Sunday, January 31, 2016

Stuff at St Pauls and Red 275

St Paul -Christianity's golden boy
Last week in town and near St Paul's Cathedral saw the golden statue to St Paul and was struck that I knew little of the saint (how can I have picked up so little through years of School RE and even some Sunday School attendance?).

There seems to be little doubt about the existence of St. Paul  (which in turn perhaps emphasises that Jesus of Nazareth existed) and his work following conversion to evangelising the Christian message  -very illuminating  to be reminded of the Jewish roots of the Christian religion.

Also in the grounds is a very dramatic statue to Becket by Edward Bainbridge Copnall  - seems he was a sculptor in a family of artists that included his son who worked as a teacher and was an Abstract expressionist.

It seems that Becket is celebrated by both Catholics and Protestants and was sadly assassinated (perhaps mistakenly) on orders of Henry II.

Learning about St Paul and Becket is instructive in the effect of religious public works of art  - much as Stained glass and church frescos might have done in previous eras.

Becket with his head attached.

Red 275

Après Waitrose - former ACTT union man and broadcasting manager with a rather characteristic gait in his red jacket.

Let's shop

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A 2016 visit to plot 202 and Red 276

Down on plot 202

A prune and a clear up
Fiddlers on the roof

It felt like a new year sort of thing.

The sun was out there were people doing outside things.

What with the weather and putting my photo's out there it's been some time since I've been on the allotment, Thursday was a lovely day so I decided to go and do a bit of a prune and tidy up.

All the fruit trees have grown over the last 4 or so years and I thought I'd have a go at moving one of my Rhubarb plantings too.

It's one of two and it's got a new home -hope it survives

A greenhouse and lovely day

I was interested to see Simon's shed  development (plot 198) too it's certainly different.

Simon's shed mark II
My shed, my rules

A time to burn too

Red 277

you can see here how the brightness is reduced in shadow 

Yeah -Respect

Friday, January 29, 2016

The work of an Artist and Red 277

As a bonus Nick Pearson provided a 'Gratis' session at the end of his excellent Art History course of lectures on the theme of his own work.
Who knows his work better?

The lectures held under the auspices of OPEN Ealing have all been characterised by the breadth of material and the enthusiasm of Nick.

Nick works mainly with Three-Dimensional works but also showed some of his sketches.

Nick has made clear the debt owed by Artists to those who went before and as he described his own work he too referenced his influencers (Duchamp for example) but what was also clear from the subjects he chooses and the careful way he probes them is that his work is rooted in early influences within a solid family environment.

Subjects are often domestic presented with a twist, not a dark twist but a humourists questioning  twist - what happens if you transfer the contents of a tin of pain to the outside of a tine of paint?

Why does a bedhead look like a gravestone?
Message is that -Art is all around us & this reminds me of Whistler

Nick too was able to raise some philosophical issues too - Triggers Broom was cited as an influence on one of his works.

I hope Nick continues to push himself and his work to give an artists eye to some of those domestic questions he poses himself.
A work that could be analysed?

Red 277

Out on Plot 202 and  what's redder that the tools we don't want to lose?

The Rolls-Royce of secateurs

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Local retail in W13 and Red 278

The small retailer is the front line for so much of what happens in UK business but it's fighting some tough battles.

Just the other day I had what was for me a very interesting talk about retail which made me think.
Avenue Supplies W13 - can the business compete with giants?

The guy I spoke with was involved in hardware and DIY, he spoke about how US giants such as Home Depot have made questionable calls and  misjudged their market selling inferior goods to keep Walls Street happy by short term maximisation of profits.

How can niche neighbourhood shops remain solvent?

They need to be able to offer Amazon Plus -The plus is advice and help in a human form.

Is this possible and how can they get the message out - well internet can level up smaller specialists to some extent but it's undoubtedly a battle.

Red 278

... can be a bit Kitsch here a lava lamp edging perhaps towards pink

Well someone will love it

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bowie, BBC and Red 279

Memories of Bowie

Watched the Blackstar Video yesterday imbued as it is with significance it made me think of Cousin (and Artrocker) Tom who undoubtedly introduced me to Bowie ( I guess 1972- ish) in Birmingham  -he was at the edgy side of Glam (Bowie not Tom)  at this time.
A view evocative perhaps  of 'Golden Years'

The fact that Young Americans paid homage to Lennon and The Beatles in such a big way helped cement him into my own personal cultural firmament and the odd Berlin albums were on my University days turntables in the late 70's.

Later too as I arrived in London and was delivered of a selection of LPs by courtesy of Tom (who was working at Our Price records in Charing Cross Road) and the Bowie's  Ashes to Ashes was amongst them along with some other 'gems'.

And then on to Let's Dance an unlikely fusion of Chic and Bowie (the last Bowie Vinyl I bought) - I suppose many of us in our 50s have Bowie as part of our musical soundtrack - and it'll remain.

There are (of course) rumours of another 'Album' waiting to be released

{Thanks Tom and Thanks David}

More on  BBC 'reforms'

Shocking to report that as the DCMS's Whittngdale's consultation is not getting the result he desires fresh methods will be used - despite moaning about the extra cost from people responding to the initial exercise I fear  more money will be  thrown at the 'problem' which will most likely be designed to reflect more of the views of non-supporters of the BBC.

As well as undermining the BBC (and Channel Four) many people in this successful  sector consider it damaging to the UK's creative industries - my advice if this worries you would be to lobby your MP , happy to say that mine, Stephen Pound (Ealing North) is on the case.

Red 279

This is not a flag it's a fridge magnet (German-ish I think)

It's been on our fridge (and the one before it) it's fading and it's not a flag

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The BBC's unintended consequences, Cheaper Petrol, OPEN's Link and Red 280

I was really delighted with my MP (Stephen Pound)'s response to my query about the results of the 'consultation around the future of the BBC, a good quick answer to my e-mail, the question raised with the DCMS and his confirmation of support for the much valued institution.
Let's not make the BBC a marginal institution

I see that there's now something of a campaign for the UK's over 75s to voluntarily pay the licence fee - I've no doubt that the idea which is being trumpeted by BBC boss Lord Hall and supported by many comfortably off seniors (like Melvyn Bragg) is being supported for the best of motives but I fear that it will add to the credibility of the idea that one should be able to choose to pay it and a voluntary funding system could work.

My solution would be  (and I guess it wouldn't be particularly popular politically) for such a scheme to be an 'opt out' (where you pay and may try if you meet criteria claim a refund) - or a hardship fund to support those who can't afford it (and don't forget that state pensions are continuing to have above inflation increases).

[I wonder if the prominence of the coverage in The Times  has anything to do with meetings between a certain Mr Murdoch and George Osborne?]

Low Petrol Prices helps Osborne

I don't often need to buy petrol and so it was a real exercise in nostalgia today to see petrol below the £1.00 a litre charge - not sure how good this is for the sustainability of the planet but it's helping the sustainability of the Tories in government.

Like the rest of us Politicians need to be  lucky and the drop in world oil prices is making it look like the Government knows what they're doing - I find myself effectively at least £10 better off than I would have been had prices remained as expected (let alone increase) and that money will go back in the UK economy - and help Osborne become the next PM (as things stand).
Thanks OPEN

OPEN Ealing

OPEN Ealing do great things in the Borough of Ealing am honoured and grateful for their support of my Exhibition - Thanks for the link!

Red 280

I really like this picture and it was taken yesterday as I walked home - a reminder for me to always (well nearly anyway) take your camera with you.

What on earth does it mean - is there a story?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Catching up and Red 281

Yesterday lunchtime and it was nice to be able to, again  spend some more time talking to a people about my photographs on display at Ealing's Questors Theatre bar (The Grapevine).
Two of the 'sold' framed prints

Strangely having completed  reading the Austin Kleon book  (in 2 days!) which is about showing work (and your working)  there was a renewed resonance in the activity of describing the 'work'.

An example from the book which I really liked was that two seemingly identical pictures side by side where one is a copy (as in our digital lifestyles so much is) the copy has so little value compared with 'the original'.

Keloh makes the point around how we use narratives about what we own or participate well but I feel he does not wholly connect with the idea of authenticity- when I describe the activity in the making of a photography I'm hopefully describing something from within, something which is partly accident and partly 'labour' but it is not robotic.
A nice pizza
Arpan drinks 'No Logo' lager

After this activity and I had the chance to re-meet someone who I worked with at Discovery a few years back, he's visiting London (where he had studied)  from Thailand where he's working, his new employment is with a high tech company headquarter-ed in Enfield and he's here to learn the product/service - very good to catch up.

We both had a pretty fair Pizza at Franco Manca too (intrigued that now 'No logo' is a brand - I don't know how Naomi Klein deals with this irony).

Red 281

The Red Stripes is not just Jack White's band - here we can see it - why is it though red stripes and not white ones - what if the background was blue?

Not just a group

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The right line of thinking and Red 282

Oddly the one of books I mentioned that I wanted  (Show Your Work by Austin Kleon) arrived through my letterbox yesterday - I managed to find it on Ebay at fantastic price from a lovely seller (Suspiciousminds) and it only took a few days to get here.

[Kleon has a nice blog too]

I've been pretty much unable to put it down and am already half way through it, the central theme is around sharing and it makes a great deal of sense - as Art teacher Nick pointed out earlier in the week at my rather crass comment on what Warhol owed to Duchamp it's about being 'on the shoulders of giants' rather than 'ripping off'.

This man will stand on Clapton's shoulders and not rip him off

Red 282

We've had a change since carrier bags have had a (monetary) price put on them - shopping not holidaying.

A nice red bag with a pineapple in it 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Looking up in Ealing and Red 283

As Philosophy studies can help you think more 'critically', it's my belief that if you are helped to take an interest in the visual arts your life is enriched and you see things around you that you might not have previously noticed.

Here are a couple of things I've spotted in the last week or two...

This is a feature that looks good now and the are is a shared by the (Bruce Court residents W5-) I hope that remains so well maintained.
A Green wall on high, Underhill Gardens( just near Uxbridge Road W5)

A cartoon-ish look?

I suppose that branding is something we take for granted, so many messages, here Waitrose are retaining their typeface/style but have refreshed it so we're inclined to register it again.

Red 283

Anyone for coffee (as the old joke goes).

The fuel we seem to run on

Friday, January 22, 2016

Doodle, The Questors Village Bike opens and Red 284

If you're like me you've sometimes tried to get a bunch of people together and found the co-ordination of schedules and fixed events so  challenging that you've given up or accepted that some people just won't be there - when a group of ex BT people tried to make a social event one of our number used to kick it off with an excel to find a time that was the best fit.
An easy to accept screen presentation

Well it seems a clever person's got a fix for this that even goes beyond Excel and it's called Doodle (not to be confused with the totally different Doddle - I'm not sure if there's a diddle too) 

I've been invited to become part of a Doodle exercise and if it works I'll be rolling it out to a group of Ex-Cardiff students to help us agree a time/date for a social meal.

The Show must go on

And next week ..

The Studio Play this week
When I've been checking that my photographs have not fallen off the walls of The Grapevine Bar at Ealing  Questors Theatre, I've noticed that the number of visitors have been few.

Happily from tonight (22nd January) we've got a production of The Village Bike in The  Studio  and starting next week (29th January) there's a play in the main space (The Judi Dench Playhouse)  it's by Martin McDonagh's and called The Cripple of Inishmaan - so hopefully my 'show' will be getting some extra exposure - I'm going to be there Sunday lunchtime again so if anyone wants to chat about the pictures (or other things) I'm available.

As the song goes 'I'll be there for you'

Red 284

We've had items of clothing here before but this level of Red is a whole new ball game

A colour co-ordinated outfit

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A lovely winter light along with Red 285

Yesterday on my way from Bermondsey underground station to Design Museum at Shad Thames to host two of my volunteer tours of Cycle Revolution I was severely struck with what a lovely winter's day it was - bright blue skies silhouetting naked trees - clear lines being given to the city landscape.
Shard as a symbol

A very blue sky

Some of the trees reminded me of pre geometric Mondrians and the iconic Shard feeling like an emblem of something positive.
Naked trees in the sun

Blue skies and wispy clouds

Then onto an exhibition rooted in it's locality at Anise Gallery - hope to get involved in something like this myself.

An exhibition about locals

A chance to consider and vote

OPEN Ealing -

Next week the current series of Nick Pearson's lectures on Art comes to a conclusion with Nick looking (objectively I'm sure) at his own work - last night we visited Pop Art practitioners in the USA and Europe - a great way for people to engage with art, which as all around them.

Thanks to Nick for mentioning my Photographic Exhibition and Mandie for posting on the OPEN website.

Red 285

One day I think we'll lose the Oxo cube, I think it'll be a sad day.

The Money Shot

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Art in Town and Red 286

Why not Mosaic at CityLit -  Angela Davis perhaps?

After Philosophy and Psychoanalysis course on Monday (more on that later) and  having noticed some nice Mosaics at the City Lit I spent some time at The National Gallery.
It'll be worth a visit.

As well as the works there, exhibitions to come, works inspired by the works  (by Frank Auerbach most pleasing to me ) there were some more interesting than usual things outside the Gallery. (and in the bookshop too).
Frank was clearly inspired by Seurat's bathers.

Some more  pictures illustrate the time...

The Homeless Bard has something to say
Hang This - An artist engages

I want these

Red 286

My (not Mao's) little-ish red book - it's one of a selection of notebooks (not all red) that I write things in for later reference or research.

A strange and unlikely extension of my memory