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Jon Adams: 'Someone’s had all the flippin mints’ - part one of five / 10 November 2010

black line drawing of a capital 'A' depicted as a building in construction

A letter of the alphabet by Jon Adams

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Heading home: Tuesday 8 November 'Dyslexia awareness week': I seem to spend more time on trains lately than I did when I was Artist in Residence with a Rail company (I am writing this on the train). That may say one of two things – either I was quite ‘slack’ then or am busier now?

I probably don’t need to answer this one but take this week – four trips to London. Lucky for me not much time spent during rush hour. I am not going into the politics of disability and public transport, we all have an opinion on that and the way we are sometimes ‘accommodated’. Other than to say the perfect ‘reasonable adjustment’ for aspergers on the train or underground would be an empty carriage! Has anyone tried that one as a test case yet?

Tuesday’s trip was easy – London Waterloo station and the Shell Centre that happened to be next door (no underground). Travelling midday the train was busy and I had to cram my ‘A0’ art case replete with framed picture into one of those two seater spaces and sit with a full rucksack and computer bag.

I was heading for the British Dyslexia’s Art exhibition as part of Dyslexia Awareness Week. Ironic for two reasons: The first was when I started as an illustrator back in the mid-eighties some of the first work I did was for Shell and I used to visit the Shell Centre quite frequently. The Illustrations were complex geological diagram’s and as I had trained as a geologist they didn’t need to explain the geological ins and outs. ( I think that’s why I got the jobs – it saved time and that’s a premium in the publishing world)

The other was the picture squirreled away in the art case. The event was to showcase creative dyslexic talent, a fundraising action and award the BDA art competition prizes. 10 years ago I had been to the very same event as a newly ‘revealed’ dyslexic having entered the same art competition – and I had that winning picture with me.

It was just as complex as those books I did with Shell 20 years before and I had one of those with me too. They were both ‘going home’ as it were with a distinct timeline – events within my personal stratigraphy.(see Colin Hambrook’s review of Goose on the Hill at Pallant House Gallery)

After sitting in on part of a talk on the new Equalities’ Act we were able to set up upstairs overlooking the Thames and Millennium Eye. I set out a stall complete with Digital picture frame slide show and information on ‘Dysarticulate 2011’ and ‘Look about’ and set the picture on the easel.

Some interesting conversations followed... which I know I would have found difficult if not impossible a shy 10 years ago. Things have changed. The auction was fun – led by Jonty from BBCs Cash in the Attic (interesting chat with a fellow dyslexic) all the lots sold including a small vinyl ‘sign’ and original postcard of mine (a latest work) – all going towards the BDA’s work. When I found out my son was dyslexic 11 years ago I rang their helpline – which not only questioned if I was but set me on my current path.

My daily ‘aspie other person interaction’ quota full I journeyed home. Thank goodness the train wasn’t too full on the way back!

Jon Adams is artist and lead geologist to accentuate's 'Look About' project'