Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Open Art House and Architecture

Art House is calling
A bit like and hot on the heels of projects like Open House (Architectural) and National Garden Scheme  there's now an opportunity to visit Art Studio's in Richmond - It's called Art House and if the weather cools a little I hope to take a look at some.

It's running for two weekends Friday-Sunday and I missed last weekend.


Architecture (& Design)

Richmond Theatre - Classic
Talking of architecture the OPEN Ealing 20th century design course continues tonight- Course Leader Nick Pearson has spoken before of his aim to encourage people to look at things around them even the seemingly mundane - well Nick mentioned Frank Matcham (he's even got a society named after him) at the start of the course, Frank is responsible for the design of many of  the repertory theatres in the UK including Richmond mentioned yesterday).

Seifert  did Centre Point too

I'm really looking forward to (hopefully) looking at more modern architecture including Brutalism and whatever the school for the building below is.

This was about technology (I think), it's colloquially called Space House  and dates from 1966, the architect was R Seifert and Partners (he did Centre Point too)  it's at 1 Kemble Street  WC1 next to City Lit if you want to take a look (and I personally like it).

I prefer this to Centre Point

Monday, June 29, 2015

Morso Framing at the Richmond Location

Only two more weeks of picture framing at the RACC to go and do feel that it's been fun with quite a bit learnt - picture framing is more involved than I realised.
Trimming the hardboard for the back.

As well as the class quite a bit of time has been spent finding images, getting glass cut and buying other odds and ends (which has all been enjoyable). Cutting the back panels (hardboard was actually more involved than I realised too.

Today we met the might Morso Mitring Guillotine  and after being quite scared by what it can do to our fingers we were given the chance to use it- I was a bit surprised that it works by sheer brute force no motors just leverage and sharp blades -apparently you can pick up one of the range second-hand for about £1,000 definitely worth it if you're thinking of running a picture- framing business.
This'll be clipped

In fact I managed to cut the frame for my 'Samaritan phone box'  Photo' and have decided to go with clips for the mounted Callas LP cover.

In Richmond

A classic Theatre design from Frank - Richmond

At the start of the OPEN Ealing 20th Century Design Course Nick mentioned Frank Matcham as a doyen of English theatre design and Richmond has a fine example of his work on the Green.

Just across the Green there was a location shoot going on too, looked like quite a big one with a few trucks and a dog - Richmond Council has a department to look after these shoots  (like Ealing does).

Not sure if the dog is the star of the Richmond shoot


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summer Fun and The Misogynist

Another author at least

Reading circle

I've taken the bull by the horns and am now reading a book that isn't by Jonathan Coe (although it is I think a book by an author who I've read before).

The author has a very dry style and the humour is restrained - odd the number of Catholic writers of which Piers is another example and a convert too.

Ealing Fun

Seems that the mid Summer celebrations are bigger and better this year, plenty of youngsters enjoying and multiple places to stop for a nibble.

There's a small 'concert/performance' tent where King Elvises are amongst the acts performing

The kids love this £4 ride

Two Elvises ahead of their performance

Ealing Art

West Ealing too has things to explore, nice fresh food in evidence and the Weslshore Hub has some local art - Jack Jones who runs some courses at OPEN Ealing the local Ealing Arts initiative is curating the show and there are some interesting pieces that caught my attention.

Nice fresh produce on sale
This work by Ronin at Welshore Hub

The new Hotel is moving along nicely now and evidence of the Crossrail dividend that is coming to West Ealing (And Hanwell too).

The hotel at the heart of West Ealing just by Sainsbury's - part of Crossrail dividend

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Structuralism -Claude Levi-Strauss, The Raw and The Cooked

This week in Philosophy of 20th Century  we strayed into an area which I think is almost as much Anthropology  as it is Philosophy and all though it offered (for me) an initial surge of enlightenment this was soon replaced with the standard issues that have been re formulated in a number of ways.
Raw from Plot 202

There was also a flash (or two) of recognition as I was re-introduced to Semiotics (which is pretty much all about signs and language)  from a slightly different path, I'd met (in an academic sort/study  way) some of the protagonists - like Roland Barthes when I'd had a fleeting introduction to Semiotics during my MA studies (Mass Communications at Leicester University) - it had been beguiling then and to an extent ties in with Freud and (I would say) determinism.

The other connection  (which in a way I like more) is a convoluted link to Roland Gift  the former Fine Young Cannibals frontman who I saw a couple of years back at  a 'Kew the Music' concert. Well the Fine Young Cannibals had a short, two album career and the second album was  named 'The Raw and The Cooked' which describes one of those triangles beloved of Claude - this one a culinary triangle -great  what an education can do for you.
Well we'll be looking more at Structuralism next week (at City Lit)

But so what ? Well we can see some interest in the idea that there is within us some standard items which are identifiable across cultures - perhaps they are put there by a higher being - but in a way so what if they are it leans towards determinism if not?
The wheel might not have come off but it's hardly fit for purpose

Friday, June 26, 2015

At the Saatchi Gallery

It's always fun to go to one of the Saatchi gallery previews and last night's was up to standard but less crowded than many - as well as Dead: A Celebration of Mortality there were some old favourites.

Very nice to take in what was on offer and a glass of wine too.

Impressive display of blue bags on the ground floor that perhaps said something about pollution.
Bags 97,000 I think it said this was a work by Jean-Francois Bocle

and a chilling one of a suitcase
Rather sadly the Richard Wilson installation which is so bewitching now seems to have gone from display but there are of course other things to take its place.

A worrying image of bodies
Dead did have some stuff that was quite in your face - included some skinned animals and a selection of (not real) corpses.

The classic 'Vermin Death Stack'

by David Falconer ..And the detail's impressive

Reminded me of the  Pink Floyd -
Wish You Were Here
A few books to get through - reminded me of Duane Hanson

It's fair to say some was amusing with a  certain gallows humour

There are bodies everywhere - we'd better get out of here. 


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ealing Centre and Sky shows Vivian Maier film

Yesterday I popped into Ealing and as is the case these days I had as usual a camera with me - I like this image- it suggested the Family Public Sculpture in the Ealing Broadway Centre was being held hostage.
Normal life continues despite family being held hostage 

One of the inspirations for me to take 'everyday' photographs on a regular basis is undoubtedly the story of Vivian Maier who was featured in a fairly recent BBC programme (actually nearly a year ago) in the 'Imagine' thread, this led to further research and I also learnt of the admiration that other working photographers have for her.
Yesterday Sky TV in the UK screened Finding Vivian Maier and it is along with Mad Men one of the few programmes that make a  pay Subscription to the service almost worthwhile.

Perhaps in some way connected I received by e-mail a link to Artsy's Vivian Maier page which I'm delighted to share and is certainly worth a look - what I do find staggering is the sheer volume of pictures that the slightly mysterious woman took in this pre-digital age (around 100,000 images have so far been discovered ) .

And here's a picture of a more contemporary Public Sculpture in Ealing's Walpole Park - it's called Cedrus Maximus and is by Karen Tang.

Cedrus Maximus by Karen Tang - is it a tree mummy?


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

'The Terrible Privacy'... Lunch & The Arts

I've got to hand it to Jonathan Coe - reading his books is a really good experience for  me, I've just completed 'The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim' and found it a very worthwhile endeavour - it's my third novel read by this author in a relatively short time and I'm hoping that I'm now prepared to  investigate another writer.

Coe like many artists seems to set himself a 'challenge' with each new book be it to write from a woman's point of view or too use a Belgian historic festival as a setting (Expo 58)

On the subject of this book, it turns out to be a touch 'Post- Modern' in that as well as being a novel it is also; unobtrusively a book about constructing a novel , I would say it could potentially be a great TV series, it wouldn't be too expensive to produce and could easily be sold to Australia too.

A sand sculpture being put together  not far from Holborn Station
Tuesdays I generally enjoy an artistic exhibition or two but as I was meeting a friend for lunch this particular distraction was somewhat curtailed and was made  local to Holborn.

Perhaps just a nod to space by David Moore
In fact I took in a quick visit to The University of The Arts in London at their Showroom 272 High Holborn- the subject given was Aether broadly Space and Cosmology - the work that stood out to me though was I would say earthbound with only a tangential nod to worlds beyond and was  by Photography Course Leader David Moore - I liked the neon sign in the window too.

At the window

In fact yesterday's pleasant lunch chat (at one of Central London's Cote Bistros) with a cohort friend from Horticultural college  brought some things into focus for me  (I can't speak for Gerry)
Cóte seeks to emulate the French Bistro experience

What I need to acknowledge is 'baggage' be it experiences, errors or previous family tensions -often we can see how others have become what they are but choose not to look too closely at our own paths - I suppose that this in a way when we do this we can at last get on with things.

A big hole to fill in or just roadworks

Monday, June 22, 2015

Not on the High Street (Richmond, London)

One of many niche web retail offerings is 'Not on the High Street' it's just around the corner from the Richmond Adult Community College where I've been battling with Picture Framing.

Not on The High Street, Richmond
Richmond is undoubtedly under the Heathrow flight path and so I suppose it should not be such a surprise to find that  the BA stowaway from South Africa who was hiding amongst the undercarriage bits and pieces and fell to earth landed at the building that 'Not on The High Street' occupies last Thursday.

It does seem an extraordinary event that would be considered too fanciful if it was in a book or film but the stowaway was not alone and was with another person who made it to Heathrow but is now in hospital in a critical condition.

The idea that people should risk their lives by hiding in the inhospitable and frankly dangerous part of a plane  does seem hard to believe but the desperation is evidenced by such events (it's not an isolated attempt)  that many make to reach the relatively comfortable 'West'.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ealing- Framed Photograph Prints for Sale

Hobby Craft Greenford

About half way through the framing course - and beginning to get the hang of the Logan Mat Cutter - I've reused some old frames to what I think is quite a good result with a couple of Allotment photographs used in the Ealing Gazette.

Next week we're going to be using other materials and am planning to start a mount for an old LP cover - I visited a charity shop (Oxfam Record store Ealing, where I once worked) to get this.

Art work to mount

This weekend  and more supplies, foam and more mount card from Hobby Craft in Greenford, they've got quite a lot of nice things there but not the cheapest.

Well if anyone would like to buy either one or both of my Ealing Gazette published photographs in a frame then do get in touch.

My Photographs mounted and framed - Make me an offer

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fun in vehicles

Courgette flower
On Friday I washed my car, I don't know when I last did this, of late my annual service included a car wash- this time though, in December it didn't happen  so I got round to it 6 months later and strangely enjoyed the endeavour  too.

There's something about cars and particularly the utilitarian aspect that provides me with a distinct pleasure - from my teenage years I recall school-friend Jon Holles's father's estate car and it being  loaded with timber .

I think it was 1976 that we had the really dry hot summer in the UK  and I was working at TPI (Technical Panel Industries) - it sounds almost  James Bond-ish, (actually TPI made  Plywood & Resin composite panels for lorries and trucks).
Stuff to plant

Anyway I used to get a lift home from the factory with one of the guys who also worked there - I can't recall his name but as well as working at TPI he ran a market garden enterprise - it used to be quite cooling to travel in his van with the door held open (with a rope?)

Sadly I think he had a minor stroke while I was working there but today as I loaded my car with things to take to the allotment I was reminded of him and the pleasure of labour, camaraderie  and a cash pay packet.

I also cast my mind back about 13 years to riding in the back of an open truck in Trinidad  off to the Rum bars which was also pleasant.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Design Museum exhibition and peripheral facts

At the Design Museum earlier in the week and greatly enjoyed the  new-ish Life on Foot which examines modern footwear mainly from a Camper (brand) point of view.
Big Bold and Spanish- (ish)

In a way what is interesting  here is the stuff that only just gets in -like the fact that manufacturing is outsourced (to the far east), this is quite marginalised even in films showing production but it does make the idea of the shoes as Spanish a little  problematic (to me) - but it's the same deal as Dyson vacuum cleaners - but the spin is better used by Sir James?

Quirky footwear on show.

Away from the use of cheaper labour - I was also intrigued to know that the brand (Camper) is now stretched to a hotel chain - who would have seen that?

In fact what surprised exposed in  a couple of pictures was recent history reflecting modern UK life.

The  Zebra crossing was introduced in the UK in 1951  as was too the first pedestrian  precinct (although I feel this is slightly more contentious)  - that really doesn't seem that long ago and for me is  one to file along with The Times only starting to have  front page 'News' in 1966 .
And precincts too

1951 new fangled crossings arrive

Wow! That's colourful and not 1951

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Around Westminster

News that The Palace of Westminster needs a shed load of money (£3billion) spending on it has been long signposted- I was there earlier in the week (with a minister at DECC, my brother) and it seems to look okay to me but it does need updating and not just the fabric..
Open for business- more public access needed

Perhaps it is  time (or even overdue) for us to radically rethink our democracy and the seat of Government and make the  current (historic) location some monument to earlier democracy  (some say it's this already!)

Let's face it the building although looking Gothic is Victorian and what was radical then is not now -we need greater accountability and a system that serves a 21st Century democracy.
A fantastic statue of Richard I outside the Houses of Parliament  - find out more

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ealing for Location shoots and Kingston for Street performers

Good to see?
I don't know if you've spotted those little luminous  arrows on lampposts with the suffix Loc?

It's a sign and a location

Well in Ealing over the last few months I've seen about half a dozen or so of them and they're actually bits of the borough that are being used as locations for filmmakers/TV productions.

[There's an office in the Council that looks after it if you want to user Ealing]

'It's a wrap' last night  at Sherwood Close, West Ealing

And here's a local pub (below) that I've seen being used a couple of times.

I suppose it causes some minor disruption but I presume there's some money changing hands too and it adds a bit of interest to the area - last night followed the arrows to this back street in West Ealing - doesn't look like it'll be a Hollywood Blockbuster but you never know.

Kingston for Performers

I'm not the world's best shopper but I do like Kingston, London as place to buy and 'potter'- my favourite shop there , currently and undoubtedly Clas Ohlson (all the electrical, and DIY bits I love) but there are some other good places around the town , Art Shops, cafés and a real open air market.

Another thing that distinguishes Kingston  is the Buskers/Street Performers - in some places they could be intrusive but in my experience, here they add local colour and are varied - this weekend there were a couple of guys playing percussion on some household items as well as along the road some more conventional singers - perhaps other London boroughs could follow suit on the policing of this?

Beat It - no only kidding you're really good.