Black Country bred, Dr Day is the spawn of 300 years of English Midlands' Industrialism. He was conceived in a derelict church, on land left wild after its ruination by Roman iron mines. His mother was 18 and had no intention of making him. My grandmother, in turn, bore her at 17, fathered by a half-Irish sailor who died near Trinidad before his mother was three. His great grandmother was the daughter of a displaced Welsh coal-miner, his great grandfather had been a horse trainer in a circus. She married him after he fed sandwiches to her starving children. She became an alcoholic, ate grass from the garden, converted to Adventism after seeing the devil and gave away all her money. These experiences set the context for his work.
Jonathan has been for the longest time a musician – he left University (without a qualification) after seeing Woody Guthrie, his seemed to be a better way to live. Catherine van Ruhland (Greenbelt Festival) described Jonathan's work at the time as 'Long nights with sages, poets and painters and long journeys wandering around Europe playing its streets and cafes held in song. His work takes its heart from time, silence and the mad, mundane and quietly beautiful vision of those who share the road.'
Some of his questions needed more extended answers, so Jonathan returned to the academic world, studying an MA in art history and a PhD in musical composition. He now teaches at the School of Visual Communication and at several Universities in south and east Asia.
As a very necessary foil to the hectic, brilliantly coloured roads he travels, Dr Day lives in Shropshire. He likes the quiet, the animals and the trees. There's something important in the curve of a bird's wing as it cuts the wind and the jumbled stones which break the earth on a round hill's top. There are intuitions which shimmer and call in the buzzard's mewl or the fox's flash. He tries to hold this sparkling stuff long enough to sing it and remember, before it trickles through his fingers back into the earth.