John Samson died in 2004, leaving a remarkable legacy. Born in Ayrshire, Scotland, as a teenager, Samson moved to Paisley near Glasgow where he remained for the formative years of his life. He left school at 16 and took on an apprenticeship in the Clyde shipyards learning precision tool-making in an engineering firm. He became involved as a spokesperson in the first Glasgow apprentices' strike, and he began to engage with the Anarchist movement, joining the Committee of 100 and participating in a number of Nuclear Disarmament protests. Then he fell in with a bohemian circle that included artists, writers and musicians. He taught himself guitar, took up stills photography and by the mid-70s began to make films. Dressing For Pleasure (1977) - 25 mins. Here the subject of fetishism in clothing - rubber, latex, leather - is explored. Features SEX, the boutique run by Malcolm McLaren (manager of the Sex Pistols at the time) and Vivien Westwood on the Kings Road, London. The film was banned at the time by London Weekend Television and has become one of those rare films more quoted than seen. It won Outstanding Film Award at the London Film Festival that year. Recently it has toured the world as part of the Vivienne Westwood retrospective exhibition and has been quoted in many other films including Julian Temple's The Filth and the Fury (2000). Tattoo (1975) - 20 mins. Based on the art of tattooing, tattoo artists and their clients, with interviews exploring this fascination. Britannia (1978) - 20 mins. A group of volunteers work on the restoration of an old locomotive. Arrows (1979) - 33 mins. A film about the world of competitive darts in Eric Bristow. The Skin Horse (1983) - 52 mins. Focusing on the Outsiders Club, a dating agency for disabled people, it challenges our assumptions about what is normal and what is abnormal.
It's time to recognise the genius of John Samson --James Christopher, The Times (London)