(K. Brent Tomer),
JOHN SAMSON (1946-2004), a Scottish filmmaker, lived a life as broad as the subjects he devoted his documentaries to. He spent his teens working in the Clyde shipyards in Glasgow, became the spokesperson for the apprentices working there, was arrested at Holy Loch when participating in anti-nuclear protests, and worked as a social worker in Easterhouse (a down-at-heel suburb of Glasgow where gangs roamed freely at the time). In 1963, he began studying at the Glasgow School of Art, swapping the shipyard for the art world.
A retrospective of his work is now underway at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow. Though one of the films, “Britannia”, explores the sedate world of steam-train enthusiasts in the English countryside, and another, “Arrows”, looks at the life the of the so-called “Crafty Cockney”, Eric Bristow, a champion darts player, most of his oeuvre is not for the faint-hearted.
Prudes be warned: after entering through the vinyl-curtained doors to the gallery space, visitors to the show are met by a large screen showing one of Samson’s most risqué films, “Dressing for Pleasure”, on a loop. Its subject is…Continue reading