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Oilwork: North Sea Diaries Paperback – 8 Sep 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd (8 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841584274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841584270
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 23.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,152,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Brings home the grandeur, the danger and the life of those who pioneered North Sea oil ... moving, graphically descriptive and brilliantly illustrated' - Tony Benn

About the Author

Sue Jane Taylor was brought up in the Black Isle and studied Fine Art at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, the Slade School, London and Konsthogskolan, Stockholm. She has worked regularly with James Macmillan and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, has exhibited at the City Arts Centre, Edinburgh and has held residencies at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, U.I.E Shipyard, Clydebank and Armidale Gallery and Museum, NSW, Australia. Giles Sutherland is a freelance writer and critic. He has previously written Explorations in Wood (1993) and Passionate Paint: the Art of Lys Hansen (1998). He edited With the Grain: An Appreciation of Tim Stead (2005) and contributed to Moderation Be Damned, a study of the life and work of Edith Simon (2005).

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ian Fraser on 1 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
Sue Jane Taylor's Oilwork: North Sea Diaries is a personal memoir, incorporating her own photos, sketches and paintings, and is interspersed with poems by Norman MacCaig, George Gunn and Iain Crichton-Smith and commentary from trade unionist Ronnie McDonald.

In it she profiles some of the characters who peopled the rigs and fabrication yards in the early years of the North Sea oil rush. Between them, these unsung heroes made it possible to bring in a peak of 2.62 million barrels of crude oil per day from hundreds of metres under the North Sea.

Brandishing camera and sketchbook, Taylor braved force nine gales and severe conditions to spend much of the late 1980s and early 1990s on North Sea oil installations.

When she first sought access to the rigs, Taylor initially met with resistance. The oil firms' PR managers couldn't understand why a young female artist would want to spend time in such a hostile environment. Wouldn't she prefer to take her sketchbook to the Mediterranean?

Taylor persisted and seemed happy to be tossed about on the decks of oil-supply vessels and to live in cramped and smelly quarters aboard North Sea rigs where she faced the predictable sexist taunts.

She captures the Klondike feel of the early days of North Sea oil well. The prospect of extraordinary riches attracted some wild characters to the onshore fabrication yards at Kishorn, Nigg and Ardesier. But the most important figures in her book are the ordinary workers who made the miraculous exploitation of this resource possible.

She conveys the sometimes melancholic life of the offshore oilman through paintings she made in the Forties Field in 1986-87. She quotes on offshore worker as saying: "Platforms and rigs eat at men's souls.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Senior on 6 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great book that accurately reflects the locations and people who worked there. I worked in the North Sea in the eighties and also visited Nigg. This book tells the story beautifully. For me it was more about feelings. I would read other volumes to get the nitty gritty about the folk.
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