Has he been inside?

We found a lot of the people on this image of myself and my fellow students at Manchester College of Art c 1969, but there was one notable exception and that was the talented bloke who did the drawing. He’s the big guy in the front row near the middle wearing dark framed glasses by the name of Anthony Woolaston. We’ve none of us really seen or heard from him for over 50 years although one of our number read a news report some years ago saying that an Anthony/Tony Woolaston has been banged up for armed robbery. So has he been inside?

No, he’s been in Leicester.

We spoke together for the first time in 51 years just last week. And what has he been up too? Well, not robbing banks that’s clear. He built up a very successful illustration and design business in the Leicester area with some big clients. In fact in some ways his career mirrored my own in some ways, we even had interviews back in the 60s with the same ad agencies. Then he, like me, started by being a visualiser and then built up his business with a range of illustrators and designers. He stepped back from that a few years ago, but like me too, still dabbles. Lovely word that: dabbles. He was relatively invisible for the last few years probably because he had no real presence on social media but that’s changing. He sounded like a thoroughly nice bloke and I have promised to buy him a chicken dinner when we are released from plague laws. Perhaps we should meet in Barnard Castle.

We did not look hard enough, we should have known that he was from Leicester, and that he might have gone back there.

When we were at Manchester he acted as a model for me in a poster project for the Shakespeare play: The Tempest. I had the idea that if he wore a stocking mask he would look frighteningly like Caliban. He did.

Stocking mask, bank robbery, big bloke. You might begin to see why I might not have looked quite as hard as I should.

In addition, the image above that he produced, he made into a print and sold to his fellow students for about 20p each. On or around the last day he came into the college and said to me: ” Some bastard has knicked the poster advertising my poster, would you believe it? ” I muttered in agreement keeping the aforementioned knicked poster safely hidden in my folio bag. And that’s how I got it for this, I kept it. It’s done 51 years inside and no time off for good behaviour.

Sorry Tony.

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