IMAGE CREDIT: Kenneth Wade Photography.
Early Life, School Years and "the piano accident":
Francis Mark Courtney McGowan was born March 23rd 1981 at Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow, to parents Eileen Patricia Courtney and Patrick McGowan. Attending St Philomenas Primary School in Provanmill, St Rochs Secondary School in Royston, and later Turnbull High School in Bishopbriggs - he was described as a "fun-loving", "imaginative" and "enthusiastic young man" by teachers.
His journey into the creative industries began aged eight years old, when following an accident at home which left him paralysed - he was unable to play or go outside, seeing his mother wheel in the big TV from the front room, where a passionate exploration of the behind-the-scenes of film and TV began, inspiring young Francis to make his own home movies - typically about the people and things he saw around him, with friends, family and even pets in starring roles!
As his recovery began, more ambitious projects were set to follow - including a number of low-budget short films made using Power Rangers action figures, and miniature sets built from cereal boxes. A hard-hitting anti-drugs film (and accompanying magazine) were also produced with help from friends from school, with matte paintings on glass to achieve impressive "special effects".
Growing Up Gay in Glasgow:
Following the death of his Mum at Christmas in 1994, and his Father's decline into alcoholism, being bullied at school for being assumed "gay" added to upset and uncertainty at home while preparing for college, with sofa surfing and sleeping on the streets and in bus stops distracting from any creative projects for a time, until 1997 - when taking a stand against his Father with the help of his best friend Michelle, he took on the role of being main caregiver for his older brother, who had special needs. Juggling their caring commitments, an emerging music career, and an education - the duo studied at college together, majoring in Creative Industries for Television, before completing a further three year degree in Film and Media, which led to work experience at BBC Scotland, STV and local radio station Bolt FM, where he met the likes of Rik Mayall, Hugh Reed and Ted McKenna, who became his creative mentor.
'Eric and the Bunny Boilers' Music Career:
Front Page News, PTSD and Mental Health:
IMAGES CREDITS: (left to right) The Scottish Sun Variety Awards 2012/Bad Pony Media, Geo Wright/Eric and the Bunny Boilers and Karen Gordon Photography.