When he’s not pounding the streets delivering post for the Royal Mail in Morecambe, chances are Richard Davis has got a photo to take or a gig to organise.
Over the past three years, Richard, 46, from the Moorlands area of Lancaster, has added some of the district’s most talented musicians, artists, photographers and film-makers to the multi-art melting pot that is Totally Wired.
The free events have been extremely successful, with over 30 taking place since 2009 in venues across the district.
Originally from Birmingham, Richard moved to Manchester aged 22 to study Photographic Technology, having got into photography at an early age “mainly because I really liked drawing but realised I was rubbish at it”.
He arrived in a city that was undergoing a cultural revolution in the early 1990s, and as a freelance photographer was able to capture the colour and style of Madchester as it bloomed.
The Stone Roses, James, The Happy Mondays and The Inspiral Carpets and comedians like Steve Coogan, Caroline Ahearne, John Thomson and Henry Normal
have all been immortalised by Richard’s lens.
In 2002 Richard moved to Lancaster with his wife and two young children and took a break from photography. But in 2008, after taking portraits of his children, he caught the bug again.
“I realised I really missed my camera!” he said. “In 2009 I got involved with fundraising for Lancaster library and put on an arts event. I got hooked big style and took lots of photos of all the performers.
“I realised this was something I really enjoyed doing, and I wanted to get going again!”
Not long after that he formed Totally Wired and says he hasn’t looked back since.
“The idea behind Totally Wired is to do mixed arts events and also get people to collaborate and experiment who normally wouldn’t,” he explained.
So we get a musician to perform a soundtrack to a filmmaker’s film or get a poet to work with a musician or a short film of photos that a local photographer had taken.
“A dancer to perform in front of a band...basically anything goes. The more weird it looks on paper the better. At the last event I had two double bass players performing a short soundtrack to a film, which was then followed by three cello players performing a soundtrack to another film.
“Visually it looked stunning, which is very important to me when I’m working out what would work well and what wouldn’t.”
The image, both in print and in relation to an individual’s style, is essential when it comes to “getting oneself out there,” according to Richard.
“Image is massively important to artists – it’s what makes you stand out from thousands of others.
“I’m very interested in visuals – both film and photography – so image can really make or break a band. Bands that give image plenty of thought tend to get on and make my job a lot easier.”
Despite rolling with the Manchester heavyweights in the 90s, Richard feels right at home here in Lancaster.
“For its size Lancaster has an incredible amount of talented people in many art forms.
“Combine that with a small place and its very easy to get to know people and who does what.
“There is a real solid support in this area which encourages creativity in people – More Music, Ludus, Yorkshire House, Music Co-op – so I think we are lucky in that Lancaster has a lot to offer.
“The art establishment around the area has been really supportive towards me especially The Dukes who gave me the opportunity to do the regular Wired In nights.
“The Storey has also encouraged me which kind of makes it all seem like I’m on the right path.
“I’m always on the look out for suitable performers.
“We are blessed at the moment in that we seem to be on a creative cycle of talented youngsters coming through.”
Richard hopes to continue growing Totally Wired and providing the platform for local artists, “as long as there is enough talent out there”. He also plans to run more outdoor events, following a successful one in Quernmore earlier this year.
“As long as I keep enjoying it and feel there is enough talent out there (both locally and further a field) and I’m not losing too much money, I’ll keep putting events on,” he added.
“I did a Wired Out in the summer which was really enjoyable.
“We have a great landscape around Lancaster with perfect outdoor locations, and I would like to do maybe two more outdoor events in secret locations next year, as well as all the indoor events of course!”
October is certainly a busy month for Richard.
His photographic exhibition Portraiture – Past & Present, runs until November 24 at More Music in Morecambe, while a special Wired In, in collaboration with Lancaster Litfest, takes place in the Round at The Dukes on October 15 and features music by Ruthless Rap Assassins, Jack Bee and Mia Wilson, and a special Stone Roses photographic exhibition with photos by Ian Tilton.
A Totally Wired Vintage Vinyl night takes place on Friday October 26 at More Music in Morecambe. For more information on Totally Wired, visit www.totallywired.org.uk.