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Guest blog: Shirts and Heroes

When I was younger, I had a Peter Schmeichel goalkeeping shirt, an official Manchester United Replica kit.  I remember that one Sunday evening, my dad was speaking at a church just outside our village I went with my mum and sister to see him.  I asked if I could wear my ‘Schmeichel shirt’, he said I could as long as I would join him on the stage at a particular point during his talk.  Sure enough, that moment arrived and I nervously walked up onto the stage.  I can only remember what he said at that point, and nothing else about the talk, that I can wear the ‘Schmeichel shirt’ and could wear it whilst playing football, train hard and maybe even be a world class goalkeeper, but that I would never be Peter Schmeichel.

Peter Schmeichel compilation on YouTube (love the backing track)

Byron once wrote that ‘I woke up one morning and found myself famous’.  There is something within this idea of fame that fascinates me.  It sits somewhere between critical appreciation and being a celebrity, somewhere that is difficult to define.  On the one hand, to be known for your achievements is a desire that would drive one to develop skills and to rise to the top, whereas the Warholian ideal that we can all be famous for 15 minutes is attractive in its ability to enliven ideals of celebrity, of money and of fame.

To be famous is, of course, different to being infamous.  The 27 club were famous yet slipped into infamy, Byron of course is infamy defined.

Attached to our culture’s love of the celebrity is the desire to be someone, that is to take on their mantle and actually be them.  I find this desire within my practice, it is not enough to just be like Caspar David Friedrich, I want to be him.  I want to paint the way he did, I want to live the way he did whilst simultaneously being Byron with his eccentricities and reputation.

Or at least I think I do.

I am a hopeless romantic, not in the sense of amour, but in the sense of that19th century mystery.  The lone figure, at one with the landscape, troubled by inner genius, concerned with beauty, the sublimity of nature, terror and awe; driven by an abandoning of rationalisation.  I could never be this, but oh, how I aspire to it.

More about our guest blogger, Dan Green.

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