. Inspiration came when watching Trainspotting. The image of Ewan McGregor; enveloped, comforted and protected by the carpet, was so seductive he needed to experience it for himself. The next day he bought the kit, shot-up, OD'd and woke in A&E. Unperturbed, he re-calculated the dose and spent the next ten years between penal and pavement purgatory. He has been clean for two years now - alcohol wont be so easy to kick.

Barrie recalling that moment.

At the end of the session we took another touch. No change - cell mates not soul mates.

22 Jan 2010

biopic 02 chapter 3

 Barrie was still reeling from the news. Putting the bomb back in it's shell will test his mettle to breaking point. He has formulated a plan, of sorts, beginning with the exorcising of his chemical demons. Reprieve from his sentence would take more than Dutch courage.

 In the sanctity of the studio he could reflect and offload. Barrie's history is scored into his face and scarred into his psyche. He can't disguise or escape from his past. Peeling back the layers was like heaving tarpaulin - beneath each baneful story lay a darker episode.

  It comes as no surprise to discover that Barrie is from a secure and loving home - originally from Hamilton where he can no longer show his face without the authorities being alerted. As a kid with a penchant for Cosworths and XR's, Barrie took great joy in testing cars to their limits; without the owners permission. Now he reminisces at the steering wheel of his XBox whilst coming to terms with his new mode of transport - the wagon.

21 Jan 2010

biopic 02 chapter 2

 We arranged to meet at 1pm; enough time for Barrie to get into town after a routine health check. This was to be our first venture together in the studio and already it seemed like our inaugural session was on the rocks. His call to reassure me he'd "be there" was barely coherent over the panic. 
 I met him on the steps of the studio, twisting in disbelief. A borderline condition had breached the safety barrier and he was awash with fear. Barrie was drowning. He couldn't confide in his pals and the prospect of breaking the news to his partner - his life-line, terrified him. Barrie scrubbed at his face in a desperate search for answers. An innocent man wrongly condemned; he couldn't put the sentence into words. 
 After spinning all the positives out of the air the stranglehold of uncertainty loosened enough for Barrie to breathe. It was getting late, we hadn't started shooting and with an hour left left on the clock I suggested we called it a day. Barrie was devastated by the idea, he needed to take control and refused to be put on hold. He asserted, insisted and before he could plead I plugged in the flash. 
 I couldn't deny him his moment.

Chapter #1 of the new Biopic put to bed - restless nights...

15 Jan 2010

biopic 02 chapter 1

Barrie Greenan- biopic #2
For the past 3 months I've been seeing Barrie around. We met on my first incursion on the world of Glasgow's Big Issue vendors. He instructed me to place my hand at arms length and, like an inmate on lock-down, withdrew to the confines of his comfort zone. 
 Barrie is one of the founding vendors and has been selling the magazine from the outset. His reckless sincerity and infusive resolve inspired the public to nominate him for Vendor of the Year. On the night of the awards I reveled in Barrie's abandoned display of pride and joy. In that instant I knew I was looking at the subject of my next Biopic.

It has been seven years since the publication of Biopic. Iggy Pop set a precedence and established the template for a series of photo essays. Without the support of a publisher my intention to produce a sequel had been put on hold - till now. In a rare moment of clarity it dawned on me that I could circumnavigate this obstacle and publish the series over the internet. More importantly, I'd found someone who had inspired me to restart the process.

With apprehension I handed Barrie a copy of Biopic and asked him to carefully consider my proposition. Was he prepared to submit himself to potentially painful public scrutiny? Why? He needed no time to deliberate; I hadn't accounted for the impact my request would have on his self-esteem. Recognition was reward enough, he wasn't just being photographed - he was being acknowledged.

I told him to sleep on it.