...Fleydon has provided a beacon, a light, a symbol of all that is good about Merton and it's people. He has shown that the borough is more than just tennis, more than the end of the Northern Line, more even than a few decent Korean restaurants in Raynes Park. With his powerful imagary and razor-sharp intellect he bought joy to a dispirited people. Where there had been discord, he bought harmony. Where there had been error, he bought truth. Where there had been doubt, he bought faith. Where there had been despair, he bought hope and where there had been hunger he bought chips. But most significantly of all, where there had been spaces, he bought flags. Wycombe Wanderers, Basingstoke, St Albans - names that wil live forever more in the minds of those that were lucky enough to be there. For those that weren't there was always the celebratory match programme and the 'Time Out' article and the chance to rub at least the image of one of his miraculous flags on a wound, sore or chronic skin condition. For these and many other reasons, Merton are proud to bestow on Fleydon the Freedom of Mordon and the hereditary title of Signeur Doigt of St Helier with the subsequent personal lifting of all local parking restrictions.Fleydon himself had shown unusual humility and had extended an invitation to both the team and management staff for the inspirational part they had played in his succesful season.
I couldn't really have done it without them. As my collective muse they certainly deserve some of the attention, although not most, obviously. I'm more than happy to permit them to bring along their own trophy and to make tonight a true celebration of both art AND sport. Though mainly the art, because when you get down to it, that's where you find the real money and kudos.The celebratory flag display that greeted the invitees was set out in such a way as to lead the viewer on a spiritual and emotional journey akin to that undertaken by a squire, prior to his elevation to knighthood. As the astute and cleverer amongst you will note, this was a journey not unlike that taken by the club prior to its elevation to the Conference National.
The Grand Entrance: 'We are Wimbledon' & 'Behold the Don'
"A statement and a subtle reference to a re-born Messiah. A squire would, of course, had to have pledged himself at an altar before undertaking his personal pilgrimmage. Just so the viewer as they enter the Civic Centre, Merton. A nice start to the evening, don't you think?"
[Note: the balloons were donated by the Art & Artist Review and were later distributed to needy children in local schools]
Looking Over My Shoulder: 'The Mystic Tryptych', 'Wombelles' and 'Raising Standards'
"Themes of struggle and chivalry dominate this sector as mediaeval symbolism, modern combat and delectable maidens all struggle in the artist's psyche. The heads featured below give an idea of the sheer scale and grandeur of the display."
Withdrawing: 'The Devil is a Don' & 'Nice Clean Sheets'
"Temptation is the issue here... Maybe issue was a poor choice of word but certainly we need to retain purity of soul and clarity of thought. But are we desperate enough to regain our league place that we are ready to sell our collective soul to the Devil? Will we soil our metaphoric sheets with unclean issue? Metaphorically?"The Swivel: "A Better Class of Team"
"The point of transition. We've made our statement, set off on our chivalric crusade, faced our personal demons and temptations and now... through innate decency and built in goodness... find we can rise above them."
The Conclusion: "A Dons Man" and "Form Follows Function"
"I complete my journey with the contemplative acceptance of a job well done. I have reached a point of transition. I have, as my dear friend Joseph Campbell would say 'Followed my Bliss'. With a pipe full of Old Licorice Shag I can lok forward to the season to come and to new challenges, new accolytes and new flags. I cannot change my nature and I find yet again that form does indeed follow function."
So we reached the end of the evening. Fleydon was scheduled to give a speech to the assembled masses from the balcony but a surfeit of tuna & sweetcorn sandwiches allied to copious amounts of red wine had rendered the artist insensate. Fortunately the members of the team who were present were approached and proved willing to provide improptu entertainment by displaying their league trophy and conducting a lively sing-along, not unlike Cliff Richards at a damp Centre Court. Fleydon later sent them his thanks to the players and a box of Quality Street by way of appreciation, a kind gesture much appreciated by the beneficiaries.