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  • Marceline Smith

This is a guest column written by Marceline Smith ( www.marcelinesmith.com ), whos interview with Paul has provided the majority of what we know about him and his character at that point in time. Her contributions to this project have been immense and we are extremely grateful.


As a teenager, I was a huge fan of Creation Records and that must have been how I came to discover Paul’s art on record sleeves for Primal Scream and The Telescopes. I was fascinated by the details, texture and colours and as I was studying art and photography at a local college, I thought Paul would be an interesting subject for my A Level Art project.


I wrote Paul a letter via Creation and he eventually sent a reply and an interview was arranged at his studio there. I was 16 years old and living in a small town in the North East of Scotland so going to London by myself was quite a big adventure. The Creation office in Hackney was a little less rock and roll than you might imagine if you’ve read Alan McGee’s memoirs but it was still pretty thrilling for me. 

Paul’s studio was on the top floor and a delightful mess with paintings, drawings and sculptures everywhere. He was a little intimidating but very friendly and spent a couple of hours answering my questions but also challenging me with questions and taking an interest in me personally. I’d just left school and was starting to figure out my path to art school and beyond, so it was amazing to have an artist I admired take me totally seriously. He gave me lots of great advice and encouragement. It’s all so long ago now but I’ve never forgotten that.


I was really sad to hear of Paul’s passing, even though we didn’t keep in touch and it inspired me to dig up the interview tape and publish a fuller version online (http://www.diskant.net/features/paul-cannell/). I’m so glad that I recorded our conversation and kept it though all my house moves so that his words are still available.


If you were wondering about my art project, I called it ‘Untitled’ after many of Paul’s works and the examiner gave me a bad grade because he thought the title was “bleak”! I’ve since made a living as a writer and artist but that still annoys me.

Marceline Smith

http://www.marcelinesmith.com/


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  • Harri Lane

Not much is known about Paul's youth. What we do know - is that when he was around 14/15 he was completely captured by the introduction of Punk Rock. It influenced his art and character strongly - and likely waves of it's effect shaped his character into adulthood. He mentions that he had 'always drawn', so he left school and went into commercial printing (cocktail serviettes, party invitations and the like). He struggled with conventional work - doing a number of odd jobs that never lasted for long, eventually deciding to try to paint - which lead him to how we know him today.


Image: Ramones. Redferns / Getty Images


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  • Harri Lane

Those that know me or know about the Damp Water Spot Project may know that finding any information about Paul over the years has been almost impossible. Pretty much all that people that are interested in him have had to go off is snippets from interviews, an obituary and a very old interview with him. So I'm sure it's understandable that when this came in the mail yesterday all I could do for a few minutes was sit and stare at it - it being what I assume is the only audio recording of his voice that exists - other than a home video I have from when I was young. This is the audio recording of the interview conducted by Marceline Smith in 1992 at Creation Records. Since the article itself was published - it has been pretty much the only resource for information about Paul, his work, art practices and character at that very important point in time. I know it has been incredibly beneficial personally for myself and so I cannot thank Marceline enough for both the creation of the article and for her massive contribution to this project. For Marceline's latest ventures; visit her Instagram at @marcelinesmith


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