When I heard the V & A museum were to host “The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains”, my first thought was Storm would have loved that.
Storm Thorgerson with Hipgnosis and StormStudios, was the artist behind the iconic images synonymous with identifying the pop culture of the 1970’s throughout and into the Millennium. You might not know his name but you would have seen his work. He was responsible for images such as Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, “The Division Bell”, “Animals”, “Atom Heart Mother”, “Wish You Were Here”; Led Zeppelin’s “House of the Holy”; Muse’s “Absolution”, “Black Holes and Revelations”; Biffy Clyro’s “Puzzle” to name a few….the list goes on and is impressive. You don’t have to take my word for it, ask the google!
He was also one of my first clients at MediaBitch™.
I first met Storm in 2003, he was in hospital. Ironically the last time, I saw him was also in hospital.
During both these times, Storm was in work mode. Actually he was always working. If he wasn’t working on an existing project, he was planning the next one. His work ethnic was relentless, he loved his work and was incredibly hard working.
MediaBitch™ was in its infancy when Storm took us on. We organised art exhibitions, the sales, the marketing and international PR for him. Our very first exhibition “Taken by Storm” was at the John Martin Gallery in Chelsea in September 2004.
I can’t begin to tell you how much was involved. It was a lot. Even after everything was organised and ready to go, there’s always that fear that no one is going to turn up. But they did. Alongside our collective friends and families, there were celebrity guests, fans of Storm and various members of the press. Art was sold, the night was fun and the launch night private view was a success!
That was the beginning of numerous exhibitions and events that we organised with Storm in the UK and in the US. Each of them was an experience and great fun. As time went and I spent more time with Storm, we became friends. He had the best stories and I was always learning something new about him. He had great listening ears with wonderful words of wisdom. He also had a naughty and playful sense of humour. It still makes me smile when I think about it.
We did our first US exhibition together in Chicago in 2005. It was my first time in Chicago and I headed out earlier to get things organised. It was hard work and it was stressful, but it was also an amazing experience. It is true what they say that you can achieve anything when you put your mind to it. Although I did need a proper rest when I got back. One of the highlights of that trip was spending time with Storm and I remember we had a press interview lined up. Storm decided he wanted to go to the top of Sears Tower and be interviewed there. We went all the way up onto a floor that had giant glass window walls. The interviewer asked Storm if he wanted to sit by the window. Storm looked at him and in a deadpan voice said no because he didn’t like heights.
Then where was the time I got told off. We were at St Paul’s Gallery in Birmingham in 2006 for the opening night of Storm’s exhibition. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath was in attendance and he was lovely. I ended up talking to him for a while and Storm was not happy. He called me over to tell me “you’re here for me, not him”. It did make me chuckle.
I forget what year it was but we held a party at Abbey Road Studios in Studio 2, “Abbey Road’s Most Famous Studio” where The Beatles, Oasis, Pink Floyd and many musical legends have recorded. The party was to celebrate the release of his new book “Taken by Storm: The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson”. There was a small exhibition and Storm was signing copies. He insisted I sat with him to collect the cash. I was literally stuffing money into my handbag. Each and every time, someone came up to buy a book Storm would turn to me and say did they give you the money while they were stood in front of us. If I said yes, he would then sign the book.
In addition to his collection of beautifully visual art work, he produced numerous books which I was lucky to acquire copies directly from Storm. He signed these for me addressing them to Nina Farina.
Although our relationship started as a working one, it ended as a friendship. He took a chance on us when we were new on the scene, he gave us the opportunity and we didn’t want to let him down. We were excited and enthusiastic…and we had the best time.
The Blockheads said it best when they told me “Stormy by name, Stormy by nature”. It was true but he demanded the best and that made me want to do better than the best.
I can’t thank Storm enough for everything I learnt during my time with him. What I loved best about Storm was he was always himself, honest and direct. He had no filter. I also loved that he could make me laugh. He shared my sarcastic sense of humour and loved to take the piss especially with a mischievous twinkle in his eye…and that is how I will remember him.
Storm passed away in 2013.