Storey, David  (1 of 12). National Life Story Collection: Artists' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2013-01-31, 2013-03-08, 2013-03-08, 2013-04-18, 2013-05-31, 2013-06-14, 2013-08-01, 2013-09-02, 2013-09-20, 2013-10-24, 2013-11-28, 2013-12-09, 2014-02-07, 2014-03-05, 2014-03-20, 2014-04-14, 2014-06-09, 2014-07-28, 2014-09-08, 2014-11-13, 2014-11-13, 2015-03-05, 2015-09-17

  • Interviewees

    Storey, David, 1933-2017 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: [Session one: August 5 2008] [2:13:28] David Malcolm Storey; not known by other names. Born Wakefield, Yorkshire 13 July 1933. Mother Lily Cartwright [LS]; father Frank Richmond Storey [FS], ‘mother’ and ‘Dad’. LS youngest of three daughters and two sons, married at 18; difficult relationship with her parents. DS’s maternal grandmother Welsh, grandfather from Yorkshire. LS had four sons, eldest died aged 6, six months before DS’s birth, impact on LS. Welsh grandmother Wesleyan background. LS. DS’s visits with LS to maternal grandparents’ house.; FS. Seeing maternal grandparents on their deathbed; DS’s poem. Paternal grandfather wounded in Second Boer War, was prison guard during First World War not able to work after this. DS’s memory of maternal grandfather on couch with painting above it; grandfather’s voice and use of word ‘Aye’. LS reference to her parents when she was dying herself. [14:20] Welsh antecedents, miners. LS and her parents; lived in poorhouse in Wakefield at one time. FS working at pit when married, had fought in First World War; birth of first child; council house where FS and LS lived until 1962 when DS bought them Scarborough bungalow. DS’s visit to FS when LS in hospital, FS told him doctor had told him he had six months to live, led to DS’s purchase for parents of bungalow; parents both lived until their late 80s; LS’s moral supremacy in the marriage; determination their children shouldn’t go down the pit. Lack of money in DS’s childhood; DS began holiday jobs aged c 11; farms and tent erecting firm. Tent firm invaluable education; class friction as DS grammar schoolboy. Also worked as bus conductor. Sometimes earned more at tent firm than father in pit. [29:50] Announced was going to become writer and painter and not go to university; FS’s reaction; DS aged 18 signed fourteen year contract to play Rugby League for Leeds; dependent on money to go to art school; played four seasons. DS felt should pay back cost of education; younger brothers to grammar school. DS took eleven plus exam aged 9, passed and was given grammar school place, Queen Elizabeth; elitism and expected form of progression; went to grammar school at young age, puritanical classical education. Enjoyed grammar school; considered a maverick, not made a prefect because of behaviour but was hero to lower half of school. Had been in trouble at primary school; orchestra; caning. Parents being told DS ‘the worst little devil in the entire school.’ [41:46] Neighbour on housing estate was homosexual, a musician; swapping sacks of coal for journeys in car. Field at back of DS’s house; incubus of his early life, frequently dreams of it; organic awareness of area of imagination. Parents of homosexual neighbour, Graham. DS’s bewilderment as child. Physically expressive activity a normal part of childhood. Felt outsider if in group, relished this. Boy Scouts. FS hit sons with belt; his attitude when DS bullied. DS nourished by negative as well as positive experiences throughout life; liking of violent and obscene characters, could discern another kind of awareness in them. Perception of DS by other rugby players at Leeds. [55:49] Incident when player told DS not to try to speak like the other players and to be himself; incident when DS hesitated in game to save self from facial injury; trigger for writing This Sporting Life (TSL). Wrote first version of TSL while at Slade; DS played rugby to survive economically, separated from other players who cared about the game. DS academically bright and creative at grammar school, prowess at sport; resented by masters as also persona non grata. Letter from school complaining when DS signed up for rugby league team; change of attitude when TSL filmed. Reactions from rugby players when film came out. DS’s response to rugby player telling him he should be himself. Relished Slade, would leave on Friday night for Wakefield, stayed at parental home, played game, relief at return to Kings Cross; hands would shake after match at Monday life class. [1:07:59] Training in University College gym; became run down as not eating properly. Lost identity on journey to Wakefield, got it back at Peterborough on return. Had been glad to get away from home and to Slade. Was seen as womanizer at school; Sixth Form Club; DS final year at school after had university entrance, repeated same curriculum, girls, sport, painting, poetry, wonderful year. Anecdote re tree root and entrance to Sixth Form Club; DS’s expulsion from the Club. By time left school had close relationship with girl, lasted while DS at Wakefield art school (WAS), sobered him up, eventually married her; she got scholarship to London; Barbara. [1:16:16] Music in DS’s childhood; bought radio when signed on for rugby league; powerful effect of records; would listen to records while painting at Slade, fed sense of creativity. Made BBC film for Monitor, no film experience, documentary about Slade contemporary, use of Dutch orchestra playing on glass instruments; Humphrey Burton. Maggie Evans, subject of Monitor film, DS still in touch; ME became pregnant at Slade, was offered Prix de Rome if aborted baby; Evans’ life and career; positive version of her in A Serious Man (ASM). DS had been thrown out of Slade by time Evans became pregnant; William Coldstream an admirer of her work. First one and a half years at Slade extremely happy, DS successful, made President of Slade Society, liaised between student body and staff. DS had too many sexual relationships whilst at Slade. [1:26:58] Disastrous annual dinner of Slade Society; Lucian Freud and his dog; Maggie Evans being knocked out by plate aimed at DS; William Coldstream; Claude Rodgers; call that night to DS in Slade hostel with girl, Coldstream suspending Slade Society. DS stopped attending classes, was writing novels and painting pictures outside Slade. By end of Slade year as President of Slade Society should have been eligible for funded fourth year post graduate years; left Slade without discussing it. Incident at school when headmaster read out A level results; DS’s results, English, Geography, Art at scholarship and A level. [1:36:11] Moment at school desk aged 15 when decided to be an artist. What DS had written that made him get lowest recorded mark for English Literature ‘A’ level. Similar emotion when not given fourth year at Slade; left feeling buoyant and worked on TSL. French lesson when DS decided would become an artist; mortality. Parents refused to sign application to WAS; aunt, Edith, signed maiden name for him, always believed DS would be an artist. Edith a mystic; her marriage over in a fortnight; occasion when her predictions for Lindsay Anderson (LA) and Karel Reisz (KR) proved correct. LA’s reluctance to sign agreement to direct TSL. KR. LA’s lack of confidence that he could film TSL. [1:46:28] Uncanny connection with LA re his Wakefield films. LA saw review of book TSL in Sunday paper; approached Woodfall Films with idea of making film, Tony Richardson turned him down; Woodfall bid for film rights, lost to J. Arthur Rank; Rank asked KR to direct, he said would produce if LA directed, if had control over casting and author write script. LA’s debt to KR and inability to thank him. DS saw a lot of KR when KR dying, talked of past; KR meeting LA. LA’s Every Day Except Christmas, financed by KR through Ford Motor Company. LA ‘always bite the hand that feeds you’; relationship KR and LA. Film of The Changing Room, United Artists, never got made; KR. [1:53:52] Dutch orchestra with glass instruments; DS’ Monitor film influenced LA’s White Bus. DS’s film technically advanced, influential. Ann Blackett (sp?), Slade student who threw plate at dinner; her future husband, Norman, later taught at Slade. DS can’t remember which girl in bed with night Coldstream rang to suspend Slade Society. Bond with Maggie Evans, like sister. DS got scholarship to live in Spain while at Slade; one to go to Paris with Evans to see major exhibition, took two friends, Nick Garland (now political cartoonist of Daily Telegraph) and another girl; DS spent time in Paris writing obscene novel, influenced by Henry Miller. DS wrote first novel at Wakefield, only privacy was in lavatory; when living in London with children liked to write in domestic situation; would write in children’s or own bedroom; got room outside flat found writing there artificial. Finds it natural to write in domestic setting. [2:01:24] Experience of Lucian Freud as Slade teacher; Timothy Behrens; Nick Garland. LF’s eyes; his relationships with Slade student who lived in house with Evans; children. LF told Michael Evans, Slade student, he made money from designing record jackets. Clarification re communal bath, rugby league. Clarification maternal grandfather’s use of word ‘Ay’, ‘Aye’. Further details Scottish highlands reproduction in maternal grandparents’ house.

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