Now, you left the Royal College 1962. In 1964 you went on your first trip to Los Angeles, and one of the reasons you gave was you thought the light was marvelous and you said you realised there were no long shadows in Bradford. This is a wonderful phrase. So was it the light that really took you?
Well, in Bradford I could say I was brought up in Bradford and Hollywood. Hollywood was at the end of the street in a cinema, and I must tell you I did notice, er, my father was a great fan of Laurel and Hardy, well so was I, actually. But I did notice in the films, that even if they were wearing an overcoat, they cast strong shadows on the ground. Well you didn’t do that in Bradford, there were no strong shadows…
Well there was no sun, no sun was there?
That means, that means it was very, very sunny, and I noticed that, even in the black and white films. Shadows sometimes people don’t see shadows. The Chinese of course never paint them in pictures; oriental art never deals with shadow. But I noticed these shadows and I knew it meant it was sunny.
Was it the sun, or the effect of the sun, could be different things, which really drew you to California.
Well it’s the effect of the sun actually. Um, that it was light, what I didn’t know at the time, another thing, I didn’t know this, I also said it was sexy, it was actually, meaning in a hotter place people have less clothes, er and so on, er don’t need an overcoat in LA. What I didn’t know was I was deeply attracted to the big space. I’m a bit claustrophobic, I know that now. Er whereas New York is claustrophobic, LA is big, wide, one storey. The reason LA is very brightly lit at night, if you’ve ever been there and looked down on it, is just one simple reason it’s like that. The street lights are twice as high as the buildings, which they’re not in London, so if on Hampstead Heath you look down on London, you don’t see the street lights. But if you look down on LA from Mulholland Drive or a plane, you do.
So you like the light.
Simple, it’s a simple thing.