Arthur John Robinson was never really known by that name. He was John to his family but to his friends he was variously Robbo, Bo, Bo Geste, Bogus, Bogus the Funky Man. etc. etc. But mostly he was known as Bo.
Growing up in Barry, he developed his individual style early in life making good use of found, repurposed and handmade stuff. In his later school days, he lived in an old caravan in the back garden of the family home. The décor was unmistakable Bo, the gemination of his art. Street, punk, raw, funky.
In this caravan he began to experiment with music and sound. Friends would be invited round for some ‘Bongo Bashee’, making noises with a variety of instruments along with Bo to be recorded on an old tape machine. This would be a constant thread throughout his life, the urge to make sound and if it could be made with something found, salvaged, or built himself, so much the better.
We don’t need to discuss the history of John’s family, but he clearly had some positive influences that served him well in life. He was even-handed, fair minded and forgiving. Or at least as much as one might hope. There was rarely a time when he had no partner and it’s fair to say there were a few over the years but they never seemed to end in acrimony. Surely there must have been some arguments but once over, the relationships generally continued as friendships. A rare quality.
There was also part of Bo that never grew up. He revelled in childish jokes, loved Viz Comic and could fart to competition standard (followed by a comment such as ‘chonk’, ‘speak up Mr Brown’ ‘Taxi!’ etc.). The kind of humour that’s perfect for keeping a positive outlook in a complicated world.
A degree in Graphic Design led to a career in slide presentation graphics in London which kept him busy until the week before he died. One of his last worries was to meet a work commitment. Typical Bo.
So, if visual arts were his career, music was his hobby. There were times when it might have been different, first No Corridor, and then Paris Working could have changed his path. But really, this other path may have been too narrow for Bo. Just as happy plucking a tune out of a kalimba or a bank of salvaged and home-built synthesizers, his music was always eclectic. There’s probably not an instrument on the planet he wouldn’t have loved to get a go on.
Come to that he’d have a go at anybody’s language as well. Just to get to chat to them and this is a key communication skill that was so typical of Bo.
Brother, Schoolmate, Boyfriend, Fellow Student, Flatmate, Colleague, Band Mate, Husband, Friend. Whatever he was to you, I know you miss him because he was one of a kind.