Dr. Steve Marshall

David Tinker is Development Director of ProReal, a virtual platform which enables users to visually describe their worlds in a way that is immersive, safe and secure. Clients enter a secure, virtual landscape and add avatars and props to create representations of real-world scenarios.

David’s entrepreneurial career followed life as a military helicopter pilot. He went on to teach leadership in the Army before transferring skills to become a consultant and coach in the international corporate environment. The original ProReal concept grew out of David’s training in coaching, sociodrama, and storytelling.

My conversations with David are often via Skype as he works aboard his canal boat. It’s an idyllic, if slightly eccentric setting, where he seems and able to be fully present to his sense of complexity, creativity and humour in the world.

I opened up the possibility of an image that would express his sense of how he sees things:

S: Where would we shoot it? Where would we do it?

D: Oh… maybe I’m on the paddle board or maybe I’m in the river somewhere, there’s something about the flow of a river and there’s something about the comedy… I’ll tell you, I was once… I’ve got a 2CV, a Deux Chevaux, and I’ve renovated the Deux Cheveaux . I broke down once on this really busy main road by this roundabout and I had an hour or so to wait for the AA. I happened to have my tuba in the back and I sat on the wing of this 2CV with my beret on and I was practicing. It was a beautiful day, practicing my tuba and I couldn’t help but think there must be so many car drivers that went back home that night… “You’ll never guess what I saw today… This really weird bloke with a beret on, sat on the side of a 2CV playing the tuba.”

 

In the event, the tuba didn’t make it into David’s Photo-Dialogue image but Pete did. He had been resting in a corner of the canal boat and it seemed unkind to leave him out of the fun. David thought that Pete should drive; it felt like an interesting provocation for any of us who try to assume control of our destiny.

As we spoke, I became aware of the connection between humour and humility; there is a gentle kindness that is the essence fo David’s view of the world.

S: I’m just curious, is that an intentional disruption on your part or do you notice that…  do you deliberately shake things up, do you provoke, or…?

D: Oh, I’ll provoke. I’ll shake things up. I’ll … and I know, I mean just there with my father, I know that’s what he did. He was very provocative and he was very underneath that, very angry, but also, as a theatre director, he always had this way of seeing what was behind something in the person in what was presented, in terms of a presenting issue. He was always working with what’s the possibility of what’s behind… In the same way in which when I went to see the Picasso exhibition the other day, I just loved… he was saying the unsayable. He was describing the indescribable in words and he would put in into pictures so amazingly well that we get, as you would understand, we get it in an art form. So I’ve got truth-seeking going on in not so much a belligerent way but I like, you know, in protest, but in this kind of nudging, what’s a real truth here, that we might be sitting on or trying to avoid? And I do get… erm… and I’m struck by our limitations as like that conversation earlier about the green Martian, there’s a naïve inquiry, how do we set this up for ourselves, you know, we set ourselves up for extinction and why do we do that? So I’ve got some of those questions going on. And part of it is, I don’t want to tip-toe through life to make it safely to death, I really don’t want to have a nice life.

D: Mmm… If I go with the… Let me start with my business first. I see a way in which … for me a lot of this is about doing something useful. I can’t see the point of being on this planet and just being here as a passenger. There’s doing something useful and, for me, like, there’s a resolution to be had. The same in any film, the same in any story or symphony, we just want to resolve this particular part of the melody and so I’m looking for ‘where’s the resolution here?’ that, for me in my life, would give some kind of closure. So I’d like to go to the resolution of that bit and certainly, my work part, before I get to retirement. And the business will have its phases of resolution. Not that it will ever close but at some stage it makes sense for it to then move on to the next phase that could be with as part of another organisation and then it will move to it’s next place. So it will keep resolving.  So I think I see this as, erm, opportunities for resolution. And I always remember doing some work in my clowning training of mirroring someone, and trying to get the mirroring absolutely right and even if a hand would move slightly we would move and it was so important, being aware of that and this, so the resolution is in getting that mirroring going, so we’re trying to mirror what’s going on in the market and where the needs are and how that’s shifting and how are we adapting to what’s going on … erm… seems to be really important for us.  So, yes, so phases of disruption and then resolution in the same way in which I can hear a beautiful minor into a major key or something like that. 

 

S:I’m just curious, is that an intentional disruption on your part or do you notice that – I can imagine there’s instrumentality in …  do you deliberately shake things up, do you provoke, or…?

 

D:Oh, I’ll provoke. I’ll shake things up. I’ll … and I know, I mean just there with my father, I know that’s what he did. He was very provocative and he was very underneath that, very angry, but also, as a theatre director, he always had this way of seeing what was behind something in the person in what was presented, in terms of a presenting issue. He was always working with what’s the possibility of what’s behind… In the same way in which when I went to see the Picasso exhibition the other day, I just loved… he was saying the unsayable. He was describing the indescribable in words and he would put in into pictures so amazingly well that we get, as you would understand, we get it in an art form.  So I’ve got truth-seeking going on in not so much a belligerent way but I like, you know, in protest, but in this kind of nudging, what’s a real truth here, that we might be sitting on or trying to avoid? And I do get… erm… and I’m struck by our limitations as like that conversation earlier about the green Martian, there’s a naïve inquiry, how do we set this up for ourselves, you know, we set ourselves up for extinction and why do we do that? So I’ve got some of those questions going on.  And part of it is, I don’t want to tip-toe through life to make it safely to death, I really don’t want to have a nice life. 

 D:My sons keep threatening to put on my gravestone, “Here lies a really nice man who had a nice life.” I used to have a jar in our kitchen when they were going to school, when they were younger, and every time you used the word nice you put a pound in the jar and it was a charity jar. 

 

S:Where does that kind of scratchiness come from, do you think? You referenced your father, how does that… I’m interested in what’s the real genesis of that…? How doe you see? You’re responding to what? 

 

D:Several components of years of really low self esteem, years of, I mean, my comment earlier about legacy or what I’m going to leave is only to make up what a bad person I thought I was. So I’ve got a tinge of some anger about that, that comes through, so I can connect with that in a really positive way and now I can connect with it in an intelligent way that I don’t think I always have. I think I’ve learned how to engage with it in an intelligent way.  And a kind of intolerance of ‘nice’ – just that nice doesn’t make anything happen – and yet it’s difficult because we might have something about ‘adequate’. What’s wrong with having an adequate life? And yet that’s so hard for us. You know, I don’t want to have an adequate life for fucks sake! I want to have a brilliant life!  And yet I’ll be really disappointed. What’s wrong with having an adequate life but I have got something about nudging and creating something new and surprise and aha! And I want to see something different and I have a big push against abuse of power  - my own and others and organisational abuse of power.

D:  I have phases of life and I know that I’m in the last bit. I’ve turned 60 and I could be thinking about how I support others to do whatever I can as a mentor… there’s little things that I might do that means that I take more of a reflective role. It’s a different person for me – but that doesn’t mean to say that I have less impact. It’s just in a very different way. I really don’t think I have the energy to do the heavy lifting of anything like ProReal. It feels like my life was the kind of rehearsal to get to what I’ve got now and seeing this safely away and then giving some attention to something else would be important.  I’ve always been part of organisations whether as a counsellor or Samaritan or charities, trustees etc.  That’s always been an important part of my philosophy of life and that’s not going to change.

iuhslfkvbalksjdbv

aliekjhvqoiahfv;aoweishdv

ieurfhvqiouarhv;awoeidbv

 

Photo-Dialogue: David Tinker

Photo-Dialogue: David Tinker

 

iuerviubelvbeaksjdbf

liweurvlaeb a

q;eriva;elinv