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Posted on Jun 12, 2017 by in Creative Thoughts |

I begin this piece in a beach bar in Katelios on the Island of Kefelonia, Greece. The reason for this will become apparent towards the end of my exposition.

I retired in 2014 and as a means of keeping my brain active began, in 2011, a degree in Art & Design. Along the way I wrote a short, personal, presentation on the subject of ‘synchronicity’, a subject which had always fascinated me and in which I have come to believe.

What follows is an extract from that presentation with a few additions.

Synchronicity and the Toys of the Avant Garde.

Synchronicity was first postulated by C. G. Yung, one of the Fathers of psychoanalysis, in the 1920s, being:

‘the simultaneous occurrence of causally unrelated events and the belief that the simultaneity has meaning beyond mere coincidence.’

‘Toys of the Avant-Garde’

I was given this book as a birthday present by my son.  
 Its 400 pages are full of wonderful toys made by artists such as; Paul Klee, Picasso, Miro and many more, from the first half of the 20th century.

Joaquin Torres Garcia

About ¾ of the way through I found a section on an artist that was new to me…

…and in 1929 had expounded his own manifesto on the meanings and practice of art

It was the cover of this publication that started to give me the meaningful coincidence’ tingle…

Then I saw his wooden figures and the penny dropped! 

JG 2008 unglazed crank

We were soul-mates!

My original training was that of a Goldsmith and I have always been a maker.


This morphed into a display company in the 1970s,which required me to make props.

Later in the early 1980s my wife and I opened a Toyshop so in a way toys have been a  part of my life.




An Aladdins Cave with a playroom and my then three years old son in 7th heaven.










I had also made toys for my children the form of little houses as had Torres Garcia in 1929

Tinplate lamp standard with original bulb by George Goddard circa 1949

My Father had also been a maker of toys. I can remember forts, cablecars that worked across my bedroom. The only thing that I have left is this street lamp still with its original bulb from  around 1948/9.

I was born in 1943 whilst my Father was serving with the British Army in Greece. At this time my mother, my grandmother and I lived in a bungalow in Essex, my earliest memory is of being in a push chair in a grocery shop that had sacks of produce stacked on the floor by the counter and the goods were hand wrapped in brown paper – I could only have been about one year old. There is also photograph of me aged under five, dressed as an Evzoni (Greek ceremonial guard) in a costume brought back by my Father. I can also vaguely remember the V2 raids and our Anderson shelter with me shouting ‘UNDER’ at the first sound of the doodle bugs and of my mother singing me to sleep.

Which brings me back to Greece 2017 – our plane was delayed and we arrived after midnight. After breakfast next morning we walked into the village and had coffee in a waterfront bar.

As we drank our coffee I became aware of the background music, which seems ubiquitous these days, but I found myself silently singing the words of a song by, I learned, Jasmine Thompson It was in a slow tempo to just a guitar accompaniment. It was a simultaneity, it was the song that my mother had sung to me as my lullaby back in the 1940s.

There is some dispute as to the origins of the song but the most trustworthy is that Paul Rice wrote it in 1937, inspired by a letter from a fan. It’s first recording was by The ‘Pine Ridge Boys in 1939 as a 78rpm on the ‘Bluebird’ label.

I do not know which version my mother heard but these are the words as I remember them from 1944/5

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

The other night, dear,
As I lay sleeping
I dreamed That you were by my side.
But when I awoke, dear,
and found you gone, dear,
I hung my head and cried.

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

I have always thought that the words of this song reflected the thoughts and sentiments of the wives and sweethearts for their men away at war

To have the memories of my first few years of life rekindled at the age of 74 by a music track recorded in 2016 in a beach bar in Greece seems a very meaningful coincidence to me one might even say that it was synchronicity?

Jg 2017 Katelios Greece.