Paperback book published in 2005 by Birlinn
In 1984, a young artist with orange punk hair was invited to join the crew of a cargo vessel supplying North Sea installations. Wild seas and force 9 gales would have sent most people back to land for good, but for Sue Jane Taylor a passion was born. For the next ten years she dedicated herself to creating a visual record of the lives and workplaces of Scotland's oil workers. She visited construction yards, oil terminals and offshore facilities, capturing the gritty, harsh conditions of the industry in her sketches, paintings and sculptures.
In 1987 she stayed on the Piper Alpha Platform, not long before the explosion which killed 167 workers - changing the face of the oil industry for ever. Through her diaries and images she recalls the evocative days of the black gold. Above all she celebrates the individuals she met, the men far from home and those that died on Piper Alpha.In 2004 she was invited offshore by the new owners of the Piper field, Talisman Energy. Seventeen years after her first visit she describes life on the new platform, Piper Bravo, and finds many changes.
This is a remarkable visual and social commentary on a crucial development period in North Sea oil. Taylor's observations are augmented by factual descriptions of the sites by Ronnie McDonald (the founder of the industry's first off-shore union, OILC) and 400 illustrations.
The book also included a critical introduction to her work by Giles Sutherland.