In the early hours of a New Years Day in the early 1980’s Tommy Bradson was born in New York City to Spanish painter Raoul Molinari and Irish songstress Siobhan O’Connor, whilst they were honeymooning in the big apple. He spent his childhood in the bars and brothels of underground arthouse 80’s Melbourne, lovingly thrust into the arms of a bohemian brethren he neither understood nor appreciated ‘til much later in life. Between suckling his mother’s teet before gigs in green rooms and sleeping under canvas at his fathers paint splattered feet, Tommy was educated mostly by the beatniks and ballet dancers that watched over him. On his fifth birthday Tommy found a violin in a case under his four poster bed and like a fly to shit he took it under his chin with such voracity his parents and their friends likened him to a young Paganini.
Tommy became the youngest and most integral part of the ‘Bread Army’, a band of the impoverished Australasian creative elite founded by visiting Russian poet Vladimir Nabokov. As a young boy he collaborated with his parents to produce the multi-faceted theatrical artwork ‘God is in My Corner and I Have Nowhere to Sit’ with which they successfully toured major European and American arts festivals for many years. The show brought Tommy great praise from critics and audiences alike however his parents grew jealous of his acclaim and at age eleven he was shipped off to the Royal College of Music in London. After eighteen months rubbing shoulders with the musical elect, he found their egalitarianism and the staunch institutionalisation of artists unbearable.
Tommy threw his violin into the Thames, vowing never again to caress its feminine wares. It was a few years later in Cork, working as a fisher and writing by night that the teenage Tommy met the elusive Korean circus clown Ghengis Ping, after a poetry reading from his newly published debut of what he called midnight musings: ‘After Smiles Have Splintered’. The book suffered scathing reviews for its sexual vulgarity and anti-religious sentiment, though Tommy still defends it as an ‘awakening of the angst-ridden angel in all of us’. Ghengis invited Tommy to train with him thus Tommy traveled to South East Asia where, after graduating from the Korean College of Physical Theatre, he soon directed ‘The Ping Sting’; a vast sprawling meditative metropolis of the mundane and the profane… with clowns and midgets and midget clowns and mirrors of cocaine.
It was in Bangkok during preparations for Ghengis’ new show that Tommy met Jacinta Le Mort, a ballet dancer and sword swallower who was born in Moscow but had spent her developing years in Egypt, with whom he fell in love for what he would call ‘the very first and the very only time in my life’. Their whirlwind romance brought a stop to Genghis’ work as Tommy focused on his muse; composing and choreographing for Jacinta what he believed would be his grand opus: ‘The Bird That Flew’. They married in Switzerland in a small ceremony in the summer of 2004. In the winter of that year, having accumulated extensive amounts of debt and postponing the opening of the show many times over, only days before they were due to open Jacinta fell down a flight of stairs at the Russian Recital Hall. She broke her leg. The show was cancelled. In the throes of disappointment and anguish and unable to confess her unwanted pregnancy to Tommy, Jacinta threw herself from a hospital roof; forever impressing the cold streets of Moscow. Tommy… heartbroken, burnt and beyond repair sought refuge in the quiet beach side city of Sydney, Australia.
He dropped from the international arts scene, neither writing nor acting nor thinking of the colours and sounds and the stage to which he had always felt compelled. Instead perfecting his culinary skills with an all-hours all-meat café opening in a backstreet in Darlinghurst and quietly expanding his collection of black and white erotic photography, which is estimated to now be worth over US $1.6 million. After a brief fling with Nano Yasimoto, a blonde-bombshell C-grade dancing celebrity, ended in a very public brawl wherein she was arrested for trying to sell cocaine to undercover police at a TV awards ceremony, not before successfully lodging a chopstick in one of the officers eye sockets, Tommy rose from almost three years of silent slumber with a one-man cabaret show ‘When the Sex is Gone’, a collaborative effort with Scottish composer and pianist known only as Boris, which he premiered at the 2009 Melbourne Fringe Festival. The show, about a hermaphrodite living a dual existence as a stripper and a boxer, was awarded a handful of accolades from numerous festivals over Australia and also enjoyed an international season at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
After playing too many festivals in too short a time, and struggling to garner the funds to continue eating and arting Tommy spent six months recovering and sleeping on the streets of Paris, mostly huddling behind tombstones in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, living off the cigarettes and bread given to him by tourists and passers by, illegally painting murals on Parisian buildings with wine and food scraps. After a near death experience falling drunk into the Seine River and drowning within an inch of his life, Tommy sprung from this sojourn with a new idea, thus returned to his home in Sydney in the summer of 2010 to study and swim and sit in the sun and swan around in his ’74 Fastback, his brogue-clad foot pushing the muscle fast down a distant road. In his dreams he drowned again and again each night, always reaching for the red herrings that bounced across the water’s edge. ‘Pirate Rhapsody, Mermaid Requiem’ based on Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Mermaid’, a collaboration with musical legend and lord of the keys Victorian John Thorn, has since been lauded as a grand second album.
In the summer of 2012 Tommy packed his grandfather’s gun-metal grey combi with beer and mushrooms and a few blankets and set highway sail for the centre of the Australian desert. He crossed sand and dirt and at the place where the land was most desolate, most open, most burnt by the sun he met a dingo. Her name was Clarice. They sat under the stars and she played guitar and Tommy was serenaded. They shared stories of their yesterdays and tomorrows and when he felt his eyes were heavy with sleep she pushed a little square of brown paper which had been soaked in hallucinogens under his left eyeball. He watched the sand turn to sea and Clarice and he tangoed til a rainbow serpent drove by in his beat-up station wagon and took her home. On the way back to the big smoke he wrote poems about his childhood and his mother on the windscreen of the combi and on the back of napkins from pit-stop greasy spoons. The radio was stuck on an AM frequency that only played oz music from the early 80′s. He rolled scoobs and took the scenic route and upon arriving home had a new show ready to rock n roll.
Currently touring his solo shows whilst penning a screenplay and a novel, it seems there is yet a little more splendour to spring from this flower.