“Art Attack”. Two words that would strike fear into my mum. Every time she heard the crazily fast-paced theme tune she knew that I would be requesting some PVC glue, poster paint or glitter in half an hour’s time, and that the front room was never going to look the same again.
The arts and crafts show was hosted by Neil Buchanan who would create brilliantly decorative items such as an organiser made out of an old VCR box, a castle which you could store your stationary in or a papier-mâché dinosaur.
When I, or any of my friends tried emulate him it would be unrecognisable; just an plastic box with some hacked-up fabric hanging off it, four toilet roll tubes sellotaped together with some pencils in or a load of wet newspaper with a smiley face drawn on the front. Neil would make masterpieces, I would make a mess.
The show was also famous for two things, firstly Neil’s “Big Art Attack” in each show, where he’d create incredible works of art on a huge scale. My personal favourite was when he made a portrait of the Queen out of banknotes, probably more to do with the vast amounts of notes rather than the artwork itself:
There was also a character called The Head, who like me would attempt Neil’s step-by-step guides to making some letters and envelopes out of old magazines and show it off to the audience, only for it to fall to pieces or look horribly wrong. Don’t worry The Head it happened to everyone that watched the show too.
For my mum, the show should have been renamed “Heart Attack” which is what she probably nearly had every time she saw the state of the living room or my bedroom when I was inspired. She’d end up scrubbing glue off everything and finding little glittery stars in all sorts of places for weeks.
She’d be more concerned with my paint-stained clothes than my Garbage Gobbler as I showcased my disasterpieces to her. However Neil’s jumper was always immaculate and a design classic to boot.
Neil himself though has shown his true colours (or should that be watercolours) to me. Coming across as a textbook guy on the telly, when my Young Enterprise group were looking for a suitable celebrity endorser for our company, we found his telephone number and rang him and left a message. When we got a call back from him, he told us never to ring him again or he’d phone the police. Classy guy…