Finally! Finally, I have got to create a piece that pays tribute to the British classic ‘Fawlty Towers’. It was so worth the wait! Why the wait? I’m not entirely sure but I know a big contributing factor was having the time to truly do it justice, and timing really is everything.
Bloody hell have I loved every single minute of this one! Of the scene pieces, I had left this until last to create and for good reason. Creating ‘Lithium’ has been many intense months that takes a big toll emotionally and physically, one piece straight into another and it’s been full on to say the least. No violins needed here, there are much, much harder things to do for a living! What I mean though is that you have to really make sure that you are in the correct mindset and also that you have enough time to do justice to something so cherished.
For me there are only really two options for a ‘Fawlty Towers’ piece in my style. It’s either inside the hotel lobby or outside in front of the building and I promise you that I will tackle both! You can easily choose a route for many a reason, but I was adamant that I wanted to showcase the iconic hotel exterior this time. I love a challenge! 2023 has always been about growth but I never thought I would be building a hotel before I’ve even managed a summer holiday!
When you tackle a much earlier subject, before the era of high-resolution images, it can be difficult at the point of research to get the detail that you need as so many photos and videos are of such poor quality compared to the resolution that I work to here. Combine that with the fact that the bloody hotel had a devastating fire, lost its roof, and then was demolished certainly added to the challenge.
Undeterred, I was doing it! So, I chose to leave it until immediately after a short trip to Menorca to tackle it and I must say that was a great decision. With some buildings, I work with existing imagery and rework, for this it was from scratch. Everything started from nothing, building from textures and random details to create what you now see. It took an age; it was a real test but if you spot any imperfections just blame it on O’Reilly!
Speaking of the little feck! The fact that the hotel fell victim to a fire both in the series and in real life and that it needed to be rebuilt, allowed me to link this perfectly with Cybil’s’ favourite builder and set the scene at the point where works were being undertaken by O’Reilly. Has he been given one last try, has Cybil found faith or has Basil told another porky? The hotel looks majestic! Uh oh! Look a little closer and cracks are starting to form, oh hang on, what’s that on the roof? Fire, FFF Fire, FIRE!!!!!! See what I did there?
The relief when the hotel itself was built was massive, to see it come together like that was so pleasing and to add my own take on it made it even sweeter. Hopefully worth more than one star surely?! Everyone has their favourite moment or two from the sitcom, all of the characters are amazing but it for me it is Basil Fawlty, what an absolute lunatic! That scene with the branch and his car is just epic and you know it doesn’t take much for me to find space for a car within a scene so that was always going in, the duck sat in the trifle was a moment of randomness that comes from being engrossed in that mindset. It is the best of British comedy and I have further showcased this by the choice of colour for O’Reilly’s van. Combine the two (the car not the duck!) with the crisp white walls and there’s the Union Jack link. Clever eh! They don’t teach you that in a booooook!
I will leave you to seek out and interpret everything, brilliant British storytelling at its best – and mine isn’t too bad, I guess! In all seriousness, we probably all know someone who used to laugh their heads off whilst watching Fawlty Towers and we wish that we could hear that once more, so I hope that this piece helps to bring those memories flooding back.
Oh, and I DID mention it, but I think I got away with it!