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News > Alumni News > OI Richard Whymark's (OI 1988-93) Book Appears in 'Book People' Best Sellers List

OI Richard Whymark's (OI 1988-93) Book Appears in 'Book People' Best Sellers List

Richard Whymark was at Ipswich School from 1988 to 1993 and when he left he hadn't a clue what he wanted to do.

He says; "I was dabbling in photography (with film) and making silly short films with friends from the School including Guy Hussey (OI 1986-93), Marcus O'Neill (1989-96), Tom Warren (OI 1985-93), Ben Gallon (OI 1982-90), Alex Parkinson (OI 1986-93) and Tora Bagnall (1989-91). Alex Parkinson is now a Hollywood director.

"My A-level results were pretty poor so I went to America and got into the University of Texas at Austin to study broadcast journalism. It was here that I discovered underground radio and DIY music. It was life-changing."

After two years producing and directing live television and radio, Richard was strongly advised by American immigration to return to England. He went to London in 2000 and started working for one of the few live streaming companies in Europe at the time. He travelled to Europe, Australia and the United States directing concert films for bands and record labels; it was a wide spectrum of music from J Mascis through Missy Elliott and the Spice Girls to Deep Purple and Chumbawamba.

Richard comments; "Because live streaming was so new, we were making it up as we went along. We'd sometimes unplug the venue's phone and stream down that line at 33 kbps in glorious mono!" 

He also hired a satellite truck to live stream Sting's "All This Time" concert from his house in Tuscany. Unfortunately, that was on September 11th 2001 so proceedings were cut short.

Richard was fortunate enough to make a documentary about New Model Army and travel to Montreux Jazz Festival with Deep Purple to document the origins of "Smoke On The Water."

Now in 2023 he is promoting his book about Austin's underground music scene in the 90s - A Curious Mix Of People. The book documents a city in flux, dealing with growing pains expanding from sleepy artsy American college town into a high tech city. Richard expands by saying; "The scene is one of many that happened in cities across the world, but Austin had a certain something different, with indie record labels, film-makers, musicians, magazine writers, underground venues and record shops all working together to make a scene outside of the mainstream.

"Something that was important in Austin was that women were front and centre of the scene. We were told in almost every interview with a female musician that - once they left Austin - they were not treated at all well. Sound guys would sabotage their sound, and producers would ignore their ideas.

"Currently, I'm enjoying seeing so many people enjoying this book and getting to travel to promote it on radio, TV, podcasts and in magazines. We have been number one in Book People’s Best Sellers list for two weeks running!”

The book is part of a project that is also a documentary film series and Richard hopes that South By South West 2024 will accept the documentary series and it gets picked up for distribution. He is also planning a podcast series.

Thinking back to his time at Ipswich School, Richard has great memories of the Library as a peaceful place to escape the noise, read Private Eye or NME and get his homework done! He says, "The Liberal Arts were always enjoyable and the teachers were fantastic. I particularly remember Ed Cavendish (History), Alex Burnett (English), and Elizabeth Lewis (English). Richard Kitchen took us to the Edinburgh Fringe to put on a jazz musical version of Midsummer Night's Dream - that was an amazing experience."

When asked what he would like to have told his younger self Richard replies; "Creativity is a lot more precise than it seems."

We wish Richard well with his book sales and the film series. A Curious Mix of People is available in the UK through mail order :



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