Red Fergie’s Bife Stories: Our very own David Abbott

Next on the Bi-Player we return to Red Fergie’s Bife Stories. This week we are celebrating reaching the grand old age of one on this here site by letting you know a bit more about us! We have pumped Red Fergie full of maximum strength tranquilisers again, so lets get going before they start to wear off (contains some strong language) …


Och, many of us know boss of Bifurcated David, actually, no wait, we don’t, he’s only done like three posts! What we aim to find out is a bit more about the fella behind the blog, the voice behind, well, me I spose…



 Do we really care about the walking about in the dark title sequence? NO! Good…




Och David, you’re a busy man, so we won’t keep yer too long. You went to the pub and saw that ruddy last game of the season unfold with Brett I hear? An enjoyable day, I’m guessing?



Best. Day. Ever.






Och, divnae remind me! Anyway, let’s crack on. So you were born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire…






Yes, in a hospital that was later torn down and replaced by a Safeway. My brothers joke that I was born in the frozen pea aisle, because my brothers are hilarious.




*HA HA!!*




Heh, the audience liked that! I guess that explains a lot! Oh, is my mic on? Och, now this was 1981, what do you remember most about your formative years?



I feel like my upbringing was cosy, but worldly, and pretty middle class. Hitchin is a market town. My brothers and I spent weekends exploring, riding our bikes, pretending to be secret service.




You hung out with your brothers a bit then. And did you do much as a family with your mum and dad?



My family did a lot of walking. I remember Autumn days in the fields. I hated it, but miss it now … Of course. I went to church every Sunday: my parents are both children of vicars.




 What did your parents do for a living?



My mum stayed at home and my dad was/is in educational research.








This lot are easily excited today, hey? Did you go on holidays and that with the family?



 We drove around Europe a lot for holidays. We had a white Volvo that was 21 years old when it finally bit the dust. I split my head open on a seat toggle when I was about 10. The fan belt went half way over the Alps one year. The car was a tank. It was white. The first thing I remember really laughing at was my older brother Peter writing “Also available in white” in the dust on the boot door. We stopped going to Europe when we started going to America in 1988.




Sounds like you were quite an adventurous lot. Och, good times then, eh? And was football a big part of your upbringing?



I supported Tottenham for some time in my childhood. I had a man crush on Gary Linekar.










Och, think we’ll move on quickly from there. Did you play yourself?



 In Secondary school I tried to play football with a local team. It was run by one of the boys mums and she wouldn’t play me. My dad asked her why and she told him that they played to win. I never really played much after that.




Not your sport then, eh? Bit like the boy Walcott. Did you try your hand at anything else?



I got into playing tennis one year in Seattle and it remains the only sport I play half decently. I played baseball in America for two seasons but was incredibly shit.




But you excelled in other areas, using your brain. How did you get on at school back then?



I was quiet at Primary school, but had good friends.  In Secondary school I got into drawing. I also loved architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright blew my mind, over and over. Secondary school was pretty shit – I had a lot of friends that spent their time bullying one another.








What kind of stuff were you into at the time?







Me and my brothers were big on America. I got into music when Britpop was all that.  Before we left for the States at the end of 1995 I would describe myself as drifting.







And so yes, you moved to America, how did that come about? 




I was 15 when we moved to the States. My dad’s work expanded that way. Moving to America made me who I am today. I don’t see much of a connection between what came before and what came after. It helped me appreciate the best of British and the best of American and to be open to everything else.



Och and were you treated like a curiosity? How did you deal with the cultural change?





I also spent a lot of the time saying ‘tomato’ for people, so yes, I was a bit of a curiosity. Cultural differences are pretty obvious from the moment you set foot on American soil. Cultural differences I could deal with, political – not so much.




When you say it “made you who you are” can you expand on that a little…






I became more open, and said yes to more stuff. I believed more in myself, and in what is deeper down.




Why do you think that was?





This was due to a lot of stuff that deserves a list: I got into art proper, and thinking about making work. I did a lot in black and white. I got into music, and started playing guitar. I started a folk band and got pissed at everything, but in a folksy kind of way. My best friend and I watched Dead Poets Society one night and decided to do the same thing ourselves. A group of us read poetry in the woods, played music. We smoked a lot. We were very earnest. It was the best group of friends I have had, though I barely talk to some of them now. I fell in love. Still hard to see any other years of my life (with the exception of my married ones) as being anywhere near as transformative and important as these.




So, Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll were your making? And you’ll encourage your children in the same way?







Yes and yes. Except the sex. I can’t really claim to have had much of that. But I would definitely encourge my children to smoke, and then encourage them to quit immediately.








Heh. And then things conspired to bring you back to England…





Yep, family moved to Bath after 4 years in Virginia. I hated it – had left a girl behind in America and my dad had bought a house that needed a load of work done on it. Spent the first winter freezing without heating.





But a silver lining, in football terms, I believe…





Yeah, I started  watching a bit of football again with my younger brother who was a United fan. We watched old videos of Andrei Kanchelskis and Ryan Giggs.













Och, that’s more like it! What were you doing career wise at this point?






I spent the year doing DIY and working in an internet cafe, eating  a lot of the merchandise.




Och, you could argue a nod to your future career, hey? Anyway… I think at this point your heart was still in America…




Sounds so romantic! I moved back to the states for university. These years were also awesome. My friend and I had a radio show at 2 in the morning for two hours. It was in a ‘free jazz’ slot which meant we could play pretty much anything. The college radio station used to take collect calls from the local prison, but they stopped before my time because they were racking up massive bills. We used to get a lot of older, male callers at that time of the morning jazzed that we were playing the Kinks and reminiscing about that time, decades ago, that they played the East coast.



And at this time you starting becoming more aware of what was going on politically, something that would ultimately see you move back to England…




We had another slot for a news show on Monday nights. We interviewed Arianna Huffington when she was running for governor of California against Arnie. That was cool.  When the Iraq war was brewing I became pissed at everything again. My friends burned a flag on campus and it got national news coverage. I graffitied a few things.




And you became fairly politically active didn’t you?



Yeah, the Iraq war was a big deal. It was the most politically charged time of my life. We did a lot of demonstrating, tried to stimulate debates… This was in southern Virginia where they’re relatively conservative.




Och, right on brother! Och, what else was going on with you at this point?





Everyone was in bands, I spent a lot of weekends in basements watching music. I studied art, and got really into printmaking in particular. Spent some nights in the studio drinking 40’s and making etchings. That’s cool for you.




So, art and creativity was starting to shape your future. What were your influences, other artists, movements etc…





Had an amazing mentor-style professor who gave me most of the music I now own, and loads of life lesson stuff. I spent a couple of months teaching in Tanzania in 2003. I didn’t know anyone out there but loved being on my own. Cy Twombly’s work was important to me, but more so the work of my friends. I looked up to everyone I was friends with in some way or another.



Och, If you’ll pardon the cliche it sounds like a cult american movie? Were you always really happy over there?




Low points include selling an awesome Fender tube amp to make rent and being shitty in relationships. Woke up on 9/11 and watched the towers fall on a 7 inch Black and white TV my friend had in his room. Weirdest day of my life. But yeah, when I think back to high school and university it feels like a lot of it did play out like 10 Things I Hate About You.



Heh, but your relationship with footy was growing?






The only football that was on American TV was United, so I became a fan. It was in the early-mid 2000’s when we weren’t winning much. When I came back for holidays I would watch games with my brothers.













It’s the little things, this audience appreciates. And so you came back to England again, but before we go on to that, do you plan to go back to the U.S? Is a bit of your heart still there?



 A bit for sure. But my friends have split to the four corners, so there’s no centralised point to return to, which makes it easier. Next time we go, I’d like to do the West Coast again. Start in Phoenix and end in Seattle.




Och, okay, let’s take a break David. My bum grapes are playing up something rotten. More from David after a quick word from our sponsors…






 Whether you’re a Little Devil…

A fully grown one…

 Or just a bit…


 Chesapeake Studio

have all your digital and design

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Their ethos is pretty simple: do great work with great people.


Atlantic Croaker

But what’s with the fish?


Welcome back. I’m still here with David, one half of Bifurcated and we’re actually having quite a nice chat. I’m surprised to be honest. And so David, you were just saying, you moved back to England…





I moved back to the UK when I finished college turning down a possible year extension to my visa because of George Bush. Worked at Waterstones and started an MA in Multidisciplinary printmaking at UWE where I met my wife. Loved being a student again.






How did the two university cultures match up?






 I don’t know – my MA was overrun with middle-aged women. It wasn’t really comparable at all. What I have noticed is that the Americans work AND play hard, they differentiate and separate. The British seem to mix the two up more.


Heh. Och, so after you graduated…









Moved to Bristol in 2007 and co-founded Snap, a printmaking co-operative and gallery. Left 18 months later to start Chesapeake design studio which is my current thang.







That’s SNAP pictured … Chesapeake is your own business.Which you run on your own … Does working alone work well for you?


I wish I was more collaborative. I mean, built-in collaborative. I envy people who find the collaborative process easier. I don’t, but want to.


As you said you also met your future wife at Uni back in England. How’s that all working out for you?








Yes, we got married in 2009 and had my first (and currently only) child in 2010 and both shes are the best things that have happened to me even though marriage can be hard. My wife is much cleverer than me and more level-headed. She has taught me most of what I know about relationships of any kind.











Soft buggers! You also have a step-daughter. Has having a close family and siblings prepared you for your own family, if it ever can?


I think any relationship prepares you in some way for another. My step-daughter is also amazing. A step family has been challenging – partly because the relationships, and therefore the challenges, are intertwined.



Och, well from what I’ve seen you are a very loving and considerate father and step-father. With everything, do your friends see you much?






I don’t have as many friends as I used to. A lot are in America. With a wife, child and step daughter I don’t find much time to make friends or cultivate friendships which I find regrettable.




Och, so you’re not just ignoring Brett then? I would. Moving on, you always appear so grounded, level-headed, how do you maintain the balance? Do you wish you could do anything differently? I guess your work is important in this?




Wow, you always say that! It’s nice of you – I must be some actor. I do think that some things should be hilarious and some things should be serious. I need both things. I hate my reliance on technology, but love what the stuff is capable of. I feel very strongly about good design and architecture. I think Will Ferrell is a genius.












Looks like they agree with you there David! Revisiting what you said earlier… you went to church every Sunday and so would you say you’re ‘religious’ has that had an influence on the way you conduct yourself?






I believe in a creator but believe that it’s our relationships with other people that matter. We make our own way; I do not believe in an interventionist god (like Nick Cave).




Och, It’s slightly at odds, in my experience, to find a member of secular society with such an open and creative mind as yourself who believes in a ‘god’. Would you say that it’s more the ideas promoted by the church that provide that belief or do you actually choose to believe in creation over evolution?





Oh shit, I’m not a creationist. I probably shouldn’t have said ‘creator’. I just meant higher power, and I’m more of a clockwork universe kind of guy. You know, we’re in a process of unwinding…












Lost on me too that one … And so the church?






I find the church pretty irrelevant now, despite it’s presence in my life. I went to my nephew’s Christening last week and although it was a lovely day, I found myself more distant from what the vicar was saying than I have ever felt.




Okay. And so, do you think your general outlook has changed much, from the pot-smoking american youth to the father?





I spend a lot of time wishing I had more time to nurture my hobbies and passions. Listening to music is the only thing that has stayed constant. I feel less positive about humanity than I used to; more jaded. But I’m totally open to being reminded of the awesomeness of everyone. I am learning lots because I have a family, but learning less ‘stuff’ outside of that. That’s weird.




You also said you were aware of being middle class when younger, do you still feel middle class, or are you more inclined to see the lines as more blurred?




I hate the class system. I know I know, I defined myself pretty early on in this interview. BUT when I was in the States I really liked that all the lines were much more blurred and fluid. If I feel middle class it is because of my taste. I hate Asda. I read the Guardian.




And so finally, as we’re talking in context of you running a football site, where does football now fit in…




I love football, and hate it too. Sometimes I consider quitting it. Sometimes I consider supporting a crap team to lower my expectations. I have seen (Bristol) Rovers a couple of times. Live football is the best and I don’t watch it enough. In the past few weeks I have discovered a soft spot for Chelsea that I find disturbing. I am pleased to report that my hatred for Liverpool is undiminished. The same can also be said of my feelings for John Terry. Football is the beautiful leveller, that is currency across the world. Like smoking. And it’s beautiful, fucking beautiful.


*YEAH! (Apart from the Chelsea bit)*






Well thank you David, it’s been great getting to know you better. Hopefully we’ll see you round here a bit more often in the future. David … David? … Och, he’s gone again...





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