toby philpott last updated: 22 January, 2007
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High IQ - Low Ambition - the story of my life
My problem with autobiography is that it is a subjective view, and from day to day the lens through which I perceive my past life changes. Most obviously, a person can remember their story (with hindsight) as though it was all done with a sense of purpose and planning and aspiration. Equally the story could be told as though it was all deterministic, fated and inevitable - or even just controlled by luck, chance and synchronicity. Or all or none of the above......
I have been added to a list of Online Autobiographies here on Miles Hochstein's site - where he is collecting links to sites which attempt to document and illustrate developing lives. Highly recommended for a visit!
In 2003, when lonely, I wrote a life in three hours - for an art project at LearningToLoveYouMore (there are other suggestions for creative projects you might want to try, too)
The library had a writer-in-residence, Jennie Savage - who interviewed local people. She talked to me about NoFit State and community arts. She published as Anecdotal Cardiff - to find me, go to Index/Community, and click through a few anecdotes to hear/read me talking (listening is more accurate, as their transcription isn't quite what I said!)
As a kid, I was quite into conjuring, it remained my interest and hobby from the age of 8 to 16 - I rediscovered it in my 20s and used it in my street shows...and I am still doing research, although I don't practice much or perform in public often anymore. Magic introduced me to psychology, cheating, confidence, bluffing (that stuff Derren Brown exploits so well) - as well as numerology, optical illusions, hypnosis, astrology, magnets, camouflage, misdirection and a dozen other realms more fascinating to me than 50's school work. Most importantly, it made me sceptical (of Mr Geller, for instance), and yet impressed with human ingenuity. As well as human gullibility.
My dad didn't live with us, but my sister and I used to visit on Saturdays. He was a lovely man to me, even if he wasn't a great breadwinner. I didn't get into puppetry until much later (operating animatronic creatures for films), and I have only ever made one that I am proud of, Cap'n Flint, a parrot made for NoFit State's "Treasure Island".
Violet (who he married after my mother) took a few photos, thinking we could do modelling work, but nothing ever came of it. And now that's what my son has been doing for a living.