toby philpott                                                                                                                   last updated:   22 January, 2007

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animatronic puppeteer

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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)

Anecdotal Cardiff - go to siteThe 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!) 

Look at this morphic field......54 years in a few seconds     Little does he know, back in 1950...

posing with one of my magic tricks - photo by Violet PhilpottAs 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".

We had some happy times.... Notice that parrot? I made my own years later....
rabbit made from a coconut.... Julia posing with the balalaika...

 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.

On into my teens in the Sixties                                                    Top of this page