Saturday, 2 April 2011
Pete and Joan
Always lurking in the shadows of this history is the confusing impact of the Arts Lab movement, a self confessed,radical alternative to the arts scene of the late 1960s early 70s. Just how important this short lived development really was is debatable,never the less the impact on Oval and the thinking of Pete and Joan would have been partially influenced by the arrival of this short lived explosion. But the melting pot was becoming explosive,young people where declaring war on their elders and like the elders declared war on their off springs.Much as been written about those distant years,much of it covered in the glow of nostalgic self delusion .Never the less a "something"was coming together,a fusion of ideas,talents, dramas,dreams, actions.Experimentation mixed with a healthy disregard for the tyranny of the script open the doors into a new dimension. Improvisation was played out in the arts form of demonstrations and street theatre. A glorious sense of being young at the right time began to dominate the aura of alternative thinking. New ideas emerged from the growth of underground news papers and alternative books shops. Truth be told the new ideas where revamped philosophical ideologies from the 20s/30s40s/and 50s. Change was in the air but the change was superficial. What really occurred was the discovery of individuals freedoms at the expense of collective action,The Me Generation, grow out of the alternative explorations of an elite grouping who felt the change in media manipulation and set about exploiting the welcoming maze opening up before them. Capitalism was never the issue with the alternative mind set. Indeed, what happen was a new aggressive dynamism took hold.The alternative became the new "in". But within Oval House there developed a process which embraced change as a means of challenging the ideas which would fossilise within months of taking root. Pete and Joan put young people at the centre of the "club" The young person became a creative force who could explore their frustrations, dreams, ambitions in a place of welcoming and safety. Pete and Joan understood the role of exploration in the psychic of young people.This one simple,demanding,idea allowed for that special spark to ignite the imagination of a group who wanted the chance and the space in which their ideas and ambitions could grow into the seeds of a wonderful garden.