A mini-autobiography: For poetry, non fiction writing and more go to www.nagara.co.uk
Born in Essex in 1956, my interdisciplinary career has included several complementary, areas of interest in the arts, sciences, the environment and practical trades. With an early interest in painting and design, I was educated at Bryanston School on an Art Scholarship and was awarded the Henry Moore apprentice prize for sculpture in 1971 under the tutelage of Donald Potter.
With both structural and mechanical engineers in the family, I indulged my boyhood love of driving by maintaining various old mopeds and karts, was an active member of the Exeter and District Kart Club and a Track Marshall at the Wiscombe Park Hill Climb.
Working in my college holidays as a junior designer and copywriter in the advertising department of the Readers Union Book Club at the David and Charles Publishing Company from 1973, I graduated with a degree in Theatre Design at the Wimbledon School of Art in 1977 and worked as a freelance designer for advertising and theatre clients. I was also employed as an advertising and sales promotion account executive and writer for three advertising agencies; Hallett-Paul Publicity in Devon and Cato Johnson (Young and Rubicam) and Marketing Triangle in London, devising campaigns for clients including Johnson & Johnson, Martini & Rossi, Glenfiddich, Allied Breweries and Trendon Sports. Theatre clients included the Redgrave Company, Anne Jellico’s Medium Fair Touring Company and a number of community educational projects. I also provided free or at-cost design and prop-making services for local schools and amateur theatre groups.
Environmental projects in 1977/8 included devising and running the Buckfastleigh Mill Scheme, becoming a founder member and publicity officer of the Dartmoor Badgers Protection League and campaigning locally for Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Ecology Party.
I also worked briefly for Dart Knitwear in marketing and production design: clients included Triminghams of Bermuda, Neiman Marcus and Ralph Lauren (for whom I had previously designed the rose motif for the “Annie Hall” knitwear collection). But I was becoming increasingly disillusioned with consumerism and took a short MTIT course to emerge as a qualified vehicle mechanic and welder; starting my own South London classic car restoration business in 1984 and working free-lance for the Aston Martin Group C endurance race team at R.S. Williams.
Realising that my voluntary work in community development and the environment were becoming increasingly important to my world view and that the motor trade was really more of a passionate interest rather than an ethically driven commitment, it was clear that I needed to make some drastic changes. In 1986 I enrolled at Middlesex Polytechnic and emerged in 1990 with a first class B.Sc. in which I focused on energy physics and renewable energy technologies; supplementing the course with social science modules on food production, economics and sustainable development.
While at Middlesex I wrote the UK’s first Charter for Renewable Energy in 1989 under the guidance of Schumacher Award winner Dr. David Elliot at the Network for Alternative Technology and parts of my original research for my 1990 thesis were used to create the UK’s first energy eco-labelling regulations for electrical appliances. I was a member of the UK’s Parliamentary Alternative Energy Group from 1989 to 1993.
In 1991 I became the Energy Conservation Officer in one of the UK’s first Local Authority specialist Environment Units based at Watford Council and managed several ground-breaking projects including the national pilot project for the UK’s Home Energy Conservation Act (1995). I was Chair of the Black Employees Support Group for 3 years, Chair of the Hertfordshire Energy Forum for 2 years and was a founder member of The European Energy and Air Quality Model (Equam) with Professor Ranjeet Sokhi at Hertfordshire University and was on the United Nations Local Agenda 21 Committee. I also instigated: a community development outreach programme, the adoption of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) schemes and the insulation of over 3000 hard-to-heat homes under the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme in partnership with Richard Moores of Baring Insulation and Eastern Electricity. I also wrote several guides for the Energy Savings Trust and Building Research Establishment. In addition I wrote a large number of environmental pamphlets and contributed to energy articles for local and national media including The Guardian, The Financial Times and LBC Radio.
I have also found time for creative work including writing songs, plays, short stories and non-fiction polemics. My poetry has been published in anthologies in the USA and the UK and I have performed in many venues in London and Devon including The Riverside, The Foundry, Exeter Phoenix and Plymouth Barbican. I have played blues piano in venues in Bangkok, London and Devon including Nomads, the Ain’t Nothing But the Blues Café, The Coach & Horses Blues Jam, Tavistock Wharf, the Victoria Inn, the Silent Whistle and The Ashburton Blues Festival while my short plays have been performed at the Watford Palace Theatre and the Allsorts Arts Centre under the direction of Jessica Dromgoole and Deborah Shaw.
In 1998 I moved back to Devon and was employed as a Senior Environmental Consultant for the Plymouth Groundwork Trust, securing a €1 million grant from the European Union for the Envision Project. After a period of illness I worked as a self employed woodlands manager and sales agent for Woodlands. co. uk. Since 2005 my health has been very patchy and I have worked on and off during a long convalescence in part-time and temporary self-employed work as a handyman, hard-landscape designer, bathroom fitter and vehicle mechanic.
In July 2013 I started Nagara Automotive specialising in the restoration, improvement and modification of classic cars. My first project, currently under development, is a new take on the classic MG Midget, the Nagara Midget that combines the best of 1960s style with improved performance and practicality.
Nick Nakorn, August 2014
For Poetry, non fiction writing and more go to www.nagara.co.uk