The best looking Prime Minister

During the past days the death of Margaret Thatcher has divided the British nation just as much as her political career did back in the 1980s. Not being rooted in Britain myself I do not feel emotionally involved in either side, but thought this would be a good opportunity to share a remarkable story that I was told by John last year. John is in his 80s and a resident at an Edinburgh care home where I spent time collecting stories from those residents who were born and raised in the city. He is an interesting and strong character who has been shaped by an eventful life. The stories he told include memories from his childhood in the Canongate before the slum-clearances, his youth and seeing the city from a different perspective while being homeless and living on the streets of Edinburgh. 

Asked about the 10 years of his homelessness, John made an instant connection to Margaret Thatcher, and inspite of blaming her for ‘ruining’ his life also complimented her for her good looks:john-portrait_small2Homeless

I was looking to create an image, or actually more of a symbol, as I didn’t want any complex or busy imagery to compete with or distract from the story I had been told. So I ended up cutting Thatcher’s portrait out of paper, after all John felt that she had had a major impact on the course of his life. The story was then closed off behind a door as part of a larger installation, to be revealed (along with the physical beauty of the Prime Minister) by the viewer!

13awMore about the project can be found on my website: www.astridjaekel.com

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2 thoughts on “The best looking Prime Minister

  1. My husband is the twin brother of John’s ex wife. We attended his funeral yesterday where we were shown a copy of the book you produced.
    It really moved us – and upon reading what John had volunteered to you, gave us an insight into his life after their divorce. It’s great to see that he retained his ‘pauchy’ humour inspite of the hardships of his subsequent life. The last time we saw John was 27years ago but, reading his words, and the ‘phraseology’ used, it was as if it were yesterday… John hadn’t changed attall!

    Thank you Astrid

  2. Dear Kathy,
    Very sorry to hear about John. He was indeed a character and I enjoyed our times having a cup of tea and chatting about Edinburgh. It makes me very happy to know that the book keeps his memory alive.

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