Books You Should Own

  • Posted 104 months Ago

This week?s Book You Should Own is Scottish musical genius Edwyn Collins' Some British Birds.

I have always been a huge fan of Edwyn Collins, particularly for his band Orange Juice. I must have listened to their album The Glasgow School hundreds of times, which incidentally I?m listening to right now. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Edwyn briefly at his exhibition for this series and I must say he is one of the kindest hearted people I have ever met; he has an infectious niceness about him and a genuine interest for chitchat that he could easily dismiss.

Edwyn shot to fame after creating pop hits like Falling and Laughing with his band Orange Juice in the early 80s. What had gone publicly unknown at the time was his obsessive interest in watching and drawing British birds. Already as a boy he could identify every existing British bird upon sight.

In February 2005, he suffered two major cerebral hemorrhages leaving him unable to walk, talk or draw; Edwyn had lost the ability to partake in his two biggest interests, playing music and drawing. After a considerable amount of time under intensive care he was faced by a lengthy rehabilitation program. Part of his journey to recovery was not only to regain his ability to walk and talk, but to continue his passion for drawing. As his right hand was almost completely immobile, he had to learn to draw with his left. Each illustration is representative of his condition, and in turn charts his gradual recovery. For example, the first illustration of a Redwing, from November 2005, is faint and lacking in detail; reflecting Edwyn's compromised state. The final one of a Kestrel, drawn in November 2008, is beautifully detailed and expresses a great level of skill and confidence; profoundly demonstrating the triumph of Edwyn's recovery.

Edwyn is a true inspiration and a British icon. His illustrations are not only impressive, they represent something so much more than an artist?s skill: they represent an overcoming of all odds and how important it is to never give up on life.

Click here to buy Some British Birds through the HUH. book shop with 10% discount.